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Deny, Deny, Deny

As we fast approach the sixth anniversary of 9/11, conspiracy theorists who believe the atrocities were the work of the U.S. government are multiplying in Europe, and, what’s more worrisome, their views are being endorsed by voices that are more mainstream—at least by European standards.

Until recently, there had been only one instance of such denial: Thierry Meyssen’s book, L’Effroyable Imposture, published in 2002 to popular acclaim. Now, this somewhat isolated, if hugely popular book predictably finds itself as the first of a new genre.

A salvo from the Euro-truthers recently appeared in the British daily the Independent, penned and signed by Robert Fisk. To many in America, Fisk is not the most credible source. But in Europe, he’s highly regarded; his recent column on 9/11 may well grant a new legitimacy to 9/11 denial. Fisk writes that

I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It’s not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled? Why did flight 93′s debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I’m not talking about the crazed “research” of David Icke’s Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster—which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone directory.

I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820 degrees Centigrade under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin—whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480 degrees Centigrade—would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.) What about the third tower—the so-called World Trade Center Building 7 (or the Salomon Brothers Building)—which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in its own footprint at 5:20 p.m. on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the ground when no aircraft had hit it? The American National Institute of Standards and Technology was instructed to analyze the cause of the destruction of all three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7. Two prominent American professors of mechanical engineering—very definitely not in the “raver” bracket—are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final report on the grounds that it could be “fraudulent or deceptive.”

Fisk is hardly alone in Europe: there is also now a new book, Zero, edited by Italian Member of the European Parliament Giulietto Chiesa, with contributions from the novelist and essayist Gore Vidal and the philosopher David Ray Griffin, and published by the very mainstream publishing house Piemme. Zero offers 400 pages of “exposure” of the alleged U.S. government conspiracy behind 9/11. Reviewers of Zero have highlighted troubling parallels with Holocaust denial techniques. The book does not deny the general outline of events, but questions the established, specific facts. It seeks to discredit reports, evidence, and eye-witnesses, and it denies that the attacks were the work of Islamic fundamentalists.

Having proceeded to plant the seeds of doubt, it then asks the usual question: who benefits? You can take your pick from Zero’s conspiratorial cosomology: the military-industrial complex; the Jews (and any variation thereof); the neoconservatives; George W. Bush; or any other lurking evil.

The urge to deny the undeniable spreads like a wildfire, especially when it serves ulterior motives. It’s been only six years since 9/11. But efforts to blame the victims of a heinous crime and exculpate the perpetrators are already, it seems, migrating into mainstream discourse.


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