September 15, 2003


9/11? It Never Happened: Across Europe, conspiracy theories are all the rage. Germany is the latest to be swept up by the craze (Stefan Theil, 9/22/03, NEWSWEEK)

To get a sense of how deep mistrust of the United States runs in Germany, take a look at the bookshelves. Two years after September 11, German bookstores are flooded with such works as “The CIA and September 11,” in which a former government minister of Research and Technology, Andreas von Bulow, insinuates that the U.S. and Israeli intelligence services blew up the World Trade Center from the inside. The two Boeings, he claims, were flown in by remote control as a cover-up. The whole thing was a cynical plot by America’s neoconservatives to take over the world.

PUBLISHED LAST MONTH by the otherwise reputable Piper Verlag, the minister’s book has already jumped to number three on the nonfiction best-seller list. The only books more popular are two works by Michael Moore, an American left-wing documentarian who has, over the past year, become celebrated for his eloquent rants against the Bush administration, accusing it of using 9/11 as an excuse to curtail civil liberties while pursuing its own corporate interests. Recently, more crackpot 9/11 theorists have gotten a kind of official blessing. In June, German government-run WDR television broadcast a “documentary” claiming that no airplane ever crashed in Pennsylvania.

You would expect this sort of thing in some quarters of the world, where hatred of the West is so common and intense that theories of America (and Israel) as a wellspring of sinister forces easily flourish.

If the lesson of the story were any more obvious it would bite Mr. Theil on the nose--Europe is just another one of the quarters of the world where hatred of the West and its values is common and intense.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 15, 2003 8:09 PM

For a while some years ago, I looked into some conspiracy theories to see how convincing and internally consistent they were. Short answer: not very. For example, if there was a large secret cabal throughout the government that could arrange to kill JFK and cover their tracks, why not just have someone slip something into his coffee? JFK dies of 'heart attack', you 'fix' the autopsy, and no one is the wiser. Answer from JFK conspiracy buff: 'They wanted to send a message.' The secret cabal needed to send a message by killing JFK in public and enlisting/framing Oswald? 'Yes.' Oooookaaaay....

The 9/11 conspiracy theories are even more feeble. Occam's Razor and simple logic deflates them all. If the WTC was blown up from the inside, why bother with the huge, tricky-to-make-work 'cover' of the hijackings? Just blow it up and blame it on the terrorists: it's easier, there's less to go wrong, and achieves your ends just as well. And why make another airliner disappear so you can shoot a missile at the Pentagon and blame it on the airliner? Why not just shoot the missile? These theories make no sense, and say more about the mindset of believers than about external reality.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 15, 2003 9:06 PM

Yeah, but you have to admit that Eric and Julia Roberts are the same person.

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2003 9:15 PM

Come to think of it, i've never seen Orrin Judd in the same room with either of them.

Posted by: some random person at September 15, 2003 9:29 PM

Kind of like that rumour that Bin Laden family and other Saudis were whisked away with nary an interview while most commercial flights were grounded. Ha! Such bunk!

Posted by: Jimmy at September 15, 2003 10:21 PM

Well, actually, Jimmy, it is bunk and has been debunked.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 15, 2003 10:35 PM

I always knew that Europeans were kind of messed up, but they are so out in left field that they almost make the Arabs seem a bit more normal. Wow.

Posted by: andy at September 16, 2003 12:43 AM

I bet there were some nasty anti-Roman tracts and conspiracy theorizing in barbarian Germany -- or, better yet, in the formerly great Greek lands -- back in the second century.

Posted by: Paul Cella at September 16, 2003 9:19 AM

Munich, 1972; Lockerbie; 1988;(Frankfurt), Sept
11, (Hamburg)All three were terrorist outrages
that occurred largely due to the German refusal
to screen out terrorist elements. Yet they traffick in the most repellent conspiracism;
blaming the US, for their part of the misfortune

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