Document:The Private Sector, Institutes, Think Tanks and Lobbying Organisations extract from The "Terrorism" Industry

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Disclaimer (#3)Document.png book extract  by Edward S. Herman dated 1990
Subjects: Institutes, Think Tanks, Lobbies
Source: The "Terrorism" Industry

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The Private Sector: Institutes, Think Tanks, and Lobbying Organizations

Many of the institutes and think tanks that are important components of the terrorism industry originated or grew rapidly as part of a major corporate offensive in the 1970s. John Saloma has described the development of a "conservative labyrinth" of foundations and private institutions designed to parlay corporate resource; into co-opting intellectuals, subsidizing sound views, providing for the networking of right-wing intellectuals, and establishing an intellectual hegemony of the right by sheer force of money and propaganda.[1] The funding of this network was provided primarily by important wealthy individuals, including Richard Mellon Scaife, the Coors family, William Simon, David Packard, and the Hunt family, and by right-wing foundations, including Olin, Smith-Richardson, Joseph Pew, and Fluor. The organizers of the offensive, most importantly William Simon and Irving Kristol, succeeded in mobilizing a wide array of wealthy individuals, firms, and foundations in the overall funding enterprise. By the mid-1980s organizations like the Hoover Institution, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and the Heritage Foundation each had annual budgets in excess of $10 million, and Heritage had become sufficiently affluent to be able to finance foreign progeny in Great Britain and elsewhere.

Government and the private sector have had a complementary relationship in support of right-wing institutes. We noted [...] the various forms of aid given by the government to the private sector institutions-personnel, as well as financial assistance, informational and moral support-but the government's financial contributions have been modest, and corporations and individuals have been obliged to provide most of the funding for the institutes and think tanks. Their role has been further enlarged in the Reagan-Bush era with the increased importance of undercover government operations designed to be free of publicity and legislative oversight, and therefore requiring sub rosa private support. In a brief statement at a gathering at CSIS on June 10, 1986, President Ronald Reagan pointed out that "an institution whose work so directly affects the security of our nation" deserves support, so "permit me to commend those of you present today from the private sector. In supporting CSIS, you do yourselves and our nation a service." [2] The services rendered by the institutes and think tanks have run the gamut from actually facilitating terrorist operations and lobbying on behalf of terrorist organizations and individuals, to supporting and engaging in propaganda activities similar to those carried out by the State Department's Office of Public Diplomacy, the CIA, and agents of the North-Secord network. [3]

The cooperative relationship between the private and public sectors is shown periodically in cases where government financing through congressional appropriations becomes difficult. The conservative labyrinth is then called upon the fill the gap, as in the case of the funding of the Nicaraguan contras. The private sector may also provide manpower to help mobilize supportive constituencies. Thus the Iran-contra documents show that Jack Abramoff and Lewis Lehrman of the Citizens for Freedom were used by Oliver North to host and brief Central American visitors, to organize telephone campaigns, rallies, and sermons in favor of the contras, and to undertake speaking tours. [4] As another example, when the CIA's support of Crozier's Forum World Features was exposed in Great Britain in 1975 and had to be discontinued, Richard Mellon Scaife took over the funding of this useful propaganda operation. And when the U.S. executive branch was having trouble raising money to finance the organization of and publicity for the 1982 Salvadoran election, the Scaife, Olin, Grace, and Smith-Richardson foundations came through with the necessary sums. For many covert state enterprises, private and government funds can be substituted for one another according to political and public relations convenience and exigencies.

The relationship between the public and private sectors is also affected by the multinational character of the industry and the involvement of other governments in the collective enterprise. For example, the Unification Church of Reverend Moon, which is closely tied to the South Korean government, subsidizes institutes, media, and terrorist governments and sub-national groups that serve its right-wing political objectives. It was disclosed in South Korea in 1988 that the South Korean government, through its intelligence arm KCIA, had covertly funneled $2.2 million to the Heritage Foundation in the early 1980s. [5] The CIA has long funded institutes and media in other countries, and the National Endowment for Democracy does the same. [6] The Jonathan Institute, an Israeli government-sponsored institute with U.S. branches, has organized , conferences in both the United States and Israel. A U.S.-based institute, JINSA, was organized and is run by individuals closely tied to the Israeli lobby and can be regarded as a virtual agency of the Israeli government. [7] And Heritage helps fund and engages in joint activities with institutes in Great Britain and Israel. [8]

Some of the institutes that are part of the terrorism industry operate in many spheres of intellectual activity and policy interest. This is related to size, and the Big Four-Heritage, CSIS, AEI, and Hoover-are all fairly diverse in activity. As terrorism became a perceived area of policy interest, these "conglomerates" entered that field, sponsored experts to deal with it, and provided support for their activities. Quite a few institutes specialize in terrorism more narrowly, and some are largely the vehicle for single individuals. Our criteria for inclusion in the industry are that the institute serves as the base of operations for at least one specialist-expert in the field, or, as in the case of the American Security Council (ASC), that it provides an umbrella and means of communication and networking among other members of the industry.

