Offbeat Man accused of starting California wildfire promoted alt-right conspiracies

03:25  11 august  2018
03:25  11 august  2018 Source:   thehill.com

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a man smiling for the camera © Provided by The Hill

A man who was arrested this week in connection with starting one of the massive wildfires in California has a history of promoting alt-right conspiracy theories.

Forrest Gordon Clark, who local authorities have arrested and charged with two counts of felony arson and felony threatening to terrorize, spread a series of alt-right conspiracies on his personal Facebook page.

The posts, first uncovered by Forbes's JJ MacNab who covers anti-government extremism, include messaging about "QAnon," a wide-ranging and vague theory that includes conspiracies such as Democrats and prominent Hollywood figures orchestrating underground pedophile rings, It also claims that special counsel Robert Mueller's probe is a front for investigating 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former President Obama for their ties to such rings.

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During a court appearance Friday, the man accused of starting the wildfire raging across Southern California claimed he could “easily” come up with his million bond — and made several other strange outbursts. “I can handle a million right now easily,” the arson suspect said.

(Meredith/CNN) -- A man accused of starting a wildfire in the San Bernardino National Forest faces five counts of arson in the blaze, which destroyed homes and prompted the evacuation of the town of Idyllwild and several other communities, authorities said.

According to a ThinkProgress report, there has not been any evidence yet that Clark was among QAnon supporters who have increasingly been present at President Trump's rallies.

Clark was also found to be a fan of Alex Jones and his controversial conspiracy-pushing platform, InfoWars, which was banned by Apple and Facebook this week after it was found in violation of the sites' policies on hate speech.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Clark texted a firefighter in the area before the fire began, writing that "this place is going to burn just like we planned," though it is unclear who "we" encompasses. The firefighter told the Post that he had been reporting "problems" with Clark to the sheriff's office and U.S. Forest Service for more than three years, including the most recent text message he reportedly received from Clark.

Clark is being held on $1 million bond.

APNewsBreak: Utah firefighter died after fire retardant drop .
A preliminary report says a firefighter died last week from falling tree debris after a retardant drop on California's largest-ever wildfire.The "blue sheet" summary report by CaliforniaThe "blue sheet" summary report by California fire officials says Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett was struck by falling tree debris on Aug. 13 at the Mendocino Complex Fire after a large air tanker completed a drop. Three other firefighters had minor injuries.

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