Rumors of a “false flag” terror attack in Seattle on November 3 2019 spiked in popularity in specific shadowy corners of social media in late October 2019, although by that point, the highly specious claims were several weeks old.
A September 24 2019 YouTube video, “False Flag attack on Seattle on Nov 03, 2019,” was a frequently referenced and widely-shared and viewed element of the set of rumors.
This video follows a pattern of handwringing and pearl-clutching about imaginary upcoming “false flag” events and civil wars that appear to be disinformation specifically geared toward stirring unrest, almost down to the date. In 2017, a viral video from a man rumored to be “law enforcement” (who actually turned out to be a security guard and bounty hunter) sparked rumors of a “second civil war” on November 4th of that year; in 2019, disinformation purveyors pushed a similar event, but on October 16th. Needless to say, neither “warning” led to a single incident.
The video clocked in at 26:29 and was uploaded by user “kochen mit Willi” (“cooking with Willi”), an account that had until that point featured little more than cooking videos. It had the following description:
In this video I want to warn you of a possible False Flag attack in Seattle, that will take place on Nov 03, 2019.
In heavily accented English, the purportedly German YouTube creator greets “guys from America,” then begins by declaring:
I assume that a staged attack will happen in Seattle on November the 3rd 2019, that will kill thousands of people.
I know that this theory sounds absolutely crazy, but it cannot be a coincidence that for many years all the media have hinted that an attack is taking place in Seattle. It is not the first time that all media announced a staged attack in advance. Many years before the staged terrorist attacks in New York, the collapse of the Twin Towers was announced in all media.
In the first few seconds of the video, the narrator makes several questionable declarations: that it “cannot be a coincidence” that media images of destruction in Seattle have appeared “for many years,” that the media regularly announces a “staged attack … in advance,” and that the September 11 2011 attacks in New York City were both staged as well as announced in advance in the mainstream media.
Immediately thereafter, the narrator claims that he has proof of the media “announcing” that the September 11th 2001 attacks would take “ten hours,” then he simply flashes images on the screen to “prove” 9/11 was hinted in various forms of media before the attacks occurred. In the “examples” provided by the channel, images of superheroes and other cartoon characters from as far back as 1979 and 1980 are provided as “proof” that the media similarly predicted 9/11.
The narrator, deliberately or not, hits on a core element of successfully viral conspiracy claims. We have no notable examples of anyone “predicting” September 11th, but several events were deemed eerie or unsettling when retroactively viewed through a post-9/11 lens.
Examples of public fixation on things that became weird in the aftermath of the attacks are a viral “last sunset” on September 10 2001, later notable because it was one of the final images in existence of the World Trade Center before it collapsed. In a similar vein, there was the purported “only footage” of a plane striking the first tower on September 11th, video which proved to be compelling precisely because it carried an undercurrent of people being completely blindsided by what would be a major, tragic event in history.
In that sense, Americans (and clearly some Europeans) invoke a particular genre of post-9/11 introspection involving our inability to prevent the attack and its aftermath. When we look back at the weeks, months, and years before September 11th, we consider what we might have done differently to stop it — and part of that is tilting at windmills in the hopes that next time, we will see it and be able to prevent it, and in doing so, we alleviate some of the angst we feel about being caught so unaware.
As a genre, terrorism prediction or signs and secret transmissions perform well due to our unwavering fascination with and trauma due to the tragedy. At least five posts on Reddit’s r/conspiracy had to do with to the Seattle 11/3 false flag claim, some of which centered on this particular video:
A mainstay in conspiracy theories, one of the videos shared was more than two hours long, and hypothesized that The Simpsons had predicted a calamity in Seattle:
An episode of Wheel of Fortune that aired on 10/15/19,features Seattle as it’s backdrop, with prominent focus on the Space Needle. During one of the transitions to the co-host, two plasma-like animated balls of energy appear, then spiral directly into the middle of the Space Needle, with a very definite explosion effect.
