Star Tribune

Some look back to 9/11 and see a U.S. conspiracy

Some look back to 9/11 and see a U.S. conspiracy

In the five years since the attacks, theories of a U.S. government conspiracy took root and grew, particularly in the Upper Midwest.

Bob Von Sternberg, Star Tribune
Last update: September 05, 2006 – 10:35 PM

As the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks looms, skepticism about the official version of the atrocities that day has gained traction in the minds of many Americans and among a small, but growing, number of academics.

It's following a well-trod path in American culture, in which belief in conspiracy theories grows as a traumatic event recedes into history -- think the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Adherents to the idea that the government orchestrated the attacks, or at least allowed them to happen, come from across the political spectrum. And the Upper Midwest has been an incubator of sorts for these notions.

An instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison kicked up a statewide political ruckus this summer that had several politicians calling for his head because of his views.

The UW instructor, self-described Arabist Kevin Barrett, said his antagonists, mostly Republican officeholders, "are a bunch of witch-hunting politicians who are obviously terrified that their hold on power will be utterly annihilated."