[Marxism] Aznar's party to sue Pedro Almodovar over "coup" remark

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Mar 19 04:32:17 MST 2004

(Desperate to divert attention from the
election loss caused when it was caught
fingering ETA for the crime they knew
to have been carried out by Al-Qaeda,
they now plan to sue Pedro Almodovar 
for saying what millions of Spanish
voters thought as they went to vote.)

March 18, 2004

Spain's Losing Party Plans to Sue Movie Director for
Slander Over a 'Coup' Accusation


MADRID, March 17 — Spain's defeated conservative party said
Wednesday that it was going to sue Pedro Almodóvar, the
country's most celebrated movie director, because he had
accused the government of trying to hatch a "coup d'état"
the day before the election.

The Popular Party said in a news release that Mr. Almodóvar
had committed "slander and libel."

Appearing at a screening for the press of his new movie,
"Bad Education," in Spain on Tuesday, Mr. Almodóvar, an
opponent of the Iraq war, called the defeat of the
conservatives a "liberating" moment that will usher in a
new era of democracy.

Mr. Almodóvar referred to a rumor circulating on the
Internet that accused the government of petitioning the
Spanish king on the eve of the election to postpone the
voting. The rumor, still swirling around Madrid, held that
the king refused the request, saying it would constitute a
de facto coup d'état.

"We have to understand something terrifying," Mr. Almodóvar
told reporters for the news channel Telecinco about the
P.P., the Popular Party. "The P.P. was about to, at
midnight Saturday, bring about a coup détat. I don't want
to be polite or delicate. I'm not trying to throw stones,
but you have to see how the P.P. has been operating."

The government has flatly denied the rumor and all
political parties have said there is no truth in it. In a
television interview on Monday, Mariano Rajoy, the Popular
Party's defeated candidate for prime minister, called the
allegation a "colossal lie" and added that "there are
people who should watch what they say and be more

A spokesman for the royal family declined to comment,
saying that they did not respond to rumors by anonymous
sources. Mr. Almodóvar's spokesman could not be reached for
comment on Wednesday.

As the ruling Popular Party tussled with Mr. Almodóvar, the
incoming Socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez
Zapatero, responded to an appeal by President Bush, urging
Spain and other allies in Iraq to stand firm. Mr. Zapatero
plans to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq if the United
Nations has not taken control by June 30.

"I will listen to Mr. Bush but my position is very clear
and very firm," Mr. Zapatero told Spain's Onda Cero radio.
"The occupation is turning into a fiasco."

In the hourlong interview, Mr Zapatero said "fighting
terrorism with bombs" and "Tomahawk missiles" was not
working. Noting that nearly as many have died during the
occupation as during the war, Mr. Zapatero said it was time
for a new strategy.

But he also sought to reassure Spain that while he seeks to
do things differently, he does not intend to shrug off
terrorism, including acts committed by ETA, the Basque
separatist group that has taken responsibility for killing
more than 800 people.

One of his first acts as prime minister will be to better
coordinate Spain's police agencies, which he said failed to
prevent last week's Madrid train bombings that killed 201
people. "What I am thinking, planning and working toward is
to finish off terrorism, and ETA is not going to get a
minute's rest," Mr. Zapatero said.

A shadowy Islamic group that claimed responsibility for the
Madrid train bombings in a letter to a newspaper in London
last week called an end to its "operations" in Spain on
Wednesday while the new Spanish government considered
withdrawing troops from Iraq.

The new letter was faxed to the newspaper Al Hayat. But the
Spanish questioned its authenticity, noting that the group,
Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, had also falsely claimed
responsibility for last summer's blackout in New York and
did not have the ability to declare a truce.

At an afternoon news conference, Interior Minister Ángel
Acebes said a judge had imposed a secrecy order on the
police investigation into the terrorist attacks, apparently
to avoid compromising the hunt for suspects. In addition,
European and United States police and intelligence agencies
had joined the inquiry, he said.

In an effort to protect Spain from future attacks, Mr.
Acebes said, a special government council had approved new
measures to deal with the terrorist threat including
heightened security at transportation hubs, sports stadiums
and other gathering places. It will also tighten controls
over communications centers, transportation and refineries.

The police continue to question Jamal Zougam, a Moroccan
phone salesman who was arrested two days after the
bombings. Moroccan officials said they had uncovered ties
between Mr. Zougam and several Islamist radicals who have
been jailed since bombings in Casablanca on May 16.

Spanish counterterrorism officials are still uncertain what
role Mr. Zougam, 30, might have played in the Madrid
attacks last week, officials said. Two other Moroccans and
two Indians were also arrested in connection with the train

Also on Wednesday, Ali Amrous, an Algerian who in January
is said to have threatened to "kill a lot of people," was
brought under tight security to a Madrid court to determine
if he knew of the attack beforehand. The police said that
when Mr. Amrous, an impoverished illegal resident, was
first arrested in January in the northern city of San
Sebastián after a neighborhood disturbance, he shouted at
officers, "We will fill Madrid with the dead," the police

A judge ordered Mr. Amrous to be held in jail for two more
days to see if his threats in January were linked to the
train bombings.

Dale Fuchs contributed reporting for this article.

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