TODAY Marks Eighteen Years since the worst Terrorist Attack in history, but there are many out there who believe that 9/11 was an ‘inside job.’
David Rostcheck is one of them. He wrote online “Is it just me? or did anyone else recognise that it wasn’t the airplane impacts that blew up the World Trade Center?” yes, really.
“I hope other people are actually catching this, but I haven’t seen anyone say it yet, so I guess I will. There’s no doubt that the planes hit the building and did a lot of damage. But look at the footage – those buildings were demolished,” he continued.
“To demolish a building, you don’t need all that much explosive but it needs to be placed in the correct places… Someone had to have a lot of access to all of both towers and a lot of time to do this. This is pretty grim. The really dire part is – what were the planes for?”
Investigations have made it clear that the tower structures were weakened by the inferno from the planes and felled by the weight of collapsing floors.
However, some people still refuse to believe this version of events.
A 2016 study from Chapman University in California, found more than half of Americans believe the government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks.
Sections of the official US government report were redacted for years – and some information is still missing.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s any evidence for the crazier online conspiracy theories about the attacks.
Some claim the US government was complicit – that officials deliberately let the attacks happen or were even involved in the planning.
It is true that George W. Bush received intel in the weeks leading up to the attacks and the CIA had intel about potential attacks – but the CIA and the FBI did not work together back in 2001.
Experts say part of the reason for the persistence of such conspiracy theories is the dissonance that results when people hear that a relatively small group of men using low-tech weapons caused such cataclysmic carnage.
“It’s perfectly natural when something important happens people want to have an explanation,” says Professor Karen Douglas, a social psychologist at the University of Kent.
“Often, the official explanation appears quite mundane to people and not particularly satisfying.
“Conspiracy theories often emerge as a result of this need for an explanation that’s proportional to the event itself.”
And the reinforcing nature of the online world means that the theories have hung around for a decades.
“Information doesn’t necessarily spread indiscriminately the way people think it does on the internet and social media. People tend to share it with people who kind of think the same way as they do about these issues in the first place,” she says.
The theories have been propelled by several books and films. David Ray Griffin, a professor of religious philosophy and theology, accused the US government of complicity in the attack in his 2004 book The New Pearl Harbour.
The first instalment in filmmaker Dylan Avery’s Loose Change series was released in 2005.
Vanity Fair suggested the films, which presented many of the most popular 9/11 conspiracy theories, “might be the first internet blockbuster”.
Millions watched them, sharing the footage on bootleg DVDs, Google Video and internet forums.
It was so widely available, a digital copy was even later found in Osama Bin Laden’s compound.