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Poll shows many Germans see U.S. behind Sept 11

Reuters
BERLIN, July 23, 2003

Almost one in three Germans below the age of 30 believes the U.S. government may have sponsored the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, according to a poll published on Wednesday.

And about 20 percent of Germans in all age groups hold this view, a survey of 1,000 people conducted for the weekly Die Zeit said.

It also said 68 percent of all Germans felt the media had not reported the full truth behind the attacks, in which some 3,000 people were killed when hijacked planes were crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

After the September 11 attacks, there was an outpouring of sympathy from Germans for the United States. Despite misgivings, Germany joined a military campaign against the al Qaeda network that Washington blamed for the attacks.

But as the United States geared up for war against Iraq, relations soured bady as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed vocal opposition to the plans.

Although the United States took strong offence at Berlin's attitude, Schroeder's anti-war stance was popular in Germany and helped him to snatch victory in last September's elections.

Asked whether they believed that the U.S. government could have ordered the September 11 attacks itself, 31 percent of those surveyed under the age of 30 in the poll answered "yes", while 19 percent overall gave the same answer.

Die Zeit said widespread disbelief about the reasons given by the United States for going to war in Iraq and suspicion about media coverage of the conflict had fostered a climate in which conspiracy theories flourished.

"The news is controlled," 17-year old Kenny Donaubaur was quoted as saying. "You could see that in the Iraq war. It doesn't seem to me thet you get the full truth."

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