The destruction of the World Trade Centre on 11 Sep 2001 was one of the most dramatic turning points in modern history. Al Qaeda crashed a plane into each tower, as well as into the Pentagon, whilst a fourth crashed before reaching its target. But in the world of conspiracy theory, nothing is as simple as that.
In June 2004, an official inquiry into the incident narrated a catalogue of errors by the US authorities that convinced many conspiriologists that, if the government hadn’t carried out the attack itself, it had certainly been a party to it.
Typical was the well rehearsed scenario for scrambling fighters to react to hi-jacked aircraft. Many exercises in the year up to the attack had proved remarkably efficient, but on the day, no fighter got close.
Even more disturbing was the rumour that President Bush talked about watching the first plane go into the towers on a monitor. The only footage known to exist was captured by a French film crew, and it wasn’t shown until well after the event.
Another source of conspiracy is the damage done to the Pentagon. It is simply not enough. For an airliner with a wingspan of over a hundred feet to plough into the building, the gap of destruction should have been far wider. But if a missile had been used instead?
Of course, simple answers DO exist. Military incompetence and lack of leadership answers the failure of the fighters. Such an iconic building as the World Trade Centre - which had already been attacked by Al Qaeda - was bound to be under constant surveillance by the security services (including video cameras). And when the front of a plane smacks into a large building, the immediate explosion could well have collapsed the wings.
But never mind. Conspiracy theory will have it different. 9/11 will continue to provide more and more information for conspiriologists to ponder, and there will be even more astonishing theories to come. And let’s face it, wouldn’t the world be dull without insanity to remind us that WE, at least, are sane?
(c) Anthony North, Jan 2007