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

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora