came into contact with the Scottish National Liberation Army in March
1995. I am an Englishman. I had recently been transferred to begin
working as the senior investigative journalist at the Glasgow offices of
the "News Of The World", where the
newspaper's Scottish edition is produced.
Scottish National Liberation Army (SNLA) had just sent a number of
letter bombs to British Labour party targets, including Tony Blair MP
and George Robertson MP.
bombs, which were timed to coincide with the Labour party's Scottish
conference in Inverness, had created a minor sensation in Scotland and
beyond. I was writing an article about the incidents when a member of
the newspaper's staff informed me that a former member of the SNLA had
just telephoned an anonymous message to the newspaper. He had condemned
the attacks and criticised the SNLA itself.
me a small unique angle and I included a brief report of the disgruntled
former SNLA member's statement in the article which the "News Of The
World" carried the following day.
following week when I returned to work I was surprised, and a little
startled, to receive a telephone call from an anonymous member of the
SNLA. The caller asked for me by name and proceeded to question me about
details of the telephone call received previously from the former member
of the SNLA. For example, had the previous caller used a codeword?
giving what little detail I knew, which wasn't much, and my caller
seemed satisfied, politely thanking me for my trouble, and preparing to
I was a
little surprised that a member of what is usually described as an
extreme anti-English organisation should be so courteous to an
Englishman like myself, and on impulse I intimated that as a
professional investigative journalist I was interested in getting more
information about the organisation and its activities. The caller
replied that any information they gave out was only in the form of brief
communiqués, and that the "News Of The World" might receive them in
future. Then he rang off.
the "News Of The World" has received many SNLA communiqués, and I have
done a great deal of research into the Scottish National Liberation
of that research form the contents of this book.
One of the
many sins of the Scottish Establishment has been its incredible ability
to engage in self-deception where the Scottish National Liberation Army
example, the Scottish media routinely describes the Scottish National
Liberation Army as essentially a one-man band or, in contradiction, as a
bunch of amateurish fantasists.
number of people have been convicted of SNLA activities over a period of
twenty years, the SNLA has carried out effective
attacks on British interests on two different continents,
and the SNLA has a known interest in Weapons Of Mass Destruction, as
well as an innovative approach to techniques of bringing disruption and
chaos to the British State. All this is totally ignored as a matter of
for example, was using hoax Anthrax letters against British targets in
the USA in an experiment at least as early as November 2000, and
pioneered the use of the Anthrax hoax technique in the UK before the
technique became known and "popular" shortly after the September 11th
was also experimenting with the toxin Ricin in the UK long before the
existence of the toxin
widely known to the general public in the UK, or even to
the British police, and it has an unhealthy interest in, and actual
possession of, some extremely nasty unconventional weaponry in its
arsenal. Some of these are described in detail here.
book will show, the SNLA plans its operations with elaborate care and
ingenuity, and executes them with military precision, and the SNLA can
be organizationally linked to some of the world's most dangerous
terrorist groups, including the Real IRA, Islamic extremists, and the
Russian Maoist Party.
been so many SNLA attacks, spanning a period of over twenty years, that
only a limited number of the more significant or interesting of them can
be described in detail.
And I have
chosen not to cover the various SNLA trials in depth unless there is
particular significance in them. There have been several major trials
spanning a period of twenty years, all of which have received widespread
coverage in Scotland and beyond, but some of them are now of little more
than historical interest.
two distinct phases in the development of the SNLA.
phase, which covers the period from 1980 to 1995, is concerned mainly
with the "traditional" methods of terrorism then employed by the SNLA.
The second phase, from 1995 until the present, covers the period during
which the SNLA began to show an interest in unconventional weaponry, and
in particular in Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMD).
And I have
devoted a separate chapter to what is now Scotland's greatest mystery,
the death-by-shooting of Willie McRae. I have uncovered evidence which
links Willie McRae directly to the SNLA, and which, for the first time,
publicly reveals the way McRae met his death.
case is essential to an understanding of the relationship between the
SNLA and the British State. It illustrates the fact that the existence
of the SNLA has forced the highest authorities in the British State to
engineer an elaborate cover up in order to avoid a political scandal
which threatens the integrity of the State itself.
Robertson MP (now Lord Robertson and former Secretary-General of NATO)
stated in the "Herald" on March 15th, 1997, the SNLA has caused havoc
and "mayhem". In fact, as this book will show, the British State has
already suffered huge economic losses at the hands of the SNLA.
despite this, the activities of the SNLA are rarely mentioned by the
Scottish or British media, and the SNLA has never been properly assessed
or analyzed. Given the dangerous world we live in, I believe this
situation is short-sighted and dangerous. The SNLA has already used
chemical weapons in the UK (albeit in a limited and I believe purely
attempt (March 20th 2005) to place Lead Sulphate (an exceptionally
lethal, but simple to manufacture, chemical) in London’s water supply
was only very narrowly thwarted. But the SNLA could have killed
thousands of Londoners, and permanently contaminated much of London’s
water supply system causing economic catastrophe to the UK. What happens
if or when another attempt is made successfully?
The SNLA is
only a tiny organisation, but it intends to coerce the British State in
order to force the British State to concede the SNLA's aims by the
threatened or actual use of the Weapons Of Mass Destruction, which the
SNLA - as will be demonstrated - undoubtedly possesses. To my certain
knowledge the SNLA has experimented with potential WMD, and has
perfected at least one type of WMD.
personal opinion it may become an even more dangerous force, and, unless
certain radical reforms are undertaken, both Scotland and England will
be on a head-on course for disaster.
opinion is not mine alone. The consultant forensic psychologist Ian
Stephen, referring to the use of Caustic Soda as a chemical warfare
agent by the SNLA, has said that the SNLA campaign is liable to
to be a very well-planned exercise...It's a deeply worrying
development...It's very dangerous and the worrying thing is that there
is no telling where it will stop".
At the time
of writing (August 2005) a number of recent incidents bear the hallmarks
of SNLA actions. There is no sign that the danger of a full-scale SNLA
attack has diminished.
is an attempt to understand and hopefully to counter that danger.
It has not
been an easy or a particularly pleasant task. Despite my original SNLA
contact's formal politeness, I have during this research personally
received more than one convincing death threat aimed at myself and at my
Nevertheless for the purposes of confidentiality, my main source from
within the SNLA is referred to as "Alec" throughout this book. Needless
to say, this is not his real name, nor is his real name or identity
known to me.
to all those who have helped with this work, especially those SNLA
members and former members who agreed to collaborate, and including
those in the media, various police forces, intelligence services and
political circles, in the UK and beyond, who have given me assistance in
writing this book.
Of Key Events
A referendum on Scottish Devolution is a failure due to the British
government's insistence on a clause in the Bill that at least 40% of all
registered voters in Scotland must vote in favour of Devolution.
The Scottish National Liberation Army is formed in December 1980.
The Dark Harvest Commando - a proto-SNLA grouping - acquires Anthrax
from the mainland near the Scottish island of Gruinard, which it dumps
in contaminated earth at Porton Down biological research station, and at
Blackpool where the ruling Conservative party conference is being held.
The SNLA campaign of disruption, letter bombs and arson
begins officially on March 1st 1982, the third anniversary of the
referendum on Devolution.
SNLA letter bomb and arson attacks continue and escalate. David Dinsmore
arrested and charged in May, and Tommy Kelly is charged
in October, with SNLA activities. Adam Busby and David Dinsmore abscond
to Ireland in September to avoid prosecution for conspiracy.
Tommy Kelly is sentenced to 10 years in prison for SNLA activities. An
SNLA plot to murder Roy Jenkins MP in Glasgow goes badly wrong. Adam
Busby avoids extradition to the UK when the High Court in Ireland rules
that his alleged offences were political. David Dinsmore, on bail in
Ireland, escapes to Spain and then to Brazil to avoid extradition.
Willie McRae dies after being found shot in a crashed car in North West
Scotland. The authorities refuse to hold a public investigation or an
inquiry into the circumstances of his death.
Various SNLA activities continue, usually at a low key.
The death of Kevin Collison takes place during an SNLA bomb alert.
Andrew McIntosh is jailed for 12 years for an SNLA conspiracy to coerce
Her Majesty's Government in order to establish a separate Scottish
State. David Dinsmore surrenders to the British authorities in Brazil,
and is returned to Scotland to face trial for an SNLA letter bomb
David Dinsmore pleads guilty to a much reduced charge and receives a
non-custodial sentence of 240 hours community service. The SNLA launches
"Operation Flame" to target mass English immigration. A sustained three
year campaign against the British Labour party is also organised.
The SNLA continues to carry out attacks in the UK using the Strategy Of
Disruption. Later the SNLA launches "Operation Icarus" to experiment
with Weapons Of Mass Disruption (WMD). A viable - but de-activated -
blast incendiary device, designed to
aircraft in flight, is sent by air from Belfast to London. Four members
of the SNLA's Dublin cell are arrested for questioning in Dublin, but
released after interrogation. The "Flame" trial takes place in Scotland
and two SNLA men are jailed. The Scottish Separatist Group - an SNLA
political support group - is formed in October.
SNLA attacks using the Strategy Of Disruption continue unabated.
Adam Busby is jailed in Dublin for two years. SNLA actions using the
Strategy Of Disruption continue in the UK. The Labour government of Tony
Blair is elected, and a second - and successful - referendum on Scottish
Devolution is held.
A Scottish parliament with extremely limited powers is established in
Edinburgh. The SNLA carries out bomb alerts in Edinburgh during the
opening of the Scottish parliament by the Queen. The "Republican Revenge
Group" (RRG) threatens to poison English water supplies in a campaign of
holds an emergency Cabinet meeting and imposes a news blackout. England
is in a state of virtual, if undeclared, siege. The RRG is believed to
be an alliance between the SNLA and Irish Republican dissidents. A
number of homes in Ireland are raided and Adam Busby (SNLA founder) is
arrested. He is later released without charge.
The SNLA launches a campaign of Information Warfare (cyber-terrorism).
SNLA Anthrax hoaxes disrupt British commercial and diplomatic
institutions in the USA.
The SNLA sends hoax Anthrax letters to St Andrews university and other
targets in the UK. The SNLA experiments with Ricin. SNLA cyber-terrorist
attacks continue and escalate.
Packages with bottles containing Caustic Soda disguised as aromatherapy
oils are sent to Cherie Blair - wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair - and
to other political figures in the UK. This is believed to be an SNLA
experiment to prove the effectiveness of the chemical as a weapon.
Threats involving Chemical Warfare agents - believed to have been made
by the SNLA - cause massive security alerts throughout the UK. In
October 2004 a huge security alert disrupts central Edinburgh before and
during the Queen’s opening of the new Scottish parliament building.
An attempt by SNLA activists to place an exceptionally lethal chemical,
Lead Sulphate, in the London water supply is only narrowly thwarted when
uniformed police stumble on the operation in Mary Street, London, on
The SNLA is
a secret society, and, generally, the names of members and former
members are unknown. However, a number of people have been convicted of
activities in the last two decades.
He was sentenced to serve 10 years for SNLA letter
bombing in 1984. Denied parole because he refused to abandon his
principles, Kelly served seven years of the sentence.
McIntosh: He was given a 12 year sentence for an SNLA conspiracy
in 1993, in which he used the Strategy Of Disruption extensively.
McIntosh was expelled from the SNLA in 1997 for betraying the location
of an arms dump to the police. He hoped to get parole in return for his
cooperation. He got parole.
years later, in 2004, he was arrested with his brother Alan McIntosh,
and another man, for possession of these same weapons. He hanged himself
On returning to Scotland from Brazil in 1993 after more than ten years
on the run, Dinsmore repudiated the SNLA, and, in 1994, as the result of
a deal, he was given 240 hours of community service for a much reduced
He received an 18 month prison sentence for his part in the "Flame"
conspiracy in 1995.
Paton's co-accused, he received three years imprisonment for SNLA
activities in the "Flame" trial in 1995.
He received a two year sentence in the Irish Special Criminal Court in
1997. This was for a misdemeanor caused by sending an SNLA communiqué to
media outlets in Scotland.
Convicted of sending death threats to, among others, George Robertson
MP, he received a sentence of 3 months imprisonment in 1998.
He received a non-custodial sentence in the Special Criminal Court in
Dublin for telephoning a bomb threat to police in Scotland in 1995,
causing a major bomb scare near Inverness. His lenient sentence was
influenced by the fact that he took legal action to prevent his trial
for four years, causing the Irish authorities to seek a quick resolution
to the case by offering him a non-custodial sentence. He accepted the
sentence in 1999.
In 2003, he was one of two young men scheduled to stand trial for
alleged SNLA offences in Glasgow High Court. These offences related to
the threatened use of biological weapons, and the actual use of chemical
weapons. Specifically, he pled guilty to sending Caustic Soda to Cherie
Blair and another person. He got 3 years imprisonment.
co-accused was not proceeded against.
to the above, a number of people have been charged with SNLA activities
but not proceeded against for one reason or another, although remanded
in custody on the charges. Darin Brown, for example, was charged with
Weber and Paton in 1994, and was remanded in custody. The charges, to
which he admitted, were eventually dropped when he agreed to turn
informer in 1995.
others have been arrested or questioned on suspicion of SNLA activities
over the years but released without charge.
generations there have been small groups of Scots who have been prepared
to or who have actually resorted to armed struggle. This book is a
detailed study of the most enduring and persistent of them - the
Scottish National Liberation Army or SNLA.
originally a completely Gaelic speaking country, has been dominated by
England for most of its history. Scotland, throughout its history, has
been reactive to English influence or domination, and not proactive to
the wider world.
question in Scottish history has always been how to deal with the
larger, dominant and more aggressive English neighbour. In Scotland,
there are only two methods of dealing with the "English question":
outright resistance or a degree of collaboration
and the defeat of the last great Jacobite rebellion, collaboration has
ruled supreme, and has been the dominant force in Scottish politics.
Scottish history has been re-written or forgotten, and replaced with an
entirely bogus imagery involving Tartanry, and a heather and haggis
cultural black hole for a national identity.
country's national language - Gaelic - has been virtually obliterated,
although it is still the key to the Scottish personal and national
identity, while all sorts of
falsehoods, bogus notions
and reactionary ideologies have been deliberately promoted to create and
maintain modern Scotland's "British" identity.
example, Gaelic is still seen as “foreign” by many Scots, who have been
encouraged to believe that the natural language of Scotland is English
or “Scots” (“Scots” is the collective name for the English dialects
spoken in Scotland).
Gaelic was once the vernacular language of the whole of Scotland. During
the middle ages, its use in Scotland was general throughout most of the
country. For example, at the coronation of Alexander the Third in 1249,
the Latin of the coronation ceremony had to be translated into Gaelic so
that the Scottish nobility could understand the proceedings.
research indicates that Gaelic was still the language of the majority of
Scots until comparatively recent times. Comparison of Webster’s
population survey (1755) with Walker’s linguistic survey (1768) shows
that Gaelic was still the majority language north of a line drawn
between the Clyde and the Tay, an area that contained more than 60% of
the country’s population in 1755.
As a result
of this and similar brainwashing, modern Scotland is a backward, passive
and reactionary province of England. Passivity in political affairs is
nationalism, once a very radical force, was typified by groups like the
pro-Gaelic, anti-British, Scottish National League until the 1920s
situation was completely transformed in 1928 when a section of the
Scottish Conservative Party, the Cathcart Conservative and Unionist
Association, left the main body of the Tories to form the National Party
of Scotland - soon to be renamed the Scottish National Party - a party
claiming to advocate some form of Scottish Home Rule. The main motive of
the Tories in this was to undermine the Labour party vote in Scotland.
candidates in Scotland stood as Labour and Home Rule candidates until
1945 and received a considerable nationalist vote. The founders of the
National Party of Scotland intended to deprive Labour of its nationalist
vote. Initially the NPS absorbed some genuine nationalist groups, but
these were soon expelled as “extremists”, and the National Party of
Scotland united with the even more right-wing Scottish Party and adopted
the name Scottish National Party.
The sham of
modern Scottish nationalism was born.
an extreme pro-British element had hijacked Scottish nationalism.
then embarked on a disgraceful campaign against the “Green Terror” of
Irish Catholic immigration which was assisted by the support of the more
reactionary elements in the Scottish media.
This too was largely aimed at Labour as most Irish Catholics were Labour
voters. These early fascistic antics of the SNP have been airbrushed out
of history by modern SNP partisans.
Scottish National Party - dubbed the "Tartan Tories" because of their
Tory origins – is no longer officially anti-Irish or anti-Catholic – but
their essentially pro-British attitudes remain. For example, their
attachment to the British monarchy. In ideology they are still closely
akin to the Irish Unionists – actively pro-British but keen to preserve
their own political influence in their own part of the UK.
Scottish National Party is also the supreme example of the lack of
radical political activism in Scotland. Although the average SNP member
is often a person with strong views on the subject of Scottish
Independence, the SNP leadership is composed largely of professional
politicians with a passive, provincial and essentially pro-British
the SNP leadership is opportunist and career-oriented. The leadership is
also totally in control of a supposedly democratic party. Even the
party's newspaper "The Scots Independent" is privately owned and
controlled by elements faithful to the SNP leadership.
bizarre situation results in blatant and often ludicrous contradictions
within the SNP. For one thing, if the aim of national self-government or
self-determination is taken as the yardstick, the SNP isn't a
"nationalist" party at all, because it favours integration into the
forthcoming United European State rather than Scottish Independence.
Similarly, the SNP has no interest in the issues of language, culture
and history - which are the universal hallmarks of other nationalist
the SNP promotes so-called civic nationalism - which is socially and
economically based - in opposition to traditional or "real" nationalism.
Perhaps most telling of all, the SNP is also, in the 21st century, a
monarchist party, and gives official support to the British monarchy.
have described the SNP as a "pseudo-nationalist" party or as
representing "neo-nationalism". This variation of, or alternative to,
nationalism is introspective and non-aggressive, and therefore
politically irrelevant. In the SNP's case it converges with what Tom
Nairn has called cultural sub-nationalism, meaning the docile images
reflected in Tartanry and Kailyard.
To the SNLA
and other critics, the SNP is simply a party of political careerists
which uses nationalist rhetoric to cynically get political support from
nationalist voters in Scotland. The SNP are seen as unprincipled
political parasites feeding on the genuine national aspirations of the
Scottish people. The SNP is an obstacle to genuine Scottish nationalism.
The SNP is
also unique in that, despite more than 70 years of constitutional
activity, it has never succeeded in passing or even significantly
influencing a single piece of legislation.
SNP's obvious flaws, there was a steady growth in political nationalism
in the 1960s and 1970s and most of the benefits of it flowed to the SNP.
To counter this, the British Labour government resorted to promises of
Devolution, of a Scottish Assembly based in Edinburgh. But the British
Labour government's promises were based on cynical political expediency,
and there was no serious intention of implementing Devolution.
On the 1st
of March, 1979, after years of seemingly endless discussion, when the
Scottish electorate finally were allowed to vote in a national
referendum on whether to establish a Scottish Assembly, they voted in
favour of the Assembly.
despite the majority vote for the Scottish Assembly, the Labour
government did not establish the Assembly on the technical grounds that
less than 40% of those listed on the electoral rolls had voted in favour
of establishing the Scottish Assembly.
percentage of the registered voters were dead, were ill, or had moved to
other areas where they could not vote, or had simply failed to turn out
to vote for a variety of reasons, this outcome naturally caused very
deep frustrations in Scotland.
was widely seen by the people of Scotland as a "betrayal", and as a
denial of their legitimate democratic and national rights.
immediate obvious response to the referendum result - although by no
means the only direct response, for there was a very pronounced upsurge
in nationalist militancy throughout Scotland - was the brief and violent
campaign waged by the Scottish Republican Socialist League (SRSL).
The SRSL, a
tiny Marxist grouping, carried out a series of robberies and bombings in
1979 and 1980. One of the SRSL's most spectacular exploits was to carry
out the daring armed robbery of a Post Office van in Glasgow. It is said
to have netted the largest haul of stolen cash in Scottish history until
then. In another SRSL attack in January 1980 a bomb exploded behind the
Stock Exchange building in Glasgow.
most of the SRSL members were arrested and given very lengthy prison
sentences in a sensational conspiracy trial and the SRSL was effectively
One of the
SRSL's associates who escaped arrest was Adam Busby, who later formed
the Scottish National Liberation Army, a group which was also formed in
direct response to the outcome of the Devolution referendum. He was one
of the group’s Intelligence Officers.
Note 1: The
distrust of the SNP and the reluctance of nationalist voters to give
their votes to the SNP is dramatically illustrated by events in 1992. In
January 1992 public opinion polls commissioned by the "Scotsman"
newspaper and ITN showed that 50% of Scottish voters wanted
Independence. But in the general election of April that year the SNP
actually lost seats.
Note 2: It
should be noted that the “national movement”” in Scotland only consists
of the SNP with a few thousand members, and the Scottish Socialist Party
with a couple of thousand members. In addition there are a number of
tiny mainly web-based fringe groups – most of which are distinctly
two political parties could claim to have any more than minimal
political influence, and none of the fringe groups are politically
- The SNLA Ideologue
of the SNLA would be incomplete without a detailed examination of the
life and work of Adam Stuart Busby, a founder member of the SNLA and its
best known member.
who has masterminded SNLA activities from exile in Ireland for more than
twenty years, is a highly intelligent professional revolutionary whose
intelligence has been described as "Machiavellian" by his adversaries in
the Irish Special Detective Unit (the Irish Special Branch). Perhaps
significantly, the Special Detective Unit also refer to him as
"Moriarty" (the great omnipotent genius who was the arch-enemy of the
fictional detective Sherlock Holmes).
Busby was born into a middle-class family in August 1948. A native of
Old Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire, Busby joined the Dumbarton branch of the
SNP on his 16th birthday in 1964. Although generally his family had a
strong Labour Party affiliation and some were very prominent in Labour
circles, Adam Busby had always had strong Scottish nationalist leanings
which, constantly developing, became the core of his political beliefs.
after joining the SNP, Adam Busby joined an informal Nationalist
grouping called "Free Scotland" or, in Gaelic, "Saor Alba". Shortly
afterwards, this little group was absorbed into the "Scottish Liberation
Army" or SLA.
The SLA was
the brainchild of Major F.C. Boothby, a WW2 veteran and a cousin of the
famous Tory peer Lord Boothby, and, although born in England of a
Scottish family, the Major was a fanatical Scottish nationalist. Major
Boothby's movement, the Scottish Liberation Army, had an important
formative influence on Adam Busby, although it was a rather different
influence than the Major intended to exert on his "troops".
although only a teenager at the time, noted that the SLA had absolutely
no security, no real ideology other than a set of vaguely romantic
notions, no revolutionary creed and no politics other than a general
support for the SNP. It was, for Adam Busby, a prime example of "how not
to do it". Perhaps unwisely, Adam Busby, always forthright in speech and
criticism, began to voice his criticisms of the SLA's faults.
say, the Major was outraged by criticism from the youngster and,
somewhat ironically coming from the leader of a paramilitary group, he
saw Adam Busby as the potential leader of an "extremist" element within
Nevertheless, despite the internal bickering within its own ranks, the
SLA was responsible for some small-scale actions - mainly slogan
painting campaigns combined with the occasional outbreak of arson - and
there were a number of grandiose plans for a national uprising,
including "Operation Hub" which was a plan to capture Stirling Castle on
Bannockburn Day as the signal for the beginning of the uprising.
there was a much more serious side to the Scottish Liberation Army.
who lived with his artist wife in a remote country cottage in
Lanarkshire, used a small quarry nearby to perfect his formidable skills
with home-made high explosives, while another member of the SLA, a
shopkeeper who had a permit to sell shotgun ammunition, had legally
imported solid, rifled shotgun ammunition which was used in Germany to
hunt wild boar and deer. (The solid, rifled lead bullet increases the
accurate killing range of a shotgun to several hundred yards.)
At the same
time, SLA members, of whom there were a considerable number, were
instructed to equip themselves with shotguns - which could then be
perfectly legally over-the-counter or by mail order.
regular training sessions, usually conducted under the guise of camping
trips, during which SLA members underwent training in various
paramilitary skills. This included survival skills. The Major, who had
thoroughly trained himself in survival skills and guerrilla warfare,
maintaining that it was possible to live fairly well for short periods
on everyday plants including nettles and dandelions.
were also encouraged to join units of the Territorial Army or to
infiltrate the Scottish regiments of the British Army in order to get
training and equipment, and to recruit new SLA members from the British
Army's own ranks.
aged 17, briefly joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
1965 as part of this initiative.
the British authorities were watching the SLA with growing apprehension.
The SLA might have had its failings but it did have a veteran ex-British
Army officer who had wartime experience at its head, it had a
substantial membership, and possession of weapons, explosives, some
basic training, and it had members serving in the British armed forces.
result, the Tory Prime Minister, Ted Heath, sent Douglas Hurd, then a
confidential aide to Heath, on a mission to Scotland to examine the
political situation in light of the rise of the SLA and militant
Scottish nationalism. (Note 2.)
after his mission to Scotland, Douglas Hurd, in collaboration with
Andrew Osmond, wrote a novel called "Scotch On The Rocks" which was
loosely based on the information he had gathered on the SLA in Scotland.
contains a number of composite characters. "Colonel Cameron", the leader
of the SLA in the novel, is clearly based on Major Boothby. While "Brodie"
is clearly Busby the "extremist", and "Meg Merrilees" is a composite
character partly based on the late Wendy Wood. While the story is
fiction, it forms one of a trilogy of novels - based in Scotland,
Singapore and Hong Kong - co-written by Douglas Hurd and based on
materials he had gathered on his confidential fact-finding missions to
all three countries.
impressed Adam Busby and others was the impact that the existence of the
SLA appeared to have on the Conservative leadership's thinking on
In the late
1960s, to the general surprise of many, including many in the Tory
party, Prime Minister Ted Heath made a historic commitment to Scottish
Devolution in the famous "Declaration Of Perth". Thirty years later,
during the debate on the establishment of the present Scottish
parliament, Ted Heath made it clear that if re-elected he would have
implemented his promise of a Scottish parliament or Assembly.
Busby, and to others, the 1968 "Declaration of Perth" made it clear that
while English governments were totally deaf to all other forms of
campaigning, they responded immediately to violence or to the threat of
speaking on behalf of the SNLA, put it many years later:
British State only responds to one thing - physical force. Everything
else from civil disobedience to electioneering is just a waste of time,
and is really just a form of collaboration with the State. These
activities only allow people to channel their energy into activities
which are harmless to the State, so the State can operate without
State really fears physical force resistance because physical force
resistance is a real threat to the State. Basically, anyone who doesn't
physically resist the British State is really in collaboration with the
Scottish Liberation Army eventually drifted into oblivion although some
of its ex-members were to continue as individual activists for many
years. For example, Major Boothby, hopelessly at odds with some of his
former colleagues, was jailed for three years for an alleged conspiracy
during the 1970s. He died shortly after his release from prison.
disillusioned with all forms of constitutional politics and disgusted by
the ineptitude of most of the militants, spent many years diligently
studying Scottish history, literature, politics and the Gaelic language,
becoming a language activist who promoted the Gaelic Idea - the doctrine
that Scotland should become a totally Gaelic-speaking nation again.
all, he was engaged in preparation for the next stage in what he saw as
the inevitable struggle to reclaim Scotland's legitimate national
Adam Busby's widowed aunt, Baillie Agnes Ballantyne, chaired the Labour
party's Strathclyde Regional Police and Fire Committee. She adopted
David McNee, the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, as her friend
and protege. Under her tutelage, he went on to become Commissioner of
the Metropolitan Police, and was knighted.
In a twist
of fate, this took place during the same period that Adam Busby was
co-founding the SNLA and carrying out letter bomb attacks on targets
throughout the United Kingdom.
Ironically Douglas Hurd was to become a target of the Scottish National
Liberation Army himself when, as a senior member of the Conservative
government, he was sent a letter bomb in July 1986. It ignited inside
the Home Office HQ in London.
Formation Of The SNLA
Scottish National Liberation Army came into existence in December 1980.
Its formation followed a series of strictly confidential meetings at the
SNP Club in Edinburgh attended by people who felt that the outcome of
the Devolution referendum demanded a definite response, and a complete
change of strategy in Scotland.
five founding members of whom Adam Busby was one and Douglas "Dougie"
Ross, an Edinburgh publican, was another. Ross, the publican of the
Swiss Cottage pub in Edinburgh, died in mysterious circumstances in the
early 1980s. Three of the five original members are still active in the
McRae was not a founding member of the SNLA, although he was a very
early associate and influence who was active by 1981.
There was a
general feeling that something had to be done, that the outcome of the
Devolution referendum was the final signal that there was no
constitutional way forward, and that only a fierce and sustained
physical force campaign would ever achieve anything.
was what to do, and how to do it. At the very beginning there wasn't
even a formal name for the group, and no clear ideas of how to proceed
had yet been developed. But there was an absolute determination to see
the thing through, and to win Scottish Independence by any means
reiterates this: "What people don't realise is that the SNLA isn't a
protest group. We're not a political party or a social club either. We
are a secret revolutionary group with only one object. We only have one
purpose and that is to achieve our aims. We are out to win. And we'll
use any methods we see fit to do that regardless of the cost. And if
that means using WMD (Weapons Of Mass Destruction) then we don't flinch
from it - we welcome it because if it's got to be done then we are
anxious to do it."
Each of the
founding members agreed to recruit one new member and the creation of a
think-tank to research ideas for more or less immediate action. This
resulted in a number of small-scale actions in 1981, most of which were
comparatively trivial, including slogan painting and the theft and
burning of Union Jack flags.
But one of
the earliest proto-SNLA operations was carried out using the name of the
"Dark Harvest Commando" in the early 1980s, and it was far from trivial.
It is interesting both because it involved Willie McRae - see the later
chapter where his death-by-shooting is examined in detail - and,
especially, because it involved probably the first ever terrorist use of
a biological weapon - Anthrax.
the British had, completely recklessly and with blatant disregard for
the local population, tested Anthrax as a potential biological weapon on
the small uninhabited island of Gruinard. The island lies adjacent and
in very close proximity to the North West coast of Scotland.
was seeded with Anthrax spores by British biological experts in a
wartime experiment in the 1940s. It was in the form of "Anthrax cakes"
designed to infect livestock rather than humans, and the Anthrax
remained active on the island for decades afterwards. Over the years
there was a great deal of concern among the area's population that
Anthrax had spread from the island to the nearby Scottish mainland.
authorities always denied that Anthrax had spread from Gruinard to the
Scottish mainland. But, given the fact that the island lies just off the
mainland, and the fact that Anthrax spores can quickly become airborne,
there were few people in the area who believed the authorities'
assertions that Anthrax could be
contained on a small offshore island.
McRae, the veteran nationalist lawyer, who had close connections with
the area, came up with a novel scheme to force the British authorities
to admit that Anthrax had spread from Gruinard to the adjacent mainland.
surreptitious visit to the island by night allowed members of what
became known as the Dark Harvest Commando to leave traces of recent
digging on the island, although no earth was actually removed from the
substantial quantity of earth containing Anthrax spores was secretly
removed from the mainland facing Gruinard island. The earth, which
filled two large sacks, was then removed in the boot of a car to Willie
McRae's home. At the same time an elaborate scheme was hatched to
convince the British authorities and the police that the earth had been
taken from the island itself.
boatman, who kept his boat on the beach on the mainland near the island
of Gruinard, was surprised when he went to his boat one day and found
that it was not in its usual position. Even more surprising, there was
an anonymous note in the boat thanking him for the use of the boat and a
sum of money to pay for its overnight "hire".
after this, small mounds of the contaminated earth from the Scottish
mainland were dumped at two locations in England. The most fitting
location was on the perimeter of the Porton Down complex in Wiltshire,
which houses the British State's biological weapons research station. It
was at Porton Down that the Anthrax had originated many years
previously. The other location was close to the foot of the Blackpool
Tower during the governing Conservative Party's Blackpool Conference.
incidents caused minor panic - even in those far-off days when there was
a much less heightened awareness of the threat of biological weapons.
Both incidents were highly publicised, and the removal of the
Anthrax-contaminated earth at Blackpool was televised to a British
public - most of which had never heard of the island of Gruinard.
were initially informed by the Dark Harvest Commando that the earth had
been removed from Gruinard and that it contained Anthrax spores. When
the British government's experts tested the soil and revealed that it
did, in fact, contain Anthrax they had fallen into the Dark Harvest
Commando's elaborate trap.
Commando then revealed that the Anthrax-contaminated soil had not come
from the island, as they had previously claimed, but from the Scottish
mainland near the island.
As a result
of the Dark Harvest Commando's revelations, there was considerable
embarrassment in government and scientific circles. Finally the British
government announced that Gruinard island would be thoroughly
decontaminated and, eventually, this extensive decontamination operation
was carried out.
operation had been a tremendous success for the Dark Harvest Commando
who ended the operation by pinning a notice to a door of the Scottish
Office in Edinburgh warning that, while they were suspending the
operation for the present, they would return if no action was taken to
remedy the situation on Gruinard, or if events in Scotland warranted it.
Harvest Commando - which sometimes referred to itself as being part of
the "Scottish Civilian Army", an early name for the SNLA which was
subsequently dropped in favour of its present title - was jubilant, but
there was some concern at the lack of attention reluctantly given to the
whole matter by the Scottish media, in comparison to the more generous
coverage provided by the English media.
phenomenon, the unwillingness of the Scottish media to report news
stories which concern anti-State activities, has persisted and increased
until the present day.
may be of the greatest significance, is that two of the participants in
this first ever terrorist use of a biological agent were later found
dead in mysterious circumstances.
after the operations of the Dark Harvest Commando had ceased, the body
of Douglas Ross, a young and healthy man, who was an SNLA founder
member, was found lying dead, of what were described as natural causes,
in a remote area. There was no inquiry into the circumstances of his
On the 6th
of April, 1985, Willie McRae also died in a very mysterious shooting
incident. As in the case of his colleague Douglas Ross, the authorities
absolutely refused demands for an inquiry into Willie McRae's death.
(See the later chapter which deals with the circumstances of McRae's
completion of the Dark Harvest Operation, the group decided to use the
name Scottish National Liberation Army as the group's official title -
because it signifies total Independence and a National Revolution which
rejects all things British - and to begin the SNLA campaign as soon as
possible on an appropriate and significant date.
