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9/11 conspiracy theories allege that the September 11 attacks in 2001 were either intentionally allowed to happen or were a false flag operation orchestrated by an organization with elements inside the United States government. A poll taken in 2006 by Scripps Howard and Ohio University showed that, "More than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East." The most prominent theory is that the collapse of the World Trade Center and 7 World Trade Center were the result of a controlled demolition rather than structural weakening due to fire. Another prominent belief is that the Pentagon was hit by a missile launched by elements from inside the U.S. government or that a commercial airliner was allowed to do so via an effective standdown of the American military. Motives cited by conspiracy theorists include justifying the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq , and geostrategic interests in the Mideast, including pipeline plans launched in the early 1990s by Unocal and other oil companies.
Published reports and articles by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Popular Mechanics and mainstream media have rejected the 9/11 conspiracy theories. The civil engineering establishment generally accepts that the impacts of jet aircraft at high speeds in combination with subsequent fires, rather than controlled demolition, led to the collapse of the Twin Towers. NIST stated that it did not perform any test for the residue of explosive compounds of any kind in the debris.
- 1 History
- 2 Mainstream account
- 3 Variants
- 4 Main theories
- 5 Cover-up allegations
- 6 Other theories
- 7 Motives
- 8 Proponents
- 9 Media reaction
- 10 Criticism
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 Bibliography
- 14 External links
Since the September 11 attacks, a variety of conspiracy theories regarding the 9/11 attacks have been put forward in Web sites, books, and films. Many groups and individuals advocating 9/11 conspiracy theories identify as part of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Unlike other conspiracies theories, such as those about the death of Princess Diana, 9/11 conspiracy theories did not emerge immediately after the event. Indeed, most professional conspiracy theorists in the United States appeared to be as shocked as the rest of the population. The first theories that emerged focused primarily on various anomalies in the publicly available evidence, and proponents later developed more specific theories about an alleged plot. One allegation that was widely circulated by e-mail and on the Web, is that not a single Jew had been killed in the attack and that attacks must have been the work of the Mossad, not Islamic terrorists.
The first elaborated theories appeared in Europe. They include a blog published by Mathias Bröckers, an editor at the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung at the time, the book 9/11: The Big Lie by French journalist Thierry Meyssan, the book The CIA and September 11 by former German state minister Andreas von Bülow and the book Operation 9/11, written by the German journalist Gerhard Wisnewski.
While these theories were popular in Europe, they were treated by the U.S. media with either bafflement or amusement and were dismissed by the U.S. government as the product of anti-Americanism. In an address to the United Nations on November 10, 2001, United States President George W. Bush denounced tshe emergence of "outrageous conspiracy theories [...] that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty."
By 2004, conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks began to gain ground in the United States. One explanation for the increase in popularity was that it was not the discovery of any new or more compelling evidence or an improvement of the technical quality of the presentation of the theories, but rather the growing criticism of the Iraq War and the presidency of George W. Bush, who had been reelected in 2004. Revelations of spin doctoring and lying by federal officials, such as the claims about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the belated release of the President's Daily Brief of August 6, 2001 and reports that NORAD had lied to the 9/11 Commission, may have fuelled the conspiracy theories.
Between 2004 and the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in 2006, mainstream coverage of the conspiracy theories increased. Reacting to the growing publicity, the U.S. government issued responses to the theories, including a formal analysis by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) about the collapse of the World Trade Center, a revised 2006 State Department webpage to debunk the theories, and a strategy paper referred to by President Bush in an August 2006 speech, which declared that terrorism springs from "subcultures of conspiracy and misinformation," and that "terrorists recruit more effectively from populations whose information about the world is contaminated by falsehoods and corrupted by conspiracy theories. The distortions keep alive grievances and filter out facts that would challenge popular prejudices and self-serving propaganda." Al-Qaeda has repeatedly claimed responsibility for the attacks, with chief deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri accusing Shia Iran and Hezbollah of intentionally starting rumors that Israel carried out the attacks to denigrate Sunni successes in hurting America.
Some of the conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks do not involve representational strategies typical of many conspiracy theories that establish a clear dichotomy between good and evil, or guilty and innocent. Instead, they call up gradations of negligence and complicity. Matthias Bröckers, an early proponent of such theories, dismisses the official account of the September 11 attacks as being itself a conspiracy theory that seeks "to reduce complexity, disentangle what is confusing," and "explain the inexplicable".
Just prior to the fifth anniversary of the attacks, mainstream news outlets released a flurry of articles on the growth of 9/11 conspiracy theories, with an article in the magazine Time stating that "This is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality." An August 2007 Zogby poll commissioned by 911Truth.org found that 63.6% of Americans believe that Arab fundamentalists were responsible for 9/11 while 26.4% of believed that "certain elements in the U.S. government knew the attacks were coming but consciously let them proceed for various political, military and economic reasons" and 4.8% of them believe that "certain U.S. Government elements actively planned or assisted some aspects of the attacks". (See 9/11 opinion polls.) In 2008, 9/11 conspiracy theories topped a "greatest conspiracy theory” list compiled by The Daily Telegraph. The list was based on following and traction.
On September 11, 2001, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying at least two nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon and a fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after the passengers and flight crew revolted.
The 9/11 Commission Report disclosed prior warnings of varying detail of planned attacks against the United States by al-Qaeda. The report said that the government ignored these warnings due to a lack of communication between various law enforcement and intelligence personnel. For the lack of inter-agency communication, the report cited bureaucratic inertia and laws passed in the 1970s to prevent abuses that caused scandals during that era. The report faulted the Clinton and the Bush administrations with “failure of imagination”. Most members of the Democratic and the Republican parties applauded the commission's work.
Within the context of 9/11 conspiracy theories, the terms 'mainstream account,' 'official account' and 'official conspiracy theory' all refer to:
- The reports from government investigations — the 9/11 Commission Report (which incorporated intelligence information from the earlier FBI investigation (PENTTBOM) and the Joint Inquiry of 2002), and the studies into building performance carried out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
- Investigations by non-government organizations that support the mainstream account — such as those by the National Fire Protection Association, and by scientists of Purdue University and Northwestern University.
- Articles supporting these facts and theories appearing in magazines such as Popular Mechanics, Scientific American, and Time.
- Similar articles in news media throughout the world, including The Times of India, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the BBC, Le Monde, Deutsche Welle, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and The Chosun Ilbo of South Korea.
Most 9/11 conspiracy theories generally originate from dissatisfaction with the mainstream account of 9/11.
"LIHOP" and "MIHOP"
Less extensive theories allege that official reports have covered up incompetence or negligence from U.S. personnel or the Bush Administration, or involvement of a foreign government or organization other than al-Qaeda. The most prevalent theories can be broadly divided into two main forms:
- LIHOP ("Let it happen on purpose") – suggests that key individuals within the government had at least some foreknowledge of the attacks and deliberately ignored them or actively weakened America's defenses to ensure the hijacked flights were not intercepted.
- MIHOP ("Make it happen on purpose") – that key individuals within the government planned the attacks and collaborated with, or framed, al-Qaeda in carrying them out. There is a range of opinions about how this might have been achieved.
Other critics of the account of the September 11 attacks provided by the U.S. government are not proposing specific theories, but try to demonstrate that the U.S. government's account of the events is wrong. This, according to them, would lead to a general call for a new official investigation into the events of September 11, 2001. According to Jonathan Kay, managing editor for comment at the Canadian newspaper National Post, who is currently working on a book about proponents of 9/11 conspiracy theories, "they don't feel that that's their job. They feel their job is to show everybody that the official theory of 9/11 is wrong. And then, when everybody is convinced, then the population will rise up and demand a new investigation with government resources, and that investigation will tell us what actually happened."
- Main article: 9/11 conspiracy theories:Main theories
Conspiracy theorists say they detect a pattern of behavior on the part of officials investigating the September 11 attack meant to suppress the emergence of evidence that might contradict the mainstream account. The debris from ground-zero, for example, was removed without a proper forensic investigation, making it very difficult to discover why the World Trade Center buildings collapsed.
According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the cockpit voice recorders (CVR) or flight data recorders (FDR), or "black boxes", from Flights 11 and 175 were not recovered from the remains of the WTC attack; however, two men, Michael Bellone and Nicholas DeMasi, who worked extensively in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, stated in the book Behind-The-Scenes: Ground Zero that they helped federal agents find three of the four "black boxes" from the jetliners:
"At one point I was assigned to take Federal Agents around the site to search for the black boxes from the planes. We were getting ready to go out. My ATV was parked at the top of the stairs at the Brooks Brothers entrance area. We loaded up about a million dollars worth of equipment and strapped it into the ATV. There were a total of four black boxes. We found three."
According to the 9/11 Commission Report, both black boxes from Flight 77 and both black boxes from Flight 93 were recovered. However, the CVR from Flight 77 was said to be too damaged to yield any data. On April 18, 2002, the FBI allowed the families of victims from Flight 93 to listen to the voice recordings. In April 2006, a transcript of the CVR was released as part of the Zacarias Moussaoui trial.
Bin Laden tapes
- Main article: Videos of Osama bin Laden
A series of interviews, audio and videotapes have been released since the 9/11 attacks that have been reported to be from Osama bin Laden. At first the speaker denied responsibility for the attacks but over the years has taken increasing responsibility for them culminating in a November 2007 audiotape in which the speaker claimed sole responsibility for the attacks and denied the Taliban and the Afghan government or people had any prior knowledge of the attacks. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, the speaker was most likely Osama bin Laden. Some observers, especially people in the Muslim world, doubt the authenticity of the tape.
There are allegations that individuals within the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) may have played an important role in financing the attacks. There are also claims that other foreign intelligence agencies, such as the Israeli Mossad, had foreknowledge of the attacks, and that Saudi Arabia may have played a role in financing the attacks. Francesco Cossiga, former President of Italy from 1985 until his resignation over Operation Gladio, asserts that it is common knowledge among democratic circles in the U.S. and Europe, and primarily in the Italian center-left, that the 9/11 attacks were a joint operation of the CIA and the Mossad. General Hamid Gul, a former head of ISI, believes the attacks were an “inside job” originating in the United States, perpetrated by Israel or neo-conservatives.
