NEW YORK – A U.s. citizen from California who was radicalized by online propaganda travelled overseas to try to join a branch of the Islamic State group in Libya, U.S. prosecutors said on Tuesday.
A few days before he left in 2016, Bernard Augustine a text message from an unknown family member, “If I ever have the luck to live in the khilafah, I will burn my own passport, lol,” according to a criminal complaint. He made it as far as Tunisia, but was detained by the authorities there, before he could carry out his plan, the complaint said.
Augustine, 21, is from the city of Keyes in California’s Central Valley. The name of his lawyer was not immediately available.
A study of Augustine’s laptop turned up evidence that he had the view of the Islamic State, the group of material on the Internet, including a video showing the beheadings of the Ethiopian Christians who were kidnapped in Libya, the court papers said. He also sought to “jihadology” and “how to safely participate in isis,” he said.
In addition, Augustine viewed by fiery sermons in american-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen, who was killed in 2011, the newspapers said. The online videos of Al-Awlaki have been cited in several AMERICAN cases, as a dangerous influence on the self-radicalized terrorists.
Records show Augustine took a Turkish Airlines flight from San Francisco to Tunisia via Istanbul, Turkey, with the help of a one-way ticket. Once there, he per e-mail to the same relative in California, he says, “I’m not crazy or mentally ill, I really truly am on a path to fight for justice,” the papers said.