September 11 conspiracy theorists top
German bestseller lists
Georges Marion/Nicolas Bourcier, The Guardian Weekly, 20-3-1009, page 28
Conspiracy theories are suddenly all the rage in Germany, with several
books about the "secrets" behind the September 11 2001 attacks on the
United States at the top of the bestseller lists.Die CIA und der 11
September (The CIA And September 11), a book by Andreas von Bulow, a former
Social Democrat minister in the government of Helmut Schmidt, has sold well
since being published in August and is now fourth on the weekly Der
Spiegel's bestseller list. Von Bulow voices his suspicions that America's
Central Intelligence Agency and its Israeli counterpart, Mossad, were
involved in the 9/11 attacks against New York and Washington.
Mathias Brockers has sold more than 100,000 copies of his Verschworungen,
Verschworungstheorien und die Geheimnisse des 11.9 (Conspiracies,
Conspiracy Theories and the Secrets of September 11), the first book to
appear on the subject, which was published in Germany last year. His second
book, Fakten, Falschungen und die unterdruckten Beweise des 11.9 (Facts,
Forgeries And The Suppressed Evidence Of September 11), which has been on
sale since July, also looks set to become a bestseller.
Brockers, a former journalist on the Berlin alternative daily, Die
Tageszeitung, claims some of the alleged kamikaze pilots are still alive.
Then there is Gerhard Wisnewski, an independent journalist who, in his
Operation 9/11: Angriff auf den Globus (Operation 9/11: Attack On The
Globe), casts doubt on the notion that any aircraft was brought down in
Pennsylvania on that fateful day.
All three authors have taken their cue from Thierry Meyssan, the Frenchman
who caused a scandal last year with his L'Effroyable Imposture (The Big
Lie), saying White House strategists decided to sacrifice the World Trade
Centre to justify a global interventionist policy to assist the fight
Conspiracy theories have traditionally been one of the major obsessions of
the far right, as the German press has repeatedly pointed out. But the
three authors reject such criticism. At a public symposium on the theme of
terrorism, held last month at the Tempodrom, a favourite venue of Berlin's
alternative community, the organisers were at pains to distance themselves
from "national rightwing circles".
The 200-odd people who attended the meeting heard Brockers, its keynote
speaker, claim that 9/11 and its aftermath "were the biggest brainwashing
operation of all time".
Der Spiegel recently dissected, one by one, the main theories put forward
by the three authors. In the subsequent 16-page report, Gunther Latsch, one
of the investigative journalists, wrote: "To judge from our readers'
letters, the majority of people agree with us that the books contain some
rather hazy details, but generally speaking the impression that there was a
conspiracy persists. It would take at least 600 pages to convince them to
the contrary. In Germany we are incapable of distinguishing between what is
true and what is not." Latsch also accused German publishing houses of
So why has a section of the German left been won over by the conspiracy
In a vitriolic article published in the weekly Die Zeit, Jorg Lau argued
that "Bush junior's presidency has undoubtedly been the most fertile period
for conspiracy freaks since the death of John F. Kennedy."
According to an opinion poll published in July by Die Zeit, 19% of Germans
believe that the American government ordered 9/11. Those who detect the
hand of Washington behind the suicide attacks are more numerous in the
former German Democratic Republic (29%) than in the West (16%). The same
poll revealed that almost 31% of Germans aged under 30 do not rule out the
possibility that the attacks may have been organised by Washington.
Brockers draws a historical parallel in his book between 9/11 and the
burning down of the Reichstag in 1933, which was organised by Adolf Hitler
as a device to crush the Communist and Social-Democratic opposition.
The comparison between President George Bush and Hitler has frequently been
made by German opponents of the war in Iraq. The Social Democrat justice
minister, Herta Daubler-Gmelin, was forced to step down from her job after
last September's general election for voicing similar views.
Yet the thousands of opponents of the war who went on protest marches
throughout the country chanted slogans along exactly the same lines. <I
The Guardian Weekly 20-3-1009, page 28