Tuesday, May 17, 2005

ET TU, ABC? Shortly after March 11, ABC had a world exclusive: a photograph of the only backpack that hadn't exploded and which had 'misteriously' appeared the night after the blasts in a police station, in a room where all personal belongings that had been recovered were carried to. The problem: according to Madrid's newspaper El Mundo, it's a staged photo op:
The American TV network ABC's news division showed a false image of the backpack that did not explode on March 11, 2004, according to reporter Fernando Múgica in the Spanish daily El Mundo. According to Múgica, at a Madrid police station "the officers wanted to help the ABC reporters, but when the camera crew came, they didn't have the backpack that had contained the bomb there, so one of the officers showed them a similar backpack which was the property of another officer." Said Mugica, "I don't know whether the network knew this or simply accepted that the bag they were shown was the real one."
Read the rest. Maybe this is why the URL of the original ABCNews.com page returns an error message. Hopefully, you can read a verbatim copy at the Georgia Institute of Technology's webpage, which also reproduces the images:
A sports bag containing an unexploded bomb was discovered in the wreckage of one of the train cars. Click here to see the picture.

A cell phone found in the bag, and the fingerprints on the phone, led Spanish police to Jamal Zougam, the suspected ringleader of the Madrid attack. Click here to see the picture.

The unexploded bomb contained about 22 pounds of a whitish-colored plastic explosive. Click here to see the picture.

Also packed in the bag was a large quantity of bolts and nails, the potentially deadly shrapnel. Click here to see the picture.

However, the Spain Herald's story touches just one aspect of the much longer, and much more disturbing account by El Mundo (unfortunately its online version of the print edition is for paying subscribers only, but here you can see the verbatim copy of it; it's a bit long, but if you read Spanish it's absolutely a must-read). According to the journalistic investigation, the Tedax officers (Spanish police bomb squad) hid for three months to the investigating judge that an X-ray done to the real (not to the staged for ABC) backpack showed that there was no way it could have ever exploded since it had unconnected cables. Something odd, since it had always been said that the bombers were technically proficient. At the same time, the Tedax chief cellphone number appeared misteriously in the phonebook of Carmen Toro, allegedly one -together with his brother and husband- of the suppliers of the dynamite used for the March 11 bombs. When the investigating judge called the number, a chief's aide answered the phone and said that it belonged to one of the guys in the squad, "who used the boss' name as a nickname" (can I put a hundred exclamation marks here?).

Remember: this backpack was the only that didn't explode and appeared from no one knows where. But it was what was found in it what allowed the opposition to make the case that it was Islamic terrorists -as the Socialists were saying- and not ETA -as Aznar's government had initially said-, for two reasons: first, the kind of explosive, Goma 2 ECO instead of Tytadine (the usual in the latest ETA attacks). However, the conclusion that the exploded backpacks had Goma 2 ECO in it was made because of what was found on the unexploded one, not on actual forensic analysis of the explosion site, since apparently once it's gone off it's absolutely impossible to know for sure, being both Goma 2 ECO and Tytadine two brands of generic dynamite.

And second, because of the SIM card inside the phone. But, if the cables had been connected, the bomb would have gone off not by a phone call or another electronic trigger, but by the internal's alarm clock which was programmed to turn the phone on and vibrate. Most phones don't need a SIM card for that, but the model chosen by guys who were alleged phone experts (since they owned a phone shop) was the Mitsubishi Trium, precisely one of the few ones who need a SIM card inserted to function as a mere alarm clock. And it was the analysis of the SIM card which, less than 48 hours after the blasts, allowed the police to arrest the alleged perpetrators.

So El Mundo wonders whether this backpack is a real piece of evidence or a red herring used to divert the blame from ETA to al-Qaeda by operatives (inside law enforcement forces?) to fool the chain of command upwards and therefore leaving Aznar's government standing on their wrong foot. Add this to the agit-prop campaign by pro-Socialist media which I mentioned in this and this post, and this intriguing information of Socialist party official contact with Islamist (see previous posts here and here, and also two great posts by Dan Darling over at Winds of Change here and here and two others at Eurabian Times here and here).

And then come back tomorrow, as I'll have more information published in today's edition of El Mundo (free summary in Spanish here) reporting that the cellphones used for March 11 were unlocked in a phone shop owned by... a Spanish police officer. And not just any police officer: it was Maussili Kalaji, a Syrian born citizen who had been granted Spanish citizenship several years ago and entered the police department when he arrived in Spain after his past as an Al Fatah member and as an agent for the Soviets' intelligence services. Apparently as soon as he left the police academy he was assigned to infiltrate extremist groups and so he got acquainted with such nice guys as Abu Dadah, currently under trial for the 9/11 plot and who will be on trial again in the future for his role on March 11. He also was assigned to the security detail of judge Garzón, now on leave and teaching at a New York's university and who insisted that, no matter what Aznar was saying on March 11, he knew from minute 1 that he knew the bombings had been by Islamic terrorists, not ETA. I think we know now why.

And that's not all: Kalaji's sister was the translator for the police in charge of translated the wiretapped conversations between the alleged March 11 culprits before the bombings; and his ex-wife, also a police officer, was the first to arrive at the scene where another key evidence pointing to Islamic terrorists and not ETA was found: a white van with detonators and some tapes with Koranic verses. Socialists blame Aznar's government for hiding this but, of course, maybe its guys got there first...

As I said, stay tuned.