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[P]
Madrid Bombings: al-Qaida or ETA?

By megid in Op-Ed
Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 03:18:48 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

So we got one Aznar and his PP stubbornly accusing the ETA, and the rest of the world more likely to believe it was al-Qaida, as much of the evidence points at them.

The big question remains: Who was it?

Quicksheet for the Rest Of The World (tm): Aznar is president of Spain and head of the right wing PP (Partido Popular). ETA is a declining Basque (state of Spain) terror organization with the goal of an independent Basque nation.


The Facts

There are several evidence that speak in favor of al-Qaida:

  • The plastic explosive "Goma 2" used in the bombings has not been used by ETA for several years. They use "Titadyne" now.
  • The detonator was made of copper; ETA prefers ones made of aluminium.
  • The stolen van used to transport the bombs contained one audio tape with koran verses.
  • Fingerprints found in the van do not match with any known or suspected ETA member.
  • For the first time in its history, ETA has condemned the attacks. They have never done this before.
  • ETA also publicly said: "We did not do that".
  • Spain is one of the main retreats of al-Qaida. According to the official version, the 9/11 attacks have been partly prepared here.
  • Islamic fundamentalist have threatened spain with retaliation for its involvement in Iraq.
  • Members of al-Qaida have, in an (arabic) London newspaper, claimed to be responsible for the bombings.
  • Some antiterror experts claim the attacks to be too sophisticated for ETA.
But some facts also speak in favor of ETA being the culprit:
  • Regarding the plastic explosive, although it has been several years, ETA once DID use "Goma 2".
  • In December 2003 ETA planned an attack on a train heading for Madrid, but failed. Though dissimilar in style, the intention to bomb trains remains.
  • Two weeks ago ETA members were arrested in a van full of plastic explosives they wanted to detonate in Madrid. Their street map showed, among other markings, also a mark around the area of the current bombings.
  • At the time before the bombings, ETA members handed out leaflets calling for sabotaging the spanish rail system.
  • One of the security cameras in one of the train stations showed a man that seems similar to a wanted ETA member.
  • In contrast to most al-Qaida attacks, this one was no suicide attack (or so is believed at this point of time).
  • Regarding the confession letter in the London newspaper, their is doubt in its authenticity. al-Quaida has never been so quick to claim responsibility.
The Elections

Tomorrow are elections in Spain. The right wing PP (Partido Popular) with Rajoy as heir of Aznar seems to be ahead of the left wing PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol) with Zapatero as its candidate.

Implications

If it was al-Qaida, this is bad news for the PP; most of the populace was against the Iraq involvement and this could be seen as the rightful retalitation for it; in this case, many could see the PP having gone the wrong way.

If it was ETA, this is good news for the PP; its zero-tolerance politics against ETA would gain more support. However, ever since a growing moderate faction inside the ETA abandoned the idea of violent dissent, the terrorist activities of ETA have declined anyway; even so, a powerful Feindbild would definitely strengthen the PP.

Politics

The PP is trying to use the situation to its utmost. Aznar advised all of Spains ambassadors to spread the "news" that ETA was the culprit; obviously, he is pretty nervous about the vote tomorrow.

News of any stance of the PSOE have not reached European mainstream media yet; as of now, it is only known that Zapatero, like Rajoy and everyone else, deeply condemned the bombings. But undoubtly the PSOE will also try to use the situation to its advantage.

Update

The best and freshest information about the Madrid bombings including lots of background seems to be coming from Wikipedia.

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Poll
Who do you believe was it?
o al-Qaida 66%
o ETA 12%
o Someone else 21%

Votes: 89
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Rajoy
o Zapatero
o Wikipedia
o Also by megid


Display: Sort:
Madrid Bombings: al-Qaida or ETA? | 283 comments (261 topical, 22 editorial, 6 hidden)
There's really very little question (2.16 / 6) (#1)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 10:55:52 AM EST

The authorities in Madrid have just stated that they are now 99% sure that Muslims are behind the bombings. This may show up on CNN after the elections tomorrow.

Very little question? (none / 1) (#5)
by Stephen Turner on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 11:22:50 AM EST

Do you have a reference for that, imrdkl? The BBC are still reporting that the authorities see ETA as the main suspects.

[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 2) (#7)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 11:41:28 AM EST

But it's still in Norwegian, here. The relevant bits say that:
Spansk etterretning sa imidlertid i kveld at de var "99 prosent sikre" på at muslimer stod bak bombene.
Translated:
Spanish news agencies report this evening that they were 99% sure that Muslims were behind the bombs.
The report begins with the government report which states that they are currently following "two primary suspects" in the bombing, and then goes on to say that several major spanish newspapers have reported today that they suspect the spanish government is withholding additional evidence until after the elections which end tomorrow at 7pm.

[ Parent ]
Why? (none / 1) (#6)
by scruffyMark on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 11:26:08 AM EST

Politicians have said it, so it must be true? They've been known to bend the truth in the past. Granted I don't know much of how politics works in Spain...

Could be they don't want to blow an ongoing investigation by revealing how close they are to the suspects.

Or maybe they just figure people will be happier if they get to look abroad to lay blame, and can avoid considering the possibility that it was Catholic Spaniards blowing each other up. People are distressingly willing to decide on the "safe" interpretation that bad things involve people with a different religion, language and skin colour.

[ Parent ]

That would _not_ be the "safe version" (none / 2) (#170)
by Alia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 04:23:28 AM EST

...and can avoid considering the possibility that it was Catholic Spaniards blowing each other up. People are distressingly willing to decide on the "safe" interpretation...

I think that the "safe" version to believe for us Spaniards would be the ETA version. The version of islamic fundamentalists going on and on attacking western capitals is not at all good news. To ETA and their terror we are used; we have coped with it for 40 years, and it would be easier for us to cope with that than havind to face some faceless fundamentalist enemy.

And as for "Catholic Spaniards", that is slightly too much. Most Spaniards claim to be Catholic, yes, but most of them only attend church for weddings and christenings. Fortunately, religion is not a big or important part of Spanish life, despite what the Popular Party would like to believe.



[ Parent ]
Spain election results .. (none / 0) (#176)
by kurioszyn on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 04:55:06 AM EST

"The version of Islamic fundamentalists going on and on attacking western capitals is not at all good news."

Agreed. Pretty bad news ..
Of course now when Spaniards just proved that this sort of little extra "campaigning" courtesy of Bin Laden boys works wonders , Europe will have to be prepared for even worse "news".

In another words, without even realizing it, Spaniards just signed a death warrant on untold numbers of future victims.
And I am not talking about Islamo-facists only, I bet ETA will draw some pretty disturbing conclusions from 3/11 and the subsequent events.

Who is next ?
My guess would be Italy ..

[ Parent ]

Unquestionably (none / 2) (#181)
by imrdkl on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:11:53 AM EST

The attacks had an effect on the outcome, but the vast majority of votes were lost because of way the event was handled by the government. There's really no question about that.

[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 0) (#184)
by kurioszyn on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:20:01 AM EST

Yeah, I completely agree.

Either way it was democracy at its worst.

Sometimes people do make bad choices and there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it.


[ Parent ]

maybe (none / 1) (#186)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:31:13 AM EST

I tend to think that rather than being upset at the quick blaming of ETA, the Spaniards offer this as a rationalization for a simpler phenomenon: the bombings vividly brought back the disagreement about the war, and at such an opportune moment that the people saw their chance to pay back the government for its blatantly undemocratic behaviour with Iraq.

In other words, the bombs reminded people that it was payback time.

[ Parent ]

Agreed (none / 0) (#188)
by imrdkl on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:35:11 AM EST

But keep in mind that the final tally gave the PSOE only 16 more deputies than the PP. They'll still have to form a coalition with at least two of the smaller parties to rule. I submit that those 16 deputies would never have been lost if Acebes had been open and honest about all possibilities from the beginnning.

[ Parent ]
think there were that many swing voters? (none / 2) (#193)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 06:04:36 AM EST

Actually, this could make sense. The voter turnout was higher than expected previous to the bombing, and of course the unexpected voters aren't taken into account for predictions.

Moreover, voters who were going to vote all along probably made up their minds fairly long ago in election terms. If you're politically atuned, either you broadly agree with your government, or you don't.

I don't have a handy link for the increase in voter turnout, but it would be interesting to see if that percentage increase covers the percentage difference in PSOE/PP votes.

Here's a formal statement: if you take the predicted win of PP on the predicted voter turnout, and then add the true turnout difference as purely votes for PSOE, do you get the current result?

[ Parent ]

The difference in turnout (none / 1) (#195)
by imrdkl on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 06:10:54 AM EST

Was on the order of 10% in comparison with the previous election from 55 to 65 percent. (or something like that) I also believe that the majority of the "new" voters went with PSOE, but I also believe there was a significant number of folks who changed their minds - they were marginally for PP due to their stand against the ETA, but then were turned off by the handling of the bombings.

[ Parent ]
quick calculation (none / 0) (#198)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 06:29:57 AM EST

From Wikipedia, the final number of voters is about 24 million, 10% = 2.5 million or so. If we subtract this solely from PSOE for simplicity, we'd be looking at 11 - 2.5 = 8.5 million for PSOE, and 9.6 for PP assuming their votes didn't change.

So without the extra turnout, PP would have been getting 37%/90% = 41% of the votes, and PSOE would have been getting (8.5/11)*42% = 32%. Frankly, with those numbers, I'm not sure we can say anything about this - the whole election could have easily been decided solely by the unexpected voters.

Do you have predicted percentages for the parties before the bombing? If you do, we can estimate what percentage of the extra turnout voted for PSOE, and what percentage voted for PP (ignoring all other parties for simplicity).

[ Parent ]

That's a stretch (none / 0) (#203)
by imrdkl on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 08:00:28 AM EST

What about the percentage of "new" voters who showed up just to vote for a strong hand against terrorism?

The pre-election numbers were relatively close even though PP held a margin, and I think they're discussed in this articles commentary somewhere.

[ Parent ]

couldn't find them (none / 0) (#251)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:43:27 PM EST

Doesn't matter, it's a rough calculation.

[ Parent ]
Interestingly (none / 0) (#272)
by imrdkl on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:17:18 PM EST

The chronicle sort of backs up your theory... I'm still not convinced, but you might be on to something.

[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, I just can't let it go (none / 0) (#217)
by decaf_dude on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:36:14 AM EST

Could you please explain the term Islamo-fascist to me? What is it about modern Islamic fundamentalist movement that makes you think they believe in racial or ethnic superiority, or direct tie-in of economic and social aspects of state? Do you have any idea what Fascism actually means? Hint: it's not synonymous with "evildoers", which seems to be what your simplistic edutainment on Fox News may have taught you...

--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
Facism (none / 0) (#226)
by kurioszyn on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:39:01 AM EST

Facism is not only about "racial or ethnic superiority".

Anyway, judging by your remarks you seem to exibit symptoms of a typical condesending intellectual snob so I won't even bother answering your question in more details.


[ Parent ]

I have a more appropriate ending for your comment (none / 0) (#280)
by decaf_dude on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 01:52:23 PM EST

"Nyah nyah nyah! You're a poopy-head!"

Just another typical condesending[sic] intellectual snob's observation...


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
Fascism (none / 1) (#237)
by mcc on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 02:12:38 PM EST

Have you ever seen what happens when islamic fundamentalist extremists like those in Al-Qaeda gain control of a state?

What wasn't fascist about the Taliban?

You do know that before they got their nice little hidey-hole in Afghanistan smacked down, Al-Qaeda really did honestly believe that their end goal was to conquer/unite the entire middle east in one grand "Islamic Empire" that they would rule, right?

Of course "fascism"'s definition has acquired some fuzziness in the last century. But, please read this link. It is an exhuastive definition of the word "Fascism", written by Benito Mussolini. I think we can consider that an authoritative source. The definition given there fits Al-Qaeda and Friends to a T.

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]

Pretty much everything (none / 0) (#279)
by decaf_dude on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 01:46:13 PM EST

Taliban are (not were) conservative ideologues, who believe theirs is the only correct interpretation of life, with a sense of duty to make the rest of the world adhere to their "true" beliefs, forcibly or otherwise.

They do not believe in the state as the One True EntityTM, they do not have a cult of leader persona, and they do not have a particularly defined link between the state and the economic growth; in fact, they do not seem to be concerned with economic growth at all. All these fundamental traits of Fascism (as history defines it) are completely missing in Taliban, or indeed any other modern Islamic fundamentalist movement.

Thanks for the link, please feel free to read it yourself (no, really). As an exercise, run the current US Administration through the Fascism filter described in that document and tell me if you see any fundamental differences.

Before you jump on me for calling the American gov't Fascist, let me clarify (again): Fascism is not a synonym for evil, it's yet another form of government, invented by humans, just like Democracy, Socialism, Communism, and many others through the history. There are 6bn people on Earth, and individuals' views on each of these forms of government vary greatly; there is no One True WayTM, no matter what you may have been told.


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
RE: Trolling or simply stupid? (none / 0) (#282)
by wombat68 on Wed Mar 24, 2004 at 06:57:45 AM EST

Have you ever seen what happens when islamic fundamentalist extremists like those in Al-Qaeda gain control of a state?
Al Qaeda (your spelling) have never controlled a state. Are you talking about the Taliban?

What wasn't fascist about the Taliban?
The Taliban had no connection to or sponsorship of 'corporatism'.
The Taliban did not have 'faci', groups of pseudo-police, they had a organised military that answered directly to the leadership.

You do know that before they got their nice little hidey-hole in Afghanistan smacked down, Al-Qaeda really did honestly believe that their end goal was to conquer/unite the entire middle east in one grand "Islamic Empire" that they would rule, right?
Good lord what have you been smoking? They had their 'hidey-hole' 'smacked down'? Do you know anything about the history of 'Al-Qaeda' at all? Or the Middle East since WW1?

The definition given there fits Al-Qaeda and Friends to a T.
Interesting link, fits the current US Administration well.
The 'Taliban', a group of Pashtun warlords, grouped together as a single force was more of a theocratic military dictatorship than a facist state. After all, there has to be a 'state' in order for there to be a facist state, and 15 years of fighting the Russians, then each other for final control, left little more than rubble and opium fields. Hardly what you would call a police-enforced-corporate state.


[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 1) (#228)
by scruffyMark on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 12:47:44 PM EST

Thanks for the info. I really don't know a lot about Spanish politics.

I was thinking about incidents in the States, e.g. the Oklahoma bombing - the government right away leapt to blame Islamic terrorists, exploiting xenophobia rather than face the fact that it might be a domestic terrorist.

[ Parent ]

Bush = Aznar (none / 1) (#3)
by vqp on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 11:10:33 AM EST

Bush lied about WMD in Irak. Will he lose the elections?. You implied that Aznar is lying about this. Let's see what happens Sunday, and then make predictions about the US pres elections.

happiness = d(Reality - Expectations) / dt

** Small note to native spanish speakers (1.77 / 9) (#12)
by mcc on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 01:13:55 PM EST

We have seen a small influx of native spanish speakers in the last few days, and they seem to have all made this error. This is just so that you know:

In english, it is spelled "Iraq", not "Irak".

[ Parent ]

I'm willing (none / 1) (#99)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 01:26:08 PM EST

to let that slide, out of respect to our foreign members. How about you?

