Translated and commented on by Mirino
I came across the following article in Le Figaro by Isabelle Lassere. Accordingly it would seem that the 11 September complot myth is still surviving despite the seriousness of the disease. Indeed it seems to have cancerously grown into an institutional enterprise in itself. Considering the accumulation of events that since should have negated the conspiracy theories, it reveals how difficult it is nowadays, thanks mainly to Internet, to remove obsessive ideas- once they have taken root (like abscesses) from the bitter die-hards who have no wish to part with them.
Nine years after the WTC attack, the hunt for Osama bin Laden is again regarded as a priority by American officials, who seek an exit door from the war in Afghanistan. The attempted attack of the 25th December, on the Amsterdam-Detroit flight by a young Nigerian, brought al-Qaida back in the topical lime-light. But since September 11th, 2001, there is one one thing that has hardly changed: the persistence of the revisionists' theories which contradict the official version of events. More solid than al-Qaida and more immutable than Osama bin Laden, they are transformed into a collective belief reaching every continent and resisting, like weeds, all kinds of counter measures.
For holders of the conspiracy idea the CIA, the Jews and the oil companies would be behind the attacks. At best, the American Administration would have been aware of the attacks but would have ignored them to justify its project to seize the Middle East. The ideas which required that the Twin Towers would have crumbled under the effect of explosives, that an American missile and not a plane would have struck the Pentagon, and that no airliner would ever have crashed in Pennsylvania, are still very much alive.
After having sold 200,000 copies of his book, 'L'Effroyable Imposture' (The Big Lie), translated into twenty-eight languages, the leader of the French revisionists on September 11th, Thierry Meyssan, director of the Voltaire network, has written a continuation, 'Le Pentagate'. On the Net, associations multiply like bread rolls. The Movement (American) for the truth of 11th September, 2001 federates a hundred different sites today, sells tee-shirts, publishes DVDs and organises world wide conferences.
For nine years, the zones of influence of the negationist theories have been more or less the same ones: the Muslim world in general, Russia, ex-communist countries, Latin America and a few isolated countries like France and Germany.
"The revisionist theory card corresponds perfectly with the anti-Americanism in the world", explains Claude Moniquet, the president of the European Centre for Strategic Intelligence and Security (ESISC) based in Brussels. If it didn't sell in the Ukraine and Georgia, whose hearts are turned towards Washington rather than towards Moscow, the Presidents Iranian, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Venezuelan, Hugo Chávez, have fully supported such theories in official discourses.
Helped by the amplifying effect of Internet, the revisionists theories are constantly fed by sympathisers. "Their popularity is daily nourished by new arguments", explains the sociologist Gerald Bronner, who devoted two works on the subject (*). But if these theories work so well, it's also because they are so difficult to prove. "The arguments always seem convincing. It's necessary to have the knowledge of an engineer, a physicist and a pilot.. to be able to destroy them. Moreover, based on an effect of revelation that enlightens the spirit, the complot myths satisfy one's need to understand the world."
Complot theories have always existed. Among the best known one can refer to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, in 1963, which would have been fomented by Cuba, the USSR or the CIA. And the Protocols of Sages of Sion, an allegedly false document representing a plan for the Jews to conquer the world, manufactured by the secret police of the Russian tsar Nicolas II. More recently, the conspiracy theorists seized upon AIDS, which would have been created by the CIA, and the death of Lady Di, who would have been assassinated by the British secret service. "The conspiracy thesis correspond with conjunctual cycles... During the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, we witness a real culture of opposition and plots", writes researcher Nathalie Bastin, in a study carried out for the ESISC.
But they also evolve with the times. For a long time previously, they were limited to an area or a country. Now the myths become borderless and world wide. "Before, they concentrated on the minorities (Jews, Gypsies, Freemasons), now they focus and polarise themselves on a new actor, the United States, a central force, the expression of Western power", explains Gérald Bronner. For the sociologist, the present time is particularly favourable to their development. "There is, in our Western societies, a denial of the official word and a generalised suspicion of expert testimony and scientific innovation". Two characteristics for which it's necessary, according to him, to add the development of the 'anti-capitalist' ideas and the 'release of the cognitive market' with the explosion of radios, televisions and the generalisation of Internet. "It's increasingly difficult to hide anything. But paradoxically, as everyone ends up by knowing, including the lies, the sentiment that one is being deceived develops itself even more".
The sociologist sees another great myth today overtaking those which surround September 11th: "precautionalism", i.e. the precaution principle pushed to extreme.'
(*) 'Vie et mort des croyances collectives', chez Hermann, et 'La Pensée extrême', chez Denoël.
Isabelle Lasserre, Le Figaro
Montage image by Mirino (with thanks to ARKive and AFP) January, 2010