June 4, 2002







"Forward this to everyone you know!"
E-mail hoaxes, lies, ran rampant after terrorist attacks

In the Internet age, perhaps the greatest source of misinformation is the Forward button.

Following September 11, the email rumor mill went into high-gear, churning out conspiracy theories, urban legends and multiple accusations of people celebrating the acts of terror. Some of the worst and most forwarded lies include:

What Happened on 9/11
• A truck bomb, not an airplane, blew up the Pentagon. Comes with pictures as "proof."
• A man rode the rubble down the World Trade Center collapse and survived.
• Victims were found still belted into their airplane seats in an apartment near Ground Zero.
• A Bible was unburned in the Pentagon blast zone and protected the areas around it.
U.S. Government
• During the post-Sept. 11flight ban, President Bush arranged to fly Osama bin Laden's relatives out of the United States.
• Bush convened an Office of the Presidential Prayer Team to get one percent of Americans to pray for Bush regularly.
• A few years ago, Israel released future Sept. 11 terrorist Mohammed Atta from custody at the insistence of the U.S. State Department.
• A man witnessed a group of Jews standing on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River waiting for the planes to hit. When they did, they high-fived and took photos of themselves celebrating in front of the destruction, thus proving that Israel was behind the terrorism.
• A nurse saw employees in a local Middle Eastern restaurant celebrating on September 11. (This email rumor has led to the financial ruin of the establishment, the Wall Street Journal reported.)
• Arab employees of Dunkin Donuts across America burned American flags on September 11.
• A Budweiser distributor refused to service a 7-11 outlet where he saw employees celebrating.
Corporate Smears
• Amazon.com is partnered with a pro-Palestinian website.
• Osama bin Laden owns Citibank.
• Osama bin Laden owns Snapple.
• Osama bin Laden owns the primary supplier of the food additive "gum Arabic."
Misattributed Speeches
• Retired U.S. Air Force General Dick Hawley promoted warfare and racial profiling in a speech. (It was actually an adapted column by humorist Larry Miller.)
• John Glenn penned a column blasting neglect of the US military. (It was actually a Canadian radio broadcast from 1973.)
• Oliver North warned the world about Osama bin Laden during the 1987 Iran-Contra hearings.
• Upon visiting Ground Zero, a reporter asked Muhammad Ali how he felt about sharing a faith with the terrorists. He replied, "How do you feel about Hitler sharing yours?"

You can read more hoaxes on the War on Terrorism at http:// www.snopes2.com/rumors/rumors.htm and http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blxterror.htm.

Eric Meyerson

Back to Magazine contents


| Magazine | Subscribe | 360 News | About us | Home