[ Parent ]
Um? (none / 1) (#133)
by mcc on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:06:05 PM EST

I just wanted to let them know. (Whichever of said foreign members saw my post, at least.) shrug

[ Parent ]
Uh , that nasty liar .. (none / 0) (#182)
by kurioszyn on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:14:07 AM EST

"Bush lied about WMD in Irak. "

Lied ?
Do you have any proof for that statement ?
And no, the fact that no WMD were found  does not constitute one.

Better safe than sorry ?
Ever heard that one before ?


[ Parent ]

proof (none / 1) (#190)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:39:32 AM EST

Why Bush is a liar: he stated repeatedly as incontrovertible fact that Iraq had WMD. When challenged, he dismissed the possibility that Iraq might not have WMD. It is now a fact that Iraq did not have WMD. It follows that Bush knowingly(*) told an untruth, and that's the definition of a liar.

(*) Clearly, he knew that his statements of fact were not facts, merely possibilies. Hence he knew that it wasn't *true* that Iraq had WMD, only that it was *possible*.

[ Parent ]

So many liars ... (none / 1) (#227)
by kurioszyn on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:55:12 AM EST

"he stated repeatedly as incontrovertible fact that Iraq had WMD. "

They did.
It was a proven fact back in late 90s.
Frankly, if Bush is a liar then so is Clinton , Kerry and host of other people.

They all were in agreement that Saddam had WDM - the difference being that Kerry did not consider war to be a viable option and preferred containment ( or at least he claimed afterwards that this was his position.)

[ Parent ]

can't agree (none / 0) (#249)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:24:49 PM EST

"he stated repeatedly as incontrovertible fact that Iraq had WMD. "

They did. It was a proven fact back in late 90s.

If Iraq did, then it should be an easy matter for you to point to them.

Where are they?

If you can't point them out to me, based on the years of legwork of inspectors on the ground, internet sources and whatever else you have access to, then they did not.

They all were in agreement that Saddam had WDM -
Incorrect. 3 out of 5 security council members, backed by their extensive intelligence networks, did not accept the proposition. As it turns out, there were serious doubts about this within the other two security council member intelligence orgs as well.

In the case of Kerry, I don't know enough about him to know if he had direct access to the same intelligence supplied to Bush (in which case Kerry acted hypocritically), or whether he didn't, and had no choice but to take Bush's statements as fact (due to Bush's insistence on it being fact, withoud direct proof, rather than possibility).

So yes, Kerry may have been a liar too.

[ Parent ]

war (none / 0) (#252)
by kurioszyn on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:25:34 PM EST

I wasn't talking about council members, which being representatives of foreign nations they have their own little (and not so little) agendas and thus are irrelevant in the context of US security.
I was talking about US politicians - all of them agreed that Saddam was a dangerous man and needed to be removed one way or another.
It was Clinton who formulated and officially signed US policy calling for removal of Hussein.
He simply never acted on it.

I simply don't accept your premise that Bush knowingly lied, especially considering that you have no facts to back this assertion ( his prior knowledge of the fact that Hussein had no WMD would be one.)

I keep hearing this "Bush lied" but nobody seems to have any explanation regarding his possible motive for engaging in this extremely dangerous game.
I mean he was and still is risking a lot and for what ?
Material gains? What material gains ?
So far we have spent billions of dollars and they way things are going , it looks highly unlikely any US company
will be able to make any serious money on this adventure.
I mean we are dealing here with highly experienced political operatives , some of them in their 70s having spent half a century serving in various position in multiple administration, and you think they would risk it all in a quest to make couple of bucks in this sort of  highly dangerous game ?
There are much safer and more profitable ways to enrich yourself without living good old USA.

[ Parent ]

points (none / 0) (#253)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:31:46 PM EST

I wasn't talking about council members, which being representatives of foreign nations they have their own little (and not so little) agendas and thus are irrelevant in the context of US security.
Fair point. That means the discussion must be restricted to US intelligence gathering. I believe there have been doubts raised among the US intelligence community about their own claims. Also, it is a fact that some of their arguments relied on foreign intelligence of dubious quality (ie 45 minute claims borrowed from the British, the fabricated nuclear claim, etc), which the politicians presented as solid fact, rather than possibility.

It was Clinton who formulated and officially signed US policy calling for removal of Hussein. He simply never acted on it.
Fair point. Are you saying he lied too? I don't know, it's possible.

I simply don't accept your premise that Bush knowingly lied, especially considering that you have no facts to back this assertion ( his prior knowledge of the fact that Hussein had no WMD would be one.)
Did Bush have prior certainty about Hussein's WMD? No. At best, his sources would have stated that such was a possibility. If the sources had been certain, the actual locations of WMD would have come to light at some point, with smiling GIs posing for photos in front of them. Or are you suggesting that discovering genuine WMD, even while their exact location is known, would be passed on by the administration for a year or more?

So it is clear that: 1) Bush was told of the *possibility* not certainty, and 2) Bush told the public of the *certainty*. Bush lied.

Alternatively: 1) Bush was told of the *certainty* of WMD. 2) Bush vetoed the retrieval of those WMD for unknown reasons, preferring to look like a liar.

I keep hearing this "Bush lied" but nobody seems to have any explanation regarding his possible motive for engaging in this extremely dangerous game.
I don't care what his motive is. I don't follow US politics unless it affects the rest of the world. I've proved to you that he lied. What more do you need? Blair lied too, if that makes you feel better. Kerry may have lied, Clinton may have lied. Whatever.

I mean we are dealing here with highly experienced political operatives , some of them in their 70s having spent half a century serving in various position in multiple administration, and you think they would risk it all in a quest to make couple of bucks in this sort of highly dangerous game ?
There are many examples world wide and in America of such types of people gambling one more time and failing. I'm sure the Enron criminals were highly experienced, some in their 70s, and they continued their criminal behaviour knowning that there was a risk they could be found out. And they were.

I've given you one example (Enron) of smart people risking all. You can find others. This proves that the current administration isn't a priori immune to risking all on dubious grounds.

[ Parent ]

Bush (none / 0) (#255)
by kurioszyn on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:11:55 AM EST

"Did Bush have prior certainty about Hussein's WMD? No. "

Well, his whole speech was based on the premise that , while we don't have direct proof that Saddam has WMD at this point, we cannot take any chances with this guy - especially considering his past.

I remember that rather clearly.

He was basically saying "better safe than sorry" and frankly, I couldn't agree more considering what happened 3 years ago.

I do agree that the administration did a rather substandard job trying to sell their reasons for going into Iraq but that's just arguing about semantics (artifacts of political realities of operating within a highly competitive democratic system if you will.)
FDR was known to pull couple of rather dirty tricks on isolationists in his quest to support UK but I doubt many people know or care about it now.

PS.

Imagine how the world and his political opponents would have reacted, had Bush proposed sending the army to Afghanistan prior to 9/11 , given some unspecified intelligence about possible attacks being planned by Bin Laden and his associates  ?

Something to think about ...

[ Parent ]

bush (none / 0) (#259)
by martingale on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:17:24 AM EST

Well, his whole speech was based on the premise that , while we don't have direct proof that Saddam has WMD at this point, we cannot take any chances with this guy - especially considering his past.

I remember that rather clearly.

Quotes from the State of the Union 2003, prewar. Easy speech to find on Google.

"The job of the inspectors is to verify that Iraq's regime is disarming. It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see, and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened."

"U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them -- despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence."

"From three Iraqi defectors we know [...] several mobile biological weapons labs. [...] Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed them."

"The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary; he is deceiving."

"The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm."

"Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraqi's legal -- Iraq's illegal weapons programs, its attempt to hide those weapons from inspectors, and its links to terrorist groups."

"If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him. (Applause.)"

I do agree that the administration did a rather substandard job trying to sell their reasons for going into Iraq but that's just arguing about semantics
Then why are you arguing with me? Accept that Bush lied, and argue e.g. that he had to so as to do his job. It's just semantics.

Imagine how the world and his political opponents would have reacted, had Bush proposed sending the army to Afghanistan prior to 9/11 , given some unspecified intelligence about possible attacks being planned by Bin Laden and his associates ?
I expect, in exactly the same way. Lying about Afghanistan is as much lying as is lying about Iraq.

[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#267)
by kurioszyn on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:58:31 PM EST

Nothing he said can be considered a lie.

Do you have any proof that CIA did not provide Bush with this sort of information ?
Do you know for sure that there were no Iraqi defectors claiming that Saddam still had WMD ?

To prove that somebody lied (as opposed to basing his opinion on incorrect information) you have to prove the intent.
You have not.

" Lying about Afghanistan is as much lying as is lying about Iraq."

Yeah, I gather from your response that you believe that 9/11 was a lie as well. It never happened.

PS.
Given your argument, I assume you always make correct decisions based on impeccable intelligence.
Lucky you.


[ Parent ]

come on (none / 0) (#276)
by martingale on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:53:19 PM EST

Do you have any proof that CIA did not provide Bush with this sort of information ? Do you know for sure that there were no Iraqi defectors claiming that Saddam still had WMD ?
That's the argument of the two parent posts. Maybe the CIA did give Bush certainty, and he decided to leave the WMD buried for more than a year. Why can't you accept that Bush didn't get certainties, but stated certainties in public?

To prove that somebody lied (as opposed to basing his opinion on incorrect information) you have to prove the intent. You have not.
No, you have to prove that he did not report the facts as presented to him. He was presented with a possibility, and he stated a certainty. He lied. No intent required.

" Lying about Afghanistan is as much lying as is lying about Iraq."

Yeah, I gather from your response that you believe that 9/11 was a lie as well. It never happened.

Now you're grasping. I responded to your hypothetical question about world reaction if Bush had invaded Afghanistan before 9/11. I answered that lying to get a preemptive strike on Afghanistan would still be lying. I'm not arguing about facts such as 9/11.

PS. Given your argument, I assume you always make correct decisions based on impeccable intelligence. Lucky you.
Hah. Are you saying Bush slipped and gave certainty rather than possibility as a mistake? It's possible once or twice, but you can check out lots of speeches prewar, all give certainty about Iraq's WMD. That's no mistake.

And we're not arguing about making decisions based on intelligence, we're arguing about lying to the public in relation to what the intelligence says (ie it says "maybe", and Bush, Blair, Powell, Rumsfeld said "definitely"). Those are lies which have nothing to do with the ultimate decisions to go to war. The war itself was merely a reckless decision.

[ Parent ]

You may be about to mug me! (none / 0) (#191)
by mold on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:45:15 AM EST

I guess I should beat the shit out of you and take your money! Better safe than sorry!

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
Question about Spanish electorial process (none / 2) (#4)
by pyramid termite on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 11:21:28 AM EST

What would happen if after the election, people were to discover that Al Qaeda was responsible and blamed the conservative government for it, assuming they win? Is there anything like a no-confidence mechanism that could recall the government?

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
nothing would happen (none / 2) (#71)
by muyuubyou on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 09:48:33 PM EST

  Be it ETA or Al-Quaeda, I want a government that doesn't negotiate with terrorists. Iraq was one thing and terrorist is another thing. I was against the war on Iraq, but I'm all for war on terrorism.

  Yes I want to be in a country that is not terrorist-friendly even if that means putting the crosshair on me.

[ Parent ]

About Spanish electoral process (none / 0) (#171)
by Alia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 04:27:52 AM EST

In theory, it would be possible for the opposition parties to start a process to put down the governemnt. That would in the end require a second election, probably. In practice, this would be highly unlikely and difficult to accomplish.

Fortunately, there is no need for that now.

[ Parent ]
What if it's neither? (2.00 / 5) (#8)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 11:50:27 AM EST

Could be Saddam's loyal martyrs, the Fedayeen, or disgruntled labor unionists.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.

More interestingly: (none / 0) (#172)
by Alia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 04:29:02 AM EST

What if it is both? Companies are going global with mergers and alliances, why not terrorist organizations?

[ Parent ]
Why are you so desperate for it to be Al-Qaida? (2.77 / 9) (#9)
by Weyland Yutani on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 12:00:45 PM EST

We don't yet know for sure, but so far even the Guardian admits Eta are the prime suspect. In December it was warned that Eta were planning to change their tactics to large-scale attacks using simultaneous multiple devices. Finally, very similar rail attacks by Eta have been thwarted before.

All sources I've found say the explosive was titadine not "Goma 2" as you claim. Where did you get your information from? You don't seem willing to back up your claims with links or sources. Also, you neglect to mention that the Al-Qaida-associated group that claimed responsibilty are notorious for false claims. They even falsely claimed responsiblity for last year's big US powercuts.

Now, it's easy to see why the English-speaking media are playing up the Al-Qaida angle. It's because they are all systematically biased... in favor of high ratings and against hard work. They've already done their research on Al-Qaida, don't know much about Eta, so it's easier for the journalists. Americans are not really threatened by Eta: the story becomes much scarier and thus more interesting if Al-Qaida are involved.

But this is about the third "It must be Al-Qaida" article in the queue in the last day. Why do you want it to be Al-Qaida so much?
--------------------
Spinning my wheels on the launchpad, spitting I dunno and itch

The better question (2.75 / 4) (#10)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 12:35:07 PM EST

Why do you want it not to be al-Quida? Why did the spanish govt. immedietly conclude that it was Eta before the investigation had even begun? Why does local news in Spain suspect that the govt. is holding back? And most of all, is it ok if it turns out to be al-Quida if Acebes wins tomorrow?

[ Parent ]
Why do you say I don't? (none / 3) (#13)
by Weyland Yutani on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 01:18:55 PM EST

I haven't posted a single story to the queue saying "It must be Eta". Nor has anyone else. Yet we've had this one claiming it must be Al-Qaida, there's one by marx in voting right now, and one was voted down yesterday.

Yet as the Guardian points out, most intelligence agencies believe Eta is more likely:

Although European intelligence services remained open-minded yesterday, the consensus was that Eta rather than al-Qaida was to blame. The Polish government - which has formed a close working relationship with the Spanish over the last year, with the two countries allied over European Union negotiations and sharing the same military sector in Iraq - was alone in saying that its intelligence service assessment was 50-50 as to whether Eta or al-Qaida was to blame.

But other intelligence agencies, such as the Germans, said the suspicion pointed firmly towards Eta. "We're assuming a greater probability that Eta was responsible," a German intelligence source told Reuters. This was the view too at the Foreign Office counter-terrorist branch, which put the likelihood of Eta being responsible at considerably more than 50-50...

Diego Muro, a specialist on Eta at King's College London, rejected as fantasy a theory circulating of an alliance between Eta and al-Qaida: "It is one or the other. There is no Yellow Pages for terrorist organisations for calling each other."

We really don't know for certain yet who did it. But it's interesting that the queue is being flooded with stories asserting as fact the less likely possibility.

Why?
--------------------
Spinning my wheels on the launchpad, spitting I dunno and itch

[ Parent ]

It's not the number of stories (none / 2) (#15)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 01:36:33 PM EST

Which claim Eta did it, that are motivating the al-Quida claims. As I pointed out, and as you failed to address, the government of Spain made every effort to limit the focus of the investigation, and public opinion, to the Eta.

As you're no doubt aware, there is significant evidence to the contrary, and not just as named in the article above, either. The Norwegian defense study group which found the webpages mentioned by marx is well-established in their research efforts. The other article was shit, and not worth mentioning as giving any sort of opinion.

This article tries to be balanced, imho. My comment below represents the strongest opinion towards al­-Quida within anything so far published, although I'm not going to submit a story just yet.

