22 years after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, countless conspiracy theories remain standing and are still being fueled, circulated by every political current, exploited and widely relaunched by social networks. In common they have the claim to tell the “hidden face” of people attacks on the Twin Towers, deliberately kept silent by official sources. Moreover, the first ‘alternative’ narratives were spread on the internet just a few hours after the double attack in the heart of Manhattan: an American computer engineer had sent a message via e-mail to an Internet forum wondering if the skyscrapers had been demolished by a controlled detonation. Over the last two decades these conspiracy theories have multiplied, along with the boom in social media, to reach up to 8 million links when you search on Google in relation to 9/11.
Their proliferation has not been affected by the official and total denial by the 9/11 Commission, US government agencies and expert groups. In defiance of hundreds of reports and studies, the 9/11 Truth movement and activist groups in the US and around the world have continued to claim that the true facts have been hidden. And today, 20 years later, the same members of these groups hold the same theories regarding the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines.
Attack organized by the US state or global elite
Among the most active online conspiracy movements, such as QAnon, one of the most widespread theories claims that the real responsible for the attacks is the US state body, the so-called “deep state”. It would therefore have been the US government – at the time led by President George W. Bush – that had organized and orchestrated the attacks, or, in a softer version, had been informed of them in advance and did nothing to prevent them. The theory of direct state involvement has grown over the years through various online platforms. The idea of the responsibility of global elites has also spread widely, at the origin of a specific plan to reduce civil liberties in response to the attacks and therefore facilitate the establishment of an authoritarian government on a global scale.
Towers destroyed by an explosion
“Jet fuel cannot melt steel beams”: this widely circulated online proclamation fuels the theory that the Twin Towers were demolished by explosives. Another proof of this controlled demolition is the “vertical” collapse of the World Trade Center. Furthermore, the fact that the collapse was announced during a live BBC News broadcast – by its correspondent Jane Stanley – while the tower was still standing behind her, has been cited by conspiracy theorists as evidence that the mainstream media were part of of this internal conspiracy. In addition to the BBC, the same accusation was made against the Reuters agency, which erroneously reported the collapse of the building, and CNN itself. Report images that did not coincide with the narrative of what was happening in real time went viral and continued to circulate on each anniversary of 9/11, despite denials and changes made by those media. Even the various official reports which showed how the crashed planes significantly damaged the support columns of both towers and removed the fire protection were not enough to undermine this theory. Furthermore, the intense and uncontrolled fires, which lasted for at least 7 hours, reached temperatures of 1,000 C in some areas, causing the deformation of steel beams and the subsequent collapse of buildings. 7 World Trade Center – home to the offices of the CIA and the Department of Defense – was the first tower of its kind to collapse due to fire. In 2017, Plasco in Tehran was the second.
A missile, not a plane, over the Pentagon
Again as part of a government conspiracy theory, some conspiracy theorists claim that the Pentagon was hit by US missiles and that the hole left in the building was too small to have been caused by a passenger plane, a Boeing 757, as claimed from the official version.
Subsequently, experts instead found that the size of the hole corresponded to a wing of the Boeing 757. Other theories argued that United Airlines Flight 93 would have been shot down by a business jet flying over a nearby airport, while in official version crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers attempted to regain control of it from the hijackers.
Jews saved because they were warned beforehand
According to another theory, there were no Jews among the victims of the attacks because the 4,000 Jewish workers on duty in the World Trade Center were warned in advance not to go to the office. Based on this claim, it is alleged that the Israeli government orchestrated the attacks to spur the United States to attack the Jewish state’s regional enemies. In other versions, the responsibility for the attacks lies with the powerful Jewish elites who control world events from the shadows. But of the 2,071 victims at the World Trade Center, 119 were confirmed to be Jewish and 72 others were presumed Jewish. According to a BBC documentary, Conspiracy Files, Jews accounted for 9.2% of the victims, in line with the percentage of 9.7% among residents of New York. That day, according to various estimates, up to 400 Jews lost their lives in total. Various conspiracy theories have also made accusations of direct involvement by other states, including Iraq and Iran, in the September 11 attacks, but so far evidence of their direct responsibility has never been found.