Terrorists Inspired by Fiction

The Tom Clancy book Debt of Honor published in August 1994 first introduced the concept of a heavy passenger aircraft being used as a weapon by terrorists against a well defended building. In April 1994 there was an attempt to hijack and deliberately crash FedEx flight 705. It’s possible for a book to be changed 4 months before publication, but it seems unlikely that a significant plot point in a series of books was changed in such a small amount of time so it’s likely that Tom Clancy got the idea first. There have been other variations on that theme, such as the Yokosuka_MXY-7 Kamakazi flying bomb (known by the Allies as “Baka” which is Japanese for idiot). But Tom Clancy seemed to pioneer the idea of a commercial passenger jet being subverted for the purpose of ground attack.

7 years after Tom Clancy’s book was published the 911 hijackings happened.

The TV series Black Mirror first aired in 2011, and the first episode was about terrorists kidnapping a princess and demanding that the UK PM perform an indecent act with a pig for her release. While the plot was a little extreme (the entire series is extreme) the basic concept of sexual extortion based on terrorist acts is something that could be done in real life, and if terrorists were inspired by this they are taking longer than expected to do it.

Most democracies seem to end up with two major parties that are closely matched. Even if a government was strict about not negotiating with terrorists it seems likely that terrorists demanding that a politician perform an unusual sex act on TV would change things, supporters would be divided into groups that support and oppose negotiating. Discussions wouldn’t be as civil as when the negotiation involves money or freeing prisoners. If an election result was perceived to have been influenced by such terrorism then supporters of the side that lost would claim it to be unfair and reject the result. If the goal of terrorists was to cause chaos then that would be one way of achieving it, and they have had over 10 years to consider this possibility.

Are we overdue for a terror attack inspired by Black Mirror?

4 comments to Terrorists Inspired by Fiction

  • Not: Unless you are saying that terrorists forced members of an Oxford society to do necrophiliac/bestiality stuff this isn’t relevant to the issue of terrorist attacks. But probably the stupid and debauched actions of people who think they are better than everyone else is more of a threat to society than terrorists.

  • Just a note: The FedEx flight 705 Wikipedia page link is missing an end tag, and as such extends to the bottom of the page vhen viewed in some browsers such as Dillo.

    So far as the topic goes, I rather doubt that many people would trust a terrorist to let go of a hostage even if they got the naughty video they asked for. Such a demand would easily be portreyed as evidence of their insanity, and that tracking them down then sending in armed police was the only reasonable solution. Hmm, I’ll have to dig out that old “Siege Busters” documentary VHS again sometime…

  • Kev: thanks for mentioning the mistake.

    Why wouldn’t they trust terrorists to release hostages? It’s happened before. Anyway for a democracy the damage to the political process would happen regardless of whether the sex act in question happened, so the terrorists would still win.