All in all, I, along with much of the rest of Europe and Scandanavia are disgusted by what is clearly a whitewash and a witchhunt by the Spanish government to avoid a defeat based on their decision to back GWB in the Iraq Fiasco. Lets face it, al-Quida has done nothing but grow stronger due to the giant sucking sound in Iraq, and as while we continue to smash cockroaches with sledgehammers over there, al-Quida appears to be slicing away at the few allies which we do have with a razor.

So, yes. This needs coverage, even though it wont make it out of queue before the election is over.

[ Parent ]

Very mysterious, this 'significant evidence' (none / 2) (#16)
by Weyland Yutani on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 01:51:18 PM EST

It's very odd. Whenever this "significant evidence" is actually exposed, it seems to wither away.... a claim by a group that routinely makes false claims, a named explosive without a source for the name.

Regarding the Norwegian evidence, not speaking Norwegian I'm forced to rely on you. Yet while search is broken, my memory still works, and it seems to bring back many similar voting queue debates with you. For instance, a DEBKAfile report that China was to join the Afghan war on the Taliban side; another unsubstantiated claim that the US air force was dropping millions of banknotes over Afghanistan attached to portraits of G.W. Bush. Therefore, I'm afraid I don't attach much importance to your assertions of the reliability of these sources: you do tend to be somewhat credulous in these matters.

I, along with much of the rest of Europe and Scandanavia are disgusted by what is clearly a whitewash and a witchhunt by the Spanish government to avoid a defeat based on their decision to back GWB in the Iraq Fiasco. Lets face it, al-Quida has done nothing but grow stronger due to the giant sucking sound in Iraq, and as while we continue to smash cockroaches with sledgehammers over there, al-Quida appears to be slicing away at the few allies which we do have with a razor.
Well, while my question as to "why?" is still unanswered, it's good to know I can rule out political axe-grinding as an explanation...
--------------------
Spinning my wheels on the launchpad, spitting I dunno and itch

[ Parent ]
Your memory fails you (none / 2) (#17)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 02:04:22 PM EST

We've never debated, you and I. Perhaps it was someone else who you perceive to be a liberal, or perhaps you tend to group those who disagree with you and your jack-booted party line together. Shrug.

In the end, what happened in Afghanistan really isn't relevant in this discussion anyways, except for the fact that al-Quida was not defeated (as we now see), bin Laden is still on the loose, and hundreds of billions of dollars and hundreds of American lives have been wasted on a project completely devoid of al-Quida "wins". Would you not agree with that, at least?

In any case, I guess we'll see in a day or two. For now, I tend to trust stratfor a bit more than a shrill voice saying, "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain". You know what I mean? Perhaps that answers your question, or perhaps you would care to rephrase it in terms of what you want to hear.

[ Parent ]

Yes, you have. (none / 1) (#52)
by ti dave on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 05:15:19 PM EST

Christ, don't be so fucking obtuse. Just reply to the thread.
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
The thread (none / 1) (#54)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 05:26:16 PM EST

Seems to be concluded. I don't see any need to rub his nose in it. I had forgotten that he was Theo, though. Hi, Theo. How does it smell?

[ Parent ]
What? (none / 1) (#102)
by Weyland Yutani on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 01:42:59 PM EST

I never said for certain that it was Eta. As ever, my opinion was carefully balanced and based on the facts, stating only the balance of possibilities.

And while this unsubstantiated new evidence does tilt the balance somewhat towards Al-Qaida, it's far from conclusive, and still doesn't explain the titradine, the near-identical thwarted Eta attack, or the characteristic use of backpacks.

Let's not forget the "in the name of Allah" headlines after the Oklahoma City bombings.

However, in this case your instinctive distrust of moslems may have been somewhat justified. In future, I shall follow your example and rush to blame Islamic militants for any atrocity. It's usually them after all: why bother to wait for evidence?
--------------------
Spinning my wheels on the launchpad, spitting I dunno and itch

[ Parent ]

Haw (none / 0) (#107)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 03:01:33 PM EST

My instinctive distrust applies primarily to those who would blindly follow a fairy tale, as you've just indicated that you would, and as you've clearly done in the past. I'd go so far as to say, in fact, that your distrust of "moslems" was pre-existing. Would you not agree? Nevertheless, in this case, I feel it appropriate to point out to you that my reporting on the muslim factor was purely based on news reports which I trust, and logic which I employ throughout my discourse.

Your suspicion was characteristically absent when regarding the insistence of the Spanish administration for a full day that the Eta was to blame. I'm glad to see that your balance can, at least, be tilted.

[ Parent ]

You're wrong (3.00 / 5) (#29)
by ElMiguel on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 03:05:37 PM EST

As I pointed out, and as you failed to address, the government of Spain made every effort to limit the focus of the investigation, and public opinion, to the Eta.

That's false. At first, the government jumped to the conclusion that ETA was the culprit and admitted so publicly. In hindsight it was premature, but many of us reached the same conclusion in good faith. Anyway, it only took them a few hours to back off and since then they've said every time that the police is investigating "all the possibilities". Prime Minister Aznar, for example, hasn't said one time it was ETA, that I know.

I don't have any reason to believe the government is interfering with the investigations and it would certainly be perceived as extremely grave by the Spanish society if it became known they had.

[ Parent ]

A few hours my ass (none / 3) (#30)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 03:23:55 PM EST

It wasn't until late that evening, after the bomb squad and other antiterrorism officials spoke out, that there was even a hint of the possibility that it could be someone besides Eta, and that wasn't coming from any official channels, certainly not from Acebes office.

Show me one story, even in spanish, which refutes that, and I'll shut up. Here's the nyt latest from todays edition:

Some Spanish antiterrorism officials said, however, that they questioned the government's seeming insistence on implicating the Basque group despite information that suggested the possible involvement of Islamic militants.
My condolences, if you are spanish, in any case.

[ Parent ]
My bad (none / 3) (#36)
by ElMiguel on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 04:11:24 PM EST

I seemed to remember Acebes on Thursday evening talking about the possibility of an Islamic connection, but it seems it was yesterday instead.

Anyway, since yesterday Acebes has repeated continuously that the police is investigating both leads.

My condolences, if you are spanish, in any case.

Thanks. I'm Spanish and I live quite near the bombings site.

[ Parent ]

So, whaddya think (none / 1) (#38)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 04:29:07 PM EST

About the arrests? The Norwegian news is not failing to point out that it may only be a "calming measure" - a stopgap to support the right in tomorrows election.

[ Parent ]
I trust the police (3.00 / 7) (#46)
by ElMiguel on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 04:58:56 PM EST

Really. I don't have any doubt they're doing their best right now to clarify who are the perpetrators and to arrest them. And I'm sure they wouldn't accept any interference from the government, who anyway I hope wouldn't try anything of the sort.

Frankly, right now I'm quite fed up with everybody attempting to spin anything that is said or discovered in relation to the bombings in a partisan light. And most, at least according to what I've seen, are trying to attack PP. Perhaps the government's reaction hasn't been perfect, but I haven't seen any evident attempt on their part to use the bombings for their political benefit.

And in case anyone is interested, no, I'm not a PP supporter and I won't vote for them tomorrow. I decided my vote before the bombings and I haven't seen any reason to change it.

So what do I think about the arrests? No idea. Little is known about the arrested people at the moment. We'll have to wait and see.

[ Parent ]

What the heck? The article seemed balanced to me. (none / 2) (#220)
by jmzero on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:57:03 AM EST

From my reading of the thing, it didn't come to any conclusion - it just laid out the evidence either way.  Was it drastically changed in editing?

Now, it's easy to see why the English-speaking media are playing up the Al-Qaida angle

All the media I've seen has been very clear about "we don't know who did this", and has given similar accounts of the evidence that has been found.  

But this is about the third "It must be Al-Qaida" article...

Did you read the same article I did?

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

It was the ETA (2.63 / 11) (#18)
by gibichung on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 02:14:18 PM EST

How stupid can you be? Spanish officials caught two ETA terrorists with one thousand pounds of explosives less than two weeks ago. What do you suppose they were planning to do with it? The only evidence pointing to Al Queda is an anonymous e-mail and a very conviently found tape of Quran verses. To quote another post I made on the subject:

They've been under a lot of pressure in both France and Spain lately. With more than 180 members picked up, their MO is bound to change. Think about it; a lot of the leadership was taken and with them, the restraint and control that kept the hotheads on a leash. They tried to attack a train on Christmas eve, and they were caught a few days ago with a thousand pounds of explosives.

How about this scenario: a few ETA extremists decide to frame Al Queda to take the heat off their organization. They steal a van [how stupid would it be to use a stolen van in the actual attack?], abandon it near the scene and leave a tape of Koran verses they downloaded off the internet on the front seat with a couple detonators. Everyone thinks "Al Queda" long enough to vote out the government that got Spain in Iraq -- the same government that has been cracking down on the ETA.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt

Introduction (2.50 / 8) (#19)
by marx on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 02:19:52 PM EST

Any argument that begins like this:
How stupid can you be?
is false 99% of the time. The police doesn't know, nobody really knows. But you know so well that you accuse others of being stupid for not knowing? Isn't it it more likely that you have no clue at all, but being aggressive you think people won't notice?

You don't think Saddam has WMD, how stupid can you be?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Look (1.75 / 4) (#22)
by gibichung on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 02:34:05 PM EST

The media has developed this idiotic scenario based on two things: an anonymous e-mail and an audio-tape of a few Quran verses. Look at the timing of this bombing with respect to the elections in Spain and ask yourself if it isn't terribly irresponsible.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
Idiotic scenario (none / 3) (#25)
by marx on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 02:49:01 PM EST

The UN security council as well as the Spanish government has stated that ETA is responsible, based on zero evidence.

It's irresponsible to state with definiteness that you know who is responsible without actually knowing that. As far as I can see, the media is not doing that. The Spanish government and the Security Council are however.

Why are you not accuring them of trying to take advantage of this?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Oh please (none / 2) (#35)
by Stickerboy on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 03:58:06 PM EST

Forensics evidence, such as the use of the Titadyne compressed dynamite in the bombs (unlike the erroneously claimed plastic explosive) is a much more likely indicator of the maker of the bombs than a conveniently disposed of van with conveniently placed Quranic tapes.

A bomb's makeup is like a fingerprint; the same bombmakers typically stick to a method and type they know and rarely change.  It's been noted by intelligence agencies how similar many of the roadside bombs in Iraq were, leading to the theory of a single or a very few leadership sources providing intelligence and know-how for the attacks.  Similarly, the car bombs recently in Iraq have been linked in similarity in to bombs that struck in Turkey, for example, leading to al Qaeda or al Qaeda-affiliated operatives providing the means and methods.

[ Parent ]

You're not making sense (none / 3) (#45)
by marx on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 04:58:46 PM EST

If ETA were trying to lay the blame on some other organization, like you are claiming, then why would they use the same kind of explosive they've used before, since this is such a sure indicator of the perpetrator (again, your claim)?

Any time I see "you're stupid if you don't believe this", or "oh please" or "as everybody knows", my spidersense tells me that the poster is full of shit.

I suggest you put this in your next post: "I am not sure who the bombers are". This is just a suggestion, you are free to make a complete ass of yourself if you want.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Timing (none / 1) (#68)
by CtrlBR on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 09:11:01 PM EST

It was exactly 30 months (2 years and half) after September 11 2001...

Maybe some guys idea of a wild anniversary party...

If no-one thinks you're a freedom fighter than you're probably not a terrorist.
-- Parent ]
Better yet (none / 0) (#197)
by hummassa on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 06:27:26 AM EST

Between Sept 11 2001 and March 11 2004 there are 911 days... not counting the first or the last.

[ Parent ]
there's also only two years (none / 0) (#199)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 06:33:06 AM EST

...not counting the first or the last. That's 730 days, a nice round number.

[ Parent ]
Not as dark a count (none / 0) (#244)
by hummassa on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:02:54 PM EST

as 911 :-|

[ Parent ]
Moroccan Basques? (2.57 / 7) (#21)
by Pop Top on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 02:32:20 PM EST

It seems the ETA has recruited some of those world famous Basques of Moroccan descent. I guess by using Moroccan Basques the framing of Al Qaeda would be easier to accomplish.

Although that "Hindu Spaniard" thing has be baffled. Nothing is stupid until ALL the facts come out.

[ Parent ]

That's very interesting (none / 2) (#28)
by gibichung on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 03:02:55 PM EST

I hadn't heard about it until just now. I'd be surprised if cell phones were used that weren't stolen, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
so long for fair trials (none / 1) (#93)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 12:10:34 PM EST

I find it amazing how soon people rule people guilty when it's convenient for them.

If I had to bet, I'd say those poor moroccans were simple mobile phone robbers. The only link to them was a cell phone that was used later as a temporizer for a detonator by the perpetrators (whoever they are) but failed to detonate.

You want it to be Al-Qaida, but take it easy on those people. They deserve a fair trial, you know?

[ Parent ]

Like I said. . . (none / 1) (#216)
by Pop Top on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:12:50 AM EST

Nothing is stupid until ALL the facts come out.

Yet didn't the losing government announce within hours a strong certainty the bombings were done by ETA? That might well have caused the voter backlash as much as anything. Folks don't like being lied to.

[ Parent ]

As usual (none / 3) (#40)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 04:34:51 PM EST

Your single-mindedness is exceeded only by your foolishness. Now that arrests have been made, perhaps you'd like to reconsider?

[ Parent ]
You -could- be right.. (none / 1) (#84)
by SlashDread on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 06:40:57 AM EST

But then again, your argument seems to only be (just as another in this thread) it LOOKS like -a- did it, but -b- would profit if we think it is -a- therefore it must be -b-. Looks like a chewbacca. "/Dread"

[ Parent ]
Careful when you don't really have all data (none / 2) (#173)
by Alia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 04:44:22 AM EST

They steal a van [how stupid would it be to use a stolen van in the actual attack?],

A stolen vehicle is much more difficult to trace to the terrorist than a legally-obtained vehicle. That is why ETA nearly always uses stolen cars and vans in their attacks.

[ Parent ]

Comments on your points (2.92 / 13) (#24)
by ElMiguel on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 02:48:54 PM EST

The plastic explosive "Goma 2" used in the bombings has not been used by ETA for several years. They use "Titadyne" now.

It's not like ETA has any ideological commitment to any brand of explosives, you know. They'll use any explosive they can lay their hands on as long as they know how to handle it. For some time they've being using Titadyne dynamite they were able to steal in France, but if they have found some new convenient source of Goma 2 it wouldn't be surprising in the least they went back to it. By the way, Goma 2 is manufactured and commercially available in Spain, while Titadyne is not, as far as I know.

The detonator was made of copper; ETA prefers ones made of aluminium.

See above. It's more a matter of what they can get hold of than of "preference".

The stolen van used to transport the bombs contained one audio tape with koran verses.

A tape that does not include any controversial content and widely available at stores. The only "hard evidence" pointing to Islamic terrorists and very feeble evidence at that.

Fingerprints found in the van do not match with any known or suspected ETA member.

Of course for such an important operation ETA would likely try to use members who aren't known to the police. Many of their previous terrorist operations have been frustrated because the police recognized somebody involved.

For the first time in its history, ETA has condemned the attacks. They have never done this before.

ETA has not condemned the attacks. They have denied responsibility for them, as they did for their previous deadliest attack, the Hipercor massacre where they killed 21. Some political groups and media usually close to ETA have condemned the attacks, though, but it doesn't necessarily follow that ETA does too.

Islamic fundamentalist have threatened spain with retaliation for its involvement in Iraq.

As they have threatened many other western countries at one time or another.

