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French Publisher Apologizes for Stating C.I.A. Was Behind 9/11 Attacks

How do you teach our children such lies!

“conspiracy theories devoid of any factual basis.” 😆😂🤣

French Publisher Apologizes for Stating C.I.A. Was Behind 9/11 Attacks

The company said the misinformation in its history textbook “echoes conspiracy theories devoid of any factual basis.”

A firefighter at the Sept. 11 memorial in New York last year. A French publishing company has issued a correction to a history textbook after it repeated a conspiracy theory about the 9/11 attacks. Credit…Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

By Derrick Bryson Taylor

  • Jan. 22, 2020

A French publishing company said Tuesday that it “bitterly regrets” allowing one of its history books to state that the C.I.A. orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that the misinformation echoed conspiracy theories “devoid of any factual basis.”

The book, “History of the 20th Century in Cards,” which covers French, European and world history in the 20th century, was published by Éditions Ellipses in November. It was intended for high school students and those preparing for university entrance exams.

In a chapter about Middle East conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries, a sentence about the attacks reads: “This world event — probably orchestrated by the C.I.A. (secret services) to impose American influence on the Middle East?”

The misinformation was initially discovered by a history teacher’s child, and it was widely discussed this week in a closed Facebook group for members of Les Clionautes, an association for history and geography teachers, Bruno Modica, a spokesman for the association, said on Tuesday.

The author of the book, Jean-Pierre Rocher, is a graduate of Sciences Po Paris and a professor of history and geography. Mr. Rocher is an author of at least six books with Ellipses, according to the publisher.

Ellipses said in a statement on its website that Mr. Rocher wished to “delete” the sentence. It “echoes conspiracy theories devoid of any factual basis” and it should have never been used in the book, the statement said.

“It does not reflect the editorial line of Ellipses or the position of its author,” the statement continued.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, Ellipses said it regretted allowing the sentence to be printed. “Of course, opinions can be freely expressed in our works, but in no case can an inaccurate or unfounded fact be presented as an objective truth,” it said.

The company also said it had made a formal correction to the book both in print and online.

A spokeswoman for Ellipses did not answer questions on Tuesday about the company’s editing practices. Attempts to reach Mr. Rocher for comment on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

It was unimaginable that such a mistake would appear in a textbook, Mr. Modica said, adding that Ellipses’s actions to correct the error were enough. “I think the author is completely burned out,” he said. “But maybe when you want to write too fast, you can find yourself in difficult situations.”

Conspiracy theories claiming the American government’s involvement in the events of 9/11 are not uncommon. Some radio hosts, academics and amateur filmmakers have suggested the George W. Bush administration wanted to use the attacks to justify military action in the Middle East. To refute those theories, the State Department and a federal science agency issued reports reiterating that the attacks were caused by hijackers who used planes as weapons.

Teachings of the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in Lower Manhattan, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa., vary across the globe.

In Pakistan, the attacks are briefly mentioned in textbooks; and in Hong Kong, students are encouraged to role-play the events. Some textbooks for children in Western Europe use 9/11 to highlight the perceived threat of Islamic extremism, often using references to “Islamic fundamentalism” or “Islamic terrorism.”

Textbooks in the United States in the early 2000s portrayed the attacks as a reason for patriotism and heroism, but recent books use graphic images of planes crashing into the twin towers and panic on the streets. Some recent materials provided little information about the events and others neglected to say how many people were killed or who was responsible for the attacks.

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