Document:Institute for the Study of Terrorism, extract from The "Terrorism" Industry

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Disclaimer (#3)Document.png book extract  by Edward S. Herman dated 1990
Subjects: Institute for the Study of Terrorism
Source: The "Terrorism" Industry

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The first public announcement of IST's existence came in the form of a letter in the 'Times' of London (September 22, 1986). The director of IST is Jillian Becker, a British novelist, journalist, and author of 'The PLO: The Rise and Fall of the Palestinian Liberation Movement', and an attendee at the Jonathan Institute's 1984 conference in Washington. The nominal head of IST is Lord Chalfont, once called "the CIA's man in the House of Lords" by the 'Guardian' of London. Chalfont was also the conference chairman for the Jonathan Institute's 1984 gathering. A second trustee is the conservative Lord Orr-Ewing. There is a third trustee, whose name is not on the public record. The funding sources of IST are also not in the public domain.

While IST does some "risk analysis," it mainly publishes studies and provides credentials for its experts on Soviet, PLO, IRA, and ANC terrorism. In the August 1, 1988 edition of 'Insight on the News', the weekly newsmagazine owned by the Unification Church and edited by Arnaud de Borchgrave, Ian Geldard, head of research for IST, was quoted as saying that the IRA had shifted toward a "Maoist position" (p. 35). Geldard is quoted several times in the article. Jillian Becker, IST's director, speaking at the 1984 Jonathan Institute conference, matched Robert Moss's earlier feat of locating the PLO behind Khomeini's terror, [1] by alleging a PLO connection to the 1980 Bologna bombing in Italy![2]

IST focuses heavily on South Africa, and the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF) in Britain lists IST as a member of a proliferating network of right-wing groups serving the South African government in a propaganda war designed to undermine claims of legitimacy for liberation movements among Western publics. [3] One of IST's publications, 'Terrorism in South Africa, ANC: A Soviet Task Force?' gives a strongly positive answer to this question, in the process capturing the tone of the organization's work. IST director Jillian Becker's columns for the right-wing 'Salisbury Review', which have served as a useful vehicle for disinformation about South Africa and Mozambique, also support the CARF contention about IST's role. She has alleged, for example, that the South African-backed mercenary forces of RENAMO' receive the "willing support of villagers," [4] and has called the ANC's Joe Slovo a "KGB Colonel" (both are outright lies). While RENAMO is good, SWAPO is a "Soviet-aided terrorist organization," and the ANC is "the only terrorist organisation in the world which is actually controlled by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and supplied by the Russians with arms free of charge." Becker once suggested that the letter bombs that killed Slovo's wife, Ruth First, and the founder of FRELlMO, Dr. Eduardo Mondlane, were actually the work of the ANC. Becker's sources for these charges - and she rarely sees fit to cite sources at all - have been the Heritage Foundation and the Washington Times.[5]

Despite these clear indications that Becker is an apologist and propagandist for the South African apartheid regime, Paul Wilkinson, in an introduction to one of his edited works on terrorism in which Becker has an essay, says that she is "a self-exiled South African novelist. . . [and] liberal writer [who] has chosen to leave the country of her birth and come and work in London,"[6] implying falsely that she is an opponent of and fighter against apartheid.


  • ^  1. See the discussion of Robert Moss in chapter 7.
  • ^  2. "In 1980 two mass bombings, one in a railway station in Bologna, the other in Munich, were carried out by Germans and Italians working closely with the PLO." Jillian Becker, "The Centrality of the PLO;' in Benjamin Netanyahu, ed.. The West Can Win, p. 100. Becker gives no evidence or citation for this allegation.
  • ^  3. CARF, "Propaganda on the front line;' Searchlight, no. 163 Jan. 1989), pp. 21-22.
  • ^  4. As regards RENAMO villager support, the Gersony report to the U.S. State Department explicitly denied evidence of any villager support or even any attempt to win over the villagers. See note 4 of Preface.
  • ^  5. See JiIlian Becker/Institute for the Study of Terrorism;' Lobster, no. 16 (June 1988), pp. 17-18.
  • ^  6. Paul Wilkinson, British Perspectives on Terrorism (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981), p. 10.