Saturday, May 07, 2005

ETA MEMBERS sentenced to 2,775 years for bomb plot:
Spain's High Court sentenced two members of the Basque separatist group ETA to 2,775 years each in prison on Friday for a plot to plant bombs on a Madrid-bound train on Christmas Eve 2003.

ETA intended to warn authorities of the bombs after the inter-city train would have emptied in Madrid, court documents said. But the court found the two men guilty of 184 attempted murders for endangering the passengers and crew.

The plot was later cited by officials who hastily blamed ETA for the Madrid commuter train bombings that killed 191 people on March 11, 2004.

A three-judge panel sentenced ETA suspects Gorka Loran, 36, and Garikoitz Arruarte, 25, to 15 years for each of the 184 attempted murders and additional time for other charges, although they can only serve a maximum of 40 years under Spanish law.

The judges called it a "stroke of luck" that one suitcase bomb did not explode from the weight of other luggage placed on top of it. The timer was set for 4 p.m., when the train would have been empty in Madrid's Chamartin station.

"Had the explosion happened ... there was a high probability that everyone on the train would have died as well as a large number of (other) people would have been killed ... which the defendants were aware of," the 31-page sentencing said.
Assuming it's true that these SOBs intented to warn about the bomb -which is a big if considering they said so ex-post when they had been already caught-, I have a question for all those people who claim that Aznar lied after the Madrid bomb attacks on March 11 because he initially blamed ETA: considering the news item above, which refers to an attack against a train only three months before, and considering also this:
Spanish police Sunday seized more than 1,000 pounds of explosives and arrested two suspected members of the Basque separatist group ETA who were planning to carry out an imminent attack in Madrid, an official said.
which was only two weeks before March 11, does anyone really think that it was reckless, or an act of mendacity by Aznar's administration, to assume in the immediate aftermath that the perpetrators of the Atocha train station massacre were ETA terrorists?