By Michael Webster: Syndicated Investigative Reporter
Among the cache of materials captured by the Navy SEALS from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abottabad, Pakistan, are the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda’s plans, including “a detailed campaign to start fires throughout the [American] West. U.S. officials have determined that some of the fires that burnt in California last year were ignited by al-Qaeda operatives.”
WND reported websites run by jihadis made claims of arson in a number of California wildfires.
WND also reported that an Arabic-language jihadi website also posted a message purporting to be “al-Qaida’s plan of economic attack” on the U.S. that including proposals to turn the nation’s forests into raging infernos.
The National Terror Alert Response Center report said: “We are NOT implying that the California fires are an act of terrorism; however, the threat of pyro-terrorist attacks pose a significant risk to the U.S. and the fires in California and Greece earlier this year should be a wake-up call.”
The FBI through a memo warned that national forests in the West could be the next target for terror by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.
The memo, obtained by the Arizona Republic, warned law enforcement that a senior al-Qaida detainee told interrogators he planned to spark multiple, catastrophic wildfires simultaneously in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming to strike a blow to the U.S. economy.
Further reports say documents recovered from a remote area along the Pakistan border revealed that bin Laden wanted al-Qaida to launch a “global fireball” by lighting forest fires in Europe, the United States, Australia and South America.”
The documents, uncovered during an operation led by the British intelligence service Mi6, were described by experts in that agency as “the most worrying [plot] that the world is facing.”
Speaker William Scott, author of Space Wars and a former NSA official and editor of Aviation Week, said that a subtle form of economic warfare is wild land arson — setting fires in U.S. forests and grasslands. Scott, who’s a senior fellow at ACD, warned about such a scenario recently, speaking at the ACD-EWI Economic Threats briefing on Capital Hill,”
An expert on aerial firefighting, he presented a sobering analysis of the devastating (2012) Waldo Canyon Fire [in Colorado], pointing out that the striking rise [in] Western U.S. wildfires may be caused by elements other than nature. As an expert on Islamic terrorism he believes the wildfire that ravaged the outskirts of Colorado Springs, killing two people and destroying more than 500 homes, could have been the work of terrorists and should be examined by terror investigators.
That’s because of the history of threats from al-Qaida and others to burn America’s forests.
Authorities in El Paso County Colorado said they are focusing on a very tiny spot in their hunt for the reason the flames erupted in the mature stand of Ponderosa pines. The fire moved quickly out of control and incinerated homes and people alike with temperatures up to 2,500 degrees.
“One thing that my investigators have given me the authority to state is that they have all but ruled out natural causes as the cause of this fire,” said Constitutional Sheriff Terry Maketa. “I can’t really go any further on that, but I can say we are pretty confident it was not, for instance, a lightning strike.”
The causes for most forest fires are limited to electrical problems, campfires or grills that get out of control, accidents such as a car fire and sparks from chain saws or other back-country tools.
Those causes, to an expert investigator, are readily identifiable.
But authorities said they were focusing on a 28-foot square patch where they believe the fire started, examining some portions with a magnifying glass.
The Blaze reported Twain Harte Fire Chief Todd McNeal battling the Yosemite Rim Fire said that while the cause is still under investigation, “We don’t know the exact cause,” said McNeal. But the firefighter of 23-years reportedly said at a community meeting that it was “highly suspect we know it’s human caused. There was no lightning in the area,” he added.
McNeal has fought fires with the Forest Service, the National Park Service and other agencies in the Sierra Nevada.
Meanwhile, as some 51 large uncontained wildfires burn across America, the federal government is fast running out of money to fight them as the terrorist predicted — just in time for the peak fire season. The U.S. Forest Service is down to $50 million — enough to pay for only a few days of fighting fires — after spending over $1 Billion so far this year.
No one knows for sure or at list not saying what started the Rim Fire, the 350,000 acre blaze that's raging through the western side of Yosemite National Park. But almost to date 4,000 firefighters have been dispatched to try to stop it using water and flame retardant helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, bulldozers, and Hot Shot fire fighters, along with observation drones. Although the situation is starting to look up—70 to 75 percent of the fire is now contained, up from 0 percent just a few days ago—the authorities predict the fire will keep spreading, and fast, in days to come and could burn for months.
There are many reasons other than terrorists why you should be concerned about such a fire in Yosemite. It is a USA national land mark and is the nation’s premier national park. Yosemite, the size of some eastern states, receives around 4 million visitors per year and is home to iconic groves of the worlds largest trees the mighty sequoias, endangered species like the California bighorn sheep, and some of the best known and famous mountain back country hiking trails to be found anywhere, such as Half Dome and El Capitan. The fire is now one of the 3rd largest fires in California history. It started on August 17 in a remote area of the forest and initially doubled in size every day. Currently, it's bigger than San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose combined. It threatens thousands of homes and structures.
