Despite Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) founding its “caliphate” in the desert climes of the Middle East, the British Foreign Office has seen fit to issue a terrorism warning for travelers planning a sojourn to the vast, sub-zero wastelands of Antarctica.
In new official advice, the department warned: “Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the British Antarctic Territory, attacks can’t be ruled out.
“There’s 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.”
The warning drew a strong reaction from a former British Army colonel and one-time government security adviser. “MI5’s then-director-general once said there was a terror threat almost everywhere except Antarctica. Now they’ve put Antarctica on the list,” Colonel Richard Kemp told the International Business Times. “We expect guidance based on intelligence, not a pointless exercise in back-covering – unless I’ve missed the Islamic State Polar Brigade.”
A former Metropolitan Police detective also criticized the decision. “The idea of ISIS terrorism at the South Pole is ridiculous,” Ian Horrocks told the IBT. “It may put people at risk, as warnings with little credible explanation are often ignored.”
The UK’s Antarctic territory consists of a 660,000 sq mile chunk of the world’s most inhospitable wilderness. It contains two research stations and several species of penguin, none of which are known to having extremist leanings.