Here’s the timestamp of the sequence
Here’s the Seattle Seahawks stadium, featuring plaques that seem to depict some kind of event. The artists official explanation is very ambiguous and wishy-washy. Kind of like he was told to say that. Some are speculating the plaques look like the Rapture (people being sucked into the sky), others say it may be a nuclear explosion. The sun, with a positive symbol in the center could indicate a plasma reaction, which is the immediate result of a nuclear explosion.
There’s dozens of other references in recent, and even not so recent media, that seems to be predictive programming for an attack on Seattle. I don’t want to overwhelm this post, so I’ve made it somewhat digestible. Make of this information what you will.
This false-flag event is supposed to happen on 11/3, during the Seahawks game.
In a linked video from Wheel of Fortune, the Seattle Space Needle is visible at the center of the stage. An interstitial of two light bursts transitions the shot of the stage to an outdoors scene, as part of the show. A commenter on the thread alleged that the original poster routinely posted low-quality content and regularly deleted their posts and comments when others objected:
In previous posts OP has made this same dumb claim about Seattle, a missing husband, and likes to source 4chan as a ‘news’ source.
OP consistently deletes their posted threads and post history.
In the original September 24 2019 video (“False Flag attack on Seattle on Nov 03, 2019”), the narrator provides four initial examples they curated of “predictive programming” in movies. Predictive programming is a concept routinely invoked by conspiracy theorists, due in part to its flexibility and efficiency in back-proving a claim. Proponents of theories involving predictive programming rarely if never address why perpetrators of false flags would risk getting caught to tip their hands in the form of media-embedded clues.
RationalWiki explains why, on balance, dropping clues to upcoming disasters and false flags is a non-sensical proposition on many levels:
The first [logical weakness with respect to predictive programming concerns] the question of why nobody in the entertainment industry has leaked [the existence of these planted clues] out. According to the example from [David] Icke mentioned above, the shot in Dark Knight Rises showing a close-up of a map with the name “Sandy Hook” visible is deliberate predictive programming. If that were the case, then logically several people involved in the shot would have been in on the conspiracy: the director, the cameraman, whoever obtained a map showing Sandy Hook as a prop, and the stage hand who positioned the map on the table in the right position. Or only 1 person using CGI; just the editor himself, an editorial underling or a single infiltrator.
If plans to commit mass murders are regularly being revealed to the entertainment industry, and the information is apparently reaching low-level workers such as cameramen and stage hands, then surely one of them would have blown the whistle by now? … The second problem is the heads-I-win-tails-you-lose nature of the claims: that the less plausible the claims, and the more contrived the link, the more powerful it must be.
The first of the four “predictive” films mentioned by the video’s narrator was direct-to-DVD movie Chaos from 2005, and the narrator points to a wristwatch visible on screen in one scene. That watch displays a time for which the minute hand is close to the “3” and the hour hand “11,” or roughly 11:15. When the narrator “fast forwards,” a door is blown in — to him, a clear sign Seattle (the movie’s setting) would be attacked on 11/3 (11:15) …but even assuming that this rather strange mathematical wizardry is legitimate (it isn’t) none of the “clues” from a 2005 film point to the year 2019.
Next up in the video is the 1983 film War Games, starring Matthew Broderick and released more than 35 years prior to 2019. The narrator chose a scene at the beginning, when Broderick’s character is making text-based selections in what he believes to be a video game. After choosing one of two sides (the Soviet Union versus the United States), Broderick’s character asks his female friend to choose two targets. The pair settle on Las Vegas first, and Seattle as their second selection.
Additional evidence, according to the video, is present in the film’s use of 311 as an area code, as “311” is November 3rd in Europe and Canada — although in the United States, that sequence would be read as March 11th. In films, 311 is also a fictional area code used in advertisements and media, and War Games is listed as one example of several films in which the sequence is used to represent an area code.
