State-sponsored terrorism

State-sponsored terrorism

The definitions of state-sponsored terrorism, terrorism, and state terrorism are controversial.

By country


The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Operation Satanic is attributed to France. While docked in Auckland, New Zealand, the Greenpeace ship was bombed by the French foreign intelligence service in order to prevent interference with a French nuclear test in the Pacific. David Robie, an associate professor in journalism at the Auckland University of Technology, described the bombing as an act of state terrorism.


The prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had accused Ariel Sharon of "state terrorism" against Palestinians and likened their treatment to that of Jews under the Spanish inquisition. His comments to the Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz, came after an international outcry over the killing of about 60 Palestinians, including many civilians and children in an assault on Rafah in Gaza. No court with jurisdiction has made such a finding so that these remain merely allegations.


The governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Kazakhstan, and Yemen have accused the Ahmadinejad administration of sponsoring terrorism either in their, or against their, respective countries. United States President George W. Bush has called Iran the "world's primary state sponsor of terror." Iran sponsors Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the al-Mahdi army, groups that Iran doesn't view as terrorist.


After the military overthrow of King Idris in 1969 the Libyan Arab Republic (later the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) to the bewilderment of some supported with weapon supplies, training camps located within Libya and monetary finances an array of armed paramilitary groups both left wing and right wing. Leftist and socialist groups included the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the Basque Fatherland and Liberty, the Umkhonto We Sizwe, the Polisario Front, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine while others were on the Far Right such as the Moro National Liberation Front, the government of Libya even had brief contacts with the Neo Nazi British National Front which attempted to enlist financial aid from Libya during the 1980s. These contacts were ended after the fascist nature of the NF was discovered during Nick Griffin's visit to Libya in 1986.

In 2006 Libya was removed from the United States list of terrorist supporting nations after it had ended all of its support for armed groups and the development of weapons of mass destruction.

Out of the armed groups Libya used to support the Provisional IRA, Umkhonto we Sizwe and the Moro National Liberation Front have completely abandoned terrorist tactics or political violence.


Pakistan has been accused by India, Afghanistan, and other nations (including the United States, the United Kingdom and China) of its involvement in the Terrorism in Kashmir, Afghanistan, and China. Satellite imagery from the FBI which shows the existence of terror camps and data produced by India's Research and Analysis Wing clearly suggest the existence of many terrorist camps in Pakistan with at least one militant admitting the help given by Pakistan in training them Another terrorist outfit, the JKLF has openly admitted that more than 3,000 militants from various nationalities were still being trained. Other nonpartisan resources also concur stating that Pakistan’s military and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) both include personnel who sympathize with and help Islamic terrorists adding that "ISI has provided covert but well-documented support to terrorist groups active in Kashmir, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jaish-e-Mohammed Pakistan has denied any involvement in the terrorist activities in Kashmir, arguing that it only provides political and moral support to the secessionist groups. Many Kashmir terrorist groups also maintain their headquarters in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which is cited as further proof by the Indian Government. Many of the terrorist organisations are banned by the UN, but continue to operate under different names. Even the normally reticent UNO has also publicly increased pressure on Pakistan on its inability to control its Afghanistan border and not restricting the activities of Taliban leaders who have been declared by the UN as terrorists. Both the Federal and State governments in India continue to accuse Pakistan of helping several banned terrorist organizations like ULFA in Assam. Experts believe that the ISI has also been involved in training and supplying Chechnyan militants.

Until Pakistan became a key ally in the War on Terrorism, the US Secretary of State included Pakistan on the 1993 list of countries which repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism. The recent 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot is also blamed by various sections in the media as being a handiwork of elements in the Pakistani administration. (See Pakistan's role in the plot) Press editorials from around the world have consistently and strongly condemned Pakistan's "terror exports In fact, many consider that Pakistan has been playing both sides in the fight against terror, on the one hand helping to curtail it while secretly stoking terrorism. Even the noted Pakistani journalist, Ahmed Rashid has accused Pakistan's ISI of providing help to the Taliban, a statement echoed by many, including author Ted Galen Carpenter, who states that Pakistan has "assisted rebel forces in Kashmir even though those groups have committed terrorist acts against civilians Author Gordon Thomas states that whilst aiding in the capture of Al Qaeda members, Pakistan "still sponsored terrorist groups in the disputed state of Kashmir, funding, training and arming them in their war on attrition against India. Journalist Stephen Schwartz notes that several terrorist and criminal groups are "backed by senior officers in the Pakistani army, the country's ISI intelligence establishment and other armed bodies of the state. According to one author, Daniel Byman, "Pakistan is probably today's most active sponsor of terrorism.

Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, has often been accused of playing a role in major terrorist attacks across the world including the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, terrorism in Kashmir, Mumbai Train Bombings, London Bombings, Indian Parliament Attack, Varnasi bombings, Hyderabad bombings The ISI is also accused of supporting Taliban forces and recruiting and training mujahideen to fight in Afganistan and Kashmir. Based on communication intercepts US intelligence agencies concluded Pakistan's ISI was behind the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008, a charge that the governments of India and Afghanistan had laid previously. The Afghan President Hamid Karzai who has constantly reiterated allegations that militants operating training camps in Pakistan have used it as a launch platform to attack targets in Afghanistan urged western military allies to target extremist hideouts in neighbouring Pakistan. In response to the growing extremism from Pakistani border, the US has started bombing selected terrorist hideouts within Pakistan, as well as raiding villages in Pakistan to capture and kill suspected Al-Qaeda and Taliban members hiding in Pakistan.

