Friday, March 04, 2005

A WORRYING REPORT today by the Associated Press, about the further terrorist campaign planned by the March 11 perpetrators for the weeks and months after the attacks. Apparently they were planning several suicide bombings à la palestinian, which were prevented only by the fact that they blew themselves up to prevent their arrest by police who were surrounding the apartment where they were barricading:
Islamic militants blamed for last year's commuter train bombings in Madrid were plotting more bloodshed a string of suicide attacks in the months after the massacre, Spain's counterterrorism director told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The revelation adds a chilling what-if element to Spain's national trauma as it prepares to mark the anniversary of the March 11 bombings, the country's worst-ever terrorist attack.

Fernando Reinares, the counterterrorism chief, said the militants most likely to have carried out such suicide attacks in Spain which would have been the first ever in Western Europe were seven men who blew themselves up April 3 as special forces moved in to arrest them.

"According to data collected so far, it can be deduced that those terrorists were probably planning suicide attacks in the months or weeks after" the train bombings, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500, Reinares told AP.

Reinares said the information suggested "their terrorist campaign was not going to end on March 11, but was going to go on and include suicide attacks at a later stage.

The seven men who died in Leganes, a town outside Madrid, included suspected ringleaders of the train strikes, which were claimed in videotapes by militants who said they acted on behalf of al-Qaida in revenge for Spain's troop presence in Iraq.

At least five men are fugitives in the case, including one who escaped from the apartment in Leganes. Reinares gave no indication these men are considered suicide-attack risks."
They certainly look like risks to me...

AP continues with the most interesting part:
But Reinares said the plans for later suicide attacks showed that the Madrid train bombers were probably not interested in bringing down the conservative government then in power, which had supported the U.S.-led Iraq war, but rather wanted to go on causing bloodshed.

Former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and his party have insisted the bombing three days before a general election was tantamount to a surgical strike against his government, which had defied public opinion by supporting the Iraq war and sending 1,300 peacekeepers after President Bush declared an end to major fighting.

The Socialists, who had opposed the war, won election and took power in April. They quickly brought troops home but insisted it was to keep a campaign pledge, not to cave in to terrorists.

Reinares said information about the Madrid bombers' suicide attack plans was featured in a new book by a Spanish investigative reporter, but the information wasn't carried in the mainstream Spanish media.
Apparently, Reinares (just to make it clear, a member of Zapatero's administration) hasn't heard about the notorious al-Qaeda document which said:
Therefore we say that in order to force the Spanish government to withdraw from Iraq the resistance should deal painful blows to its forces. This should be accompanied by an information campaign clarifying the truth of the matter inside Iraq. It is necessary to make utmost use of the upcoming general election in Spain in March next year.

We think that the Spanish government could not tolerate more than two, maximum three blows, after which it will have to withdraw as a result of popular pressure. If its troops still remain in Iraq after these blows, then the victory of the Socialist Party is almost secured, and the withdrawal of the Spanish forces will be on its electoral programme.
But in any event, if it were true that the terrorists' interest was not to bring down Aznar's government, by the same logic, it would be untrue that the "bombs in Iraq blow off in Madrid", which was the main slogan in the demonstrations across Spain the day after the bombings, and ultimately the underlying logic exploited by the Socialist party and its media terminals which brought their electoral victory on March 14. Maybe that's what explains AP's puzzlement at the fact that no MSM has picked up the story in Spain (which is true; I don't remember having seen anything, and so far Google News returns only one result, from today's Miami Herald).

Well, something else explains the phenomenon: that with no coverage, it's possible to antesthesize the populace and make it think that by pulling the troops from Iraq, the country is safe thanks to our Great Leader Zapatero. Alas, it is far from being safe.