Foreign Office Asks U.K. Travelers To Be ‘Vigilant’ In Wake Of Ongoing Military Campaign Against ISIS; North Carolina Man Pleads Guilty To ‘Attempting To Aid’ Terrorist Organization Linked To Beheadings
Citing a generalized global terrorism threat, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office says it is updating its travel advice and has asked U.K. travelers to be “vigilant.”
From the Foreign Office (italics added):
“There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.”
Put another way, if you are a Brit, ISIS or ISIS sympathizers may attack you on that basis alone.
The United Kingdom, like the United States, Canada and Australia, is a member of the military coalition arrayed against ISIS. Australian authorities have said ISIS or its sympathizers planned random attacks against members of the Australian public to demonstrate the reach of the terrorist group.
ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, has beheaded Brits and Americans and appears to be inciting people from multiple nations to join ISIS campaigns in Iraq and Syria. ISIS also appears to be inciting nationals from multiple countries to make war against their own governments or own fellow citizens to broaden the terror.
On Oct. 30, federal prosecutors in North Carolina announced that Donald Ray Morgan, a 44-year-old local man from Rowan County, pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and possession of a firearm by a felon.
“Today’s plea is a sad reminder that those who wish to aid foreign terrorist organizations can come from any community and from any background,” said Ripley Rand, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.
From a statement on the Morgan case by federal prosecutors (italics added):
According to court documents, Morgan knowingly attempted to provide support and resources beginning in January 2014 until on or about Aug. 2, 2014, including his own services, to al-Qa’ida in Iraq, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. On at least one occasion Morgan unsuccessfully attempted to travel from Lebanon to Syria to join ISIL/ISIS. Morgan also frequently used social media and an interview with an American journalist to express his support for ISIL/ISIS and violent terrorist activities.
A look at the agencies that participated in the Morgan probe shows that terrorism-related activities have become not only a concern for national agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, but also local agencies. Indeed, the names of the Greensboro Police Department, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, the High Point Police Department and the Winston-Salem Police Department all appear in the Justice Department’s statement on the Morgan case. The local agencies are are members of Joint Terrorism Task Forces.
“We will continue to do everything we can to work effectively with our law enforcement partners and protect innocent people from terrorist activity, whether here in the United States or abroad,” Rand said.
“Preventing individuals from joining ISIL and holding accountable those who attempt to provide material support to the terrorist organization remains one of our highest priorities,” said John Carlin, assistant Attorney General for National Security.
In the United Kingdom, MailOnline, citing extracts from a U.N. study, is reporting concerns that “a new breed of terrorist was being attracted by the [ISIS] ‘cosmopolitan’ use of social media.”
The report suggests that terrorists could making war or inciting it in one moment — and posting “kitten photographs” on Twitter in the next.
In recent days, individuals have carried out alarming attacks against Canadian soldiers, the Canadian Parliament, New York City police officers and a police officer in Washington, D.C. The precise motives for the attacks and the degree to which mental-heath issues may have played a role are less than clear, which makes the overall circumstance murkier.
Weaponry has ranged from guns (Canada) to a hatchet (New York) to an ax (Washington).