9/11 conspiracy theories
9/11 conspiracy theories are claims that the September 11, 2001 attacks did not happen in the way they are traditionally thought to have happened. Most theories state that, in one way or another, the United States government attacked its own country, or knew about the attack ahead of time and decided to let it happen.
The evidence provided by the conspiracy theorists, also known as Truthers or "9/11 truthers" has been widely debunked by many famous researchers and even some 9/11 sympathizers. Some information about specific theories is provided here.
Most people reject these crazy theories. Liberal socialist activist Noam Chomsky denies that the government knew about the attacks although he did criticize them for not acting on the intelligence they had.
7 World Trade Center (WTC7)
There are claims that WTC7 was brought down by controlled demolition on 9/11. Supporters of this theory show photographs of the building from a misleading angle (it omits the smoke pouring out of the building due to fires inside). Many more photos exist that show massive fires burned throughout the building.
Some quote an owner of WTC7 (Larry Silverstein) as saying they demolished the building. These people say that when he said in an interview that they decided to "pull" the building, he meant demolish. However, in this instance, "pull" does not mean demolish; it means to pull-out. (In any case, the signal for controlled demolition is not "pull it", but "fire in the hole".)
The BBC TV coverage is often cited for WTC7-related conspiracy theories, as it reports WTC7's collapse before it actually happened. WTTG (Washington DC's Fox affiliate) also makes this mistake. Coverage from CNN used the phrase "may collapse".
The BBC's official explanation was that the fire authorities expected the collapse, and claims the press was informed of this, which would support the CNN account.
Black smoke was seen coming out of WTC7 and other places on 9/11. A common conspiracy theory says that black smoke means that a fire is starved of oxygen, and therefore can easily be put out. It is said that the firefighters did not attempt to put out the fire, in this case. In the past, this might have been true, but petroleum burns very hot and is difficult to put out, and yet it also gives off black smoke. There was a large amount of diesel fuel in Building 7, which was used for running backup diesel generators in case of a power outage. Also, all three buildings contained large amounts of plastics, which can also burn very hot and be difficult to put out, yet give off dark-colored (and highly toxic) smoke.
Past statements by prominent Bush Administration figures
Many cite quotes from a document called "Rebuilding America's Defenses", released by the Project for the New American Century, a think tank featuring many prominent Bush Administration figures.
The document, written in September 2000, was a reaction to then-President Bill Clinton's post-Cold-War military funding cuts. As many neoconservative figures were participants in the study, including Bill Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz, the proposals and strategy outlined in the document became a part of the neoconservative ideology of George W. Bush.
Many of the proposals outlined in the document, including a strong national defense, American leadership in the world (referred to as "Pax Americana"), space exploration, missile defense, and surveillance, were major features of the Bush Administration's policies.
Conspiracy theorists cite portions of this document in their arguments, most notably the following quote on Page 51:
"Further, the process of [strengthening the military], even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."
9/11 conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism
Conspiracy theories regarding the 9/11 attacks are often used within an anti-Semitic context. Some people have always complained about the influence, to varying degrees, of AIPAC and similar pro-Israel lobbying groups within the US government and American foreign policy. Many of these people consider that 9/11 was allowed to happen in order to benefit Israel, and/or the Jewish people, by means of the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some have even gone as far as to say that the Israeli government commissioned the attacks rather than al-Qaeda.