No plane theories
Nico Haupt and Morgan Reynolds, formerly the chief economist within the Labor Department under the Bush administration argue that no planes were used in the attacks. Reynolds claims it is physically impossible that the Boeing planes of Flights 11 and 175, being largely aluminium, could have penetrated the steel frames of the Towers, and that digital compositing was used to depict the plane crashes in both news reports and subsequent amateur video. "There were no planes, there were no hijackers," Reynolds insists. "I know, I know, I'm out of the mainstream, but that's the way it is." According to David Shayler, "The only explanation is that they were missiles surrounded by holograms made to look like planes," he says. "Watch footage frame by frame and you will see a cigar-shaped missile hitting the World Trade Center." Truth movement veterans tend to distance themselves from "no-planers". Discussion of no plane theories have been banned from certain conspiracy theory websites while advocates have been threatened with violence by posters at other conspiracy theory websites.
Reptilian shape-shifting aliens
English author and public speaker David Icke argues that reptilian, shape-shifting extraterrestrial humanoids are responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to Icke, a reptilian global elite is behind all things that occur in the world. Icke's 2002 book Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster is focused on the 9/11 attacks. Icke's theories are rejected by 911blogger.com and other conspiracy theory sites.
Drug industry cartel
In September 2009 public health expert Leonard G. Horowitz and journalist Sherri Kane published online and sent to the F.B.I. an affidavit with documents they claim prove the 9/11 attacks were part of a population reduction conspiracy by an international drug industry cartel that involves leading business and media figures. The pair alleged the documents show a link between the 9/11 attacks, Larry Silverstein and a conspiracy that also involved creating the swine flu pandemic.
- Main article: Pax Americana
In 2006, members of the group Scholars for 9/11 Truth argued that a group of US neo-conservatives called the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which included Paul Wolfowitz , Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, set on US world dominance and orchestrated the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to hit Iraq, Afghanistan and later Iran. In September 2000 the PNAC released a strategic treatise entitled Rebuilding America's Defences. David Ray Griffin in his 2004 book The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11 argued that the treatise may have been the blueprint for 9/11 attacks. Specifically the language in the paper that read "the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor" was describing an alleged motive.
The Defense Planning Guidance of 1992, was drafted by Paul Wolfowitz on behalf of then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. This was described as "a blueprint for permanent American global hegemony" by Andrew J. Bacevich in his book American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy.
Matt Taibbi argued in his book The Great Derangement that conspiracy theorists have taken what is written in the paper "completely out of context", and that the "transformation" referenced in the paper is explicitly stated to be a decades-long process to turn the Cold War-era military into a "new, modern military" which could deal with more localized conflicts. He stated that, for this to be evidence of motive, either those responsible would have decided to openly state their objectives, or would have read the paper in 2000 and quickly laid the groundwork for the 9/11 attacks using it as inspiration.
Conspiracy theorists [who?] have questioned whether the Oil Factor and 9/11 provided the United States and the United Kingdom with a reason to launch a war they had wanted for some time, and suggest that this gives them a strong motive for either carrying out the attacks, or allowing them to take place. For instance, Andreas von Bülow, a former research minister in the German government, has argued that 9/11 was staged to justify the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Former Malaysian premiere Mahathir Mohamad was quoted as saying that there was "strong evidence" that the attacks were faked so the United States could go to war against Muslims.
Suggested historical precedents
Conspiracy theorists often point to Operation Northwoods as a precursor of the 9/11 attacks, which they theorize were carried out by the U.S. government as a false flag operation, which was then blamed on Islamic extremists. Operation Northwoods was a plan presented by the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962. The plan called for covert operatives to commit genuine acts of terrorism in U.S. cities, and to blame and subsequently invade Cuba for it.
Time magazine contrasted events which inspired past conspiracy theories with those that inspire 9/11 conspiracy theories such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Time called the public assassination of Kennedy a "private, intimate affair" when compared with the attack on the World Trade Center, which was witnessed by millions of people and documented by hundreds of videographers; and stated, "there is no event so plain and clear that a determined human being can't find ambiguity in it."
- Main article: 9/11 Truth movement
Many individuals and organizations that support or discuss 9/11 conspiracy theories consider themselves to be part of the 9/11 Truth movement.
Prominent adherents of the movement include, among others, theologian David Ray Griffin, physicist Steven E. Jones, software engineer Jim Hoffman, architect Richard Gage, film producer Dylan Avery, former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Cynthia McKinney , actors Daniel Sunjata , Ed Asner , and Charlie Sheen , political science professor Joseph Diaferia and journalist Thierry Meyssan. Adherents of the 9/11 truth movement come from diverse social backgrounds and hold diverse views on other political issues.
Among the organizations that actively discuss and promote such theories are Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, a group that focuses on the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings; 9/11 Truth, founded in 2004; Scholars for 9/11 Truth, founded in 2005, and Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice, a group that split from Scholars for 9/11 Truth in 2007 and runs the online publication Journal of 9/11 Studies; 9/11 Citizens Watch, which was already formed in 2002; and the Hispanic Victims Group. Several of these groups collects signatures for petitions asking for further investigation of the September 11 attacks.
While discussion and coverage of these theories is mainly confined to Internet pages, books, documentary films, and conversation, a number of mainstream news outlets around the world have covered the issue.
