Cornish National Liberation Army

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The Cornish National Liberation Army, abbreviated to CNLA, was a paramilitary Cornish nationalist organisation that threatened to carry out acts of vandalism and arson against commercial targets that it considers to be English in Cornwall.[1]

History[edit]

The CNLA was founded sometime in 2006, allegedly by Stuart Ramsay born in Plymouth, Devon,[citation needed] and claims to represent a merger of the An Gof (originally founded in 1980 and reformed in 2007) and the Cornish Liberation Army. It claims to receive funding from organisations based in other Celtic nations and Irish American groups in the United States, and that some of its members have received training from the Free Wales Army, the Scottish National Liberation Army, and the Irish National Liberation Army, as well as the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

In June 2007, the CNLA issued threats against celebrity chefs Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver, who own restaurants in the area, as well as to customers of these restaurants.[2] A 36-year-old man was later arrested for making the threats.[3]

It has been described by the Cornish political party, Mebyon Kernow, as a 'pseudo-terrorist group'.[1] Dick Cole, spokesman for Mebyon Kernow, released a statement[4] to various London papers, as part of an effort by mainstream Cornish political groups to balance some of the sensationalist[5] commentary in the media.

The group also opposes the flying of the English flag in Cornwall, and has threatened to destroy all English flags in the region.[1]

There is little evidence as to the size of the CNLA other than an August 2007 interview in Cornish World Magazine in which Stuart Ramsay claims they have thirty members.[6]

Cornish Republican Army[edit]

As of the 9 October 2007 Stuart Ramsay changed the CNLA's name to the Cornish Republican Army or CRA, in response to copycat groups and supporters claiming to be CNLA.[citation needed] The announcement contained dismissals and admissions of various publicised CNLA attacks. It also confirmed that the activities threatened against Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein had been ceased.

In November 2007 Per Svenssonn, a writer for the internet periodical Ciudadanos Europeos, successfully gained an email interview with a member of the CRA through the Cornwall24 [1] website forum. As well as confirming the name change, the interview outlined (among other topics) the structure of the organisation, confirmed official CRA attacks and suggested future plans.

When questioned on forthcoming events the CRA spokesperson answered:

"2008 promises to be an interesting year for the English occupying forces and their establishment. Beyond that, no comment."

A hoax took place in March 1974 when students from Plymouth Polytechnic styled themselves the 'FCA' (Free Cornish Army) as part of a Rag Week stunt and convinced some of the Fleet Street press that Cornwall had declared independence.[7]

Arrests[edit]

There were arrests made in Cornwall of people, who, it was led to believe, had some connection with the CNLA. None of these were formally charged with anything. The arrests were strongly criticised by many, including the Celtic League as being completely spurious.[8]

In particular, the Celtic League has said this:[9]

Member B was released on the same day of his arrest to answer police bail on 16 January 2008, over four months after his arrest. On the day of his arrest Member B had a large number of items confiscated from his home by the police, including Cornish flags, a history book and papers relating to Kernow Branch activity and he was hoping that his possessions would be returned to him on the day he answered his bail.

On 16 January 2008 Member B was accompanied by several supporters from the Kernow Branch to Camborne police station for 11 am to answer his police bail. At 430pm the last of the Branch supporters had to return home, after not being informed when or if Member B would be released. Member B was finally released at 9:00 pm after ten hours of interrogation with little money or means of returning home.

Member B later informed other Branch members that the police had asked him about his possible contacts with the Free Wales Army, threatened to charge him with conspiracy and led him to believe that they would arrest further Cornish activists who, they seemed convinced, were part of a Cornish 'army'.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Morris, Steven (2007-06-14). "Cornish militants rise again – and this time they're targeting celebrity chefs". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  2. ^ "Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein threatened with firebombs by Cornish liberation terrorists". Daily Mail (UK). 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  3. ^ Sturcke, James (2007-06-14). "Man arrested over threats to celebrity chefs". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  4. ^ Cole, Dick. "Letter to London Press from Cllr Dick Cole concerning CNLA coverage". Mebyon Kernow (party website). 
  5. ^ "Ooh-arr on Cornish Terror". The Sun newspaper (online). Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "CNLA: the writing on the wall" in Cornish World Magazine, Issue 53 (August/September 2007) pp.50–53.
  7. ^ Part One – How to create your own nation state (the real story of the 1974 Cornish revolution)
  8. ^ "Cornwall Police Watch". Cornwall Police Watch. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  9. ^ League, Celtic. "CELTIC LEAGUE: GENERAL SECRETARY 'ALARMED' AT EVENTS IN CORNWALL". Cornwall Police Watch. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 

External links[edit]