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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid