Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Strangest Jihad Attack Yet

So, the San Bernardino shooting is looking more and more like the work of jihadis.  Not just that the shooters are Muslim, or that one is alleged to have pledged her allegiance to ISIS.  And not the quantity of weapons and bombs they turned out to have stockpiled.  Crazed loners do that too, after all.  The things that strongly point to jihad, and to a larger conspiracy are:

  1. Since this was a husband-wife team, obviously it was not the work of a crazed loner.  They planned it together.  So there was a conspiracy, at a minimum, of two.
  2. The reason the government is not committing itself to saying this was an act of terrorism was that the shooters have done an incredibly professional job in covering their (electronic) tracks. They have apparently removed the mother board from their computer and smashed their cell phones.  They must have learned that somewhere, though whether on one of those how to be a terrorist websites or from a personal instructor is anyone's guess.
  3. The fact that they have gone to such lengths to cover their tracks strongly suggests that they have accomplices to protect.  And presumably at least some of those accomplices are not overseas in the Middle East, but here in the US or at least in some country where they can be easily reached.  Otherwise, why go to such lengths to protect them? 
The main thing that argues against this being jihad is -- the target.  What do you say when a pair of jihadis stockpile an immense arsenal, build a large number of bombs, obtain Kevlar body armor, remove their mother board, smash their cell phones, in short, do everything that suggests they are planning something really big -- and then shoot up the office Christmas party?

Really, I don't want to minimize the horrors of this attack.  Fourteen innocent people were senselessly murdered and numerous others wounded.  It's just that when jihadis strike, you usually expect their target to be something higher profile and more glamorous than the office Christmas party.  The current speculation, as far as I can tell, is that they were planning something big and glamorous but then got side tracked by some sort of personal quarrel at work.  It seems strange.  Engaging in that degree of advance planning, only to be sidetracked by some private quarrel seems incredible.  More plausibly, maybe they intended something bigger and more glamorous but just couldn't resist the temptation to settle a few private scores first.  But in that case why didn't they move ahead and do something bigger and more glamorous instead tooling around for a few hours until the police caught up with them?  

It is very strange regardless.  But what point is there arguing?  It happened.

UPDATE:  Well, now, this is interesting.  Apparently he received a deposit of $28,500 to his bank account two weeks before the shooting.  This suggests he had a backer with money, though not huge amounts of money.  He apparently withdrew or transferred $10,000 to himself and made three transfers of $5,000 to his mother.  Which would suggest that she was probably one of the people he was trying to protect when destroyed his electronic records.  Unsurprisingly, the authorities are now eyeing her with suspicion.

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