Debunking the Truthers’ conspiracy theories

For the past decade “9/11 Truthers” have claimed the tragedy was part of a bigger conspiracy. Does the evidence stack up?

The twin towers were destroyed by controlled explosion.
Truthers say video footage of the buildings falling points to demolition because of the way the towers bend before collapsing. Also, there appear to be explosions as the windows blow out, floor by floor, from the top downwards.

One American ­academic claims to have tested samples from the wrecked towers that show the presence of chemical residue, suggesting explosives. But in controlled explosion, demolition experts collapse a building from the bottom, not the top. Experts say the windows were blown out as each floor collapsed on the one below, sending debris and office equipment flying out. It would also have taken considerable work, which would have been noticed, to plant sufficient explosives the length of the buildings to bring them down.

The Pentagon was hit by a missile, not a plane.
Truthers argue that the major damage to the building comprised a roundish blast hole, not the more extended destruction that would be caused by aeroplane wings. They claim parts of a scrapped plane, including the tail, were moved to the Pentagon as part of the fabrication.

This theory ignores the evidence of the bodies of passengers and crew at the site that were photographed. Thousands of people saw the plane circle then fly into the Pentagon. Some quickly photographed the scene. Anyone planting plane debris afterwards would surely have been seen.

World Trade Centre building seven, next to the twin towers, must have been destroyed by controlled demolition because it was not hit by a plane.
The theory is partly based on a remark by the building’s owner, who said firefighters inside should be brought out immediately because he feared it was about to collapse. He said “Pull it” — a remark interpreted as slang for demolition. The collapse was caused by intense fires in one of the neighbouring twin towers that spread to building seven, causing its steel beams to buckle and collapse.

The hijacked planes were packed with explosives and flown by remote control.
Some believe the passengers were killed elsewhere and their bodies dumped at sea, or they were part of the conspiracy and are now in hiding. Evidence claimed for this is that the cellphone calls by victims to loved ones from the doomed planes were not possible because of the altitude and were faked using “voice morphing technology”. However, phone records show the calls were made from satellite phones fitted to the back of the aircraft seats.

Israel was behind the attacks because it wanted to draw the United States into conflict with Arab nations.
This theory is backed by the claim that 4 000 Jews who supposedly worked at the World Trade Centre failed to report for work on September 11 because they had been forewarned by Mossad. However, the figure appears to be based on a statement by the Israeli foreign minister that about 4 000 Israelis were in the cities under attack at the time. More than 10% of those who died on 9/11 were Jewish.

Insider trading in the stocks of the two airlines whose planes were hijacked, United and American, suggests people knew the attacks were coming.
The trading has been tracked to other causes. —

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Chris Mcgreal
Guest Author

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

South African mines are getting safer, experts say, even though...

There has been a 14% decrease in deaths at mines this year compared to last year

Here comes the opera: Joburg Theatre presents Don Giovanni as...

Top international cast members to perform Mozart’s Don Giovanni with music by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra

Legal options running out for Julian Assange

Tug of war over the extradition of WikiLeaks founder to the US enters final stages, with London’s high court set to make a final decision in September

DRC: To restore security, address impunity for rights violations in...

Diplomatic and military action alone will not solve the problem of violence against civilians

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…