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.cite web|url=,,3-1689202,00.html|title=Mitterrand ordered bombing of Rainbow Warrior, spy chief says|accessdate=2006-11-16] 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. [Press Release: Auckland University of Technology [ "Author condemns Rainbow Warrior bombing hypocrisy"] ,, Monday, 27 June 2005]


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. [ [ 'Turkish PM accuses Israel of practising state terrorism'] ] [ [ 'Turkey slams 'Israeli terrorism'] ] 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." [ Blair: Iran sponsors terrorism] CNN] [ Sharon calls Syria and Iran sponsors of terrorism] Pravda] [ Kazakhstan dismisses alleged anti-Iran comments from president] IRNA] [ Fighting breaks out in Yemen with Shi'ite group tied to Iran] World Tribune] 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.Fact|date=July 2007

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. [cite web |url= |title=Rescission of Libya's Designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism |accessdate=2008-07-17 |work=2008-07-17 |publisher=U.S. Department of State |date=2006-05-16 ]

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.Fact|date=July 2007


Pakistan has been accused by India, Afghanistan, and other nations (including the United States,International Terrorism: Threats and Responses: Hearings Before the Committee on the Judiciary By United States Congress House Committee on the Judiciary, ISBN 0-16-052230-7, 1996, pp482] [ [ Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism] April 30, 2001 U.S. State Department] the United Kingdom [ [ Daily Times Story] ] and China [ [ China turns table on Pakistan, accuses it of training terrorists] The Times of India, 19 Apr, 2007 ] ) of its involvement in the Terrorism in Kashmir, Afghanistan, [ [ Pakistan's link to Afghan terrorism] ] and China. [ [ Uzbek leader blames Pakistan for terrorist outburst] ] Satellite imagery from the FBI which shows the existence of terror camps [ [ FBI identifies terror camp in Pakistan through satellite pictures] ] 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. [ [ 'Pak feared exposure of militant camps'] - Rediff October 16, 2005] 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" [ [ Terrorism Havens: Pakistan] - Council on Foreign Relations ] 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. [ Pakistan should crack down on Taliban, UN official says] ] [ [ BBC Story] ] Both the Federal and State governments in India continue to accuse Pakistan of helping several banned terrorist organizations like ULFA in Assam. [ [ Assam accuses Pakistan High Commission of helping ULFA] ] Experts believe that the ISI has also been involved in training and supplying Chechnyan militants. [ [ Who Is Osama Bin Laden? by Michel Chossudovsky] Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa hosted on Centre for Research on Globalisation]

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" [ [,20867,20231881-7583,00.html Editorial: Terror exports made in Pakistan] - The Australian] 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. [ [ Pakistan said to play both sides on terror war] October 02, 2006, Christian Science Monitor] [ [,2763,722049,00.html Dangerous game of state-sponsored terror that threatens nuclear conflict] May 25, 2002, Guardian Unlimited] Even the noted Pakistani journalist, Ahmed Rashid has accused Pakistan's ISI of providing help to the Taliban, [ [ Die Zeit - Kosmoblog » Mustread: Rashid über Afghanistan ] ] 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" [ [ Terrorist Sponsors: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China by Ted Galen Carpenter] November 16, 2001 Cato Institute] 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." [cite book
last = Thomas
first = Gordon
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Gideon's Spies
publisher = Macmillan
year = 2007
location =
pages = 536
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0312361521
] 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." [cite web
title=A threat to the world
author=Stephen Schwartz
date=19 August 2006
publisher=The Spectator
] According to one author, Daniel Byman, "Pakistan is probably today's most active sponsor of terrorism." [Deadly Connections: States That Sponsor Terrorism By Daniel Byman, ISBN 0-521-83973-4, 2005, Cambridge University Press, pp 155]

