Introduction: The Empire of Doubt

On December 19th, 2011, I received an email from one of the coordinators of the Reopen-09/11 website, who claims that the official version of the 9/11 attacks, the one maintaining that those murderous acts were fomented by Al-Qaeda, is questionable. If he wrote to me, it is due to the fact that, on several occasions, I have had the opportunity to show in newspapers, on the radio and even on television, how the mechanisms of belief we call conspiracy theories were at work. As it happens, I have sometimes taken as an example those individuals believing that these attacks have been organized by the CIA. There would be many things to say about that very polite email, if only about this apparently innocent and very sensible question he asked me: “Don’t you think that an independent investigation would once and for all allow those who believe the accredited version and those who are in doubt to come to an agreement?” This question suggested that the official report [NAT 04] had been written by dubious experts and it gave the impression, as often happens when an “independent” assessment is required, that my interlocutor wouldn’t be satisfied unless that assessment eventually yielded a report that would substantiate his theories. It so happened that what mostly drew my attention was the heading of his email: “right to doubt”, which indicated that its sender felt one of his basic rights had been scoffed at.

It may be surprising that this gentleman claims ...

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