The Norwegian version of the July 2006 Le Monde diplomatique sparked interest when they ran, on their own initiative, a three page main story on the 9/11 attacks and summarized the various types of 9/11 conspiracy theories (which were not specifically endorsed by the newspaper, only recensed). The Voltaire Network, which has changed position since the September 11 attacks and whose director, Thierry Meyssan, became a leading proponent of 9/11 conspiracy theory, explained that although the Norwegian version of Le Monde diplomatique had allowed it to translate and publish this article on its website, the mother-house, in France, categorically refused it this right, thus displaying an open debate between various national editions. In December 2006, the French version published an article by Alexander Cockburn, co-editor of CounterPunch, which strongly criticized the alleged endorsement of conspiracy theories by the U.S. left-wing, alleging that it was a sign of "theoretical emptiness."
Also, on the Canadian website for CBC News: The Fifth Estate, a program titled, "Conspiracy Theories: uncovering the facts behind the myths of Sept. 11, 2001" was broadcast on October 29, 2003, stating that what they found may be more surprising than any theories. On November 27, 2009, The Fifth Estate aired a documentary entitled The Unofficial Story where several prominent members of the 9/11 Truth Movement made their case.
An article in the September 11, 2006 edition of Time magazine comments that the major 9/11 conspiracy theories “depend on circumstantial evidence, facts without analysis or documentation, quotes taken out of context and the scattered testimony of traumatized eyewitnesses”, and enjoy continued popularity because “the idea that there is a malevolent controlling force orchestrating global events is, in a perverse way, comforting”. It concludes that “conspiracy theories are part of the process by which Americans deal with traumatic public events” and constitute “an American form of national mourning.”
The Daily Telegraph published an article titled "The CIA couldn't have organised this..." which said "The same people who are making a mess of Iraq were never so clever or devious that they could stage a complex assault on two narrow towers of steel and glass" and "if there is a nefarious plot in all this bad planning, it is one improvised by a confederacy of dunces". This article mainly attacked a group of scientists led by Professor Steven E. Jones, now called Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice. They said "most of them aren't scientists but instructors... at second-rate colleges".
A major Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph, published an article in May 2007 that was highly critical of Loose Change 2, a movie which presents a 9/11 conspiracy theory.
Doug MacEachern in a May 2008 column for the Arizona Republic wrote that while many "9/11 truthers" are not crackpots that espouse "crackpot conspiracy theories", supporters of the theories fail to take into account both human nature and that nobody has come forward claiming they were participants in the alleged conspiracies. This view seconded by Timothy Giannuzzi, a Calgary Herald op-ed columnist specializing in foreign policy.
Charlie Brooker, a British multimedia personality, in a July 2008 column published by The Guardian as part of its "Comment is free" series agreed that 9/11 conspiracy theorists fail to take in account human fallacies and added that believing in these theories gives theorists a sense of belonging to a community that shares privileged information thus giving the theorists a delusional sense of power. The commentary generated over 1700 online responses, the largest in the history of the series. In a September 2009 piece, The Guardian were more supportive of 9/11 conspiracy theories however, asking, "when did it become uncool to ask questions? When did questioners become imbeciles?"
On September 12, 2008, Russian State Television broadcast in prime time a documentary made by Member of the European Parliament Giulietto Chiesa entitled Zero, sympathetic to those who question the mainstream account of the attacks according to Chiesa. According to Thierry Meyssan in conjunction with the documentary, Russian State Television aired a debate on the subject. The panel consisted of members from several countries including 12 Russians who hold divergent views. The motive of Russian State Television in broadcasting the documentary was questioned by a commentator from The Other Russia who noted that Russian State Television had a history of broadcasting programs involving conspiracy theories involving the United States government.
Nasir Mahmood in a commentary printed by the Pakistan Observer wrote favorably about a 9/11 truth lecture and film festival held in California and quoted a Jewish speaker at that festival who said that none of the 19 suspected hijackers had been proven guilty of anything and compared racism against Muslims resulting from what he called false accusations to the racism against Jews in the Nazi era.
On November 10, 2008, ITN broadcast a story summarizing various 9/11 conspiracy theories.
The emergence of the birther movement in 2009 has led to comparisons between that movement and the 9/11 Truth Movement, with both movements seen in a very negative light. Moon Landing conspiracy theories have also been compared to the birther and 9/11 conspiracy theories. James Borne, a journalist for The Times who covered the September 11 Attacks, described his assignment covering a 9/11 truth meeting "Perhaps the most intellectually scary assignment I have had in recent years".
On August 31, 2009, the National Geographic Channel aired the program 9/11 Science and Conspiracy, in which the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center tested some of the claims frequently made by those who question the official 9/11 account. Specifically, the experiments concluded that burning jet fuel alone can sufficiently raise the temperature of a steel support column to the point of structural failure, that a controlled demolition using conventional techniques would leave clear evidence that was not found at Ground Zero, that using thermite is not an effective technique to melt a steel column, and that even if thermite chemical signatures were found, it would be impossible to tell if thermite was actually used or if the traces came from the reaction of aircraft aluminum with other substances in the fire. The testing also concluded that the type of hole found at the Pentagon was consistent with the mainstream scenario, and that damage from a bombing or missile attack would differ from the damage that occurred. In the program, several prominent 9/11 conspiracy theorists viewed rough edits of the experiments, and expressed their disagreement with the findings.