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, [ [,3604,1266317,00.html Michael Meacher: The Pakistan connection | World news | The Guardian ] ] [ [ Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) ] ] [ [ BBC News | SOUTH ASIA | Pakistan spy service 'aiding Bin Laden' ] ] terrorism in Kashmir, [ [ Terrorism Havens: Pakistan - Council on Foreign Relations ] ] [ [ Indian minister ties ISI to Kashmir ] ] [ [ Kashmir Militant Extremists - Council on Foreign Relations ] ] Mumbai Train Bombings, [ [ BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan 'role in Mumbai attacks' ] ] London Bombings, [ [ The Pakistani Connection: The London Bombers and "Al Qaeda's Webmaster" ] ] Indian Parliament Attack, [ [,%20L.%20K.%20ADVANI%20ON%20THE%20TERRORIST%20ATTACK%20ON%20PARLIAMENT%20HOUSE%20ON%20DECEMBER%2013,%202001 Terrorist Attack on the Parliament of India - December 13, 2001 ] ] Varnasi bombings, [ [ ISI now outsources terror to Bangladesh ] ] Hyderabad bombings [ [ Hyderabad blasts: The ISI hand ] ] [ [ ISI may be behind Hyderabad blasts: Jana Reddy ] ] The ISI is also accused of supporting Taliban forces [ BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan's shadowy secret service ] ] and recruiting and training mujahideen [ [ Nato's top brass accuse Pakistan over Taliban aid - Telegraph ] ] to fight in Afganistan [ [ At Border, Signs of Pakistani Role in Taliban Surge - New York Times ] ] [ A NATION CHALLENGED: THE SUSPECTS; Death of Reporter Puts Focus On Pakistan Intelligence Unit - New York Times ] ] 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. [ [ Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul, U.S. Officials say] ] 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. [ [ Karzai wants action by allied forces in Pakistan] August 11, 2008 Dawn, 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, [ [ Zee News - Pakistan has al-Qaeda training camp: US officials ] ] 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. [ [ Crisis of Impunity - Pakistan's Support Of The Taliban ] ] In fact, the US has stated that the next attack on US could originate in Pakistan. []

outh 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.

*According to information revealed in 1998 by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, South African, British and American secret services might have been involved in the 1961 aircrash in Zambia which killed UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld. [ [ UN assassination plot denied] ]
*Graça Machel accuses South Africa's Directorate of Military Intelligence of having caused the death of her husband, President Samora Machel of Mozambique in a 1986 aircrash in South Africa, despite the International Civil Aviation Organization accepting the official verdict of the Margo Commission, and subsequent investigations by Truth and Reconciliation Council and a further investigation in 1996 [cite news||title=Mystery still surrounds Machel death|publisher=BBC News|date=October 19, 2006] not finding evidence to support her claim (see Mozambican Tupolev Tu-134 air disaster).
*Christer Pettersson, a Swedish National, was convicted of the February 1986 assassination of Sweden's prime minister Olof Palme. However, Petterson's conviction was later overturned on appeal and the case remains unsolved. In 1996, in Pretoria's Supreme Court, Eugene de Kock alleged that South African spy, Craig Williamson, was responsible for the Olof Palme assassination.Fact|date=December 2007
*Former British diplomat Patrick Haseldine accuses apartheid South Africa of involvement in the Pan Am 103 bombing. However this unproven conspiracy theory is listed as only one of seven alternative theories of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. In January 2001, Libyan agent Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and has already failed in one appeal against his sentence with a second to heard in 2008. The Libyan government has furthermore accepted "responsibility for the actions of its officials" and paid compensation to the victims.

oviet 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. Stephane Courtois; Nicolas Werth; Jean-Louis Panne; Andrzej Paczkowski; Bartosek, Karel; Margolin, Jean-Louis & Kramer, Mark (1999). The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-07608-7. ] 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." [ Russian Footprints] - by Ion Mihai Pacepa, "National Review Online", August 24, 2006 ] 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. [ From Russia With Terror] ,, interview with Ion Mihai Pacepa, March 1, 2004 ]

The PFLP was also claimed to have received support from the Soviet Union. [Courtois, Stephane; Werth, Nicolas; Panne, Jean-Louis; Paczkowski, Andrzej; Bartosek, Karel; Margolin, Jean-Louis & Kramer, Mark (1999). "The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression". Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-07608-7. Chapter 18]

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, [ Text of Sir John Steven's Inquiry into collusion between the UK and Loyalist Terrorists] ] 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. [cite news
title = Stevens Inquiry: At a Glance
url =
format =
publisher = BBC News Online
date= 2003-04-17
accessdate = 2006-11-25

] 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. [ [ Dublin and Monaghan Bombings-Relatives for Justice] ]

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.cite news
first = Frank
last = Connolly
author = Frank Connolly
title = I'm lucky to be above the ground
url =
format =
work = Village: Ireland's Current Affairs Weekly
publisher =
date =
accessdate = 2006-11-16

] 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. [cite news|title=Iran accuses UK of bombing link|work=BBC News|format=|publisher=BBC News|date=2006-01-25|url=|accessdate=2006-11-25]

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 . [ [ CAstro, Chavez decry inequalities, condemn IMF ] ] [ [ AROUND THE WORLD; Nicaragua Accuses U.S. Of Role in Air Attacks - New York Times ] ] 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.

ee also

*State terrorism
*Asymmetric warfare
*False flag


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

* [ Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism] - Released by US Department of State
* [ State Sponsors of Terrorism] , US Department of State, accessed 10-2006.
* [ Is there a "Dirty Secret" Behind India's Irrational Policy towards the Sri Lankan Crisis?] , accessed 08-2008.

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