Note 1: The
remainder of the Anthrax-contaminated soil remains in the hands of the
SNLA. It is said to be safely stored in an outhouse or potting shed
somewhere in Scotland.
Scottish National Liberation Army's campaign officially opened on the
1st of March 1982, the date being chosen because it was the third
anniversary of the referendum on Scottish Devolution, and the target was
also highly symbolic, being the area of Edinburgh which surrounds the
Old Royal High School, the proposed site of the Scottish Assembly.
was to place about twenty small incendiary devices in the early morning
hours in a number of pillar boxes and grit boxes at various locations in
a rough circle surrounding the Old Royal High School in Edinburgh, and
then to inform the media of the locations of the devices first thing in
the morning through a message delivered to the offices of the BBC in
hoped that this would lead to a huge police operation which would
effectively seal off large parts of central Edinburgh at the height of
the morning's rush hour. This was the original plan. However, all did
not go strictly according to plan.
SNLA source, tells the story:
simply, too many people were involved and there was too much division of
responsibility. The guy who was to make the incendiary devices got cold
feet at the very last minute and didn't turn up, leaving us minus the
devices. When it became clear that he wasn't going to turn up, we took
the statement we had prepared and delivered it to the media anyway.
that the statement was far too long, maybe a thousand or a couple of
thousand words, while nowadays statements are very brief and straight to
the point since the media, if it reports anything, won't report anything
more than a few brief details. If I remember correctly, the statement
went to the BBC's radio offices in Edinburgh.
delighted when the planned disruption actually took place. The police
took the warning very seriously and blocked off the streets while they
urgently contacted the Post Office to get the pillar boxes opened. Then
each postal packet or letter inside the pillar boxes had to be
individually examined. There was considerable disruption to traffic
throughout the area while this was going on, and this was reported on, I
think, the local radio station, Radio Forth.
that the operation could still be counted as a limited success, and we
had learned very valuable lessons from it. The bomb-maker, who was an
extremely vocal revolutionary but, like most people, was totally
incapable of any real action, was dropped from SNLA membership, so we
had also learned to beware of purely verbal militants and wannabes.
operation was a letter bomb sent to John Nott MP, the British Defence
Secretary. We had decided in advance that when Nott announced that the
Trident missile programme was to go ahead, we would immediately send a
letter bomb to him at the House of Commons.
Accordingly, we had everything prepared, and when the Trident programme
was announced in March 1982, we quickly assembled a black powder
explosive device at a house in Edinburgh, which was sent to John Nott at
the House of Commons in London.
we made a number of minor errors. The device was posted at a pillar box
in Edinburgh on March 16th 1982. It wasn't an unusually large device and
it just went through the post like any average letter. This meant that
it turned up in London the following day which was March 17th - St
result, when the media got the story, which was the main news story of
the day in the UK, and also got considerable coverage internationally,
they all assumed that the letter bomb was the work of the IRA because it
had been delivered on St Patrick's Day. We should have foreseen this
possibility and delayed the posting of the letter bomb for a day or two.
evening, one of our members used a public call box (and he was wearing
gloves to avoid leaving traceable fingerprints) to phone a claim to the
Glasgow offices of the "Scotsman" newspaper. We chose that particular
newspaper office because we knew that it was manned 24 hours a day, and
that it didn't have the means to record telephone calls.
mistakes: The telephone call should have been made much earlier in the
day. As soon as the bomb was reported in fact which, if I remember
correctly, was on the 3 o'clock TV news. That way our claim would have
been more widely reported by the media for most of the day. As it was,
our claim was only picked up by a few of the newspapers on the following
device had been addressed to John Nott MP at the House of Commons. We
had hoped that he or one of his senior aides would open the device
happened was that the device was forwarded from the Commons to the
Ministry of Defence HQ buildings in London. (Note 1.) This is standard
practice when mail is addressed to a Minister or Secretary of State. It
is automatically forwarded from the Commons to the relevant Ministry.
And so the
letter bomb was actually opened by a female staff member at the Ministry
of Defence. She was named in the following day's media. She was actually
opening the letter bomb when she realised that it was a bomb and quickly
put it down. She was very, very vigilant and very, very lucky. If she
had fully opened the letter bomb it would have gone off, and she would
have been seriously injured, at the least. The bomb was designed to kill
or maim. The police themselves made a statement describing the device as
a "viable bomb".
counted on this, and we weren't interested in injuring or killing junior
civil servants, and so we immediately switched to incendiary devices
which are dangerous but not nearly as dangerous as explosive devices.
lesson we had learned was that when a letter bomb is addressed to a
prominent politician or other person or target - what we call a
"prestige target" – it gets massive publicity, and this is propaganda
for our cause.
As a result
we immediately sent two incendiary letter bombs to the HQ offices of the
Social Democratic Party in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Neither device
ignited, but this didn't surprise us as a general alert had been issued
after the Nott letter bomb which had been sent out only a few days
before. The one sent to the SDP in Edinburgh was blown up in the street
by a bomb disposal squad, and this was televised. It was quite dramatic
propaganda point of view it was a brilliant success. We had achieved our
first aim, and resoundingly so. All the media made our attacks the main
news story of the day, and all of them reported the letter bombs as the
work of the SNLA, making the name of the Scottish National Liberation
Army nationally and internationally known. We had achieved the first of
To make the
Scottish struggle internationally known, and to present a totally
militant image in total contradiction to the comfortably respectable and
collaborative image presented by the constitutionalist and essentially
pro-British Scottish National Party.
letter bombs got such massive publicity partly because the Social
Democratic Party itself was getting massive attention from the media at
that time. So the SDP was very much a "prestige target". But we never
regarded the SDP as anything more than just another British political
party, and this made them a legitimate target. So fuck them.
bomb campaign carried on throughout 1982 and 1983 with growing success.
In fact, a number of other groups and individuals, most notably animal
rights campaigners, began letter bomb campaigns of their own because
they recognized that letter bombs were relatively straightforward to
manufacture once the technique had been mastered, and that the letter
bomb would almost always reach its target. Even if it didn't reach its
target, it would cause major disruption and it would probably be
example, the SNLA had triggered off a rash of letter bombings by other
groups and other people throughout the UK.
memorable occasion in 1983 three letter bombs were sent to Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher on three consecutive days. Only one of them
was ours, and we think it was the second one. We don't know who sent the
Thatcher on numerous occasions, usually getting quite close, and on one
occasion a letter bomb ignited in a room only a few yards away from her.
the postal authorities introduced a sophisticated screening device into
the main sorting office which deals with mail for that part of London.
It is a conveyor belt which X-rays the mail, and can detect explosives,
and can tell the difference between a paper clip and an electrical
circuit. Suspect letters and packages are automatically downloaded from
the conveyor belt and drop into a bomb-proof compartment. But this
screening device can still be beaten.
carbon paper on the inside of some devices to mask the contents from
X-rays. Fibre glass can be used for the same purposes. So we weren't
unduly worried by the increased security measures, and our letter bombs
continued to get through undetected.
sent to, I think it was Douglas Hurd, and it went off inside the Home
Office in 1986. The police issued the usual junk about a crude and
unsophisticated device which had only partially ignited, etc.
is that crude and unsophisticated devices couldn't get through the
security screen, and we later heard that a member of the Home Office
staff was slightly injured which tends to indicate that the device did
began to use the technique of the hoax parcel bomb in 1982 and 1983. The
media always refer to these inaccurately as "hoax letter bombs". In
fact, the SNLA has never used hoax letter bombs.
understand this, it is necessary to describe the physical aspects and
appearance of a letter bomb.
popular belief, the letter bomb isn't a large or bulky object. The size
varies but essentially it is the same size and only a little heavier
than any ordinary letter. Put simply, a letter bomb is usually about 9
inches long by 4 inches wide, is a slim object, and is virtually
indistinguishable from any of the millions of other letters which turn
up in offices and homes every weekday.
bombs are very much larger objects - a parcel bomb could be a package of
virtually any size.
discovered was that when a hoax parcel bomb or a suspect parcel bomb
turned up at, say, a government office, then because of the possibility
that it could contain large amounts of explosive the whole building had
to be evacuated causing major stoppages and disruption.
employed this technique and it always worked very well. We usually refer
to the hoax devices as "inert devices", by the way.
parcel bombs usually contained wires, a battery and some substance like
marzipan - marzipan is ideal because it looks and even smells like
gelignite and similar types of explosive.
parcel was opened, the first thing the recipient would see were the
wires and so on, and they would immediately call the police, and the
police would order the evacuation of the whole building because of the
size of the parcel, and the potential of any explosives it might have
contained to cause damage and casualties throughout the whole building.
Sometimes the streets outside the building are also sealed off to keep
the public away and to allow the police to establish control over a
hours of disruption in the target area which is very expensive, and it
is massively time-consuming for the police.
advantage of the hoax parcel bomb is that it is simple for anyone to
make, whereas the much smaller letter bombs required a certain amount of
skill to manufacture, and an unskilled bomb-maker could injure himself.
This occasionally happened. But letter and hoax parcel bombs were only
part of the picture.
1982 we burnt out the Tories' temporary HQ in Glasgow, and the following
night we burnt out the Labour party's national HQ in Scotland, which is
also in Glasgow. In both cases, petrol was poured into the buildings
through broken windows and letterboxes, and then ignited. This sounds
simple, but really it's quite dangerous because, while the petrol is
being poured, there is a rapid build-up of petrol vapour in the air
which causes an explosion when the petrol is ignited. We quickly learned
to stand well back!
is to pour the petrol inside, leaving a pool of petrol on the outside of
the building, then stand out of range and throw a box of blazing matches
or a rolled-up ball of
pool of petrol. The pool of petrol ignites and that then goes on to
ignite the petrol which has already been poured into the building.
dangerous stuff to work with, but the results were well worth it as both
buildings were badly damaged. The Labour HQ also lost 150,000 copies of
their newspaper which were stacked in the hallway of their offices.
Unfortunately, due to all the publicity, we had spawned imitators one of
whom burned down the Labour party offices in Dundee shortly afterwards.
We had absolutely no argument with the action per se, but a number of
people who lived over the Labour offices in Dundee had a very narrow
escape from the fire. Naturally, we got the blame for that one too. In
the "Black Book" it is still attributed to us. (Note 2.)
single exception of the arson attack on the Labour party's Scottish HQ,
we didn't carry out any more attacks on the Labour party until 1994.
There just wasn't any point as they seemed to be in permanent
Incidentally, in November 1983, a year to the day after we burnt out the
Tories' temporary HQ in Glasgow, we went back there and planted a
powerful home-made bomb there. Unfortunately, it only partially ignited
because we didn't construct it properly, but we had reiterated our
We had also
carried out an arson attack on Redford Army Barracks in Edinburgh. It
was a very risky operation with a high risk of us being caught
red-handed. Because of this, in order to cover our SNLA credentials we
used the cover name of the "Scottish Independence Army" for this
operation. We even had some literature done up using this name and we
scattered it around in the dormitories. The
were practically deserted at the time although it was only early
evening, and we never had any trouble with getting caught.
trouble we had was with the petrol which was in plastic bottles. Our
plan was to tip the bottles over on their sides so that some of the
petrol from the bottles ran into balloons which we had attached to the
necks of the bottles. Then we intended to light candles and "snakes" -
these are coils of slow-burning material which are intended to be used
to repel insects - which when they burned down would ignite the petrol
in the balloons. This was to provide a delay to give us time to get out
before the fires started.
was the petrol just ate through the balloons as soon as it made contact
with them. This shouldn't have happened because we had tested the
technique in training and it worked perfectly then. So we just said
"Fuck it", and sprinkled the petrol from the bottles all over two big
dormitories. Then we lit the petrol by hand using some of the papers we
just drove out of the barracks without anyone stopping us or taking any
notice of us. The dormitories were badly damaged by the fires we had
started, but the main effect on us was to boost our confidence. If we
could just drive into a major British Army base and set it on fire, then
what couldn't we do? We were absolutely full of confidence in ourselves.
major action which took place around this time - I think it was February
1983 - was the letter bomb sent to Glasgow's Lord Provost, Michael
Kelly, at the Glasgow City Chambers. It was timed to coincide with the
day of Princess Diana's first official visit to Glasgow. Michael Kelly
wasn't really the target - although the letter bomb was actually
addressed to him - he only became a target because he was due to welcome
Diana to Glasgow.
There was a
problem around this time as the State, which in this case means the
police and the media, had routinely begun to play down, to denigrate or
simply to deny SNLA claims.
the letter bomb attack on the day of Diana's visit as a "spectacular",
and we couldn't take the risk that the police Press Officer would simply
deny that anything had taken place. We wanted the media to be right
there on the spot so that the police couldn't cover up anything and we
could maximize the
thing was meticulously planned. We used Willie McRae's office in
Buchanan Street as a base from which we could monitor the routine and
the timing of postal deliveries in central Glasgow. We quickly
established that mail to the City Chambers was delivered well prior to
9am each morning, while mail to the media offices in the area -
including the STV (Scottish Television) offices in Cowcaddens - was
always delivered slightly later in the morning.
What we did
was to send the incendiary letter bomb to the City Chambers, and in the
same post we sent out stenciled statements in which we gave exact
details about the letter bomb which had been delivered to the City
Chambers. These statements were only sent to each of the media offices
in the area which we knew received their mail after the City Chambers
received its mail. The plan worked perfectly.
bomb was delivered to the City Chambers first, while the media offices
in the area received full details of it, including its location, in the
post shortly afterwards, and the media then descended on the City
Chambers in droves.
bomb was opened by the Lord Provost's secretary, a guy called Eric
Hamilton, while he was in his office interviewing, of all people, Miss
Glasgow. The device ignited, Eric Hamilton was burned on the wrist or
hand, and the top of his desk and the paperwork on it was also burned.
Finally, the device fell to the floor where it burned a large hole in
the carpet before somebody got hold of a fire extinguisher and put it
the media pack turned up outside the City Chambers with photographers
and even a film crew in attendance. The police couldn't stop them
swarming all over the place and everything was filmed or photographed
for TV or the Press. Everyone involved except Eric Hamilton, who had
been taken to hospital for treatment for burns, was interviewed by the
media. This included Miss Glasgow, who was present when the bomb went
off, and the porter who had finally extinguished the blaze with the fire
This was a
major news event not just in the UK, where it was the main news story of
the day, but worldwide.
communiqué had made it plain that this action had taken place to disrupt
the first official visit of Diana to Glasgow, which, of course, was
taking place that very morning, and it had worked. The Royal Visit was
completely overshadowed by the letter bomb attack. It was a political
and military success and a tremendous propaganda coup for us.
bonus for us was that while the police for their own propaganda purposes
had routinely begun to describe our letter bombs as "crude" and
“amateurish", the photographs and film of the damage to the inside of
the office gave the lie to their propaganda. Even a senior police
officer at the scene was forced to admit that the letter bomb was very
artfully made, and the media quoted this statement - much to our
also interesting about the whole affair is that it shows the importance
that the British State gives to the prestige and propaganda value of the
severely dented that prestige, and turned the whole thing into a
propaganda victory for the SNLA, and in response the State arranged an
unscheduled Royal visit to Glasgow several weeks later. This time Diana
was accompanied by Charlie (Prince Charles) and there was massive
security. It was reported in the Press that college students were told
they could take time off to go and see the Royal couple - but the
students had to promise that they wouldn't demonstrate against the Royal
I guess you
could say that the SNLA had won that round!"
But not all
SNLA actions were so successful.
There was a
conspiracy to assassinate Mrs Thatcher at the Scottish Tory party
in Perth in May 1983, but it was aborted despite the fact
that a considerable amount of planning had been put into it.
The plan -
to put a bomb underneath the stage from which the Prime Minister would
address the conference - had to be abandoned when it became obvious that
the State had got wind of a similar plan being loudly promoted by a
short-lived nationalist splinter group called the "Arm nan Gaidheal" or,
in English, the "Army Of The Gael" - although there is no evidence that
the splinter group's "plan" ever amounted to any more than wishful
thinking. (Note 3.)
so, there were compensations for the SNLA. Security at the Tory
conference, which normally consisted of a token police presence, was
stepped up to such an extent that media commentators began to refer to
the "fortress city of Perth".
and audacious, the SNLA decided on an alternative plan.
Years later the SNLA started a fire in the Ministry of Defence HQ in
London. According to Alec, the building was undergoing extensive
renovations at the time and the SNLA's operators simply walked in
without being challenged - as they had done at Redford Barracks in
Note 2: The
"Black Book" is the disparaging SNLA name for the book "Britain's Secret
War", which the SNLA believe is State-inspired propaganda. It is largely
inaccurate nonsense and was written by two people, one of whom was once
employed in a senior position by the former SNP leader Gordon Wilson MP.
Note 3: The
"Army Of The Gael" did however manage to carry out one or two more or
less successful arson attacks circa early 1983. Some of their members
received non-custodial sentences for some of these offences.
Of David Dinsmore
alternative plan involved the sending of a letter bomb to Scone Palace
near Perth, home of the Tory Earl of Mansfield, where Mrs Thatcher would
stay during the Scottish Tory Party Conference.
Accordingly, an incendiary letter bomb was prepared and posted in
central Glasgow on the afternoon of May 12th 1983 by David Michael
Dinsmore, a Falkirk youth who had been a member of the SNLA since early
the previous year. The letter bomb would have reached Scone Palace on
the following day to coincide with Mrs Thatcher's presence.
the letter bomb never reached its target. It was discovered in a post
box in central Glasgow, shortly after David Dinsmore, who was being
followed by detectives, was seen posting a letter there. Dinsmore had
been identified by the police as an SNLA member, and had been kept under
strict surveillance during most of May 12th, 1983.
early hours of May 13th, 1983, he was arrested at his parents' Falkirk
home. Among the items taken as evidence from Dinsmore's room in his
parents' home was a business card belonging to Willie McRae which had
writing on its reverse side.
later chapter on the mysterious death of Willie McRae for more details
and the significance of this.)
under the Prevention Of Terrorism legislation, David Dinsmore was taken
into police custody but maintained an absolute silence. Adam Busby was
also arrested in Paisley under the anti-terrorism legislation later the
same day, but, lacking any evidence, the police were forced to release
him without charge shortly afterwards.
Dinsmore was charged in connection with the letter bomb which had been
intercepted on its way to Scone Palace, was denied bail, and remanded in
custody to Longriggend Remand Centre. Dinsmore thus became the first
person to be charged with participation in letter bomb attacks or SNLA
period of his detention the letter bomb attacks continued unabated, and
SNLA members set fire to forestry plantations near Perth in retaliation
for Dinsmore's arrest. The fires raged for days.
A group to
campaign for Dinsmore's release was also formed which campaigned on the
basis that David Dinsmore had been framed by the authorities. The
campaign group was, in fact, an SNLA-founded propaganda front although
most of its members and supporters had no links to the SNLA.
campaign was proactive and determined, with the emphasis on Non-Violent
Direct Action (NVDA). It carried out a number of actions including a
picket of Glasgow Sheriff Court on the date of David Dinsmore's remand
picket of the court, then based in Ingram Street, a large police bus
used to transport prisoners was put out of action when its tyres were
evening, posters demanding the release of David Dinsmore were pasted on
the windows of the Sheriff Court buildings and the ground floor windows
were then smashed by bricks. It was a daring and audacious attack
because it took place in the brightness of the early evening. It was
also extremely insulting to the police and the judiciary.
anonymous call was then made to a freelance journalist who operated a
small Press Agency called "Quill Enterprises", and who lived fairly
nearby in the West End of Glasgow. The journalist hastened to the scene
of the incident and saw the posters, the broken windows, and discussed
the incident with a number of uniformed policemen who had been called to
the scene, and with workmen who were beginning to erect hoardings over
the broken windows.
order to complete his story, the journalist used a phone kiosk in the
street nearby to phone the police Press Officer for an official comment.
This is standard journalistic procedure as no news story of this type
will be published without an official comment or confirmation from the
police Press Officer. The police Press Officer is a police officer who
has been trained to deal with the media, or a journalist who is employed
by the police to handle media enquiries. Each police force has its own
Press Officer or Officers.
freelance journalist's utter astonishment, the police Press Officer
denied that any such attack on the Glasgow Sheriff Court had taken
place. Despite the freelancer's protests that he was still at the scene
of the incident, and had seen the posters and the damage for himself
only a few minutes before, and had even
discussed the incident with investigating police
officers, the police Press Officer continued to maintain that no such
incident had taken place.
As a result
of the Press Officer's insistence, the incident could not be reported as
no newspaper would carry a story about an incident which had been
officially denied by the police.
blatant lying, which is no more than a means to impose censorship on the
media and the public, was to become standard procedure for the Scottish
police forces and the British government in the years to come, and has
now (in the year 2005) reached epidemic levels. It is also a simple
attempt by the State to use the media to conduct a propaganda war
against the SNLA, as, by denying and ridiculing their claims as "false",
they can then portray the group as liars and fantasists.
campaign to support David Dinsmore kept up the momentum, the police
realised that Dinsmore was just one of a number of very determined
individuals who made up the SNLA, and that their intelligence on the
remainder was extremely limited or non-existent.
Most of the
little they did know came from their informers in the ranks of two minor
groupings called "Siol nan Gaidheal" and the "Scottish Republican
Dinsmore and Busby had been members of Siol nan Gaidheal - the name in
Gaelic means "Seed Of The Gael" - and Adam Busby had actually formed the
Scottish Republican Socialist Party the previous year.
had proved a severe disappointment to the SNLA members. Adam Busby and
David Dinsmore had both been expelled by Siol nan Gaidheal which
advertised itself as a militant, activist group. Ironically they were
both expelled from Siol nan Gaidheal quite simply because they
were militant activists, while most of the rest of the group
most certainly were not.
expulsions were a result of their taking part in militant activities.
Dinsmore and Busby had sparked a riot on the Wallace Day memorial march
and rally in Renfrewshire in 1982. It led to fighting with the police
and the siege of the local police station. Both Dinsmore and Busby were
arrested as were a number of others.
separate incident, Adam Busby had thrown smoke bombs at SDP leader Roy
Jenkins at a Glasgow rally of the Social Democratic Party in 1981.
similar incidents had horrified the ultra-conservative elements within
Siol nan Gaidheal and the SNP.
Scottish Republican Socialist Party was an even greater disappointment.
Adam Busby in late 1982 as the Scottish Republican Movement to promote
non-constitutional and anti-constitutional activities such as
Non-Violent Direct Action, the group had
by pro-SNP elements some of whom were informers who later testified
against SNLA suspects in court.
abandoned the group in disgust in early 1983.
despite Dinsmore's continued incarceration, the wave of letter bomb
attacks continued unabated. During this period, for example, a letter
bomb was addressed to the manager of Cardowan Colliery near Stepps which
was threatened with closure.
This was in
August 1983 and, although the device failed to ignite, it received
widespread publicity. Predictably, the police Press Officer described
the device as a "crude incendiary device" - although how such a
supposedly "crude" device escaped detection in the postal system was not
after several months on remand in prison Dinsmore was suddenly and
unexpectedly released on bail later in 1983.
and Dinsmore suspected that this was merely a ploy to entrap them in
conspiracy charges by exposing Dinsmore to the informers in the
"Scottish Republican Socialist Party" (SRSP). This feeling was
underlined when, within days of his release, an SRSP informer persuaded
Dinsmore to commit a technical breach of the provisions of the
Prevention of Terrorism legislation. As a result, Dinsmore was
on completion of an additional month of imprisonment for the breach,
decided to avoid conspiracy charges by absconding to Ireland as soon as
possible. Adam Busby, also a target for conspiracy charges, decided to
abscond with Dinsmore.
assistance of two comrades, Tommy Kelly and Willie McRae, Busby and
Dinsmore evaded police surveillance, and flew from Scotland to the Irish
Republic on the 16th of September 1983.
take advantage of the Irish Republic's extradition laws, which banned
extradition for political offences, Busby and Dinsmore engineered their
own arrest in the Irish Republic in December 1983.
custody awaiting appeals against extradition, Busby and Dinsmore were
not granted bail until late 1984.
Kelly, the friend who helped Dinsmore and Kelly to escape from Scotland
in September 1983, was arrested shortly afterwards on the word of yet
another SRSP informer and was charged with an SNLA conspiracy. His
alleged conspirators were named later in the High Court as David
Dinsmore and Adam Busby.
betrayed by a so-called "Supergrass", received a ten year sentence for
SNLA activities, and in 1984 became the first person ever to be
convicted of SNLA activities.
months after Busby and Dinsmore fled Scotland, Willie McRae was shot
dead in a mysterious incident which shall be dealt with in detail in
The Plot To
Murder Roy Jenkins MP
(later Lord Jenkins), one of the members of the "Gang Of Four" and a
founder member of the Social Democratic Party, had been elected as the
Member of Parliament for the Glasgow Hillhead constituency in a
sensational by-election in 1982. In order to avoid accusations that he
was simply a "carpetbagger" and an incomer, Roy Jenkins MP bought a
small tenement apartment in the Kirklee area of Glasgow near the city's
quickly acquired the address of the new MP's apartment and began to
closely monitor Roy Jenkins' movements. They soon discovered that
Jenkins was not a permanent resident in Glasgow. He only used the new
apartment for overnight stays when he visited his constituency at the
weekends to conduct the surgeries which are a normal part of an MP's
workload. As the MP's surgeries were openly advertised for the benefit
of Jenkins' constituents, it was a simple matter to keep a close watch
on Jenkins' overnight stays at the Glasgow apartment.
discovered that Jenkins almost invariably stayed in the apartment on
Friday nights, and sometimes on Saturday nights. He was usually alone
although sometimes accompanied by an aide. The SNLA noted that there was
absolutely no security of any kind at Jenkins’ home.
noted that it was an up-market but typical Glasgow tenement building,
complete with the common stair (known in Glasgow as the "close") and
was on an upper floor, and had only one entrance - a door with a large
and, to the SNLA, a very inviting letter box.
calculated that if a single gallon of petrol was poured through the
letter box and ignited in the early hours of the morning, then the
elderly sleeping Jenkins would have no means of escape, and would die in
the flames and smoke with little hope of rescue.
would have got him in a few minutes, and he would probably have died
without waking", as an SNLA insider put it.
prospect of pulling off such a "sensational" exploit had an enormous
appeal to the SNLA, and it was decided to carry out the action at a
significant date when its effect would be magnified.
chosen for the proposed attack was in the immediate run-up to the
European Parliamentary Elections in 1984. The SNLA is, of course,
strongly anti-European Union while Roy Jenkins was strongly and
vociferously pro-European Union.
By the time
chosen for the murder bid, however, the SNLA was severely disorganized.
Adam Busby and David Dinsmore were in prison in Dublin awaiting appeals
against extradition to the UK, and communications between the rest of
the group were not good.
of the murder attempt was a fiasco.
who was in charge of the operation had all the details and could have
carried out the attack himself and without any assistance. But he got
cold feet and on the right night when he knew that Jenkins was asleep
inside, he called in a person who hadn't even been properly briefed and
didn't have any of the details or know the layout.
The new guy
was simply taken to the right street in the middle of the night, the
house was pointed out to him and he was handed a gallon of petrol and
left to get on with it on his own. His so-called briefing only lasted a
couple of minutes in the dark of night, before the other fellow drove
He - the
new guy - naturally got it all wrong. He went to the right house but
went to the wrong door in the house. Ironically, if he had been able to
study the building in daylight he would have known which was Jenkins'
apartment, because it was being used as an SDP election HQ during the
European elections, and there were SDP posters in the window. Instead,
he began to pour the petrol through a letter box, but it was the wrong
door in the right building.
the people in that house were awake and spotted what was going on. They
probably thought it was kids at first, but, when they looked through
their door and saw a guy wearing a balaclava pouring petrol through
their letter box, the woman began to scream.
screams alerted our guy because he knew there shouldn't have been anyone
else present except Jenkins, and so he knew he was in the wrong place
and he didn't light the petrol and left the scene rapidly.
thing was a screw-up and a near-disaster. A near massacre of the
innocent in fact.
a guy called Steve Wilson from near Glasgow was charged with the
attempted murder of the people inside - whose family name was Connell, I
think - but there was no evidence against him and he was released after
spending a few weeks on remand in Barlinnie. He wasn't lucky - he just
didn't do it. (Note 1.)
one was Roy Jenkins. He had a very narrow escape.
furious because the simplest operation had been turned into a total
fiasco. The rule in all operations is to keep it simple, then simplify
and simplify again. But one guy had still managed to blow even the
simplest operation because he crapped it and handed the whole thing over
to someone who had only the vaguest idea of what was going on.
If he had
only had Jenkins' door pointed out to him in daylight, then it would
have been different, but the idiot who took charge of the operation
didn't even do
The truth is he lost his wits as well as his nerve.
Was it a
massive fuck-up? Yes, it was undoubtedly, and it was also one of the
greatest lost opportunities we ever experienced."
SNLA was quick to find even more "opportunities".
Note 1: The
person referred to by Alec was Stephen Bertram Wilson. He was charged
with attempted murder and remanded in custody in Barlinnie prison,
Glasgow, but was eventually released due to lack of evidence.
extradition appeals were due to be heard in Dublin High Court in October
1984, Adam Busby and David Dinsmore were both on bail after eight months
in custody in Mountjoy Jail in Dublin.
quickly discovered that David Dinsmore had absconded to parts unknown.
In fact, Dinsmore had traveled by air to Spain posing as a tourist and
using a false Irish passport, from where he eventually made his way to
Brazil. The authorities would not discover Dinsmore's whereabouts until
nine years later when Dinsmore surrendered to the British authorities as
the result of a deal brokered in Brazil.
Dinsmore's non-appearance in the High Court, only the appeal against
extradition by Adam Busby was heard.
the fundamental differences between the British and Irish laws on
conspiracy, no action could be taken to extradite Busby or Dinsmore for
the SNLA conspiracy - although both were named as conspirators during
the trial of Tommy Kelly in early 1984.
the conspiracy charges, the British could only bring criminal damage
charges against Adam Busby. These related to a non-SNLA political
protest which had taken place in Berwick.
one-day hearing before Mr Justice Donal Barrington, Busby's legal team,
headed by Mr Seamus Sorahan SC, who was himself a former Irish
Republican activist, brought forward very detailed evidence to the
effect that Adam Busby was a person who had been involved in political
dispute with the British State for many years.
Court accepted this, and Mr Justice Donal Barrington in his ruling
accepted that the alleged offences at Berwick were political offences
and granted Adam Busby "relief" (immunity) from extradition. It would,
he ruled, be "obnoxious" to the Irish Constitution to extradite Adam
Busby to the UK.
There is a
principle in international law which prohibits the extradition of
certain categories of fugitive offenders. These categories are
political, revenue and military offenders. The prohibition exists
because, whereas in an ordinary criminal offence the State which
requests the extradition is impartial in the prosecution of an ordinary
criminal case, because it merely prosecutes on behalf of the community,
in a case involving political offences against the State, or offences
involving the State's revenue or its military forces, the State which
requests the extradition is the actual victim of the offence and cannot
be considered impartial.
law, under the terms of the 1965 Extradition Act, fugitive offenders
cannot be extradited even for an ordinary criminal offence where there
is a possibility that they will be forced to stand trial for a political
offence or where their position may be prejudiced for political reasons,
or for any other reason which would make their legal position
result, it is practically and legally impossible to extradite a person
who has already won a ruling from the Irish High Court which declares
that they are political offenders. There has never been a second or
subsequent attempt to extradite a person who has already won an appeal
against extradition on political grounds.
a written constitution which includes emphasis on personal liberty. The
High Court is the constitutional court in Ireland, and it rules on all
constitutional matters, including personal liberty, and since
extradition involves the loss of personal freedom,
appeals are included among the constitutional matters on which the High
Effectively, the ruling had rendered Adam Busby immune from future
extradition attempts and, because deportation cannot be used as a
"backdoor" to extradition, from the threat of deportation from Ireland.
This is a
fact which the Scottish media, the politicians, and even the Scottish
police have failed to grasp - as the clamour for his extradition - which
has escalated over the years, even being the subject of several separate
parliamentary questions recorded in Hansard - aptly demonstrates. One
such question is reproduced below
26th October 1995:
Mr. John D.
Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans the
Director of Public Prosecutions has to seek the
extradition of Adam Busby from the Irish Republic.
Attorney-General : I have been asked to reply.
I refer the
hon. Member to the answer given on 16 October 1995 by the Minister of
State at the Scottish Office to the hon. Member for Kingston Upon Hull
North (Mr. McNamara),
Report, column 16.
for the arrest of Adam Busby has been issued in England or Wales, and
therefore the question of extradition to this jurisdiction has not
a result of the decision of the Irish High Court, Adam Busby had won a
safe legal refuge in Ireland. He has remained in Ireland ever since, and
is believed to have used the Irish Republic as a base from which to
mastermind the SNLA's operations.
Of Willie McRae - Murder Of Suicide?
of Willie McRae has become one of Scotland’s greatest mysteries, and it
would require a separate book to even begin to do justice to the case.
important to stress at the very beginning that the McRae case does
not involve a “conspiracy theory”. His shooting was
investigated by the police who failed to determine whether it was an
accident, murder or suicide. The manner of his death is still officially
highest legal authorities in Scotland have repeatedly stated that it was
suicide – although there is not a shred of evidence to support this –
and have repeatedly refused to hold a public inquiry into the death as
required by law.
McRae was a 61 year old lawyer and an "elder statesman" of the SNP who
was found shot in the head in his Volvo car which had crashed down a
hillside beside the A87, a lonely Highland road, on April 6th 1985.
McRae's death - he was pronounced dead at a hospital in Aberdeen - has
been the subject of public speculation for many years.
of his death has become, without doubt, the greatest mystery in modern
authorities almost immediately implied that his death was suicide, there
was no conclusive police investigation, and for twenty years the
authorities have consistently refused demands for a public inquiry into
the death. Their persistence has merely perpetuated the belief that
there has been a cover up - and there has most certainly been a cover
years after McRae's death, journalist John Macleod wrote very long
articles for the "Herald" on March the 27th and 28th, 1995. The dates
may be significant as it was immediately before the 10th anniversary of
the death of Willie McRae.
