UK annual report on terrorism finds terrorist threats on the rise

By Christine Duhaime

According to this year’s annual report by the U.K. Home Office on Strategies for Countering Terrorism, the global threat from terrorism has not abated. In 2011, there were overĀ 10,000 terrorist attacks in 70 countries, causing almost 45,000 casualties and over 12,500 fatalities. The report has some sobering facts, including the following:

  • Al Qa’ida affiliates are becoming a greater threat, collaborating more closely with each other and taking advantage of regional instability and the breakdown of law and order in some countries;
  • Incidents of kidnapping for ransom has doubled since 2008 as a terrorist tactic and the Home Office estimates conservatively that over USD$60 million has been paid in ransom. Ransom payments have become a significant source of terrorist financing;
  • In the past 12 months in the U.K., there were 245 terrorism-related arrests in Great Britain; 45 people were charged with terrorism-related offences with 18 convictions;
  • The diversion of funds to terrorists in the U.K. collected for ostensibly charitable purposes continues to be a concern and the Home Office has stepped up efforts in compliance with the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations to monitor payments sent through money services businesses; and
  • The advent of the Internet, increasing teaching of biological sciences at universities and greater availability of technology has armed terrorists with the necessary information and technology required to create and spread germ agents or other biological weapons and biological forms of terrorism have now become the greatest terrorist threat to the U.K.

The report is available here. Unfortunately, Canada does not publish an annual terrorism report. If it did, it would go a long way towards educating the public on terrorism threats and meeting the Senate’s recommendation that Canadians need to be informed about the need for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing initiatives and how what steps are taken by the government to meet terrorism and money laundering threats.