At the time before the bombings, ETA members handed out leaflets calling for sabotaging the spanish rail system.

They were more probably mere ETA supporters, and they're continuously calling for sabotaging one thing or another, so it's not a very big deal.

In contrast to most al-Qaida attacks, this one was no suicide attack (or so is believed at this point of time).

I'm no expert in al-Qaeda but I believe most of their attacks do not involve suicide bombers.

Regarding the confession letter in the London newspaper, their is doubt in its authenticity. al-Quaida has never been so quick to claim responsibility.

There's more than doubt, it's widely disregarded as bogus. It seems the same group making the call is known to make false claims of responsibility, such as for the blackouts in the U.S.

All in all, I'd say the evidence points strongly to a Spain-based terrorist group, whether it's ETA or, say, a new Spanish al-Qaeda cell. But we know ETA exists while we don't know about the latter. So right now ETA is probably the safest bet.

What are the factors in this election? (2.57 / 7) (#33)
by mcc on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 03:26:48 PM EST

If anyone who knows would be willing to explain, I am curious.

On what issues has the Spanish election cycle for Sunday's election concentrated? What is this election largely "about", or at the least what was it going to be about before the bombings? Was Iraq a campaign issue? Was ETA? Was PSOE, previous to the attacks, indicating that were they elected they would attempt a shift in strategy with regards to Basque separatists away from the hard line persued by the PP?

If indeed, as reports seem to be saying, the majority of the population was against the war in Iraq yet the PP is ahead in polls for Sunday's election, I interpret this to mean foreign policy issues are not a terribly significant factor in this election. What have been the important determining issues in the election been?

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame

Alliances with the PSOE (2.75 / 4) (#82)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:49:53 AM EST

According to norwegian reports, the reason most people intend to vote for PP, in spite of their support of the war in the face of 90% of the population, is because Zapatero (the PSOE candidate for PM) has not taken a stand against the cooperation between the socialists in Catalonia and the Esquerra Republicana (ERC), who's leader met with the Eta and was subsequently ousted back in february.

This in spite of the claims that the meeting was in the pursuit of a cease-fire with the Eta.

[ Parent ]

Not exactly in pursuit of a cease-fire (none / 3) (#175)
by Alia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 04:52:08 AM EST

What Carod-Rovira (leader of ERC) tried to get from ETA was a cease-fire but only for Catalonia. As a leader of a Catalonian party he met with the Basque terrorist groups and asked them to leave Catalonia alone, as Catalonia and Basque Country are "sister nations opressed by the Spanish state". Shortly after the meeting was discovered in the Spanish press, ETA made an official statement saying that they stopped all "armed activity" in Catalonia (but not Spain). You can see the BBC coverage of the ETA statement.

[ Parent ]
Some news since submission (1.40 / 5) (#34)
by minerboy on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 03:34:05 PM EST

It appears there have been arrests made in the bombing. The question now seems to be, what should Spain do. Seeing how Morrocco is pretty much a cesspool, and since morrocco and Spain have had some significant disputes in the past, it might be time for Spain, with NATO's help, to fix the problem of Morrocco militarily -free western Sahara, end Morroccon imigration into Europe. Of course the whining pacifist will say no, we should be better friends with Morrocco. Anzar himself Said the same thing. - see how far it has gotten him.

Nope, better to force Morocco to crackdown on terrorists.



So what are you suggesting? (none / 1) (#43)
by marx on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 04:49:59 PM EST

Invade Marocco? Is this what you are saying?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

naw, Free West Sahara - and (none / 1) (#47)
by minerboy on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 05:02:36 PM EST

Regime Change in Morrocco



[ Parent ]
So invasion (none / 2) (#50)
by marx on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 05:08:55 PM EST

Great to see a creative mind at work.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

no, its different (none / 1) (#55)
by minerboy on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 05:33:55 PM EST

The range of Choices is somewhere between Nuke them, (Morrocco, that is) or be nice to them and give them money. so why not take this chance to do some good, and put their fake democracy on track, keep them from subjugating others, and kill some terrorists.

So what would your reaction be if you were president of Spain - Aquiesce, give in, apoligize for years of mis treatment ? - I'm Curious, what would you do ?



[ Parent ]
Spain is a monarchy (none / 3) (#58)
by marx on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 06:23:03 PM EST

And what exactly has Morocco done here against Spain? Why should Spain's relations with Marocco be different tomorrow than they were today?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

get a clue (none / 2) (#105)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 02:24:14 PM EST

The King of Spain only has representative privileges.

That's why Aznar is called President of Spain and not Prime Minister (OK not by the English-speaking media but the official title is President).

King Hassan II has the right to overrule the toy democracy there is in Morocco, which is why so many moroccans are dying in their attempt to reach the Spanish coast for an opportunity.

[ Parent ]

I don't care what they call him (none / 0) (#111)
by marx on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 03:39:31 PM EST

This is what is meant by "president" in this context (Webster):
5 a : an elected official serving as both chief of state and chief political executive in a republic having a presidential government
b : an elected official having the position of chief of state but usually only minimal political powers in a republic having a parliamentary government
And guess who is chief of state in Spain?
Chief of State, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces--King Juan Carlos I
President of the Government (Prime Minister)--Jose Maria Aznar
So Aznar may be president of the government in Spain, but he is not the president of Spain.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

that was not the point (none / 1) (#120)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:26:36 PM EST

The point is Hassan II is an absolute ruler.

Now stop comparing democracies to absolutist regimes.

[ Parent ]

You sir... (none / 0) (#202)
by CtrlBR on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 07:49:59 AM EST

...is a moron of cosmic proportion...

You don't seem to be aware that Hassan II is dead and have been so for almost five years, that the current Morocco monarch is Mohammed VI (Hassan II's son) and that Morocco is a constitutional monarchy, making the King far from an absolute ruler...

Let me guess, you're American?

If no-one thinks you're a freedom fighter than you're probably not a terrorist.
-- Parent ]
you sir... (none / 0) (#207)
by muyuubyou on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 08:56:00 AM EST

ARE a bit upset. ;) Don't need to insult you.

Yep I forgot the recent succesion in Morocco.

I don't take it personal. You know, saying "you sir is a moron" sounds quite ridiculous. Next time, you should insult me by saying "you sir ARE a moron."

---------------------
To BE - present tense
---------------------
I AM
you ARE
he/she/it IS
we ARE
you(plural) ARE
they ARE
---------------------

Otherwise, let me tell you that your king (I presume you are moroccan) does have ruling privileges and has recently made use of them.

The king of Morocco has, for instance, the right to declare a war without approval of the congress. That's some serious stuff isn't it?

Best luck in getting rid of him.

[ Parent ]

Not Moroccan (none / 0) (#214)
by CtrlBR on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:57:56 AM EST

I'm French (and not of Arab decent)...

The "recent" succession was 5 years ago and the country more than opened a little since then, and the conservative are not happy at all about it... Always a good sign. And with the present constitution and internal politics of Morocco I doubt the king is much more dangerous than Beatrix of Holland...

I follow the world events a little more closely than you it seems.

Thanks for the grammar refresher, I was not quite awake...

If no-one thinks you're a freedom fighter than you're probably not a terrorist.
-- Parent ]
Let's learn the past tense (none / 0) (#221)
by bob6 on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:03:13 AM EST

Hassan II was an absolute ruler.
;-)

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
absolutely :-) (n/t) (none / 0) (#225)
by muyuubyou on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:38:45 AM EST



[ Parent ]
About the King of Spain (none / 0) (#177)
by Alia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 04:59:48 AM EST

King Hassan II has the right to overrule the toy democracy there is in Morocco

King Juan Carlos I also has the power to overrule Parliament decisions. It's just that he is reasonable enough not to do that.

which is why so many moroccans are dying in their attempt to reach the Spanish coast for an opportunity.

That is _not_ the main reason why tens of Moroccans die trying to reach Europe illegally. The main reason is the misconception they have that if they get to Spain they will have a job, money and live in a paradise. Many of them are deeply dissapointed when they make it.

Please do not mix matters and try to avoid oversimplifying.

[ Parent ]

Amen (n/t) (none / 0) (#101)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 01:34:48 PM EST



[ Parent ]
arrests (none / 3) (#37)
by mlc on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 04:23:35 PM EST

El Mundo is reporting that police have arrested three Moroccans and two Indians, and that two Spanish citizens "of Hindu origin" are also held for questioning.

This doesn't make any sense — why would presumably Muslim Moroccans be working with Hindus? Maybe the police mean that they've found Indian Muslims, but that seems like a pretty stupid mistake to make.

--
So the Berne Convention is the ultimate arbiter of truth and morality. Is this like Catholicism? -- Eight Star

Er (2.50 / 4) (#39)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 04:32:39 PM EST

Not all Indians are hindu.

[ Parent ]
Except the poster said... (none / 3) (#64)
by J'raxis on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 08:29:06 PM EST

Except the poster said “two Spanish citizens ‘of Hindu origin’” (which is an actual, albeit translated, quote from the original article) in addition to two Indians. I would assume that someone of Hindu origin is, in fact, Hindu.

— J’raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

As I pointed out elsewhere (none / 0) (#96)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 01:14:19 PM EST

All 5 are muslim. Also read the other reply to parent, Hindu is used in Spain to indicate Indian folk, to avoid confusion with American Indians.

[ Parent ]
My mistake. (none / 0) (#121)
by J'raxis on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:32:59 PM EST

Yeah, I saw that about five minutes after I posted. Confusing terminology.

— J’raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

It says "indian", not "hindu (none / 0) (#179)
by Alia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:03:57 AM EST

The original article from El Mundo says spaniards of indian origin ("de origen indio"). Nowhere is the term "hindu" used (which would be "de origen hindú").

[ Parent ]
hm. (none / 0) (#245)
by mlc on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:22:22 PM EST

they must've updated the article; when I linked to it, it said “dos españoles de origen hindú”

--
So the Berne Convention is the ultimate arbiter of truth and morality. Is this like Catholicism? -- Eight Star
[ Parent ]

From the article in Spanish you are linking (3.00 / 7) (#41)
by ElMiguel on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 04:37:10 PM EST

The second paragraph:
El ministro ha asegurado que habían sido detenidos dos hindúes y fuentes del Ministerio del Interior han puntualizado que Acebes se refería a la nacionalidad de los arrestados y no a su religión.

My translation: "The minister has assured that two Hindu people had been arrested and Ministry of the Interior sources have explained that Acebes was referring to the arrested people's nationalities and not their religion".

I should point out that in Spanish sometimes the word "hindú" is used to refer to Asian Indians because "indio" is more commonly associated with American Indians.

[ Parent ]

Thank you. (none / 3) (#49)
by mlc on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 05:07:37 PM EST

From now on, I will read the whole article I link to, not merely the headline and boldface text.

Spanish is not my first language, and I was unaware that "hindú" could mean "from India." Learn something every day, I guess.

--
So the Berne Convention is the ultimate arbiter of truth and morality. Is this like Catholicism? -- Eight Star
[ Parent ]

It was obviously ETA (2.50 / 8) (#48)
by foon on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 05:04:22 PM EST

It is well known that when al-Qaeda actually commits acts of terrorism, they normally do not claim responsibility, while "al-Qaeda" groups are often known to claim responsibility for acts committed by someone else.

On the other hand, consider this from the perspective of the ETA.  As you mention, an al-Qaeda attack would very much be to the benefit of the left-wing pro-terrorist opposition, and the ETA terrorists themselves would benefit should the soft-on-terrorism socialists gain power.  But if the ETA committed a terrorist attack themselves and claimed direct responsibility, it would only further the resolve of the Spanish people to support the tough policies of the PP and root out terrorists once and for all.  So the course of action is obvious:  Commit a horrible atrocity, and leave lots of fake evidence lying around to tie the attack to al-Qaeda.  

Then, the reasoning goes, the conservatives lose the election because their anti-terrorist policies will have been seen to fail, and the ETA wins by getting a pacifist left-wing government that will cave in to their demands.  Thankfully it looks like the Spanish people are too smart for these tactics, and the conservatives in Spain will win the election and continue to be a strong ally in the War on Terror, both internationally and in their own back yard.

You've got it backwards (2.33 / 6) (#53)
by marx on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 05:22:32 PM EST

The conservative government wants it to be ETA, because then their zero tolerance policy against ETA will be seen as justified and necessary. They do not want it to be Al Qaeda, because then it will seem like they have dragged Spain into a completely unnecessary quagmire by invading Iraq.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Iraq, Bin Laden etc ... etc .. (none / 1) (#180)
by kurioszyn on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:04:59 AM EST

Whoa .. I am getting a bit confused here.

I thought everyone and his brother was bitching about Bush going on a goose chase in Iraq while there was a real villain still to be taken care of.

And now you are claiming that he was right after all , there was a connection between Iraq and Islamic terrorism.


[ Parent ]

Bush is that connection /nt (none / 0) (#274)
by tonedevil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:46:27 PM EST



[ Parent ]
The fake evidence has just been arrested (none / 3) (#59)
by nkyad on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 06:32:03 PM EST

And Bush is this close to losing a good ally - three Moroccans and two Indians, linked to two militant Islamic group.

You seem to be reading too little - all information about ETA points that this is not an ETA style attack - they have always been very particular about their victms, aiming always at specific individuals, never against crowds. And when they put bombs in places there have usually been a warning about it.

Anyway, you show your colours pretty well when you use blanked expressions like "left-wing pro-terrorist opposition", as if the Spanish Socialist Party (which governed Spain for more than a decade and both repressed and negotiated with the Basque militants) was somehow in favour of terrorism - and unfounded and absolutely ridiculous accusation.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
so long for fair trials (none / 0) (#94)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 12:16:52 PM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2004/3/13/105035/797?pid=21#93

[ Parent ]
Or even, reply to "that" (none / 2) (#127)
by nkyad on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:54:59 PM EST

I never said they don't deserve a fair trial - I certainly do not think they should be send to some tropical hellhole without charges and kept there for as long as the authorities want it. Let them be tried fairly by the civil courts, not by some secret military tribunals.

To answer your second point, I would prefer it wasn't Al-Quaeda or ETA, I would prefer it had never happened - but I believe it was the topmost poster, the one I was answering to originally (and obviously you) who want it very badly to be an ETA action.

The whole point is that popular perception noticed Aznar tried to use the attack to score a political point - today we learned, for instance, that all Spanish embassies were imediatelly ordered to blame ETA. In the end, it looks like "Su Guerra, Nostros Muertos" was not just a desperate leftist slogan...

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
it was a desperate slogan (none / 0) (#130)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:57:42 PM EST

Can you point me to your sources?

Nowhere I've read such thing.

[ Parent ]

Sources on what? (none / 0) (#140)
by nkyad on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:28:01 PM EST

What haven't you read, the slogan or the election turning over for the perception that the government tried to hide the Muslim link?

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
sources (none / 0) (#141)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:41:47 PM EST

On Aznar telling ambassadors what to say.

I want to know.

[ Parent ]

Reuters has it (none / 2) (#143)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:58:14 PM EST

Here. Hope you'll continue to keep an open mind about this.

[ Parent ]
OK (none / 0) (#260)
by muyuubyou on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:28:15 AM EST

That's hardly believable but if Reuters says it then you have a point and I wonder why this wasn't aired by the anti-PP media.

I'll show this to my peers so we can discuss it. Thanks for the link.

[ Parent ]

bravo (none / 3) (#69)
by muyuubyou on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 09:40:31 PM EST

That's exactly it.

