News / USA

9/11 Conspiracy Theories Still Persist 10 Years Later

United Airlines Flight 175 collides into the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York as smoke billows from the north tower on September 11, 2001.
United Airlines Flight 175 collides into the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York as smoke billows from the north tower on September 11, 2001.
Sean Maroney

In the decade since television cameras caught hijacked airliners crashing into buildings in New York and outside Washington, conspiracy theories about who was behind the terror attacks have persisted around the world. And some of these theories question whether the al-Qaida terror network had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks. People’s attitudes about the United States often influence their beliefs about 9/11 more than the facts themselves.

Al-Qaida's role

The United States and most governments around the world have long blamed al-Qaida for the events of September 11, 2001.  The late al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Laden, even admitted responsibility for the attacks.

But during the past decade, some people have argued against this explanation.  In fact, if you begin typing "9/11" into an Internet search engine, one of the top five choices that pops up is "9/11 conspiracy."  And some of the more bizarre conspiracies go so far as to accuse the United States of attacking itself, or speculate that Israel carried out the attacks in a plot to discredit Muslims.

International opinion

(Click on the photo to see the full survey)
(Click on the photo to see the full survey)

In 2008, researchers with the Program on International Policy Attitudes spoke with people in 21 countries around the world, asking them who they thought was behind the 9/11 attacks.

PIPA director Stephen Kull says the survey results were surprising.

“About half of them had a majority that said something like al-Qaida," Kull said. "And even among countries like our NATO allies, the majorities were not very large, in no cases more than two-thirds. So what we have here really is a lack of consensus around the world.”

Attitude factor

Kull says researchers then correlated the survey results with the peoples’ attitudes toward the United States. Those with a more negative attitude were less inclined to believe that al-Qaida carried out the attacks.

Graeme Bannerman, formerly of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says he believes the study’s findings would have been different immediately after 9/11.

“I think the rest of the world supported us at first. I think everybody was American.  Everybody sided with us," Bannerman said. "People who normally were not our best friends were saying, ‘We’re with you. We understand what you’ve been through.’”

But he says the United States lost much of this goodwill when it went to war with Iraq, a country most believe was not involved in the September 11 attacks.

Muslim opinion

9/11 Conspiracy Theories Still Persist 10 Years Later
9/11 Conspiracy Theories Still Persist 10 Years Later


After the U.S.-Iraq war, negative attitudes toward the United States increased sharply in Muslim countries.  In 2008, a majority of people polled in the Middle East said either that al-Qaida was not responsible for 9/11, or that they did not know who was.

A Pew Research Center survey this year found that a majority of Muslims polled still do not believe Arabs were responsible.

Ishtiaq Ahmad a Pakistani expert in international relations, says negative attitudes toward America in the Muslim world are not only caused by U.S. foreign policies.  

Ahmad says ruling elites, especially in Pakistan, encourage those negative attitudes by playing down U.S. assistance and blaming America and the West for their own domestic failures.

“Basically, there is public anger against the rulers and they find ways and means to shift this anger to other great powers such as the United States. The same has been the case in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in the Gulf, in Pakistan. And therefore this conspiracy mindset, even some 10 years after the events of 9/11 one notices has not gone away, rather in some aspects it has aggravated,” he explained.

But Ahmad says it may be possible to improve the situation. He says a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and lower profile in other Muslim regions, combined with increased trade and assistance, could begin changing attitudes toward Washington - and possibly put some of the more bizarre 9/11 conspiracy theories to rest.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid