Spanish Bombs

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Iberian Notes has a good roundup of coverage of the terrible train bombings in Spain, with frequent updates. At this point, the casualty count appears to be 190 dead, 1400 wounded.

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  1. I posted this in another thread, and I’ll post it here as well:

    My brother studied in Spain for several months in college. He said that one of the bombs went off just a few blocks from where he used to live. This will sound bad to some here, but it actually upset him more than 9/11. 9/11 was obviously awful, but he didn’t know any of the people hurt, he hadn’t ever been to the Pentagon or WTC. But he knows people who live right by where this happened. He used to walk those streets and take those trains. 9/11 upset him, but this upset him even more. I can understand why.

    I know some people would call my brother unpatriotic for that, but when you know the people and places affected by a bombing, nationality doesn’t matter. Those are familiar people and places, regardless of national allegiance.

  2. Unpatriotic? Not at all. Completely human and perfectly understandable.

  3. absolutely horrible — this doesn’t look like eta — western european violent seperatist groups tend to kill symbolically in small numbers — even the IRA never killed more than a couple dozen in one act to my knowledge and eta has never killed more than 20 or so — interesting to watch this play out…

  4. For what it’s worth I think this is from AP

    “A top Basque politician, Arnold Otegi, denied the separatists were behind the blasts and blamed ?Arab resistance.? Many al-Qaida-linked terrorists were captured in Spain or were believed to have operated from there.

    Otegi told Radio Popular in San Sebastian that ETA always phones in warnings before it attacks. Acebes said there was no warning before Thursday?s attack.

    ?The modus operandi, the high number of victims and the way it was carried out make me think, and I have a hypothesis in mind, that yes it may have been an operative cell from the Arab resistance,? Otegi said, noting that Spain?s government backed the Iraq war despite domestic opposition.”

  5. They have a letter from Usama claiming responsibility; woe to that fucking bastard.

  6. So, which Middle Eastern country should Spain invade to handle this? The Spaniards could do the hard work of first finding out if any Middle Eastern country actually aided any terrorists involved in this bombing. Or, they could simply point to some Arab country and say “You’re looking at us funny, and we have an inkling that maybe, just maybe, your dictator is involved. So we’ll invade you.”

  7. “So, which Middle Eastern country should Spain invade to handle this? The Spaniards could do the hard work of first finding out if any Middle Eastern country actually aided any terrorists involved in this bombing. Or, they could simply point to some Arab country and say “You’re looking at us funny, and we have an inkling that maybe, just maybe, your dictator is involved. So we’ll invade you.”

    Where were the Moors from again, I think Spain still owes them an ass-kicking ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. I don’t know whether this was ETA or not, but if their past bombings haven’t had this kind of death toll before, it’s been sheer luck. Past (thwarted) ETA attempts have included planting bombs on busy thoroughfares set to go off just as kids were leaving nearby schools to go home. Plenty of American media still insist on referring to these evil fuckers as “Basque separatists” instead of, you know, terrorists.

  9. Such polite bombers, those ETA folks.

  10. UPI weighs in with al-Qaida story

    http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040311-112725-1601r

    I note JB has found another story, but I’ll post the above anyway.

    If it is al-Qaida I guess NATO will invoke Article 5 again or is it already running.

    http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=82DD9119-1E41-4C91-9C9644C9CF78068F

    NATO Commander to Press Allies for More Help in Afghanistan

  11. Yeah, Jean Bart.

    The only problem is I don’t see much (else?) we can take away from him, at least without killing way too many more people. A very bad situation.

    Thoreau,

    I’m sorry for your brother’s loss. I hope he can get through this ok. Anyone who would call him unpatriotic for having compassion for his friends and aquaintences is someone I would prefer to not meet.

    Shawn S.

  12. http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-1126951,00.html

    QAEDA CLAIMS BOMBINGS

  13. When I was travelling from Paris to Madrid back in ’91, we had to stop in Zaragosa because someone had threatened to blow up the train tracks. We had a few hours of delay, tried to hitch a ride (and had absolutely no luck), and went back to the station just in time to hear that we should re-board the train. From there it was smooth sailing.

    The funny part of the story is that my dumb ass ditched a suitcase I had because it was unwieldy…soon saw cops checking it out quite intently and had to explain that it was mine and I simply didn’t want it anymore. But what can I say, I was 18 and from America…what did I know about terrorism in northern Spain? ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Julian,

    I think the total death toll by ETA over the years is ~800; and the biggest incident had a few dozen killed. Recently someone planted a very nasty bomb on the TGV that was founded; and I am wondering if it is the same bastards.

    Isaac,

    Yes, here is that story; sorry I did not send the URL earlier; I am really “pissed off!”
    http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=OTEUB4EUGMRFICRBAEKSFFA?type=topNews&storyID=4550469&section=news

    spur,

    Spain invaded the land of the “Moors” during the Reconquista and afterwards (who the Moors are is complicated, but the later of waves of Muslims who went to Spain were from northern and Western Africa); that is how they colonized portions of North Africa. Somehow I doubt that re-invading haphazardly North Africa – especially countries like Morrocco – is the answer.

  15. No one’s said it so I will:

    Nice Clash reference.

  16. MADRID – A London-based Arabic newspaper says an al-Qaeda-linked group has claimed responsibility for the series of deadly bombs that ripped across a train line in Madrid, killing at least 190 people.

    http://cbc.ca/stories/2004/03/11/madrid040311

  17. Instead of using violence to fight violence, the people of Spain need to try to understand why their enemies hate them as they do. They must think, “why do they hate us. Is it the occupation? Is it our culture?”. Only then will we all achieve peace. Military action will only create more hatred and perpetuate this “cycle of violence”.

  18. Apparently Arnold Otegi is more than “A top Basque politician,”

    “…the leader of Eta’s banned political wing Batasuna blamed the blasts on “Arab resistance”. Arnaldo Otegi said he “refused to believe” Eta was responsible.”

    Frankly I am more than a little puzzled that this group has any sympathizers. It is my understanding that the Basque Region has a great deal of autonomy, language rights and subsidies from the National govt. There are also a large number of representatives of Basque nationality in both local and national govt. I further understand that ETA is widely despised by Basque and non-Basque alike.

    Jean, the Basque “homeland” extends into southern France, n’est-ce pas? But I believe ETA has directed most, but not all, of its efforts at Spain. Have the French authorities been more efficient at keeping tabs on them?

  19. ‘Plenty of American media still insist on referring to these evil fuckers as “Basque separatists” instead of, you know, terrorists.’

    I am so sick of this line of attack. They plant bombs. The assinate people. We KNOW they’re terrorists. Journalists put other descriptions in their stories to provide information on what KIND of terrorists they were – Saudi dissidents, Palestinian restance, Northern Irish sepratists, Tamil independence fighters.

    Julian, are you under the delusion that Americans who see a story “Basque Seperatists Kill Five in Bombings” don’t understand that the bombers were terrorists?

  20. Nice sarcasm, dumb liberal.
    That was sarcasm, right?

  21. In order to achieve peace the people of Spain must show that their violence knows no boundaries. They should pick a Middle Eastern country and invade. Immediately. Don’t wait to find out if that country was involved. Just invade. Now.

    The important thing is to show that they will fight back. OK, so they might accidentally fight back against people who had nothing to do with this. And sure, that might take resources away from the people who were really involved. But it will sure show some resolve.

    Let’s kill some A-rabs, boys!

  22. “We announce the good news for the Muslims in the world that the strike of the black wind of death, the expected strike against America, is now at its final stage ? 90 percent ready ? and it is coming soon, by God’s will,” the claim said.

    Do they really think blowing us up more is going to make us want to kill them less? Were they not paying attention to the approval rating that 9/11 brought to Dubyah, of all people? Bring it, bitches.

  23. As your side is so fond of pointing out to the people “dumb liberal” is impsonating, they don’t care about our internal politics, rst. We’re at war, and they’re trying to win.

  24. I can’t believe I’m responding to a troll…

    Slacker (aka dumb liberal):
    Thats a really stupid attempt at “strawman” humour.
    Liberal is not a synonym for pacifist. Most liberals I know have no problem with violent solutions, if they are the -right- solution. Especially libertarian liberals (or liberal libertarians).
    Try a little harder not to be such an offensive ass.