- A surprised Spaniard.

[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 1) (#98)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 01:23:42 PM EST

I'm thinkin' you voted PP today, yes? Given all of the evidence to the contrary, and statements now confirming that AQ/muslims are the primary suspects, arrests, videos, etc., it curious how many are clinging steadfastly to the joke which the Eta possibility has become.

[ Parent ]
I don't give a shit (none / 0) (#100)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 01:32:26 PM EST

Was it Al-Qaida or ETA, Partido Popular doesn't negotiate with terrorists. I don't want a country that's terrorist-friendly and leaves the responsibility to someone else.

All that evidence is faulty to say the least.

I couldn't vote because I still have legal residence in Japan and missed the date to vote by mail. I'm not pro-PP. I'm anti PSOE. PSOE allies with separatists and communists and the devil itself to get a slight grasp of power. I don't ask for much, but I don't want traitors in the government.

[ Parent ]

Good for you (none / 0) (#103)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 01:56:11 PM EST

Nobody wants a terrorist-friendly country, but the fact is that no AQ or Eta have been taken out of Irak. If PSOE wins today, perhaps the terrorists have scored a victory, but the desire for peace and coexistance with the Basques which has been demonstrated by the PSOE does not, in any case, imply a similar desire to get along with al-Quida.

[ Parent ]
is it me? (none / 0) (#104)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 02:12:51 PM EST

...or you just said, more or less, "if the PSOE wins, the terrorists have won"?

First surveys give the victory to the PSOE as I, frightened, write this.

[ Parent ]

Given the lead in the polls a week ago (none / 1) (#106)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 02:47:16 PM EST

Which was held by the PP, logic insists that the outcome was affected by the bombings if the socialists win. As an outsider, I'm not blinded by emotion and neither swayed by local opinion. I trust the press which I have access to, and that has been my primary source throughout the various discussions which I've been privelaged to partake in, within this article's discourse.

It will indeed be sad to lose an ally in Irak, if that becomes the result of this, because now that the mess is made, it needs cleaning up. That in no way, however, changes the fact that the spaniards, along with the rest of the coalition were clearly and unreservedly lied-to and coerced into participation in the war, much more a factor in your participation than any altruistic motivation for Irak's people.

You've modded down nearly every comment I've made on this discussion, even though I've been spot-on in my analysis and the information which I chose to share throughout, even when it was many hours before the news hit any other channel. I understand your anger and frustration, but it certainly won't change the facts.

[ Parent ]

My votes on your posts (none / 0) (#108)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 03:05:43 PM EST

You have taken pure speculations for certain, some of them very serious. Depending on the seriousness you got a 0 or an 1, if I voted 0 any of your posts which I don't remember.

The PSOE defends retreating for Iraq. That only helps terrorists and not the Iraqi people. If the PSOE weren't TRAITORS that intend to SURRENDER the country to separatists and terrorists, I'd consider voting for them.

Let me doubt your local news are beating the coverage here just 100 meters from the Atocha Station and a whole lifetime living with the threat of ETA and knowing their filthy ways. Nothing is too atrocious for ETA.

If you want, I can point one by one the fallacies and misinformation in your posts.

[ Parent ]

Dont bother (none / 0) (#109)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 03:19:14 PM EST

Misinformation can only be deemed as such after the truth is known, friend. My analysis, as I've stated, was based purely upon reasonable analysis of the facts at hand, ignoring my dispite for terrorists, and my concern over the loss of a US-leaning government in the EU.

I submit that it has been people like you who've attempted to downplay and cover up the truth, at least as much as the bombings themselves, which will be to blame if the PSOE wins today, as it now looks like they will.

Honesty, even in the face of defeat, must take prescedence over hatred, spite, and preconceived notions.

[ Parent ]

your misinformation... (none / 0) (#110)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 03:25:08 PM EST

...is basically about past facts and ETA, and then some more about the current position of the spanish authorities, that are not saying what you say they are.

Here you have the scrutiny in real time. About 22% so far.

http://actualidad.terra.es/elecciones-2004/

[ Parent ]

That link (none / 0) (#114)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 03:49:26 PM EST

Doesn't work for me, but elmundo.es says that so far PSOE leads with 160 deputies versus 140 for the PP, with 48% of the votes counted. It seems that power sharing arrangement may be necessary.

[ Parent ]
Good lord, man (3.00 / 5) (#112)
by ElMiguel on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 03:39:35 PM EST

Spanish citizens have voted massively for PSOE today. It seems that, contrary to predictions, PSOE might even win the election. Shouldn't you show a bit of democratic respect for the votes we, your countrymen, have casted? Or are PSOE voters "traitors" too? (If so, I'd like to know what do you think we are traitors to).

By the way, I also live in Madrid and, though at first I believed ETA was behind the attacks because they seemed to be the most probable suspects at the time, now I think it probably was Islamic terrorism. Most Spanish news outlets apparently believe it too. Why would that be unreasonable given what we already know?

I generally suggest that you calm down and wait to see how the sky doesn't fall down with the PSOE government.

And I don't know how long it's been since you returned to Spain but anyway, welcome back.

[ Parent ]

I know how it was with the PSOE (none / 0) (#113)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 03:48:29 PM EST

...and there's hope it won't be the same, and they take back virtually [b]EVERYTHING[/b] they have said, they break with the secessionists, they don't turn their back on the iraqi people, they stop their anti-American crap, they don't negotiate with terrorists and they don't make an interventionist state enemy of the USA.

Basically, they take back everything and do more or less what the PP has been doing (because there is no Iraq war anymore and they don't have to decide on that) a little better or a little worse.

Otherwise I'm filling an application to return to Japan.

No. The PSOE voters are not traitors. They have being moved by terrorism. In a way, the terrorists have won so far. There's hope PSOE doesn't win in the end.

[ Parent ]

sorry for the typos - I'm losing it (n/t) (none / 0) (#115)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 03:49:53 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Well then (none / 1) (#117)
by ElMiguel on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:03:05 PM EST

I don't mean to start discussing PSOE policies here, but I'm not anti-American and I don't think PSOE is either.

By the way, as I said in another post, I decided to vote for PSOE before the bombings. It's hard to know how many of the PSOE voters would have voted for PP if it wasn't for the bombings, and how many simply wouldn't have voted at all.

Anyway, if you would feel better in Japan because you can't accept what your fellow countrymen have voted, perhaps you're right in your decision to return there. I do think being part of Spanish society should mean showing some respect to Spanish democratic institutions, and foremost among them is popular vote.

[ Parent ]

I respect their vote (none / 2) (#119)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:13:56 PM EST

but I believe the bombings have changed it.

I'm right now very worried about our future. The past was dim and I feel very low seeing the prospects with ZP.

I just hope they break everything they have promised because they have promised a lot of nonsense.

Leaving the country is not that easy anyway. I have invested a lot in my country and I don't want to uninvest.

I think many people have voted "coward." Let them fight and let's not get terrorists angry. It would be very sad if ZP does what he promised and retreats from Iraq leaving the Iraqi people in the hands of terrorists and criminals.

[ Parent ]

Voted "coward"? (none / 2) (#122)
by ElMiguel on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:40:16 PM EST

I think many people have voted "coward."

That's not exactly what I'd call "respecting their vote", but oh well.

You might remember (or not, if you weren't in the country at the moment) that popular opposition against Spanish involvement in the Iraqi war was very strong. Some polls talked about 90% of the population, and definitely I don't think it was because of "cowardice". There were an assortment of reasons that I don't feel like discussing right now.

Perhaps the bombings have made the Iraqi war a bigger issue than it was, and since the population was mostly opposed to the PP government in that matter, that could have hurt PP. It's hard to know at the moment. I'm sure in the next days we'll see many analyses about what exactly have been the reasons for the unexpected PSOE victory, and many better analyses than we can make at the moment at that.

I dare suggest again that you lighten up a bit.

[ Parent ]

I was in that 90% (none / 1) (#123)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:45:56 PM EST

But I support the Spanish aid in form of cold, solid money and pacification troops in the post-war.

And that, my friend, is what the terrorists are against. Do you support making them happy and retreat from Iraq? That is coward in my opinion. Not that everybody voted for that reason but those moved by the recent bombings did.

The terrorists have achieved what they pursued. Was it ETA or was it Al-Qaida, they wanted the PSOE to win the election and that's what happened.

I just hope they don't do the same in the future, because this has proven to be very, VERY effective.

[ Parent ]

If Acebas had been honest (none / 3) (#125)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:52:45 PM EST

PP would have won. It's that simple, I believe, and I believe the analysis will bear me out during the coming days. They lost the race because he was not forthcoming about the facts, and the people know it. If he'd have admitted the possibility from the beginning, and promised to come down hard on whoever the culprits were, not nearly as many would have voted the other way.

[ Parent ]
you fail to understand... (none / 0) (#128)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:55:43 PM EST

...that he does believe it was ETA.

I'd still bet for ETA. We will know sooner or later.

[ Parent ]

Of course he does (none / 0) (#129)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:57:03 PM EST

And GWB believes there are WMDs in Irak, too.

[ Parent ]
then... (none / 0) (#131)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:58:49 PM EST

...you should take back that accusation of dishonesty.

[ Parent ]
I will do so (none / 2) (#134)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:07:07 PM EST

But I think I'll let the investigations be completed first. Keep in mind that he pushed the UN for a resolution against the Basques on the same day of the bombings. The last time someone I admire took accusations to the UN, I lost a lot of admiration for them.

[ Parent ]
you also fail to understand... (none / 0) (#135)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:09:48 PM EST

...that "the basques" are mainly democratic and not secessionist.

ETA is a terrorist organization supported by very few. Don't refer to ETA as "the basques" again you are turning my stomach.

[ Parent ]

No, I do understand that (none / 2) (#136)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:10:52 PM EST

I just don't like referring to them as Eta. They're not all terrorists, you know.

[ Parent ]
what are you smoking? (none / 0) (#138)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:14:37 PM EST

The ETA are ALL terrorists.

You have probably seen the massive demonstrations in the Basque Country against terrorism, right?

ETA is a terrorist organization. ETA is the acronym for a terrorist organization. If this isn't serious, grave misinformation I don't know what is.

[ Parent ]

All right, all right (none / 0) (#139)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:20:59 PM EST

Calm down, please. The proposed resolution was against the ETA, and not the Basques per-se. I regret the slip. It was not intentional. I do not support the ETA in any way, but I do believe that the Basque people should be able to make up their own minds. And I still maintain that Acebes was hiding the truth, or was at least in a serious state of denial, about the incident. And his actions cost him at least 15 deputies, which is all it took.

[ Parent ]
Shame on you (none / 2) (#183)
by Alia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:15:20 AM EST

I just hope you do not claim to represent Spain or the Spaniards.

As a Spaniard living abroad (Heja Sverige!) I cannot help but feel a bit ashamed when I see disrespectful misbehaved savages shouting out loud proudly that the are Spaniards. I hope people understand that people like this are a minority.

[ Parent ]

shame on you (none / 2) (#189)
by muyuubyou on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:38:28 AM EST

What did offend you in my post?

Get a clue.

[ Parent ]

on a small point (none / 0) (#155)
by martingale on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 09:18:13 PM EST

The PSOE defends retreating for Iraq. That only helps terrorists and not the Iraqi people.
I'm not sure I agree. I think one of the causes of the current mess in Iraq is the US presence, which delegitimizes the provisional governmnent and rather than promote reconciliation, entrenches people in preparation of future power grabs.

When (not if) the US troops leave Iraq, the real power struggles will take place. There will be civil war with war lords looking to control sections of the country. Everyone who now commands some troops and hardware will see an opportunity to rule Iraq. Right now they have a common enemy, but make no mistake: the people who now order the bombings and guerilla attacks are gaining valuable military expertise and are already thinking about consolidating their power for when the US are gone.

Had the US left earlier, before the political groups started forming, a brief state of unrest would likely have been followed by a strong religious leadership. Not the kind of secular democracy people are hoping for, but better than chaos and lawless violence. Every day the US stays is a day the future warlords are entrenching themselves.

Yes, it's depressing, but that's what happens when wars are started. It seems to me that the Iraqi people's lives have been on hold now for more than a year, and they are starting to feel quite restless.

[ Parent ]

A Troll I presume? (none / 0) (#150)
by holdfast on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 08:16:58 PM EST

What makes you think that they are "Pro-terrorist"?


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
Linux zealots did it (1.44 / 27) (#56)
by untrusted user on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 05:40:27 PM EST

to protest Eurupean copyright legislature.

More details coming in (none / 2) (#57)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 06:02:51 PM EST

All of the arrestees were muslim, and thought to be linked to militant islamic groups. American intelligence believed all along that al-Qaeda was behind the bombings. Spain's National Intelligence Center (and not spanish news organizations, as I translated below) is 99% certain that Muslim extremists are behind the bombings.

The Spanish Popular Party is packing their bags as I write this.

just a note (none / 1) (#63)
by Work on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 08:22:47 PM EST

read this in houston chronicle this morning. The group in london that claimed responsibility is widely believed to not actually exist.

The same "group" declared responsibility for the big blackout several months ago and other events they clearly had nothing to do with.

Implications (none / 3) (#66)
by danharan on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 09:00:00 PM EST

"If spanish voters think it was al-Qaida|ETA" would be more accurate than "If it was al-Qaida|ETA".

In the end, we may never know who did it. What matters is who people think it was.

I have no idea who did it. It might be in the interest of whoever placed the bombs to leave clues that support either theory to fan more panic and cause investigators to follow false leads. In any case, either group could stand to benefit.

The domino theory is interesting. If we in Canada believe that Aznar's support of the Iraq war caused Al-Qaida to attack his country, it will bolster the political base of the NDP and the left-leaning Liberals (all the right-wingers seemed to be in support of the US).

Perhaps Australia, Poland and the UK would be next? And then Italy and Japan?

It seems plausible that the US could then be utterly isolated, which leads me to hope that if it was indeed al-Qaida's work, we will have definitive proof.

Bali was Australia's attack (2.80 / 5) (#70)
by cam on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 09:43:50 PM EST

Bali is the cheap overseas holiday where Australians drink up the aclohol and sun while partying till their livers collapse. Australia has already been attacked, just not on the mainland.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

yep (none / 2) (#77)
by livus on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 01:40:01 AM EST

why go to you, when you go to them?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
I've been wondering about this (none / 3) (#87)
by lucius on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 06:55:02 AM EST

I'm not sure that the driving force behind the Bali bombings wasn't a local chauvinism, rather than a larger Islamic conspiracy.

[ Parent ]
To Australia (none / 1) (#88)
by cam on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 08:07:55 AM EST

... it wont matter, they have claimed the attack as Australia's September 11th. Australians suffered the greatest human loss from the attack. I wouldnt be surprised that Bali was high domestically on the list of targets, it is open to the world as a major tourist place, it is awash in Australian and other world currencies.

Australians are also well known for having their hedonistic holidays there of alcohol, sex and flesh exposing bathing. If American imperialism is the World Bank and USMC, Australian imperialism is hedonistic and bacchanalian holidays in regional paradises like Bali. That would offend local fundamentalist groups. Bali is more liberal than fundamentalists would like, it is more cosmopolitan than fundamentalists would like and it also supports Australian imperialism.

