9/11 conspiracy theories:Main theories

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This article is a subsection of 9/11 conspiracy theories

Foreknowledge Edit

Main article: 9/11 advance-knowledge debate

It has been claimed that action or inaction by U.S. officials with foreknowledge was intended to ensure that the attacks took place successfully. For example, Michael Meacher, former British environment minister and member of Tony Blair's Cabinet until June 2003 claims that the United States knowingly failed to prevent the attacks.[1][2] Author David Ray Griffin alleges that the 9/11 conspiracy was considerably larger than the government claims and that the entire 9/11 Commission Report "is constructed in support of one big lie: that the official story about 9/11 is true."[3]

Suspected Insider Trading Edit

Just before 9/11 there was an "extraordinary" amount of put option Wikipedias placed on United Airlines and American Airlines stocks. Authorities regarded as suspicious, and some conspiracy theorists continue to maintain, that trading insiders may have known in advance of the coming events of 9/11 and placed their bets accordingly. An analysis by Allen M. Poteshman into the possibility of insider trading on 9/11 concludes that:

"A measure of abnormal long put volume was also examined and seen to be at abnormally high levels in the days leading up to the attacks. Consequently, the paper concludes that there is evidence of unusual option market activity in the days leading up to September 11 that is consistent with investors trading on advance knowledge of the attacks." [4]

On the days leading up to 9/11, two airlines saw a rise in their put to call ratio. These two airlines were United Airlines and American Airlines, the two airlines whose planes were hijacked on 9/11. Between 6 and 7 September, the Chicago Board Options Exchange saw purchases of 4,744 "put" option contracts in UAL versus 396 call options. On 10 September, more trading in Chicago saw the purchase of 4,516 put options in American Airlines, the other airline involved in the hijackings. This compares with a mere 748 call options in American purchased that day. No others airline companies saw anomalies in their put to call ratio in the days leading up to the attacks.[5] American Airlines however, had just released a major warning about possible losses.[6]

Insurance companies saw anomalous trading activities as well. Citigroup Inc., which has estimated that its Travelers insurance unit may pay $500 million in claims from the World Trade Center attack, had about 45 times the normal volume during three trading days before the attack for options that profit if the stock falls below $40. Citigroup shares fell $1.25 in late trading to $38.09. Morgan Stanley, which occupied 22 floors at the World Trade Center, experienced bigger-than-normal pre-attack trading of options that profit when stock prices fall. Other companies that were directly affected by the tragedy had similar jumps. [7]

Raytheon, a defense contractor, had an anomalously high number of call options trading on September 10. A Raytheon option that makes money if shares are more than $25 each had 232 options contracts traded on the day before the attacks, almost six times the total number of trades that had occurred before that day.[8]

The initial options were bought through at least two brokerage firms including NFS, a subsidiary of Fidelity Brokerage, and TD Waterhouse. It was estimated that the trader or traders would have realized a 5 million dollar profit. The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an insider trading investigation in which Osama Bin Laden was a suspect after receiving information from at least one Wall Street Firm.[9]

Air Defense Stand Down Theory Edit

Another common claim is that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) issued a stand down order or deliberately scrambled fighters late to allow the hijacked airplanes to reach their targets without interference. According to this theory, NORAD had the capability of locating and intercepting planes on 9/11, and its failure to do so indicates a government conspiracy to allow the attacks to occur.[6] The Web site argues that the U.S. military failed to do their job.'s Mark R. Elsis says "There is only one explanation for this.... Our Air Force was ordered to Stand Down on 9/11."[10][11]

In September 2001, NORAD generals said they learned of the hijackings in time to scramble fighter jets. Later, the U.S. government released tapes claiming to show the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) did not tell the military about the hijackings until three of the four planes had crashed, a fact that would indicate that the FAA repeatedly lied to other U.S. government agencies.[12]

Phil Molé of Skeptic magazine has explained that it is neither quick nor easy to locate and intercept a plane behaving erratically, and that the hijackers turned off or disabled the onboard radar transponders. Without these transponder signals to identify the airplanes, the hijacked airplanes would have been only blips among 4,500 other blips on NORAD’S radar screens, making them very difficult to track.[6][10]

According to Popular Mechanics, only 14 fighter jets were on alert in the contiguous 48 states on 9/11. There was no automated method for the civilian air traffic controllers to alert NORAD.[10] A passenger airline hadn't been hijacked in the US since 1979.[13] "They had to pick up the phone and literally dial us," says Maj. Douglas Martin, public affairs officer for NORAD. According to Popular Mechanics, only one civilian plane was intercepted in the decade prior to 9/11, which took 1 hour and 22 minutes.[10]

