[Marxism] Re: Bombs in Madrid

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at rogers.com
Sat Mar 13 10:29:21 MST 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ed George" <edgeorge at usuarios.retecal.es>
To: "marxmail" <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2004 11:37 AM
Subject: [Marxism] Re: Bombs in Madrid

What is happening is that the Spanish state right need
> people to believe that ETA did it up until tomorrow (the elections), and
> that after that they won't give a damn.


This appears to be coming out, and developing as an issue. Below two Reuters
reports:"Spain told envoys to point finger at ETA" and "Spanish intelligence
reportedly blames Muslims (sic) for bombs".

Spain Told Envoys to Point Finger at ETA
By Andrew Cawthorne

MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish government told its ambassadors to spread the
word that armed Basque separatist group ETA was to blame for the Madrid
bombings within hours of the attacks, a leading newspaper reported on

The report came amid increased grumbling from government critics that Prime
Minister Jose Maria Aznar's ruling party might be pointing the finger at
ETA -- and minimizing suspicions Muslim militants were involved -- for
political reasons.

"You should use any opportunity to confirm ETA's responsibility for these
brutal attacks, thus helping to dissipate any type of doubt that certain
interested parties may want to promote," El Pais quoted Foreign Minister Ana
Palacio as writing in a memo.

Foreign Ministry officials would not comment on the report in a paper linked
to the opposition Socialists. "We're not denying or confirming," a spokesman

Simultaneous explosions on Thursday morning ripped through commuter trains,
killing 200 people and wounding nearly 1,500.

As well as the huge security implications, pinning down responsibility is
crucial to Sunday's general election.

If ETA is judged to blame, the ruling center-right Popular Party could gain
support because of its tough stance against the Basque separatists.

But analysts say it could lose if al Qaeda or other radical Islamic groups
were shown to be involved, as the attacks could be portrayed as retaliation
for Aznar's unpopular support for war in Iraq.

El Pais said Palacio's memo, sent on Thursday afternoon, quoted earlier
statements by Interior Minister Angel Acebes.

"The Interior Minister has confirmed ETA's responsibility," This is
confirmed by the explosive and style used, as well as other information that
has not yet been made public for obvious reasons," the text said, according
to the newspaper.

Since then, the Spanish government has been less categorical in its public
comments, affirming ETA remains its main line of investigation but saying it
is also pursuing other theories.

The discovery of a van with detonators and a tape in Arabic, plus a
purported letter claiming responsibility for a group aligned to al Qaeda,
have fed suspicions of Arab involvement.

ETA denied responsibility late on Friday.

El Pais said Foreign Ministry officials would not say whether modified
instructions had been sent out to ambassadors at any point after Thursday's
purported memo.

Socialist candidate Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero avoided public comments on
responsibility for the attacks, just calling on the government to establish
the facts as quickly as possible.

"Society has the right to know who carried out this barbarity," he told

But newspaper El Mundo quoted an unnamed senior Socialist source as being
less diplomatic. "I am biting my tongue all day in the face of such lies and
deceit while there are 200 dead people," the source was quoted as saying.

Protesters planned a rally outside government headquarters on Saturday
evening with the slogan "We Want To Know The Truth."

Chief government spokesman Eduardo Zaplano denied criticism about
misinformation at a news conference on Saturday.

The bombs probe "is going ahead with absolute transparency, all the
information is being transmitted to the people via the media," he said. "I
don't believe any well-intentioned person can doubt that."

The Spanish government's candidate for Sunday's election, former deputy
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, said in an interview published on Saturday he
was convinced ETA was to blame.

"There are some facts that, deep down, make me think it's ETA. As well as
what I'm told, I have the moral conviction," Rajoy told the pro-government
El Mundo newspaper.

He said ETA's denial on Friday had "no credibility."

Spanish Intelligence Reportedly Blames Muslims for Bombs
Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:05 PM ET

By Daniel Trotta

MADRID, Spain (Reuters) - Spain's intelligence service is "99 percent
certain" Muslim not Basque militants perpetrated the Madrid train bombings
that killed 200 people, a Spanish radio station reported on Saturday.

The report by private radio SER, whose owners have links to the opposition
Socialists, flew in the face of government assertions armed group ETA was
the prime suspect in the attacks that have traumatized Spain and sent
jitters round the world.

It fueled grumbling from critics that Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's
government might be focusing on the Basque group, rather than al Qaeda, for
internal political gain ahead of Sunday's election. Ministers angrily denied
the charge.

"If (they think) it is al Qaeda, nobody has told me," Interior Minister
Angel Acebes said, when asked if intelligence services were tending toward
blaming Islamic militants for the blasts.

Finding the culprits for Thursday's atrocity, which killed 200 people and
wounded 1,500, has huge global security implications. If it was al Qaeda, it
would be the first strike in the West since the September 11, 2001, attacks
on America.

If it were ETA, it would be a major escalation for a group that has killed
850 people in Spain over 36 years and is listed as a terrorist group by the
United States and European Union.

It could also sway Spain's general election, going ahead on Sunday as
planned after three days of official mourning.

Aznar's center-right government stands to win votes if the culprits were
ETA, because it has campaigned on its hardline stance against the armed
Basque group, political analysts said.


If al Qaeda or other radical Islamic groups were shown to be involved,
voters might perceive the attacks as the price for Aznar's domestically
unpopular support of the Iraq war. But they might also rally around a
government seen as strong on security.

Citing high-ranking officials, SER radio said the National Intelligence
Center (CNI) believes evidence points to an Islamic group, and that 10 to 15
people left bombs on trains and fled.

"The evidence has wiped out previous indications that led us to believe in
ETA," the radio quoted one source as saying.

The change came after a van was found later on Thursday, near the Alcala de
Henares station where three of the four bombed trains originated, with an
audio tape lesson about the Koran and seven detonators inside, the radio
station said.

In a separate development, the doorman of the building across from where the
van was found told Spanish media he saw three masked men get out of it the
morning of the attacks.

Throughout Saturday -- a day that had been supposed to be an official "day
of reflection" prior to the election -- traumatized Spaniards were burying
their dead.

The nation's grief and anger was crystallized at a funeral service in Alcala
de Henares, home to 40 of the dead.

"Death penalty for the terrorists," said a weeping Violeta Dominguez, whose
daughter lost a friend. "This has no end. They will go on killing because
they enjoy killing."

"There is a divine justice that nobody can escape from. They (those
responsible) will never escape from this justice," Roman Catholic Bishop
Jesus Catala told hundreds of mourners.

Spain does not have a death penalty and Aznar has said he is personally
against it.

Demonstrating the depth of feeling in Spain, the government said 11.64
million people -- more than a quarter of Spain's population -- had taken to
rain-drenched streets in nationwide protests on Friday against "our
September 11."


A group tied to al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attacks and ETA
has denied it -- but neither statement has been confirmed to be genuine.

"Whether it was ETA or al Qaeda doesn't affect the shared repudiation of
terrorism, but it may have different political and electoral consequences,"
the left-leaning daily El Pais said in an editorial on Saturday.

Aznar is to step down, but his hand-picked successor, former Deputy Prime
Minister Mariano Rajoy, is seeking a third straight four-year term for the
center-right Popular Party.

Socialist candidate Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who opposed the war in
Iraq but has backed Aznar in the fight against ETA, is seeking to return the
Socialists to power for the first time since Aznar unseated Felipe Gonzalez
in 1996.

In Madrid, relatives continued their agonising vigils in hospitals where the
worst of the wounded were being treated.

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