Professor Paul Wilkinson (born 9 May 1937) is chairman of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St Andrews University. He is one of the foremost academic terrorologists in the UK and an active propagandist for Western state interests.
From 1979 to 1989 Wilkinson was based at Aberdeen University where he was Chair of the Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism. In 1990 he became the Director of the Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism a successor body to the intelligence connected Institute for the Study of Conflict run by Brian Crozier. The Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence was created at St Andrews in 1993.
He 'began his career as an education officer with the RAF'
- The importance of the centre - the only one of its kind in the UK - can be gauged by its visitors, who have included Carl Bildt, the UN special envoy for the Balkans and now a member of the centre's governing board, and US Senator George Mitchell. Wilkinson's views on terrorism are constantly sought by news reporters.
- Based in a couple of tiny rooms in the attic of the university, the centre trawls around for independent information on every incident and development that could be linked to terrorism, however seemingly inconsequential. These can range from headline-grabbing international outrages to tariffs imposed on South American tuna fleets - terrorism is often related to economic activity.
- "We believe we can't analyse the trends without getting a wide range of background information," says Wilkinson. "What we eventually come up with are very polished final analyses, which we think are of great interest to industry." Companies sending staff out to hotspots can pay the centre for detailed information on such topics as al-Qaeda, Cyprus or illicit weapons transfers in South Asia.
- Interest in the centre has inevitably heightened since September 11. "Industry now is more interested in independent research; people want objective, genuinely well-informed research based on open sources as opposed to government information ," says Wilkinson. "We don't have access to classified sources but it's amazing what we can get from open sources. Indeed, we find very often that we get a better idea of what's going on and what's going to happen than people who rely entirely on government reports." Satisfied customers include politicians from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France, Russia, India and Japan.
References, Resources and Contact
- Wilkinson, Paul (1977) Terrorism and the Liberal State, London:Macmillan.
- Wilkinson, Paul and Stewart, Alasdair (eds) (1987) Contemporary Research on Terrorism. Aberdeen : Aberdeen University Press.
- Wilkinson, Paul (1987) Kidnap and Ransom in P Wilkinson and A Stewart, Contemporary Research on Terrorism. Aberdeen : Aberdeen University Press.
- Wilkinson, Paul (1987) 'Can a State be Terrorist?', International Affairs. 57 : 467-472.
- Wilkinson, Paul (1988) 'The Future of Terrorism', Futures. Vol 20 No 5, October : 493-504.
- Wilkinson, Paul (1990) 'Terrorism and Propaganda' in Y. Alexander R. and Latter (eds) Terrorism and the Media: Dilemmas for Government, Journalists and the Public, Washington:Brassey's
- ^ Paul Wikinson biography on the St Andrews University website
- ^ Alan Crawford 'Rising In The East' In the second part of our focus on Scotland's universities, Alan Crawford visits the powerhouse of learning where they're writing games, fighting terrorism and revolutionising the treatment of cancer, The Sunday Herald. 12 January 2003.