Rules in effect at that time, and on 9/11, barred supersonic flight on intercepts. Before 9/11, all other NORAD interceptions were limited to offshore Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ). "Until 9/11 there was no domestic ADIZ," says FAA spokesman Bill Schumann. After 9/11, the FAA and NORAD increased cooperation. They set up hotlines between command centers while NORAD increased its fighter coverage and installed radar to watch airspace over the continent.[10]

World Trade Center collapse Edit

Main article: World Trade Center controlled demolition conspiracy theories
File:NIST 7 WTC Exterior buckling.jpg

The controlled demolition conspiracy theories claim that the collapse of the North Tower, South Tower and 7 World Trade Center was not caused by the plane crash damage, or by resulting fire damage, but by explosives installed in the buildings in advance. The reasoning behind this explained that if the US Government had planted explosives in the building but made it look like terrorists had done the damage, it would have given them a perfect excuse to go to war in Iraq.[14]

Demolition theory proponents, such as physicist Steven E. Jones, architect Richard Gage, software engineer Jim Hoffman, and theologian David Ray Griffin, argue that the aircraft impacts and resulting fires could not have weakened the buildings sufficiently to initiate a catastrophic collapse, and that the buildings would not have collapsed completely, nor at the speeds that they did, without additional energy involved to weaken their structures. Jones has presented the hypothesis that thermite or nanothermite[15] was used to demolish the buildings and says he has found evidence of such explosives in the WTC dust.[16][17][18][19]

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) concluded the official version was more than sufficient to explain the collapse of the buildings. The NIST and many mainstream scientists refuse to debate conspiracy theorists because they feel it would give these theories unwarranted credibility.[20] Specialists in structural mechanics and structural engineering generally accept the model of a fire-induced, gravity-driven collapse of the World Trade Center buildings without the use of explosives.[21][22][23]

Soon after the day of the attacks, major media sources published that the towers had collapsed due to melted steel.[24][25] Knowledge that the burning temperatures of jet fuel would not melt the steel support structure of the WTC contributed to the belief among skeptics that the towers would not have collapsed without external interference (something other than the planes). NIST does not claim that the steel was melted, but rather that the weakened steel (at 1000 degrees Celsius steel weakens to roughly 10% of its room temperature strength), together with the damage caused by the planes' impacts, caused the collapses.[26] NIST reported that a simulation model based on the assumption that combustible vapors burned immediately upon mixing with the incoming oxygen showed that "at any given location, the duration of [gas] temperatures near 1,000°C was about 15 min to 20 min. The rest of the time, the calculated temperatures were 500 °C or below."[27]

The Pentagon Edit

File:Pentagon video security1.jpg
Flight 77 wreckage at Pentagon

Debris scattered near the Pentagon.

According to some theories, the U.S. administration deliberately chose not to shoot down a plane that was heading for the Pentagon, while others contend that no plane hit the Pentagon at all.

Thierry Meyssan and Dylan Avery argue that American Airlines Flight 77 did not crash into the Pentagon. Instead, they argue that the Pentagon was hit by a missile launched by elements from inside the U.S. government. says that the holes in the Pentagon walls were far too small to have been made by a Boeing 757: "How does a plane 125 ft. wide and 155 ft. long fit into a hole which is only 60 ft. across?" Meyssan’s book, L’Effroyable Imposture (published in English as 9/11: The Big Lie) became an instant bestseller in France and is available in more than a dozen languages. When released, the book was heavily criticized by the French press. The French newspaper Liberation called the book "a tissue of wild and irresponsible allegations, entirely without foundation."[29][30][31]

pt 2Edit

According to Mete Sozen, a professor of structural engineering at Purdue University, a crashing jet doesn't punch a cartoon-like outline of itself into a reinforced concrete building. When Flight 77 hit the Pentagon, one wing hit the ground and the other was sheared off by the Pentagon's load-bearing columns.[29] According to ArchitectureWeek, the reason the Pentagon took relatively little damage from the impact was because Wedge One had recently been renovated.[32] (This was part of a renovation program which had been begun in the eighties, and Wedge One was the first of five to be renovated.[33])

Airplane debris including Flight 77's black boxes,[34] the nose cone, landing gear,[35] an airplane tire,[36] the fuselage,[citation needed] and an intact cockpit seat[37] were observed at the crash site. The remains of passengers from Flight 77 were found at the Pentagon crash site and their identities confirmed by DNA analysis.[38] Many eyewitnesses saw the plane strike the Pentagon. Further, Flight 77 passengers made phone calls reporting that their airplane had been hijacked. For example, passenger Renee May called her mother to tell her that the plane had been hijacked and that the passengers had been herded to the back of the plane. Another passenger named Barbara Olson called her husband (U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson) and said that the flight had been hijacked, and that the hijackers had knives and box cutters.[39][29][40]