Macleod had been given official permission by the Scottish authorities
to have limited access to "exclusive evidence" on the death of Willie
McRae. The authorities probably hoped that by allowing John Macleod
limited access to some of the documentation they would finally bring a
closure to the seemingly endless speculation about McRae's death. In
fact, they couldn't have been more wrong.
discovered that the official verdict was not suicide but
"undetermined" – the Scottish equivalent of an open verdict. See
the "Herald" of the 27th and the 28th of March, 1995. And he bluntly
stated that in his opinion the death by shooting had not even been
properly investigated. He also stated that the available evidence
pointed to murder, not suicide.
not a particle of evidence of suicide was ever presented to Macleod.
Macleod's revelations sparked a renewed demand for an inquiry into the
McRae case which, in 1995, was supported by no less than thirteen MPs.
Despite this, the authorities still refused to hold a public inquiry.
chapter, I intend to dispel certain myths about this case, to introduce
actual evidence linking McRae to the SNLA, and to present new and
little-known evidence that there was a deliberate cover up. I will also
illustrate that very senior Crown agents deliberately provided certain
journalists - including John Macleod - with information which was false
and which was intended to throw them off the track.
I do not
say that McRae's death was definitely murder. I do not have the evidence
to say that. There is not enough evidence to support a verdict of
murder. Nor is there sufficient evidence to rule out murder.
is sufficient evidence to show that, however the death was caused, there
was a cover up which was politically-motivated, and the death took place
against a background of police surveillance and of intrigue.
who had direct access to official details of the case has told me that
McRae shot himself - a theory which I will not accept without some
substantial independent evidence - although, even by his account, this
was no simple, uncomplicated suicide, and a great degree of culpability
must attach itself to at least two police officers who were present at
the time he was shot. However, that matter will be left for the end of
But I will
present evidence that McRae, a senior SNP figure, was under routine
surveillance by the Special Branch because of his inks to the SNLA, and
that he was being routinely followed by them up to, and on, the night
that he died.
And I say
that the Crown Office, aware of the potential political embarrassment
and repercussions that such a disclosure would have, not just for the
SNP, but for the Scottish political Establishment as a whole,
deliberately covered this fact up.
If it had
emerged that a senior public figure like Willie McRae was an SNLA
member, the political repercussions would have been staggering.
State was - and still is - almost obsessively anxious to play down and
denigrate the SNLA. A public exposure in a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI)
that a very suspicious death was the result of police surveillance of a
well-known politician and public figure, who was known to be involved
with the SNLA, was the last thing they wished. And they were - and are -
determined to resist a public inquiry at all
is useful to deal with the myths about Willie McRae which have muddied
the waters of the case since the very beginning.
"Britain's Secret War" contains good examples of some of the inaccurate
and misleading stories that have circulated about Willie McRae's
background and his life and death.
of the book acknowledge that McRae was born in 1923. This is true.
go on to state that McRae graduated from university with a degree in
History prior to the start of WW2 - that is prior to 1939 when he was
barely 16 (!) - that he served as an Army officer at the beginning of
the war - but McRae was only aged 17 in 1940 - and that by 1945, and the
end of the war, he was a Commodore in the Indian Navy - although a
Commodore is a very senior naval officer, and the youthful McRae is
unlikely to have reached such an exalted rank at the age of 22.
All of this is obvious nonsense.
rate, despite much painstaking research, I have been unable to find any
evidence for any of the above, or for any of the other more outlandish
stories which have been circulated about McRae elsewhere.
McRae "Scotland's most feared anti-nuclear campaigner" as has often been
stated in newspaper articles. As the SNP's lawyer he had successfully
represented the SNP at the Ayr Public Inquiry into the proposed dumping
of nuclear waste in the South West of Scotland, but apart from that
there is little evidence that he was ever deeply involved in
anti-nuclear activities. And, if he was ever in possession of secret
documents relating to the nuclear industry, then there is no evidence of
unable to discover evidence that he was even a member of CND, the
Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament, for example.
I have also
been unable to find any evidence that Willie McRae was ever involved in
the Indian Independence movement during WW2. And his brother Fergus has
categorically denied this.
Nor was he
ever honoured by the State of Israel as has been widely reported, nor
did he help to draw up the State of Israel's Constitution or maritime
laws. This is sheer fantasy as McRae was not even a qualified solicitor
in 1948, when the Israeli State was formed.
And he was
never a member of the pro-suicide group Exit. Nor was he involved in a
campaign against drug dealers in North West Scotland. This latter notion
appears to have been deliberately promoted by the late Michael Strathern
- who was to play a leading but dubious role in the campaign to
investigate McRae's death.
McRae's alleged homosexuality is not an issue, nor is it likely to have
been a motive for suicide as some have been anxious to suggest. Are we
seriously expected to believe that a man like Willie McRae would be
driven to suicide because of supposed shame or guilt over alleged
homosexuality at the age of 61?
and countless more genuine misunderstandings, pieces of disinformation
and downright lies, are mere spanners in the works, mainly accidents or
deliberate attempts to rubbish genuine investigations and to muddy the
waters for investigators.
Much of the
confusion about the McRae case is due to a misinterpretation of the
known facts. And to a complete disregard or dismissal of other known
example, it has often been stated that Kenny Crawford, the policeman who
actually discovered the pistol used to kill McRae some distance from the
vehicle, has gone on record as disputing a supposedly crucial and
definitive statement about the position of the pistol which was made in
1990 by Peter Fraser (now Lord Carmyllie), the then Lord Advocate.
In fact, on
careful reading, there is no clear contradiction between their
Crawford says that he found the pistol in the stream or burn, and at a
point in the stream which was some yards downstream from where the
driver's door of the car had been.
Carmyllie's 1990 statement is misleading to the lay reader because it
was crafted with the expertise typical of a lawyer, and is a masterpiece
examination it is wide open to hair-splitting interpretation, and only
its ambiguity, given that the authorities have erected a wall of secrecy
around the case, has any significance.
statement asserted that the pistol was found in the stream directly
below where the driver's door of the car had been.
almost universally been interpreted to mean that the pistol itself was
found at a point in the stream, and that the point at which it was found
lay directly beneath where the driver's door of the car had been.
Lord Carmyllie did not say this specifically.
statement could also be interpreted to mean that the pistol was found at
some point in the stream, and that the stream flowed directly below
where the driver's door of the car had been.
As I will
show, the final position of the pistol is probably irrelevant.
pundits have also given much attention to the fact that no fingerprints
were found on the pistol. But, given the fact that the pistol had lain
in flowing water for a day or so, and was then laid out on the bare
ground at the scene to be photographed, this is hardly surprising.
here a forensic examination of the known facts, and only the facts.
The key to
Willie McRae's character is that he was a militant Scottish nationalist.
Although he was well-known as a senior figure in the SNP, holding high
office in the party and narrowly missed being elected as an MP, McRae
was essentially a militant extremist who didn't tolerate moderates
gladly, increasingly had little faith in the SNP itself, and he came to
regard some of the SNP leadership with suspicion and contempt.
legal partner of many years, Len Murray, has stated:
McRae believed passionately in the Nationalist cause. He had been a
vice-president of the Scottish National Party but his was an extreme
brand of nationalism which was not universally popular within the
maintained a veneer of respectability as a lawyer, McRae was a
hard-drinking irreverent cynic with a tendency to violent outbursts and
little regard for convention or the law. He kept an illegally-held
loaded revolver close to hand, usually in the locked right-hand drawer
of his office desk or in the office safe. And it was not an old "service
revolver" as has often been stated.
it was a small Smith & Wesson .22 revolver. It was a "Saturday Night
Special" (a small pocket pistol designed for civilian not military use)
and by no stretch of the imagination a "service revolver".
handled the weapon on several occasions, describes it as: "a tiny
nickel- or chrome-coloured pistol. It had a sort of rectangular or
hexagonal barrel with some kind of writing on it, I mean along the side
of the barrel, and a pearl handled butt which was curved where you held
it. I mean that the bottom of the butt was smooth and curved or rounded
so that it fitted into your hand. The shape of the butt was very
was so small that I could lay it flat on the palm of my hand, hold it in
place with my thumb, and then turn my hand over. When I did this the
pistol couldn't be seen. I mean that the pistol was so small that it was
smaller than my hand".
had family roots and a weekend cottage in the Kintail area, masterminded
the operations of the Dark Harvest Commando, and was an early supporter
and member of the SNLA. (See previous chapters for more detailed
accounts of McRae's involvement in the Dark Harvest Commando and the
in "The Sunday Mail" by Joe Donnelly on 16th June 1985 is one of the
first of many devoted to the McRae case. It is also significant in that
it was based on information which came from a police source. It was also
the first to associate McRae with the SNLA, although the SNLA are not
mentioned by name.
article links Willie McRae to people involved in a major terrorist trial
which took place in 1984. This was the "Supergrass" trial of Tommy
Kelly, in which David Dinsmore and Adam Busby were named in the High
Court as alleged SNLA conspirators.
significance of this article has never been fully realised. Joe
Donnelly, its author, had strong police contacts and, in June 1985, he
was totally unaware of the statement, linking McRae to the SNLA, then
being issued by David Dinsmore.
Mail" journalist was the first person to link Willie McRae to the SNLA,
and he linked Willie McRae to the SNLA on the basis of information
supplied to him by a police source or sources.
Kelly, when he was arrested for SNLA activities in October 1983, was
told by Special Branch officers that he could consult a solicitor. When
he asked for Willie McRae he was told: "You can't have him. You can have
any other solicitor, but not him."
also highly significant. The only circumstances under which the police
have the legal right to refuse to allow a particular solicitor to see a
suspect is if that solicitor is himself a suspect in the case, or is
otherwise involved as a victim or a witness.
McRae was not a victim nor was he a witness. It seems to follow that he
was considered a suspect, or as otherwise being involved in the case.
Tommy Kelly had been with Adam Busby and David Dinsmore when, under
Special Branch surveillance, they had visited McRae's Glasgow office
only two weeks before Kelly's arrest. Kelly had remained nearby while
Busby and Dinsmore had entered McRae's office.
As we shall
see later, there is indisputable additional evidence that Willie McRae
was already a suspect, or considered as involved in the SNLA case, at
the time that Busby and Dinsmore visited his office.
McRae was a member of the SNLA;
Adam Busby and David Dinsmore visited Willie McRae in his office on
September the 15th, 1983, which was the day before they left Scotland
and absconded to Ireland. They state that he gave them £100 to £200 from
his petty cash box to aid them in their escape. He also offered them the
key to his country cottage to use as a hiding place in case they were
unable to leave Scotland immediately, and as an address to give should
they have to provide false information. They refused the offer of the
key as they thought it was unnecessary.
state that Tommy Kelly, who accompanied Busby and Dinsmore that day, and
who was arrested for SNLA activities only two weeks later, was left
behind at the Post Office in George Square, Glasgow, while they made the
short distance trip to McRae's office in Buchanan Street.
Additionally, they state that during the visit to McRae's office Busby
and Dinsmore were shadowed by Special Branch vehicles which had the
registration numbers: BGS425S and PSJ 136X.
hand-written statement, issued only weeks after Willie McRae's death,
which David Dinsmore signed and which he also authenticated by an ink
impression of his thumbprint, David Dinsmore related in detail the
events of the day he and Adam Busby visited Willie McRae's office in
September 1983, including details of the police vehicles which kept them
also stated that sometime prior to his death McRae had told him that he
was followed to his second home by two men in a vehicle. According to
Dinsmore, the description of the vehicle resembled one of the Special
Branch cars which was known to him in 1983. That vehicle's registration
was XSJ 432T.
But are the
allegations of McRae's links to the SNLA actually true? Is there any
evidence of this other than the claims of SNLA members themselves?
is that there is absolutely conclusive evidence of McRae's links to the
Some of the
evidence is contained in the Crown Office's own documents. These are the
precognitions (witness statements) in the Crown case against David
excerpts from these have been published only once before in a very brief
article by Robbie Dinwoodie in the "Herald" of February the 1st, 1992.
relevant extracts are taken from the precognition sworn by Detective
Inspector Henry Bell of the Scottish Crime Squad, and from the
precognition of Detective Constable David Higgins of Strathclyde Police
Headquarters Division. Higgins was the "productions officer" whose job
was to examine, extract and preserve pieces of evidence for use in the
Inspector Henry Bell was in charge of the search of Dinsmore's home when
he was arrested on May 13th, 1983. His statement reveals that several
hundred items were taken during the search of Dinsmore's home:
possession of a large number of documents and other items."
documents and items were examined the following day by Detective
Higgins whose task was to discard those without evidential value, and
to take possession of any item which had evidential value
and which would be used in evidence at the trial.
statement describes his examination of several hundred documents and
items taken from Dinsmore's home. From these he extracted only one item
for use as evidence:
possession from the property of a business card in the name of William
McRae. I noted there was handwriting in ink on the reverse side of this
words, of the "large number of documents and other items" from the raid,
only Willie McRae's business card was singled out and listed as a trial
And in 29
precognitions relating to a major police investigation of people who are
members of the Scottish National Liberation Army, only
four people are named:
Busby, another person arrested at the time - and Willie McRae.
are extracts taken from precognitions which are Crown documents made
under oath by police officers involved in an investigation of what the
police themselves describe as
documents taken from Dinsmore's home numbered in hundreds but only one -
McRae's business card - was singled out for use as evidence. Why? A
lawyer's business card is hardly evidence of anything, and it can only
be assumed that the writing on the reverse of the card had some
significance as evidence.
whatever special significance the police saw in the business card, the
facts prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Willie McRae was already
being linked to Dinsmore, and was being involved in the police
investigation of the SNLA, and that he was being involved from at least
as early as May 1983.
documents also corroborate Tommy Kelly's statement that the police
refused to allow him to consult Willie McRae, and they confirm the
conclusion that Willie McRae was either a suspected member of the SNLA,
or that he was suspected to be involved with SNLA members.
reasonable conclusions which can be drawn from this collection of facts
is that Willie McRae was himself an SNLA suspect, or was linked to an
SNLA suspect at least, and that he was linked to the police
investigation of what the precognitions refer to as known SNLA members.
Unfortunately, David Dinsmore has stated that he does not remember what
the writing on the reverse of Willie McRae's card was. But, of crucial
importance, is the appearance of Willie McRae's name in the official
police records of their investigation of the SNLA.
years the SNLA's claims in regard to Willie McRae's involvement have
been repeatedly ignored, ridiculed or derided in media reports. But the
facts are very different. They corroborate the SNLA's statements that
Willie McRae was involved in their activities, and that his involvement
was known to the police.
"Herald" article of 1st February, 1992, also deals with the vehicles
used by the police:
separate development, a television documentary tomorrow night will claim
that police had previously followed Mr McRae along the West Highland
road where he met his death in a mysterious shooting seven years ago.
that Special Branch had the controversial nationalist under surveillance
have been made before, but the makers of a Scottish Eye programme say
they have now had it confirmed "by the highest official sources" that a
car identified by the Glasgow lawyer himself before his death was owned
by Strathclyde Police, as were two others which terror suspect David
Dinsmore claimed followed him to Mr McRae's office.
a spokesman said: "Strathclyde Police at no time placed the late William
McRae under operational surveillance. Matters relevant to the case
against David Dinsmore remain sub judice."
absconded overseas, but in June 1985, three months after Mr McRae died,
he issued a statement claiming he had been in regular contact by mail
and telephone with the SNP vice-chairman until two days before his
two surveillance vehicles as Special Branch - registrations BGS 425S and
PSJ 136X - and spoke of telephone conversations with McRae; "On one
occasion, he told me of driving to his second home and being followed by
a brown car with two male occupants; XSJ 432T was the registration."
of tomorrow's documentary claim the cars were Special Branch vehicles,
including the one which allegedly followed Mr McRae to his holiday home
in Kintail - a brown Chrysler later sold to a man in Telford.
Callum Macrae told the Herald: "We have established from the highest
official sources that all three of these cars were operated by the
to this revelation about the Special Branch vehicles the police have
since admitted that all the cars described by Dinsmore were Special
perhaps significantly, Strathclyde Police do not deny that Willie McRae
was ever under any form of police surveillance. They only deny that he
was under "operational" surveillance.
significantly, the police have never denied that Adam Busby and David
Dinsmore were followed by the Special Branch while they were on their
way to and from Willie McRae's office on the 15th of September, 1983.
police claim, the Special Branch vehicle which Dinsmore identified as
being involved in the later surveillance of Willie McRae, was no longer
in use by the Special Branch in April 1985.
In the case
of two of the vehicles their history is irrelevant. Their history after
September 1983 is not in question.
history of the third vehicle - registration number XSJ 432T - which is
stated to have followed Willie McRae on an unknown date sometime before
his death in
1985 has great relevance.
say that particular vehicle, which was a brown Chrysler, was sold by the
police on an unknown date which was prior to McRae’s death in April
We are not
in a position to know when it was sold, or whether it was sold to a
civilian and its registration number was then transferred to another
Special Branch undercover vehicle. This custom is apparently very
means that if a suspect notices an undercover police car and then
decides to check out its identity by using its registration number to
access the vehicle licensing information, the suspect will only discover
that the vehicle is officially registered to a civilian.
Dinsmore - who eventually surrendered himself to the British authorities
in 1993 - is unable or unwilling to comment on the matter of the
to Scotland under the terms of a deal negotiated by a lawyer who
represented him in Brazil. Under the terms of the deal the police in
Britain were banned from even questioning Dinsmore about any offence
which had taken place prior to his departure from Scotland in September,
1983. In effect, Dinsmore was given immunity from prosecution except for
the offences with which he had already been charged.
however, privately admitted that, immediately upon his return to
Scotland in late 1993, he was very extensively and very aggressively
interrogated by an English "officer" from London solely about the McRae
case. Dinsmore was informed at the time that the officer had traveled
from London specially to question him about the McRae case.
In view of
the fact that the McRae case officially fell within the jurisdiction of
a Scottish police force - the Northern Constabulary - it is interesting
to speculate whether the unknown officer from London was a police
officer or from one of the British Intelligence services.
But it is
the information about the vehicle XSJ 432T which is important.
I have been
reliably informed by a police officer that information about the vehicle
XSJ 432T being sold to a civilian in Telford prior to the death of
Willie McRae was allegedly provided to Arnold Kemp, the then editor of
the "Herald", by Leslie Sharp, the Chief Constable of Strathclyde
Police. Sharp gave Arnold Kemp the information on a non-attributable
basis in a confidential conversation.
arranged a meeting with Kemp because he was increasingly alarmed at the
coverage being given to Willie McRae’s links to the SNLA by the
Sharp allegedly told Arnold Kemp that all the information provided by
Dinsmore, which connected McRae to the SNLA, was totally false, and was
nothing more than a propaganda exercise by the SNLA.
Constable, Leslie Sharp, it is claimed, was alarmed by the publication
of the extracts from Dinsmore's precognitions which linked Willie McRae
to the SNLA, and by the publication of the detailed information Dinsmore
provided about the Special Branch vehicles and the surveillance of
not the information about Sharp's intervention is true, and a
journalistic colleague on the “Herald” staff has confirmed that it is
true, the "Herald" suddenly reversed its position after the publication
of the extracts from Dinsmore's precognitions and his statement in
example, Arnold Kemp himself was able to write the following article:
"Herald", June 8, 1993:
Of Nationalism's Unlikely Saint
1985, three months after McRae died, Dinsmore issued a statement
claiming he had been in regular contact by mail and telephone with McRae
until two days before his death. He named surveillance vehicles with
Special Branch registrations which he claimed had been seen on the road
the day McRae died.”
above which I have underlined is completely untrue as Dinsmore never
claimed to have any knowledge of vehicles which ”had
been seen on the road the day McRae died”.
authorities do not deny that these were Special Branch numbers. These
have been disseminated widely in London. Car numbers provided by
Dinsmore were first published in the Morning Star. Dinsmore's claim
unwittingly disclosed his manipulative intentions, it is claimed.
One of the
numbers was indeed of a Special Branch car: but it was of a car that had
been used for the surveillance of Dinsmore, and it had been sold before
article clearly implies that Dinsmore's statement is a fabrication, and
can only be based on a very careless reading of Dinsmore's statement by
the author, or on disinformation supplied to the author, or on both.
Also, very clearly, Arnold Kemp's article was based on a police source
totally contradicts the earlier "Herald" article by Robbie Dinwoodie
which, on the 1st of February 1992, made a summary of Dinsmore's claims,
which referred to three cars, one of which:
by the Glasgow lawyer himself before his death was owned by Strathclyde
Police, as were two others which terror suspect David Dinsmore claimed
followed him to Mr McRae's office."
Dinwoodie had access to Dinsmore's statement and was aware of its exact
contents. His summary of its contents is accurate:
Dinsmore had identified two cars as Special Branch vehicles which
followed him - before he left Scotland in September 1983 - when he
visited McRae's Glasgow office;
McRae had subsequently told Dinsmore that a vehicle - XSJ 432T - had
followed him - on an unknown date - to his second home near Dornie.
Dinwoodie was aware of the contents of Dinsmore's statement, while
Arnold Kemp clearly was not.
In fact, I
have studied Dinsmore's statement very carefully and I can state
categorically that David Dinsmore did not claim to identify any vehicle
which "had been seen on the road the day McRae died" - as Arnold Kemp's
Kemp's article also states that Ronnie Welsh, McRae's business partner,
spent the night of McRae's death telephoning police stations along
McRae's route, presumably to get help for the allegedly suicidal McRae.
statement is also completely untrue, as Mr Welsh himself later pointed
out in the "Herald" of March the 30th, 1995:
something else doesn't seem to fit. When Willie left the office at
midday on Friday he was in cheerful spirits, had made appointments for
the following week and that was it. He gave no sign that he was
And it is
interesting to speculate who told Arnold Kemp this story about Mr
Welsh’s desperate calls to police stations - which is a vicious lie -
Dinsmore's statement actually says is that on September 15th 1983 -
eighteen months before McRae's death - Dinsmore, Adam Busby and Tommy
Kelly were followed by two Special Branch vehicles when they went to
visit Willie McRae in his Glasgow office.
did not visit McRae's office - he stayed behind in George Square in an
attempt to divert the surveillance - but he was with Dinsmore and Busby
shortly before and shortly after they visited McRae's office. (Tommy
Kelly was not unknown to McRae either. For example, they had once both
traveled from Scotland to attend a small rally in London to mark the
anniversary of the execution of Sir William Wallace.
it will be remembered, was arrested for SNLA activities only two weeks
after Dinsmore and Busby visited Willie McRae in his office. He was
sentenced to ten years in prison in early 1984.)
then says that, after he absconded, he kept in regular touch with McRae
who informed him that he (McRae) had been kept under constant and
continuing Special Branch surveillance. (A similar statement of McRae's
is corroborated by McRae's business partner Ronnie Welsh.)
then says that on "one occasion" (no date is given for this occasion)
McRae informed him that he had been followed to his weekend home by a
"brown car with two male occupants; XSJ 432T was the registration."
Dinsmore's statement gives no date for the surveillance of McRae which
involved the vehicle with the registration XSJ 432T. The date could have
been anytime between September 1983 and April 1985. That is: in the
period between his last meeting with Willie McRae and McRae's death.
And it is
certain that, if the surveillance had taken place immediately prior to
or shortly before McRae's death, then Dinsmore would have emphasized the
not the vehicle in question had been disposed of by the police before
McRae's death in April 1985 is not a measure of the accuracy of
But that it
was in Special Branch service for at least part of the time period
covered by Dinsmore's statement, that is from September 1983 to April
1985, has been confirmed by the police themselves.
actual content of Dinsmore's statement is examined, the police
statements actually confirm Dinsmore's statement.
And as the
"Herald" article of 1st February, 1992, states, the makers of the
"Scottish Eye" documentary on McRae's death were aware that the car in
question (XSJ 432T) had later been sold to a man in Telford.
checked the car's history and found no discrepancies in Dinsmore's
information. Is it conceivable that a journalist of Callum Macrae's
stature, being fully aware of the car's history, would have used the
information provided by Dinsmore in the documentary if the information
had proved to have been incorrect?
Kemp's article is interesting chiefly because of its inaccuracy, and
because it unwittingly confirms Dinsmore's statement by confirming that
all three vehicles were Special Branch vehicles: "The authorities do not
deny that these were Special Branch numbers."
journalist John Macleod, writing in the "Herald" of March 28th, 1995, is
also misinformed by an official in authority. He describes the
Busby and Dinsmore. ”Was McRae under MI5 or Strathclyde Special Branch
surveillance?" Strathclyde Special Branch positively asserted he was
not. As for the cars described by Busby and Dinsmore - that was their
mischief, it is alleged.
had shadowed Busby and Dinsmore. And they were Special Branch vehicles.
So, in a neat move, the aspiring terrorists noted their details and
later asserted that the vehicles had trailed McRae. But (big smile) in
April 1985 neither car was a Special Branch car. I scribble this down."
interesting, especially as John Macleod took care to write it down. And
there are several points here:
previous "Herald" article, of 1st February 1992, Strathclyde police did
not positively assert that McRae was never under surveillance. They only
denied that he was under "operational surveillance", and the word
"operational" indicates a qualification.
Dinsmore (or Busby) state that the "vehicles" had trailed McRae.
Dinsmore's statement only identified one of the vehicles as having
Dinsmore's statement did not assert that that vehicle trailed McRae “in
April 1985”. He did not claim to know the date or even the year of the
surveillance, only that it took place at some time after his last
meeting with McRae in September 1983.
"neither" vehicle? Dinsmore's statement mentions three vehicles, not
reference to the "neat move", by which Dinsmore supposedly alleged that
the vehicles he identified were following McRae in "April 1985", is an
indication that John Macleod was told much the same pack of lies as was
related to Arnold Kemp.
both Arnold Kemp and John Macleod have been misinformed by high
authority as to what Dinsmore's 1985 statement actually said. But why?
reasonable explanation is that Dinsmore's statement has some bearing on
the issue of McRae's death. If his statement was merely a simple, or
even a complex, fabrication then surely it would be easy to expose it
without resorting to disinformation?
know from the results of the police investigation of the SNLA, on which
the Crown precognitions in Dinsmore's case are based, that, as early as
May 1983, the police had already established a link between David
Dinsmore and Willie McRae.
Macleod, to his credit, although hostile to the idea of McRae's links to
the SNLA, still considers the proposition in a follow-up article in the
"Herald" of April 4th, 1995:
have emerged that McRae was under Special Branch surveillance. But such
sources have good reasons, I think, for wanting us to believe it.
McRae was being trailed, I must be heretical: such surveillance could
have been justified. For public safety alone, Special Branch could
rightly have shadowed McRae if they thought he could have led them to
certain desperadoes. Chilling as the Prevention of Terrorism Act is, its
provisions exist to protect us all from random bombing and bloodshed.
That Special Branch officers, however, could cold-bloodedly murder a
declining political figure I find incredible. If they killed him, it
would have been by "accident".
McRae stopped and challenged them. Maybe he produced his gun. There
could have been a "scene"; things rapidly getting out of hand ..."
scenario, according to one of my own police sources, to which I shall
allude later, is not too far from the truth. Nor is it unique to John
scenario is referred to by a columnist in "Scotland On Sunday" on 12th
(Adam Busby) says, some three or four years later, McRae allowed his
office to be used by the SNLA as a surveillance base for a Glasgow
letter bomb campaign, among whose targets were Princess Diana (the bomb,
c/o Lord Provost Michael Kelly, exploded, injuring the provost's
secretary). This is confirmed by another of the conspirators.
McRae gave Busby and David Dinsmore, also wanted by police, the contents
of his petty cash tin about £200 - to enable them to buy plane tickets
to Dublin. Dinsmore, no longer close to Busby, confirms this, as does
difficult to see a motive in this if untrue, other than some vague idea
of creating a revolutionary Scottish martyr. If McRae was involved, even
just by providing cash and legal support, then he was almost certainly
under police surveillance as Dinsmore and Busby were. In the 1970s and
1980s, as several trials have revealed, the police devoted massive
resources - in one case 13,000 hours of surveillance - to keeping on top
of "tartan terrorism."
was being followed, was he on that evening? If he spotted his shadowers
on the lonely road, did he confront them - the ifs multiply until one
disappears into the heady mists of conspiracy."
that Willie McRae was involved in financing and assisting Dinsmore's
escape from Scotland appears to have been known to Willie McRae's
brother, Dr Fergus McRae.
letter, published in the "Herald" on June 15th 1993, Dr McRae admits
that Willie McRae gave “help” to Dinsmore:
"Herald", June 15, 1993:
I read your
article about my brother's death (June 8) with some dismay and wondered
if all this gossip would ever stop. While I agree that your account is
not wild and fanciful like most of the others over the years, it repeats
a lot of inaccuracies which present my brother in a false light. He
never worked or taught in Israel. He was in India during the war and was
sympathetic to Indian home rule, but was not in the Congress Party.
concern with Dinsmore was to try to help one whom he considered a misled
and misguided and rather foolish youth, and also to minimise the harmful
effect publicity about him might have on the Home Rule movement in
Scotland. I cannot now recall anything he mentioned about Busby.
interesting because it acknowledges that Willie McRae knew and was
concerned with Dinsmore, had given him “help”, and, quite obviously, had
discussed the matter with his brother.
phrase that Willie McRae had tried "to minimise the harmful effect
publicity about him (Dinsmore) might have on the Home Rule movement in
Scotland", could easily be interpreted as an admission that Willie McRae
had admitted to his brother that he had helped Dinsmore to leave
Scotland in order to avoid his trial and the attendant publicity.
McRae do so? Did he actually assist Dinsmore and Busby to leave
interviewing Adam Busby about an unrelated matter in Ireland in 2001, I
suddenly switched without warning to the subject of Willie McRae.
didn't seem very anxious to convince me of anything, related essentially
the same story as Dinsmore, and it was in some detail. One of the things
he told me was that, in McRae's office on the day before he and Dinsmore
absconded from Scotland, McRae had offered them the key to his second
home and had written down the address for them so that they could use
its address if they were required to provide false ID and background
Busby if he could remember the address. He said: "Ferguslie, Camusty,
Camuslongart, near Dornie."
simply, this didn't seem to fit.
public address is actually: "Camusty, Camuslongart, near Dornie".
There is no
reference to a Ferguslie, or a Ferguslee, or any other variant of that
name in maps, records or documents of any kind.
But it was
later confirmed to me by a family member that the McRae family called
the house itself "Ferguslie", and referred to it as such.
could such private information be known – never mind remembered - by
Adam Busby? Unless, as Busby and Dinsmore state, Willie McRae wrote the
address down for them to use in 1983 and he memorized the address then?
information has never been published anywhere and was known only to the
family and some of their friends.
startling confirmation that Willie McRae did supply Adam Busby and David
Dinsmore with the address, and that he helped them abscond, as they
Even if the
rest of their story is untrue, McRae’s assistance in their flight from
justice involved him in the SNLA conspiracy. As a solicitor, he was
perfectly aware of this.
McRae's partner in his law firm was Ronnie Welsh. In 1995, Mr Welsh gave
an interview to the "Herald", in which he confirms Dinsmore's statement
that McRae felt he was under constant and increasing Special Branch
surveillance, and acknowledges that McRae had dealings with Adam Busby
and David Dinsmore which, he states, were "purely professional".
neither Busby nor Dinsmore, both of whom were arrested in Scotland on
numerous occasions, were ever legally represented in any way by Willie
McRae. Nor did they ever consult Willie McRae in any professional
As Mr Welsh
was a partner in the legal firm he can no doubt use the firm's or other
records to correct me if I am wrong.
my own researches have been unable to discover any form of "purely
professional" relationship between the three men.
Nor does Mr
Welsh explain why a seemingly respectable Scottish solicitor should keep
an illegally-held loaded revolver to hand. This is a very serious crime
for which, if he had been caught, he would have faced a certain
appearance in court for a criminal offence which is punishable by an
extremely heavy prison sentence.
I find it
remarkable that no one has previously thought fit to comment on this
criminal behaviour. John Macleod only refers to the possibility that, if
caught with the pistol, McRae would have been struck off professionally.
In fact, he
would have faced the certainty of a trial and the possibility of a heavy
prison sentence, as well as personal and professional disgrace.
another fact blindly ignored by most commentators - this blatantly
criminal behaviour on McRae's part does not endorse the picture of a man
who has been eulogised as some sort of a saint and, on at least one
occasion, has even been compared with Jesus Christ (by Michael Strathern).
And why, if
he was not already involved in serious illegal activity, did McRae feel
the need to keep an illegally-held – and loaded – revolver constantly in
allegations made by Dinsmore and Busby about his involvement with the
SNLA are only partly true, and I believe I have proved that at least in
part they are totally and completely true, and even assuming that Willie
McRae only helped finance and plan their flight from Scotland, then
Willie McRae was also facing charges of illegal possession of a firearm
and ammunition, conspiracy and attempting to pervert the course of
And I fail
to see why, if McRae was not already involved in SNLA activities,
Dinsmore and Busby should have turned to him for help as they
undoubtedly did. Nor do I see why McRae, if he was not previously
involved in SNLA activities, should have rendered them any assistance of
when approached he should have notified the police immediately of their
intention to flee to avoid prosecution.
source has told me that McRae was "in it up to his neck". The "it" being
"Herald" of March 28th, 1995, John Macleod asks:
the Nationalists abandon this case, repudiate this man?
Why did his
own family not push for an inquiry? What worse could have been said, or
found, about McRae that has not hitherto surfaced? How could they let
him lie these 10 years in a suicide's grave? The evidence is
that Willie McRae was linked to the SNLA was known to some of the SNP
leadership and also to certain members of the McRae family, and it was
for this reason that they were so anxious to avoid a public inquiry into
should be noted, because a number of people seem unclear on this point,
that the family's wishes are not even a consideration when the decision
to hold an FAI is being made. The decision to hold an FAI is a legal
decision based on the circumstances of the death. It is not a concession
to the wishes of the family, and the wishes of the family or anyone else
who knew the deceased are irrelevant.
Fraser, the Solicitor-General at the time, even consulted with Gordon
Wilson, the then SNP MP about whether a Fatal Accident Inquiry should be
held, as Gordon Wilson has publicly admitted.
very strange and very significant for three reasons:
Solicitor-General is the senior Scottish law officer whose duties are
somewhat similar to those of the Attorney-General in England, and who
acts as a legal adviser to the government. But the Solicitor-General is
not concerned with the conduct of Fatal Accident Inquiries - that is the
duty of the local procurator fiscal who is responsible to the Lord
Advocate - and it must be asked why the Solicitor-General was involved
in any way;
decision to hold an FAI is a legal decision, and should be taken
independently by the local procurator fiscal regardless of the feelings
of family, friends, or former colleagues of the deceased. McRae’s death
is officially “undetermined” (unsolved) and the decision not to hold an
FAI is suspicious in itself;
decision to hold an FAI is a purely legal decision and not a political
decision. By consulting Gordon Wilson, the Solicitor-General was quite
clearly asking Gordon Wilson to participate in a political decision
about the matter.
the decision not to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry was a political
decision made at the highest levels of government.
wasn't the only interference by Peter Fraser, the then
Solicitor-General, who later became the Lord Advocate.