  25. Isaac Bartram,

    Well, there is more of a historical tradition of Basques taking up arms against the Spanish government than against France going back long ago. I don’t really know why. Franco was especially harsh on the Basques and that may explain it as there really is no French equivalent to that (not that Franco’s barbarity is any excuse for ETA’s actions). However, they have been working more against France since the 1980s; and they use the mountainous regions along the border to hide (indeed, this is where France catches them all the time). Recently – the past few years – they have always joined up with a small Breton nationalist group that does terrorist acts in France. Nothing as spectacular or evil as this though.

    Right now, ETA does not want to be involved in this; Europe is going to bring hell on these motherfuckers Al Qaeda.

    I have a few words in Usama; excuse my use of French:

    Essaye cette manoeuvre: Prendre 50-60 pas en arri?re. Prendre plusieurs souffles profonds. Sprinter en avant ? toute vitesse. Faire un triple saut p?rilleux en l’air et dispara?tre dans ton propre cul!

    Translation:

    Try this maneuver: Take 50-60 paces backwards. Take several deep breaths. Sprint forward at full speed. Do a triple summersault through the air, and disappear up your own ass.

  26. dumb conservative:
    Better response to the troll than mine.
    I’m jealous. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. your side

    You don’t know my side.

    We’re at war, and they’re trying to win.

    Trying is the key word. I could try to beat up an 800 lb. gorilla, but eventually I’m going to learn that I can’t.

    What are they going to do? Kill a few thousand citizens? Ten thousand? A hundred thousand? What does that matter? These citizens have by and large killed no Muslims, and will not ever in their lives. By blowing up citizens all A.Q. and company do is inflate anger in those who remain while failing to put so much as a dent in the mechanism that actually kills Muslims, namely, our military and government. It is war, and our enemy is a poor tactician. They are not winning, merely prolonging the conflict for their own survival, pretending all the while that the will of some desert deity has given them a shot.

  28. They found detonators and a Quran in a van nearby. The brigade that claimed responsibility on AQ’s behalf also claimed credit for the recent Northeast blackout. So… Links to those stories here.

  29. Two quick comments:

    1. It’s still far from clear who was responsible for the bombings. It’s not uncommon for uninvolved organizations (and pseudo-organizations) to take responsibility for an act of terror just to inflate their reputations. I’m not saying it wasn’t this “group acting on behalf of Al Qaeda” (or however it was phrased in one of those news accounts), just that we should wait and see how well that pans out.

    2. I have to disagree with my colleague Julian and agree with commenter Joe. ETA is both separatist and terrorist. There’s no reason to interpret the use of the first adjective as a denial of the second.

  30. For all I know Al Qaeda may be involved. But if I were in a non-Muslim terrorist group, I’d still make a point of leaving Korans lying around the scene of bombings, just to distract the investigators.

    Again, not saying that Al Qaeda isn’t involved. Just saying that if Korans immediately raise our suspicions, it would be easy for other terrorist groups to take advantage of that.

    (In some ways I don’t even care if Al Qaeda is or is not involved. We already have plenty of reasons to shut them down. However, the Spanish government obviously needs to figure out one way or another, so they know whether there’s some other group besides Al Qaeda that also needs to be taken care of.)

  31. From

    http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=4549542

    ‘”The Basque pro-independence left wishes to clearly express the most absolute rejection of what happened today in Madrid. Indiscriminate actions against civilians, against workers … are absolutely and firmly rejected,” Batasuna leader Arnaldo Otegi said in a statement he read aloud.’

    My question is when have they targeted anybody but “civilians…workers…”?

  32. > They found detonators and a Quran in a van nearby.

    And sand and Klatchian money?

  33. Jesse Walker,

    Well, whether they are “seperatist” or not doesn’t particularly matter; they are terrorists. If some of those neo-Nazis in Idaho started a terrorist campaign against the U.S., they too would be seperatists (as I recall, they want to make Idaho into a “white” nation); they would still be terrorists and their actions as “seperatists” would be unimportant to that fact.

  34. Isaac Bertram,

    Much of the attacks of the ETA, and other Basque terrorist groups, have been against government officials (judges for example). I suppose they aren’t “civilians” or “workers.”

  35. Jean Bart,

    But would calling the hypothetical neo-Nazis in your example “separatists” be a denial of their terrorist tactics? It’s hard to say how these commonly used tags get started and then replicated. I’d say it’s largely by chance, like most trends. Something catches on and sticks. But if Al-Qaeda is somewhat unique in being called almost exclusively terrorists, that’s at least partly because no one knows exactly what they’re after other than terror. Sure, we have some ideas, but we don’t know for sure.

  36. When I woke up this morning and heard the news I immediately thought “Al Qaeda” because of the simultanaity and large body count…but it is a little more disturbing to learn that it was 10 smaller (though still plenty big for trains) bombs that went off mostly simultaneously. Usually Al Qaeda goes for the few big bombs.

    So to my mind it’s still an open question who it is until forensic evidence points one way or another. Still, this is probably the worst terrorist attack since 9-11, even worse than Bali. I hope it isn’t because Spain went along in the Coalition of the Willing, but whatever the reason, I want whoever did it found and run through a shredder. Slowly.

  37. When I hear “Such-and-such group set off bomb, killed X number of people” I generally assume that such-and-such group is a terrorist group. The bomb is usually my clue to the terrorist aspect. Specifically identifying the group as terrorist would be redundant. Not to knock the use of the word “terrorist”, just to point out that the word itself isn’t always necessary to convey the message that a group is terrorist.

  38. Oh and I found it disturbing because it takes more cleverness and sophistication to detonate 10 devices undetected simultaneously than it does 2 or 3 big ones. And it takes more people. I did read that some other bombs were found and defused (or didn’t go off).

    Still, not good.

  39. The bomb is usually my clue to the terrorist aspect. Specifically identifying the group as terrorist would be redundant.

    Exactly. Whereas saying “separatist” then tells us a bit about what the group is & what its goals are. Assuming you’ve already established that they’re in the business of terror, it conveys more information.

    Whereas if the article was about the many faces of Basque separatism, then it would be useful to add the modifier “terrorist,” because we’d already know that ETA favors separation; the important new fact to convey would be that they pursue it via the murder of civilians.

  40. Jesse-

    Good point. If the article was on Basque separatism, not bombings, then it might make sense to identify ETA as terrorist while identifying some other group as a “political party” or “activists engaging in non-violent civil disobedience” or “lobbying group” or whatever.

  41. I don’t think its redundant.

  42. rst:
    I suppose that arguing with A.Q. over the logic of their tactics is like arguing with any other murderer. I doubt that conventional logic plays much part in their decision making process. The fact that terrorism is extremely unlikely to succeed for them is trumped by the fact that they see terrorism as their only tool.

    If A.Q. keeps playing this game of “sneak up and kick a lion in the ass”, one day they are going to stumble while running away.

  43. So, which Middle Eastern country should Spain invade to handle this?

    Most of them.

    The fact is, Spain is on the shitlist for AQ anyhow. When Osama said he was out to avenge the Tragedy of Andalusia, he was referring to the Spanish Reconquista, which ocurred between about 800 AD and 1492, finally freeing Spain from the last bits of Islamic oppression the same year Columbus sailed for the New World.

    It was only a matter of time. Might have come later had Spain kept its nose out of the Middle East, might not have considering all of Osama’s references to Andalusia. Those references, BTW, might have had something to do with Aznar’s willingness to try to help the US clean up the mess created by the failed police states of the middle east.

  44. Stephen-

    Do you really think Spain should invade most of the Arab world? Or are you just being facetious? Because that seems, um, well, a little extreme.

    Oh, wait, I forgot. We have to drain the swamp and transform a region. We can’t create a bastion of prosperity, peace, and liberal values in Compton, but we’re going to do it in the Middle East. Right.

  45. Stephen Fetchet,

    “…finally freeing Spain from the last bits of Islamic oppression the same year Columbus sailed for the New World.”

