For Heather Bauer, the most important in the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks isn’t the collapse of the Twin Towers in a dusty hell in New York City, the gaping hole in the Pentagon or the wreckage of an airplane in a Pennsylvania field.
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The American is convinced that these attacks are the work of the United States and not of Al-Qaeda, a thesis that will be widely repeated during events on the sidelines of the 20th anniversary of the attacks that killed more than 3,000 people.
“I absolutely question everything, and I wonder what is true in everything we are told about history,” said this housewife from Wisconsin, in the northern United States, also convinced that the COVID-19 does not exist.
She was 14 on September 11, 2001. For years, she believed the “official” version, until she became interested in the conspiracy theories developed by the QAnon movement.
She now believes the attacks were orchestrated to justify the Iraq war launched in 2003.
She is part of the so-called 9/11 Truth Movement, which tirelessly discusses “evidence” on social media that the World Trade Center towers collapsed after a controlled explosion, not because two airliners s ‘are smashed there.
One of the explanations often put forward is that “kerosene cannot melt steel bars,” and that it took explosives to make the towers fall so vertically.
These allegations, developed in great detail over the past twenty years, have been regularly refuted by the press and documentaries.
Several conferences will be organized – with the public – as part of the anniversary to discuss September 11, but also the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines.
The 17th edition of the “September 11 Truth Film Festival” in Oakland, Calif., Will air two documentaries on the pandemic including “Plandemic,” which auditors say is riddled with false information about the virus.
“There are so many things we want to talk about, and we only have eight hours,” laments Carol Brouillet, event organizer and founder of the 9/11 Truth Alliance in Northern California.
There is no lack of material. One of the guests, Ken Jenkins, single-handedly produced dozens of DVDs on the attacks, according to the festival’s website.
9/11 conspiracy theories were the first to benefit from the internet explosion and spread much faster than older theses, such as the assassination of President Kennedy or Neil Armstrong’s footing on the moon.
“America is a remarkably conspiratorial country,” says Garrett Graff, journalist and author of a book on the subject.
With the internet, these conspiratorial theses made it easier for those who believed in them to create a network of followers.
These theories “arose at the precise moment when social networks or online media like YouTube allowed people to convincingly propagate their ideas,” he says.
The Commission of Jurists for an Inquiry into September 11 is organizing an online conference for the 20th anniversary, which will also discuss COVID-19.
The event is dubbed “from the 9/11 anthrax to the pandemic,” in reference to the envelopes containing this deadly substance sent to politicians and journalists for a few weeks in September 2001.
The link between anthrax and COVID is clear, assures Commission lawyer Mick Harrison.
“Because we have researched the work of the United States regarding biological weapons, we are now concerned that there may currently be a problem with the use of these weapons in the country,” he said. .
For Ms Bauer and Mr Harrison, tackling the official version of the attacks is a civic duty.
“I’m trying to improve this country by making government more democratic, more accountable and more transparent,” says Mick Harrison.
September 11 “poses a big problem because we do not yet know the truth about what happened”.
President Joe Biden’s decision to declassify certain documents from the investigation into the attacks, and Saudi Arabia’s possible responsibility, could dispel doubts … or reignite conspiracy theories.