A year before the attacks, a massive casualty (MASCAL) exercise was conducted in which a hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon.[41]

Flight 93 Edit

The fourth plane hijacked on 9/11, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed in an open field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after the passengers revolted. Out of the four planes hijacked on that day, it was the only one not to reach its target.[42]

One of the popular conspiracy theories surrounding this event is that Flight 93 was actually shot down by a U.S. fighter jet. David Ray Griffin and Alex Jones Wikipedia say that large parts of the plane including the main body of the engine landed miles away from the main wreckage site, too far away for an ordinary plane crash. Jones says that planes usually leave a small debris field when they crash, and that this is not compatible with reports of wreckage found farther away from the main crash site. A posting on claimed that the main body of the engine was found miles away from the main wreckage site with damage comparable to that which a heat-seeking missile would do to an airliner.[29][42][43]

According to some theories, the plane had to be shot down by the government because passengers had found out about the alleged plot.[44]

According to the magazine Skeptic Wikipedia, "[this] claim rests largely on unsupported assertions that the main body of the engine and other large parts of the plane turned up miles from the main wreckage site, too far away to have resulted from an ordinary crash. This is incorrect, because the engine was found only 300 yards from the main crash site, and its location was consistent with the direction in which the plane had been traveling."[45] Michael K. Hynes, an airline accident expert who investigated the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996, says that, at very high velocities of 500 mph or more, it would only take a few seconds to move or tumble across the ground for 300 yards.[29][45]

Reports of wreckage discovered at Indian Lake by local residents are accurate. CNN reported that investigators found debris from the crash at least eight miles away from the crash site, including in New Baltimore.[46] However, according to CNN, this debris was all very light material that the wind would have easily blown away, and a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article from September 14, 2001 describes the material as "mostly papers", "strands of charred insulation", and an "endorsed paycheck". The same article quotes FBI agent Bill Crowley that, "Lighter, smaller debris probably shot into the air on the heat of a fireball that witnesses said shot several hundred feet into the air after the jetliner crashed. Then, it probably rode a wind that was blowing southeast at about 9 m.p.h."[47] Also, the distance between the crash site and Indian Lake was misreported in some accounts. According to the BBC, "In a straight line, Indian Lake is just over a mile from the crash site. The road between the two locations takes a roundabout route of 6.9 miles—accounting for the erroneous reports."[42]

Some conspiracy theorists believe a small white jet seen flying over the crash area may have fired a missile to shoot down Flight 93.[48]Template:Dubious However, government agencies such as the FBI assert this was a Dassault Falcon business jet asked to descend to an altitude of around 1500 ft to survey the impact.[49] Ben Sliney, who was the FAA operation manager on September 11, 2001, says no military aircraft were near Flight 93.[50]

Some internet videos, such as Loose Change, speculate that Flight 93 safely landed in Ohio Wikipedia, and a substituted plane was involved in the crash in Pennsylvania.[51] Often cited is a preliminary news report that Flight 93 landed at a Cleveland airport;[52] it was later learned that Delta Flight 1989 was the plane confused with Flight 93, and the report was retracted as inaccurate. Several websites within the 9/11 Truth Movement dispute this claim, citing the wreckage at the scene, eyewitness testimony, and the difficulty of secretly substituting one plane for another, and claim that such "hoax theories... appear calculated to alienate victims' survivors and the larger public from the 9/11 truth movement".[43][53] The editor of the article has since written a rebuttal to the claims.[54]

The woman who took the only photograph of the mushroom cloud from the impact of Flight 93 hitting the ground says she has been harassed by conspiracy theorists, who claim she faked the photo. The FBI, the Smithsonian, and the National Park Service’s Flight 93 National Memorial consider it to be authentic.[55]

Conspiracy theorists have claimed that passengers of Flight 93 and/or Flight 77, were murdered or that they were relocated, with the intent that they never be found.[44]

Hijackers Edit

During the initial confusion surrounding the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the BBC published the names and identities of what they believed to be some of the hijackers.[56] Some of the people named were later discovered to be alive, a fact that was seized upon by 9/11 conspiracy theorists as proof that the hijackings were faked.[56][57] The BBC explained that the initial confusion may have arisen because the names they reported back in 2001 were common Arabic and Islamic names.[56] In response to a request from the BBC, the FBI stated:[56]

The FBI is confident that it has positively identified the nineteen hijackers responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Also, the 9/11 investigation was thoroughly reviewed by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States and the House and Senate Joint Inquiry. Neither of these reviews ever raised the issue of doubt about the identity of the nineteen hijackers.

