French buy into 9/11 conspiracy
PARIS, France (CNN) -- Throughout the spring, and into this summer, a leading bestseller in France has not been some great work of French literature but a $17-dollar paperback called the "Horrifying Fraud."
The book casts doubt on the official version of the events of September 11, substituting an elaborate conspiracy concocted by America's military-industrial complex in order to increase U.S. military budgets.
It has sold more than 200,000 copies here -- a huge success in French terms --attracting interest from readers like Eduard Chabanon and Naoufal Lahlou who are sceptical about much of what they are learn from the news.
Lahlou said: "There is always doubt. I haven't seen any proof that shows that man walked on the moon."
Thierry Meyssan, author of "The Horrifying Fraud," does believe man walked on the moon, but insists, among other things, that it was not a hijacked American Airlines 757 that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11 but a missile fired by the military itself.
Meyssan said: "The official version is incomplete and on certain points is wrong. This bombing was not done with a plane but a missile. As far as we are concerned the plane was destroyed in Ohio.
Although he did not personally travel to the U.S. for his research and does not claim to be an expert, Meyssan bases his theory -- and now a follow up book defending his theory -- on his own analysis of official documents.
He also uses photographs which he says do not show much that looks like an airplane and do show a hole in the Pentagon which is too small, he claims, to be caused by a jumbo jet.
But photographs Meyssan left out, including some by CNN's Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre, picture debris that clearly came from the hijacked plane.
A Pentagon spokesperson, Victoria Clarke, called the book disgusting.
She said: "There is no question, there is no doubt what happened that day. And I think it's appalling that anyone might try to put out that kind of myth.
"I think it's also appalling for anyone to continue to give those sorts of people any kind of publicity. "
Some French writers also are appalled. Guillaume Desquier and another investigative journalist wrote a blistering rebuttal of Meyssan's book fearing it would reflect badly on serious authors like themselves.
By the first anniversary of September 11 Meyssan hopes to have his book out in 18 countries, including the United States, although in America, he says, he is having to publish it himself because no mainstream publisher would take it on -- apparently out of fear of law suits.
Still the conspiracy theory business is a good one. In addition to selling hundreds of thousands of copies of his first book, Meyssan's follow-up sold 15,000 copies two days after launch and is now number seven on one bestseller list -- bestsellers that earn Meyssan 10 to 15 percent of every transaction.
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