The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho is coming to the conclusion that home-grown pyro-terrorists are setting wildfires! As the 2013 season of devastating wildfires continues to rage across the American West, this question of arson as a form of major terrorism is being seriously raised.
Already this year, 35,440 reported fires have burned a total of 3.9 million acres, with a quarter-million acres scorched in the iconic Yosemite National Park ( right ). Large blazes continue to burn in several states, with six alive in Idaho, five each in California and Montana, and one each in Alaska, Louisiana, Oregon, Texas and Washington. This time last year, 45,278 fires had burned 7.9 million acres, and in 2011, there were 55,619 fires devastating 7.2 million acres.
In July, 2012, William (Bill) Scott ( below, left ), a former National Security Agency official and Aviation Week editor, was first to tell the American Center for Democracy that terrorists are using fire as a tactical weapon of war. ''Perhaps the most simple form of economic warfare is wild land arson,'' Scott said in his ''Fire Wars'' presentation. ''That's just setting fires in the U.S. forests and grasslands. For any terrorists that are determined to inflict significant damage with very little investment or risk, fire is an extremely high-leverage weapon of mass effect.'' Scott explained that after U.S. Navy SEALS killed al-Qaida chief, Osama bin Laden, they ''captured a treasure trove of material that provided some unprecedented insight into the al-Qaida plans. And one of those was a detailed campaign for starting fires throughout the American West. U.S. officials have pretty much determined that some of the fires that burned in California [in 2011] were ignited by al-Qaida operatives.''
An editorial in June by the Washington Examiner noted, ''Those trying to downplay the threat of terrorism have dismissed such a possibility as paranoid. As Americans have learned in 2001, and again as recently as 2012 in Benghazi and 2013 with the Boston Marathon bombing, terrorist threats are not something to take lightly.'' This year's wildfire in Yosemite started August 17th in the Stanislaus National Forest, but authorities believe it was not an act of terror. They said a hunter's illegal fire swept out of control, torching 394 square miles of timber,, meadows and sensitive wildlife habitat. It cost more than $89 million to fight, and officials say it will cost tens of millions of dollars more to repair the environmental damage alone.
In June of this year, an Islamic expert on Islamic terrorism believes a wildfire that ravaged the outskirts of Colorado Springs, killing two people and destroying more than 500 homes, should be examined by terror investigators. That blaze caused more than $85 million in damage, but that figure is expected to rise to possibly $120 million. Sheriff Terry Maketa at the time said, ''The causes for most forest fires are limited to electrical problems, camp fires or grills, accidents such as a car fire and sparks from chain saws. Those causes, to an expert investigator, are readilty identifiable. Our firefighters have ruled out natural causes and I can't really go any further on that, but I can say we are sure it was not a lightening strike.''
At the American Center for Democracy, noted terror funding expert Rachel Ehrenfeld (whose book Funding Evil exposes Saudi links to terrorism) mentioned that Bill Scott revealed he found in al-Qaida's English -language online magazine, Inspire, a published 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, has also warned, ''Al-Qaida was complicit in recent forest fires in Europe as part of these terrorists 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.'' The press reported Don Smurthwaite, a Bureau of Land Management spokesman, ''downplayed'' Ehrenfeld's ideas, ''but he didn't dismiss the notion outright.''
The Way I See It......when you even have the Christian Broadcasting Network reporting that al-Qaida was advising would-be pyro-terrorists how to best burn America, I would be taking this ''notion'' very seriously. The CBNetwork revealed 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 is ''all designed to cause the maximum amount of carnage and death.''
I have seen an Arabic-language jihadi website that posted a message purporting to be ''al-Qaida's plan of economic attack'' on the United States that includes proposals to turn the nation's forests into raging infernos. A senior al-Qaida detainee told FBI interrogators he planned to spark multiple, catastrophic wildfires simultaneously in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming to strike a blow to the U.S. economy. This fits in nicely with documents uncovered during an operation in a remote area along the Pakistan border that revealed that bin Laden wanted al-Qaida home-grown operatives to launch a ''global fireball'' by lighting forest fires in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and South America. As I said in previous postings, the infiltration of al-Qaida scum and home-grown sympathizers is the most worrying that the world is facing right now.