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'Lone Gunmen' Series Presaged 9–11

By David Cogswell

Online Journal Contributing Writer

November 14, 2002—At the peace rally in Washington, DC, on October 26, I had the good fortune of running into Jonathan Inskeep, who told me about a fascinating TV program aired March 4, 2001, on Fox that foretold the 9–11 attacks on the World Trade Center, with some fascinating twists.

In that story, a faction within the government organized a remote control takeover of a commercial airline, which it then aimed into the World Trade Center. The motive was to stimulate business for the weapons industry, which had been suffering since the end of the Cold War.

In this version of reality, the plot was discovered by a government employee who was not part of the faction, a good guy, a law-abiding citizen who worked for the government and really believed in the laws. To cut to the chase, the heroes of the story manage to thwart the disaster. One of them hacks the Defense Department computers and manages to restore the pilots' ability to manually override the remote control just moments before the plane would have crashed into the south tower.

The climactic scene shows the plane heading into the tower at night from the south, and when the manual override is restored, the pilots lift the plane, just barely missing the Trade Center.

You can see the scene on the Web through a link at the TV Guide website.

The program was the pilot in a series that was spun off from The X-Files by its creator Chris Carter. The new series centers around three hackers and publishers of a conspiracy zine called "The Lone Gunmen." Their names are Melvin Frohike, Ringo Langly and John Fitzgerald Byers. according to TV Guide, the story was written by Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban.

Inskeep has a tape of the program and he showed it to me. He said that other than the TV Guide article dated June 21, 2002, he has found no other published report that remarks on the similarity of the story to what really happened. The TV Guide story mentions that the planes were remotely piloted, saying, "Unlike the actual attacks, there was no suicide hijacker in the Gunmen climax; the terrorists attempted to remotely steer the plane into the skyscraper."

Of course since the White House has successfully blocked a thorough, independent investigation, we can't definitely rule out the possibility of remote piloting. In fact, a number of the alleged hijackers whose pictures were released by authorities almost immediately after the incident, were later found to be alive. We don't know who was on the flight, and we don't know if they knew the craft was being driven into a skyscraper.

The TV Guide article neglects to mention another major element of the plot. It mentions "terrorists," but never mentions that the terrorists in the story were Americans, part of the government, and they were doing it to create public support for war in order to fuel the weapons industry. This particular parallel was apparently too too disturbing to mention.

To bundle together two aphorisms, let us remember that while life imitates art, truth remains stranger than fiction. We know that the Joint Chiefs of Staff submitted a plan called Operation Northwoods during the Kennedy presidency, in which they advocated terrorist attacks in American cities in order to stir up support for an invasion of Cuba.

And just this week the CIA carried out an assassination from a drone plane, a plane with no driver, remotely controlled from the air. And we know that remote control systems are in commercial aircraft now too. (See Drones of Death.)

Funny how a Hollywood series could anticipate the 911 scenario, but the multi-billion dollar defense and intelligence establishment was caught totally off guard. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney say no one ever thought of flying hijacked aircraft into buildings before. And they are honorable men. So are they all, all honorable men.

For more info on the series, see and Television City.

David Cogswell publishes Headblast.

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