Adam Rice

My life and the world around me

Tinfoil hat time, part 3

Read this. Then try to wash the slimy feeling off.

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  1. Front page of today’s WSJ details Andreas von Bulow’s theory:

    The U.S. government staged the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington to justify wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a tentative theory, he admits, based mostly on his doubt that Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist group launched the attacks. “That’s something that is simply 99% false,” he said at a reading of his book on the second anniversary of the attacks.

    and how conspiracy theories are popular in Germany:

    In most European countries, conspiracy theories have remained the domain of a fringe minority, with even bestsellers vanishing from the public forum after a brief flash in the limelight. In Germany, however, the theories have had legs, and over the past few months, wave after wave of improbable and outrageous assertions have received serious hearings. A recent public-opinion poll, by forsa, one of Germany’s leading polling organizations, found that one in five Germans believes “the U.S. government ordered the attacks itself.”

    The credibility given these theories has become so pronounced that the country’s leading newsmagazine, Der Spiegel, ran a cover story earlier this month, giving a point-by-point rebuttal to the most widely spread myths. Among them: that Jewish people stayed out of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, because they had been tipped off. ARD had to backtrack on its alleged documentary, later identifying the program’s producer as a proponent of conspiracy theories whose ideas weren’t accepted by experts. A leading newspaper, the Suddeutsche Zeitung in Munich, published a lengthy piece this month called “Fools of Fear,” ridiculing the ideas.

    “I got more than 300 e-mails — mostly hate e-mails — after writing the article,” said Hans Leyendecker, who wrote the piece. Conspiracy theorists, he says, are “having so much success. We had to do something to counteract it.”

    The spread of such theories about Sept. 11 is especially striking because Germans have long been among the most pro-American societies in continental Europe. While countries such as France have a tradition of skepticism of the U.S., Germans have generally approved of U.S. leadership in the world, according to public surveys.

    But over the past year, German opinion has turned, according to two independent foreign-policy organizations, the German Marshall Fund and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. In an annual study released earlier this month, the organizations reported 45% of Germans think the U.S. ought to have the leading role in the world, down from 68% the year before. During the same period, support for the Bush administration’s foreign policy also fell, to 16% from 26%.

    The shift may be due in part to an administration in Washington that is unpopular in Germany — declarations after the attacks that the world was either with the U.S. or against it struck some here as polarizing and arrogant. So, too, did U.S. charges that Germans hadn’t done enough to hunt down the alleged 9/11 attackers, some of whom had lived in Germany. But home-grown factors also seem to be at work. Since the reunification of East and West Germany 13 years ago, many Germans no longer want to follow the U.S. lead in world affairs.

    “>http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB106479068042179400,00.html?mod=home%5Fpage%5Fone%5Fus

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