by Michael Shrimpton
It’s always nice to get confirmation! It is not possible in INTELCOM to get it right every time – if it were even civil servants could do intelligence work, no offense intended.
There were the usual comments from the trolls when I queried the source of the Arizona fire, but an alert reader has been kind enough to draw my attention to an outstanding presentation from William B. Scott at a high-level panel on Economic Warfare last year.
This was organized by those nice people the American Center for Democracy/Economic Warfare Institute. ACD/EWI’s Director is Dr Rachel Ehrenfeld, a very nice person if I may say so, also very smart. William Scott, from the lovely city of Colorado Springs, is ex-NSA, a former test pilot and long-term contributor to Aviation Week. His presentation, which I warmly recommend herein;
I was not present, have never done a presentation for ACD/EWI and was wholly unaware of William or his presentation until a kind reader e-mailed me the link. His sources appear to be quite different to mine and of course he has approached the matter from a US perspective.
I had cottoned on to al Qaeda’s use of setting forest fires as a tactic even before the deadly Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia, in 2009, which cost over 170 lives and burned out over one million acres.
There were serious fires in Western Australia a couple of years later which were clearly deliberate, leveraged by DVD penetration assets in the state bureaucracy. They were probably secondary assets, reporting to a more direct asset in Canberra, i.e. useful idiots.
Amongst the sources William Scott identified last year were material seized in the Seal Team 6 raid on the bin Laden family compound in Abottobad, Pakistan and statements by al Qaeda themselves.
Islamo-fascists living in the West have been encouraged openly by al Qaeda to use forest fires as a weapon. Of course not every forest fire can be put down to arson, but as a rough guesstimate it would seem that about half of major fires are.
Typically a terrorist set fire will have multiple ignition points, be started in ideal conditions for a forest fire and near homes and other property, usually upwind. They will invariably be started by terrorists using at least two vehicles and will often be accompanied, as in Western Australia, by official obstruction.
This can take several forms, such as blocking emergency calls, starving firefighters of resources such as aircraft, appointing idiots to key positions (there is no shortage of idiots) and taking strange decisions on tactics such as firebreaks.
William Scott made a number of extremely sensible recommendations, which I respectfully and fully endorse. Had they been followed the deaths in Prescott, AZ, might have been avoided. They included using Air National Guard F-16s equipped with LANTIRN pods to patrol high-risk areas at times of high fire hazard.
He also recommended using ANG assets to track terrorist vehicles as they exfiltrate the target area. He did not say intercept, great though it would be see to F-16s strafing the Bad Guys as they tried to escape. No national security lawyer would be likely to sanction such an attack however, where the option of a ground intercept was available.
Once word spreads amongst firefighters, state police and ANG units that al Qaeda are starting forest fires however we may start to get problems with radio reception. You know what VHF and UHF can be like at low level in mountainous terrain.
Then we might see tactical decisions being taken by pilots on the spot, not weany lawyers sitting in air-conditioned offices, and a few depleted uranium rounds going up the backsides of the Bad Guys in their Toyota Land Cruisers (al Qaeda do not buy British).
If in a few years time you start to see Land Cruiser emblems appearing on the noses of ANG F-16s then you’ll know that the Good Guys have started to get on top of the problem.
William Scott also mentioned satellites, sensibly, since he’s an ex-NSA man. I bet they were sorry to lose him. Military satellites have a huge role to play, both in early identification of fires and the provision of targeting intelligence such as vehicle types and tag numbers.
Where terrorists are forced to exfiltrate their vehicles, they could also be tracked using IMINT, especially infra-red. The bird would probably pick up the line and speed of advance of the nearest fire and give law enforcement or National Guard units on the ground a vector, enabling the fleeing terrorists to be corralled towards the fire.
This would send a message to al Qaeda and the DVD, just like burning that witch Joan of Arc sent a message to our community partner the King of France and the fire raid on Dresden sent a message to our community partner Adolf Hitler.
I know that the French claim that ‘Joan’ (he probably should have been called ‘Jean of Arc’) wasn’t actually a witch at all, but she was adjudged a witch by a court of competent jurisdiction, after a fair trial, at least as fair as any at Snaresbrook Crown Court, no offense to the judges there. Yes, I did lose my last case at Snaresbrook!
I would add to William Scott’s sensible list of recommendations greater investment by ANGs in UAVs and UCAVs.
The boys at the Skunk Works could probably do ANG units a lovely little twin-engined job, just right for extended surveillance of large areas of forest, at Lockheed’s usual rock-bottom prices (just look at the price per copy of the F-35 – such good value for the US and British taxpayer I am amazed there hasn’t been a shareholder revolt!).
We could make a start in Prescott. It’s too late for the brave firefighters who gave their lives whilst serving the community, but it’s not too late to trace and juice the terrorists responsible.
The SATINT is the way into the investigation, especially the vehicle tags. Murders caused by arson are within state jurisdiction, so you can avoid DVD-penetrated Washington.
The weanies there have managed to find ways of avoiding executing every captured al Qaeda terrorist. The only jurisdiction in the US to have had the honor of executing an al Qaeda terrorist in the Global War on Terror has been the Commonwealth of Virginia, and they had to pretend that he wasn’t a terrorist at all, just a random killer. It would nice to see to Arizona follow their lead, this time with the terrorist connection made explicit.
The authorities in Arizona need to reach out to INTELCOM. Every state with large areas of forest vulnerable to fire needs to subscribe to the good folk over at ACD/EWI, and no, I am not on a percentage.
We are probably not on the same page re DVD control of al Qaeda but when good work is being done I applaud it, whoever is doing it. National Guard intelligence officers in vulnerable states need to start planning now how the Guard can help to save lives and property, and bring terrorist arsonists to justice, in the next big fire.
Two good pieces of news from England this week. The failed Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has been forced out. An incredibly rude man, with respect, he didn’t even bother to answer my letter to him after he authorised a malicious prosecution of me.
He also has unsound views on the EU and is a known supporter of British membership of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Director of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, Sir Ian Andrews, has also been forced to step down, following a scandal over links to private detective agencies.
SOCA has been a complete failure. A bit like DNI in the States, they were set up to take over and wreck much more effective agencies the Germans had trouble penetrating. In your case it was the NSA and the Secret Service, in ours it was the National Intelligence Division of HM Customs and Excise.
NID were getting too close to the two German-controlled drugs distribution cartels in the UK. I was a source, code name Appleby, to NID on a cartel member, operating in the Thames Valley Police area, who had a number of bent TVP coppers, if that is not a tautology, on his payroll.
After SOCA took over they stopped using my intelligence and shut down the operation on him, indeed they protected him, making sure the flow of Colombian pure, imported via the Dominican Republic, South Africa and the Gulf of Guinea, kept flowing. Thames Valley is a bit like a mini narco-state.
Obviously I am happy to give out my codeword, as it’s now redundant. After my wrongful arrest Ian Andrews’ boys and girls sat on their hands, failing to confirm that I was a CHIS source, so it’s a case of good riddance to bad rubbish, no offense.
The head of MI5 has already gone of course, along with the Chief Executive of the NHS who refused to help us over Vulcan. If Gordon is beginning to see a pattern here, I couldn’t possible comment!
One of the nice things about being in INTELCOM is that like the Rangers we look after our own and leave no man behind.
If the Bad Guys come after you, understand that… (1) the Good Guys will deny ever having met you and… (2) they will be working deep in the background, hunting down the enemy on a search and destroy mission that will be completely deniable.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.
Read Articles from Michael Shrimpton;