The American investment banker is crowdsourcing funds to crash a Boeing jet into an 80-storey building to see what happens next
There are few people in the world that would deny that the events of September 11th, 2001, forever changed history. But then again, there are a very vocal few who deny the official accounts of what happened that day, digging deep into the most implausible, the most irresponsible, and the most offensively outlandish conspiracy theories. These truthers, as they have become known in the last 15 years, show little sign of accepting the widely-accepted truth, that two passenger planes brought down three building in New York City. But now an American man wants your money to prove, once and for all, if it is possible, by repeating the process and crashing a plane into a building.
“We want to recreate the physics of the event of 9/11 as much as possible,” investment banker Paul Salo recently told Newstalk, when he spoke to The Right Hook. Crowdsourcing the money, Salo has set a target of $1.5m (€1.35m), and plans to – in as transparent a process as possible – smash a jet-fuel-filled aeroplane into an 80-story tower and see what happens. It is, for what of a better word, a crazy proposal. What exactly is Salo trying to (dis)prove?
“You know, I’ve spent most of my life overseas. I’ve lived overseas since 1989 in various countries,” Salo said on the phone from Shanghai. “Most of my life has been overseas and most of my friends have a different level of certainty of what the US government says is true or not true than the average American would have. There’s a lot of doubt about various aspects. Whether we’re talking about the JFK assassination, going to the moon, or talking about 9/11.”
Stressing that he is himself no conspiracy theorist, Salo has heard all of the possibilities put forward by those who refuse to accept the official accounts. Whether or not it was an inside job by the American administration, tacitly allowing Islamic fundamentalist terrorists to carry out the single most deadly attack on the United States for the purposes of rallying support to start a war in the Middle East, Salo doesn’t seem to care. He remembers that day, knowing a family member was on a flight to the US and waiting with gnawing uncertainty for confirmation of his safety. He remembers flying to New York while the debris of the World Trade Centre was still burning. What he is seeking is to see if it is possible for a jet to take down a skyscraper, and to offer some impartial evidence to either side of the great conspiratorial debate.
“See, there are the conspiracies, and the people who believe those. And then there are regular people who have some kind of doubt about some aspect.”
Those doubts often centre around the forgotten collapse in the midst of ground zero. Building Seven, not struck by any aeroplanes on that September morning, also collapsed.
“The same as a demolition, it was a perfect demolition. All three building fell straight down, and a lot of people wonder how is that possible?” Salo adds. “How is it possible that jet fuel could cause a fire that could burn the steel and the whole thing could fall down?”
So Salo wants to smash a jet into a tower and see what happens. As prospects go, it’s a hard one to sell, but he claims “the timeline is getting clearer by the moment.” Taking his years of experience as an investment banker in real estate, Salo is scouring the globe to find a suitable building for the experiment. Easier said than done, but the project hasn’t ruled out the prospect of custom-building their own out of modular steel and concrete structures. “Very modern, very new. They can build an 80-storey building in a very short time. So there are a couple of possibilities.”
The collapse of No. 7 World Trade Centre on September in September 2001 has long baffled many conspiracy theorists, considering it was never struck by a jet plane [Wiki Commons]
If sourcing a building is progressing relatively smoothly, Salo won’t deny that financing the project, dubbed the 9/11 Redux, has not been straightforward. Several crowdfunding websites on which Salo has pitched the project have dumped it, despite Salo revealing that donors had started to back him.
“The banks control how we spend our money and they also control crowd funding. Because the banks are behind those payment processors when you donate $100 to a crowdfunding project, the bank has to approve that. We got kicked off of a crowdfunding project. We had donations coming in and it was going very well, it was actually starting to pick up. And we got shut down. And I’m very worried about getting shut down again.”
Salo is, therefore, cutting out the middleman (“I don’t want to make it seem like a conspiracy, because it doesn’t sound like it, really.”), asking for donations directly on his website. And those with deep pockets can do so with the promise of a front-row seat if and when the project does materialise. He’s offering a bird’s eye view of a fully-loaded Boeing 747 smashing straight into a tower at 800km/h. All in the name of truth. And like any good truth-seeker, everything will be upfront and honest, he assures.
“If done correctly,” he says on his website, “It will either put doubts to rest for good or open Pandora’s Box.”