    And in 1493 Spain expelled every Jew it could from Spain; following this came Torquemada’s oppression; and following this every Muslim was expelled in the mid-16th century (these expulsions led to large classes of Spain’s business, administrative and tradecraft classes leaving Spain – seriously impoverishing Spain). Please don’t paint the Reconquista as some period where liberty was planted in Spain; it wasn’t. In other words, yes, Muslim rule in Spain had many low-points, and was hardly utopia, but the Catholic Spain that followed wasn’t some grand improvement on the matter; indeed, it became an aggressive, military regime, which fought horrific wars to enforce religious and political tyranny in Europe; and its actions in the Americas were hardly to its credit.

  46. TJ, I think they stumbled already. Mullah Omar lost the farm over his complicity in 9/11. Saddam met his fate over a range of issues, one being financial support for terrorist activity in Israel (and the realization he could just as well assist in another 9/11-style attack)

    It will be interesting to see what course of action Spain will take once they positively identify the perps. I’m guessing they will look more like hawks than doves (ie. I don’t think they are going to try to “understand” their enemy)

  47. JB,
    Gasp, are you saying that Spain became LESS free after those nasty Islamic types left? Even for the Jews? How could that be, it says right in the Koran that no people will be less free than the Islamic people, except the Jews living in Islamic lands.

    Sorry if the sarcasm was a little heavy handed. ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. Mo,

    “Gasp, are you saying that Spain became LESS free after those nasty Islamic types left? Even for the Jews?”

    Well, that is hard to measure; Muslim Spain had periods of high tolerance for other religious belief and such (and periods where that wasn’t the case).

    I am writing that the Reconquista is hardly a period which saw a flowering of Spanish liberty; if anything you have the hand of one oppressor being replaced by another.

  49. “are you under the delusion that Americans who see a story “Basque Seperatists Kill Five in Bombings” don’t understand that the bombers were terrorists?”

    Me, I’m under the delusion that Americans ask themselves: “Why don’t they just call these fuckers what they are – terrorists?”

  50. This is terrible news and it makes me sad. But my little mind is hard at work trying to figure out how Spain would carry off its version of the US’s retaliation against Afghanistan. I know, I know, we’re not yet certain it’s AQ, but if it is, or the terrorism points to one or more specific countries, what would Spain’s options be?

    Their military is relatively small, although by no means puny (Encarta reports that in 2001 there were 118,800 in the army, 26,950 in the navy, 22,750 in the air force, plus a Civil Guard of 75,000.) Don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t f**k with Spain.

    Anybody know how many troops they contributed to Bush’s war in Iraq (I recall it was quite small)? Anybody know how their forces are allocated to UN peacekeeping missions? Do the perks of NATO membership apply here? Would they cash in their chips and implore the US to help them kick butt?

    Perhaps a the better, meta-question is, if the enemy is identified and one or more nations are attached to that enemy, would Spain have any other option than a military one?

  51. Andrew Lynch,

    Spain has got the UNSC to condemn Eta:

    http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=4551457

    Spain does not really have the potential to project much in the way of force; not as much as the U.K. or France, and certainly not as much as the U.S. Nato could act here; it really depends on a number of factors. If Eta is really behind the attack, it would be much easier to deal with them. Al-Qaeda is another matter obviously.

  52. How can you Europeans allow this? The Muslims will murder you until they are all dead.

    Islam is dead. Murderism replaced it 100 years ago. What a worthless religion and worthless culure. No Arab today can reasonably claim to have ANYTHING in common with the glorious culture of their ancestors.

  53. MJ,

    Well, first, not all Muslims are Arabs. Second, I guess I could ask the same question of your country; how could you let 9/11 occur? Third, if every Muslim was a terrorist as you seem to imply, we would be in deep shit; but most Muslims are not, and that is a good thing.

  54. Just to throw this out there, and partially I’ll admit to take my mind off the inhumanity of all this, but how many people here think that there’s some chess playing going on? This “Abu Hafs al-Masri” has a few wild claims to its credit.

  55. joe wrote –
    “Julian, are you under the delusion that Americans who see a story “Basque Seperatists Kill Five in Bombings” don’t understand that the bombers were terrorists?”

    It depends, joe. Plenty of people are apt to shrug and pretend that one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter etc and media “even handedness” often reflects that attitude. Things often only change when the “freedom fighter” strikes a blow for freedom in their backyard.