I reckon it is a fair statement, without any parochial vanity, that the attack was largely aimed at Australia. That isnt to assume that destabilising Bali and scaring off new tourists wasnt a goal. It is also not to assume that Americans and other Westerners were not a target as well.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

I agree with your assessment (none / 2) (#89)
by lucius on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 11:01:21 AM EST

of Bali as a bit of an Australian slut-paradise (I'm an Australian, so I'm aware of the folklore;-), but my question is more to do with the unitarity of the threat from Islamic fundamentalism. The way it's painted is that al Qaeda is like that Yellow Menace octopus  stretching out from Asia (being Australian you'd have to have seen the cartoon), with a hand in everything that is related even remotely to Islamism.

On the other hand, sometimes I get the feeling that Jemaah Islamiyah and the other "indigenous" Islamist groups in SE Asia are less subordinate arms of al Qaeda than they are manfestations of the dissatisfaction of local populations with their excessively secular and obviously corrupt governments. Viewed as the latter, Indonesian Islamist groups are not so much fighting a war against Australia as they are against their own stunningly corrupt government.


[ Parent ]

Interesting points (none / 0) (#95)
by cam on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 12:42:30 PM EST

I agree with you, I think Jemaah Islamiyah struck Bali because of its convenience and fitting with their overall message of "west out". I dont see the terrorism we see today as being conducted under a masterplan, as much as Howard would like to paint it that way. It fits with his yellow peril worldview. I agree that Indonesian Islamicist groups probably saw Bali as a cancer on Indonesia, rather than an attack on Australians in Bali.

Interesting points you make.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

yeah (none / 0) (#178)
by kurioszyn on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:00:03 AM EST

I have only one question...

What difference does it make ?

[ Parent ]

What difference? (none / 0) (#275)
by cam on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:02:15 PM EST

Precision weapon or splatter attack. It is on the splatter side. If it was a precision attack it would be to bring down the west precisely and raised the political issues that the fundamentalists want. If it is a splatter attack, it is just clumsy half-wits doing dumb things that take lives. Some just happen to be better organized half-wits than others.

If it is the latter, which I believe it is, it immature idiots striking out and saying no, "with bombs". It is as much reflexive as the kids at Columbine. Just that the fundamentalists wrap their immature reflex up in political message in an effort to give their idiocy legitimacy.

It also means that Howard and Bush are full of it. Culture wars, west vs east? my arse.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

+1 FP (2.57 / 7) (#72)
by muyuubyou on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 10:02:39 PM EST

What you write under "politics" sounds like anti-PP propaganda to me. Who said that? Here in Spain we have news on the subject 24/7 and that's new to me.

The rest is OK as an introduction. It's shallow and there are a couple of factual errors and important holes, but anyway.

ETA has denied and condemned attacks in the past that were later found to be their own. Namely Hipercor 1987 and Puerta del Sol 1974. Those were attacks on civilians and without warning that were denied until the police proved it was ETA. This is a common lie that basque nationalists spit over and over again.

ETA did not use Goma 2 just once, but several times in the past. ETA doesn't choose explosives so much - it kind of depends on availability. Goma 2 is produced in Rio Tinto, Spain, for public infrastructure works and this particular sub-type is recent. Not very likely that Al-Quaeda substracted those explosives in Spain.

Slightly OT (none / 0) (#261)
by tonedevil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:30:29 AM EST

But you are one of the most unmitigated asses I have ever read. Every comment you make is combative, with this air of superiority that is simply disgusting. I just wanted to make sure I got to tell you this because I have read several of your comments and you seriously convinced me, if I could vote in Spain I would vote for whatever you hate. Please don't bother trying to educate me I am not going to be convinced by anything you say, I have made up my mind about the source.

[ Parent ]
ETA (none / 1) (#264)
by pik on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:50:38 AM EST

ETA has never explicitly denyed (twice) their responsibility in an attack, nor Otegi has never condemned an attack so rapidly, nor GARA has published an editorial rejecting the attack. Please. To ilegalize a party they are linked, but when it comes to elections they are not.

[ Parent ]
911 days between WTC and Madrid. (2.33 / 9) (#73)
by Stavr0 on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 10:05:05 PM EST

More than just a coincidence?
- - -
Pax Americana : Oderint Dum Metuant
I busted out iCal to check on this (none / 3) (#74)
by QuantumFoam on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 10:19:18 PM EST

And he's right. That's one hell of a coincidence.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

The danger of leap years (2.75 / 4) (#76)
by rookkey on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 11:51:21 PM EST

You're forgetting that this year is a leap year. There's already plenty of discussion about this on Wikipedia's coverage of the event.

[ Parent ]
Is it by the Muslim calandar? (none / 2) (#78)
by QuantumFoam on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 02:42:43 AM EST

I think they use a lunar system because Eid and Ramadan move around with respect to the western system. Anyway, I could have messed up counting the days. If I did and it was 912 days, could it just be 911++?

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

But in the Muslim calendar (3.00 / 4) (#81)
by lucius on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:23:55 AM EST

the WTC attacks didn't happen on Spetember 11, but some other day.

As a matter of fact, in the rest of the English speaking (whole?) world, the attacks duidn't happen on 9/11, but on 11/9.

[ Parent ]

And what, exactly, does that have to do (none / 1) (#149)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 07:43:13 PM EST

with the number of days between one event and the other?

Will we line up for Grand Theft Auto 5 if it's the exact same thing, only with prettier texture-mapped bruises on the whores? -- David Wong
[ Parent ]
It highlights the irrelevance (none / 2) (#151)
by lucius on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 08:18:51 PM EST

of this pitiful US-centric reading of every fucking thing that ever happens anywhere to anyone.

[ Parent ]
Madrid Bombings: the USA (2.14 / 21) (#75)
by it certainly is on Sat Mar 13, 2004 at 10:45:06 PM EST

Whatever terrorist group committed the atrocity, I think we can be certain that either the US government or US citizens funded and trained the killers.

Was it the US government, whose ludicrous "enemy of my enemy is my friend" meddling-with-world-affairs-for-own-benefit policy has come back to bite them and their Western allies on the ass many times over, or was it US citizens, who once had a Basque granny and therefore romantically sympathise with ETA and fund them, much like the Plastic Paddies in Boston funded (and continue to fund!) the IRA in Ireland.

Or was it both?

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

Hehe (none / 1) (#174)
by kurioszyn on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 04:45:53 AM EST

How often do you have to burn US flag to keep yourself sane ... or do you simply use Prosac ?

[ Parent ]
Not very often. (none / 2) (#201)
by it certainly is on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 07:05:00 AM EST

I usually wait for patriots to wrap themselves in the US flag before I burn it.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Ok dude (none / 1) (#209)
by armonica on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:09:17 AM EST

I have a Genuine Chinese made Nylon American Flag (10'X7') here, bought from Walmart. Let me wrap you wrap up in it... here is a lighter. Wait until I get a good distance away as the nylon will catch quickly and burn ya up! Oh wait, you don't need the lighter. The flames out of your mouth will do.

Seriously, you think that America is the only country on earth that does that? Ignorance must be bliss. As for you ludicrous comment - you obviously have no clue. If you take your toys home and don't play, you will have a very boaring life. You must work with the rest of the world. You must do whatever it takes to stop dictators and the left. Both rott society.

[ Parent ]

The date of the attack (none / 3) (#91)
by tlecom on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 11:48:01 AM EST

If it really were Al Qaida, I find it strange they did the attack on 11-3. The date of 11-2 would be much more logical.

As for the article itself: it is quite interesting, I think, but it is a little outdated already. The elections are today, not tomorrow, and didn't Spain already admit it was Al Qaida?

The attacks in the US happened on 9-11. You know who you call with 911, right? In Europe one would call 112 instead.



no it's still not clear who it was (n/t) (none / 0) (#92)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 11:52:55 AM EST



[ Parent ]
11-2 (none / 0) (#164)
by The Central Committee on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 03:12:00 AM EST

If you are counting from zero.

You personaly are the reason I cannot believe in a compassionate god, a creature of ineffable itelligence would surely know better than to let someone like you exist. - dorc
[ Parent ]

911 days? (none / 0) (#166)
by YesNoCancel on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 03:33:47 AM EST

I have read in a newspaper that the attack in Spain (11.03.2004) took place exactly 911 days after 11.09.2001 (which the Americans write as "9-11"). Can anyone verify this?

[ Parent ]
912 days (none / 0) (#196)
by nardo on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 06:23:16 AM EST

It's 912 days, assuming that my computer is good at math.

perl -MDate::Calc -e 'print Date::Calc::Delta_Days(2001, 9, 11, 2004, 3, 11), "\n"'

prints 912

[ Parent ]
Just calculated it by myself (none / 0) (#222)
by YesNoCancel on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:24:42 AM EST

You're right, but there where 911 days *between* the two attacks and the attack in Spain took place on the 11th (just like in New York/Washington DC). It might be a coincidence, but it's strange nonetheless. If it turns out that it really was El Quaida, then it was probably planned to happen on that date.

[ Parent ]
Did they have to change Al to El... (none / 0) (#256)
by tonedevil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:49:39 AM EST

because they were in Spain?

[ Parent ]
There are several spellings (none / 0) (#262)
by YesNoCancel on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:25:15 AM EST

The most common in Europe seems to be "El Kaida".

[ Parent ]
I was obviously trying... (none / 0) (#266)
by tonedevil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:07:03 AM EST

to be funny? However a google shows lots of sites in German that use that spelling. They need to work on that trademark stuff, I think that waters down the brand.

[ Parent ]
Why would this kind of symbolism.. (none / 0) (#208)
by dageek on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:01:19 AM EST

constitute these attacks? I seriously doubt it. Not only because adhering to number/date based symbolism would give anti-terrorist agencies more information to work with and possibly predict future attacks but also because most terrorist factions have their own symbolism already. What would they gain by restricting their attacks to these dates?

[ Parent ]
Because al-qaeda is very melodramatic (nt) (none / 0) (#234)
by mcc on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 01:54:32 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Maybe November 2 then (none / 0) (#265)
by borderline on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:39:49 AM EST

Depending on what languages the terrorists speak, day-month may be their preferred form. So don't go to the mall the second of November!!1

[ Parent ]
In related news (1.80 / 5) (#97)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 01:23:13 PM EST

The U.S budget defecit:  Was Al-Qaida responsible?

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
absolutely! (none / 3) (#137)
by khallow on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:11:41 PM EST

If they weren't so quick to fly planes into our buildings then we wouldn't be so quick to flush hundreds of billions of dollars each year!

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Iraq didn't fly any planes (none / 0) (#145)
by svampa on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 07:05:31 PM EST

Iraq had nothing to do with al-qaeda, but now it has.



[ Parent ]
Well now, (2.12 / 8) (#124)
by gibichung on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:50:16 PM EST

It looks like the Socialists (who were predicted to lose before this attack) have now won the elections in Spain.

Having got what they wanted, terrorists around the world will lay down their arms. I think it's safe to say that this is the last attack we'll see in Europe. Peace in our time!

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt

please don't say that now (none / 2) (#126)
by muyuubyou on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:53:48 PM EST

I'm feeling so low as is... :~(

[ Parent ]
The rain in Spain (3.00 / 7) (#132)
by imrdkl on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:04:45 PM EST

Falls mainly on the PP. Oh, and also on the victims of a war which sucked up all of the resources which should have been used to finish off al-Quida years ago.

[ Parent ]
that's amazing (2.50 / 6) (#142)
by danharan on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 05:48:21 PM EST

Ok, at the risk of starting an all-out flame war...

Al-Qaida got regime change in Spain with 200 casualties. In Iraq, we're past 10,000 dead and the toll is still rising daily.

I have got to hand it to the Al-Qaida strategists... that's pretty remarkable.

Simply noticing the efficiency and/or efficacy of a group's violence doesn't mean I agree with everything they do. But maybe we could drop the foaming at the mouth "they're out to destroy us" crap and notice that their actions show much more restraint than those of the US and UK.

[ Parent ]

timing (none / 1) (#146)
by Work on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 07:12:34 PM EST

its all about timing.

makes you wonder what'll happen around november..

[ Parent ]

One assumes (none / 2) (#167)
by mcc on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 03:37:23 AM EST

One assumes terrorist organizations are smart enough to realize that politically speaking, Bush is nothing but helped by terrorism. Previous terrorist actions have led to big spikes in Bush's approval ratings as the voting populace is impressed by Bush's ability to bite his lip on television in times of crisis. A decent-sized terrorist attack right before the election could give Bush a relative landslide.

One hopes that no terrorist organization decides it is in their best interest for Bush to remain in power.

[ Parent ]

very true (none / 0) (#235)
by Work on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 02:03:47 PM EST

I just posted a comment along the lines of this here

[ Parent ]
More restraint?!? (none / 2) (#148)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 07:40:41 PM EST

WTF is this crap? You really think that if they had heavy armor they wouldn't be using it?

I really don't understand this attitude. It defies human history and simple logic. It's as if Europe is trying to get itself exterminated.

It took Spain centuries to throw the Muslims out last time they came in - why do the Spanish think they will live in peace now?

Will we line up for Grand Theft Auto 5 if it's the exact same thing, only with prettier texture-mapped bruises on the whores? -- David Wong
[ Parent ]

If (none / 1) (#152)
by holdfast on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 08:34:39 PM EST

If they had heavy armour in Iraq, along with all the other things needed to make it a convincing oponent, GWB would not have sterted the invasion. He would have gone for somewhere else instead. Come to think of it, maybe that's what Afghanistan was about...


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
Those of us who no longer recognize (none / 3) (#153)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 09:07:26 PM EST

the queen's authority have dispensed with your silent U; so your psuedo-pedantry is wasted.

Particularly after you spelled "started" as "sterted".

Will we line up for Grand Theft Auto 5 if it's the exact same thing, only with prettier texture-mapped bruises on the whores? -- David Wong
[ Parent ]

when the fuck are you (none / 2) (#206)
by the sixth replicant on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 08:09:19 AM EST

guys going to start making dates into dd/mm/yyyy, instead of mm/dd/yyyy. I can not count how many times our apps have gone mental because of it. And how do we fix this problem: no, not by getting america to go down the path that everyone else does...nnnoooooo....we'll invent ANOTHER way to display dates : yyyy/mm/dd. Now we have three ways of describing dates! Wippeee, we sure live in interesting times.

ciao

worse rant ever..i just needed to get it it off my big hairy chest :)

[ Parent ]

yyyy/mm/dd is very convenient (none / 1) (#215)
by CtrlBR on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:01:51 AM EST

Because with this format sorting by date can be done with a simple lexicographical (strcmp()) sort.

For a quite humorous discussion about the subject read RFC 2550

If no-one thinks you're a freedom fighter than you're probably not a terrorist.
-- Parent ]
Agreed (none / 2) (#229)
by holdfast on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 12:51:44 PM EST

And perhaps more logical too? I think I read that it is the Japanese style.
I will carry on using dd/mm/yy though and probably much of the world will do the same...


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
Heavy armo(u)r (none / 1) (#157)
by danharan on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 10:17:27 PM EST

If they had heavy armor, they probably would use it. They're forced into a situation of asymmetrical warfare precisely because the US has full-spectrum dominance.

Since they can't hijack planes anymore, they're going for softer targets. If we increase security on such soft targets, what's next?

Troll all you want, but if you want to stop this, we have to understand how they're thinking, and insulting those that are trying to do so is not helpful.

[ Parent ]

What's with the UK today? Two in one night. (none / 0) (#159)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 10:39:10 PM EST

What, getting frustrated because the US won the revolution?

