So Who Started the Fire?



By Michael Shrimpton 

Coup in Egypt
Big news this week was the tragic fire in Arizona, but firstly I should congratulate the Egyptian Army on its well-organized coup.  They really have smacked the Islamo-fascist Muslim Brotherhood about.  Good to see the Brotherhood’s casualties kept to such a low level and minimum force employed.  Obviously you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs.
There was no bloodless way out of the crisis in Cairo.  When you’re dealing with fascists, of whatever stripe, you need to be tough.  Nobody in Britain is going to be too worried about a BBC journalist getting hit!  (It was only a few shotgun pellets).   That was a nice bit of work by someone.
Hopefully the smarmy Mohammed El Baradei will not be the beneficiary of the coup.  We’ve only met once and did not take to each other!  I am backing the nice Ahmed Shafiq, formerly chief of the air force and aviation minister.  He’s at least as smart as El Baradei but not as pompous.  El Baradei was worse than useless at IAEA.
The Tragic Events in Prescott AZ
My condolences to the families of those brave firefighters who gave their lives.  19 dead in one fire is a huge loss, not least from one fire station.
Why should an intelligence specialist such as myself be paying attention however?  Tragedies happen all the time, even on this scale.  There are two answers, apart from the fellow-feeling of an ally towards a small town suffering such tragic loss of mostly young life.  The first is a counterintelligence point, the second a policy point.
The media and politicians easily fall for fairy stories about how wildfires start.  They are not in fact that easy to start.  You are not encouraged to try this at home but if you throw a lighted cigarette butt out of a moving car it will normally burn itself out.  Most fires in fact have multiple ignition points.
The DVD and its terrorist spondees like al Qaeda have been starting fires for years.  It’s a low-risk strategy which causes a lot of heartache and physical damage.  The way in which fires start is hardly ever investigated.  What’s more there is never any international cooperation.  The Australian states barely cooperate with each other let alone with American states.
There is a state of mind in the West that fires are a natural hazard.  If arson is considered at all it’s thought of in terms of lone nutters with a firebug.  The idea that terrorists or Bad Guy assets might be waging economic warfare is hardly ever considered.  Military assets like satellites are never used.  This is despite the fact that fires are started out in the open, ideal for IMINT.  Even if you don’t get the actual ignition, you can get the vehicles they’re using.  Few people start fires and try to get away on foot – fires can catch up with you.
This fire has a suspicious look about it.  There needs to be a serious investigation.  How did it start, who started it and how many ignition points were there?  Were accelerants used?  If so, what were they and where were they acquired?  It’s a pity we can’t give arsonists a taste of their own medicine, as it were, and burn them at the stake.  Thankfully Arizona still has the death penalty.  If these fires were started deliberately it should be possible to bring home murder convictions.  Since there were multiple deaths there would be an aggravated factor, i.e. the death penalty would be available.
The Policy Issue
Why are we still fighting wildfires mostly on the ground?  There will always be a role for firefighters on the ground, but fighting fires from the air was proven decades ago.  The problem is that there are not enough airplanes and those we have are not used efficiently.  Take the bushfire season in Australia.  It’s in the northern winter.  The planes are mostly long-range.  Four-engined types are common, as they have the load-carrying capability.
I suggested moving firefighting planes across the Pacific years ago.  In North America it’s pretty rare to have Canadian and US planes in operation at the same time.  Where was the backup in Arizona?  We also need a lot more planes.  We have a large pool of ex-military pilots to fly them.  The technology is proven – it was actually taken over from a friend of mine to spray defoliant in Vietnam, an interesting but not entirely successful strategy.  (Speaking of Vietnam wasn’t it nice to see Dr Sam Axelrad take Nguyen Quang Hung’s arm back?    He’s clearly a nice guy, typical of US Army medics.)
We also need to get relevant satellite imagery into the hands of state and local law enforcement in Arizona.  It would be great to see the boys get serious for once.  If these brave men were murdered then someone has to pay, big time.
Good luck to Sabine Lisicki for the Ladies’ Final tomorrow.  That’s right, I’m backing the German!  It’s not just that her opponent is French.  She seems like a genuinely nice person.  Germany’s tragedy is that the nice Germans are never put in charge.
Someone once asked me if the conspiracy theory about Angela Merkel being Adolf Hitler’s daughter was true.  I’m afraid to say that I replied that I didn’t think she was nice enough!
Great to see Andy Murray going through to the final.  His Polish opponent today didn’t win many friends with his finger-wagging on court.  From 1-4 down in the third set Andy played like Pete Sampras.
One American we are genuinely pleased to see back at Wimbledon each year is John McEnroe and yes, I am being serious.  I am not entirely convinced that all the calls against him were fair.  His affection for Wimbledon and Britain is clearly genuine and he has made many friends over here.
I was sorry to see my old Head of Chambers, Lord Campbell of Alloway QC pass.  He started his career representing fellow POWs at Colditz Castle before Wehrmacht courts-martial, with some of his clients facing the death penalty.  It must have been great training for the Tower Bridge Magistrates Court.
Reply to Comments
I am sorry to see people having a go at the poor old NSA, who do very good work.  The reference to the Bourne Ultimatum was intriguing.  Great movie, but with a definite anti-CIA and anti-NSA bias.  Now if Robert Ludlum had made the Germans the Bad Guys the movies would have been much more true to life!
I hope everybody had a good July 4th .
July 5th 2013

