HeadLine: MSPs ON ALERT AFTER TOXIC DEATH THREATS
The Mirror, 15/03/2002, p11
by SHAUN MILNE
SCOTS MSPs were on high alert last night after 20 politicians received
chilling threats from tartan terrorists.
The sick email messages claimed the fanatics were armed with highly
toxic caustic soda.
Shaken politicians – including First Minister Jack McConnell and
Justice Minister Jim Wallace – were told they and their families were
The threats came just two weeks after packages containing caustic soda
were sent to several high-profile people, including Prime Minister’s
wife Cherie Blair.
Those packages were disguised as aromatherapy oils by members of the
Scottish National Liberation Army.
It is understood Mr Wallace received the email to his address at the
Scottish Parliament, which is available to the public on an official
Police were called in and further inquiries found that up to 20 MSPs
had received similar messages, including Tories Ben Wallace, Phil
Gallie and Mike Rumbles.
Friends of English-born Rumbles fear he is being targeted because he is
a so-called “white settler” – an Englishman choosing to live in
The fanatics of the SNLA have previously warned that English people
living in Scotland are legitimate targets.
Caustic soda can burn the skin, blind its victims and cause serious
lung damage. It can be fatal if swallowed.
A police source said: “There is nothing to suggest the SNLA are
involved in this but then we cannot discount the possibility either.”
But the source said police were worried enough about the emails to send
out a warning to all MSPs.
The source added: “The emails have been sent through various internet
service providers, which means it is harder to trace.”
Mr Gallie said he had received three of the emails over two days, all
from different addresses.
But he said he believed they were the work of “nutters”.
He added: “When I got them I let the police know and emailed security
at the Scottish Parliament and that’s the end of it so far as I’m
concerned.” Mr Rumbles said he was not worried for himself, but it was
“pretty awful” that his family was also threatened.
He said: “Openness and accessibility are essential to the Scottish
Parliament, but of course my staff have been fully briefed and we are
alert to any issue of security.”
The emails have been sent via so-called “hidden senders” and diverted
through various internet service providers, making it more difficult
for police to trace the culprits.
Mr Wallace also confirmed he was one of the politicians who received an
email but added that he did not want to go into detail about the
content while police are investigating.
He said: “Obviously it’s worrying but the main concern is more about
the state of mind of the people sending them.
“There is nothing sophisticated about this at all but you have to
wonder about the mental state of those people.”
A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: “We are not in a
position to comment about the inquiry because of the security
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