September 2020: When “inside job” conspiracy theories circulated after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, one core tenet was that the airplanes that crashed were not as they seemed—they were not commercial airliners at all. In 2005, Popular Mechanics addressed these claims in our first report debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories, which was later expanded into a book that was updated in 2011.
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The widely accepted account that hijackers commandeered and crashed the four 9/11 planes is supported by reams of evidence, from cockpit recordings to forensics to the fact that crews and passengers never returned home. Nonetheless, conspiracy theorists seize on a handful of “facts” to argue a very different scenario: The jets that struck New York and Washington, D.C., weren’t commercial planes, they say, but something else, perhaps refueling tankers or guided missiles. And the lack of military intervention? Theorists claim it proves the U.S. government instigated the assault or allowed it to occur in order to advance oil interests or a war agenda.
Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts
Where’s the Pod?
Claim: Photographs and video footage shot just before United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) show an object underneath the fuselage at the base of the right wing. The film “911 In Plane Site” and the Web site LetsRoll911.org claim that no such object
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