Al Qaeda and the California Fires

IS it possible that al Qaeda started the fires in California?

Forest fires aren’t really their style.

Anything is possible, but Occam’s Razor would tend to suggest otherwise. California, parts of California anyway, burns every year. It has a Mediterranean climate and a fire-adapted and fire-prone flora. The rainy season lasts for three or four months in the winter and that’s it - the rest of the year it is generally tinderbox-city in much of the state, especially the central and southern coasts ranges. Believe me, when I took a graduate course in Fire Ecology way back when, there were no shortage of good first- and second-year burn sites to visit all around the state ( and especially in SoCal ).

The idea that al-Qaeda would potentially expose a precious sleeper cell, just to set some fires that would probably be dismissed as just another day in the life of California, seems remote. Besides, wildland fires are a poor choice of weapon, as you never know when and if it will take - sometimes they are spectacular, sometimes they are caught and easily contained, sometimes they just gutter out on their own. Mother Nature is fickle.

  • Tamerlane

The link is a rehash of ideas suggested back in June. Back in June no evidence was uncovered supporting any terrorist activities to starting forest fires in the US.

There currently is no published evidence supporting the latest news article, a rehash of the June article.

Is it possible? Yes, but that is about as far as it goes. Until any evidence is uncovered to support the hypothesis, highly doubtful.

In addition, consider the source of this “news article.” The author merely touches upon the theory, then goes to great lengths to support it from evidence of such activties overseas. The author has yet to make the bridge across the ocean.

While the fires here in Southern California are bad, they are definitely creating a sense of terror. I suppose if your home is close to an approaching fire, then you might feel different, but the vast majority of Southern Californians aren’t that terrified. Concerned, but not terrified.

One would think that fires that would cause a much greater loss of life than these already have would be started even closer to populated areas.

It’s possible. And the AZ Republic did print a store in July about a captured Al Qaeda operative who said there was a plan to set fires in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

But still, I have to ask: What’s the point of terrorism that looks like an accident?

Why does it have to look like an accident? They can send a letter the day before they do it, so it arrives the day after.

I’ve wondered about that tactic for a while. It’s incredibly easy to fly over a dry area and drop molotov cocktails, and it would be almost impossible to catch the person who did it.

I disagree with most of the replies. I raised this as an issue when Sydney was burning last November and most people seemed to think I was full of it, but…

Sure, fires are an almost annual event. They are frightening enough, but don’t terrorise the entire population. But, if a terrorist group such as A Q were going to spend lots of time and money planning a traditional (bomb etc) big urban attack, then for a mere hundred bucks or so extra, they could manufacture timed incendiary devices which could be laid in forest areas with relatively little fear of arrest in comparison to the preparations for the main terrorist event (heck, schoolboys commit mere arson).

To those who say the terrorists wouldn’t lower themselves to a mere forest fire, I agree. As a primary attack, that is. But it seems resaonable enough to me to consider that forest fires started by terrorists hours before a “real” attack would divert emergency personnel and equipment, scare and confuse the population, block freeways, you name it…

Just imagine if NYC was surrounded by dry forests, and they had been burning on 9/11. Hullo? Where are our firefighters? Why they’re fighting forest fires outside the city, and will need hours to re-mobilise in lower Manhattan. For a few dollars worth of odds and ends from a hobby store, these fires are an ideal option for terrorists. YMMV.

Actually, I came up with my own tin-foil hat conspiracy theory this weekend. Check this out:

  • California fires are part of the ecology. Some types of brush actually NEED fire for their seeds to germinate. Been this way for millions of years, and it was never a problem until the Europeans invaded and started building lots of boxy little homes everywhere.

The government knows this, and indeed the Dept. of Forestry does “controlled” burns all the time, to clear away overgrown areas and create fire breaks. But that’s expensive, and people tend to object, esp. on the rare occasion where the fire gets out of control and burns a few houses. (It’s happened a few times.)

So much easier and cheaper, then, to wait until conditions are most ripe, and toss a few matches. And blame some faceless arsonist. (Ever notice they never get caught?) And the insurance companies reap in profits, and the gov’t gets a perfect excuse for bigger deficits and/or more taxes.

And helicopters! Ever notice, with every fire, you see helicopters? They’re not black, but that’s because the black ones hide in the smoke. But if you look close enough…

[Uh-oh, just got an evacuation notice. Hmm, I didn’t know the evacuation people drove black limousines and wore sunglasses at night. At least they’re offering me a ride. See ya guys!]

Try this little game: substitute the words “Russkies”, “Commies” and “faceless bogey men” everywhere “Al Qaeda” appears in this and any other similar thread. It usually reads about the same.

And the “faceless bogey men” blew the living bejeezers out of the WTC? No, of course not. I don’t subscribe to such tinfoil stuff, and those towers are still standing, aren’t they?

I must be a reactionary fool.

Is it possible to suggest anything bad that happens is the fault of the fashionably nasty people of the period?

I guess the answer is yes. Politicians rely on it.

I stubbed my toe on a desk this morning. Is it possible that Al Qaeda moved it during the night? Or maybe it was peodophiles on the internet?

O bloody Jeezers (I’ll get my crayons out for you to explain this).

Did Al Qaeda / pedophile priests / The Jews / The Muslims / the Nazis / The Masons / The Trekkies start these fires?

Probably not.

Is it possible? Sure.

And that is what the OP asked.

There were forest fires this big years ago. Has Al Qaeda been around and starting them for the last 50 years? I think not. Sounds like looney fearmongering to me.

Al Qaeda: They’re not terrorists anymore. They’re “Concernists”. You know - they would get around to some terrifying highjinks, but, well, they got tired and sat down… All they could do was concern people.

Here’s the wierd part about the article. Allegedly it was to induce the American people to put pressure on our government to change its policies. Wha? Do they want the USA to be even more aggressive and hair-trigger? That is how we respond to perceived threats.

I think your understanding of insurance companies is slightly backwards. When stuff burns down, insurance companies lose money. Because they have to pay the people whose stuff burned.

At least some of the fires are believed to have been deliberately set.

That narrows it down to about three billion people right there.

The news on the radio this morning suggested that they think one of the fires was an act of deliberate arson by someone, and another one was set by a lost hunter who was trying to be found, then got out of control.

How the mighty have fallen…
Al Qaeda, after changing the New York skyline forever, are reduced to chucking cigarette ends out of their car/auto window in rural California…
If true, the War On Terrorism will be all over by Christmas…