  56. I’m proud to be an anarchist, but ashamed of the perverted redefinition of it.
    Anarchy almost defines itself: against hierarchy. To me, anarchy is the ultimate peacenik stance.
    Terrorism is not anarchy because the terrorist is placing him or herself in the hierarchy and higher.
    Sadly it must be reported humans are hardwired to establish themselves at a certain level in a hierarchy. This hardwiring places politicians and terrorists most prominately out there on Main street of the gunfight at the O K corral.
    Also sadly, this happens to be the way social change happens. It’s more gruesome than making sausage.
    Who can say whether the change we’re on the cusp of is for the better or the worse?

  57. Thanks, Jean Bart,

    Nato could act here; it really depends on a number of factors. If Eta is really behind the attack, it would be much easier to deal with them.

    Does one of those factors include whether or not it was ETA? If it is, seems to me that NATO would be reasonable — and prudent — to declare “clean your own house.” (Forgive me, I just don’t know that much about ETA…yet. I have enough militant groups to keep track of.)

    I guess it makes more sense to wait and see who did it than to cycle endlessly in H&R about possible military scenarios. ;>

  58. RST,

    …there’s some chess playing going on? This “Abu Hafs al-Masri” has a few wild claims to its credit.

    Please elaborate. Chess involving which players? I’ve not heard of AHAM (their PR people screwed the acronym pooch with that one). Can you point us to some of the wild claims to which you refer? Thanks!

  59. Andrew Lynch,

    “Does one of those factors include whether or not it was ETA? If it is, seems to me that NATO would be reasonable — and prudent — to declare ‘clean your own house.’ (Forgive me, I just don’t know that much about ETA…yet. I have enough militant groups to keep track of.)”

    Well, yes; that could be Nato’s attitude. Of course what Nato can and cannot do is rather flexible these days; it is my opinion that the charter really does not cover say Nato’s actions in the Balkans, and that it certainly does not cover its presence in Afghanistan, nor will it cover any future action it might take in Iraq. Indeed, its being used for things no one really ever expected; but as its original purpose is significantly diminished (I am however still wary of the bear), it has to find something to do or die.

    The relevant language of the Charter follows:

    Article 5

    The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
    Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

    What’s interesting is that Nato is in its original form seen as a stop-gap to UN action; indeed, there are these entities called “Article 43 forces” which were supposed to be created under the UN charter that were to be essentially UN armies. An Article 43 force being a military force created by agreement between the UNSC and a group of nations. No such force was ever created; and so the UN depends on language in Articles 39-42 to create more amorphous peace-keeping forces (an Article 43 force would be essentially a permanent military force – or as permanent as the contracting parties allow it to be).

    Anyway, suffice it to say that Nato is not going to act until Spain determines what its next move will be (you won’t see the Daguet Division or Delta Force or the SAS paracuting into Spain unless Spain wants them there in other words); though Nato HQ has released statements condemning the attacks, and stating that Nato stands ready to act, etc.

    “I guess it makes more sense to wait and see who did it than to cycle endlessly in H&R about possible military scenarios. ;>”

    Oh no; cycling endlessly about what they may do is inherently fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ When I left the French Marine Corps in 1992 I really considered that being a warrior was going to be obsolete. Obviously I was wrong (unfortunately).

  60. I’m betting that Paris is next.

  61. Chess involving which players?

    The West and al Qaeda (and to an extent its supporting states).

    “AHAM” – that Muslims detest pork makes the acronym that much more amusing. Anyway, “AHAM” claimed credit for the blackout in the Northeast, which was caused by a computer glitch, and a car bombing in Iraq, which they had nothing to do with. Perhaps a smokescreen with a violent coup de grace, or a discovered check, to bludgeon the chess metaphor.

  62. Douglas,

    I don’t think Paris is next. Based on the letter to the London newspaper, I would guess Japan, Britain and Italy are the ones who should be most concerned. The US was mentioned too, but something tells me that no AQ attempts on the US will occur until after the elections. I think they understand that another attack will likely bring about Bush’s reelection. Let me be clear, though, Bush or Kerry wins, they’ll be coming. The 90% ready claim is interesting. Maybe it’s bullshit, or maybe they are just waiting for the right time to pull the trigger.

