Daily Telegraph – 10 May 1989
Referring to its report on US Air Force and Ministry of Defence deployment plans for Britain, Adela Gooch (report, April 12) describes the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) as "an independently funded defence research group". What it actually is is a front for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and other opponents of NATO policy.
Its Washington-based Director was a CND vice-chairman from 1985-86 and before that a full-time CND staff member. The head of its London office has been a member of the "Cruisewatch" organisation, which tracked and publicised the movements of cruise missiles when they left their bases on secret exercises. He was elected to the ruling CND Council last November.
Its Council consists of eight people, four of whom are or have recently been chairmen or vice-chairmen of the CND. One of these is Mr Bruce Kent. Of the remaining four, one has served on the CND Council; one has featured on the official CND speakers list; one has addressed a conference organised by the British arm of the Soviet front, the World Peace Council, and the fourth is involved with the controversial Bradford School of Peace Studies.
In November 1988, the BASIC put out a circular calling for volunteers to monitor media coverage of NATO's 40th anniversary and to complain about "instances of bias" in favour of NATO. The aim was to ensure that "both sides got a fair hearing" – in other words, that for every pro-NATO item there would also be anti-NATO coverage. Bearing in mind the composition of the BASIC, this stance is hardly surprising.
Dr JULIAN LEWIS
Policy Research Associates