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The 30 greatest conspiracy theories part 1 - Telegraph
From the assassination of John F Kennedy to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. From Roswell, New Mexico, to Nasa's moon landings. From the bloodline of Christ to the death of Elvis Presley. Every major event of the last 2,000 years has prompted a conspiracy theory and here we examine those with the biggest followings and the most longevity.
1. September 11, 2001
Thanks to the power of the web and live broadcasts on television, the conspiracy theories surrounding the events of 9/11 - when terrorists attacked the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington - have surpassed those of Roswell and JFK in traction. Despite repeated claims by al-Qaeda that it planned, organised and orchestrated the attacks, several official and unofficial investigations into the collapse of the Twin Towers which concluded that structural failure was responsible and footage of the events themselves, the conspiracy theories continue to grow in strength.
At the milder end of the spectrum are the theorists who believe that the US government had prior warning of the attacks but did not do enough to stop them. Others believe that the Bush administration deliberately turned a blind eye to those warnings because it wanted a pretext to launch wars in the Middle East to usher in another century of American hegemony. A large group of people - collectively called the 9/11 Truth Movement - cite evidence that an airliner did not hit the Pentagon and that the World Trade Centre could not have been brought down by airliner impacts and burning aviation fuel alone.
This final group points to video evidence which they claim shows puffs of smoke - so-called demoliton squibs - emerging from the Twin Towers at levels far below the aircraft impact zones and prior to the collapses. They also believe that, on the day itself, the US air force was deliberately stood down or sent on exercises to prevent intervention that could have saved the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
Many witnesses - including firemen, policemen and people who were inside the towers at the time - claim to have heard explosions below the aircraft impacts (including in basement levels) and before both the collapses and the attacks themselves. As with the assassination of JFK, the official inquiry into the events - the 9/11 Commission Report - is widely derided by the conspiracy community and held up as further evidence that 9/11 was an "inside job". Scientific journals have consistently rejected these hypotheses.
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