French publisher apologises for history textbook suggesting 9/11 ‘probably orchestrated by the CIA’


A French publisher has apologised after a history textbook suggested the 9/11 terror attacks were ‘undoubtedly orchestrated by the CIA’.

The book called History of the 20th Century in Flash Cards, is aimed at undergraduate students who study at France’s elite ‘grandes ecoles’ universities.

Written by Jean-Pierre Rocher, a teacher of history and geography and a graduate of the Sciences Po university in Paris, the work was published in November last year.

The phrase about the debunked conspiracy theory about the CIA’s involvement in the atrocity in New York in 2001 that saw nearly 3,000 people killed only came to light last week.

The daughter of a secondary school teacher bought a copy and spotted the reference to the CIA.

When discussing the rise of al-Qaeda and the ‘quadruple terrorist attack of 11/9 2001 on New York and Washington’, the author makes the disputed comments on page 204.

It states: ‘This world event was undoubtedly orchestrated by the CIA (secret services) to impose American influence on the Middle East? – hit the symbols of American power on its own territory.’

Ellipses, the publisher of the textbook, said on its website that this line should never have appeared in the book and apologised.

It said in French: ‘This phrase, which echoes conspiracy theories devoid of any factual basis should never have been used in this work. 

‘It does not reflect the editorial line of Ellipses publications or the author.’  

A spokesman for the Clionautes association for professors and geography said the reference was posted on a Facebook page for the group and drew a lot of comments. 

Bruno Modica told Le Monde: ‘This line takes over from a conspiracy thesis that we can hear in our classes, in the mouths of certain students, but which is unacceptable for it to be written by a teacher and in a publication of this type.’

Copies of the book which have not yet been distributed in bookstores will be corrected and this line about thee CIA will be removed. 

Brieuc Bénézer, CEO of Ellipses, added : ‘We have proofreading and supervision processes, but we let pass this baseless sentence, against our scientific values.

Today it emerged an al-Qaeda Islamist charged with plotting the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center will appearing court to face two CIA psychologists accused of torturing him. 

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, 55, was captured in Pakistan in the aftermath of the 2001 plane hijackings, before being locked up in the United States’ controversial Guantanamo Bay detention camp, where he remains.

While detained at the camp in Cuba, he was waterboarded and subjected to other gruelling forms of ‘enhanced interrogation’ devised by psychologists James Mitchell and John ‘Bruce’ Jessen.

Mohammed faces a death penalty trial in 2021, but defense attorneys are claiming his confession to the FBI should not be read out in evidence because it was given under extreme duress.


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