Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism

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Group.png Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism Powerbase SourcewatchRdf-icon.png
Predecessor • Institute for the Study of Conflict
• Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism
Formation 1989
Extinction 2001
Type think tank
Interests “terrorism”

The Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism (RISCT) was a think-tank set up in 1989 which operated for ten years before folding in 1999 due to lack of funds. It was the successor to the MI5 and CIA affiliated Institute for the Study of Conflict, which was re-launched as the Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism after incorporating Paul Wilkinson’s Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism.

Origins

RISCT was the result of an amalgamation of Paul Wilkinson’s Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism and the Institute for the Study of Conflict, a right-wing propaganda outfit with connections to MI5 and the CIA. Legally speaking RISCT was in fact the same entity as the Institute for the Study of Conflict. The registered company of that name became the Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism on 12 December 1989, and on the same day the charity of the same name amended its articles of association. [1]

Although officially RISCT was established in December 1989, it dates back to at least the early months of that year. The first mention of the RISCT in the printed press was in an article published on 9 May 1989.

The origins of the merger are not entirely clear, although Paul Wilkinson’s association with ISC went back over a decade. In 1976 he authored an issue of Conflict Studies called Terrorism versus Liberal Democracy, and as noted above he served as a member of ISC's Council of Management from 27 October 1980 to 26 May 1981. [2] He also wrote the keynote opening chapter in the 1986 book The New Terrorism which was edited by William Gutteridge for ISC. [3]

A Times article published in 9 May 1989 (pre-dating ISC's relaunch), noted that Wilkinson already had an office at ISC's HQ. [4] It is perhaps also worth noting that Laurence Martin, who was involved in ISC from the mid-1970s, was professor of politics at the University of Wales during the same period that Wilkinson was assistant lecturer in Politics. [5]

RISCT was initially based at 12-12A Golden Square, the old home of the Institute for the Study of Conflict, but in May 1990 registered its move to 136 Baker Street.[6]

Personnel

Paul Wilkinson became the director of RISCT and William Gutteridge its director of publications. Several of the Council Members from the Institute for the Study of Conflict resigned on March 1990. Nevertheless RISCT was still left with a array of powerful establishment figures on its Council which comprised of its Director Paul Wilkinson; the Chairman Frank Brenchley; Lord Denman; Dominic Lieven; Woodward Martin, a Professor at Newcastle University; Malcolm MacKintosh; Major-General Fergus Ling; Sir Robert Graingres and Lord Beloff. In March 1992 Professor John Spence and General Ken Perkins also joined the Council.

On 5 April 1994 Paul Wilkinson left RISCT to focus on the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence. His role as director and the Foundation’s foremost media representative was taken over by William Gutteridge. Later in November that year RISCT’s Chairman Frank Brenchley was replaced by Duncan Slater.

Table of Council Members

Name Appointed Resigned Notes
Lord Beloff pre-1989 23/03/99 Historian
Frank Brenchley pre-1989 11/12/00 Historian
Lord Denman pre-1989 11/12/00 Businessman
Dominic Lieven pre-1989 11/12/00 Lecturer in Russian Government
Fergus Ling pre-1989 deceased 07/05/95 Retired General
Malcolm MacKintosh pre-1989 11/12/00 Cold War military expert
Woodward Martin pre-1989 18/11/93 Professor at Newcastle University
Kenneth Perkins pre-1989 11/12/00 Retired General and military advisor to British Aerospace and The Sun
Duncan Slater 24/11/94 11/12/00 Former diplomat
John Spence 17/03/92 11/12/00 University Professor
Paul Wilkinson 7/03/90 5/04/94 Terrorologist



Activities

RISCT’s first act seems to have been the publishing of Paul Wilkinson’s report on the Lockerbie bombing on 6 December 1989. Wilkinson’s report recommended increased state spending on security technology and also suggested that the SAS should be used to train special forces in developing countries in "counter-terrorism".[7]

On 26 September 1990 RISCT hosted a conference billed ‘Terrorism and Democracy’ at the Royal Overseas League building on Park Place in Central London. Scheduled speakers at the conference included Foreign Office Minister William Waldegrave and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Peter Imbert, as well as Professor Richard Shultz, of Tufts University in Boston, Alison Jamieson, a Scottish born expert on the Red Brigades, Juliet Lodge a political scientist at Hull University and Sir Peter Imbert (one of the interrogators of the Guildford Four) [8]

