Richard Gage is an architect in the USA, and the lead promoter of a theory that the collapse of the twin World Trade Towers (and WT-7) in New York, was not caused by islamic fundamentalists after all. We’ve added a poll that you can vote on here, just to the right of this article. Please vote! He is also at present in New Zealand, and spoke on Kim Hill’s show this morning, and at Te Papa this afternoon: calling stridently for a new, proper, and thorough investigation. According to him, supposedly the buildings can only have been detonated by professionals, and the plane crashes were just a cover story. It is an interesting theory, and we’ll try to remain fairly neutral about it: he is collecting signatures and donations to support the movement. So far he has 976 architects and engineers who have signed up to his theory: and according to the donation logger on his website, he has collected only $20 so far in New Zealand. In America, some people take this very seriously indeed. Some of our members are strong believers in what he says, while others may be in disbelief or outright denial. In any case, Arch Centre’s web pages are a welcome venue for you to discuss the matter below.
However, for someone putting up such a convincing argument, I’m surprised that the number of signees he has is so low. There are over a thousand architects in New Zealand, and I’ve never tried to count the number of engineers; from memory there are something like 28,000 architects in the UK, and so I’m picking that there would be well over 100,000 architects in the USA. So, just under one hundredth of that who have signed up would seem to fit the 1 in 100 crackpot fringe numbers, leaving 99% of the USA architectural population as sceptics, deniers, or at least non-believers.
The immediate problem that most people have is of course that they saw on TV (and over and over again) the 2 planes impacting into the side of the Twin Towers, and then an hour or so later, the collapse of the towers, one after another. In New Zealand of course it was already the 12th of September, when we awoke to watch the terrible destruction. It seemed to me at the time fairly obvious that the buildings would not have lasted, for all that had to happen was for one floor to break off and land on another, and the impact of dropping a 10-20 storey building the 3m onto the floor below would inevitably cause a domino effect on the floors below. True enough, within minutes of waking we watched the buildings pancaking down floor after floor into the massive basements.
To blame the purposeful death of 3000 innocent people on the American government is a fairly audacious act – one that Mr Gage at least does not say directly. He does however repeatedly call for a new investigation. Much as one can agree that the invasion of Iraq was never really over democracy, but really over oil, and as odious and idiotic a president as George W Bush was: to take the step of blowing up your own citizens and destroying your own financial market headquarters seems more than a little extreme.
To ask a President who can barely string together a coherent sentence (the David Letterman show presented every night for about 2 years the segment “Great Moments in Presidential History” ridiculing W’s umming and arrring) to authorise a top secret explosion of three buildings, with Thermite high explosive hidden inside every single structural joint in the lift shafts, and to keep the hundreds of workmen co-ordinated and quiet (perhaps paid off or perhaps assassinated without notice), to schedule a FEMA mock rescue for the area on the same day and yet not let on that they may have real practice on their hands – or even more fancifully, to sneak inside the buildings while they were burning, and blow them that way, seems more than likely to be just slightly implausible.
Having just been on a project where to even get the relevant sub-contractor to turn up and do their work on time was a major issue with programme, it seems somewhat improbable that any project manager worth their all American salt could wrangle the necessary man-power into unleashing that kind of organisation. On the other hand, if it was the US military, or CIA, or FBI, or NCIS, or CSI, then we all watch TV which shows just how good these guys and girls are at finding, working out, uncovering, exposing, infiltrating, carrying out, and in some cases, shooting all the possibly guilty parties so that we will never really know what happened – all within a single half hour programme – then it all seems totally likely.