Saturday, February 21, 2009

Australia's Victoria Fires: Al Qaeda, a World Caliphate, and a Pathetic Loner

People in Australia are going about the important business of mourning the dead. So far, the body count is 209. More human remains were discovered over the weekend, which may raise the death toll.

Australia's Bushfires and the War on Terror

I probably won't be writing very much about the tragedies in Victoria. It's not that I don't care, or that the horrific loss of life was unimportant.

But, this is Another War-on-Terror Blog. Its focus is the conflict between people and organizations like Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda; and those who either won't cooperate, or actively oppose Al Qaeda's goals.

Al Qaeda has a rather well-defined goal: "to establish a pan-Islamic Caliphate throughout the world by working with allied Islamic extremist groups to overthrow regimes it deems 'non-Islamic' and expelling Westerners and non-Muslims from Muslim countries." (

Even Americans who think that it's none of our business to get involved with problems elsewhere - except for things like the Kyoto Protocol - might consider Al Qaeda a threat. In February of 1998, Al Qaeda said that "it was the duty of all Muslims to kill US citizens—civilian or military—and their allies everywhere." (

Intolerant as this may seem, I don't want Al Qaeda to succeed. I'm rather fond of breathing, and can't be 'sufficiently Islamic' for the likes of bin Laden.

What's Al Qaeda Got to do With the Australian Fires?

Apparently, not much.

There was an Islamic website that called for a "forest Jihad," and some real terrorists were sentenced shortly before the Victoria fires broke out: but the fires seem at least partly the work of two arsonists.

One of them is Brendan Sokaluk, I haven't found the name of the second suspect.

Brendan Sokaluk seems to be a loner who likes to set fires, whose hero is Mother Earth. (

On his (now defunct) MySpace profile, he described himself as a happy young man who wants to who wants to get married. To a woman: a young, good-looking one, apparently. He also seems to have a thing for child pornography. (

By any reasonable standards, this doesn't sound like a jihadist, a lion of Islam out to slay the unbeliever.

The matter of who set the fires, how and (maybe) why, will have to be investigated: and there is almost certainly going to be a trial. I hope so: the alternative at this point would seem to be a lynch mob getting to him first. Mr. Sokaluk is quite possibly the least-popular person in Australia.

So, until and unless there's a fairly solid bit of evidence that links the Victoria fires to the War on Terror, this will probably be the last Victoria fires post.

I will keep an eye on news from Australia, though: and elsewhere.

Related posts: In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.