Coutts, an SNP councillor who was one of the people who had found Willie
McRae's body, wanted to ask certain elementary questions about the McRae
case, he wrote to the local procurator fiscal in Inverness about the
astonishment, in response he received a reply, not from the procurator
fiscal, but from Peter Fraser.
was sharp to the point of rudeness, and informed Mr Coutts that the SNP
leader Gordon Wilson supported the decision not to hold an FAI.
evidence of an official cover up at the highest levels is overwhelming.
Branch were involved from the very beginning - as numerous former and
current police sources have revealed.
of the police files were deliberately removed years ago, as the
following report reveals:
on Sunday", April 17, 1994:
mentioning last week the strange death of Willie McRae, I have had
several letters and private telephone calls about the affair. Serving
and former police officers involved in the case have, directly and
indirectly, given me further information. There is a consistency in what
they say. And it is this...
When it was
appreciated that McRae was a "prominent member of the Scottish National
Party", as I understand the police report recorded him, Special Branch
became involved. The officer who discovered the gun in daylight found it
in a burn, in front of where the car had been and a distance down stream
of it. Subsequently, all copies of the police reports which
routinely remain on the files, were removed."
And, in an
even more remarkable occurrence, when the then procurator fiscal at
Inverness, Thomas Aitchison, who was supposedly in charge of the McRae
case, retired, he was warned that he was still bound by the Official
Secrets Act. Specifically, he was warned not to discuss the McRae case:
"Herald", March 27, 1995:
Evidence Reveals Bungles Over Willie McRae's Death
procurator-fiscal who examined his case has been told not to talk about
it to anyone. The procurator-fiscal says he is bound by the Official
was closed formally by Mr Thomas Aitchison, the procurator-fiscal in
Inverness, who decided the death was not suspicious. Mr Fraser (the
Solicitor-General) made the personal decision not to order a Fatal
Inquiry into the death.
Last night Mr Aitchison said the case came under the
Official Secrets Act and he had been reminded at his
retirement four years ago that he was still bound by the Act.
"I was told
not to talk about this case to anyone," he added.
Office spokesman told The Herald that all fiscals sign the Official
Secrets Act "as a matter of course" and there was nothing suspicious in
Mr Aitchison's comments."
leadership and the McRae family were made aware that an FAI would
unearth details about McRae's links to the SNLA, and both were anxious
to avoid this, to put it mildly.
leadership moved quickly to distance the SNP from Willie McRae. The SNP
monthly, the "Scots Independent" did not even mention his death, never
mind give him an obituary. This is highly significant.
every month the "Scots Independent" carries obituaries of recently
deceased SNP members, the majority of whom were lowly party members.
That an SNP member of Willie McRae's stature, who was a former
vice-chairman of the party, who wrote for the "Scots Independent", who
had stood for the SNP as a parliamentary candidate - narrowly missing
being elected on one occasion - and who had volunteered his services
free of charge to represent the SNP successfully in the Ayr Public
Inquiry - that a person of Willie McRae's stature should not receive
even a modest obituary is not just strange - it has a political
significance which is meaningful.
example is the curious behaviour of Gordon Wilson MP. Despite his
assertions to the contrary, Gordon Wilson of the SNP was totally opposed
to an FAI.
Kirkwood, the Liberal Democrat MP, asked questions in the Commons about
the McRae case, Gordon Wilson accosted Kirkwood in the Lobby of the
House of Commons.
extremely angry and demanded to know why Archy Kirkwood was asking
questions about a "drunk" and a "queer" like Willie McRae.
Gordon Wilson was to state that he now favoured an inquiry into McRae's
death - not that that was of any significance. The truth is that no SNP
MP has ever asked a single parliamentary question about the
circumstances of McRae's death.
leadership knew that exposure of McRae's activities and links to the
SNLA might harm them politically. This carries on until the present
Kemp, the journalist, wrote an article quite recently in which he
mentioned the SNLA and Willie McRae in the same piece.
In a later
article, Kemp revealed that he had received a letter from Alex Salmond
of the SNP taking him to task for mentioning Willie McRae's name
together with that of the SNLA in the original article, and implying
that he should never mention McRae's name in connection with the SNLA
whatever the extent of the Special Branch surveillance, or the true
identity of the car which followed McRae, which are matters in dispute,
Dinsmore's statement that McRae was being followed by two men in a car
while journeying to his country cottage has been independently
corroborated. On at least one occasion there is independent evidence of
Furthermore, the evidence refers to the night Willie McRae made his
final journey to his country cottage. The corroboration is indisputable
as it is provided by a former police officer himself.
Additionally, he states that McRae, who was well known to him, was in a
good spirits only hours before he supposedly took his own life.
crucially, the former police officer states that, only hours before he
was shot, Willie McRae was being watched by two men, and that he was
then followed by two cars when he started his journey to his weekend
colleague David Taylor wrote the following article in the "News Of The
World" on November the 10th, 2002:
Of Tragic McRae Jogged Don's Memory
cop has come forward with crucial evidence that could help solve one of
Scotland's greatest murder mysteries -after reading the News of the
Violent Scotland mag - published with the paper last week – we told how
SNP firebrand Willie McRae was found dying on a lonely Highland road.
Former bobby Donald Morrison was gripped by the tale...
revealed: "The more I think about it, the more it stinks of murder."
was in the force for 28 years, told us how he'd been on the beat in
Glasgow city centre when he spotted McRae. He added: "He was full of the
joys of spring, coming out of the off-licence with a bottle of whisky in
'Excuse me, sir, would you like to blow into this bag' because he was
heading towards his car. "He told me, 'You're only jealous. I'm going to
Kintail tonight and I'll be drinking with my feet up in front of a log
him do a U-turn in the traffic but, while I was doing that, I got the
feeling someone was watching me. When I looked over my shoulder I saw
two suspicious-looking men eyeing what we were doing. "I don't think
Willie saw them. Minutes later he drove off.
saw two cars pull out nearby, very quickly, as if they were in a rush to
catch him up. And when I looked around, the two men had vanished."
later, on Saturday April 6, 1985, an Australian tourist found McRae on a
remote stretch of the A87 in Inverness-shire. He hadn't made it to his
holiday home in nearby Kintail...
night Donald told us: "I am not convinced that the verdict of suicide
was the right one."
61-year-old, who now lives in Portknockie, Morayshire, added: "I hope
that, someday, justice will be done for poor Willie McRae.""
statement, coming as it does from a former police officer who knew
Willie McRae well and saw and spoke to him only hours before his death,
cannot be taken lightly.
- who was involved in police surveillance work himself - is absolutely
convinced that Willie McRae was under surveillance only hours before he
confirms David Dinsmore's 1985 statement. It also confirms what a
confidential police source has told me regarding the death of Willie
McRae was known to the police to be involved in SNLA activities, and was
being connected to Dinsmore and Busby;
police believed that McRae would lead them to Busby and Dinsmore who, in
April 1985, police still expected to attempt a secret return to
Willie McRae was kept under constant surveillance;
McRae was under surveillance on the night that he died;
McRae confronted two Special Branch officers who were following him and
attempted to run them off the road;
McRae's car crashed off the road during the confrontation;
when officers attempted to reach McRae to arrest him, McRae fired two
shots - one of which was a warning shot or a test shot - and the second
shot he directed into his own head;
8) That, in
pitch darkness, police reached McRae's vehicle, removed and discarded
the pistol, and examined McRae who they believed to be dead or beyond
given the sensitivity of the situation, the officers left the scene, and
attempted to report the situation to their own superiors in Scotland in
Scottish Special Branch HQ in Pitt
were not immediately successful in contacting their superiors, and the
chain of command was not fully aware of the situation until hours had
eventually, a decision was taken at the highest level to disassociate
the police from the death of McRae;
there was no genuine investigation of McRae's death. It was deemed
unnecessary as police witnesses could confirm that it was suicide;
only the closest members of his family and some of his political
colleagues were informed that the circumstances of McRae's death were
14) That a
political decision was taken at the highest level not to hold a Fatal
Accident Inquiry in order to avoid a political and police scandal, and
not to spare the family's feelings.
version of events was told to me in confidence by a source who was
involved in the McRae case. He certainly believes it to be true. It
certainly fits all the known facts
But is it
the background to it is true. There was a huge increase in Special
Branch personnel and activities in Scotland at this time - a fact
revealed by among other things the annual Chief Constables' reports of
was extensive surveillance of SNLA suspects and everyone who could be
associated with them.
version was related to me by a person who was in a position to know the
inside story of the McRae case, and who supports and defends the police
must be asked, how can it be proved beyond doubt that McRae shot
himself, and was not shot by the police themselves during a violent
assuming that McRae shot himself and the police believed that he was
dead, how can the decision to abandon the scene - and a loaded pistol
left there - be explained?
any evidence, apart from the word of undercover policemen, that McRae
actually shot himself?
suicidal? I believe there is evidence that he was worried and
increasingly anxious, and that he was also drinking heavily. And there
is a perfectly logical explanation for this.
It has been
repeatedly asserted by friends that McRae told them he was aware of
Special Branch surveillance, and that the Special Branch were closing in
on him. See, for example, his remarks to Ronnie Welsh, his business
partner, which have been referred to previously.
As a lawyer
McRae must have been well aware that, at the very least, he was facing
arrest for conspiracy and attempting to pervert the course of justice
simply because he had assisted Dinsmore and Busby to leave Scotland.
And he was
also facing professional and personal ruin.
circumstances, weighing on his mind, would have driven many perfectly
reasonable people to at least consider suicide as an option.
so, there appears to be no independent evidence that McRae shot himself.
And there is no good or legal reason why the scene was abandoned, or any
reasonable explanation of why he was left to die alone.
the Crown Office with this evidence.
Crown Office discloses all the documentation which it possesses in
relation to the death of Willie McRae, I will continue to assert that
the only possible explanation for McRae's death involves criminality of
some degree and that:
McRae was shot during a confrontation with agents of the State who had
him under surveillance because of his links to the SNLA, and they then
left him to die without medical attention, rather than calling an
ambulance or even officially reporting the incident.
political reasons, the manner of his death, and the possible criminality
of the officers who either shot him, or who were present when he shot
himself, and failed to assist him or even to report his shooting at
local level, was covered up.
criminality was then compounded by the Crown Office and its agents at
the highest levels, thus rendering them also culpable in the death of
Michael Strathern is often described, and described himself, as a
founder member of the Willie McRae Society, which was set up in 1985 to
press for an inquiry into McRae's death. In fact, Strathern joined the
Willie McRae Society at a comparatively late date. There is no evidence
that Strathern showed any interest in the McRae case until 1987.
1987, nearly two years after McRae's death, and only weeks before a
ceremony in memory of McRae was to be held which would involve much
publicity, Strathern made his first public statement about the case.
This was a
letter published in the SNP's "Scots Independent". In his brief letter
Strathern writes on behalf of a previously unknown organisation which he
called the 1985 Group, which, Strathern claimed, had been investigating
the death of Willie McRae for a period of nearly two years. In fact,
Michael Strathern did not join the Willie McRae Society (which was
formed in London in 1985 by SNLA supporters) until a later date.
letter was also the first mention of the McRae case which the SNP's
monthly newspaper had carried. To the astonishment of many, the "Scots
Independent" had even failed to provide an obituary for Willie McRae.
Note 2: The
theory about a drugs connection was revived by Winnie Ewing, the former
SNP MP, in January, 2002. The "Evening Express" reported:
theory emerged today in the long-standing mystery surrounding the death
of die-hard nationalist Willie McRae. Scottish political legend Winnie
Ewing told the Evening Express she believes her colleague may have been
the victim of a drug baron's hit."
the "new" theory is unsupported by a single scrap of evidence, and one
wonders why Mrs Ewing chose to raise the matter. She has never chosen to
ask questions about the McRae case in either the European or the
John Macleod did not mention, or did not know, about the "lone gunman".
He figures in a bizarre incident which took place only a few miles from
where McRae's body was found, and it took place on the same day, and at
the around the same time of day, as the McRae case unfolded.
incident involved a party of walkers on the hills being fired on by a
incident was reported in the "West Highland Free Press" a year after
incident was investigated by police who finally decided that it had no
bearing on the McRae case.
suggested to me that the incident probably involved an overzealous
gamekeeper firing warning shots over the heads of ramblers to drive them
from the hills. Such incidents, although highly illegal, are not unknown
and are reported from time to time.
Of Kevin Collison
hard-headed cynic, Willie McRae had left strict instructions
in his will that he wanted no funeral service, no
tombstone, no inscription, no plaque,
and no permanent memorial of any kind. Nor did McRae wish
any form of
commemoration after his death.
this, Siol nan Gaidheal (SnG), a somewhat eccentric pro-SNP fringe
group, which has a penchant for wearing full Highland dress and carrying
colourful banners and flags, had erected a memorial plaque on a cairn
which had been erected near the site of his death.
in the SNLA's eyes, each year on the Saturday nearest to the anniversary
of his death, SnG held a memorial rally at the cairn, during which SnG
speakers gave wildly inaccurate accounts of the life and death of Willie
the SNLA had contacted one of the SnG leaders, the late Michael
Strathern, an elderly and highly-eccentric man who sometimes seemed to
claim to be in psychic communication with McRae.
Strathern's only peculiarity. Habitually wearing full Highland dress, he
also claimed to be a native Highland crofter, although he was actually a
native of the greater Glasgow area who had simply acquired a
smallholding in Benderloch in Argyllshire.
contacted by the SNLA, Strathern had prevaricated almost endlessly but
had finally insisted that the memorial rallies would go ahead despite
the explicit instructions in Willie McRae's will.
result, the SNLA decided to disrupt the forthcoming memorial rally which
was due to take place in April 1992.
ordering that the rallies be abandoned, and signed by David Dinsmore
(then a fugitive overseas) but posted in Glasgow, were sent to Michael
Strathern, to Jackie Stokes who was another SnG leader with close links
to the police, and to a hotelier who normally provided hospitality to
the SnG party after the rallies. The hotelier was warned not to allow
SnG people to use his premises.
ultimatum was also sent to the Chief Constable of the Northern
Constabulary in which the SNLA demanded that the rally should be
this, the SNLA stated that they would disrupt the rally and spread chaos
and disruption throughout the whole of the Northern Constabulary's area.
foretaste of what was to come, on a weekday prior to the Saturday of the
SnG rally, the SNLA caused a bomb alert at Caledonia House in Inverness,
which housed Scottish Office departments.
to the SNLA threats, the police mounted a massive operation to protect
Siol nan Gaidheal and their rally. There was a certain irony in this as
the police force involved was the Northern Constabulary - who had failed
to carry out a conclusive investigation of McRae's death - while the
Siol nan Gaidheal group, who relied on the police escort, liked to
cultivate references to themselves as "militants" and "extremists".
Saturday of the rally, a coordinated series of SNLA bomb alerts caused
chaos at airports and elsewhere throughout the Northern Constabulary
jurisdiction. The disruption was serious. In one case, a Loganair
aircraft heading for the Northern Isles was forced to circle the airport
while the emergency services assembled on the ground in preparation for
a full-scale emergency landing. The cost of the disruption is unknown,
but it must have been heavy.
had concentrated their resources at the site of the McRae memorial cairn
in order to protect the SnG rally. Police roadblocks had been
established around the cairn and at least one helicopter was reported in
the area. As the Siol nan Gaidheal party entered the area, they were
convoyed to the memorial cairn by police escort vehicles.
have gone well for the SnG group, but for the appearance at a police
roadblock of a convoy of large British Army artillery trucks, each with
a trailer attached, which were coming from the opposite direction to the
SnG cars. The Army vehicles were returning from the artillery ranges on
the island of South Uist or Benbecula.
informed by police at the roadblock that there were reports of the
possibility of a bomb in the area ("Observer", Scottish edition, 19th
April, 1992), the Army convoy put their standard evacuation procedures
into effect, and the artillery convoy exited the area at maximum speed –
a move which sent them hurtling at top speed towards the oncoming police
and SnG convoy.
convoy swept past the memorial cairn at top speed, which is located
beside a stretch of the A87 road, and smashed straight into the first of
the oncoming Siol nan Gaidheal cars.
One of the
car's occupants, Kevin Collison, a young SnG member from Edinburgh, was
killed outright in the crash.
alerts, and threats must inevitably result in tragedy eventually. That
it had not happened sooner was almost a miracle. Violent death was
rally was abandoned that day, although bizarrely Michael Strathern could
not be prevented from making a speech for the benefit of the media, and
the SnG rallies have since been discontinued.
Note: The SNLA cynically refers to Kevin Collison as Kevin "Collision",
and is quite unrepentant in regard to his death
always been small numbers of English people living in Scotland. This was
never a matter of any concern until recent times.
the late 1960s and 1970s very large numbers of English people began
moving to Scotland, settling in the towns and cities as well as in small
Scottish communities throughout rural Scotland.
to the official figures contained in the "Census of Scotland", between
1951 and 1961 the number of English in Scotland increased by 14,582, and
in the next ten year period 13,621 English immigrants made the move.
After this, the numbers increased markedly with 47,389 English moving
into Scotland between 1971 and 1981, and an additional 56,484 entered
between 1981 and 1991.
figures do not, however, tell the whole story. The economic, social and
cultural aspects affect the whole of Scotland and are having lasting
effects on rural and urban areas alike.
ultimate fear of many Scots is that they will be reduced to an ethnic
minority in their own country, that "Scottishness" will be diluted or
disappear entirely, and that Scotland, as a national entity, will
such a Doomsday Scenario are far from groundless. In Wales, for example,
Welsh people are now in a minority, with English people, including many
English people who were born in Wales but remain totally unassimilated
and who are quintessentially English, forming a majority of the
prospects for the survival of the Welsh national identity are not
areas of Scotland have been the most adversely affected to date.
the assumptions of many, very few of the total number of English
immigrants to the rural areas are associated with North Sea oil. Nor are
the Highlands the only rural area affected by English immigration. Every
part of rural Scotland has suffered and continues to suffer.
on rural Scotland have been economic, and social and cultural.
adverse effect is economic and centres on the rapid increase in land and
house prices. The second adverse effect includes social and cultural
problems and problems of social interaction, politics and the
disappearance of traditional ways of life.
economic side, the immigrants have had a significant effect on raising
land prices in rural areas to the extent that the local farmers who may
have been contemplating expansion have had to abandon their plans as
land prices have risen beyond their means.
young local people seeking to rent or buy homes find that costs are
beyond their often limited means.
immigrants are predominantly middle class, and are generally wealthier
than most local people who are predominantly working class, and the
immigrants have access to more sources of credit, and are able to pay
more for property. As a result, Scottish people are forced out of the
housing market and often are forced to leave the area.
study in one rural area shows that 15 acres of land which had sold for
£400 in 1972, increased in value to £12,000 in six years. In 1980, it
was on the market again and the market price was reported to be £24,000.
Another study covering a number of rural areas listed the average resale
value of property in 1984 at £24,602, and by 1991, this had increased to
of the areas studied, including Berwickshire and Skye and Lochalsh, less
than half of the buyers were locals, and a high percentage of the
non-locals were English immigrants.
additional pressures on local communities in rural Scotland are the
closure or reduction of essential services such as public transport.
Working class populations in rural areas, many of whom are elderly
people surviving on State benefits, rely to a large degree on public
transport, whereas wealthier middle class immigrants in these areas rely
on their own private transport.
is that, as the local working class population declines, the provision
of public transport systems becomes increasingly uneconomic leading to
withdrawal of the services. This in turn puts additional pressures on
the local Scottish population.
surprisingly, the large increase of English people in very small and
fragile rural communities - whose population was already in decline, was
frequently elderly and had a death rate far exceeding the birth rate -
could not fail to affect the indigenous communities adversely.
English immigrants are younger and richer than the indigenous population
of rural Scotland the net result has been population replacement.
Scottish communities have now become English.
is that in much of rural Scotland, which only contains a small part of
the country's population, but which makes up most of Scotland's
territory, there is a population which is already predominantly English
in birth, culture and sympathy.
already parts of rural Scotland, some parts of Argyllshire for instance,
where there is no significant Scottish population left. English people
and their unassimilated offspring make up the bulk of the population.
And, of course, English immigration is still increasing, while the
takeover of property and businesses is also increasing.
campaigners against English immigration see this situation as
"accidentally" arising, the SNLA and others most certainly do not.
out that the British government has a long history of "racial swamping”
and, for example, it was official State policy to attempt to replace the
French Canadians with English speakers until comparatively recent times.
is not exclusive to the British State. Until recent times, Soviet policy
was to encourage Russian settlement in non-Russian areas such as the
Baltic States, and to encourage "Russification".
are currently replacing the population of Tibet with ethnic Chinese, and
there are many other examples of genocide-by-replacement.
throughout the world small nations with fragile identities are under
threat, and are facing national extinction, and surely, in an age when
conservation is a key issue, minority national groups with distinctive
cultures deserve support and encouragement to allow them to survive?
is described as racist nonsense by hostile commentators who like to
compare the SNLA and the SSG to the National Front or the British
comparison fails to take into account the ideological differences
between the SNLA and the SSG and the English fascist groups. The
Scottish groups are not racist per se but are fighting to preserve a
national identity in decline.
do not consider the substantial differences between the situation in
Scotland - or in many other small countries where the national identity
is under threat - and the situation in large countries like England.
which has a population of approximately 50,000,000 people, the combined
number of coloured immigrants and their descendants is still
considerably less than 10% of the population, and the immigrants are
from exceedingly diverse backgrounds with considerable pressure on them
to assimilate to the English language, culture and way of life.
the situation is almost in reverse.
SNLA the key issue is not simply Independence but "national survival or
people have a dominating position in the Scottish media for example,
which has implications for Scottish society as a whole.
in Scotland are generally not only on a higher economic level, but are
also frequently in positions of authority and control. This has
increased the perception among many Scots that Scotland is an internal
colony of England. In this sense the "white settler issue" also has a
distinctive political dimension.
the SNLA prefers to refer to the English immigrants as "colonists", the
widespread use in Scotland of the expression "white settlers", to
describe English immigrants, is also an ironic but pointed
self-reference by those who deliberately identify themselves, not just
as "locals", but particularly as "black natives".
All of this
is part of the imaging of a Scotland whose traditions and identity are
threatened by a colonial relationship to a metropolitan England, or to a
The idea of
internal colonialism has led to increased dialogue about the "Englishing"
of Scotland and includes claims that Scotland's unique heritage is being
destroyed, particularly the remnants of its Gaelic language, culture and
its ethnicity and educational system.
the destruction of "Scottishness" and of the entire Scottish national
certainly opposes mass English immigration, and, by 1994, were preparing
to campaign against it.
1994, the SNLA launched a daring and secret operation - Operation Flame
- which was an attempt to establish a series of "leaderless resistance"
groups in Scotland to combat mass English immigration.
was to anonymously circulate a series of bomb-making manuals and other
literature to as many "suitable" people as possible throughout Scotland.
The manuals were a sort of "Beginners' Guide To Terrorism", and were
designed to enable potential terrorists to plan and to carry out their
own operations completely independently and anonymously.
manuals and literature would be widely circulated in the name of a new
(and completely fictitious) group called "Flame". The SNLA would not be
openly associated with the formation or running of Flame. (Note 1.)
contacted would be urged to work on their own to carry out independent
actions against English immigrants in Scotland, or to form small
completely independent cells to carry out similar actions. Those
contacted were also asked to copy and to further circulate the
literature anonymously to anyone they considered suitable or likely to
In this way
a number of completely independent groups would (or so the SNLA hoped)
spring up throughout Scotland. Each group would be completely
independent, anonymous and completely unlinked to any other group.
each group would be linked only by a common ideology and the use of the
cover name of Flame.
This is the
classical form of organisation known as the "Leaderless Resistance
Movement" - a form of organisation which has been effectively used by
the Animal Liberation Front among others.
of such a diverse and self-sustaining organisation would be a nightmare
for the police and the security services in Scotland, who would have
little or no chance of dealing a blow at the heart of any such movement,
but would have to deal separately with each of the independent cells.
creation of such a leaderless resistance movement had long been an SNLA
plan, and in order to further the plan the SNLA went to great lengths to
get the whole thing up and running.
literature, called the "Scottish Resistance Handbook", was carefully
prepared, copied and distributed by mail to hundreds of people. This was
not an easy matter as each packet had to be fingerprint-free as well as
DNA- and forensic-free.
completion of this first part of the plan, it was decided to boost the
first part of the plan by anonymously "leaking" news of Flame to the
media. This paid rich dividends when the "Daily Record" published an
article on Flame which included a diagram from the bomb-making manual.
step was for the SNLA to carry out actions in the name of Flame "to get
the ball rolling". The SNLA member tasked with launching Flame was Kevin
Paton of Inverurie in Aberdeenshire. A lorry driver in his twenties,
Kevin Paton constructed a small number of hoax parcel bombs which he
then sent to a wide variety of targets in Scotland and England.
devices caused chaos. For example, in Aberdeen the local authority HQ
was completely evacuated after a parcel was opened by an aide to a
councillor. In Dundee a Scottish academic, Malcolm Dickson, who had
publicly supported English immigration, had a nervous collapse when he
opened a package and discovered what he thought was a bomb.
at least five of these attacks including attacks in England which were
aimed at Persimmon Homes, a property developer based in Yorkshire which
did extensive business in Scotland, and at the offices of the "Exchange
and Mart" which advertised Scottish properties for sale to English
disruptions and large-scale police operations were the outcome.
say, all of the attacks were claimed by and attributed to Flame.
well-publicised action which took place during this period was a threat
aimed at the English-born Labour MP Anthony Worthington. Mr Worthington
represents a Scottish constituency and lives with his family near
In a threat
sent to him via Labour HQ in Scotland, Mr Worthington was warned to
leave Scotland within thirty days or face the consequences. In a later
incident, Mr Worthington's wife received a frightening late night
telephone call at her home.
unpleasant tactic, which is really a very effective form of
psychological warfare, was randomly applied to English immigrants
throughout Scotland, and the amount of fear generated by these incidents
- which usually went unreported - can only be imagined.
not the only occasions on which SNLA members carried out operations in
the name of Flame - an article in "Scotland On Sunday" in May 1994
quotes an MI5 source as attributing 23 attacks to Flame - but to what
extent did non-SNLA activists take part in these or contribute to Flame?
itself cannot be sure. Alec says:
know for sure what effect Flame had on others. There was definitely a
marked increase in slogan-painting, and some of this was reported in the
media, and there were lots of rumours, but no major incidents were
reported. Given that the media usually doesn't generally report
incidents of this type or isn't allowed to report them, there is the
possibility that some incidents went unreported, but we are not in a
position to know."
authorities initially appear to have accepted that Flame was a separate
non-SNLA organisation, but the involvement of the SNLA appears to have
been suspected from an early date, if only because the SNLA is the only
activist organisation in Scotland.
September 1994 a hoax bomb was placed outside the Sheriff courthouse in
Aberdeen causing major traffic disruption. However this was not a
"Flame" operation but an SNLA action, and was claimed as such.
Only a few
hours afterwards the police arrested three men in Aberdeenshire. One was
Kevin Paton of Inverurie, who had fronted Operation Flame for the SNLA,
and the others were Terry Weber and Darin Brown of Aberdeen. Darin Brown
was an SNLA member while, according to the SNLA, Terry Weber was not.
Paton, who completely collaborated with the police after his arrest, was
released on bail after
spending only a few days in prison.
Weber, who wasn't an SNLA member, but according to the SNLA was a police
informer, was also released on bail later, while Darin Brown who was an
SNLA member was refused bail. But, after a time spent on hunger-strike
in Craiginches Prison in Aberdeen, Brown was eventually released. (Note
subsequently decamped to Dublin where he had linked up with members of
the SNLA's Dublin cell by the beginning of 1995. (See "The Dublin Cell"
for details of Brown's activities in Dublin.)
so-called Flame trial took place in late 1995 and caused a sensation.
having also turned informer was not tried, Adam Busby was named in court
as the mastermind of the operation, and Paton and Weber received 18
months and 3 years respectively for their part in the conspiracy.
If not a
brilliant success for the SNLA, the outcome was equally disappointing
for the British authorities who had expended a vast amount of time and
money in bringing the case to court.
circumstances, a combined four and a half year sentence for small fish
like Paton and Weber was a poor reward for their efforts.
Note 1: The
Scottish Resistance Handbook was later advertised and sold openly by the
SSG. See, for example an article in the "Birmingham Post" of February
extremist group dedicated to driving English settlers out of Scotland is
offering a book detailing instructions on how to make powerful
incendiary and destructive devices.
Scottish Separatist Group offers the information in what it calls a
Scottish Resistance Handbook which can be used to further what it claims
is its cause of "national liberation"."
Note 2: The
hunger strike is reported in a number of newspapers, although all of
them say that Weber was also on hunger strike. In fact, this is not
Mirror" of 30th September 1994 reports:
tartan terrorists have gone on hunger strike. The pair are awaiting
trial in an Aberdeen jail accused of trying to further the aims of the
Scottish National Liberation Army. And a friend of Terrence Webber, 29,
and Darrin Brown, 24, claimed they were prepared to fast to death. They
both deny placing a hoax bomb at Aberdeen Sheriff Court."
of Adam Busby and David Dinsmore as fugitives in Dublin in September
1983 saw the formation of an SNLA cell which has continued to exist in
Ireland's capital for over twenty years.
free to live openly in Dublin as a result of a ruling by the Irish High
Court in 1984 which classed his alleged offences as political, is -
allegedly – the mastermind of the SNLA campaign. It is also alleged that
there is a small SNLA cell headed by Busby, which has acted as a
permanent base, and which has continued to recruit and organise new SNLA
members in Scotland and beyond.
small size - it has rarely consisted of more than four or five members -
the Dublin cell, operating beyond the reach of the British police, has
played a major part in SNLA activities. For entirely practical reasons,
the SNLA in Dublin does not generally carry out attacks directly from or
within the Irish Republic.
This is to
avoid the attentions of the Irish police - although despite this the
Irish police keep the SNLA
under constant surveillance.
there have been times when clashes have been inevitable.
1988 Adam Busby escorted a member of a Cornish organisation, "Free
Cornwall", to the British
Embassy in Dublin. The intention was simply to escort the
visiting Cornishman to the British Embassy where a protest letter,
written in both English and the Cornish language, concerning mass
English immigration into Cornwall, was to be handed in to the British
when the two men, accompanied by Busby's then girlfriend, approached the
gate lodge at the Embassy, Busby, who remained standing on the public
footpath outside, was ordered to hand over the Cornishman's camera which
was in Busby's jacket pocket. Busby refused and a scuffle broke out.
in Adam Busby, the Cornishman, and Busby's Irish girlfriend, who was
pregnant, invading the main building of the heavily guarded Embassy.
With alarms sounding in their ears, the three penetrated the Embassy's
Commercial and Passport sections before a member of the Embassy's staff
produced an automatic pistol, cocked it, and jammed its muzzle into the
base of Busby's nose.
were then bundled roughly out of the Embassy by armed Irish policemen
who were normally stationed inside the Embassy. The police warned them
repeatedly that they were lucky not to have been
were then escorted from the British Embassy grounds and told they would
be arrested if they did not hand over the camera.
incident was highly embarrassing to the authorities because their own
over-zealous security staff at the British Embassy had needlessly
sparked off the whole incident, which they had then been unable to
incident received a good deal of publicity including an article in the
Irish Republican newspaper "An Phoblacht / Republican News", and in a
number of major British newspapers.
there had been a sporadic amount of SNLA activity organised from Dublin
with the arrival there of Adam Busby and David Dinsmore in September
1983, by the early 1990s Dublin was the main SNLA base from which
operations could be planned and organised against targets in the UK.
This was a
very successful tactic because it took advantage of the Irish Republic's
laws on conspiracy - which are much more limited and less draconian than
the British conspiracy laws - and there were additional benefits as,
with the exception of a small number of specific offences, the Irish
police have no legal right to investigate offences which take place in
By 1995 the
Dublin cell consisted of at least four SNLA members and they were the
subject of a lengthy and intensive investigation by the Irish Special
Detective Unit - the Irish Republic's Special Branch.
In 1995 the
alleged members of the SNLA cell in Dublin were Adam Busby, Hugh Smith
McMahon (a native of Glasgow), Darin Brown of Aberdeen, and a New
Zealand-born Gaelic speaker Tristan O' Cearnaigh. O' Cearnaigh was of
mixed Scottish and Irish extraction. All except Busby were men in their
Brown, as previously mentioned in the chapter "Operation Flame", had
left Scotland to avoid prosecution for an alleged conspiracy to coerce
Her Majesty's Government in order to establish a separate Scottish
them - Busby, Brown and O' Cearnaigh - were arrested simultaneously in
Dublin in May 1995 by detectives from the Special Detective Unit (the
Irish Special Branch) on suspicion of possession of explosives. This was
days after the Icarus device had been sent by air from Belfast to
London. (See later chapter.)
held under Section 30 of The Offences Against The State Act - which is
the Irish Republic's anti-terrorist legislation.
In fact all
of them were questioned for up to two days about a plethora of offences
which had taken place in Scotland and England. In most cases the Irish
detectives were actually illegally questioning the SNLA suspects about
offences over which the Irish police had no jurisdiction.
Tristan O' Cearnaigh and McMahon (who was arrested at a slightly later
date than the others) all remained silent after denying the charges.
Darin Brown – the former hunger-striker - began to make lengthy
statements implicating himself and others in offences which had taken
place in Scotland.
made a lengthy written statement in which he admitted the offences with
which he had already been charged in Aberdeen.