With an estimated 120 destroyed including a summer camp.
Two groves of treasured sequoia trees are currently within miles of the fire.
A National Park Service fire crew builds a sprinkler system around a grove of sequoias. USDA/Flickr
The fire is close to two of Yosemite's groves of sequoia trees, the Tuolumne Grove and the Merced Grove. Firefighters have surrounded the sequoias, many of which stand hundreds of feet high and are well over a thousand years old, with sprinklers and cleared the area of brush to try to keep the fire at bay.
At the American Center for Democracy, noted terror funding expert Rachel Ehrenfeld suggested circumstances of these fires are a little suspicious.
“She noted that in spring 2012, al-Qaida’s English-language online magazine, Inspire, published an article called ‘It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb,’ which featured instructions on how to build an incendiary bomb to light forests on fire.”
She explained that Russia’s security chief, Aleksandr Bortnikov, also has warned, “Al-Qaida was complicit in recent forest fires in Europe” as part of terrorism’s “strategy of a thousand cuts.”
“Since then, more fatwas advocating that ‘fire is a cheap, easy and effective tool for economic warfare’ have been issued,” Ehrenfeld wrote. “They’ve included detailed instructions for constructing remote-controlled ‘ember bombs, and how to set fires without leaving a trace.’”
Israel’s forests also have been targeted, she noted.
While many of the fires that have scorched millions of acres and destroyed thousands of homes in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and other states have been identified as arson, none has been publicly attributed to criminal or terrorist groups, despite the presence of Mexican Drug Cartel gangs and there growing of Marijuana groves in our National Forests and in our Western states.
Mother Jones reported Don Smurthwaite, a Bureau of Land Management spokesman, “downplayed” Ehrenfeld’s ideas, “but he didn’t dismiss the notion outright.”
“We don’t have any hard evidence that any wildfires in the U.S. were started by terrorists in recent years,” he told the publication. “But is it a possibility? Certainly.”
He noted the last confirmed weaponized wildfires were in World War II, when the Japanese sent incendiary balloons across the Pacific.
However, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported al-Qaida was advising would-be terrorists how best to burn America.
The terror group’s magazine included pictures, diagrams and explanations on how to start fires to obtain the most damage.
CBN analyst Erick Stakelbeck said the extreme detail provides reason for concern. The information, he said, is “all designed to cause the maximum amount of carnage and death.”
CBN noted that in the U.S., more houses are built in the countryside than in the cities and cited a Montana fire chief who said the prospect of a wildfire terrorist attack was not farfetched.
Inspire is an English language online magazine reported to be published by the organization al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The use of the magazine is to increase the availability of their message without challenges to their value system. The magazine is one of the many ways AQAP uses the Internet to reach its audience. Numerous international and domestic extremists motivated by radical interpretations of Islam have been influenced by the magazine and, in some cases, reportedly used its bomb making instructions in their attempts to carry out attacks. The magazine is an important brand-building tool, not just of AQAP, but of all al-Qaeda branches, franchises and affiliates
Here is an important video of an Economic Warfare panel on July 9, 2012, from the American Center for Democracy.
American Center for Democracy
The National Terror Alert Response Center
- Michael Webster’s Syndicated Investigative Reports have been read worldwide, in 100 or more U.S. outlets and in at least 136 countries and territories. He publishes articles in association with global news agencies and media information services with more than 350 news affiliates in 136 countries. Many of Mr. Webster’s articles are printed in six working languages: English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish. With ten more languages planed in the near future.
- Mr. Webster is America's leading authority on Venture Capital/Equity Funding. He served as a trustee on some of the nation’s largest trade Union funds. A noted Author, Lecturer, Educator, Emergency Manager, Counter-Terrorist, War on Drugs and War on Terrorist Specialist, Business Consultant, Newspaper Publisher. Radio News caster. Labor Law generalist, Teamster Union Business Agent, General Organizer, Union Rank and File Member Grievances Representative, NLRB Union Representative, Union Contract Negotiator, Workers Compensation Appeals Board Hearing Representative. Mr. Webster represented management on that side of the table as the former Director of Federated of Nevada. Mr. Webster publishes on-line newspapers atwww.lagunajournal.com and www.usborderfirereport.com and does investigative reports for print, electronic and on-line News Agencies. All of Mr. Webster's articles, books/CD's can be read or downloaded free at:http://www.lagunajournal.com/michael_webster.htm or MICHAEL WEBSTER'S OTHER WRITINGS Contact e-mail: email@example.com
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