The conference was disrupted when a bomb was discovered under the speaker's lectern. It may have been planted by the IRA in an attempt to assassinate William Waldegrave, who was billed as the first speaker at the conference, although in fact it was Paul Wilkinson who had that honour.[9] RISCT believed that they themselves were the targets. Shortly after the incident the Associated Press quoted Frank Brenchley as saying, "As an academic body we have not really expected to be a target of such terrorism." [10] A few months later an article in The Times stated that Wilkinson "is considered the leading expert in the field. So much so that he has become a terrorist target himself." It quoted Wilkinson as saying: “The incident rather underlined our relevance”.[11] Alex Schmid later commented that, "the incident was also a compliment to Paul. He had something to say that the terrorists did not want to be said."[12]

The event was policed by the security firm Group 4 leading to a dispute between the company and Scotland Yard over who was responsible for the security lapse.[13]

Wilkinson and Frank Barnaby later presented their studies instead at the Savile Club in west London on 11 December 1990. Wilkinson called his study Terrorist Targets and Tactics: New Risk to World Order, and Barnaby called his Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Growing Threat in the 1990s.[14]

In April 1994 Paul Wilkinson, who had been the key figure in RISCT, resigned from the board. [15] His role as director and the Foundation’s foremost media representative was taken over by William Gutteridge.

Publications

  • Harbottle, Michael. New Roles of the Military: Humanitarian and Environmental Security. Conflict Studies 285. London: Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism, November 1995.

Funding and finances

In November 1990 the Institute received $25,000 from the The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc. which has a record of funding conservative causes including the Heritage Foundation.[16] The money was ' To support the publication of Conflict Studies and the institute's annual conference.'[17] RISCT’s income from subscriptions and donations were not enough to meet its costs and it ran at a loss throughout the 1990s. In late 1997 or early 1998 RISCT moved to William Gutteridge's home in Lemington Spa to save on costs.[18] According to The Times, the RISCT “folded [in 1999] for lack of subscriptions.”[19]

Dissolved

An application for striking-off was filed in late 2000 signed by Duncan Slater, Malcolm MacKintosh and Kenneth Perkins. RISCT Ltd was officially dissolved 11 December 2001 and the charity of the same name was ceased to exist shortly afterwards on 19 December 2001. [20]

The charity’s last known correspondence address was:

Prof W F Gutteridge
26 St. Marks Road
Leamington Spa
Warwickshire
CV32 6DL [21]



References

  1. Extract from the Central Register of Charities maintained by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, Removed Main Charity 261152
  2. Company Accounts made up to 30 June 1981, filed at Companies House on 9 November 1982
  3. William Gutteridge (ed.) The New Terrorism (London: Mansell, 1986)
  4. The article (William Greaves, ‘A thinking man's war’, The Times, 9 May 1989) does not refer specifically to the address of what it calls Wilkinson’s ‘London office’ but says it is based ‘within a few yards…of Carnaby Street’. Carnaby Street is adjacent to Golden Square where the Institute for the Study of Conflict was based at no. 12-12A.
  5. ‘MARTIN, Sir Laurence (Woodward)’, Who's Who 2008, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007; Paul Wilkinson entry in Debrett's People of Today (Debrett's Peerage Ltd, November 2007)
  6. Companies House Form 297 (Change in situation or address of Registered Office), filed at Companies House on 21 May 1990
  7. Paul Archer, ‘New Lockerbie can happen tomorrow, warns expert’, Press Association, 6 December 1989
  8. David Mason, Michael Chilvers and Heather Tyrrell, ‘IRA Tries to Bomb Terror Talks’, Press Association 27 September 1990; Alexandra King, ‘Grim game in red and black’, The Times, 26 September 1990; Richard Ingrams, The Observer, 30 September 1990, p.20
  9. David Mason, Michael Chilvers and Heather Tyrrell, ‘IRA Tries to Bomb Terror Talks’, Press Association, 27 September 1990
  10. David Mason, Michael Chilvers and Heather Tyrrell, 'IRA Tries to Bomb Terror Talks', Associated Press, 27 September 1990
  11. Barnaby Jameson, ‘Terror goes on the agenda’, The Times, 3 June 1991
  12. Speech given by Professor Alex P. Schmid on the occasion of Paul’s retrial. Accessed from URL <http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~cstpv/about/staffprofiles/pwretiral101007.pdf> on 28 June 2008, 13:47:59
  13. Quentin Cowdry, 'Security clash as bomb is found', The Times, 28 September 1990
  14. Grania Langdon-Down, ‘Expert warns of terror weapons ‘produced with childish ease’’, Press Association, 11 December 1990
  15. 'Diary: Conflict takes over from terrorism', The Independent, 15 April 1994
  16. FUNDER PROFILE The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc.
  17. RECIPIENT GRANTS Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism, London, Media Transparency Profile
  18. RISCT Accounts made up to 30 June 1998
  19. Olga Wojtas, The Times Higher Education Supplement, 28 September 2001
  20. Extract from the Central Register of Charities maintained by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, Removed Main Charity 261152
  21. Extract from the Central Register of Charities maintained by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, Removed Main Charity 261152