As a result
of his collaboration, Darin Brown was to be given absolute immunity from
prosecution in Scotland, including the offences with which he had
already been charged and to which he had admitted in a written
statement, and he was flown back to the UK where he was welcomed by
senior police officers.
fact that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Scotland,
Brown was not arrested by the Scottish officers as the law of Scotland
requires. When the Flame trial took place later in 1995, Brown was not
proceeded against and the Crown told the High Court that they did not
know his whereabouts - although he was living under police protection at
were anxious to use Brown as a witness against the others, and in
particular against Adam Busby.
eventually entered a plea of guilty to a misdemeanor - faxing an SNLA
communiqué to media outlets in Scotland - and got a record two year
sentence for this offence in March 1997.
McMahon was eventually charged in connection with a bomb alert which
closed down the massive Kessock bridge near Inverness in early 1995.
done by using a public telephone box in Dublin to make the call.
According to my SNLA sources, this was an SNLA experiment which went
was that the guy in Dublin (McMahon) phoned a guy who was standing with
an unregistered mobile phone in a public phone box in Glasgow.
in Glasgow received the call from Dublin on the mobile. Then he used the
public phone to call directly to the police in Inverness. Then he
twinned the phones, putting the mobile together with the public phone in
Glasgow so that McMahon from Dublin could speak directly to the cops in
Inverness although the call would be logged as coming from a call box in
was to confuse police intelligence and send them on a wild goose chase.
McMahon wasn't known to the police so it didn't matter when his voice
was recorded. What mattered was that the police would be looking for
someone with McMahon's voice who was in Glasgow that night. Obviously
McMahon could have proved that he was in Dublin that night, so that,
even if he was picked up in Scotland at a later date, they couldn't have
proved the charge against him.
Unfortunately it all went wrong on the night. McMahon's voice was so
indistinct when it was relayed that it couldn't be understood. The relay
system wasn't dependable.
thought "Fuck it ", and made the call directly from Dublin to Inverness.
He told the Inverness cops that there was a bomb on or under the Kessock
bridge, which was then sealed off and it was thoroughly searched the
telephone calls are easy to relay. This is all thanks to modern mobile
technology such as the Hands Free speakerphone on mobile telephones."
eventually charged with the offence before the non-jury Special Criminal
Court in Dublin which was set up to deal with terrorist offences, and
early in 1997, he was remanded in custody to join Adam Busby in
In fact, it
took over four years from the date of the commission of the offence to
convict the astute Hugh Smith McMahon. He obtained bail, was released
from Portlaoise Prison, and then took a protracted legal action to
contest his arrest, and he continued to use up valuable police and court
time in legal wrangles.
May 1999, the Irish authorities were so fed up with the expensive case
that they reached an agreement whereby McMahon agreed to plead guilty in
return for a non-custodial sentence, conditional upon McMahon agreeing
not to associate with any member of any criminal or subversive
organisation for a period of two years.
Freeman, Home Affairs Correspondent of the "Herald" of Glasgow,
linked to the Scottish National Liberation Army who caused a major alert
by phoning a bomb warning to police in Inverness was given a two years
suspended prison sentence by Dublin's anti-terrorist Special Criminal
say, the "Herald", a newspaper which, if this is possible, is even more
hostile to the SNLA than any other newspaper in Scotland, did not
explain why the "major alert" at the Kessock bridge for which McMahon
was convicted was totally unreported at the time it took place.
example, a Scottish police officer, Detective Inspector Hector McRae of
the Northern Constabulary told the court that the huge bridge had been
completely closed for two hours, causing traffic diversions and serious
problems for the emergency services.
Nor did the
"Herald" report that McMahon had worn down the Irish police and legal
authorities in a mammoth legal campaign.
Superintendent Peter Maguire of the Irish Special Branch told the court
that McMahon was only one of a number of people in Dublin associated
with the SNLA who were being kept under surveillance by the Irish police
The case of
McMahon illustrates the predicament facing the Irish police. Although
very few overt offences have ever taken place within the Irish Republic,
and the Irish police have no legal powers to investigate SNLA attacks in
the UK, they are required to use a very considerable amount of
specialist police manpower and resources, which are already in short
supply, just to keep the SNLA in Dublin under constant surveillance.
The SSG -
The Scottish Separatist Group
has a long history of forming legal support groups - most of which have
been singularly short-lived and unsuccessful.
Scottish Separatist Group or SSG is the exception. Formed in 1995, the
SSG has the same basic aims as the SNLA. These are:
1) To halt
and reverse mass English immigration into Scotland;
restore Gaelic to its former position as the official language and the
vernacular language in use throughout Scotland as a whole;
establish and maintain a totally independent Scottish Republic.
Scottish Separatist Group is a legal political organisation, which gives
political support to the SNLA.
question of the exact relationship between the SSG and the SNLA is
clouded by doubt.
The SSG has
engaged in many perfectly legal activities for many years. In 1996 it
produced two issues of a magazine called "The Scottish Separatist",
copies of which were openly sold and are in the literary record
libraries, and a variety of literature including regular monthly
It has used
the Internet to organise protests and has campaigned on a whole series
of issues over the years, including, somewhat remarkably for a
Republican organisation, arranging for a question on the case of the
Glasgow Two to be asked in the House Of Lords. (Note 1.)
It has even
made legal complaints against the police about the treatment of SSG
members and associates.
occasion, the SSG used race relations legislation to condemn Sara Marsh,
an English librarian in Buckie Community High School in Banffshire, as
an "anti-Scottish bigot" because she had contributed to the book "Bloody
Scotland". See "Serious separatists throw the book at English
librarian", in the "Herald" of January 14th 1999, by Gavin Madeley.
"Herald" described the SSG as an "anonymous group, which operates from
an Internet site and a series of PO box numbers in Scotland, Dublin and
were less than happy with the ""Herald" article and threatened to take
legal action for libel against the newspaper. However, due to the high
financial costs of the proposed legal action, the action was dropped.
The SSG has
its own website which it shares with the SNLA and which is hosted by the
Russian Maoist Party - it was originally hosted by Angelfire which
banned it after pressure from Archy Kirkwood MP - and it has operated a
series of Post Office boxes in the USA, in Dundee, Dumfries and in
Dublin. It has even sold its own lapel badges and T-shirts and other
to the SSG its members are strictly limited to Non-Violent Direct Action
(NVDA) and are absolutely forbidden to take part in violent activities.
But is the
SSG simply a legal front for the SNLA? Or is the SSG simply a name used
by the SNLA when it wishes to take part in legal activities?
This is a
suspicion shared by many.
In 1999 the
SSG's then National Organiser - a Dundee resident - was briefly remanded
in custody for an alleged breach of the peace caused by sending an SSG
Press Release to the "Press & Journal" newspaper in Aberdeen.
was later dropped, and as the charge never seemed to have any real
substance, and as no further charges were brought, it is clear that a
number of SSG members operate openly, legally and independently of the
It is also
clear that an organisation as obsessively concerned with secrecy and
security as the SNLA would be unlikely to encourage its members to allow
themselves to be identified by participation in the open activities of
is open to speculation, but there is little doubt that there is a small
body of SSG members who operate legally and independently of the SNLA.
At the same time there is no doubt that the two groups are closely and
intimately linked. (See Appendix 1.)
Note 1: The
Glasgow Two are "TC" Campbell and Joe Steele who were wrongfully
convicted of mass murder in the High Court on the testimony of a
perjurer who was deliberately induced to give evidence by the Crown.
After spending many years in prison protesting their innocence they were
eventually released and exonerated.
be pointed out that neither Mr Campbell nor Mr Steele have or ever were
alleged to have any connection to the SNLA.
Strategy Of Disruption
to SNLA doctrine, warfare is not just a lethal game. Its roots are
equals politics, and politics equals economics. The economic element in
warfare is the essential element.
It is not
only the motive for offensive wars, but the seizure, denial to or
destruction of the enemy's economic resources and assets is the means by
which wars were, and are, waged and won.
times, when society's economy was essentially agriculturally-based, wars
were fought for the possession of land and the economic resources which
the land provided. Troops, for example, were trained to take, hold and
defend land. This is still the essential role of infantry soldiers.
former times, when land was the prime economic resource, irregular and
paramilitary forces strived for the control of land and its economic
resources in order to acquire it for themselves and in order to deny it
to the State.
SNLA doctrine states, while this emphasis on the possession of land may
still be relevant in parts of the Third World, it is totally irrelevant
in the Developed World, where the prime economic resource is not
agricultural but the industrial and service-based sectors. These sectors
in their turn depend upon the provision of essential utilities and
services such as electricity, water and transport.
traditional scenario where guerrillas live and operate in rural areas
which they seek to control is a non-starter in the Developed World.
Developed World, the State is a highly centralized and integrated
political, social and economic entity which is powered by its economic
base, and the population is essentially urban.
Thus in the
Developed World the State can only be effectively attacked by the
disruption or destruction of the State's economic base, and the
essential utilities and services which support the State's economic
argue that, no matter how spectacular an attack is, and no matter how
many lives are lost, an attack is irrelevant unless it causes
significant economic damage to the State.
spectacular attack on an Army base which kills several soldiers is
irrelevant because it causes no real economic damage to the State, and
the loss of life is simply the loss of small amounts of what, in
economic terms, is simply "human capital" which is cheap and easy to
attacks can never win strategic advantage. Only major economic damage
threatens the State.
effective attacks on the State's economic base must cause major and
irredeemable economic damage. This means that the economic loss must be
significant, and the losses cannot be recovered or replaced by any other
example, if property is destroyed or damaged, the actual economic loss,
if any, is likely to be insignificant. The property's owners do not lose
because they are covered by insurance.
insurers do not lose because of the economics of the insurance industry.
Insurance companies take in vast amounts of money in policies each year.
And each year they pay out approximately the same amount in insurance
claims. Their profits derive from the interest they accumulate by
investing the money they take in as policies.
companies are themselves insured by re-insurance – the insurer’s
insurance – against excessive claims.
no risk themselves, but actually profit from others’ losses. If there
was no risk to others the insurance companies would go out of business.
was no risk there would be no business and no profits. But if the risk
to others is increased the insurance companies get increased business
and increased profits.
example, if a paramilitary group begins a campaign of destruction of
property, the insurance companies not only do not lose, they can expect
to increase business and profits.
insurance companies, in the event of a campaign of property destruction,
increase the cost of property insurance and can expect to sell more
insurance at increased prices, because there is an increased risk.
insurance companies do not insure against loss of business or a drop in
profits. Nor do they insure companies against the losses incurred by
emphasis is on disruption rather than destruction. This is essential to
an understanding of the Strategy Of Disruption - a strategic disruption
of whole areas, businesses, transport networks and other public
services, which has been frequently used by the SNLA and others.
example of the Strategy Of Disruption is when bomb alerts (whether
bombs are actually involved or not) force the closure of
a city's road and rail networks before or during the morning rush hour,
and if the bomb alerts paralyse the city itself, then nearly every
business in the city will suffer major economic losses for which there
is no insurance coverage.
Even if a
business premises is not evacuated, then they will probably find
themselves with a shortage of staff and only a handful of customers,
while material deliveries will be delayed or suspended. The staff,
customers and deliveries are caught up in the traffic disruption caused
by the bomb alerts.
early 1997 the Provisional IRA used this method to paralyse England's
transport system. The rail system, the motorways, the air and sea ports
were regularly paralysed by bomb alerts (almost all of which eventually
turned out to be hoaxes) which totally disrupted the whole country's
turn affected nearly every major town and city in England, and thousands
of businesses throughout the country suffered very major economic losses
which, because they could not be covered by insurance, were
Strategy Of Disruption has frequently been used by the SNLA.
of the SNLA's use of the technique of Strategic Disruption are best
illustrated by the events which took place in Birmingham - England's
second largest city - on Saturday the 18th of March 1995.
had firmly established a local presence and demonstrated an explosive
capability in the city only a few days earlier by posting three letter
bombs from Birmingham to targets in Scotland and England. Then another
minor incident was staged in the city a few days later.
having prepared the ground, the SNLA was ready to disrupt the city of
Birmingham by issuing a warning to the media of three (non-existent)
the afternoon of Saturday the 18th of March, 1995, an SNLA member
telephoned a bomb warning to a Birmingham newspaper.
always a small risk in telephoning the media because the call might be
recorded, but the risk was worth it. Not only is there likely to be a
propaganda value because the media knows at first hand what is
happening, but the police are more likely to be prompted to react to a
warning transmitted to them by the media than one sent via the
Samaritans, for instance.
the guy who made the call to the Birmingham newspaper told them he
didn't give a flying fuck if they recorded the call, but he told them
that at 3 o'clock, I think it was, three bombs were set to go off in
Birmingham. He said the bombs were inside three large shopping centres,
the Bull Ring, the Pallisades and, I think, the Plaza. Then he gave the
magic word (the SNLA codeword) and rang off. This was about 2.30 or
thereabouts, and the timing was deliberate. We needed to give enough
time for the newspaper to contact the police, and for the police to
assess the threat and then carry out evacuations.
happened then was that the message was passed on to the police by the
newspaper. These messages always go to the police control room where
there is a permanent link-up to the Special Branch. The Special Branch
immediately performs an RA based on the message. RA means Risk Analysis
or Risk Assessment.
The RA is
used to assess the extent and the validity of the threat. For example,
if some drunk phones in to say he's got a thermo-nuclear device which
he'll detonate unless he gets the Queen's head on a plate in the next
hour, then it isn't going to be taken very seriously. However, all
threats are assessed and there's some sort of police action on all of
drunk who says he's got the thermo-nuclear device will start a minor
investigation to catch him, but, of course, he won't cause an evacuation
or cause any real damage.
any really significant disruption the threat must be very credible.
It is a
sort of points system. The RA asks: Did the caller use a codeword or
give the name of a known organisation, and if so, does the organisation
have a local presence and an explosive capability? If it does, then the
police will order an immediate evacuation.
As we had
taken great care to establish a local presence in Birmingham and had
sent letter bombs from there only a few days before, we clearly had a
local presence and an explosive capability. The result was that the
police ordered the immediate evacuation of all three shopping centres.
couldn't have been an easy task for the police. Those shopping centres
in Birmingham are massive and contain hundreds of individual shops.
There were many thousands of people literally packed inside them because
we had deliberately chosen to do this on a Saturday afternoon because it
was the busiest shopping time of the week.
happened was that the police had to evacuate the shopping centres in a
don't realise that the police don't - or can't - just go round politely
asking people to leave at their own convenience, or giving shopkeepers
the time to close up shop, and so on.
go round as quick as possible ordering people to drop everything and get
out immediately. Then they have to stop the traffic in the streets, and
establish safety perimeters which are usually at a radius of at least
100 metres and often more from the site of the suspected device.
were supposedly three bombs in Birmingham that day, all in the same
area. And the suspect sites had been carefully chosen and were in a
rough triangle within the city and were grouped quite closely together.
police were forced to evacuate the whole of the area in order to
establish a secure perimeter. And this was in the heart of Birmingham's
shopping area on a busy Saturday afternoon, at the peak of the weekly
down everything in the area including New Street railway station and the
rail traffic passing through it was also stopped, and the bus station
nearby was evacuated too.
There is an
integrated transport system and so everything was affected. Even the
links to the airport via the rail and road networks were shut down, and
the motorway traffic was affected too as Spaghetti Junction is close by,
and they had to shut down access roads leading to and from the motorway.
and pedestrian traffic in, out and through the city was gridlocked, and
this spread like a ripple effect or a chain reaction through the whole
city as masses of traffic was diverted away from the city centre and
hundreds of thousands of pedestrians - I think the figure was in excess
of 250,000 people - were streaming out of the area on foot and blocking
severe social and economic damage to the city of Birmingham as thousands
of shops, pubs, offices, hotels and restaurants and other businesses
were shut down. And they stayed shut down for many hours, until the
whole area had been searched inch-by-inch for the non-existent bombs.
economic losses were severe and there was no insurance compensation. See
the Birmingham media reports of the time for their estimate of the
coverage this got in Scotland was a page two article in the "Record" a
couple of days later which falsely quoted an SNLA source, who is quoted
as saying that the damage must be in thousands. The fact is that the guy
never spoke to anyone from the "Daily Record", and the economic losses
would have run to millions of pounds - not thousands.
But you get
to expect this from the Scottish media, and the article was really
intended to play down the extent of the economic damage.
So to do
real damage the emphasis is always on disruption not destruction.
In order to
win, we must be in a position to cripple the British economy, to put a
knife to their economic jugular, and to be in a position to do this at
any time we wish and as often as necessary, and not just do it once or
Note 1: The
Strategy Of Disruption is also used extensively by eco-warriors and
animal rights activists as the following report illustrates:
Camera Traps Bomb Hoaxer
rights activist has been jailed for four years for a series of hoax bomb
calls - including one which led to the evacuation of the London Eye.
Bartlett admitted making calls to companies he alleged had links with
the animal testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences or which he
accused of polluting the planet. He was eventually caught when the calls
were traced to a phone box.
Anthony Thorpe said: "Offences of this nature cause great concern to the
public, particularly in the light of terrorist attacks all too common
all over the world.
have a duty to protect the public particularly from acts tending to
induce fear and panic."
Strange, defending Bartlett, said he took full responsibility but did
not realise how much disruption he caused. "He had no idea of the number
of people's lives which would be interrupted."”
Note 2: The
SNLA carried out what was probably its largest ever strategic disruption
in London on the 24th of December, 1996 - that is on Christmas Eve,
1996, which is the busiest shopping day of the year with the last minute
rail system was paralysed as a result, while road traffic was also
severely disrupted. The disruption was aimed directly at the railway
system. Coming on the eve of a major public holiday, the effects of the
disruption were particularly severe and harder to deal with. How could
stranded passengers reach their destinations - or services be restored -
when the whole system was already geared to a virtual closedown for the
incident was never widely publicised.
Of The SNLA
effect, if any, has the SNLA had on the Scottish political situation?
The SNLA came into existence as a result of the Labour government's
failure to implement Devolution in 1979. That failure triggered a wave
of SNLA militancy in Scotland which has lasted for over twenty years.
onwards, with the almost certain prospect of an incoming Labour
government in the near future, the SNLA began to target Labour party
targets regularly and, from 1995, continuously.
only one SNLA attack on Labour - the arson attack on Labour's Scottish
HQ – had taken place since 1982.
In 1994 the
SNLA (and many others, including seasoned political observers) believed
that Devolution would never be granted, although it was still official
Labour party policy.
SNLA believed that there would be years of constitutional wrangling
followed by another rigged referendum.
thought it likely that, for example, Labour would introduce a clause to
the effect that if a single Scottish region, encouraged by an
anti-Devolution campaign in the media, such as was seen before the 1979
referendum, voted against or opted out of Devolution, then the future
Labour government would refuse Devolution to Scotland.
Labour could say to the people of Scotland: "We offered you Devolution
and you turned it down", and then wash its hands of the whole business.
The largely English-populated Highlands seemed the most likely Scottish
region to be involved in the rejection of Devolution.
suspicion was based on Labour's record on Devolution. Until 1945 Labour
in Scotland had stood on the twin platforms of Socialism and Home Rule
for the Scottish people. (Incredibly, given the Labour party's future
policies, they also advocated returning the land of Scotland to the
elected to government in 1945, the Labour party simply dropped its
previous "commitment" to Devolution. As the memoirs of prominent Labour
leaders of the time make clear, Labour never had the slightest intention
of implementing Devolution.
example, the memoirs of Thomas Johnston, a prominent Labour "Home Ruler"
of the period. In his memoirs, published many years later, Johnston
poured scorn on the very idea of a separate Scottish parliament, and
bluntly admitted that the whole Labour policy was based on cynical
Labour's record on Devolution in 1979, the SNLA and others believed that
Labour's revived commitment to Devolution was just more political
expediency, and that it would never be implemented.
to be borne out by the curious political record of Tony Blair. An
Englishman born and educated in Scotland, Blair had a previous record as
a vociferous opponent of Scottish Devolution.
mid-1990s the evidence suggested that Blair's and Labour's new-found
enthusiasm for Devolution was simple and cynical political expediency.
result, the SNLA decided to target Labour from 1994 onwards in order to
prove their point and to prevent a re-run of all the years wasted on
constitutional trickery prior to 1979.
be noted that the SNLA was not an advocate of Devolution. In fact it
opposed Devolution as a blind alley into which constitutional
nationalists would be drawn. To the SNLA the issue was, and is, "not
Devolution but Revolution!".
intention of the SNLA from 1994 onwards was not to force Labour to
implement Devolution, but to take maximum advantage of the situation
when, as they expected, a future Labour government would renege on its
commitment to Devolution.
they would begin to attack the Labour party while it was in opposition,
and then redouble their efforts against the future Labour government
when, as the SNLA expected, they began stalling on Devolution, thus
turning the expected wrangle over Devolution into an assault on
To this end
the SNLA began to include numerous targets from Labour in its campaign
from 1994 onwards.
March 1995, Tony Blair was sent a letter bomb which arrived at his
Sedgefield constituency home. Mr Blair was then attending the Labour
party conference at Inverness where he was outlining his plans for
matter of hours afterwards, an aircraft which was supposed to be
carrying Mr Blair from the Labour party conference in Inverness to a
meeting in London was evacuated and searched on arrival in London. This
was the result of an SNLA bomb alert.
was not present. By chance, he had been slightly delayed at the
Inverness conference and had missed the scheduled flight by just eleven
minutes - which leads one to ask just how the SNLA had been able to
obtain such detailed information about the Leader of the Opposition's
Mr Blair's movements were subsequently restricted for "security
reasons", and this continued for some time after he became Prime
Minister in 1997.
At the same
time George Robertson MP, a prominent member of Labour's Shadow Cabinet,
was sent a letter bomb while he was in attendance at the Inverness
conference. And another letter bomb was sent to the Labour party's UK HQ
in John Smith House, Walworth Road, London. The Labour HQ had to be
partially evacuated while the bomb was dealt with.
reported to be another three letter bombs in the post, and an urgent
alert to be on the lookout for letter bombs was issued to potential
Labour party targets throughout the UK.
same time Mr Blair was attending a meeting in his constituency at what
"Who's Who" lists as his local club, the Trimdon village workingmen's
club, when the premises were disrupted by yet another SNLA bomb alert.
In a bizarre twist, a bingo game which was taking place in another part
of the club was disrupted at the same time as Mr Blair's meeting.
question of the how the SNLA was able to obtain such accurate
intelligence to enable them to track Tony Blair's exact movements must
be asked. More to the point is the fact that, if Tony Blair ever had any
doubts that he and his party were being targeted by the SNLA, then any
such doubts were being very rapidly dispelled.
sensational Flame trial taking place later in 1995, and a series of
letter bombs, threats and hoax parcel bombs aimed at Labour party
targets including - again and again and again - Labour's Scottish
leader, the unfortunate George Robertson MP, the SNLA was maintaining a
very high profile, and keeping up tremendous pressure on the Labour
period George Robertson was involved in a long-running and an
embarrassing (for Robertson) public confrontation with Adam Busby, which
had also involved the SNP.
occasion, Busby mocked him in the media when Robertson complained that
receiving letter bombs was a frightening experience for those who
received them, and Robertson referred to the "darker side of
nationalism" which the SNP were, he said, at least partly responsible
remarks outraged the SNP - not unnaturally since the SNP is strictly and
devoutly constitutionalist in its outlook. (See the "Scotsman" article:
"Salmond leads attacks on Robertson "smear"", by Severin Carrell and
Peter MacMahon of September 21st, 1995, and similar articles in other
George Robertson was promptly sent yet another postal device, and the
SNLA officially declared war on the Labour party.
had publicly replied to Mr Robertson by asserting that the SNLA was
setting the agenda for Robertson - and that the SNLA was placing the
balls for Robertson to kick, as the "Scotsman" reported on Monday
September 25, 1995:
Target Of Bomb Hoax
investigating claims made that Labour politicians in Scotland are to be
targeted in another spate of hoax letter bomb attacks by Scottish
warnings came after a hoax parcel bomb addressed to the shadow Scottish
Secretary, George Robertson, was opened at the Labour Party's
headquarters in Glasgow on Saturday morning by the party's general
secretary, Jack McConnell…
"It was a
point well-made," he (Busby) said. "We're placing the balls and
Robertson is kicking them." The incident coincided with an escalation in
wider militant nationalist activity, he added."
campaign against the Labour party - and in particular Labour's chief
Scottish spokesman George Robertson MP - continued right up until the
General Election of 1997 with Robertson receiving a whole series of hoax
parcel bombs and genuine letter bombs and threatening letters at home
and at work.
sustained campaign against the Shadow Scottish Secretary lasted from
March 1995 until April 1997 – immediately prior to the 1997 elections
which brought Labour to power. Quite clearly, it was a coordinated
campaign which was designed to intimidate the Scottish Labour leader.
meant an evacuation, disruption, and each had to be dealt with by the
bomb squad. And each meant a time consuming police inquiry. There was
also considerable danger from the genuine devices. The effect all this
had on Mr Robertson’s nerves can only be left to the imagination.
Robertson, then Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, criticised as
too lenient the two year sentence received by Adam Busby in March 1997,
Busby wrote to him from Portlaoise prison cheekily thanking him for his
afterwards, George Robertson was sent yet another hoax parcel bomb
(reported to contain a small artillery shell) which caused considerable
disruption. A furious and rattled Mr Robertson seemed to blame Adam
Busby - still in prison in Ireland - for the incident and referred to
the letter he had received from Busby only a couple of weeks earlier.
had written to him, Mr Robertson told one newspaper, to let him know
that he (Busby) was keeping an eye on him. ("Daily Record", April 8th,
and one sent to Tony Blair c/o a Glasgow newspaper office, caused major
disruption when a Glasgow sorting office and the newspaper building had
to be evacuated. Police described the devices as "elaborate hoaxes".
another alleged "coincidence" (although the coincidence stretches the
imagination somewhat) at approximately the same time a contact of Adam
Busby's, an SNLA supporter who was already serving a 5 year sentence for
serious assault in a Scottish prison, also sent a death threat to Mr
Robertson in March 1997. It was opened in his home by Mr Robertson's
wife on March the 20th, 1997.
supporter got an extra three months imprisonment.
to the "Daily Mail" of Friday the 23rd of October, 1998, and other
reports of the case, the court
was told that the death threat was sent in the name of
Significantly, he had also sent a death threat to the Labour MP for
Clydebank and Milngavie, Tony Worthington. Mr Worthington is an
Englishman who had first been targeted by the SNLA during Operation
Flame in 1994.
indisputable evidence that the SNLA were deliberately keeping up the
pressure on the Labour party with a sustained campaign against them.
the same period, the British economy lost millions to the SNLA’s
repeated use of the Strategy Of Disruption.
SNLA's intervention have any effect on the Labour party's decision to
implement Devolution when it eventually came to power?
very strong suggestions that it did have a definite influence. Tony
Blair, previously a committed anti-Devolutionist, is known to have moved
quickly to quash plans for an anti-Devolution campaign within the Labour
It is also
true that Labour quickly pushed through Devolution legislation for
Scotland as soon as it gained power in 1997. But, interestingly,
Labour's policy plans of devolving power to the English regions have not
been implemented, although these plans were an essential part of the
Labour party's Devolution "package".
Labour entered government in 1997 with two pieces of planned legislation
which were intended to deal with nationalism in Scotland.
piece of legislation involved the establishment of Devolution.
announced In December 1997, was a new Crime and Disorder Bill which was
intended to make all forms of anti-English activity illegal in Scotland.
The Bill also proposed that it should become a criminal offence simply
to speak out against English immigration. Clearly, this was aimed at the
SNLA, and even the SSG's legal activities would have been outlawed.
This was an
extraordinary proposal. People and groups have been prosecuted or banned
previously for their actions, but never for the advocacy of their aims.
due to the civil rights implications - the intended legislation would
have restricted the right to freedom of speech - the relevant sections
of the intended legislation were never passed, but the fact that the
Labour government was prepared to attempt its introduction is an
indication of how seriously they regarded the SNLA's activities during
implications are that the Labour party, and particularly Tony Blair and
George Robertson, and many of their senior colleagues, some of whom like
themselves had personal experiences of SNLA violence, were very mindful
of the growth of militant nationalism in Scotland which came into being
as a result of Labour's failure to implement Devolution in 1979. The
implication is that they feared an even more violent outbreak of
militant nationalism if they reneged on their commitment to Devolution
implementing Devolution were they trying to breathe new life into the
harmless constitutional nationalism of the SNP, while attempting to
prevent a growth in the militant activities of the SNLA and the SSG?
scenario is likely to be hotly debated but the argument is well worth
has not escaped some political observers. For example:
"Reflections On The Lessons Of Kosovo
By Dr. S.
of International Conference On Tamil Nationhood & Search for Peace in
Sri Lanka, Ottawa, Canada 1999
colonial foundation of Britain, argued English ideologues, the spread of
liberal values, the guarantee of individual rights, the stable
Westminster democratic system and, most importantly, the independent
judiciary contributed to the unificatory British nationalism; which
allegedly had eradicated the need for Wales and Scotland to regain their
sustained struggles of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the
Scottish National Liberation Army (SNLA) have made Scotland's
independence virtually certain; and the SNP has declared that Scotland
will regain its independence by the year 2007, the 300th year of its
Sachithanandam Sathananthan is a distinguished academic who read for the
Ph D degree at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and is a documentary
film-maker who has produced documentaries broadcast by, among others,
Channel Four Television, London.
also be pointed out that, in the trial of Andrew McIntosh (1993) and in
the Flame trial (1995), the accused were charged and convicted of an
SNLA conspiracy to coerce Her Majesty’s Government in
order to establish a separate Scottish State.
aim of the SNLA campaign was the coercion of “Her Majesty’s Government”
was clear to the legal authorities in Scotland.
curious footnote to this whole question it should be noted that the only
previous occasion in modern times when Scottish nationalists forced the
government to legislate was in 1953, and this was also in response to
present Queen was designated as "Queen Elizabeth the Second", this
caused considerable outrage in Scotland as the first Queen Elizabeth had
never been Queen of Scotland.
As a result
there was a sustained campaign of vandalism by Scottish nationalists
which was chiefly aimed at Royal Mail pillar boxes in Scotland which
bore the EIIR monogram.
to this, the government withdrew the EIIR monogram from use in Scotland.
It also introduced the Post Office Act of 1953 which made vandalism or
interference with Post Office pillar boxes a specific offence carrying a
sentence of up to two years imprisonment.
of this: "It is not over-simplifying the matter, but the point is that a
few people armed with paint brushes were able to force the British
government to pass legislation, while a political party like the SNP
which has had umpteen elected MPs has been unable to pass or even
influence a single piece of legislation in all those years."
Note: George Robertson was re-elected in the 1997 General Election but,
in a surprise move, the former Shadow Scottish Secretary was re-shuffled
to the Ministry of Defence in the new Labour government. He is now Lord
Robertson and was Secretary-General of NATO for several years.
launched "Operation Icarus" in early 1995.
was called Operation Icarus from the name of the legendary character in
Greek mythology who attempted flight, and died when he fell, the heat
from the sun having caused his wings to melt off while he was in flight.
Of The World" newspaper in Glasgow received an SNLA communiqué to the
effect that, unless certain measures to curtail English immigration into
Scotland were implemented by a specified date in 1995, which was only a
few weeks away, then blast incendiary devices would be used against
British aircraft in flight. The design of the Icarus blast incendiary
devices was described in some detail in the communiqué.
newspaper was instructed to convey this ultimatum to the Prime Minister.
the staff at the newspaper, myself included, had grave doubts about the
ability of the SNLA to place blast incendiary devices aboard British or
any other aircraft, the SNLA message was routinely passed on to the
Prime Minister's Office.
weeks later, in mid-May 1995, staff at the "Press Association" offices
in Fleet Street in London received a small package sent to them in the
post - and carried by air mail - from Belfast.
it was found to contain a note to the "Press Association" and a small
but sophisticated blast incendiary device which contained explosive and
a liquid incendiary. It was identical to the device which had been
described to me weeks previously in the SNLA communiqué. Icarus was a
postal device sent via the Royal Mail and designed and set to ignite
while the aircraft was in flight.
had been posted in Belfast the previous day and was equipped with a
timer which was specially designed and set to detonate the device during
the aircraft's flight to London.
the bomb, although it contained explosives and incendiary materials, had
been deliberately de-activated by its senders. The battery had been
it seemed to me, it was meant as a warning only, and was intended to
demonstrate the SNLA's capability to carry out its threats.
had identified a weak point in aircraft security. Whereas passengers and
their baggage are routinely searched rigorously, the volume of freight
and the volume of mail carried by aircraft is so great that freight and
mail cannot be rigorously checked.
bomb can be easily hidden almost anywhere in a sealed package and, since
freight and mail
schedules are available on the Internet and predictable,
a simple timer will suffice to detonate a bomb during the aircraft's
week, the police had taken action. Irish police, who had already been
conducting a lengthy and extensive surveillance of SNLA members in
Ireland, carried out a raid which scooped up three members of the SNLA's
Dublin cell, while a fourth member was arrested a few days later.
had to be released after attempts to interrogate them, and files on the
matter were sent to the Irish Director of Public Prosecutions.
increasingly puzzled by the whole affair. Although the Icarus device had
caused a major police operation, and sparked a major security alert, why
had the first Icarus device been disarmed, and why was there no further
attempt to use the device?
I now know
that the whole operation was merely the first of many meticulous SNLA
experiments to develop, to test, and to perfect Weapons Of Mass
The aim of
the SNLA is to use Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMD) to cause
"Irredeemable Economic Damage" to the British State in order to coerce
the British State and force it to concede to the SNLA's revolutionary
This is in
accordance with the Revolution In
examining the SNLA's capability to acquire and use WMD, it is first
necessary to examine the entire doctrine of Revolution In Warfare.
to the RIW, which is a theory developed by military analysts, the wars
of the near future will not be conventional wars fought between States –
because the USA now has an absolute military superiority, and is the
world’s only Superpower.
wars of the future will be asymmetrical, fought by miniscule groups of
sub-national actors (terrorists) who can coerce or defeat the State by
the use of improvised WMD.
sub-national actors will not be traditional terrorist groups, such as
the Basque ETA. Such traditional terrorist groups are culturally
incapable of participation in RIW.
traditional groups are young, male-dominated, obsessed with the phallic
symbolism of firearms and explosives, and with all the machismo bound up
with the trappings of paramilitaries. They are also psychologically
geared to attacking “legitimate targets” – usually obvious masculine
authority figures such as policemen and soldiers – which are
sub-national actors will be tiny cells of activists who, united only by
commitment to their ideology, will use improvised WMD to coerce and
defeat the State.
This is a
frightening but, given events since 9/11, a realistic scenario.