A third film example is the 2012 movie Red Dawn, which “centers on a group of young people who defend their hometown from a North Korean invasion” and is a remake of a 1984 film of the same name. As proof of this predictive programming, the narrator points to a shot of a Seattle Space Needle snow globe; however, the film is set in Spokane, Washington, not Seattle.
A fourth example is another direct-to-DVD movie, 2013’s Disney animated feature Super Buddies, and a scene where a superhero crash-lands in the front yard of a Seattle suburban home. No major catastrophe occurs, there’s just a rough landing on a lawn. Ultimately, the narrator concludes, “in all four films, an attack on Seattle was [suggested].”
From there, it veers into the often-inaccurate claim The Simpsons “predicted” or “predicts” things. As noted on other pages, The Simpsons’ long history on television and embedded in popular culture provides a vast amount of content from which innumerable conclusions could be “proved.” But more importantly, these so-called “Simpsons predictions” are often complete fabrications banking on the pop culture belief that the show has a history of accurately predicting upcoming events.
Next the video focuses on the purported preponderance of pop culture imagery involving “Seattle” and “fire,” cherry picking examples to suggest Seattle is often depicted in flames and citing the existence of a show called Seattle Firefighters is evidence of an implausible focus on the city and conflagration. It might not be as apparent to YouTube creators in Germany as it is to people living in the Pacific Northwest, but Seattle is actually one of the most populous cities in the United States and is a major metropolitan area.
Its next point is that the “real” Seattle Fire Department covers 311 kilometers of area — another “reference” to the date of November 3, or 3/11 in Europe. Incidentally, this is also untrue; per the Seattle Fire Department itself, its coverage area is 83.9 square miles, or about 135 kilometers, and then 193 miles of waterfront, which does translate to approximately 311 kilometers — but that’s only part of the larger coverage area. It is likely that the “researcher” in this video simply saw the “311” number somewhere and cherry-picked it to support a conclusion he had already made.
The Gish Gallop is the fallacious debate tactic of drowning your opponent in a flood of individually-weak arguments in order to prevent rebuttal of the whole argument collection without great effort. The Gish Gallop is a conveyor belt-fed version of the on the spot fallacy, as it’s unreasonable for anyone to have a well-composed answer immediately available to every argument present in the Gallop. The Gish Gallop is named after creationist Duane Gish, who often abused it.
Examples of Gish Gallops are commonly found online, in crank “list” articles that claim to show “X hundred reasons for (or against) Y”. At the highest levels of verbosity, with dozens upon dozens or even hundreds of minor arguments interlocking, each individual “reason” is — upon closer inspection — likely to consist of a few sentences at best. Gish Gallops are almost always performed with numerous other logical fallacies baked in. The myriad component arguments constituting the Gallop may typically intersperse a few perfectly uncontroversial claims — the basic validity of which are intended to lend undue credence to the Gallop at large — with a devious hodgepodge of half-truths, outright lies, red herrings and straw men — which, if not rebutted as the fallacies they are, pile up into egregious problems for the refuter.
From all we could see, claims of a “planned false flag attack” in Seattle on November 3 2019 (often rendered as 11/3 or 3/11) stem from a September 2019 video that relies on an increasingly bizarre and tenuous number of “clues” from four films picked at random and other pieces of pop culture to purportedly signal that some sort of an “attack” is “imminent.” It appears that the 11/3 or 3/11 date was cobbled together from an on-screen wristwatch in a 2005 film set in Seattle (but not about a terror attack there), the fictitious area code of 311 (3/11) seen in a 1983 movie next to “Seattle,” and other massive reaches. All of this specious “evidence” is cobbled together into a lengthy diatribe on YouTube, leading to viral rumors likely spread either by people who haven’t seen how thin “evidence” is for that particular claim or by those who have something to gain from rumor-driven panics.
In sum total, all “evidence” involved “predictive programming” clues found by retroactively cherry-picking popular media from the past four decades and nothing more.