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=armor
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=armour

Finally, how is saying "I don't understand this attitude" insulting? Your attitude seems to be that if we left the muslims alone they would leave us alone - but that is demonstrably not true as even a casual knowledge of world history would show.

Will we line up for Grand Theft Auto 5 if it's the exact same thing, only with prettier texture-mapped bruises on the whores? -- David Wong
[ Parent ]

Not just UK, Canada too. (none / 0) (#160)
by danharan on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 10:48:15 PM EST

I get shit for using either spelling, and I'm pretty immune by now. I use whichever I damn well please, so get over it already.

It's not saying "I don't understand this attitude" that I foundnd insulting, it was "WTF is this crap?", with which you started your comment.

And then you imply I don't even have a casual knowledge of world history, and building a straw man argument- I never said we should just leave Muslims alone.

[ Parent ]

Um. (none / 2) (#165)
by mcc on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 03:33:41 AM EST

I seem to remember the last time the Spaniards "threw out" the muslims, it was a horrible, unprovoked bloodbath caused by closed-minded religious extremism on Spain's part, and it greatly contributed to Spain's decline because large swaths of the intellectual classes of Spain were wiped out or exiled with the Jews and Moors.

Perhaps you should find something else to compare the current situation to.

[ Parent ]

ummm (none / 1) (#154)
by Bill Melater on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 09:11:57 PM EST

Wouldn't the term "restraint" generally be used to describe not setting off massive explosions in crowded areas?

No one is showing restraint on either side, it's just that the US Army is able to leverage certain economies of scale.

I do agree that if this is an al-Q operation, it's timing is very clever.

[ Parent ]

About restraint (none / 1) (#158)
by danharan on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 10:35:18 PM EST

Yes, the timing is very clever, and it looks like they won this battle. I do however need to disagree about restraint.

Had the hijacked planes hit the WTC a bit later on 911, casualty counts would have been in the tens of thousands. The impact they were seeking was psychological- they hit the most potent symbol of American economic might, as well as the Pentagon. Had the last plane not been crashed by passengers, it would have hit the White House.

On 911, I had been campaigning for ages to stop sanctions against Iraq, where an estimated 5000 children under 5 were dying every month (according to UNICEF). So I was pretty used to such figures when I heard of the death toll in New York, which seemed to go down very fast... now to below 3000.

The attack WAS cold-blooded, but did not show blood-lust. That to me seems like a very important distinction if we are going to understand al-Qaida.

They're going after crowded areas now because we blocked off harder targets. All this security might actually end up increasing the body-count, as they move to using death tolls instead of cultural icons like the WTC and White House to terrorize.

There is dirty bomb material littering the ex-USSR, and it's difficult to imagine al-Qaida doesn't have its hand on some, or could obtain it if they tried. But they haven't escalated that far yet.

Think a wall in Palestine, the occupation of Iraq (>10k dead), Afghanistan (10k?), Guantanamo, and an execution of one of their members by UAV. And in the face of all that, with all they could be doing... they kill 200 people to achieve a victory.

Even while I disagree with killing people as a strategy, I have to admit that it looks to me like they are showing restraint.

[ Parent ]

Re: About restraint (none / 3) (#161)
by GRAMMERSoft on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 10:57:37 PM EST

Regarding 911, a couple other possible reason why early flight were chosen were because early flights are generally not subject to delays and cascading delays in departure times, meaning that all planes would likely be able to reach their destinations in approximately the same time frame. This makes it much more likely that each group of hijackers could avoid any problems related to heightened security responses after the first attack occured.

Secondly, I have seen it speculated that early flights may have been chosen because the passenger count is low, meaning the hijackers have fewer passengers to control. I believe I read that the hijackers did indeed "herd" passengers and crew to the back of the planes, something that would not have been possible on full flights.

Considering the other indications of careful planning that took place, such as selecting transcontinental flights departing from near the targets to provide a full fuel load, I would put the timing of the 911 attacks down to careful and clever planning rather than restraint.

[ Parent ]

I work on the East coast (none / 2) (#163)
by Bill Melater on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 12:40:40 AM EST

And everyone in my office was at work when the planes hit. And WTC was the financial district. Those guys are awake and studying the overseas markets for hours before us computer weenies come strolling in.

I think the prior comment has it exactly right; in an operation of that complexity, in order to carry it off at all you have to minimize all the random factors that could screw things up (a la Flight 93). So I really can't buy 9/11 as an example of restraint.

I would agree that OBL and al-Q have an interest in maintaining a sort of robin hood image in the middle east and elsewhere, and robin hood types don't kill indiscriminately. What that really says is that they're not complete psychos, which I guess is equivalent to your distinction between "cold-blooded" and "blood lust". They kill to accomplish their political/religious goals, and it's important for us to understand their motivation in order to defend ourselves.

I think "restraint" is simply the wrong term. It's more "picking targets selectivly".



[ Parent ]

I think danharan uses the term restraint (none / 2) (#233)
by xutopia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 01:33:36 PM EST

in a manner close to what you mean with "picking targets selectivly". I think he just means that they are selective about the time and place where they hit. In other words their action are measured effectively.

[ Parent ]
Not predicted to lose (none / 3) (#144)
by svampa on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 07:01:58 PM EST

The parties know that there is a lot of "Hiden vote" that is not show in surveys (People lies, people don't like to say their vote, etc). Usually, by stadistics tools they guess the trend of the "hidden vote". But the elections, the parties didn't have the first idea, there was a lot of new young voters, and a lot mor of people doubting. Both parties, PP and PSOE suspected that those were PSOE votes, but didn't want to claim it out because of different reasons, PSOE didn't want their voters to relax, and PP didn't want to show itself defeated.



[ Parent ]
Uh, yes, they were. (none / 2) (#147)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 07:38:08 PM EST

The day before the attacks, polls were predicting the PP would win the great majority of seats. As it stands, they lost 40 seats they thought they had.

Will we line up for Grand Theft Auto 5 if it's the exact same thing, only with prettier texture-mapped bruises on the whores? -- David Wong
[ Parent ]
which suggests (none / 1) (#156)
by martingale on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 09:23:28 PM EST

Having now seen that terrorism (ie the military tactics by that name) works, I think we can confidently predict an attack on Britain close to their next election :-( Certainly, if I was one of Blair's backbenchers, I'd be jittery.

[ Parent ]
Terrorist attack just helped (none / 0) (#242)
by svampa on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 02:40:26 PM EST

Probably, a lot of people decided to use the vote against PP because of the attack, but I think that a lot, very big lot of people was decided to punish PP.

A week ago, I listen a former PP voter: "I don't like Zapatero, I don't trust in Zapateros' economic policy. But If we vote PP, no matter how much we show them we hate its foregin policy, they will go on and put us in the next USA war, and against EU."

Anyhow, that's only my and your opinion, nobody will ever know



[ Parent ]
Not correct: predicted small difference (none / 0) (#185)
by Alia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:30:22 AM EST

The polls predicted a small difference between the two parties, with PP ahead of PSOE. And it makes a big difference what polls do you refer to. Pro-PP media said always PP would win, other media said it was not so clear. For example, if you check the 'Pulsómetro' polls done by Cadena Ser (the most listened-to radio station in Spain) you will see how PSOE was steadily rising in the polls during the last week; according to Pulsómetro, on the 8th of March 60% Spaniards wanted a change in governemnt.

Pulsómetro 8th March (in Spanish).

[ Parent ]

Another Possible Explanation. (none / 3) (#168)
by brain in a jar on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 03:52:06 AM EST

Was that ETA did carry out the attack, but did their best to make it look like it was carried out by Al Quaeda. They might have done this in order to influence the results of the Spanish election, bringing the socialists to power and removing the centre right peoples party, who had been giving ETA a particularly tough time, and certainly weren't about to negotiate with them.

Doesn't sound so implausible.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.

redundant (none / 2) (#169)
by muyuubyou on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 04:01:56 AM EST

Read the posts. They aren't so many.

Yes that was the obvious first theory for many people including me and other posters here.

[ Parent ]

calm down, calm down. (none / 0) (#210)
by vivelame on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:38:31 AM EST

it seems clearer and clearer that it was ETA.
And, fyi, i don't see the PP losing the elections as "coward vote".
The government severly mishandled the bombing, a bit like you do, by claiming loud and hard (probably for political reasons) that it was ETA while getting strong clues that it may very well be Al Qaeda.
THAT is sufficient ground to fire the PP.
Too bad for your party of choice, but they botched severly on this one, and they reminded 90% of the spanish voters that, well, they didn't want GulfWar Reloaded, and maybe, if Aznar hasn't supported Bush, this war wouldn't have happened.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
AAAH DAMNIT (none / 0) (#212)
by vivelame on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:42:40 AM EST

that it wasN'T ETA...

duh.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]

what's not calm in my comment? (n/t) (none / 1) (#219)
by muyuubyou on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:47:25 AM EST



[ Parent ]
And yet another theory (none / 1) (#187)
by Alia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:31:41 AM EST

Favoured by some intelligence agencies, is a possible cooperation between ETA and an Al-Quaeda group.

[ Parent ]
yep the same intelligence agencies (none / 0) (#204)
by the sixth replicant on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 08:03:00 AM EST

that talked about all those WMDs that iraq had etc etc etc. To be honest if the intelligence agencies are so stupid to think a fully fledged Catholic movement wanting independence from Spain and a facist extreme Islamic terrorist organisation that wants the end of Western civilisation are going to have even the smallest direction in common IS NUTS!

Of course, I'm not surprised with the sort of blinkers I expect from intelligence services : bomb => terrorist => bad people => bin Laden and ETA => ..where was I?... => all the same.

Well done to Spain for showing the world that it's the people that are suffering while the politicians fiddle and DEMONSTRATING about it.

ciao

[ Parent ]

Just a little note (none / 2) (#211)
by GaAs on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:39:04 AM EST

Just a little note: Though it has strong support in basque catholic church, ETA is a marxist-lenninist organization

[ Parent ]
thanks for the clarification (nt) (none / 0) (#283)
by the sixth replicant on Sun May 16, 2004 at 11:51:42 AM EST



[ Parent ]
ETA + Al-Qaeda (none / 0) (#263)
by pik on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:44:04 AM EST

Well, if ETA is cooperating with Al-Qaeda (which I really don't think can happen) I don't want to imagine what USA can do to help the Spanish government in Basque Country "against terrorism" with the excuse of Al-Qaeda.

[ Parent ]
In Spain we know (2.40 / 5) (#192)
by DrAvenarius on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:59:19 AM EST

We know that was Al-Quaeda. In the elections the people has vote Psoe because they think that the terrorism has come because we are in Irak with Bush. PP has lied about Madrid bombings

speak for yourself (none / 1) (#200)
by muyuubyou on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 06:59:36 AM EST

I will know when there is reasonable proof.

[ Parent ]
Reasonable Proof? (none / 1) (#236)
by NateTG on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 02:04:29 PM EST

Reasonable proof like the proof that OBL is responsible for 9-11?

Aside from claims of responsibility, there hasn't been a whole lot of solid indication that the attacks were planned or executed by Al-Quaida.  Prosecutions for 'assistants' of the alleged hijackers haven't been particularly successful either.

Perhaps, reasonable proof like the proof the existancel of ABC weapons in Iraq?
Or, perhaps, reasonable proof like the proof that there is cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Al-Quaida?

However, the style and timing of the attacks indicate that it's either from the people that planned 9-11, or a copycat:

Attacks against transportation infrastructure designed to cause civilan casualties, and simultaneous attacks on multiple targets.


[ Parent ]

all the suicide hijackers were linked to the org. (none / 0) (#238)
by muyuubyou on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 02:24:26 PM EST

That's reasonable proof.

[ Parent ]
Are you all blind... (none / 3) (#194)
by scips on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 06:08:24 AM EST

If the ones who made this were the same that told you that there was tons of explosif owned by the ETA... Could you just for few seconds close your eyes and look at this as if we were 10 years after... Who have interest of doing this just few days before elections, which part of the Spain's government have interest of kkeeping the people in terror to stay at the top of the pyramid ? Don't just think that what you see is true... Look further than that... look behind the politically corrupted TV shown U. I just posting this because peolpe think that ETA or Al-Qaida or things like this... There is more than 2 solution, this solution are for the easy one that just need quick revenge... thoses solutions are for the people that look the Tv and think TV is truth... Are you people like this ? Al-Qaida have no interset doing this just before elections, and ETA have lesser interest than Al-Qaida... So when peolple are week, election could be strong ... remember history, remember spain's history, remember german history and look how is easy to make fool voting for the wolves instead of the little red one ...

Duh-huh (none / 2) (#205)
by melia on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 08:05:07 AM EST

Al-Qaida have no interset doing this just before elections, and ETA have lesser interest than Al-Qaida...

Ok dude, whether we're blind or not, you're just plain stupid.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

One down, two to go.... (none / 0) (#241)
by reductionist on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 02:30:59 PM EST

Look, I have no clue what you intended to say except perhaps blame the Socialists for the outrage. If that is your intention then you are a misguided fool or something worse.
Why wouldn't AQ have massive interest in demonstrating (1) that they are still a threat - despite (or maybe because of, the War on Terror)
and (2) punishing Senor Aznar for his (as they see it) folly?

FYI ETA has a history of perpertrating terror attacks during Spanish elections. The fact that they avow responsibility for this one leads me to believe they didn't do it.
AQ have every incentive to do something like this, at this time, in that place. They have made perfectly clear their intentions.

If you meant something else, then all apologies.

[ Parent ]
Think about this (none / 1) (#213)
by mrmazoo on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:56:54 AM EST

The video tape they recovered in a garbage can after receiving an anonymous tip had a guy speaking in Arabic with a Moroccan accent. Has anyone read the transcript of the tape (which has not been produced yet, by the way)? In it, this guy who claims to be Al-Qaeda says "You love life and we love death." He also specifically names Bush. You love life and we love death? You have to be kidding me. How can anyone fall for this nonsense? Why in gods name would Al-Qaeda single out George Bush. Don't they want him OUT of office? Who does this help the most? The neo-cons who want to expand the war on terror. Watch and see what happens very carefully in the next few months.

Refresh my memory. (none / 2) (#223)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:25:05 AM EST

Did they find the Arabs that were supposed to be responsible for Oklahoma?

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.

Zapatero speaks. . . (none / 3) (#224)
by Pop Top on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:35:15 AM EST

Zapatero said his Socialists' surprise win in Sunday's general election -- overshadowed by the Madrid train bombings that killed 200 people -- was the first consequence of the unpopularity among Spaniards of the Iraq war.

"The second will be that the Spanish troops will come back," he told a Spanish radio station.

"Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush must do some reflection and self-criticism... you can't organize a war with lies."

Uh, oh. . .

Al'Queda without question (none / 1) (#230)
by ph317 on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 12:53:34 PM EST


Look at the timing morons:
  1. /11/2004 = 2.5 years after 9/11/2001.  They chose a 1/2 year anniversary because it's a lot harder to pull it off on a full year anniversay because of all the heightened security on those dates around the world.
  2. /11/2004 = exactly 911 days after 9/11/2001.  How likely is that to be a coincidence?
Press around the world covered the significance of this on the first day, but US press has completely ignored these timing facts.  Seems the administration in the US prefers an element of doubt for the time being.

Stupid autoformat screwed the dates (none / 0) (#231)
by ph317 on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 12:54:26 PM EST

3/11/2001 not "3. /11/2004"

[ Parent ]
cosmic, dude! (none / 1) (#232)
by leon trotsky on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 01:17:23 PM EST

like whoa! Good thing my moon is in pisces man cuz I almost thought you were being serious...