But it all
depends on the terrorists’ ability to acquire WMD, and their ability to
use it effectively, to target the right targets, and to apply or
disperse WMD correctly.
What is a
Weapon Of Mass Destruction? The definition the SNLA uses is:
technique, method or weapon which threatens the large-scale destruction,
disruption of, or damage to human, plant or animal life, or to any of
the other systems or utilities on which society depends".
seven types of WMD which are identified by the acronym "CARBINE":
A = All Other,
R = Radiological
B = Biological,
I = Information Warfare (i.e. Computer Warfare and Electronic Warfare),
N = Nuclear,
E = Environmental Warfare.
the popular conception WMD are seen as weaponry capable of causing
massive human casualties, many types of WMD involve no direct loss of
virus is an example. It might cause major systems to fail throughout the
UK, and cause massive economic losses, but it is unlikely to cause
significant numbers of human injuries or deaths. It has an almost purely
it is the economic effect of WMD which is of paramount importance.
computer virus could qualify as WMD if its effects were sufficiently
damaging. It would be classed as type "I" for "Information Warfare".
destruction, damage or disruption of any vital public utility, such as
water or power supplies, by any means, would also cause irredeemable
conventional methods can be used as WMD. For example, the recent (July
underground and bus bombings have caused an economic
crisis. Not only has the London underground lost up to 500,000
passengers a day, but the number of tourists visiting London has sharply
this in mind, that the prime objective of using WMD is to cause massive
and irredeemable economic losses, it will be seen how vulnerable the
State actually is, and that a WMD capability does not depend on the
possession of sophisticated nuclear devices, exotic chemicals, or
similar advanced weaponry.
It can be
argued that human losses caused by WMD are only relevant when a threat
to human life is necessary to cause economic damage. For example, by
frightening people away from using a certain service or visiting a
certain location as tourists.
This is the
doctrine of the SNLA in regard to WMD, and some of their experiments
with WMD will be examined in some detail in some of the following
June 1999 a number of letters were received by various official bodies
including the British Embassy in Dublin.
letters, supposedly sent by the previously unheard of "Republican
Revenge Group", which purported to be an Irish Republican grouping,
stated that, unless the British State gave a public undertaking to make
a complete withdrawal from Ireland by a given date, the Republican
Revenge Group would poison England's drinking water supplies by
injecting the poison Paraquat into the public water supply system
through any of the millions of fire hydrants which are located
throughout the mains water system.
It was a
chilling threat, and the letters, which appear to have been remarkably
detailed as to the precise method by which the attacks were to be
carried out, caused a panic reaction in the highest levels of British
emergency Cabinet meeting was called by Tony Blair (possibly a COBRA
meeting), and various measures to deal with the threat were implemented.
already a difficult time for the Labour government. Not only was the
Kosovo crisis then at its height, but the Northern Ireland peace process
was at a crucial stage.
were kept secret to avoid public panic, and the editors of the main
newspapers were called to the Cabinet Office and briefed on the absolute
necessity of media silence.
At the same
time, in Ireland, at least one and possibly two meetings of the Irish
Cabinet were called to discuss the threats, and the head of the
Republic's most elite police unit, the National Bureau of Criminal
Investigation, was personally briefed by the Taoiseach - the Irish Prime
Minister Bertie Ahern - to investigate the threats and the Republican
to Paul Williams, a criminologist, author and journalist, writing in the
Irish newspaper "The Sunday World" in July 1999, the threats were also
discussed in private meetings between Tony Blair, the British Prime
Minister, and his Irish counterpart, Bertie Ahern.
In the UK,
toxicology experts carried out an urgent assessment of the potential
threat, while the water companies began to amass vast amounts of
emergency water supplies.
10 litres of water per person in the English population per day and they
were stored in plastic containers and water tankers. Given that the
population of England is nearly 50,000,000 people, this means that
500,000,000 litres of water had to be stockpiled to provide just one
day's emergency supply. How many days supply of water were stockpiled
during the emergency, and what this cost is not known, although the cost
must have been substantial.
A series of
security measures were put in place throughout England. The Hydrant
Location Maps, normally used by the water companies and the fire
services, were obtained by the police forces and "hydrant patrols" were
established by police forces throughout the country in an attempt to
monitor the millions of hydrants in England.
At the same
time, armed police and undercover SAS units were drafted in to guard
major water supply facilities.
the whole of England was in a state of undeclared siege.
Saturday, July 10th, 1999, Adam Busby was arrested for questioning about
the alleged plot, and the story finally broke.
"Mirror" July 12, 1999:
Grill Poison Plot Terror Scot
Blackmail Plan Is Foiled
terrorist Adam Busby was still being questioned by police in the Irish
Republic last night over a plot to poison English water supplies. Garda
sources said he could be held until Tuesday before being charged or
alleged to have led the scheme to blackmail the British Government into
withdrawing troops from Northern Ireland. Tony Blair and the Irish
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern were among those who received letters threatening
to contaminate English reservoirs with lethal chemicals.
of people could have died if the plan to poison water supplies had
believed the 50-year-old ex-soldier from Paisley is the leader of the
newly-formed Republican Revenge Group. The terrorist group - thought to
have links to Irish paramilitaries - sent the chilling warning letters
sent to the Papal Nuncio, the British ambassador in Dublin and water
industry regulator Ofwat called for a "total British
military and political
withdrawal" from Ulster.
sparked a massive joint operation between Scotland Yard and the Garda to
track down the blackmailer. A news blackout was imposed to prevent mass
panic among the public.
Blair held an emergency cabinet meeting last week to discuss the
however, Government sources claimed the plan would never have worked."
In fact, it
is quite clear, from the measures taken to provide emergency water
supplies and lay on emergency medical facilities, that the plan would
have worked – and the British government knew it. So too did some of the
Mail", July 11, 1999:
POISON YOUR WATER!
Seize Scots Terror Boss Over Deadly Plot
terror chief has been arrested over a plot to poison English water
was held with four other men, including a senior figure in the Irish
National Liberation Army.
followed a series of raids by armed counter-terrorist officers on homes
in the Dublin area yesterday. They are understood to have been the
culmination of a month-long surveillance operation.
blackout was imposed in Britain and Ireland and Tony Blair and Irish
premier Bertie Ahern both held crisis Cabinet talks to discuss the
sources believe Busby was the leader of a gang which called itself the
Republican Revenge Group.
chilling plan, revealed in letters to public figures, could have killed
wrote to Blair and Ahern, as well as the Papal Nuncio and the British
ambassador in Dublin, and an English water company. In the two-page
letter, they warned that unless British troops were withdrawn from
Northern Ireland, they would poison English reservoirs and water
enclosed an eight-page document detailing which chemicals would be used
and how they'd be placed in the water system. Forensic experts told
security chiefs that the consequences would be fatal.
surveillance operation swung into action. Busby, who once plotted to
kill the Queen, was watched round the clock before yesterday's raids.
The Irish Special Branch and the elite National Bureau of Criminal
Investigation swooped on homes across Dublin.
arrested were taken to Mountjoy police station and held for suspected
offences against the state.
Irish police source said: "The British security services were climbing
the walls when they heard about this. "The situation was treated
extremely seriously indeed and news of it was kept very tight. Both
prime ministers were kept fully informed of the operation. This went
right to the top."
operation was mounted to co-ordinate the actions of the various police
forces and the intelligence services, the Irish police,
emergency services, water companies and Government toxicologists.
companies throughout the country were placed on full alert, Cabinet
Ministers, including Home Secretary Jack Straw and Health
Secretary Frank Dobson, gave Whitehall officials the go-ahead to request
cooperation from the media in a complete news blackout.
The aim was
to prevent public panic, to deny the terrorists publicity and to prevent
a spate of hoaxes or copycat threats. These could have paralysed the
emergency services and caused water supplies to be interrupted while
security checks were carried out.”
threats were merely an experiment to test the British government's
reactions to massive drinking water contamination.
plan, I have been told, was not to poison the water, but to contaminate
it with chemicals to the point where it would be unusable and
undrinkable, and render the water mains unusable.
a large city could risk being permanently deprived of its water supply
if attacked in this way. The economic effects are incalculable, and it
is difficult to see how a society could even sustain itself without a
drinking water supply.
Warfare is electronic warfare and the use of computers to sabotage other
computer systems, and to hack, to spread harmful rumours,
to send threats and spread lies and disinformation, to carry out
psychological warfare and to spread propaganda. In fact the use of
computers to attack the State is practically unlimited in its scope.
virtually everything, including major public services and utilities, is
now controlled by computers, interference with or the collapse of a
computer system can have catastrophic results.
example, a computer virus can cause other computer systems to "crash" or
collapse, and, again for example, an entire city could be plunged into
darkness or other essential services could be disrupted as a result.
has never achieved any known success with a virus, but it has certainly
developed a high degree of proficiency in other aspects of Information
their earliest known efforts was in June 2000, and it was probably
another of the SNLA's almost scientific experiments simply to test a
technique. It caused
consternation and an internal security operation after
the group bombarded members of the Scottish parliament with faked
e-mails in the name of the late Donald Dewar, Scotland's First Minister.
experimentation, the SNLA was fully engaged in Information Warfare,
attacking the e-mail system of the Northern Constabulary and flooding it
with 12,000 e-mails.
This is the classic "Denial Of Service" (DOS) attack, simple to create
and virtually unstoppable, in which the "enemy" e-mail system is
bombarded with thousands of often lengthy e-mails which cause it to
malfunction or to break down completely when its capacity is exceeded.
occasion, the Northern Constabulary admitted the attacks to the "Press &
Journal" newspaper, but claimed that Northern Constabulary personnel had
been able to delete the SNLA e-mails in only 20 minutes and that little
damage had been done.
Northern Constabulary did not comment on the fact that the Guest Book on
its website was liberally adorned with SNLA slogans. However, the Guest
Book was rapidly removed from the Northern Constabulary's website.
soon discovered the bulk e-mailing system GroupWeb WorldMailer - which
has since become a commercial service by subscription only, possibly
because of the pressure put on it by the authorities because of the
extent to which the SNLA abused the system - which allowed them to send
out more than 20,000 e-mails each hour to the same e-mail address or
powerful system they were able to quickly deluge and often disable
scores of State and State-linked communications networks at will. Their
targets were legion.
Scottish police forces' e-mail systems were systematically attacked,
Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police e-mail systems were reduced to
a shambles - somewhat embarrassingly for him, the Commissioner of the
Metropolitan police had his own e-mail address put out of use - and
numerous government departments, including British embassies and
consulates throughout the world, were attacked and their communications
systems often disabled.
Scottish parliament's e-mail system was an obvious target and it was
attacked on numerous occasions, while the Labour party's electronic
election bulletin service was brought down and totally disabled.
businesses and concerns were not immune from attack. The "Daily Record"
e-mail system received over 300,000 unwanted e-mails over the course of
one weekend, forcing the newspaper's staff to spend many boring and
unproductive hours deleting them.
financial services sector was likewise deluged, as was the e-mail system
of GMTV, a well-known London-based TV programme.
cyber-attacks cost expensive disruption, but the most innovative attacks
were yet to come.
Foot and Mouth outbreak of 2001, with the British tourist industry in
crisis because F&M was causing a drastic fall in the number of tourists,
the SNLA circulated a completely bogus e-mail to thousands of travel
agents and tour operators worldwide.
fake-mail, which purported to come from a British government department,
advised that, in a bid to halt the spread of Foot and Mouth, the British
government would shortly be introducing regulations to restrict entry to
the UK to the major airports in the Greater London area, while the
subsequent movements of tourists and visitors would also be restricted
to the Greater London area.
of the disturbing "news" contained in this bogus e-mail on the ailing
British tourist industry, which was circulated to thousands of key
centres in the tourist industry internationally, can hardly be
same period the MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture) e-mail helpline was
bombarded with many thousands of unwanted SNLA e-mails, in an effort to
prevent genuine enquiries about the supposed airport restrictions from
reaching the Ministry.
up on the success of this, the SNLA devised a second bogus "government"
e-mail aimed at discouraging business and commercial visitors from
entering the UK.
e-mail announced that intending foreign visitors to the UK would not be
admitted after a certain date unless they had been vaccinated against
Anthrax - and as the Anthrax scare was then sweeping the world this
seemed a reasonable precaution.
was then sent out to thousands of international organisations of all
kinds. Governmental, diplomatic, commercial, trade and travel
organisations throughout the world received the forged "British
government" e-mail with its bogus warning.
were dramatic. Foreign media solemnly reported the new travel
restrictions to the UK. At least one foreign State set up facilities
where business people and other visitors could receive vaccinations
against Anthrax, and, because of the difficulty and unpopularity of the
Anthrax vaccination, the drop in business visits to the UK, with the
resulting economic losses to the British economy, may have been
SNLA's greatest achievement in Information Warfare was in taking over
the Scottish parliament's e-mail system. How this was done is an SNLA
"State Secret", and it still appears to be a mystery to the authorities,
but the SNLA were able to send, receive and answer e-mails using the
Scottish parliament's own computer system and using the Scottish
parliament's own name.
embarrassing for the Scottish parliament's computer experts was the fact
that many of the e-mails sent from their computer system had concerned
the Royal security surrounding Prince William at St Andrews university.
even sent to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police advising him on
aspects of Royal security. The Commissioner's staff replied, and their
reply was received by the SNLA.
for propaganda purposes, the SNLA decided to reveal to the media that
they had taken control of the Scottish parliament's e-mail system and
used it discuss matters of Royal and therefore State security.
In order to
demonstrate their control of the e-mail system, the SNLA sent out an
e-mail from the Scottish parliament and which was in the name of
Scotland's First Minister, Henry McLeish. It was sent out to various
media outlets and had a rather obvious mocking tone. And the e-mail
contained most unparliamentary language - and in particular the word
true to the obsequious nature of the Scottish media, few newspapers
reported the story. The "Daily Express" was again an exception, carrying
this report on 17th of August 2001:
Threat To Prince's Security
who have threatened to kill Prince William are claiming they have
accessed top-secret security information by hijacking a government
Scottish National Liberation Army claims it has been using a Scottish
Parliament e-mail address to correspond with New Scotland Yard on the
measures to protect the Prince when he begins studying at St Andrews
university, Fife, in a few weeks' time.
government officials were said to be "extremely concerned" that the
terrorist organisation was able to send out e-mails using one of their
organisation, headed by Adam Busby, also issued a chilling warning
"For several months we have been engaging in correspondence about royal
security with the police and the University authorities. We can and will
strike at the University whenever we wish."
organisation then sent us an e-mail headed with a genuine government
address, with a spoof message from Scotland's First Minister Henry
McLeish, which included swear words. We were able to reply to the
address. It is normally used to sort electronic mail sent to the
Scottish Executive's ministers.
for the Scottish Executive said yesterday: "Our e-mail system has not
insiders at Holyrood were very concerned that a genuine government
address is being used by the extremists."
likely that the SNLA will continue to use Information Warfare techniques
in the future, because of its revolutionary potential for producing
chaos and disruption.
There is a
strange but perhaps significant aftermath to this story of Information
Warfare. Adam Busby and one of his friends, an Irish Republican whose
home had been searched at the same time as Busby was arrested for
questioning about the water poisoning plot, gave false background
information and joined a division of the prestigious Group 4 security
Busby was put in sole charge of night security in the main computer room
of the Dublin HQ of Citibank, the international banking house, while his
friend eventually was given sole charge of the Irish Ministry of Social
Welfare's night security.
Ministry building is directly opposite Store Street Garda (police)
Station in central Dublin. This proved to be the pair's undoing when a
very alert - and astonished - policeman spotted Adam Busby being given
an early hours of the morning guided tour of the Ministry building by
that the pair were engaged in gathering sensitive intelligence of some
kind, the police took immediate steps to ban them from future employment
with Group 4.
As they had
committed no known offence, no legal action could be taken against them.
police are now convinced that Adam Busby and his friend were gathering
information about the operation of the computer networks in government
and financial centres with a view to sabotaging similar systems using
unrelated case, Busby's Irish friend was subsequently sentenced to a
five year sentence in Portlaoise Prison for possession of firearms.
Note: Hotmail accounts were abused to such an extent by the SNLA for its
nefarious purposes that for a time the company configured its system so
that the letters "snla" could not be used to create a Hotmail username.
interest in the USA seems to have begun in the mid-1990s. Already the
SSG had an official "North American Support Arm", the William Wallace
Society, which had a small group of members in the USA and Canada and a
the SNLA's major interest in the USA was sparked by the fact that the
American Far Right, and especially the Militia Movement, had a
long-standing interest in and, seemingly, a knowledge of the Weapons Of
Mass Destruction (WMD) which the SNLA were so anxious to acquire.
To this end
in the late 1990s the SNLA formed the "Scottish-American Militia" and
successfully recruited a small number of Scottish or pro-Scottish
activists in the USA and Canada. The Scottish-American Militia was
simply the North American branch of the SNLA.
neither the SNLA nor the Scottish-American Militia had any ideological
affinity with the American Right, the American Militia Movement has a
fascination with WMD and especially with Anthrax and Ricin, and they
even published "recipes" for their manufacture (including - incredibly -
videos demonstrating how to manufacture Ricin) which were then sold and
circulated freely in Militia circles.
Additionally, because the American media is much more free to report
incidents than the UK media, the SNLA believed that its "experiments"
with WMD would be more fully and factually reported in the US media,
providing useful information to the SNLA on the effectiveness of their
attacks. This belief proved to be correct.
took great pains to acquire and study as much of the material on WMD as
possible. The results were initially disappointing
problem with the American Right is that most of them are not very
sophisticated. When we carefully studied their literature - and there
was a hell of a lot of it - we discovered that the claims they made for
their products simply didn't stand up to scrutiny.
for example. It's a deadly toxin but as WMD it’s a non-starter. We
manufactured it and looked at every aspect of it over a period of years,
and it can’t be weaponised as WMD.
so-called “dirty bombs” don’t work either - because when an explosion
takes place there is a massive release of thermal energy which, because
of convection, carries all the gases and particulate matter to a height
of thousands of feet within seconds, at which point the gases and
particulate matter, if they survive incineration, become atmospheric and
disperse over a vast area at levels of contamination which are harmless.
if something is heralded in the media as WMD, you can be sure it isn’t
going to work. Genuine information about WMD is only available to those
who are prepared to do their homework, and, above all, to experiment.
trial and error we did learn a lot. In particular we learned that any
viable threat of WMD is taken very, very seriously and causes massively
expensive disruption and increases in security.
years pro-life demonstrators in the States had been sending hoax Anthrax
letters to abortion clinics throughout the USA. The effect had been
remarkable, with chaos and disruption caused to abortion clinics
nationally, and the abortion clinics were forced to implement extremely
expensive security measures permanently to prevent similar attacks from
studied the technique it all seemed amazingly simple. Very simply,
wearing gloves, it was only necessary to buy various everyday items in
any corner shop where you weren't known. We are only talking about a
packet of envelopes, stamps and some sort of powder.
put a few grains of powder inside the envelope with a note saying it was
Anthrax, and then seal the envelope and affix the stamps with tap water
to avoid leaving DNA traces, and then post it to the target.
labels and the notes inside the envelopes were computer print-outs which
could be made up in any library, cyber-cafe or even at home, and they
were completely untraceable if you put them between other sheets of
paper and went over them lightly with a hot iron. This destroyed any
microscopic marks left by the paper rollers and the printer, and so they
were completely untraceable.
to test the technique against British commercial and diplomatic targets
in the States. There are hundreds of these. Britain is the biggest
overseas investor in the USA and British goods are widely sold
throughout the USA. There are companies in the USA which specialize in
the import and distribution of British goods of all kinds.
There is a
British Embassy in Washington and there are British consulates all over
the place, and the British
Tourist Authority has offices and there are even
British-American newspapers. We decided to give them a good going over.
campaign was two-pronged and very carefully planned. It was really an
experiment on a grand scale.
Two of our
members in the US traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, and sent out a batch of
hoax Anthrax letters to a whole variety of British targets throughout
the US. The letters contained small amounts of rodent poison. The
British in the US had never been targeted before, and they were totally
unprepared for what they were about to get.
November 2000 to early December 2000 a whole series of British
institutions throughout the USA were evacuated upon receipt of the hoax
premises were physically sealed off, dozens of employees who had been in
contact with the letters were forced to strip and showered with jets of
water before being bundled, covered by special antiseptic blankets, into
ambulances and taken to hospital for injections. The rest of the
employees were evacuated, hundreds of them in total, and the premises
remained completely sealed until officials from the US Department of
Agriculture had searched the whole building and declared it to be
this took days to complete and many days of production were lost. In one
incident in Cape Coral, which is in Lee County in Florida, a major
British food importer - Cameron's British Foods - was shut down for two
days and fifteen or more employees were hospitalized and injected with
vaccines. (See Appendix 2).
and New York, British offices were completely closed and hundreds of
workers were evacuated while others were treated for potential exposure
to Anthrax. In Chicago, it was the British-American Chamber of Commerce,
which was in a large office complex on North Michigan Avenue which is a
major thoroughfare in Chicago.
case, the closure and disruption affected that entire area of Chicago -
which wasn't our intention
obviously, but it certainly made an impression on us.
in Chicago was also interesting because the emergency services there
used advanced new technology for the first time. They used a device
which examines the suspect material and quickly scans it for traces of
bacteria and spores.
that if you are using a chemical powder which has no bacterial content,
it will be quickly detected, and this can limit the effect and duration
of the disruption. So, to counter this we switched to using powders
which are rich in meat and vegetable extract and which contain yeast.
The best substance to use is a pinch of powder from a packet of instant
meat-based dried soup. It contains all the right ingredients. This
simple innovation completely stymies the new technology.
prong of the campaign was to simultaneously threaten an even larger
number of British institutions to which no letters had been sent.
done by using anonymous remailers – such as Riot Anonymous Remailer
which is totally untraceable - to send e-mails directly to FBI offices
saying that Anthrax powder or dust had been placed in the reception area
of such and such a British consulate.
variant was to say that Anthrax had been sent in unmarked letters
containing junk mail to the targets several days previously.
these techniques were also completely successful. In only a few days, at
minimal expense and with practically no risk to ourselves, we had
succeeded in the temporary shut down of a high proportion of the British
diplomatic and commercial premises in the US, and forcing the rest to
employ expensive security measures to protect themselves.
By the way,
when the final cost of an Anthrax hoax is added up, it usually comes to
several thousand US dollars or more, so you'll see that this was no
the SNLA never claimed these attacks officially, the acronym SAM (which
stands for Scottish-American Militia) had been used as a codeword on the
letters, and news of the attacks began to circulate in the UK, not least
because the Federal Bureau of Investigation began making enquiries in
Scotland around the end of the year 2000.
involvement of the FBI in Scottish politics must be a record of some
Significantly the "Scotsman" newspaper carried the story of some of the
initial attacks and so did the business section of the "Independent".
True to form neither mentioned the SNLA. Nor did any section of the
British media ever mention that British institutions throughout the US
had lost millions of dollars as a result of the disruptions and the
enforcement of stricter security, and that most of them were forced to
remain in a state of high alert against repeat or similar attacks.
soon after the initial coverage, a cover story appeared to the effect
that the SNLA had targeted a firm in Cape Cod because it sold HP Sauce
in the US. We thought: "Er, what?". Their intention here - as usual -
was to portray the whole thing as a humorous and insignificant prank,
denying the SNLA any credibility. Needless to say, there is no such firm
in Cape Cod or anywhere else in the US - we checked.
Incidentally, the FBI make an annual Congressional report on terrorism,
and in the report for the year 2000 they listed 90 or so hoax Anthrax
attacks. More than half of these were ours. The attacks in the US
continued well into 2002 incidentally.
experiment in the US with other techniques? No comment.
information is classified. In retrospect, we should have issued a
communiqué to the American media, where there is a much more open media,
but our main interest was now in seeing whether the hoax Anthrax
technique would work in the UK."
was soon to test the technique against the highest profile targets in
the UK - the Royal Family. And the results were dramatic.
above statement by Alec refusing to confirm that the SNLA tested other
WMD techniques in the USA, there exists strong evidence that the SNLA
used a cover name - a flag of convenience - a tried and tested method of
covering up the group's activities when it wishes to remain anonymous -
and threatened to use a toxic aerosol made from Caustic Soda in the USA
in order to observe the authorities' reaction to the threat.
least, is the belief according to sources within the Federal Bureau of
Foreign and Commonwealth Office also believe that the SNLA targeted its
premises in Canada, leading to a vast city-wide disruption in Canada.
The SNLA refuses to confirm or deny these allegations possibly because
they did not wish to cause such widespread chaos to non-British targets.
It is also
interesting that the Canadian disruptions were caused by receipt of a
suspect material which contained traces of an unknown bacteria which
could not be immediately identified - and this was after the SNLA
switched to using substances which contained bacteria after learning of
the developments by Alexeter Technologies.
incidents took place in Ottawa and Toronto in late January and early
February, 2001, and involved a coloured powder which contained a
and the SSG, as Scottish Republicans, had long opposed the presence of
British Royalty in Scotland and as early as 1983 had disrupted the first
official visit of Princess Diana to Glasgow. (See a full account of this
in the previous chapter: "Letter Bomb Mayhem".)
recently the SSG, in the year 2000, in conjunction with a dissident
Irish Republican group with a website based in the USA, had threatened
to disrupt a planned walkabout by the Queen and her husband, Prince
Philip, in Inverness. As a result all police leave in the area was
cancelled, and specialist military units and a hundred extra police
officers from neighbouring forces were drafted into the town on the day
of the Royal visit.
these elaborate precautions, a small number of SSG members did manage to
hold a token demonstration in the town by taking over a window space at
the Ho-Ho Hostel in Inverness during the Queen's walkabout (a photograph
of the demo appeared in the following day's "Scotsman"), and the SNLA
were responsible for a number of bomb alerts which caused some
disruption in the area that day including one at the airport.
the SSG's point - that the Queen required a small army of police and
troops to protect her in order to visit a Scottish town - seemed to be
an immediate response from the SSG when it was officially announced
later in the year 2000 that Prince William would study Art History for
four years at St Andrews university in Fife in Eastern Scotland. His
studies were due to begin in 2001.
In 2000 the
SSG began a determined campaign to prevent the Prince's attendance at St
Andrews university. Assisted by the Russian Maoist Party and US-based
Irish Republican dissidents, campaigners were urged to persistently
e-mail and to telephone the university in protest.
campaign was initially peaceful and legal, but there was a hint of what
was in store when a bomb alert caused the evacuation of the Admissions
Office at the university early in the campaign in the year 2000.
security problems for the British authorities at St Andrews were
daunting. St Andrews university is located in the normally quiet seaside
town of St Andrews. The town is small but because of the town's
internationally famous golf courses, and its picturesque and historic
location, it attracts many thousands of tourists and visitors each year.
Screening visitors was to prove virtually impossible.
matters worse for the authorities, the ancient university's buildings
and facilities are spread widely throughout the town, there is no
central campus as such, and there is no possibility of establishing a
security surrounding Prince William was stepped up to the highest
levels, then the whole of the university town would be perceived as a
town under siege, and this was definitely not the image that the British
authorities wished to project.
Additionally, the SSG and SNLA had a knack for obtaining confidential
and extremely detailed information about security at the university some
of which was published on the Internet, especially on "Ireland's OWN",
an American-based website which supports the Real IRA. All this was much
to the embarrassment of the British authorities and the police and
2001, the "Express" reported that Prince William had been targeted by
the Real IRA, the terrorists responsible for the Omagh bomb, which
killed 29 men, women and children in the worst atrocity of the Irish
Troubles. According to the newspaper, the Irish Republican group linked
up with the SNLA during visits to Scotland and obtained a detailed
lay-out of the university, alarming terrorism experts and forcing a
re-think on security during the Prince's stay.
the newspaper was correct. All the information about Prince William was
given to the Real IRA by the SNLA which obtained it from sympathizers in
even suspicions by official sources that some of the university students
were supplying information to the SNLA. David Capitanchik, an academic
who studies terrorism, has alleged this publicly in the "Daily Star".
2001, shortly before Prince William began his studies at St Andrews
university, the SNLA claimed in a communiqué sent to the media that it
had used the Anthrax hoax technique against the university, and that a
hoax Anthrax letter had been sent to the university from a location in
England only a few days before.
vehemently denied by the university's Press Officer but, despite this
denial, the SNLA's unconfirmed claims were (unusually but, in my
opinion, quite rightly) given prominent coverage in the "Express" of
August 8, 2001:
terrorists have threatened to kill Prince William after claiming they
sent a fake anthrax bomb to St Andrews University.
Scottish National Liberation Army said they posted a "bacterial agent"
to the university's admissions office just weeks before the 18-year-old
future King starts his Art History course.
that there was a major security alert when one of the administration
staff opened the parcel and found a typewritten note declaring: "This is
the university and Fife police - briefed by Security Service MI5 to
withhold any information regarding the Prince - denied any knowledge of
the Express was sent anonymous information giving full details."
coverage angered the university authorities who publicly announced that
they were taking steps to report the newspaper to the Press Complaints
after this, in late August 2001, the SNLA struck at the university
again. On this occasion the recipient of the hoax Anthrax letter was Ms
Claire Grainger - one of the university Press Officers who had so
vehemently denied the SNLA's original claim!
to a report by Jane Kerr in the "Mirror" of 21st August 2001, the
university Press Officer Claire Grainger, along with eleven other people
who came into contact with the letter, had to be stripped, sprayed in a
portable shower, and then taken by ambulance to hospital for
precautionary treatment and isolation.
after a letter with an English postmark (see Note 1.) was found to
contain a suspect powder, and a note to the effect that the powder
contained the biological agent Anthrax.
Express" was vindicated by the latest incident because it had covered
the earlier incident, as it pointed out:
"Bug Bomb" At Prince's University
university's principal Dr Brian Lang went as far as accusing the
Scottish Daily Express of being "irresponsible" for reporting the
(earlier) claims. Dr Lang also complained to the Press Complaints
Commission about our front page story."
hoax Anthrax letter had been sent to the DEFRA HQ in London (DEFRA is
the re-named Ministry of Agriculture or MAFF), as well as one sent to a
luxury hotel in London. The one sent to the Ministry in London had been
well-publicised - it caused massive disruption and the evacuation of
hundreds of workers at a critical point in the Ministry's handling of
the Foot and Mouth outbreak - and the university would simply not have
been believed had they attempted to deny that they had received a hoax
Anthrax letter on this occasion.
the electronic news service, in its report of the DEFRA incident, even
revealed that a total of four devices had been sent "in recent weeks"
and that one of them had previously been sent to St Andrews university -
which the university had so strenuously denied:
Mon, 20 Aug 2001 00:00:00 UTC Author: Chris Smith
Isolated After Toxic Incident
A group of
civil servants have been put in isolation after a suspect package
claiming to contain the killer anthrax virus was discovered at DEFRA's
Millbank offices of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs were evacuated at 10.30am on Monday when staff in the mailroom
discovered the package which had a note claiming it contained anthrax.
the police's bomb disposal unit, trained to deal with chemical devices,
were called to the scene and the package was quickly removed for
forensic scientists to analyse who later declared it harmless.
around the building were sealed for four hours while fire crews carried
out a "damping down" procedure used for chemical spills.
A group of
13 staff who had come into contact with the package were kept in
isolation as a precautionary measure until the substance contained in
the package had been established.
suffered injuries from the incident and no group has claimed
later revealed it was the latest of four packages that have been sent to
different locations in recent weeks including St Andrews University in
calling itself the Scottish National Liberation Army claimed
responsibility for the St Andrews parcel.
Yard spokesman revealed that although no direct warning had been given
an e-mail had been sent to the Daily Express in August warning that a
series of parcels would be sent to various addresses.
incident was being investigated by the anti-terrorism branch."
hoax letter sent to the university had also caused massive disruption in
St Andrews. The main administrative buildings had to be evacuated, and
there was a huge police, emergency services and military operation to
deal with the perceived threat.
first time, bio-chemical warfare suits (so-called "Noddy suits") were
seen on TV alongside the academic robes of the famous university, while
traffic in the town was disrupted as firemen "damped down" the whole
letter and its contents had to be sent in a special container to the
British government's biological research station at Porton Down in
Wiltshire for analysis.
incidents were the first admitted use of the hoax Anthrax technique in
the UK, preceding the post-September 11th spate of these incidents by
St Andrews university thought that its troubles were over, then it
couldn't have been more wrong.
a spate of bomb alerts in and around the university and town of St
Andrews, a number of threats and also false alarms - in one of which
nervous marine biologists on the university staff sparked another major
alert. They reported as "Anthrax" a perfectly innocent substance sent to
them by post for analysis.
e-mail floods regularly disrupted the university's e-mail system.
the Russian Maoist Party, an ally of the SSG and the SNLA, delivered a
protest letter to the British Embassy in London as an SSG Press Release
display of international solidarity, representatives of the Russian
Maoist Party have delivered a letter of protest to the British Embassy
letter of 11th September 2001 was in protest against the proposed
presence of the English “Prince” William at St Andrews University in
pointed out that the proposal to have the “Prince” educated in Scotland
was merely a cynical political ploy to make the English “royal” family,
the symbolic heads of the British State, more popular in Scotland.
The RMP was
later assured by an Embassy spokesperson that their letter had been
brought to the personal attention of the British Ambassador.
This was an
excellent example of international solidarity, and we congratulate the
RMP on their initiative.
political ploy of bringing the “Prince” to Scotland will backfire on the
British State, as the SSG has never failed to point out.
creation of a Scottish Republic, the crucial first step towards the
national and social emancipation of the Scottish people, is inevitable,
and will not be delayed by the presence of this individual in Scotland.