The British left wing magazine New Statesman listed David Ray Griffin as the 41st most important person who matters today. The magazine said that Griffin's "books on the subject have lent a sheen of respectability that appeals to people at the highest levels of government". The publication listed 9/11 conspiracy thories as "one of the most pernicious global myths". Griffin's book The New Pearl Harbor Revisited was chosen by Publishers Weekly as a "Pick of the Week" in November 2008.
Denver public television KBDI-TV has aired 9/11 truth documentaries several times. The stations spokesperson claimed airing these documentaries has been a boon for the stations fund raising efforts.
Glenn Beck, television and radio host, said of the allegations: "There are limits to debasement of this country, aren't there? I mean, it's one thing to believe that our politicians are capable of being Bernie Madoff. It's another to think that they are willing to kill 3,000 Americans. Once you cross that line, you're in a whole new territory."
In March 2010 The Washington Post editorialized against Yukihisa Fujita, a prominent Japanese politician who has espoused 9/11 conspiracy theories. They described Fujita as "a man so susceptible to the imaginings of the lunatic fringe".
In popular culture
In June 2005 the popular German State Television murder mystery program Tatort ran an episode in which a woman who claims the 9/11 attacks were instigated by the Bush family for oil and power is targeted by FBI and CIA hitmen after her male roommate is found dead. The roommate was trained to be a 9/11 pilot but was left behind. The episode viewed by 7 million people ended when the detectives investigating the death believed her and she escapes to an unnamed Arab country.
In season 10 of the animated show South Park, the episode "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce" centers around 9/11 conspiracy theories. After Eric Cartman, a main character in the show, blames Kyle Broflovski of causing 9/11, Kyle and his friend Stan Marsh end up in the White House, where they are told that the government did in fact cause the 9/11 attacks. They escape, and eventually it is revealed that the government wants people to think that they caused 9/11, so that they think the government has more power than it does.
A Rescue Me episode featured a character played by actor Daniel Sunjata who is a 9/11 conspiracy theorist in real life, explaining to a French journalist that the 9/11 attacks were a “neoconservative government effort” to create a new Pearl Harbor to control oil and increase military spending. According to Denis Leary major plot lines in the first 10 episodes of the show's season 5 revolved around reinvestigation and conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 attacks.
Critics of these conspiracy theories say they are a form of conspiracism common throughout history after a traumatic event in which conspiracy theories emerge as a mythic form of explanation. A related criticism addresses the form of research on which the theories are based. Thomas W. Eagar, an engineering professor at MIT, suggested they "use the 'reverse scientific method'. They determine what happened, throw out all the data that doesn't fit their conclusion, and then hail their findings as the only possible conclusion." Eagar's criticisms also exemplify a common stance that the theories are best ignored. "I've told people that if the argument gets too mainstream, I'll engage in the debate." According to him, this happened when Steve Jones, a physics professor at Brigham Young University took up the issue.
Michael Shermer, writing in Scientific American, said: "The mistaken belief that a handful of unexplained anomalies can undermine a well-established theory lies at the heart of all conspiratorial thinking. All the evidence for a 9/11 conspiracy falls under the rubric of this fallacy. Such notions are easily refuted by noting that scientific theories are not built on single facts alone but on a convergence of evidence assembled from multiple lines of inquiry."
Scientific American, Popular Mechanics, and The Skeptic's Dictionary have published articles that rebut various 9/11 conspiracy theories. Popular Mechanics has published a book entitled Debunking 9/11 Myths that expands upon the research first presented in the article. In the foreword for the book Senator John McCain wrote that blaming the U.S. government for the events "mars the memories of all those lost on that day" and "exploits the public's anger and sadness. It shakes Americans' faith in their government at a time when that faith is already near an all-time low. It trafficks in ugly, unfounded accusations of extraordinary evil against fellow Americans." Der Spiegel dismissed 9/11 conspiracy theories as a "panoply of the absurd", stating "as diverse as these theories and their adherents may be, they share a basic thought pattern: great tragedies must have great reasons." David Ray Griffin has published a book entitled Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory, and Jim Hoffman has written an article called 'popular mechanics assault on 9/11 truth" where he attacks the methods Popular Mechanics uses in forming their arguments.
Journalist Matt Taibbi, in his book The Great Derangement, discusses 9/11 conspiracy theories as symptomatic of what he calls the "derangement" of American society; a disconnection from reality due to widespread "disgust with our political system". Drawing a parallel with the Charismatic movement, he argues that both "chose to battle bugbears that were completely idiotic, fanciful, and imaginary," instead of taking control of their own lives. While critical, Taibbi explains that 9/11 conspiracy theories are different from "Clinton-era black-helicopter paranoia", and constitute more than "a small, scattered group of nutcases [...] they really were, just as they claim to be, almost everyone you meet." Taibbi also argued that 9/11 conspiracy theorists form "completely and utterly retarded" narratives to explain the attacks because of "defiant unfamiliarity with the actual character of America's ruling class".