Pakistan is also said to be a haven for terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Omar, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Sipah-e-Sahaba. Pakistan is accused of sheltering and training the Taliban in operations "which include soliciting funding for the Taliban, bankrolling Taliban operations, providing diplomatic support as the Taliban's virtual emissaries abroad, arranging training for Taliban fighters, recruiting skilled and unskilled manpower to serve in Taliban armies, planning and directing offensives, providing and facilitating shipments of ammunition and fuel, and on several occasions apparently directly providing combat support," as quoted by the Human Rights Watch. In fact, the US has stated that the next attack on US could originate in Pakistan.

South Africa

The government of Apartheid South Africa has been accused of involvement in a series of incidents. However, these incidents either remain unsolved, unproven or others have actually been convicted for the acts.

Soviet Union

The first official announcement, published in Izvestiya, "Appeal to the Working Class" on September 3, 1918 called for the workers to "crush the hydra of counterrevolution with massive terror". This was followed by the decree "On Red Terror", issued September 5, 1918 by the Cheka.

The terms "repression" and "terror" were normal working terms in the Soviet Union, since the "dictatorship of the proletariat" was supposed to suppress the resistance of other social classes. The entire "ruling class" was exterminated, including "rich people", and a significant part of the intelligentsia and the peasantry labelled kulaks. The numerous victims of extrajudicial punishment were called the "enemies of the people". The "mass terror" by the state included summary executions, torture, sending innocent people to the Gulags, involuntary settlement, and stripping of citizen's rights. Usually, all members of a family, including children, were punished simultaneously as "traitor of Motherland family members". The repressions were conducted by Cheka, OGPU and NKVD in waves known as Red Terror, Collectivisation, Great Purge, Doctor's Plot, and others. The terror against "ruling classes" and general population was practiced in Soviet republics and in the territories "liberated" by the Soviet Army during World War II, including the Baltic Republics, Eastern Europe and North Korea.

After the 1953 death of Stalin and subsequent destalinization, according to defector Ion Mihai Pacepa, the KGB continued its policy of supporting a number of terrorist organizations. KGB General Aleksandr Sakharovsky said that "In today’s world, when nuclear arms have made military force obsolete, terrorism should become our main weapon." He also claimed that "Airplane hijacking is my own invention". In 1969 alone 82 planes were hijacked worldwide by the KGB-financed PLO.

Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa also described operation "SIG" (“Zionist Governments”) that was devised in 1972, to turn the whole Islamic world against Israel and the United States. According to him, KGB chairman Yury Andropov explained him that "a billion adversaries could inflict far greater damage on America than could a few millions. We needed to instill a Nazi-style hatred for the Jews throughout the Islamic world, and to turn this weapon of the emotions into a terrorist bloodbath against Israel and its main supporter, the United States." Andropov also told him that "the Islamic world was a waiting petri dish in which we could nurture a virulent strain of America-hatred, grown from the bacterium of Marxist-Leninist thought."

According to Pacepa, the following organizations were assisted, at one period or another, by the KGB: PLO, National Liberation Army of Bolivia (created in 1964 with help from Ernesto Che Guevara); the National Liberation Army of Colombia (created in 1965 with help from Fidel Castro), Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1969, and the Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia in 1975.

The PFLP was also claimed to have received support from the Soviet Union.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) has been accused of supporting Loyalist terrorist groups, both within the UK and also in cross-border operations into the Republic of Ireland, namely the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA). These groups support the territory of Northern Ireland remaining part of the UK. The UK is accused of providing intelligence material, training, firearms, explosives and lists of people that the security forces wanted to have killed. The UK security services have been accused of involvement in the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings by the UVF on 17 May,1974 which killed 33 and wounded nearly 300 civilians.

On the 17 April 2003, Sir John Stevens published his third inquiry into collusion between the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) with Loyalist paramilitaries. It stated that there had been collusion in the murder of Pat Finucane by Loyalists.

A former RUC officer, John Weir, has admitted to colluding with Loyalist terrorists in the 1970s in activities that led to the death of ten Catholics and that his superiors had knowledge of 76 more killings carried out by the UVF in the same time period. He also alleges that members of the SAS killed Loyalists who may have planned to expose the collusion.

The UK has also been accused by Iran of supporting Arab separatist terrorism in the southern city of Ahwaz in 2006.

United States

The United States has been accused of being more than twenty-five years ago a state sponsor of terrorism by Cuba, and Nicaragua . U.S. governments covertly sponsored anti-Soviet Afghan Mujahideen during the 1980s, supported the Contras in Nicaragua, intervened in other Central American and Caribbean conflicts.

United States list of state sponsors of international terrorism

The U.S. list of state sponsors of international terrorism is a list, compiled by the U.S. State Department, of countries that the United States' sees as sponsoring terrorism. Inclusion on the list imposes strict sanctions.

See also


Further reading

  • Dreyfus, Robert. The Devil's Game: How the United States unleashed Fundamentalist Islam. Pluto Press, 2005.
  • Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth & K. Lee Lerner, eds. Terrorism: Essential primary sources. Thomson Gale, 2006. ISBN 9781414406213 Library of Congress. Jefferson or Adams Bldg General or Area Studies Reading Rms LC Control Number: 2005024002.
  • Tarpley, Webster G. 9/11 Synthetic Terror, Made in USA -Progressive Press. ISBN 0-93085-231-1
  • Chomsky, Noam. The Culture of Terrorism ISBN 0-89608-334-9
  • Chomsky, Noam. 9/11 ISBN 1-58322-489-0
  • George, Alexander. Western State Terrorism, Polity Press. ISBN 0-7456-0931-7

External links

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