Author Details
Michael Shrimpton is a barrister, currently suspended of course, called to the Bar in London in 1983. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counterterrorism. He has wide ranging connections both in Western Intelligence agencies and amongst ex-Soviet Bloc agencies. The late Generaloberst Markus Wolf, of the Stasi and DVD, was one of his contacts. Michael has earned respect in the intelligence community for his analysis of previously unacknowledged post-WWII covert operations against the West by the German DVD organization based in Dachau, near Munich, Germany, and its British, French and American client agencies. These continue to the present day, as politicians and the media are too nervous of standing up to them.

Michael was formerly an Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies in the Department of National Security, Intelligence and Space Studies at the American Military University, teaching intelligence subjects at Masters level to inter alia serving intelligence officers. He has represented US and Israeli intelligence officers in law and briefed in staffers on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9-11. In the wake of that murderous attack he addressed panels on terrorism in Washington DC and Los Angeles organized by the respected Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Fellow panelists included a former head of Special Operations Command and a former Commander of the US Atlantic Fleet.

Michael’s active assistance to Intelligence and Law Enforcement agencies in the Global War on Terror produced some notable successes, including the exposure of the Abu Ghraib ‘hood’ photograph as a fake. His work on strategic intelligence took him to the Pentagon and he has also met with senior advisors to the President of the Russian Federation, in Moscow, in November 2005. He participated in the Global Strategic Review conference in Geneva in 2005 and was a speaker at both the Intelligence Conference (Intelcon) in 2005, and the Intelligence Summit in 2006, each at Crystal City.

In 2006 he was flown out to, and flew off from, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65), as part of the US Navy’s Distinguished Visitor Program. She was then working up her air group off the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, before operational deployment to the Persian Gulf. It is comparatively unusual for a foreign civilian to complete a carrier landing and launch cycle.

Michael’s ground-breaking, 700 page intelligence text “Spyhunter: The Secret History of German Intelligence” was published in England by June Press in April 2014. It features on a number of intelligence syllabuses, as does intelligence analysis prepared by Michael, e.g. on the brutal 2003 assassination of British weapons scientist Dr David Kelly CMG.

In their unlawful raid on Michael’s home in Wendover, Buckinghamshire in April 2012 Thames Valley Police officers seized the manuscript of Spyhunter and all of Michael’s onshore backups. Publication was only possible because the draft had been backed up offshore. The police hung onto the seized copies long after it was decided not to use them as evidence.

In November 2014 Michael was convicted at Southwark Crown Court by a tampered-with jury panel on two bogus bomb-hoax charges. Prior to bringing in the police the British Ministry of Defence, after consulting with the Cabinet Office, destroyed their recordings of Michael’s initial contact and qualified intelligence briefing re a DVD operation to target the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics using a stolen Russian SS-N-19 warhead.

Happily the NSA intercepted both Michael’s call to MOD and their call to him (on a number he had provided) and the intercepts are now in the hands of MI5.

As Michael’s distinguished Veterans Today colleagues Gordon Duff and Ben Fulford have confirmed on this website, his intelligence briefing to MOD was substantially correct and two warheads, both off an SS-19, were recovered by the US. After inspection the Department of Energy estimated their yield at 20KT.
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