Historian Kenneth J. Dillon argues that 9/11 conspiracy theories represent an overly easy target for skeptics and that their criticisms obfuscate the underlying issue of what actually happened if there wasn't a conspiracy. He suggests that the answer is criminal negligence on the part of the president and vice president, who were repeatedly warned, followed by a cover-up conspiracy after 9/11. This was expanded upon by columnist Matt Mankelow writing for the Socialist Workers Online. He concludes that 9/11 truthers while "desperately trying to legitimately question a version of events" end up playing into the hands of the neoconservatives they are trying to take down by creating a diversion. Mankelow noted that this has irritated many people who are politically left wing.
David Aaronovitch, a columnist for The Times, in his book entitled Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History that was published in May 2009, claimed that the theories strain credulity. Aaronovitch also charged that 9/11 conspiracy theorists have exaggerated the expertise of those supporting their theories, and noted that 9/11 conspiracy theorists including David Ray Griffin cross cite each other.
In the political arena
Former Canadian Liberal Party leader Stéphane Dion forced a candidate from Winnipeg, Lesley Hughes, to terminate her campaign after earlier writings from Hughes surfaced in which Hughes wrote that U.S., German, Russian and Israeli intelligence officials knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance. Earlier, Peter Kent, Deputy Editor of Global Television Network News and Conservative Party candidate in the 2008 Canadian election, had called for Hughes's resignation saying that the 9/11 truth movement is "one of Canada’s most notorious hatemongering fringe movements" composed of "conspiracy theorists who are notorious for holding anti-Semitic views." On June 16, 2009, Hughes sued Kent, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the B'Nai Brith of Canada and four senior members of the two organizations alleging the anti-Semitic allegations were untrue and defamatory and ruined her career. Later another Conservative Party candidate called for the leader of the New Democratic Party to fire a candidate for her pro 9/11 truth views.
In 2008 calls for the resignation of Richard Falk, the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories for the United Nations, were partially based on his support investigating the validity of 9/11 conspiracy theories.
In February 2009, Template:Ill, a professor of geopolitics at CID military college in Paris, was fired by French Defence Minister Herve Morin for writing a book entitled Chronicle of the Clash of Civilizations that espoused 9/11 conspiracy theories.
In September 2009 Van Jones, an adviser to US President Barack Obama, resigned after his signature on a 2004 petition calling for an investigation into whether government officials deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur and other controversial statements came to light drawing criticism. Van Jones said he was a victim of a smear campaign, adding that he does not currently, nor ever has agreed with that theory.
9/11 conspiracy theorist critic David Aaronovitch claims the popularity of 9/11 conspiracy theories has hurt the War on Terror. According to Aaronovitch, because a significant portion of educated Pakistanis believe that George W. Bush brought the towers down, dealing with the Taliban is difficult “because they actually don't believe the fundamental premise on which the war against terror was waged”.
The 9/11 truth movement became an issue in the 2010 Texas Gubernatorial Republican primary when candidate Debra Medina replied when asked by Glenn Beck about US government involvement in the 9/11 attacks: "I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard, There are some very good arguments, and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there, so I have not taken a position on that." After being criticized for the remarks by opposing candidates, Medina stated that she has never been a 9/11 truth movement member and believes the twin towers were attacked by Muslim terrorists.
Anti-Semitism in conspiracy theories
In 2003, pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League (ADL) published a report attacking "hateful conspiracy theories" that the 9/11 attacks were carried about by Israelis and Jews which had the potential to "rationalize and fuel global anti-Semitism." It found that such theories were widely accepted in the Arab and Muslim world, as well as in Europe and the United States.
The League's report found that "The Big Lie has united American far-right extremists and white supremacists and elements within the Arab and Muslim world". It asserted that many of the theories were modern manifestation of the 19th century Protocols of the Elders of Zion which purported to map out a Jewish conspiracy for world domination. The ADL has characterized the Jeff Rense website as carrying anti-semitic materials such as that "American Jews staged the 9/11 terrorist attacks for their own financial gain and to induce the American people to endorse wars of aggression and genocide on the nations of the Middle East and the theft of their resources for the benefit of Israel"
- Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy theories
- Controversies about the 2004 Madrid train bombings
- Rumours and conspiracy theories about the July 2005 London bombings
- "Hypotheses: Principal Alternative Theories of the Attack". Retrieved August 28, 2009.
- Thomas Hargrove (August 1, 2006). "Third of Americans suspect 9-11 government conspiracy". ScrippsNews.
- "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?". www.physics911.net. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
- "Retrieved February 27, 2008". Ae911truth.org. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
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- Griffin, David Ray, Ph.D. (December 4, 2005). "Flights 11, 175, 77, and 93: The 9/11 Commission's Incredible Tales". 911Truth.org. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
- "The Military Drills on 9-11: "Bizarre Coincidence" or Something Else?". Retrieved August 28, 2009.
- Knight, Peter (2008). "Outrageous Conspiracy Theories: Popular and Official Responses to 9/11 in Germany and the United States". New German Critique 35 (1). Retrieved June 9, 2009.
