It was a global cry on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, when two hijacked passenger airliners crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan. In less than two hours, the 110-story towers collapsed with the people in them killing over 2,000 people while two other planes crashed into the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania respectively.
Orchestrated by terrorists, the United States and the world at large were drenched in grief and will never forget that eventful day.
Just hours after the attacks, the first 9/11 conspiracy theories appeared on the internet. And now, with the rise of social media, 9/11 conspiracy theories seem not to be going away anytime soon despite expert groups debunking them. Here’s a look at some 9/11 conspiracy theories that people still believe:
The Twin Towers were brought down by explosives
Some hours after the attacks 20 years ago, a theory surfaced on the internet – that the North and South Towers were brought down by explosives and not planes due to the way the towers fell. Theorists claim witnesses said they heard explosions before the Towers collapsed. But an official report cited by the BBC says the crashed planes “considerably damaged support columns of both the towers and dislodged fire-proofing. Additionally, the fires reached up to 1,000C in some areas, causing the steel beams to warp and the eventual collapse of the buildings.”
In other words, the Towers fell due to structural damage that was caused by the planes and resulting fires, according to the official report. 7 World Trade Center would become the first tower of its kind to collapse because of a fire.
Conspiracy theorists claim that the U.S. government knew about the attacks or even staged them to justify an invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan to secure oil interests. But experts have argued that Afghanistan and Iran were already “legitimate targets for intervention under international law” before September 11. Iraq was at the time in violation of several UN resolutions while Afghanistan was already exporting 90 percent of the world’s heroin.
A missile, not American Airlines Flight 77, hit the Pentagon
Theorists believe that the Pentagon was not hit by Flight 77, but by a missile as part of a plot by the government. They add that the hole left in the building was too small to have been caused by a passenger plane. However, the size and shape of the hole were due to “one wing of the Boeing 757 hitting the ground and the other being severed on impact with the building,” according to a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
United Airlines Flight 93 was shot down by the military
According to official reports, the passengers onboard Flight 93 tried to take back the plane from the hijackers. The struggle that occurred after caused the aircraft to crash into an open field in Pennsylvania. Theorists maintain that the plane was shot down by a white business jet flying into a nearby airport. However, aviation officials said it had asked the jet to inspect the area. It did and “saw a hole in the ground with smoke coming out of it,” a report by Popular Mechanics said.
A Jewish plot
Recent pollsters showed that in the Islamic World, 19 percent of Palestinians, 31 percent of Jordanians, and 43 percent of Egyptians think Israel is behind the attacks. Theorists claim Israel staged the attacks to provoke the U.S. into attacking its regional enemies. There are even false claims that no Jewish people were killed in the attacks as 4,000 Jewish employees at the World Trade Center got advance notice not to show up to work that day.
However, of the 2,071 victims of the September 11 attacks who worked at the World Trade Center, 119 were confirmed to be Jewish and at least a further 72 were believed to be Jewish, research by BBC said, adding that would constitute 9.2% of the victims. Other reports show that about 400 Jewish people might have been killed in the attacks that day.
A cover for robbery
Theorists claim that the commodities exchange inside the World Trade Center stored $950 million in vaults underneath the building. Following the attack, only $230 million was found. Theorists believe that the attacks were staged to allow thieves to steal $720 million and leave the rest. Meanwhile, there is a probability that there was no gold there in the first place, or that the gold was destroyed in the collapse and fire. Expert groups also wonder why the thieves would stage an additional two hijackings for the alleged gold.