(or "The Horrifying Fraud") is the original French
title of a highly controversial 2002 book
by French journalist
and political activist Thierry Meyssan
. Its English
edition is entitled 9/11: The Big Lie
The book argues that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were "false flag" operations directed by right-wingers in the U.S. government and the military-industrial complex who sought a casus belli for military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. A publishing sensation in France, the book has also received severe criticism over its factuality in both the French and U.S. mainstream news media. The U.S. government has publicly denounced the book and considers it a significant international misinformation threat. The crux of the criticism emphasizes that the book contradicts much eyewitness and forensic evidence and so cannot be accepted as a factual account.
The book, reported to have sustained a number 1 bestseller position in France for six of seven weeks immediately after its launch, sold 164,100 copies in the first year, and a total of 300,000 up to date. It has since been translated into 28 languages (as of 2006), attracting substantial international media attention.
This controversial book questions the US government version on the events and raises a large number of questions on the details of the events which, according to many observers, marked the beginning of the 21st Century and changed the geopolitical world order. It makes the following claims:
First part: “A Bloody Stage is Set”
The actions that provoked the collapse of the Twin Towers in the heart of New York and damaged part of the Pentagon building had not been the result of attempts by foreign suicide pilots, rather an action organized by a group within the US administration; an internal complot aimed at driving opinion and forcing the course of events.
Second Part: “The Death of Democracy in America”
The war on Afghanistan was not a response to the September 11 events, since it was prepared long before in coordination with the British. President Bush found support in evangelical groups to launch a crusade against Islam, according to the strategy known as “Clash of Civilizations”. The “war on terror” was a pretext to cut individual liberties in the United States and later in allied countries in order to impose a military regime.
Third Part: “The Empire Attacks”
Osama Bin Laden was a CIA fabrication and he never stopped working for the US secret service. The Bin Laden and the Bush families jointly manage their wealth by means of the Carlyle Group
. The US administration was taken over by some industrial groups (weapons, oil, pharmaceuticals) whose interests be would defended by the government in detriment of others. The CIA would develop a program of interference at all levels, which would include the resource of torture and political assassination.
The book was widely and heavily criticized by the French mainstream news media. For instance, the leading centre-left newspaper Libération
called their book: "The Frightening Confidence Trick ... A tissue of wild and irresponsible allegations, entirely without foundation
"; and the leading French weekly news magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur
commented that the book's theory "eliminates reality". Both Libération
and the French newspaper of record
, Le Monde
, launched special investigations to disprove Meyssan's theories. At the time, Le Monde
also complained that inconsistencies in the public information made available about the terror attacks, as well as the lack of a comprehensive official account, was fueling the popularity of the book.
A few months after the launch of L'Effroyable imposture, two French journalists, Guillaume Dasquié (former editor-in-chief of Intelligence Online) and Jean Guisnel, published their own book L'Effroyable mensonge ("The Horrifying Lie"), which was a point-by-point rebuttal of Meyssan's book.
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense has officially commented that the book's publication was "a slap in the face and real offence to the American people, particularly to the memory of victims of the attacks". The book is regarded as a significant international misinformation threat to national interests by the U.S. Department of State, which has issued an official rebuttal of its key claims.
Popular Mechanics magazine has also offered its own rebuttal to claims made in the book.
- Official website
- Identifying Misinformation: Did a Plane Hit the Pentagon?, United States Department of State
- "French buy into 9/11 conspiracy", CNN, June 26 2002
- "Conspiracy Theory", Time, May 13 2002
- "French lap up Pentagon crash 'fraud'", BBC, 2 April 2002
- "US invented air attack on Pentagon, claims French book", The Guardian, 1 April 2002