Dealachadh na h-Alba"
“William Go Home”, on the link below to the Russian Maoist Party Website
(English version), for the full text of the protest letter delivered to
the British Embassy in Moscow:
mid-October 2001, by which time Prince William had been installed as an
Art History student at St Andrews university for several weeks, the
whole of Fife was disrupted by a wave of hoax Anthrax letters which
threw the region into chaos, and was to lead to a reported 21 people
being isolated by Emergency Services and treated in hospital for
suspected Anthrax exposure.
the morning of Tuesday, 16th October 2001, Fife Constabulary were called
out to investigate a bomb alert at Dalgety Bay, a huge area to search
and one which is far from the scene of the impending attacks. But this
bomb alert was purely a diversion designed to draw large numbers of the
police, including specialist officers, away from the scene of the
impending hoax Anthrax attacks.
morning's mail delivery brought chaos to Fife. Six letters, each of
which had a Glasgow postmark, were delivered to various addresses in
addresses were the HQ of Fife Constabulary, Fife House (the local
authority's administrative HQ), the Art History department of St Andrews
University (Prince William was studying Art History at the university),
two hotels in St Andrews (one of them only a matter of yards away from
the Prince's classroom), and the sixth letter was sent to an official of
one of St Andrews' famous golf courses.
opened, each letter contained the, by now, familiar pinch of powder, and
the note warning that the powder contained traces of Anthrax. To
describe the results as chaotic would be an understatement.
premises (including police HQ which was supposed to be coordinating the
emergency response) had to be completely evacuated, and reports stated
that 21 staff members in the various locations who had been in contact
with the suspect letters had to be isolated, and then underwent
decontamination and hospitalization.
matters worse for the authorities, St Andrews was filled with golfers
and golfing fans, media people, and top celebrities such as Michael
Douglas and Hugh Grant who had come to watch a golfing tournament.
the whole of Fife was affected in one way or another by these
coordinated attacks which disabled the command and control centres of
the police and the local authority.
News of Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, reported:
Threats Were 'Cruel Hoax'
confirmed that a suspect package sent to St Andrews University was a
"cruel hoax". The parcel was one of six sent to locations in Fife,
including the area's police headquarters in Glenrothes.
powder was found in A5-sized packages which also contained letters
warning of the anthrax bacterium. Tests have now been completed on two
of the six parcels which were received on Tuesday.
Constabulary said that the packets delivered to St Andrews University
and the police headquarters had both proven negative for anthrax.
tests will be carried out on these substances to establish their make-up
but we are now convinced that these incidents were part of an elaborate
but cruel hoax," said Assistant Chief Constable David Mellor.
He said it
was expected that tests on the other four parcels would also prove to be
"It is now
a question of business as usual with restrictions being lifted at all
the venues involved," he said. "But clearly everyone should remain
firmly on their guard, reporting immediately any suspicions they might
have on receipt of any unusual packages via the mail or other means.
"Proper caution is always recommended and vigilance, the most important
precaution which can ever be deployed to deal with this type of
situation, is vitally important."
A total of
21 people underwent a course of antibiotics following the incidents.
believe packages found at St Andrews University were part of an ongoing
campaign by Scottish republican extremists angered by Prince William
studying at the Fife campus.
connection has been made between the Scottish packages and those found
elsewhere in the UK, or anthrax discoveries in the US following the
attacks on Afghanistan."
time the September 11th attacks had taken place in the USA, to be
followed by a worldwide blitz of hoax Anthrax letters as well as some
containing genuine Anthrax. There had been a truly worldwide scare, and
the SNLA decided to make the best of it while the going was good.
and hoax Anthrax letters were causing panic in every country in the
world. We decided to take advantage of the situation and our orders were
to send out as many letters as quickly as possible. We concentrated on
the financial services sector because that was where we could do the
most economic damage, but almost any target was considered legitimate.
down the Bank of England twice because we hit the museum inside the bank
on a second occasion, and we also hit the London Stock Exchange, the
Baltic Exchange and various merchant banks and big financial houses,
most of them in the City of London. They were all forced into lengthy
evacuations, and this must have caused disruption to the cost of
millions. Remember that the financial services sector provides over 20%
of the UK's income."
that we sent out 150 to 200 hoax Anthrax letters during the period when
the Anthrax panic was sweeping the world. We sent out so many that we
suspected targets were the Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell and
two of his political colleagues, MP Frank Roy and Local Government
Minister Frank McAveety.
Andrews university was not neglected during this period.
had experimented with Ricin - a toxin derived from castor beans which
are used in the manufacture of castor oil - which they considered to be
virtually useless as an
WMD because of the difficulties involved in dispersing it widely – but
decided to employ the threat of it in an attempt to disrupt the
university once again.
known to the SNLA that the chiefs of the Security Unit at the university
had already decided not to publicly respond to any more Anthrax threats.
But, the SNLA reasoned, what if the next threat came from Ricin, which
anyone can manufacture with easy-to-obtain materials and minimum effort?
before the students broke off for their Christmas 2001 holidays, a
number of letters were sent out to various addresses, including the home
address of Prince William's Art History tutor.
card was sent to Prince William himself at his address in St Salvators,
one of the university's halls of residence.
and the Christmas card each contained a tiny quantity of white powder
and a note to the effect that the powder was Ricin.
Ricin, but it closely resembled Ricin which is a whitish flour-like
the disruptive effect of the letters and Christmas card, if any, the
propaganda effect was very little. The university and Fife Constabulary
have refused, and still refuse, to discuss or to comment on details of
the matter - although unofficial sources which confirmed the incident
allowed me to write a small article which appeared in the "News Of The
World" on Sunday the 16th of December, 2001.
Significantly, and illustrative of the SNLA's pioneering interest in WMD,
this was one of the earliest known uses of Ricin or what purported to be
Ricin in the UK.
changed targets in early 2002 when, in response to the Queen Mother's
funeral, hoax Anthrax letters were claimed to have been sent to the
Visitor Centre at Holyrood Palace – where books of condolence had been
opened - and to the Minister of St Giles' cathedral in Edinburgh. The
Minister, the very Reverend Gilleasbuig McMillan, is
Chaplain-in-ordinary to the Queen.
communiqué, quoted in the "Sunday Express" of April 14th , 2002, said it
had been done to "protest against the nauseating funeral "celebrations"
for the so-called "Queen Mother"".
also claimed that another hoax Anthrax letter had been sent to the New
York offices of the Scottish-American Foundation which had helped
organised the Tartan Day celebrations in the USA.
is the 6th of April and coincides with the date of the signing of the
Declaration of Arbroath marking Scottish Independence in the 14th
saw the Tartan Day celebrations as having nothing to do with genuine
Scottish culture, but everything to do with boosting the British economy
by crass commercialism and exploitation of a Tartan version of
As a result
of the SNLA activities aimed at the Scottish-American Foundation,
security had also been stepped up at the Scottish offices of
VisitScotland, which worked with the Scottish-American Foundation to
help organise the Tartan Day celebrations.
VisitScotland spokesman Euan Page said he was horrified by the turn of
events and that security had already been stepped up in their offices.
Joint Terrorism Action Group was investigating the incident in the USA,
and was making enquiries in Scotland. And a special unit of British
police specialists was operating in Scotland to try and track the SNLA's
e-mails to their source. They were unsuccessful.
same time, the SNLA said it had sent three more hoax Anthrax letters to
the embassies of Japan and South Korea in London - which were co-hosting
the soccer World Cup in which England was a competitor - and to the HQ
of the English Football Association.
were issued against the English players, team officials, and their
part of a campaign to sabotage the English team's chances in the World
the SNLA were still active on many fronts.
action of the St Andrews campaign came in 2005 when members of the Royal
Family traveled over the Forth bridge to attend Prince William’s
graduation from St Andrews. The SNLA created a security alert on the
bridge with a bomb warning. See “Daily Express”, Scottish edition,
August the 1st, 2005.
Prince actually completed his studies at St Andrews is unclear. His
presence in St Andrews and attendance at the university is said to have
been “highly irregular”.
This hoax Anthrax letter had an English postmark, but Paul Smith was
later to plead guilty to preparing it and posting it from the Glasgow
Smith’s guilty plea was false. He had nothing to do with this incident
and at least one other to which he pled guilty. He agreed to plead
guilty to all the publicised SNLA attacks in return for a
official explanation exists for the deafening silence about 14 other
incidents involving Caustic Soda being sent. There was no mention of
these at Smith’s trial.
Comunn Dealachadh na h-Alba is the SSG's name in Scottish Gaelic.
Note 3: In
researching the links between the SNLA and the Real IRA, a source within
the FBI drew my attention to the fact that at least one person has been
arrested in the USA for participation in the SNLA campaign against
Prince William's presence at St Andrew's university.
"Telegraph" of 23rd August, 2002, reported the story:
For William Poison Plot
Rennie in Washington
accused of plotting to poison Prince William, by sending him a bottle of
Coca-Cola laced with cyanide, has been held without bail in America.
searching Tashala Hayman's caravan in Montana discovered a batch of
poisoned soft drinks, which she was allegedly preparing to post to the
Prince at an address in Scotland, thought to be St Andrews, where he is
plot involved considerable effort and planning, but it is not clear why
Hayman would imagine the Prince would consume drinks sent by a complete
stranger in America.
A court in
Great Falls, Montana, ruled on Wednesday that Hayman should be held in
custody because there was a risk that she would abscond.
denies all charges, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.
Metropolitan Police spokesman said it never commented on security
matters concerning the Royal Family. A spokesman for St James's Palace
also declined to comment."
was and is an enthusiastic supporter of Irish and Scottish Republicanism
and is known to be a supporter of Ireland's OWN - the website run from
the USA by and for dissident Republicans.
is taken into account, her alleged actions can be seen as purely
to campaign against Prince William's presence at St Andrews were
regularly carried by Ireland's OWN.
But why was
the parcel to the Prince not posted?
according to the FBI, is that he was not due to return to St Andrew's
university until September, and the package was made ready but was not
intended to be posted until the following month.
which was carefully planned and executed, seems to have been based on
the SNLA's use of Caustic Soda in aromatherapy bottles. Again, this view
is shared by the FBI.
SNLA were actively involved in the plot, or whether they simply played
an inspirational role, is unclear, although some media reports hint at a
was dismissed as a “lone wolf” - but the evidence available to me
suggests that it was not quite as simple as that. The FBI appears to
believe that she was acting directly in support of the SNLA and the
Irish dissidents, but on their inspiration and not
under their orders, and this seems to be the most likely
afternoon of Friday the 1st of March 2002 an SNLA communiqué was
received at my
Glasgow office. It was to the effect that several days
previously, in late February 2002, the
organisation had sent 16 disguised chemical weapons by
post to 16 target individuals.
communiqué said that 16 small bottles which appeared to contain samples
of aromatherapy oils had been sent by post to the homes of 16 people,
all of whom were connected to the main British political parties.
instead of harmless oils, the bottles all contained a solution of
substance, which is also known as Sodium Hydroxide or Lye, is a lethal
corrosive which, in liquid form, is corrosive to all organic matter
including human flesh. As well as causing serious skin and tissue burns
and blindness, it is lethal if swallowed or if its vapours are inhaled.
of only two of the recipients were divulged. They were Ms Margaret
Ashcroft, an Englishwoman living in Scotland who is an unpaid Liberal
Democrat party worker closely linked to Mike Rumbles MSP, an
English-born Member of the Scottish Parliament, and Mrs Cherie Blair the
wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
was immediately contacted by telephone and warned not to use the "oil".
Fortunately she had not used the so-called oil, although she had
received it days earlier. She was completely unsuspicious of the
well-presented and innocent-looking "sample", and had planned to use it
at the weekend, she said.
delay had saved Ms Ashcroft from the certainty of severe injury,
blindness or even death. Downing Street was then contacted by the
newspaper and warned about the dangerous substance which had been sent
to Mrs Cherie Blair.
when I spoke to Downing Street, the Downing Street spokesperson was
completely unaware of any such incident, but shortly afterwards they
discovered an aromatherapy bottle laced with Caustic Soda in a package
addressed to Mrs Blair.
immediate official warning to be on the lookout for similar bottles was
issued to everyone in any way connected to the main British political
parties, and photographs and details of the bottles, the envelopes, and
the leaflets which were sent with the bottles were widely circulated in
They had to
circulate as much detail as possible as this was now an urgent effort to
prevent a number of unknown people from falling victim to the Caustic
A source in
the Anti-Terrorist squad said: "There is a degree of determination and
professionalism behind this incident. And clearly it is a serious
attempt to do harm to the Prime Minister and other political leaders".
Red Alert created a sensational news story which dominated the British
media that night and for several following days. On the 3rd of March
"Scotland On Sunday" headlines reported that panic was still spreading:
spreads as toxic terror hits Scotland ".
In fact, as
the packages were reported to have been posted on the previous Sunday,
the 24th of February, it was clear that most, if not all, of them must
have been delivered days before.
of the chemical warfare agent aimed at British political parties was
sensational, and it was featured throughout the world. But, even so,
there were deliberate attempts in the UK to play down the seriousness of
that exposure to Caustic Soda can be lethal was rarely mentioned in the
British media, although at least some of the foreign media were quick to
point this out - Islam Online News calling it "fatal", for example.
There was a
major UK-wide security alert as everyone in any way connected to the
major British political parties was urged to examine their mail, and
advised how to protect themselves by removing contaminated clothing and
using running water to treat their wounds if they were affected.
massive disruption as all parliamentary, constituency offices and
government buildings throughout the country were told to be on the
lookout for the sinister packages.
security source said: "Staff will return to work on Monday after the
weekend break and will be warned that they must be particularly vigilant
when handling packages. We know it is going to disrupt Government
offices all over the country but better some inconvenience than someone
is blinded or loses a limb."
reported on 2nd March 2002:
Widen Danger Package Hunt
investigating packages containing a caustic substance sent to Cherie
Blair and a Scottish MP's aide say two more suspect parcels have been
traced. Officers say it is too early to tell if the latest cases are
linked to the original packages which contained the highly corrosive
liquid caustic soda, disguised as aromatherapy oil.
Metropolitan Police were alerted after an anonymous telephone call was
made to a journalist on the News of the World newspaper on Friday. The
caller claimed to be from the Scottish National Liberation Army (SNLA),
whose members have been dubbed the "tartan terrorists".
Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles, whose assistant was sent a package,
believes he may have been targeted because he was born and educated in
the north east of England. He was tipped off about the danger and
managed to warn his helper, who is also English, before she opened the
package on Friday.
said 16 packages had been sent and police are trying to track down up to
14 which have not been recovered.
Yard said on Saturday police were investigating reports of two more
suspicious packages which may already have been destroyed. The packages
are in the form of a jiffy bag with a Glasgow post mark and a white
Assistant Commissioner Alan Fry, head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch, said
directions for use contained in the recovered packages were "cynically
dangerous", given the potential medical threat.
safety is a prime issue and as such we had no hesitation in issuing a
warning around these packages," he said.
"This is a
criminal act intended to cause harm.
our advice that anyone who receives a package should contact police on
Much of the
media coverage, predictably but without any evidence whatever, publicly
identified Adam Busby as the sender, as the "prime suspect", although
how a person under constant police surveillance in Ireland could have
sent toxic packages from Glasgow was rarely addressed by the media. See
Gerard Seenan's article: "SNLA man suspected over toxic packages", in
the "Guardian" of Monday March 4th, 2002, for a good example of this and
some fairly imaginative reporting.
Mail of 3rd March, 2002, seemed to believe that Adam Busby was
personally responsible for sending the packages:
one of the packages had been posted in Glasgow on Monday. Police are
investigating whether Busby may have traveled to and from Ireland, using
yesterday's rugby international as cover.
contaminated parcels were found, officers in Dublin were immediately
dispatched on a covert operation to trace Busby's movements."
few in the media noticed was that the SNLA's telephone call to the "News
Of The World" offices was made on the 1st of March, 2002 - a very
significant date - as it was the 20th anniversary of the official
opening of the SNLA's campaign on the 1st of March, 1982.
the SNLA had a lot more on its mind than its 20th birthday celebrations.
made it perfectly clear that the Caustic Soda incidents were a mere
he said, had developed Weapons Of Mass Destruction which it intended to
use to free Scotland.
wording of the SNLA communiqué was reproduced in the "News Of The World"
on Sunday the 3rd of March 2002:
has been made to murder Cherie Blair and 15 others.
24th February 2002, a total of 16 postal packages were sent from
different locations in the Glasgow area.
package purported to contain a complimentary sample of an aromatherapy
package contained a professionally-produced leaflet proclaiming the
virtues of the new product, and a 10ml bottle of the "product".
the bottle contained 10ml of a Sodium Hydroxide solution blended with
aromatic oil. This solution is toxic and immediately corrosive on
contact with skin, eyes, and body tissue of any kind.
lethal by inhalation, and each bottle contained enough to ensure death
by the shock effect of chemical burns.
targets were a range of figures within the Labour, Conservative and
Liberal-Democratic parties, and other selected targets. All received the
packages at their home addresses.
was sent directly to No 10 Downing Street. The other targets were
distributed throughout Scotland and England. An example is Margaret
Ashcroft, a Lib-Dem hack associated with the MSP Mike Rumbles.
State attempt to deny that these attacks took place, as we expect they
will, we will simply repeat the attacks using a totally different method
We have the
technology to make and use Weapons of Mass Destruction
we will use these as and when we see fit."
claim in regard to WMD? The very few journalists who reported on this
aspect of the story treated it as bombastic nonsense.
Caustic Soda forms a lethal aerosol which kills by inhalation and
corrodes all human tissue on contact, and the SNLA has developed a very
simple, cheap and very effective means of creating and dispersing as a
WMD a liquid aerosol which contains Caustic Soda.
suspicions that the Finns employed it as an improvised chemical weapon
against the Russians in 1939 - 1940, and in Finland Caustic Soda is
considered to be so dangerous that sales are banned to the general
public. (Despite this ban, anyone can manufacture it at home from salt
and water and a car battery, using a simple process of electrolysis.)
recently Caustic Soda has been used as a weapon in Cambodia and in
Bosnia. The recent advent of inorganic plastics has meant that materials
such as polypropylene can now be used for the long- and medium-term
storage of liquid solutions of Caustic Soda, thus enabling its use in
the form of a standard weapon.
particular, it is easy to adapt Caustic Soda for use as a lethal aerosol
- a fact which the SNLA had been the first terrorist group to realise.
In this form it is as dangerous as Mustard Gas, and easy, simple and
cheap to make, and to disperse as a WMD.
evidence that, using a cover name, the SNLA had already threatened to
use just such an aerosol
in the USA, in particular in Washington and in New York.
This was done in mid-2001, and it was done purely in order to test the
US authorities' reactions to the threat - which were considerable - and
which were duly noted by the SNLA's observers in the USA.
of manufacture and dispersal of the Caustic Soda aerosol was described
to me in detail by Alec:
"It is very
simple. Remember that an aerosol is only solid or liquid particles
suspended in gas. The gas in this case is ordinary air – which is a
mixture of gases including the Oxygen we breathe.
You can buy
Caustic Soda in most chemists for a couple of quid.
It is in
the form of tiny bone-dry solid particles called prills. It must be kept
away from air and moisture during storage, because it begins to absorb
moisture from the air immediately on exposure to air.
To make the
aerosol, you buy three plastic bottles of dry CS which is about £2.50
for a bottle containing 500g of CS. So you have three bottles of CS
which together weigh one and a half kilograms.
mix a liquid solution of CS and cold water.
But you are
not in laboratory conditions, and don't have a constant temperature,
sophisticated graphs or measuring equipment. So you mix it approximately
to obtain good results.
that, very slowly, you mix the one and a half kilos of dry CS into a
clear plastic (not metal) beaker
which contains 5 litres of cold tap water. And it's cold
water, not hot water.
obey the safety rules which are written on the side of the bottle. Wear
a simple paper or cloth respirator or mask over your nose and mouth,
plastic goggles or glasses, and gloves.
wooden spoon or plastic spoon - not metal - to slowly add CS to cold
water, never add water to CS, and slowly stir it in. Obey the simple
safety rules and you'll never have any problems. It's safe and easy.
stir the CS in slowly. The solution will begin to warm up slightly. This
is called the exothermic reaction. The heat will soon disappear.
When the CS
is mixed in thoroughly, let the solution sit undisturbed for a few
minutes. After this time you should have a clear nearly colourless
liquid which has a very, very slight blue tinge.
pour the pure CS solution into a strong, very thick plastic - not metal
- container and seal it very tightly.
step is to obtain a plastic pneumatic garden spray.
a wide variety in any garden centre. These are plastic containers which
you pressurize yourself
by pumping air unto them.
type is the Hozelock Polyspray 2. It is only about 15 inches high, and
holds 1.25 litres of CS solution.
You take it
to the target area and pour the CS solution into the spray. The base for
the attack should be high in a building about 30 feet or more above a
crowded target area. The higher the better. Best conditions are a warm,
dry day or a dry night with a stiff wind or breeze.
pump air into the spray so that it is pressurized. Then you position the
spray or sprays. You simply push a slide on top of the spray and then
you walk away.
slide is pushed forward the spray is on automatic and it will discharge
a litre of the CS solution in about two minutes.
solution is sprayed high over the target area in a steady stream. The
air pressure causes the stream of CS to break up, and the CS stream
disintegrates into millions of tiny particles. The larger particles
precipitate-by-gravity. In other words they fall to the ground, but the
smaller particles remain airborne and form a barely visible light mist
which the breeze disperses widely.
A lot of
people will get sprayed by large particles of CS solution and this stuff
is a corrosive. It doesn't burn holes through things like a naked flame.
It corrodes the skin, the underlying tissue, the eyes and anything else
it contacts. It eventually exhausts its corrosive power, leaving a
permanent bluish-green mark on the skin. It is really dangerous.
particles will reduce in size until they are microscopic, and are small
enough to be inhaled, and lodge in the lung. When this happens the lung
long-term and often
irreversible. The CS particles in the air will eventually convert to
Sodium Carbonate when they come in contact with Carbon Dioxide in the
air, but Sodium Carbonate is also nasty stuff if inhaled.
thing about CS, and Sodium Carbonate for that matter, is that they have
a time-delay effect of about three minutes. In other words, when someone
first comes into skin contact with CS they feel nothing for about three
By the time
they begin to feel something - mild irritation at first, very acute and
unbearable pain later - it is too late to treat the injury. So an
attacker with an automatic spray can launch an attack on a rush-hour
crowd, and be far away before the attack was even noticed."
2002 the story of the Caustic Soda experiment continued when, shortly
after the packages were sent, a large number of members of the Scottish
parliament received anonymous e-mails from the SNLA in which they and
their families were threatened with attacks by Caustic Soda.
sparked fresh headlines and a major and costly security operation to
protect the MSPs and their families at all times, and in all locations.
to another report about these threats in mid-March, 2002, the police had
warned all MSPs to be on alert over the new wave of threats.
True to the
SNLA's previous form, of meticulously testing the State's reactions to
new weapons, in early 2003 they tested the British government's response
to the Caustic Soda aerosol by threatening to use it in the UK
immediately prior to, and in response to, the Iraq war.
government had to mount a security operation throughout the UK in
response to the threat - which the government acknowledged receiving but
refused to discuss in detail on the grounds that the threat was not
SNLA had used a cover name for this operation - this time the name of an
group which is also believed to have an interest in WMD.
question seems not if, but when and where, the SNLA will use the Caustic
Soda aerosol they have perfected.
has been widely claimed that the package sent to Cherie Blair at No.10
Downing Street was intercepted at an off-site screening centre before it
reached Downing Street, and a general alert was then issued. This is not
was sent from Glasgow on Sunday 24th February, 2002, and it was
postmarked at the Glasgow Mail Centre on the 25th. It was then screened
at the off-site screening centre which handles Downing Street's mail -
and it was not intercepted.
It was then
sent into No. 10 Downing Street and was date stamped as being received
there on Wednesday the 27th of February, 2002, a fact noted in some
media reports. (The Downing Street date stamp is clearly visible in
photographs of the envelope which appeared in the media at the time.)
"Evening News" of Saturday the 2nd of March, 2002, reported:
bore a Glasgow mail centre post mark dated February 25 and was marked
with a stamp for the Prime Minister's mail reception centre, dated
contacted by my newspaper on the afternoon of Friday the 1st of March,
2002, Downing Street officials knew absolutely nothing of the package.
Only later on the same day did the authorities issue a general alert,
and acknowledge that a package had been discovered at No.10 Downing
Street (and not in the off-site screening centre as later claimed).
of the other Scottish media reported that the package had not been
detected, and that it had been delivered to No. 10 Downing Street. For
example, the "Sunday Mail" of March the 3rd, 2002, reported:
victim was Margaret Ashcroft, a Lib Dem treasurer who works for
English-born MSP Mike Rumbles. She opened a parcel delivered to her
house on Friday - an identical one arrived at 10 Downing Street
addressed to Cherie Blair on Wednesday.”
SNLA have since totally denied that any of their members ever telephoned
Scotland Yard to warn them of the packages (as the official sources
would later - somewhat improbably - claim). All telephone calls to
Scotland Yard are recorded and can be traced rapidly - facts which are
well known to the SNLA, and which would deter them from making such a
alert was first issued on the evening of 1st March, 2002, by which time
Cherie Blair had left for Australia. She was, however, present in
Downing Street on the day that the package was received there.
point, ignored by most of the media, is that Cherie Blair has a known
interest in aromatherapy and health products, which testifies to the
extremely detailed research which went into the operation.
What became of the other 14 packages containing Caustic Soda? The
identity of at least one other recipient is known to me.
a description of an improvised explosive device which has been used by
the SNLA and which is still in their arsenal:
people think that commercial explosives are the top of the range. So did
we until we got some experience with them. The first problem is getting
them. You have to steal them or buy them from criminals or smugglers.
This is very risky.
have to transport them and store them. This isn't easy because they
leave very distinctive forensic traces everywhere: in your car, on your
clothes and even on your skin. Storing them isn't easy either, because
commercial explosives are designed to be used shortly after manufacture,
and so they have a very short shelf-life.
while they become unstable if they're not stored properly, and then
they're really dangerous to the user. And even in good condition they're
not easy to work with. They give off fumes which can give you hellish
headaches for a start, and the detonators are often unreliable and don't
detonators are mass manufactured too, by the way, and are meant to be
used fairly soon after
manufacture, not kept in storage for lengthy periods
which causes them to degrade.
also dangers in combining electric batteries with detonators and
explosives. Contrary to popular belief the electricity in a battery is
dynamic. It can cross or bridge gaps in an electrical circuit and cause
premature explosions - which is why explosives experts always use
detonation boxes and never batteries.
and safest thing is to use mechanical means to cause the detonators to
work. If electric batteries have to be used then it is safest to build
in a double trigger. This means that there are two breaks in the
electrical circuit, not just one, and both have to be closed before the
device will explode. This absolutely guarantees safety.
of all is to make up your own explosive devices. Be self-sufficient and
innovative. Tear up the so-called rule book.
way is to use cylinders of Butane or Propane gas which can be bought
What you do
is get a metal bin like a dustbin or trash can or an oil drum. Just be
sure that it is water-tight and isn't leaking. Then you get a
Butane-filled or Propane-filled hard steel metal cylinder, but not
the smallest types which are in soft metal containers.
approximately one half of the contents of the cylinder. The contents are
gas in liquid form (LPG or Liquefied Petroleum Gas).
easy to do, as you just take it outside to a location where there are no
heat sources or sources of ignition and insert a small screwdriver in
the valve on top, releasing the gas.
place the approximately half-empty cylinder in the metal bin, but the
cylinder must go in upside down. This is vital because, if it isn't
upside down, the pressure when intense heat is applied will force the
valve on top to blow off prematurely, and there will be no major
So the gas
cylinder must go in upside down so that the valve is at the bottom of
the metal bin.
get four or five stout wooden wedges and wedge the cylinder tightly
inside the metal bin.
is poured into the metal bin until it reaches a level inside the bin at
which the entire gas cylinder is completely covered by the petrol.
is then ignited – carry two lighters and two boxes of matches to be on
the safe side – and, standing back about five or six feet, screw up a
couple of newspaper pages into a ball, light them and throw them into
the metal bin.
ignites the petrol and it burns away until eventually it burns down to
the level of the gas cylinder.
When it is
burning all the heat from the petrol goes upwards - none of it goes
downwards – but, when the petrol has burned down to the same level as
the gas cylinder, then the heat from the burning petrol reaches the gas
cylinder. Because it is half-empty, the uppermost half of the cylinder
is filled with flammable petrol vapour, and this will ignite when
sufficient heat is conducted through the metal of the cylinder and
reaches the vapour.
a massive blast and a fireball. There is also a lot of fragmentation
from the gas cylinder, and so this is a really powerful and dangerous
device, and it is simple and safe to make and use. A medium sized
cylinder will easily demolish a house, for example.
It is also
cheap and easy to acquire the materials, and there is no risk in
acquiring them as it is perfectly legal to buy them. Also, no
significant forensic traces are left because these are all household
items and even if traces are left they are not likely to be unusual or
of device was used in November 1983 to attack the Tory office in
Glasgow, but it wasn't properly put together – the gas cylinder wasn’t
upside down - and it didn't ignite properly.
See chapter: "Letter Bomb Mayhem".)
version was used in April 1986 to damage the British Airways office in
Lumley Street in London. It caused a lot of damage and had to be set off
in the early hours of the morning to avoid causing massive civilian
because the street is just off Oxford Street, and, in any case it would
have been too busy during the day to let us plant the bomb, and then
take into account the time it takes for the petrol to ignite the gas
in the cylinder.
was about was an attack on the British Airways offices in Lumley Street.
There was a move to privatize BA completely and there were a lot of
fears in Scotland that essential air services to remote areas would be
withdrawn, and there would be job losses and so on.
We set the
bomb up on the pavement outside the doorway of the BA offices, ignited
it and then walked away.
eventual explosion was massive and we heard it ourselves a good distance
away. Really loud, and it seemed to go on and on with a lot of other
sounds thrown in. This was in the early hours of the morning and the
street was deserted.
immediately began to scream about Libyan terrorism - because this was
just after the American bombing of Libya - and they also said the target
was an American consulate or the US Embassy which is in the area or
bullshit because the bomb was nowhere near the US Embassy and it wasn't
in Oxford Street either, but in Lumley Street which runs off Oxford
claim was phoned in, we had to identify the correct target which was the
BA offices and give the correct location. We also gave a correct
description of the device as being (made) from a gas cylinder. This went
to the Press Association a couple of hours afterwards but it didn't make
the news until it was mentioned in the Commons that day or that night.
The media kept rabbiting on about the Libyans and the American Embassy."
Note: I was able to confirm this incident from a number of sources.
example, the "Times" of April 25th, 1986, quotes a statement to the
House of Commons by Giles
Shaw, then Home Office Minister of State, in which he
refers to the claim made to the Press Association by the SNLA about the
bombing of the British Airways office. His remarks are also recorded in
bombing took place during a period of intense SNLA activity. Letter
bombs had been sent to Malcolm Rifkind, then Secretary of State for
Scotland, and to the Chairman of British Steel only a few days
previously, and the campaign continued with the letter bomb addressed to
Douglas Hurd which ignited inside the Home Office on July 16th 1986.
The SNLA is
a secret society devoted to physical force struggle against the British
State. But how is it organised and how do its members maintain their
rules of the SNLA are security, security and security.
thing is security in organizational size and structure. Basically, the
more people in the organisation as a whole the weaker it becomes.
numbers mean weaker security because most people will talk. But larger
numbers are also bad because, in any field of human activity, there are
only about 7% of the population who will ever play an active role in
anything. This is basic sociology.
of large numbers of people just means that you have a large group of
useless people who never do anything. You can't get them to do anything
because they have an endless supply of reasons why they can't take part
in operations or do anything.
And so they
become a problem in themselves, spreading negativity and a depressing
spirit of do-nothingness.
they talk, talk, talk. They tell everyone they meet what is going on,
who is doing what, and everything else they know about the SNLA. The
people they've talked to then tell the people they know, and those
people pass it on to others they know, who tell others, and so on.
Pretty soon what is supposed to be secret information is known to large
circles of people.
wannabes and weekenders always find an excuse never to do anything. They
are full of excuses and "buts", and they'll never do anything even if
you put a gun to their heads, so they're just dead wood and you have to
dump them sooner rather than later. To be fair to them, they are not
simply cowards, they are just fairly ordinary people and they are
constitutionally incapable of action.
can't work on that basis, or on any basis with people like that. What
you need are a small number of real activists.
activists are easy to recognize. They are asked to do something and they
just say "Right", and then they go and do it, and that's that. And they
don't talk out of school either. The best thing is to recruit very, very
carefully and very, very selectively. It should be strictly FAO - For
Activists Only - and that way you have no problems with security and
activists prefer to work on their own, but usually a cell is formed. But
the cell should never consist of more than two people.
will bond together and work together effectively. But if there are more
than two people then they will split. If there are three people, then
you'll get a split with two on one side and one on the other. If there
are four people, then you'll get a split with two on one side and two on
the other. And so on.
ideal cell will consist of only two people. And only one person if that
person wants to work on his own. This small size is also much better
from a security point of view.
activists should always be in deep cover.
means total anonymity. This means that they do not belong to any
political party or group, do not buy political papers or visit political
websites on the Internet, don't collect newspaper cuttings - which is a
dead giveaway - and they should never express political opinions to
others, and – especially - to those closest to them.
means their best friends, wives and families. As well as everyone else.
should know anything, and the activist is protected, because he is known
even to those who know him best as a person who has no political
allegiances or interests, and who never expresses political opinions.
newspaper cuttings about SNLA operations or similar operations should
never be collected - a dead giveaway, as I said. They can also
be used as evidence.
The SNLA is
a secret society, and its members are absolutely forbidden to tell
anything, even to hint or let slip a crumb of information, to anyone
outside the group.
So an ideal
cell will consist of only one or at most two people who can operate
freely and without suspicion indefinitely.
other very simple security considerations. Materials should be bought in
city centre locations and in a variety of different shops. The activist
should never shop locally or in one shop only.
be wearing driver's gloves which don't attract suspicion, especially if
you let a car key ring with a fob be seen dangling from your pinkie
(little finger). This makes it looks like you've just stepped out of
your car to make a couple of purchases. This is all done to avoid
are barcodes. These should always be removed because they allow the
materials to be traced back to the shop that they're sold in. The
barcode is part of the EPOS system, which means Electronic Point Of
amazing how many people don't know about this. But it's got nothing to
do with security or surveillance as paranoid conspiracy theorists try to
tell you. It's to do with checking sales and with electronic
materials we use in an SNLA op (operation) should be completely
gloves are good for working with materials, and gloves are always worn
when buying or working with materials, and they're cheap so they can be
disposed of at the end of the op and replaced with a new pair for the
latex gloves - such as surgical gloves - are a waste of time because
they make your hands sweat, the rubber tends to tear and they react with
all sorts of glues and chemical substances.
to wear driver's gloves which cover the whole hand or even canvas work
gloves. The common type of wool gloves are OK for ops but no good for
delicate work because they leave visible traces of wool on the surface
of things like letter bombs.
materials and tools - and this means all of them - left
over at the end of an operation should be destroyed, and this means
cutting them up into tiny pieces or breaking them and dumping them.