- "NIST NCSTAR 1: Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster". NIST. September 2005. pp. 146. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
- "Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7" (PDF). NIST. August 2008. pp. 22–4. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
- Bazant, Zdenek P. and Mathieu Verdure. "Mechanics of Progressive Collapse: Learning from World Trade Center and Building Demolitions" in Journal of Engineering Mechanics ASCE, Volume 133, Issue 3, pp. 308–319 (March 2007). Bazant and Verdure write, "As generally accepted by the community of specialists in structural mechanics and structural engineering (though not by a few outsiders claiming a conspiracy with planted explosives), the failure scenario was as follows...." (continues with a four-part scenario of progressive structural failure).
- "NIST's Investigation of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center Disaster". NIST. August, 2006. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
- Feuer, Alan (June 5, 2006). "500 Conspiracy Buffs Meet to Seek the Truth of 9/11". New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
- Griffin, David Ray (2007). Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory. Olive Branch Press. ISBN 156656686X.
- The following news media state that the movement is being known as or being called "9/11 Truth movement":
- Hayes, Christopher (December 10, 2006). "The 9/11 Truth Movement's Dangers". CBS News. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Barber, Peter (June 7, 2008). "The truth is out there". Financial Times. Retrieved May 23, 2009. "An army of sceptics, collectively described as the 9/11 Truth movement"
- Powell, Michael (September 8, 2006). "The Disbelievers". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 13, 2010. "The loose agglomeration known as the ‘9/11 Truth Movement’"
- Barry, Ellen (September 10, 2006). "9/11 Conspiracy Theorists Gather in N.Y.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 30, 2009. "a group known as the 9/11 Truth Movement"
- Hunt, H.E. (November 19, 2008). "The 30 greatest conspiracy theories — part 1". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved May 30, 2009. "A large group of people — collectively called the 9/11 Truth Movement"
- Kay, Jonathan (April 25, 2009). "Richard Gage: 9/11 truther extraordinaire". National Post. Retrieved May 30, 2009. "The ‘9/11 Truth Movement,’ as it is now commonly called"
- Knight, Peter (2008). "Outrageous Conspiracy Theories: Popular and Official Responses to 9/11 in Germany and the United States". New German Critique 35 (1): 168–169. Retrieved June 9, 2009. "Although immensely popular in Europe (and soon translated into Arabic), these early conspiracy accounts were treated by the U.S. media with either bafflement or amusement and were dismissed by the U.S. government as the product of anti-Americanism.".
- Johnson, Ian (September 29, 2003). "Conspiracy Theories about Sept. 11 Get Hearing in Germany". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
- Bush, George Walker (November 10, 2001). "Remarks by the President To United Nations General Assembly". White House.
- "National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions". NIST.
- "The Top September 11 Conspiracy Theories". Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. September 16, 2006. Archived from the original on March 29, 2008.
- "Strategy for Winning the War on Terror". White House. September 2006.
- USA Today
- Breaking News | Latest News | Current News – FOXNews.com
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Wolf, Jim (September 2, 2006). "U.S rebuts 9/11 homegrown conspiracy theories". Reuters.
- Grossman, Lev (September 3, 2006). "Why The 9/11 Conspiracies Won't Go Away". Time Magazine.
- "Zogby International". Zogby.com. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
- "X-911T.spo" (PDF). Retrieved July 20, 2009.
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- Schmitt, Richard (June 23, 2004). "The 9/11 Commission Report; Panel Calls for Single Intelligence Chief". Los Angeles Times.
- "World Trade Center Building Performance Study".
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- "Behind Purdue’s computing simulation on the 2001 World Trade Center attack ZDNET June 20, 2007". Blogs.zdnet.com. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
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- Sales, Nancy Jo. Click Here For Conspiracy, Vanity Fair July 9, 2006
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- What Is Your "hop" Level? – Ten Scenarios Of What May Have Happened On September 11, 2001, Summeroftruth.org
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- ""9/11 Cover-up Two-Page Summary" WantToKnow.info".
- ""The Coverup", 911review.com".
- ""9/11 Commission: The official coverup guide", 911truth.org".
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- U.S. urged to detail origin of tape Guardian December 15, 2001.
- "Osama-Berlusconi? «Trappola giornalistica»". Corriere della sera. November 30, 2007. Retrieved June 15, 2009. "tutti gli ambienti democratici d'America e d'Europa, con in prima linea quelli del centrosinistra italiano, sanno ormai bene che il disastroso attentato è stato pianificato e realizzato dalla Cia americana e dal Mossad"
- "Fareed Zakaria GPS Mexican Crisis; India Terror Attacks CNN Transscript December 7, 2008". Transcripts.cnn.com. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
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- Michael Powell (September 8, 2006). "WP: 9/11 conspiracy theories". MSNBC. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
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- "Phoenix News — The Yoda of 9/11 – page 5". Phoenixnewtimes.com. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
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- Philippe Naughton (June 27, 2008). "Reptilians beware – David Icke is back!". London: The Times. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- WARNING: Drug Cartel behind spread of HINI Virus Bohol Evening Standatd September 27, 2009
- Narain, Jaya (September 6, 2006). "Fury as academics claim 9/11 was 'inside job'". Daily Mail. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
- 911 reasons why 9/11 was (probably) an inside job, Russia Today. September 9, 2009.
- Rebuilding America's Defences, p51. September, 2000.