While the major institutes are relatively well established, many of the smaller operations are new and probably transitory. The number of institutes in the U.S. industry in the mid-1980s was in the range of forty to fifty [...], but fewer than a dozen could be considered important as measured by scholarly reputation or media recognition of their resident experts. Terrorism industry institutes have emerged in other countries as well, and they are networked with the U.S. institutes and among themselves.

U.S.-Based Institutes and Organizations

We will concentrate here on two of the Big Four private-sector institutes and eight others that are of some importance or illustrate some significant feature of industry members. Only three of the eight – ASC, Rand, and the National Forum Foundation (NFF) – are of substantial size and importance. The others are not only small, frequently one-man operations, but their funding and activities are harder to determine, and we will treat them more briefly. Of the Big Four, only Heritage and CSIS are of major importance in the terrorism industry and will be discussed separately below. AEI is a diversified, corporate-funded, right-wing think tank, but one that has emphasized economic issues and policy. It was founded in 1943 by Louis Brown, head of the Johns Manville Corporation, one of the great producers of negative externalities that the free market fails to deal with, and devoted, therefore, to the restoration of free market principles after the horrors of New Deal intervention. [9] It does, however, dip into the foreign policy arena and provides fellowships – and thus money, contacts, and outreach – to various experts, most notably, in the terrorism field, following her stint as UN ambassador, Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Hoover has provided a home base for several right-wing terrorism experts. One is Stefan Possony, a longtime member of W ACL, a board member of Lyndon LaRouche's Fusion Energy Foundation, and coauthor with L. Francis Bouchey of The Strategy of Terror. [10] Martha Crenshaw, now of Wellesley College, who has carefully confined her frameworks and studies to approved terrorists, spent some time at Hoover. More recently, Angelo Codevilla, a former naval intelligence officer and right-wing activist implicated in the so-called Debategate scandal, has joined Hoover as an expert on terrorism. [11] Peter Duignan, for a number of years director of the South African program at Hoover and a member of Reagan's foreign policy transition team, is also a member of the editorial advisory board of the South African Freedom Review, published in South Africa under the auspices of the extreme right-wing International Freedom Foundation. [12] This journal is designed to put South Africa in a favorable light as a defender of Western values against the black agents of world communism.


In the late 1970s world opinion veered against Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. The Israeli response was a concerted effort to portray the Palestinians in general and the PLO in particular as "terrorists;" for one does not have to do business with or make any political concessions to terrorists. Terrorism studies were stepped up, conferences were organized, and terrorism institutes were begun or expanded.

The United Kingdom

The major British terrorism institutes are, like their counterparts in the United States and Israel, closely tied to the intelligence agencies, military, police, and corporate establishment. They are more frequently linked to foreign intelligence agencies, reflecting both the client status of the British government vis-a-vis the United States and the close ties of the British right to the South African apartheid regime. We describe only two of the British institutes here.


South Africa

Concluding Note

The institutes and think tanks of the Western terrorism industry are parts of a multinational system, linking together like-minded individuals in a common project of ideological mobilization. They have collegial ties and revolving door relationships with Western intelligence agencies and other government bodies, as well as one another, and they derive their funding from governments, conservative think tanks, wealthy individuals, and one another. They respond to "threats," such as trade union activity, peace movements like the "freeze" in the United States and CND in Great Britain, anti-apartheid activity, and even animal rights activism, with mobilized funds and experts who explain the subversive intent and KGB roots of these dangerous outcroppings. And we need hardly add that rebellions in the provinces which resort to force are quickly labeled terrorist, as the multinational industry unites in defense of its own.


