THE INDUSTRY OF CONSPIRACY
On September 11, 2001, pilotless airplanes were guided into the World Trade Center by homing beacons. It wasn't a plane that hit the Pentagon, but a missile. U.S. Air Force planes weren't scrambled to intercept the hijacked planes that morning because the White House was behind the events of that tragic day.
Incredible? Definitely. Outlandish? Absolutely. But, there are lots of people who believe that at least some parts of these stories are true.
An entire industry has sprung up about the speculation of the events of 9/11 - the most thoroughly documented day in history. There are many web sites (see Resources), conferences and best selling books devoted to the topic.
Mike Vreeland claimed to be an agent for the U.S. government.
THE MIKE VREELAND CONNECTION
A month before September 11th Mike Vreeland, an American in a Lindsay, Ontario jail awaiting trial for credit card fraud, handed his guards a sheet of paper. (see the note online)
The U.S. authorities said that Vreeland had an extensive criminal record showing he was a con-man and was wanted on outstanding warrants across the border. But Vreeland claimed that it was all a cover story to disguise what he really was - an American working for the Pentagon.
He claimed that for a month before 9/11 he had tried to warn Canadian and American authorities that something terrible was about to happen. His lawyers entered the sheet of paper as evidence. On it were various words and phrases, including "World Trade Center" and "Pentagon." They insisted that it was a list of 9/11 targets that Vreeland had uncovered and been trying to warn the authorities about.
The court found no basis to his claim. Mike Vreeland jumped bail and disappeared. But on the internet, he remains a poster boy for those who believe that September 11th was planned by the American government. (see resources section for more links about Mike Vreeland)
THE BIG LIE
The most infamous conspiracy theorist of them all is Thierry Meyssan. His book "The Big Lie" was a bestseller in Europe and lays out a conspiracy theory which challenges the official version of the September 11th attack on the Pentagon. (the book site)
Meyssan has written a best selling book about his 9/11 conspiracy theories.
Meyssan claims that American Airlines Flight 77 did not hit the U.S. Defense headquarters in Washington because the size of the hole in the Pentagon was too small. (see pictures of the crash site published by Meyssan) Instead he concludes that the impact was caused by something much smaller - like a surface to air missile - that was fired by the American government itself. And the attack on the World Trade Center? Those jets were empty and controlled by radio beacons from the ground. And behind it all was George W. Bush and other U.S. officials.
CHALLENGING THE THEORIES
David Corn, a Washington Correspondent for the political weekly, "The Nation" has challenged some of these conspiracy theories in print. (read his articles)
A journalist who's written extensively about the misdeeds of U.S. intelligence, even he says it's simply too great a leap to believe that the White House could conspire to destroy the World Trade Center and fire a missile at the Pentagon and then keep it all quiet.
But his articles sparked the fury of thousands of people who take these conspiracy theories seriously.
The fifth estate found NO credible evidence in the public domain to prove the U.S. government had any specific advance knowledge of exactly what would happen on September 11, 2001.
And many conspiracy theories seem like a waste of time. They depend on questionable characters like Mike Vreeland or involve wild allegations like those of Thierry Meyssan.
But many of these theories are based, at least in part, on legitimate questions that have remained unanswered since September 11th.