Geopolitics

Why Switzerland Is A New Hotbed Of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

As the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks in the United States approaches, prominent Swiss politicians, intellectuals and media figures have created an Internet site to demand a new investigation into the events of 9/11.

The remains of the World Trade Center (slagheap)
The remains of the World Trade Center (slagheap)
David Vonplon

ZURICH - In the lead-up to the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States, old and new Internet conspiracy theories are cropping up in high places in Switzerland. A new website, www.911untersuchen.ch, went online earlier this month with demands from a group of Swiss politicians, academics and media figures to re-open investigations of the 2001 events.

A statement by former Bernese cantonal councilor Dori Schaer says the issue of whether the U.S. government deliberately let the attacks go ahead, or indeed even staged them, remains unanswered. While Schaer considers outrageous the idea that the George W. Bush administration would deliberately sacrifice nearly 3,000 people to reach its political goals, she apparently doesn't exclude it out of hand.

Bernese national councilor Alec von Graffenried, a member of the Green party, says he believes the Bush administration was "capable of practically anything."

"That's why it should be allowed to raise critical questions, without being dismissed as a conspiracy theorist," he says.

Swiss public relations consultant Klaus J. Stöhlker says in his statement on the website that the "moral neglect" of the United States is obvious, and that he finds the claims made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad more believable than those of U.S. leaders.

"All that's missing is proof that what Ahmadinejad said at the UN was right: that the United States knew ahead of time about the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York," Stöhlker says.

Journalist Roland Jeanneret ("Anyone familiar with George Bush's view has every reason to doubt") and security expert Albert A. Stahel ("I have a lot of questions I want answers to") take a more moderate approach, but they too call for clearer answers as to who bears responsibility for the events of that day.

U.S. Embassy protests

Daniele Ganser is a Swiss historian and researcher who wrote a chapter in theologian David Ray Griffin‘s book 9/11 & American Empire. Griffin was one of the best-known critics of the official version of 9/11 events. On the website, Ganser argues that all three versions – the "surprise" theory that is the official version, as well as the versions that the administration let the attack go ahead or even planned it – are all actually conspiracy theories. The U.S. Embassy has protested Ganser's views.

Bernese blogger Stefan Schaer, who launched the online initiative, says that one of his objectives in doing so is to give people like Ganser a credible place to air their views, "where people who are taken seriously come out and say that they too would welcome elucidation."

Most security experts, however, remain skeptical. Although he too thinks the U.S. government is capable of dirty political tricks, Karl Haltiner, a military sociologist at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), says he also believes that democracy in the United States is solidly anchored and that the press is free. After the tragic events, he explains, investigative journalists pounced on the case, yet came up with no credible indications of a conspiracy.

German terrorism expert Rolf Tophoven believes that theories that the Bush administration staged or at least did not prevent 9/11 from happening are "pure nonsense."

"If you really want to know how the incident was planned and carried out, read what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said after his arrest. He was pulling the strings," says Tophoven, who isn't surprised that the 10th anniversary of the tragedy should drudge up a lot of murky theorizing.

"Some people in Germany are actually making a lot of money with this paranoid nonsense. And in Switzerland, I'm sure the press will give the stories a good run," he says.

Read the original article in German

Photo- slagheap

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Preparing a COVID-19 vaccine booster in Huzhou, China.

Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Ciao!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Brazil's senate backs "crimes against humanity" charges against Jair Bolsonaro, the UN has a grim new climate report and Dune gets a sequel. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt explores "Xi Jinping Thought," which is now being made part of Chinese schools' curriculum.

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Chinese students now required to learn to think like Xi Jinping

"Xi Jinping Thought" ideas on socialism have been spreading across the country since 2017. But now, Beijing is going one step further by making them part of the curriculum, from the elementary level all the way up to university, reports Maximilian Kalkhof in German daily Die Welt.

🇨🇳 It's important to strengthen the "determination to listen to and follow the party." Also, teaching materials should "cultivate patriotic feelings." So say the new guidelines issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The goal is to help Chinese students develop more "Marxist beliefs," and for that, the government wants its national curriculum to include "Xi Jinping Thought," the ideas, namely, of China's current leader. Behind this word jam is a plan to consolidate the power of the nation, the party and Xi himself.

📚 Starting in September, the country's 300 million students have had to study the doctrine, from elementary school into university. And in some cities, even that doesn't seem to be enough. Shanghai announced that its students from third to fifth grade would only take final exams in mathematics and Chinese, de facto deleting English as an examination subject. Beijing, in the meantime, announced that it would ban the use of unauthorized foreign textbooks in elementary and middle schools.

⚠️ But how does a country that enchants its youth with socialist ideology and personality cults rise to become a world power? Isn't giving up English as a global language the quickest way into isolation? The educational reform comes at a time when Beijing is brutally disciplining many areas of public life, from tech giants to the entertainment industry. It has made it difficult for Chinese technology companies to go public abroad, and some media have reported that a blanket ban on IPOs in the United States is on the cards in the next few years.

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Why this Sudan coup d'état is different

Three days since the military coup was set in motion in Sudan, the situation on the ground continues to be fluid. Reuters reports this morning that workers at the state petroleum company Sudapet are joining a nationwide civil disobedience movement called by trade unions in response to the generals' overthrow of the government. Doctors have also announced a strike.

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"Since the revolution that deposed Omar el-Bashir in 2019, the military have fancied themselves as generals in suits. They have continued to wield enough power to almost run a parallel government in tension with the prime minister. This was evident when the military continued to have the say on security and foreign affairs.

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#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

471 million euros

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Who wants to start the bidding on the Caravaggio villa? Otherwise, let us know what the news looks like from your corner of the world! info@worldcrunch.com!

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