The New York Times also acknowledged these as cases of mistaken identity.[58]

According to John Bradley, the former managing editor of Arab News in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the only public information about the hijackers was a list of names issued by the FBI on September 14, 2001. When the FBI released photographs four days after the cited reports on September 27, the mistaken identities were quickly resolved. According to Bradley, "all of this is attributable to the chaos that prevailed during the first few days following the attack. What we're dealing with are coincidentally identical names." In Saudi Arabia, says Bradley, the names of two of the allegedly surviving attackers, Said al-Ghamdi and Walid al-Shari, are "as common as John Smith in the United States or Great Britain."[57]

According to Thomas Kean, chair of the 9/11 Commission, "Sixteen of the nineteen shouldn't have gotten into the United States in any way at all because there was something wrong with their visas, something wrong with their passports. They should simply have been stopped at the border. That was sixteen of the nineteen. Obviously, if even half of those people had been stopped, there never would have been a plot."[59]

Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi had both been identified as al-Qaeda agents by the CIA, but that information was not shared with the FBI or U.S. Immigration, so both men were able to legally enter the U.S. to prepare for the 9/11 attacks.[60]

Five of the alleged hijackers may have received training at U.S. military facilities.[61] The Defense Department confirmed that three of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz al-Omari and Saeed al-Ghamdi, "have the same names as alumni of American military schools." A Mohamed Atta attended the International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama; an Abdulaziz al-Omari went to the Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas; and a Saeed al-Ghamdi was at the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio in Monterey, California.[62]

Phone calls Edit

After 9/11, cellular experts said that calls were able to be placed from the hijacked planes, and that they were surprised that they lasted as long as they did. They said that the only reason that the calls went through in the first place is that the aircraft were flying so close to the ground.[63] Alexa Graf, an AT&T spokesperson said it was almost a fluke that the calls reached their destinations.[64] Other industry experts said that it is possible to use cell phones with varying degrees of success during the ascent and descent of commercial airline flights.[65] Marvin Sirbu, professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University said on September 14, 2001, that "The fact of the matter is that cell phones can work in almost all phases of a commercial flight."[65]

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, 13 passengers from Flight 93 made a total of over 30 calls to both family and emergency personnel (twenty-two confirmed air phone calls, two confirmed cell phone and eight not specified in the report). According to, all but two calls from Flight 93 were made on air phones, not cell phones, and both calls lasted about a minute before being dropped.[66] Brenda Raney, Verizon Wireless spokesperson, said that Flight 93 was supported by several cell sites.[64] There were reportedly three phone calls from Flight 11, five from Flight 175, and three calls from Flight 77. Two calls from these flights were recorded, placed by flight attendants Madeleine Sweeney and Betty Ong on Flight 11.

Jewish and Israeli involvement Edit

There are theories that 9/11 was part of an international Jewish conspiracy. According to Cinnamon Stillwell, another myth popular with 9/11 conspiracy theorists[67] is that 4,000 Jewish employees skipped work at the World Trade Center on September 11. This was first reported on September 17 by the Lebanese Hezbollah-owned satellite television channel Al-Manar and is believed to be based on the September 12 edition of the Jerusalem Post that stated "The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem has so far received the names of 4,000 Israelis believed to have been in the areas of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon at the time of the attacks."[68] Both turned out to be incorrect; the number of Jews who died in the attacks is variously estimated at between 270 to 400.[69][70] [dead link]

[71][72] The lower figure tracks closely with the percentage of Jews living in the New York area and partial surveys of the victims' listed religion. The U.S. State Department has published a partial list of 76 in response to claims that fewer Jews/Israelis died in the WTC attacks than should have been present at the time.[73][74] Five Israeli citizens died in the attack.[75]

It has been claimed that Israeli agents may have had foreknowledge of the attacks. Four hours after the attack, the FBI arrested five Israelis who had been filming the smoking skyline from the roof of a white van in the parking lot of an apartment building, for "puzzling behavior". The Israelis were videotaping the events, and one bystander said they acted in a suspicious manner: "They were like happy, you know … They didn't look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange," [76][77][78] While The Forward, a New York Jewish news magazine, reported that the FBI considered them to be intelligence operatives, a spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in the United States said that they had not been involved in any intelligence operation in the United States.[76] The FBI had eventually concluded that the five Israelis had no foreknowledge of the attacks.[79]

Imam Anwar al-Awlaki of Virgnia initially condemned the attacks. But just six days after the attack, he wrote on the website a suggestion that Israeli intelligence agents might have been responsible for the attacks, and that the FBI "went into the roster of the airplanes and whoever had a Muslim or Arab name became the hijacker by default.[80] ABC news cited this report on June 21, 2002, adding that the FBI had concluded that the five Israelis had no foreknowledge of the attacks.[79]

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