  1. John Saloma, Ominous Politic: The New Conservative Labyrinth (New York: Hill & Wang, 1984). On the corporate fears and hostilities that generated the offensive, see Leonard Silk and David Vogel, Ethic and Profits (New York: The Conference Board, 1976).
  2. The Iran-Contra Affair, Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair, 100th Cong., 1st sess., 1987, S. Rept. No. 100-216, H. Rept. No. 100-433, appendix A, 1:456.
  3. See below under CSIS and the American Security Council (ASC) for illustrations. Starting in 1985, the ASC sponsored weekly private meetings between National Security Council representatives, congressional staff, and right-wing groups interested in foreign policy issues. This "Tuesday Group" included Oliver North, and was a vehicle for coordinating open and "secret" government lobbying and propaganda activity. See Russ Bellant, Old Nazis, pp. 35-36. For an analysis of the way in which quasi-private parties are enlisted for killing and terror abroad, see Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter, The Iran Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era (Boston: South End Press, 1987), chaps. 3, 5, 9.
  4. Iran-Contra Affair, appendix A, I: 331. For Abramoff's role in building support for the South African government, see note 12 below.
  5. This was revealed in testimony by the former South Korean intelligence director, Chang S. Tong, in November 1988. The Washington-based North American Coalition for Human Rights in Korea noted that "U.S. law requires organizations that receive major funding or policy direction from any foreign entity to register with the justice Department as a foreign agent. No record of the Heritage Foundation registration could he located." "Heritage Foundation – an Unregistered Foreign Agent?" In These Times, Jan. 11-17, 1989, p. 4. The strength of the connection is also shown by the fact that the former chief military adviser to the repressive regime of Chun Doo Hwan, General Hur Hwa Pyong, is currentiy a senior fellow in tbe Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center; see The Annual Guide to Public Policy, Experts, 1988, ed. Robert Huberty and Kevin Teasley (Heritage Foundation, 1988).
  6. On the CIA's operations, see note 33, chapter 4. On NED, see Sklar, Washington's War on Nicaragua, pp. 195, 237, 240, 244, and 391; also David Shipler, "Missionaries for Democracy: U.S. Aid for Global Pluralism," New York Times, 1 June 1986.
  7. See our discussion of JlNSA below in this chapter.
  8. On Heritage in Britain, see below under both Heritage and the British-based Institute for the Study of Conflict. The November-December 1988 issue of Heritage Today describes a planning session between Heritage and the Jerusalem-based Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies aimed at establishing a "blueprint for economic growth in Israel."
  9. Sidney Blumenthal, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment (New York: Times Books, 1986), p. 32.
  10. Bouchey is currentiy executive vice-president of the Council for Inter-American Security, which issued a New Inter-American Policy for the Eighties, also known as the Santa Fe Document, an influential Reaganite analysis of Central American policy. Bouchey is a vocal proponent of aid to the contras. In the 1970s, after a stint with Young Americans for Freedom, he served as a de facto agent of the Pinochet regime in Chile, reporting to that government on the success of pro-Pinochet materials planted in the press through Lee Edwards, a right-wing columnist. See Alan Crawford, Thunder on the Right: The "New Right" and the Politics of Resentment (New York: Pantheon Books, 1980), p. 197.
  11. The Debategate scandal refers to the controversy arising out of the theft by members of the Reagan-Bush campaign of Jimmy Carter's briefing book and other documents, materials that were used to prepare Reagan for his appearance in debate with Carter. On Codevilla's role, see Joe Conason, "Company Man: Bush Got Help in 1980 from CIA Agents," Village Voice, Oct. 25, 1988, p. 20. Codevilla, a former legislative assistant to Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyoming), was also active in circles providing arms to Afghani "freedom fighters." He spoke at a Moon-sponsored International Security Council conference held in Brussels in June 1985. See Sayid Khyher, "The Afghani-Contra Lobby," CovertAction Information Bulletin, no. 30 (Summer 1988), pp. 61-67.
  12. IFF was organized in 1985 by Jack Abramoff and some of his associates, who sponsored a May 1985 ad in the Conservative Digest that denounced Chester Crocker for selling out South Africa and the freedom fighters of RENAMO to communism. Abramoff was closely associated with the Conservative Caucus and other Republican party groups and Oliver North. Abramoff's name appears repeatedly in a chronology of events sponsored by North and the National Security Council in support of the contras. (See above, note 4.) He has built strong ties to the South African government and its Western apologists, and IFF's prime role has been generating support for the apartheid regime and right-wing mercenaries and insurgencies in southern Africa. Abramoff produced the film Red Scorpion, based on the life of Jonas Savimbi, with the help of the South African government. For a full account, see David Ivon, "Touting for South Africa: International Freedom Foundation," CovertAction Information Bulletin, no. 31 (Winter 1989), pp. 62-64.
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