- Amy Goodman, "The New Pearl Harbor: A Debate On A New Book That Alleges The Bush Administration Was Behind The 9/11 Attacks", Democracy Now!, May 26, 2004, accessed September 13, 2009. (Interviews with guests David Ray Griffin, author of The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 and professor of Philosophy of Religion and Theology at the Claremont School of Theology, in Claremont, California; and Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst at Senior Research Associates, in Summerville, Massachusetts.
- Andrew J. Bacevich (44). American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Taibbi, Matt (2008). The Great Derangement. New York: Spiegel & Grau. pp. 9–12, 148–166. ISBN 9780385520348.
- Connolly, Kate (November 20, 2003). "Telegraph, Nov 20, 2003". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
- If US Could Create 'Avatar', It Could Fake 9/11 Attacks: Mahathir Jakarta Times January 21, 2010
- "Operation Northwoods". 911 Review.com. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
- "Northwoods to 9/11: Was 9/11 the resurfacing of Operation Northwoods?". Headblast. April 29, 2004.
- Arshad Zaman (May 27, 2010). "On conspiracy theories". The Express Tribune.
- "Pentagon Proposed Pretexts for Cuba Invasion in 1962". The National Security Archive. April 30, 2001.
- Roff, Peter (September 9, 2009). "Charlie Sheen Joins the 'Truther' 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Fringe". Retrieved September 19, 2009.
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- Manjoo, Farhad (June 27, 2006). "The 9/11 deniers". Salon.
- "Conspiracy theories: The Speculation". CBC. October 29, 2003. Archived from the original on November 1, 2003. Retrieved June 2, 2009.
- 11.September – en innsidejobb?, Norwegian edition of Le Monde diplomatique, July 2006. See also English translation: Kim Bredesen, Was 9/11 an inside job?
- * French Pour le Monde diplomatique norvégien, le 11 septembre est un complot intérieur US, Voltaire Network * Template:Es icon El 11 de septiembre fue un complot interno estadounidense, estima la prensa noruega.
- *(English) Distractions from awful reality – US: the conspiracy that wasn’t, by Alexander Cockburn in Le Monde diplomatique, December 2006 *FrenchScepticisme ou occultisme? Le complot du 11-Septembre n’aura pas lieu, by Alexander Cockburn in Le Monde diplomatique, December 2006 *Template:Fa icon Iranian translation *Template:Pt icon PODERES IMAGINÁRIOS – A "conspiração" das Torres Gêmeas
- Debunking the Myths of 9/11, by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, CounterPunch, November 28, 2006.
- CBC News: the fifth estate: Conspiracy Theories at www.cbc.ca
- Was 9/11 a conspiracy? ‘Truthers' make their case Toronto Globe and Mail November 26, 2009
- CBC Website The Unofficial Story Webpage.
- Grossman, Lev. (2006) Time.com – Why The 9/11 Conspiracies Won't Go Away.
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- Conspiracy theorists seek order in a terrifying world Irish Times August 8, 2009.
- 9/11 Science and Conspiracy Theory Website.
- National Geographic Channel 9/11 Science and Conspiracy.
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- South Park Studios.
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- Barkun, 2003
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- Griffin, David Ray (2007). Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory. Olive Branch Press. ISBN 978-1566566865.
- "911 research".
- "Anomalous Mistake-driven Opportunity Creation".
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- A Conspiracy-Theory Theory by David Aaronovitch for The Wall Street Journal December 19, 2009
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- Perry, KBH blast Medina MSNBC February 11, 2010
- Debra Medina self-destructs on Glenn Beck radio show Cristian Science Monitor February 11, 2010
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- Rense Web Site Promotes Anti-Semitic Views March 17, 2009
- Begin, Jeremy (2007). Fighting for G.O.D. (Gold, Oil, and Drugs). Trine Day Press. ISBN 978-0-9777953-3-8.
- Barkun, Michael (2003). A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23805-2.
- Broeckers, Mathias (2006). Conspiracies, Conspiracy Theories, and the Secrets of 9/11. Progressive Press. ISBN 0930852230.
- Divided We Stand: A Biography of New York's World Trade Center.
- Editors of Der Spiegel (2002). Inside 9-11: What Really Happened. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-30621-0.
- Editors of Popular Mechanics (2006). Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts. New York: Hearst Books. ISBN 1-58816-635-X.
- Forward to Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts by Senator John McCain
- Fetzer, James H. (2007). 9/11 Conspiracy. Open Court Publishing Company, U.S.. p. 342. ISBN 0812696123.
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United States government sources
- 9/11 Commission Report
- FEMA World Trade Center Building Performance Study
- NIST and the World Trade Center
- U.S. Department of State Article: The Top September 11 Conspiracy Theories, September 19, 2006
- Banovic, S.W., et al. "The Role of Metallurgy in the NIST Investigation of the World Trade Center Towers Collapse".
- Eagar, Thomas. "Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and Speculation".
- Popular Mechanics: Debunking the 9/11 Myths.
Proponents of 9/11 conspiracy theories
- Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth
- Journal of 9/11 Studies
- Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice
- Patriots Questions 9/11
- David Ray Griffin – 911 and the American Empire (2005) at Google Videos
Debunkers of 9/11 conspiracy theories
- Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy theories and Controlled Demolition Myths
- Journal of Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy Theories
- Debunk 9/11 Myths, a Guide to 9/11 Facts, Myths, and Theories