Scottish National Liberation Army
The Scottish National Liberation Army (SNLA), sometimes dubbed the 'Tartan Terrorists', was a militant group which aimed to bring about Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. The SNLA has been proscribed by the UK government. The group has been reported to have been founded by Adam Busby, a former soldier from Paisley after the 1979 devolution referendum, which the organisation claimed was fixed.
In January 2008 two men, Wayne Cook and Steven Robinson were convicted in Manchester of sending miniature bottles of vodka contaminated with caustic soda and threatening to kill English people 'with no hesitation or compunction' by poisoning the country's water supply, echoing a previous threat in 2006. The accompanying letters were signed 'SNLA'. Cook and Robinson were each sentenced to six years for these offences.
The previously most high profile act occurred in 1983 when letter bombs were sent to Lady Diana Spencer and to the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. The device sent to Thatcher was active and was opened by parliamentarian Robert Key: there was no explosion. Busby fled to Dublin in 1983 after the letter-bombing campaign; he was jailed in connection with that campaign in 1997.
In 1993, Andrew McIntosh was jailed for 12 years for conspiring to coerce the government into setting up a separate government in Scotland. The High Court in Aberdeen heard McIntosh had masterminded a campaign of disruption and fear which included placing bombs outside oil industry offices and sending letter bombs to the Scottish Office in Edinburgh. McIntosh served six years and was released in 1999. He died in 2004 after being arrested on firearms charges.
In 2002 Cherie Blair became a target of a renewed campaign by the SNLA when she was sent an anonymous parcel containing a vial that was crudely labeled as containing 'Massage Oil', but which on investigation actually proved to contain caustic acid. In addition to this attempted attack a renewed letter bomb campaign was waged against Scottish politicians the same year. The parcels were recovered after a man claiming to be from the Scottish National Liberation Army made an anonymous phone call to Scotland Yard. Professor Paul Wilkinson opined at the time: "The SNLA has surfaced from time to time." Meanwhile, Busby may be targeted for extradition to America to face terror charges following a series of e-mails to America about how to contaminate US water supplies.
In February 2007, SNLA involvement was claimed in the fatal Grayrigg derailment of a Virgin train traveling from London to Glasgow. A points failure was later found to be responsible. Preliminary investigation indicated that there was probably no sabotage.
In June 2009, Adam Busby Jr., the son of the SNLA founder, was jailed for 6 years for sending a total of 6 packages to various political figures, including First Minister Alex Salmond, Liberal Democrats MSP Mike Rumbles and Glasgow City Council. The packages contained shotgun cartridges and threatening notes. Police linked the crimes to Busby after calls made to journalists claiming SNLA responsibility for the actions were traced to his mobile phone.
The Scottish Separatist Group (SSG) has been described as the political wing of the SNLA. The SSG was formed in 1995 by former members and supporters of the SNLA. Both groups want to reverse English immigration into Scotland and promote Gaelic as the country’s national language.
- SNLA threat to poison water supply by Mark Macaskill and Jason Allardyce, The Sunday Times Scotland, 10 September 2006
- Who are the 'tartan terrorists'? BBC News Website, 2 March 2002
- Firearms charge man dies in jail BBC News Website, 18 October 2004
- Politicians on alert over mail scare BBC News Website, 2 March 2002
- Jacobs, Bill (27 February 2007). "Second train 'minutes away' from hitting crash wreckage". Edinburgh Evening News (Scotsman Newspapers). Retrieved 2007-03-22.
- Six years for 'tartan terrorist' BBC News Website, 18 June 2009
- Carrell, Severin (23 July 2010). "Scottish separatist Adam Busby jailed for Heathrow bomb hoaxes". The Guardian (London).