[ Parent ]
Like woah (none / 0) (#271)
by ph317 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:15:37 PM EST


you're an idiot, move on please.

[ Parent ]
morons and idiots abound (none / 1) (#278)
by leon trotsky on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 11:04:17 AM EST

Yes, everyone is an idiot or a moron because they don't share your views. Kewl, where's my calculator, I have a headache.

[ Parent ]
It was 912 days after ( So Sayeth the Oracle ) (none / 0) (#243)
by A55M0NKEY on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 04:29:43 PM EST

SELECT TO_DATE( '03/11/2004', 'MM/DD/YYYY' ) - TO_DATE( '09/11/2001', 'MM/DD/YYYY' ) FROM DUAL

This gives 912 days.

[ Parent ]

It's 911 days as far as I can tell (none / 0) (#269)
by ph317 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:12:16 PM EST


I'm not sure what's up with that Oracle statement's results, but here was how I figured:

2 years = 730 days (2002 and 2003 were nonleap years).

Oct01(31)+Nov01(30)+Dec01(31)= 92 days
Jan04(31)+Feb04(28)= 59 days

Sept being a "30" month, the remainder of the September month + the march month up to day 11 should be 30.

730+92+59+30=911

Where is my error, or where is Oracle's?

[ Parent ]

Leap year /nt (none / 0) (#273)
by tonedevil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:33:34 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Feb 2004 was a leap year and had 29 days (none / 0) (#277)
by A55M0NKEY on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 09:37:15 AM EST

$ cal 02 2004
    February 2004
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7
 8  9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29

[ Parent ]
The harder you look... (none / 1) (#247)
by Perianwyr on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:59:33 PM EST

...the more 23s you find.

[ Parent ]
the harder you look... (none / 2) (#270)
by ph317 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:15:04 PM EST


...the more irrelevant comments by idiots you find.

[ Parent ]
Splinter groups (none / 2) (#239)
by Eccles on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 02:29:10 PM EST

Terror groups by their very nature tend to be decentralized, and terror attacks like this may only require a small number of people to coordinate and perform. Thus it may be people associated with ETA, Al Queda, etc. with the "main" group not knowing of or necessarily agreeing with their participation.

Could it have been both? (none / 3) (#240)
by curunir on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 02:30:00 PM EST

I haven't really followed the story, but is it impossible to believe that the two organizations co-operated?

If Al-Quaeda wanted to send a message to the US's major European ally, why wouldn't they look for some local know-how in accomplishing a mutual goal? If the ETA wanted to cause some major mayhem right before the elections, why wouldn't they co-operate with a group that had a track record of well-coordinated attacks?

What evidence is there so far that only one group was involved?

NOT ETA != al-Qaida (none / 3) (#246)
by projectpaperclip on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 05:49:00 PM EST

- The plastic explosive "Goma 2" used in the bombings has not been used by ETA for several years. They use "Titadyne" now.
- The detonator was made of copper; ETA prefers ones made of aluminium.
- Fingerprints found in the van do not match with any known or suspected ETA member.
- For the first time in its history, ETA has condemned the attacks. They have never done this before.
- ETA also publicly said: "We did not do that".
- Some antiterror experts claim the attacks to be too sophisticated for ETA.


None of those "proofs" gives any indication that al-Qaida was involved. All they indicate is that ETA *may not* have been involved. Just because it might not be ETA, doesn't automatically make it al-Qaida. It just doesn't follow logically.

As for the others:

- Members of al-Qaida have, in an (arabic) London newspaper, claimed to be responsible for the bombings.

That's probably the strongest evidence so far, until somebody else claims responsibility or other proof surfaces, you might as well take them at their word.

- According to the official version, the 9/11 attacks have been partly prepared here.
- Spain is one of the main retreats of al-Qaida.


If you can believe the intelligence reports... but neither of these indicates direct involvement in THIS attack.

- The stolen van used to transport the bombs contained one audio tape with koran verses.

This doesn't indicate al-Qaida, this indicates a muslim person was involved. The two aren't synonymous. It could be another islamic group, or a single person of islamic faith involved in another terrorist group (ok, maybe not likely, but my point is it's not proof, conclusive or corroborative in the context of the other "proof" presented... the only item it could possibly corroborate is the members of al-qaida taking responsibility)... or it could be diversionary.

All in all, when you stack up the real list of "it's al-qaida" evidence (devoid of the non-evident items) against the "it's ETA" evidence, the al-qaida evidence is pretty weak.

Either way (none / 2) (#248)
by emmons on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 08:57:44 PM EST

It doesn't really matter I think, the effect is the same.

Most people at the moment (at least if you believe the US media, heh) seem to point the finger at al-Qaida or another affiliated/sympathetic group with similar goals. Those goals being, as far as I can understand, ending any and all western/outside influence in the Islamic world so that their brand of Islamism can stand unopposed by Western ideas. Terrorism is used as a way to get the West out of the region and to punish us for having come in the first place. Since 9/11 and until yesterday, they have been spectacularly unsuccessful in that quest.

Yesterday, the Spanish people condemned 200 other Europeans to death. Likely in Poland or England. Yesterday, everyone around the world who believes terrorism tactics to be virtuous saw that those tactics can be successful. The Spanish election was swung; Spain's new government will now lick its wounds and pull out of the work of building a liberal Iraqi. The fundamentalists now see that such tactics in Europe can bring them success. From their perspective they would be stupid to not do it again.

This has been said time and time again, but that doesn't make it any less true: there is a reason that one cannot negotiate with terrorists; to give them concessions only encourages more terrorism. The election yesterday amounts to a an enormous concession and a defacto negotiated peace for Spain. The Spanish people have ensured that such tactics will be used again.

Thank you, people of Spain and select members of the EU who have used this tragic incident to argue against the fight against fundamentalist terrorists. You have done the world, and yourselves, a great disservice.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

don't be so melodramatic (none / 2) (#250)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:41:08 PM EST

Yesterday, the Spanish people condemned 200 other Europeans to death. Likely in Poland or England.
At least they didn't condemn another ten thousand Iraqis to death, as Blair did. 200 is about the damage that the US/UK mismanagement of Iraq inflicted last month (or was it the month before? I don't even follow these things closely anymore).

Unless you are claiming that 200 European lives are worth more than 200 Iraqi lives?

This has been said time and time again, but that doesn't make it any less true: there is a reason that one cannot negotiate with terrorists; to give them concessions only encourages more terrorism.
Does it? I thought that terrorism was chosen because it's cheap, and just about the only option for non-military underground organizations. How much did the WTC bombings cost Al-Qaida? How much did the Iraq invasion cost the US?

I don't agree at all with those who suggest that we must all be strong and never ever negotiate with terrorists. If you don't like to negotiate, fine but don't blame others for your stupid policies.

Negotiation is not always the answer, it depends on the situation. Sometimes you negotiate, sometimes you don't. You do what's necessary to save innocents. You can always go after the criminals once the crisis is over.

Thank you, people of Spain and select members of the EU who have used this tragic incident to argue against the fight against fundamentalist terrorists. You have done the world, and yourselves, a great disservice.
Marvellous performance. Bravo. Truly, you are a first class Thespian.

[ Parent ]
thank you, thank you (none / 0) (#254)
by emmons on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:54:04 PM EST

Unless you are claiming that 200 European lives are worth more than 200 Iraqi lives?

Of course not, all life is sacred.

I'm claiming that, regardless of what anyone thinks about whether we should have gone to Iraq or not in the first place, we're there now and do not have the option of leaving. Do you accept that premise? And, as long as we're there and until the Baathist loyalists and foreign terrorsts are either caught or made to realize that their attempts are futile, they will continue killing Americans and, increasingly, Iraqi civilians.

My point concerning Madrid is that the Spanish people have just shown fundamentalist terrorists the world over that their tactics are not in vain.

to give them concessions only encourages more terrorism.

I thought that terrorism was chosen because it's cheap, and just about the only option for non-military underground organizations. How much did the WTC bombings cost Al-Qaida? How much did the Iraq invasion cost the US?

Terrorism cannot be tolerated exactly because it is so cheap but yet so terribly destructive to innocent civilians. If a group of people does something- anything- and sees a benefit from it greater than the cost of having done it, and if their goal is not yet reached, why would they not continue doing it?

Sometimes you negotiate, sometimes you don't.

Naturally, but at what point do you not negotiate? Is it at the point when your enemy swears to wipe you off the face of the earth and will use any and all means at his disposal to do so? Because either way, that's where we're at.


Please know that I can relate to and understand your point of view. I held it at one time also. I don't like loss of ANY life any more than you do. I hate war as much as anyone else, and I it pains me to see innocent civilians die in any conflict. What happened in Madrid last week makes me sick- how can it not? My old girlfriend is studying in Madrid and regularly rides one of the lines that was bombed. Had it happened at the same time on a Wednesday or Friday she'd likely be dead. The world is going to hell, and like you, I don't want to see it get worse.

You and I both want the same thing- peace and stability in the world. I want to live in a world were people can live free and without fear of oppression, hatred or violence. A world were everyone has enough food and can live long, healthy, happy lives, where everyone gets along. These are not goals of liberals alone, they are a unversal goal of western society. So, if you'd please just listen to what some of us with differing opinions from yours have to say, and try to understand why we say what we do, perhaps we could have just a little bit more respect for each other and come a little bit closer to reaching our common goal.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

applause (none / 0) (#258)
by martingale on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:03:27 AM EST

I'm claiming that, regardless of what anyone thinks about whether we should have gone to Iraq or not in the first place, we're there now and do not have the option of leaving. Do you accept that premise?
I don't accept that premise, which may explain much of our disagreement. To give a simplistic analogy, I see Iraq as a boiling pressure cooker. The coalition troops are keeping the lid firmly on, and the pressure is building. At some point it's going to blow, and the best strategy is to open the lid now. Not in six months, not in a few years. Some water will be spilled now, but if we wait, it will get worse. When the pressure is gone, the place can be rebuilt, and we can design a lid with a small hole to prevent future buildups.

as long as we're there and until the Baathist loyalists and foreign terrorsts are either caught or made to realize that their attempts are futile, they
To continue with our disagreements, I believe that the longer you're there, the more loyalists and foreign terrorists are *recruited*. At some point, the US government will (rightly) say they've taken enough casualties and problems, and leave. The loyalists and terrorists will be several times their number now, and there will be civil war in Iraq.

My point concerning Madrid is that the Spanish people have just shown fundamentalist terrorists the world over that their tactics are not in vain.
The terrorists already know this. These people have no choice about their tactics, given that they are ready to act, and they don't own tanks, armies and aircraft carriers. Telling them that they have the choice of laying down their arms is a political problem.

Terrorism is a well established military technique. The other well established technique we're seeing in Iraq are guerilla attacks. There's nothing new here, only headaches for standing armies and innocents caught in the crossfire.

To be sure, it is possible to wipe out the terrorists through heavy handed tactics. The last time this was done successfully was by France in Algeria, and the French Republic suffered greatly, not unlike America and Vietnam.

If you are suggesting this with terrorists here, then I am categorically opposed. Better to let the terrorists live than to destroy western civilization to win.

Terrorism cannot be tolerated exactly because it is so cheap but yet so terribly destructive to innocent civilians.
You are arguing that the laws of economics must be overriden by willpower? I think that's unlikely to happen. Accept the economics, and look for ways to use it to your advantage.

Naturally, but at what point do you not negotiate? Is it at the point when your enemy swears to wipe you off the face of the earth and will use any and all means at his disposal to do so? Because either way, that's where we're at.
No, that's not where we're at. It's a gross exageration. The terrorists you're talking about have the US as target. That sucks for you, but doesn't directly involve others. It may be that hostilities will escalate to the point where most countries are targeted by Al Qaeda, but we're not there yet. Until then, the correct move (imho) is to limit escalation, and that means negotiation of sorts is still an option.

It's up to you to deal with the Al Qaeda problem, and ensure it stays localized to yourself. The Russians have their hands full with the Chechens, the British have the IRA, the Spanish the ETA etc.

The worst outcome for the world is an escalation which forces the terrorists to mix into one global underground. We've had two world wars because treaties and agreements were invoked and nobody could stop it. Let's not make that happen yet again.

So far, there is no evidence of strong connections between groups, and the localized political nature of their demands makes cooperation between them unnecessary, and even undesirable. If we remove those political motivations by indiscriminately hounding them to extinction, then like a cornered animal, they will become the dangerous global underground we fear. We'll win in the end, but the cost will be unacceptable.

A much better strategy for now is to deal with them one group at a time, individually and according to circumstances and location.

So, if you'd please just listen to what some of us with differing opinions from yours have to say, and try to understand why we say what we do, perhaps we could have just a little bit more respect for each other and come a little bit closer to reaching our common goal.
I'm happy to listen. As I stated at the beginning of this comment, we differ on some initial assumptions, which may explain a lot. whether we can bridge those assumptions is for another comment.

[ Parent ]
Re: Madrid Bombings (none / 1) (#268)
by klaatu on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:03:27 PM EST

Is it possible that ETA and Al-Queda were jointly responsible?  Could it be that the PP, the Socialists, the EU and the Americans all knew about the attacks in advance, yet allowed them to happen to get the most from the propaganda value?  

It is interesting that those who want terrorism to stop are willing to do anything--except defense--to stop the attacks.  I think it is called appeasement.  Just how far are people willing to go?  Just how far are those who want to eliminate terrorism by force willing to go?  Could it possibly be that the peaceniks and war-mongers are really the opposite sides of the same coin?  They both abhore violence, except when it suits their own purposes.

The result of course, is that we all lose our freedom and get dictatorship in the name of "security."

Unconvincing, at least (none / 0) (#281)
by pavlos on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 02:31:46 PM EST

I'm very unconvinced that al-Qaida did it, at least where al-Qaida is defined to mean the people responsibe for the 911 attacks, the USS Cole, and the attack on a US barracks in Saudi Arabia whose name escapes me.

Firstly the known al-Qaida attacks seem to be more focused on relevant and, for the most part, "hard" targets. The majority of the known attacks were against actual military installations. In the 911 New York attacks, even though they killed an awful lot of civilians, the targets were also noted for their symbolic and financial value. Al-Qaida didn't for example, cause carnage in a sports event or a poor residential or commuter area. Attacks where the targets are random civilians seem to be more typical of local terrorist groups such as the IRA, ETA, or groups acting in Egypt or Algeria whom we label "islamic fundamentalists".

Previous known al-Qaida attacks have been very clearly directed at the US, or at least at very direct clients of the US such as the Saudi government. It's a big change of policy to then target the civilian population (rather than say Mr Aznar himself) in a country that is only peripherally linked to US interests, and which is in fact fairly democratic and opposed to the choices of that Mr Aznar. It's hard to see that Mr Bin Laden would do that to increase the anti-US rage that's driving his followers. Most likely it would cause potential followers of his to think twice.

Of ETA I know even less, so I won't comment. However, it's worth remembering that neither al-Qaida nor ETA are tightly controlled hierarchical organizations. This is a concept that the Western media have trouble grasping (when confronted with some anarchists, they seek to blame their leader) but it's important. What we may call ETA or al-Qaida may be a small group or fanatics who act by themselves and take on the name by themselves, without taking orders from the ETA or al-Qaida Chief Executive, so to speak.

Pavlos

Madrid Bombings: al-Qaida or ETA? | 283 comments (261 topical, 22 editorial, 6 hidden)
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