  63. France had bomb threats (and an actual bomb was found as well) against its trains last week.

  64. Not to be a pessimist, but the most dramatic target would of course be the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Already Athens has telling Nato and the EU that they will have to provide much of the security because the Greeks can’t afford it.

  65. BTW, one thing that argues this being Eta, or at least “traditional” Eta is that there was no warning message.

  66. It was 911 days from 9/11/01 to 3/11/04.

    Not that that necessarily means anything….

  67. RST:

    “but I like al Qaeda and its ideological supporters, men, women, and children, even less. I prefer every last one of them dying over even one American losing their life.”

    So you think that children are fair game?

  68. Andrew Lynch:

    “Please elaborate. Chess involving which players? I’ve not heard of AHAM (their PR people screwed the acronym pooch with that one). Can you point us to some of the wild claims to which you refer? Thanks!”

    For instance, this same group claimed responsibility for the East coast blackouts in a letter to Arabic-language newspaper based in London.

  69. “It was 911 days from 9/11/01 to 3/11/04.”

    Can someone else verify this (I am too damned lazy to count the days myself)?

    Still, I find it interesting it was 3/11.. no math genius needed to figure out that 9 can be divided by 3. Both with 11, of course. Forgive me if this is common knowledge, but has anyone determined any significance (if any) to the numbers 9, 3 and 11? Any Islamic significance? These animals have shown a great tendacy to make symbolic gestures.

    This type of shit really brings out the fascist in me.. as horrible as the Spain bombings are, maybe something “good” can come of it. Europe can possibly unite (with or without the US) and root out these animals once and for all. I heard some chest-thumping coming from FRANCE of all places! These murderous scum want a war, maybe they will get it.

  70. Essaye cette manoeuvre: Prendre 50-60 pas en arri?re. Prendre plusieurs souffles profonds. Sprinter en avant ? toute vitesse. Faire un triple saut p?rilleux en l’air et dispara?tre dans ton propre cul!

    Translation:

    Try this maneuver: Take 50-60 paces backwards. Take several deep breaths. Sprint forward at full speed. Do a triple summersault through the air, and disappear up your own ass.

    LOL! Thanks for the translation!

  71. RST: Why just Americans, this involves humanity, the world as a whole. Everytime these dickheads strap a bomb to their chest or cheer when they see a train blown to pieces these men, women and children are supporting what they are tought in their reilgious beliefs. These children are basically in training, brainwashed into their own system. Future terrorist show no sympathy all you need is one.

  72. Well, just for the fuck of it, I will make one prediction. I could make more, but they would all be conditional on this first one.

    I don’t believe it was ETA– just maybe some elements had SOME involvement…but I doubt even that.

    I believe it was Al-qaida, in some form. I am not all that sold on AHAM, but I believe their attribution WAS pre-arranged, and I have no problem with punishing them as co-conspiritors. But definitely Al-qaida, which was a somewhat loose network to begin with, and in the process of morphing into successor organisations…but definitely Al-qaida.

    So…maybe I will look foolish– but there is no honor in “predicting” things in hind-sight.

    I don’t guess it will take more than a couple of days (if that) to pretty well know. That Koffi is pushing for the ETA is only one more reason to suspect the Arabs.

  73. Accoding to my handy desk calander, March 11th was the 71st day of the year, and September 12th is 110 days before the end of the year, and 730 days for two years.

    71+111+730 = 911.

    I can’t take credit for this though, I heard it on WCBS or WINS newsradio this morning. I did check the math before posting, though.

    Probably a coincidence?

  74. Andrew,

    Kofi did not press for Eta, the Spanish government did; quit lying.

  75. 3/11/04 was also 311 days after the (Spanish-supported) invasion of Iraq.*

    * The above statement is probably bullshit, with no evidence to back it up. No claims are made about the statement’s truthfulness. Do not place the statement between your thighs while adding sugar. All rights reserved. Shrub sucks.

