Do you believe that the government (especially this government) has never, and will never, lie to you about important matters of public concern? Do you believe that those in the vast secret apparatus of state justified by 'national security' would never do unsavory and even criminal things in the name of 'security' or what they believe to be the 'national interest'?
If your answer to those questions is 'Yes', don't bother to continue. Your critical faculties aren't up to the task I am now asking you to undertake.
I want you to question the official conspiracy theory that the government and media have force fed us consistently begining literally minutes following the first plane striking the the WTC.
I am not proposing to replace the official conspiracy theory with another conspiracy theory; I haven't got access to all the facts, and thus cannot construct for you an alternate story that stands up to genuine sceptical inquiry. I only want you to consider that there may not be a conspiracy theory that fits the facts we have been allowed to know. I want you to consider living with the painful ambiguity of not knowing what happened on 9/11, because you haven't been told what happened. I want you to consider that perhaps you cling so strongly to the official conspiracy theory, despite evidence probably already known to you, because it is better to think you know the truth, no matter how terrible, than to know that you don't know, and can't know, what really happened on 9/11.
I only mean to point out all the facts we are missing, the evidence we lack, the contradictions and sheer improbabilities that are shot through the official theory. Like a scientific proof, or a criminal case in court, or a forensic examination of a mysterious death or accident, I ask you to demand proof, not conclusions; demand facts, not assertions; demand to be convinced, and to not allow the uninformed opinion of so many sway you. Most people know nothing more than what they've been told about the events of 9/11. Why assume they - and you - have been told anything other than a plausible and psychological satisfying story?
I ask you to consider the evidence that is not there and question why. To consider the facts that are part of the public record that don't fit the official conspiracy theory. To question the assumptions and articles of faith the offical conspiracy demands that you accept, and if they don't hold up to scrutiny, to discard them. The most difficult thing for me as I looked closer at some of this evidence was to admit that maybe I didn't know what I thought I knew. Maybe I didn't have all the answers. Maybe we don't have all the facts. Maybe there are other explanations that fit the evidence better, but which I find it impossible to accept. The hardest part for me was deciding that it was OK not to know what happened on 9/11.
The film that follows is called Loose Change. It presents many of the inconvenient facts and evidence that don't fit with the official conspiracy theory. I think they do try fairly heavy-handedly to imply that our own government had a major role in the events of 9/11. In doing so, I think they rely far too much on the sort of speculation and specious evidence that makes the official conspiracy theory so unconvincing. I am ultimately unwilling to replace one delusion with another. With that caveat, I strongly recommend the film as a starting point in the search for the unadorned facts.
I don't expect any source of information to be unbiased. Loose Change is no exception. I think it is too prone to look for evidence of fresh conspiracies and give too much credence to information that is subject to error and manipulation, but the essential critiques of how the towers collapse, the evidence and lack of it for a airliner at the Pentagon, and the oddities surrounding Flight 93 deserve serious consideration, and further investigation. The lack of an open investigation by the NTSB and the disappearance of flight data recorders all give me such serious reservations about the validity of the government's investigations.
Next, a video which combines interview and archive footage with excerpts from a public hearing called 'Confronting the Evidence' presents in more detail some of the same problems, as well as many new and troubling ones. It is presented here in a five part series: (NOTE: If you have trouble with the videos, reloading the page will likely correct any problems)
Finally, a documentary using archive footage which points out some unusual and not immediately apparent aspects of the footage which you likely saw when it was broadcast on TV. I don't know how to explain away some of the information the host presents. The name of the documentary is '9/11: In Plane Sight' - no that's not a misspelling.
There are issues with the credibility and motive of some of the sources in both documentaries, I feel, but most of the facts and issues raised do not rely on the credibility of the speaker for their force. After watching these videos, if you still haven't any qualms about the story you've been told, there's probably little I could say to convince you to suspend judgement. Even if you continue to accept the underlying premise of the official conspriacy theory that Al Qaeda operatives were involved, the handling of the investigation and public response should still give you plenty of food for thought.
Just remember, the official story is no less a conspiracy theory than any other - it has just enjoyed the more powerful catapult for the propaganda because of its 'official' status.
UPDATE 6/12: An alert commenter provided some links that purport to debunk the debunkers. This information, too, should be considered. A critique of Loose Change, Popular Mechanics feature article on 9/11 conspiracies, and Cooperative Research's timeline of 9/11, are all good resources. I would welcome any further sources in this vein to post.