This includes all tools, such as scissors, pliers, etc.,
which can be individually identified by tool mark identification.
any type of materials doesn't mean flushing them down the toilet because
this leads to blocked drains and awkward questions.
over materials shouldn't be burnt either as a lot of the materials, like
certain glues, will be too flammable, while others just won't burn or
don't burn completely. And fires also attract unwanted attention.
just to cut or break everything up and then dump it in a sealed plastic
bag a distance away from where you live, say a mile or two away. Best to
do this at night.
there's DNA evidence. This is no problem so long as you use tap water to
seal envelopes, and to fix stamps and so on.
there's CCTV cameras. People are really frightened of these, but simple
precautions render CCTV useless.
needed is a simple disguise. For example, a person who doesn't wear
can get a pair with
clear lenses, or a person who normally wears them can get an extra pair
different frames. Then there are baseball caps and monkey hats or hoods
to cover the head.
can cover the lower part of the face, and so on. Anything which changes
or covers the normal appearance is enough to fuck up CCTV pictures,
especially if it's dark or at night.
If there is
a real CCTV problem in daylight then a wig, dark glasses and hair dyes
can be used. Or just a hood.
security precaution is to go through all your pockets before an op and
remove everything you don't need. It's amazing how rubbish can
accumulate in the pockets. It might only be a used bus ticket, but if
you accidentally drop it at the scene and it's got your fingerprints on
it then you are in big trouble. But very basic precautions make it
extremely simple and easy, and extremely safe, to operate from deep
State likes to give the impression that it is all-knowing, all-seeing,
and that everyone is under constant surveillance. MI5 deliberately
plants stories in the media to exploit this type of paranoia. The
"Sunday Times" is full of planted stories, for example, although all
newspapers carry these stories on a regular basis.
known as perception management.
truth is that MI5 is a very small organisation which has a long history
of incompetence. One of our people was once followed around by a female
MI5 agent he nicknamed "Blondie". She was so obviously keeping him under
surveillance it was clear to him that she was a pathetic amateur.
paranoia. Don't jump to conclusions which are based on paranoid notions,
especially those which appear in the media. The paranoid world view is
called the "World of Mirrors". This is where people are literally
terrified and crippled by their own paranoia.
avoid this it is only necessary to adopt a sensible and balanced
approach. It's always necessary to remember that the most obvious and
common-sense solution in any situation is always the most likely
example, if somebody breaks into your house then it's most likely to be
the local burglar. It is extremely unlikely to be a break-in by MI5 or
some other intelligence agency.
are deliberate attempts to peddle paranoia on behalf of the State.
some fool of an MP stands up in parliament and asks the Home Secretary
how many warrants for telephone intercepts were issued in the previous
is that there were such-and-such a number which represents such-and-such
a percentage increase in telephone intercepts on the previous year.
and civil liberties groups start complaining about the erosion of
personal liberties and so on. The mistake they all make is in assuming
that the warrants for telephone intercepts are all used for political
dead wrong. We once had a contact with a telephone engineer who actually
carried out the intercepts. He said that none of the intercepts he had
done was to do with political surveillance. It is usually a lot more
mundane than that.
telephone is a major instrument of crime. It can be used to convey
threats, obscene telephone calls and so on. There is so much of this
going on that the police can't handle it all. So BT (British Telecom)
has established a Malicious Calls Bureau.
It is based
in Dundee, and it deals with the bulk of nuisance calls.
example of the need for a warrant is the problem they have with obscene
telephone callers. These callers are frequently serial callers. When
they call a woman at home, the telephone operator can screen her calls
or she can change her number and go ex-directory.
the obscene telephone caller targets women employees in a business
premises, the business can't screen all its callers or go ex-directory.
To have any
chance of catching the guy and proving the case against the caller, the
police get a warrant to monitor and trace the calls going into the
office. This is usually done with the approval and consent of the office
office manager can't give consent on behalf of the numerous callers who
will ring the office in the course of normal business. And so a warrant
is granted to legalize the situation so that the routine calls can be
monitored. When the obscene caller tries it again his call will be
intercepted and traced.
intercepts are usually concerned with matters as mundane and sordid as
to say that there isn't political surveillance taking place. There
obviously is, and a hell of a lot of it. For example, there's the
Echelon system, but anyone with half a brain isn't going to use the
telephone to discuss their own confidential business anyway.
The SNLA is
a broad front and membership is open to anyone who agrees with our aims
and accepts our discipline, but our underlying ideology is Maoist,
although not all of our members are Maoists. We believe that the people
themselves should seize State power.
independent, tear up the rule book and make your own rules, be proactive
and act in the way that suits you best, and not in the way that
convention supposedly demands. Continually do the unexpected and you
always have the element of surprise, and you keep the enemy guessing.
risk, minimum effort, maximum damage. If we can badly damage the enemy's
economy with as little risk to ourselves as possible, then that is our
should be planned to be low-risk. High-risk operations should always be
avoided. And operations should always be low-cost. This means that we
can pay for our own ops and avoid the risk of robberies and other types
of fundraising. All such are extremely high-risk.
organise our communications can't be divulged."
far from being romantic nationalists, are revolutionaries, and are so
highly critical, indeed contemptuous, of the Scottish
system as a whole that a selection of
Alec's remarks are illustrative of the SNLA's philosophy,
outlook and ideology:
particularly scathing in his criticisms of the Scottish legal system:
system is rotten to the core. It is very far from being "the best legal
system in the world" - as we're constantly told ad nauseam. It is a
feudal relic in the 21st century. The Lord Advocate is a
State-appointed officer who is solely responsible for the PF (procurator
fiscal) system (the Scottish prosecution service). He is in a position
to do anything he damn well likes.
talking about FAIs (Fatal Accident Inquiries) let's look at the death of
Willie McRae. It was a political decision of the Lord Advocate and the
Solicitor-General not to hold an FAI. We know this because Gordon Wilson
(an SNP MP in 1985) revealed that at the time of McRae's death he was
approached and asked whether the SNP wanted an FAI. But what the hell
had it to do with the SNP?
decision about the FAI should have been left to the local PF - so why
did they consult the SNP about the case and make a political decision?
The truth is that the SNP leadership knew that exposure of McRae's
activities and links might embarrass them.
members of the SNP made it their business to wreck the campaign that was
built up to investigate the McRae case. Strathern - Michael Strathern -
was doing this for the SNP.
carries on until the present time. Arnold Kemp the journalist wrote an
article quite recently in which he mentioned the SNLA and Willie McRae
in the same piece.
In a later
article Kemp revealed that he had received a letter from Alex Salmond of
the SNP taking him to task for mentioning Willie McRae's name together
with that of the SNLA in the original article. (Note 1)
Scotland's provincial status within the UK, it probably isn't surprising
that Scottish political parties have such a dismal record of passivity
and collaboration with the British State.
The SNP are
just State-sponsored nationalists. Collaborators. What more is there to
Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) is similar to the SNP in lacking any
revolutionary approach or a genuine national outlook. Despite building a
media image of militant socialism the SSP is also a constitutional
to say there aren't genuine revolutionaries in the SSP - there are
plenty of them. But the power in the party is concentrated in the hands
of people like Tommy Sheridan, and Sheridan ran the show almost
single-handed. (Note 2.)
Sheridan has built up an image as a revolutionary socialist. The truth
is he is an extreme moderate. His background is British Labour, and
basically he has never changed. The SSP's so-called socialism is just a
call for nationalisation of key sectors of the economy. That isn't
socialism. It is just Old Labour's Clause Four which is an alternative
The SSP is
equally dishonest when it comes to the issue of Scottish Independence.
Like the SNP, they are actually European integrationists, but they
babble some nonsense about converting the European Union into a united
"Socialist States of Europe".
has an appalling record. He first came to prominence during the campaign
against the Poll Tax. You'll recall that when Thatcher introduced the
Poll Tax, it was established in Scotland a year before it was introduced
in England. This was because Thatcher wanted to have a political
experiment in Scotland, in order to measure the level of resistance to
the Poll Tax.
happened was that there was no effective resistance to the Poll Tax in
Scotland. The political parties just treated the issue like a political
football, while Tommy Sheridan started a campaign of peaceful civil
disobedience, organizing pointless protest marches, disobeying court
orders and the like. All
the Poll Tax system was working well in Scotland. The Poll Tax was being
paid in most cases, and there was no resistance to it.
of the Scottish experiment was that Thatcher got the idea that the Poll
Tax could be introduced into England without fear of any real resistance
there either. She couldn't have been more wrong because the English
aren't as sheepish as the Scots.
happened was that after the Poll Tax was introduced in England, there
were two big protest marches on the same day. One in
Glasgow, one in
The one in
Glasgow was headed by Tommy Sheridan and had ten or twenty thousand
people and it passed off peacefully. The police said it had a carnival
atmosphere and the like, which means that it was totally ineffective.
A typical moral force protest.
march in London, which had a hundred thousand people, turned into the
Trafalgar Square Riots - which finally forced Thatcher to abandon the
Poll Tax, of course.
It was what
Sheridan did then that shows him in his true colours. When he found out
that there were serious riots in London, he immediately flew to London
and appeared on TV condemning the rioters and supporting the police.
At the time
he was speaking the police had gone ballistic and were on the rampage
beating up people on the streets, and a lot of them were innocent people
who hadn't even been on the march.
the police were beating people up on the streets, Sheridan appeared on
TV and attacked the so-called rioters. In reality, he was speaking in
defence of the police and the British State. That's Sheridan for you.
He is all
clenched fists and pseudo-socialist rhetoric. But he's really an extreme
moderate and no socialist.
still plenty of English and Scottish socialists who think Sheridan is a
sheep in wolf's clothing who gives socialism a bad name - because of his
actions on the day of the Trafalgar Square Riots. But it doesn't stop
there. He is still at it.
all in favour of civil disobedience and uses his participation in it to
boost his desired image of a militant socialist. He is supposedly a
prominent anti-nuclear campaigner.
look at the facts. Let's suppose that the nuclear base at Faslane was
situated near London or any other major city in England. How long would
long because tens of thousands of peace activists, eco-warriors and
anarchists would descend on it, physically blockade it, tear down the
security fences, invade the base and sabotage any equipment they could
lay hands on. They would use NVDA (Non-Violent Direct Action) and they
wouldn't give up until they had forced the base to close down.
would force it to close down. Force them to do it, not beg
them with silly petitions and other useless pleadings.
base would be under constant siege, inoperable and therefore useless.
And the State would be forced to close it down whether it liked it or
not. This is the effect of physical force.
happens in Scotland? Sheridan and a load of clergymen and other
do-gooders make a token protest by sitting on the road or holding a
peaceful demo near the base. Great publicity for Sheridan, but it
doesn't interfere one bit with the State's ability to operate the base
at Faslane, and the continued operation of the base is ensured.
demonstrators in Scotland will only use so-called civil disobedience -
which is a complete waste of time - and the State knows that its base is
way, Sheridan and his like actually work with and for the State because
their very limited actions are no threat to the State, and their actions
are a barrier to the formation of an NVDA campaign which would shut the
disobedience is a pro-State confidence trick. It is really moral force
which is just another name for servile appeals to authority, but civil
disobedience can be confused with NVDA - which is effective physical
force - because it has some of the outward appearances of NVDA, with
people getting arrested and so on.
civil disobedience can never be effective because it doesn't even
interfere with or hinder the object of the protest.
example of the total uselessness of civil disobedience is the SKAT
campaign. This acronym stands for Skye and Lochaber against the tolls on
the Skye road bridge. Although it has been around for more than ten
years, SKAT has never done anything to prevent the tolls being collected
and has never achieved anything. How could they achieve anything when
they don't do anything?
SKAT supporters have refused to pay the tolls on the bridge, and got
fined. When a couple of them refused to pay the fines they were briefly
locked up. But what good did that do?
are still being collected and the profits from the tolls are still
rolling into the coffers of the Bank of America which financed the
bridge. And you can bet that the directors of the Bank of America have
never even heard of SKAT.
should have done was to continually dump oil and broken glass on the
Skye bridge, and on the approaches and roads leading to the bridge. This
would have put the bridge out of use for long periods and no tolls would
have been collected. A sustained campaign like this would ultimately
have forced the British government and the Bank of America to take
action to reduce or remove the tolls completely.
course, nothing like this was ever done and the SKAT campaign has been a
total waste of time. It is what is called "respectable" - and therefore
totally useless because it is completely harmless and irrelevant to the
object of the campaign.
things - civil disobedience and all that garbage - are really
counter-productive because at the end of the day they only serve the
interests of the British State. They provide the illusion of resistance,
but in fact they are only engaged in token protest.
effective, it is necessary to move from protest to resistance.
State - and every other State - is based on violence and on force, and
the State only responds to force of one kind or another. So-called
democracy is really the class rule of the Capitalist class. It is
probably the most effective form of social and political control ever
devised. The people are willing slaves of the system which oppresses
overthrow the whole system requires force.
doesn't always mean violence. For example, an industrial strike is
physical force because it involves the physical withdrawal of labour, as
well as pickets which physically prevent deliveries – and black-legging
and scabbing. And if workers hadn't used the strike weapon - which was
originally illegal - they would still be working sixteen hour days."
are equally scathing in their criticism of the SNP fringe groups whom
they characterize as the “Brit Boys”:
all sorts of tiny pseudo-Republican, pseudo-nationalist and wannabe
"Super-Revolutionary" groups in Scotland. We estimate their total
combined membership at 150 to 200 people. Basically they are all pro-SNP
or pro-SSP groupies who never do anything except babble nonsense. They
aren't activists and do absolutely nothing, and know absolutely nothing.
They are just children playing childish games, playing at being
nationalists and Republicans.
They are a
negative and counter-productive force in Scottish politics because by
their passivity they have habitually encouraged a tradition of
non-resistance to the State, and this tradition endures to this day.
so-called Scottish Republican groupies don't even know what
Republicanism means. It certainly isn't Republicanism in the Irish
context which is physical force separatism and a total rejection of all
forms of constitutionalism. They are only Republican in the sense that
half the British Labour party is Republican. They just think monarchy is
an outdated concept which should be done away with in the 21st century.
about John Maclean (a famous Scottish Socialist) but they've never
studied his works. They routinely describe him as a Marxist, although
Maclean was actually a Syndicalist and never a Marxist in the
Marxist-Leninist tradition. This isn't to criticize Maclean, but to
criticize his so-called admirers.
they're all a waste of space. But what can you
learn about revolutionary politics
out pamphlets? Nothing.
might just as well try to learn IT skills without going near a computer.
way to develop a political consciousness is in the process of physically
resisting the State."
Note 1: The
reference here is to two articles written by Arnold Kemp, which I
managed to unearth. Arnold Kemp is a former editor of the Glasgow-based
"Herald". The relevant extracts are reproduced below:
March 3, 2002
of the SNLA's anthrax is linked to the name of the radical nationalist
William McRae, an SNP vice-chairman, who was found shot in his car
beside the A87 north of Fort William in 1985. He died next day. He was
said to have been an 'active sympathiser' of the SNLA. Conspiracists
have always believed that he was shot by the Special Branch. He had
talked to friends of his conviction that he was under surveillance and
that his 'cover had been blown'.”
Henderson's death robs Scotland of its true poetic voice
March 10, 2002
is a father of what has come to be called 'inclusive' nationalism. This
powerful notion has helped the SNP to marginalize its Anglophobic
elements. (Incidentally, Alex Salmond dropped me a note last week to
rebuke me for associating the name of the late Willie McRae with the
SNLA, which he regards as entirely publicity-driven, the work of one or
perhaps two fantasists.)”
Tommy Sheridan is a former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party. He
likes to portray himself as a revolutionary socialist.
And The Media
mentioned previously, the Scottish media, reactionary, mediocre and
parochial, and generally submissive to any form of authority, has always
shown a marked reluctance to report SNLA activities.
this, the SNLA's high-profile activities are frequently hard to ignore.
The police have long since resorted to routine denials of SNLA
activities, often denying the facts even when those facts can be
mid-1990s, in order to make censorship official, the Major Crime
Resource Unit - a police unit specially tasked to curb the activities of
the SNLA - sent a senior officer to visit the editors of every major
Scottish newspaper. The officers from the Major Crime Resource Unit were
concerned that the SNLA were getting too much publicity!
In order to
prevent this, the editors were instructed to inform the police
immediately if they received any material relating to the SNLA and its
activities. And, above all, nothing was to be reported until it had been
approved by the police.
given the track record of the various police Press Officers in denying
or downplaying SNLA activities, the intention was to impose a news
black-out on the media and on the public.
In 2003 the
High Court ordered that the media could not even report the name “SNLA”
in covering the trial of Paul Smith!
control and perception management…or just plain censorship?
censorship policy is clearly revealed in remarks by Alex Salmond of the
standard practice with so-called SNLA threats is to have no publicity or
as little publicity as possible...".
SNLA communiqués are concise and truthful and, allowing for a certain
understandable amount of exaggeration for propaganda effect, are
cannot be said of official statements which come from the police and
other British authorities. They are often blatant lies. Usually, if an
SNLA action can possibly be denied, the authorities simply deny that
anything ever took place.
original aim may simply have been to deny publicity to the SNLA, and,
within limits, this is perfectly understandable, but the final result
has been to undermine the integrity of the police and the British
authorities themselves. They have also suffered because, like so many
others who fall victim to their own lies, they are unable to understand,
never mind analyse, the situation.
of SNLA activities by the Scottish and British media is equally
appalling, and, regardless of the event being reported, consists of
scattering clichés over a blank sheet of paper, and then filling in the
spaces between such clichés as "self-styled", "crude", "hoax" and
"amateurish", with whatever inaccurate invective the journalist can
devices are "crude", for example, even ones like the Icarus device which
managed to evade airport security, and was
carried by air from Belfast to London.
And so on and on ad nauseam.
of this has been much to the SNLA's advantage. While much of the media,
many politicians and even the police themselves, and nearly all the
public are misinformed and uninformed - and completely unable to form
any clear idea of what is really going on - the SNLA can safely operate
at will in the guise of mythical bogeymen created by the media's own
ranting and self-deception.
terrorist group, this is sometimes a very useful advantage.
Who are the
allies of the SNLA?
September 2001 I wrote an article on this subject for the "News Of The
World". It was based on a detailed analysis of the situation following a
thorough investigation, and on confidential information provided to me
by a former member of the SNLA.
interesting is that within days of the article's publication a sanitized
version of it had been re-published on the website of the Russian Maoist
interesting and significant because the Russian Maoist Party were happy
to re-publish the article but did not even make any attempt at any form
of denial. Neither did the Real IRA offer any denial.
extracts from the Russian Maoist Party's own version of the article
which I had written:
Hate Group Links With IRA For Terror Plot
News of the
World, Scottish edition, Sunday, September 23, 2001, p. 21.
anti-English campaign to frighten Prince William from St. Andrews
University has active backing from other terror groups.
On the eve
of his arrival to begin art history studies they are already determined
to make him quit his four-year course. A major News of the World
investigation has raised serious concerns over the safety of the
19-year-old heir whose first term begins on September 24.
plot to create major disruption to Wills and his 6,000 fellow students
is the outlawed Scottish National Liberation Army. Fanatic members led
by 51-year-old founder member Adam Busby - a distant relative of
football legend Sir Matt - want the Prince driven from Scotland just
because he is English.
group of tartan terrorists, with cells in Dundee and Dumfries, would
have little chance of success on their own. But former Argyll and
Sutherland Highlander Busby and his followers have formed a series of
potentially lethal links.
reveal they have support from the Real IRA - blamed for the Omagh bomb
outrage that killed 29 people - the Russian Maoist Party, animal rights
campaigners and an American-based pro-Celtic group dedicated to damaging
English business interests.
Dublin home Busby is in regular contact with the Real IRA and was at one
time arrested on suspicion of being a member of the extremist
organisation. Irish police were forced to release him through lack of
which uses its political wing, the Scottish Separatist Group, as a front
for terror tactics has warned: “We can kill William should he attend,
and we will.”
And in a
horrifying new move the terrorists have set up a special website, The
Assassin’s Guide to St Andrews, which promises maniacs intent on harming
Wills: “Here is all the info you will need to kill him.”
details of his movements, including a map of the town, suggests a spot
for planting a car bomb which will “kill him and everyone else in the
vicinity”, and says “no claim of responsibility must be made immediately
as separate organisations are involved and this will confuse the
terms at St Andrews Prince William will be protected by an armed
personal bodyguard who will be able to call on a tiny unit from Fife
police and members of the University’s own security staff. But there are
fears that police are not taking the danger seriously enough.
has spent two years developing expertise in poisons and infiltrating
ago a detailed threat to cause mass murder in England by poisoning water
supplies was discussed by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Cabinet.
came in a series of letters posted by a members of a coalition headed by
the SNLA, a Real IRA cell and animal rights volunteers.
arrested in Dublin on charges of Real IRA membership but was later
released without charge. Since then the SNLA has made the most of help
from highly educated sympathizers belonging to the other terror groups.
American FBI now has a file on the SNLA after a series of frightening
packages were sent in November and December 2000 to companies selling
English-made goods and offices promoting business and tourism in
they were filled with a powder containing killer anthrax spores were
taken seriously until analysts discovered the substance was harmless.
traced the packages to Phoenix, Arizona.
unable to discover the senders but we can reveal SNLA and SSG members
organisations have members actively fund raising in the USA. Money to
fund the Scottish Separatist Group and SNLA comes
through the American-based William Wallace Society.
the tartan terrorists with the help and guidance of the other groups
have concentrated on attacking e-mail systems used by police forces in
Scotland, the Scottish Executive, airlines, offices involved in
promoting trade and tourism, St. Andrews University and media
mail purporting to come from senior Metropolitan police officers,
University staff and even Scotland’s First Minister Henry McLeish has
been so convincing it has fooled police and businesses.
packages falsely alleged to contain anthrax have been delivered to the
heart of the University.
security arrangements for the Prince have been posted on a Real IRA
the Home Office ordered server company Angelfire to remove the Scottish
Separatist Group website the madcap Russian Maoist Party stepped in and
is now hosting the site.
have handed in a protest note to the British Embassy in Moscow
complaining at the Prince being given a place at St. Andrews.
Special Branch officers have recently been shadowing Busby, checking at
any shops and offices visited by him.
Dublin home Busby said: “I have absolutely nothing to say to you or your
former SNLA member said: “It’s obvious the police don’t fully realise
the extent to which Busby has organised tie-ups with people like the
recruited younger, university-educated people who have studied the
effects of neuro-toxins, which were used as germ warfare weapons by the
Russians in Afghanistan, and Dimethyl Sulfoxides which are safe on their
own but can be highly dangerous when mixed with other chemicals.
disrupting police and other emergency service e-mail systems could be
disastrous in an emergency situation.”
queried at the time by a number of my colleagues who thought that the
article was speculative and "alarmist". In fact, the article was soundly
based on factual analysis and reflects, not only my own opinion, but
that of experts within the British Intelligence community.
also significant is that the RMP website also contains a "joint
declaration" which officially links the RMP and the SSG.
declaration is the clearest possible evidence of the links between the
two groups, as is the fact that the RMP hosts the SSG/SNLA website on
So who are
the Russian Maoist Party?
The RMP is
part of the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) which is US-based,
and is a seemingly legally-functioning alliance of revolutionary groups
around the world, and includes fronts for both the SNLA and the Real
IRA. But there is little legal about the Russian Maoist Party.
The RMP is
merely a political front for the Russian League Of
Revolutionary Youth (RLRY) - which operates in Russia and among the
Russian minority in the Ukraine. The RLRY is a terrorist organisation
which has taken part in numerous terrorist attacks in Russia, including
attacks on the household gas supplies on which Russia is totally
"political prisoners" the RMP campaigns for are imprisoned members of
the Russian League of Revolutionary Youth. And the national minorities
which it supports are represented by, among others, the Afghan
Liberation Organisation and the most extreme Chechen terrorists.
links to the Real IRA (and other dissident Irish Republicans) are
equally real. The Real IRA runs an American-based website called
Ireland's OWN which is linked to the SNLA's website.
In a grim
section devoted to "Humour", the Real IRA's website quotes approvingly
from a newspaper article which reveals their successful intelligence
gathering on Prince William's movements:
4, 2001, Tuesday
EXPOSES WILL'S UNI SECRETS
William was at the centre of a security crisis last night after
terrorists revealed top secret university details.
IRA used its internet site to inform members on what William's movements
will be when he begins his studies at St Andrew's in three weeks.
hate-filled web pages of the terrorist group responsible for the Omagh
bomb hint that the young prince is the target of an assassination
members also revealed hi-tech security systems and where royal
bodyguards will stay during the 19-year-old's four-year History of Art
accessing the information on the webpage, which is linked to other
sinister sites, are asked to leave "intelligence" they may have on the
IRA, which was responsible for killing 29 people and unborn twins in
Omagh in 1998, first published details of the royal security
arrangements last year.
they updated their terrorist brief for members after recent changes to
the prince's security were forced upon Buckingham Palace. The new
information was posted on the Republican Intelligence page of the Real
IRA's website for the first time at the weekend.
University has been targeted by the Scottish National Liberation Army (SNLA)
which sent a suspicious package to the campus two weeks ago."
article doesn't reveal is that all the information about Prince William
on the Real IRA's website comes from the SNLA's "Assassin's Guide To St
Andrews", and it was deliberately supplied to the Real IRA by the SNLA.
And similar information about Prince William was previously supplied to
the Real IRA in exactly the same way by the SNLA.
As far back
as 1999 Adam Busby was arrested in Dublin on suspicion of membership of
the Real IRA. This was in connection with the plot to poison England's
water supplies, and, contrary to most media reports of the time which
indicated that another four men who were arrested at the same time were
allegedly members of the INLA, I have been able to discover that the
persons referred to were, in fact, "dissident Republicans" all of whom
allegedly had links of some kind to the Real IRA.
Irish police have discovered the Real IRA's codeword on a computer in
Adam Busby's Dublin home. But, as numerous people, either as visitors or
guests, including some with Real IRA links themselves, also had
unlimited access to the computer nothing could be proved against Busby.
with militant Animal Rights campaigners are less well-documented, but at
least one English woman who was once acquitted of an attempted bombing
in the cause of animal rights had very close links to the SNLA at one
time. Her name is known to me but, as she has never been accused of SNLA
activities, I have chosen not to reveal it. (Note 2.)
1980s, before the advent of the mobile telephone and the Internet, there
were numerous conspiracy theories about an international terrorist
network. In the 21st century, modern technology has permitted theory to
that the SNLA is organisationally linked to other terrorist groups
worldwide is indisputable.
Adam Busby is well-known among Irish Republicans and has a friendly
relationship of some kind with individuals from most of the Republican
groups. This fact is well-known to the Irish police and to journalists
in the Irish Republic, as the following report illustrates:
Sunday", July 18, 1999:
Terror Chief Linked With Rogue IRA Killers
terrorist arrested last week for allegedly threatening mass murder by
poisoning England's water supply has developed close links with one of
Ireland's most feared paramilitary organisations.
sources say Adam Busby struck up friendships with members of the
Continuity IRA while serving a prison sentence. His relationship with
the organisation, a breakaway republican group opposed to the
Provisional IRA's ceasefire, led detectives to keep him under close
surveillance when he was released. They were worried the leader of the
Scottish National Liberation Army's unpredictability and access to
weapons through the Continuity IRA made him a major security threat.
Garda detective in the Republic of Ireland said: 'We were very worried
about what he might do here, in the North or on the British mainland. He
holds extremist views and is fanatical about his cause. 'While his
behaviour is highly unpredictable, he is not a stupid man. With the
terrorist links he has developed he could well have been capable of
planning and carrying out something big.
police in Scotland have been very concerned about him because officers
from Strathclyde regularly travel to Dublin to meet Garda Special Branch
are also concerned about Busby's links to a former Irish National
Liberation Army terrorist wanted for murder in England.
The man is believed to have left the INLA, but police are concerned he
could pass his terrorist expertise on to Busby.
he claimed he had left the SNLA but the authorities on both sides of the
Irish Sea have no doubt he could still pose a major security threat."
Note 2: The
hoax Anthrax letters sent to St Andrews university
and the DEFRA HQ in London in August 2001, had notes which bore the
name: "ARM". This was wrongly interpreted as an acronym for "Animal
Rights Militia", leading some to believe that the SNLA had induced
animal rights activists to send the letters.
This is not
the case. The word "ARM" is simply the Gaelic name for an army, and has
frequently been used by the SNLA.
this, the SNLA's links with animal rights activists are a reality.
have over 20 years experience of struggle and resistance. Beginning in
1980 as a typically amateurish traditionalist group, they have matured
into a tiny self-sustaining and totally dedicated group of highly
intelligent revolutionaries and terrorists who will go to any lengths to
achieve their aims.
They have a
totally millenarian outlook and worldview. They, and only they, or those
who are prepared to adopt their ideology and methods, can save Scotland
and the world.
Perhaps they are, but they also have a working knowledge of Weapons Of
Mass Destruction and the knowledge of how to use them. Most importantly,
they have the will and determination to use them.
proved that by the fact that they attempted to maim or kill umpteen very
ordinary people simply to test the effects of Caustic Soda inhalation.
They did it without a trace of hesitation or remorse.
recent attempt to introduce Lead Sulphate into the London water supply
was a deliberate attempt at mass murder.
They are in
the vanguard of what military analysts have called the Revolution In
Warfare, the frightening scenario where a tiny group of sub-national
actors can seriously threaten even the most powerful State with
in the USA on September 11th, 2001, are the classic example of just this
type of asymmetrical warfare.
are fully conscious that they are a minority within a minority, and know
that they can only hope to achieve their aims by the coercion of the
British State using WMD.
are fully prepared and determined to do just that, and they are now
equipped to do just that. They also have powerful allies who will help
them. The SNLA are not vicious, vindictive or psychopathic. They will do
what they perceive they have to do without any malice or rancour. But
they will not hesitate to do it.
This is the
inside story of the SNLA, and it is a story which is far from over.
The SSG's website gives this description of the SSG and
of their relationship with the SNLA:
Scottish Separatist Group
The Scottish National Liberation Army
Scottish Separatist Group operates this website. Please note that the
is an OPEN
and LEGAL political organisation which gives political support to the
WHAT IS THE
Scottish Separatist Group was formed in October 1995 by former members
and supporters of the Scottish National Liberation Army. The SSG is a
legal political organisation which functions openly and non-violently,
while giving political support to the SNLA.
this website also contains information about the SNLA – which is not a
legal organisation - it is important to stress that the SSG and the SNLA
are separate organisations.
The SSG has
three main aims. These are:
1) To halt
and reverse mass English Immigration into Scotland.
2) To restore Gaelic as the national language of all Scotland.
3) To establish and maintain a totally independent Scottish Republic.
The SSG is
a Scottish Republican and revolutionary nationalist group which supports
the Scottish National Liberation Army politically.
The SSG is,
above all else, an ACTIVIST group which - unlike all other so-called
"Scottish nationalist" groups - actively resists the British State.
totally rejects the passivity and the pseudo-nationalism of the
collaborationist SNP and its allies.
"nationalists" have never achieved anything for Scotland - and never
leadership are only interested in getting themselves elected.
only careerists who want to exploit the genuine national aspirations of
the Scottish people for their own ends.
believes that in Scotland it is now time for National Liberation!
We must reject everything British!
We must resist and destroy the British State!
We must reclaim our own country, our own language, and our own Freedom!
County Health Board gives a full account of the SNLA’s hoax Anthrax
letter attack on Cameron's British Foods, as well as a very clear
insight into, and assessment of the effect of, so-called "hoaxes". For
this reason it is worth quoting at length:
anthrax threat, or "event", occurred on a Friday morning last November,
when Cameron’s British Foods in Cape Coral received a letter containing
a tan powder.
accompanying letter stated that the recipients had been exposed to
anthrax, a potentially deadly bacterium.
immediately after the initial 911 call was received, Lee County’s
Emergency Operations Center had been activated, and as part of that
activation the Lee County Health Department’s Rapid Response Team was
Acting as a
member agency of what is called The Unified Command and Control Unit,
the health department dispatched an epidemiologist to the scene. The
Unified Command and Control Unit brings health, fire, EMS and law
enforcement expertise to one centralized location, near to, but outside
the immediate crisis perimeter - protecting those with the expertise to
contain the situation, as well as that of the public, is considered
Command and Control Unit orchestrates the actions of all involved, and
also notifies the FBI of the event. At the Cape Coral site, the health
department epidemiologist offered expertise in the areas of potential
public health threat, incubation period, symptoms and treatments,
containment, and potential for spread and methods of decontamination.
receiving hospital he met with victims and hospital staff.
the health department made follow-up visits, administered precautionary
medications, and during the event acted as health liaison
between Department of Health headquarters in Tallahassee and the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.
threat was received recently by another county business, and the health
department played a similar role.
acts can and already have occurred in Lee County," states Dr. Robert
South, epidemiologist at the Lee County Health Department.
As A Hoax - The Costs
"Hoax is a
term I personally don’t like to use in relation to a terrorist
incident", says South, noting that as part of the investigation it may
be established that although a biological agent was not present, an act
of terror in fact had still occurred. He explains that in all incidents
there are many consequences and many victims:
and long term physiological affects suffered by those possibly exposed
value of lost business due to closing and inconvenience
cost to business and government
of nearby homes, schools and businesses
posed when emergency vehicles go to the location
down access roads during event
down receiving hospital with diversions of other emergencies to other
fire and police crews and equipment out of general service to work the
and the taxpayers suffer in every bioterrorist event.
can be several thousand tax dollars that could be used for other public
needs, and may involve the time, manpower and equipment of any or all of
officials - FBI, CDC, Postal Inspectors, EPA, FDA, USDA
State Emergency Operations and Department of Health
Emergency Operations Center (EOC), city and county government, the Fire
Department’s Hazardous Materials Unit (HAZMAT), Police and Sheriff’s
Departments, and the Departments of Transportation and Public Safety.
government defines terrorism as "...the unlawful use of force and
violence against person or property to intimidate or coerce a
government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in
furtherance of political or social objective."
If this is
the intent, then the objective of the terrorist has been accomplished -
with or without the use of a real agent."
END OF BOOK