Tuesday, October 19, 2004

YOU DON'T SAY! "Madrid Attacks May Have Targeted Election", the Washington Post reports:
Seven months after bombs exploded aboard morning commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people, the precise motives of the attackers remain unclear. But new evidence, including wiretap transcripts, has lent support to a theory that the strike was carefully timed to take place three days before a national election in hopes of influencing Spanish voters to reject a government that sent troops to Iraq.

Some analysts argue that the placement of important clues -- particularly a videotaped claim of responsibility by a masked Islamic militant discovered two days after the March 11 attacks -- was aimed at quickly establishing that the attacks were a reaction to the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq and generating a backlash against the ruling Popular Party.

The party had a comfortable advantage in opinion polls but lost the election on March 14. The new Socialist party government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero quickly kept a campaign pledge to withdraw Spain's 1,300-troop contingent from Iraq. It also set about improving relations with neighboring Morocco, after two years of tension under the government of the previous prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar.

Newly disclosed wiretaps of an alleged organizer of the bombings expressing glee that "the dog Aznar" had been put out of office have prompted some analysts here to conclude that the perpetrators sought to try to bring about specific reactions through the attacks.
I was going to write about this article that I hadn't seen before, because although it has a good deal of information, it still leaves out many intriguing aspects of the matter. Namely, the fact that besides the arrested Morrocoans there are almost as many Spaniards who supplied the explosives and trained the bombers how to use them; or that most of both the Morrocoans and the Spaniards were police informants; or that the specific police units to which the snitches were reporting are commanded by officers with ties to the death squads and dirty war in 1982-1996 during the previous Socialist government of ex-PM Felipe González; or that some of these snitches, particularly one guy called Rafah Zouhier who is in jail for the bombings, is telling anyone who would listen that he warned these police officers about the attacks; or that it's the Socialists who are blocking the appearance of this guy before the parliamentary commission although the Popular Party is proposing it almost everyday (and that's funny; if I were a Socialist party official, I would jump to promote any possibility of proving that there were previous warnings that the Popular Party had ignored while in power. Unless... well, you get my point); or that some of these police officers have been promoted after Zapatero took office; or that there are intriguing connections between the Basque terrorist group ETA and the Spaniards who, on its turn, were in contact with the Islamic terrorists who carried the train attacks.

As I said, I was planning to write about all this but it'll have to wait, as there are important breaking news that understandably take precedence. I'll come back to this, but not today; as an appetizer, you can read a previous post where I deal with some of these issues.

UPDATE. Comments by Ed Morrisey and Cori Dauber.