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  Global Views
No Consensus On Who Was Behind 9/11: Poll
Less than Half Say Al Qaeda Was benind 9/11 Terror
One of the World Trade Center Center's Twin Towers caught fire after it was attacked by terrorists' airplanes in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. The towers were totally collapsed in the afternoon on the day.
Courtesy NYT & Ludlum

A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 17 nations finds that majorities in only nine of them believe that al Qaeda was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

In no country does a majority agree on another possible perpetrator, but in most countries significant minorities cite the US government itself and, in a few countries, Israel. These responses were given spontaneously to an open-ended question that did not offer response options.

On average, 46 percent say that al Qaeda was behind the attacks while 15 percent say the US government, seven percent Israel, and seven percent some other perpetrator. One in four say they do not know.

Given the extraordinary impact the 9/11 attacks have had on world affairs, it is remarkable that seven years later there is no international consensus about who was behind them," comments Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org.

Even in European countries, the majorities that say al Qaeda was behind 9/11 are not overwhelming. Fifty-six percent of Britons and Italians, 63 percent of French and 64 percent of Germans cite al Qaeda. However, significant portions of Britons (26%), French (23%), and Italians (21%) say they do not know who was behind 9/11. Remarkably, 23 percent of Germans cite the US government, as do 15 percent of Italians.

Publics in the Middle East are especially likely to name a perpetrator other than al Qaeda. In Egypt 43 percent say that Israel was behind the attacks, as do 31 percent in Jordan and 19 percent in the Palestinian Territories. The US government is named by 36 percent of Turks and 27 percent of Palestinians. The numbers who say al Qaeda was behind the attacks range from 11 percent in Jordan to 42 percent in the Palestinian Territories.

The only countries with overwhelming majorities citing al Qaeda are the African countries: Kenya (77%) and Nigeria (71%). In Nigeria, a large majority of Muslims (64%) also say that al Qaeda was behind the attacks (compared to 79% of Nigerian Christians).

The poll of 16,063 respondents was conducted between July 15 and August 31, 2008 by WorldPublicOpinion.org, a collaborative research project involving research centers from around the world and managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. Margins of error range from +/-3 to 4 percent.

Interviews were conducted in 17 nations, including most of the largest nations—China, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Russia—as well as Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, the Palestinian Territories, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and the Ukraine.

Respondents were asked "Who do you think was behind the 9/11 attacks?" and their answers were categorized into four response groups: "Al Qaeda," "the US government," Israel," or "Other." Any answers that approximated al Qaeda, such as "bin Laden" or "Islamic extremists," were categorized along with those who said al Qaeda. Those who simply characterized the perpetrators as "Arabs," "Saudis," or "Egyptians" (3% on average) were included in the "Other" category.

Respondents in Asia have mixed responses. Bare majorities in Taiwan (53%) and South Korea (51%) name al Qaeda, but 17 percent of South Koreans point to the US government and large numbers in both countries say they do not know (Taiwan 34%, South Korea 22%).

Majorities of Chinese (56%) and Indonesians (57%) say they do not know, with significant minorities citing the US government (Indonesia 14%, China 9%).

A clear majority of Russians (57%) and a plurality of Ukrainians (42%) say al Qaeda was behind the attacks. But significant minorities identify the US government (15% in both cases) and large numbers do not provide an answer (Ukrainians 39%, Russians 19%).

Out of all countries polled, Mexico has the second-largest number citing the US government as the perpetrator of 9/11 (30%, after Turkey at 36%). Only 33 percent name al Qaeda.

Though people with greater education generally have greater exposure to news, those with greater education are only slightly more likely to attribute 9/11 to al Qaeda. Steven Kull comments, "It does not appear that these beliefs can simply be attributed to a lack of exposure to information."

A stronger correlate of beliefs about 9/11 are respondents' attitudes about the United States. Those with a positive view of America's influence in the world are more likely to cite al Qaeda (on average 59%) than those with a negative view (40%). Those with a positive view of the United States are also less likely to blame the US government (7%) than those with a negative view (22%).

9/11: The September 11 attacks
Courtesy Wikipedia

Twin Towers Destroyed — The World Trade Center in New York City (often called WTC or Twin Towers) was a complex of seven buildings build in 1966 in Lower Manhattan. All seven original buildings in the complex were destroyed during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Three of the buildings collapsed. World Trade Center was the world's tallest building from 1972 to 1973.

The September 11 attacks (often referred to as 9/11) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the building, causing both buildings to collapse within two hours, destroying at least two nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers and members of the flight crew on the fourth aircraft attempted to retake control of their plane, which was heading for Washington, D.C. There are no known survivors from any of the flights.

Excluding the 19 hijackers, 2,974 people died in the attacks. Another 24 are missing and presumed dead. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 90 different countries. In addition, the death of at least one person from lung disease was ruled by a medical examiner to be a result of exposure to dust from the World Trade Center's collapse, as rescue and recovery workers were exposed to airborne contaminants following the buildings' collapse.

The United States responded to the attacks by declaring a War on Terrorism, launching an invasion of Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists, and enacting the USA PATRIOT Act. Many other nations also strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. Stock exchanges closed for almost a week, and posted enormous losses upon reopening, especially in the airline and insurance industries. The economy of Lower Manhattan ground to a halt, as billions of dollars in office space was damaged or destroyed.

The damage to the Pentagon was cleared and repaired within a year, and a small memorial was built on the site. Rebuilding the World Trade Center site has proven more difficult, with controversy over possible designs as well as the pace of construction. Construction delays, revised cost estimates, security concerns, and public criticism have all lead to significant changes and delays to the final plans in rebuilding the complex.

The above article is from World Public Opinion.




 

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