Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism

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Group.png Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism
(CharityPowerbase SourcewatchRdf-icon.png
AbbreviationRFST
SuccessorResearch Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism
Formation8 December 1986
Extinction1989
Headquarters40 Doughty Street, London, UK
Interests“terrorism”

The Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism was an organisation chaired by Paul Wilkinson which was associated with a number of prominent right-wingers and security personnel. It was set up in late 1986 and operated for only three years before merging with another shadowy right-wing organisation, the Institute for the Study of Conflict, to form the Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism.

Origins

The Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism was registered as a UK charity on 16 January 1987 and governed by a trust deed dated 8 December 1986. Its charitable aims were: “To promote research into and study of international terrorism, destabilisation and subversion in all their forms and to make the useful results thereof available for the public and to educate the public therein.”[1]

The Foundation was reportedly based at 40 Doughty Street where it shared an office with the right-wing pressure group Aims of Industry.

Activities

The Foundation published leaflets warning readers about "dangerous"[citation needed] left-wing groups in Britain. Phil Edwards and Robin Ramsay wrote in The Lobster in November 1988 that:

“The new 'anarchist threat' has its own (slight) intellectual support unit, the Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism. RFST's trustees are Paul Wilkinson, Michael Ivens of Aims, Norris McWhirter of the Freedom Association and John Newton Scott. Its address is 40 Doughty Street, the address of Aims. Their first contribution came out at the end of 1987 - Anarchist group Class War are systematically harassing London docklands residents - there are "Bash the Rich" marches, a pamphlet, Written in Flames, telling you who to bash - and Without A Trace on evading arrest apres-bash. Also involved are the Direct Action Movement (DAM) and groups named Hurricane and Flamethrower - oh, and the Animal Liberation Front. So there you are; they're all in it together. Battle Stations!

RFST aren't even close (and probably didn't try to be). Class War have never been at the centre of anything and provoke the same mixture of disdain and suspicion among anarchists as Militant do from socialists. The 'Bash the rich' marches were indeed Class War's idea; but the last one was in 1985. The campaign of yuppie-harassment never amounted to much more than aerosols, noise and bent aerials. Without A Trace is a forensics manual. Neither it nor Written in Flames has any connection with Class War. The Animal Liberation Front is supported by a wide variety of people, including anarchists, Christians and a character in the TV soap, Brookside. In any case all ALF actions are local and uncoordinated.”

Phil Edwards,  Robin Ramsay (November 1988)  [2]

The group was an early proponent of high-technology ID cards, which would later prove popular with policy makers for their potential for state repression and corporate welfare. In the aftermath of the Lockerbie bombing the Foundation called for the ‘replacement of passports by high-technology identity cards, which would include fingerprint information.’[3]

Funding

There is no information on the organisation’s accounts since the Charities Commission destroyed its records after it was removed from the register. However, it was almost certainly corporately funded. In January 1988 The Times reported that:

Paul Wilkinson, Professor of International Relations at Aberdeen University, has written to several companies asking for donations of up to Pounds 10,000 to fund 'a major research project on terrorist threats to industry by product contamination and methods of combatting them.' More than 25 per cent of international terrorist attacks are now, the foundation says, directed at private industry and commerce.[4]

Merger with the Institute for the Study of Conflict

In 1989 the Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism was reported to have merged with the Institute for the Study of Conflict, to form the Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism.

However, the organisation was not officially dissolved however until 30 March 2001 when it was removed from the Central Register of Charities.

According to the Charities Commission[5] it last known correspondent was:

John Pritchard
Pilgrim Cottage
143 Back Lane
Walsingham
Norfolk
NR22 6BH

People

Trustees

Council

[6]


References

  1. Extract from the Central Register of Charities maintained by the Charity Commission for England and Wales Removed Main Charity 295989
  2. Lobster Magazine The "Terrorist Threat" in Britain, No. 17
  3. David Sapstead, ‘Pilots warn of poor security standards at most airports’, The Times, 2 January 1989
  4. Carol Leonard, ‘City Diary: Terror tactics’, The Times, 4 January 1988
  5. Extract from the Central Register of Charities maintained by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, Removed Main Charity 295989
  6. Robin Ramsay 'The British Right', Lobster No.16, June 1988.