  76. It will be interesting to watch this get unravelled. The plot is thickening.

    “Basque Group Denies Madrid Terror Attacks”

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20040312/ap_on_re_eu/spain_bombings_eta

    “La Polic?a Cient?fica concluye que los explosivos y detonadores no son los habituales de ETA” (I think that says “the Scientific (Forensic?) Police have concluded that the explosive and detonators are not the ones normally used by Eta”) – I will not be offended if anyone corrects me:). Beyond the headline I just got the general sense of the article. Of course Eta may simply have gotten hold of a new type of explosive.

    http://www.elpais.es/articulo.html?d_date=&xref=20040312elpepunac_12&type=Tes&anchor=elpporesp

    Of course we have seen many misleading threads in just the first 24 hrs of this saga. This might be more of the same.

    BTW Jean Bart in my reading up on Eta I have found you are absolutely right Eta in the past targeted judges, police and military personel and politicians (including Aznar, who escaped an assassination attempt). Of course there were bystanders (who by their standards were innocent) hurt or killed, but what is that to a terrorist? Apparently they claim the supermarket in Barcelona was hit by mistake.

  77. Who gains? Looks like Mossad.

  78. You’re a twat, previous poster. Mossad. As if. You stupid Jew-hating wad of cum.

  79. Anyway. I think we can do some better analysis of Al-Qaeda and ETA motives here.

    ETA: wants something that they think they could through low levels of violence and political process. When they perpetrate violence, they are making a statement to the rest of Spain, in the hopes that they will negotiate with them and make concessions. They’re fuckers.

    Al-Qaeda: wants something that they think they can get only through very high levels of violence. When they perpetrate violence, they are making two statements, and they are

    1) to Muslims they say “see how strong we are, and how vulnerable our enemies are? Let us all rise up and set the globe on fire, and then we can bring back the Caliphate”

    2) to God they say “we are doing what (we think) you want – killing infidels and calling all Muslims to join us; please glorify us, and strike down our enemies”

    They’re fuckers too. But their goals should not be considered political; they have no interest in negotiation. In general they don’t claim responsibility for their actions, because it doesn’t matter.

    BTW I hope very much that Paris is NOT next, as it is a very nice city with very nice people, and that is how I feel about pretty much every city.

  80. Native NYer:

    71+111+730 = 912. Damn Leap Year.

    Shawn S.

  81. Some conversations I’ve had with journalists in Europe suggest pretty strongly that Rome is the big bull’s-eye.

  82. Shawn, that’s priceless.

    OK, around the ETA vs. AQ question, apparently the plot thins

  83. 911 days is right with 3/11 being the 912th day.

    Sept Oct Nov Dec 2002 2003 Jan Feb Mar
    19 + 31 + 30 + 31 + 365 + 365 + 31 + 29 + 11 = 912
    911 days had passed, I guess you could say.

    Neither Nostradamus nor Edgar Cayce
    predicted either of those dates,
    and neither said a thing about a train.

    Be it far from a libertarian’s heart,
    but a machine to read a mind would be nice.

  84. Does Vegas give odds on future carnage?

  85. Anyone know what the maximum sentence is in Spain? I noticed (from a quick google search) they don’t have the death penalty for any crime. Puts the commonly heard phrase “persued to the maiximum extent of the law..” in perspective.

  86. chthus, what makes you think Al Quaeda wants Bush out of office? They’re having their greatest success with him in.

  87. Andrew Lynch

    Great link, Thanks. I realize that it could be that Eta has stepped up its attacks and changed its tactics.

  88. “They’re having their greatest success with him in.”

    Odd that they didn’t blow us up again, though. I mean, they are undeterred, right?

  89. Oh, and I guess it would be a good idea not to have such evil policies that bring terrorists to our door. The answer, obviously, is that the terrorists are criminals, so the police should be able to handle this no matter what.

    Come to think of it, any reasonable person can see that the answer is to just do whatever the terrorists ask, that way you don’t provoke them and increase their ability to recruit.

  90. Al Quaeda wants Bush out of office?

    He’s a hawk. If al Qaeda bloodies our noses again, we’ll probably give him carte blanche to carpet bomb some more Muslims. I know I will. I don’t like the “Shrub,” but I like al Qaeda and its ideological supporters, men, women, and children, even less. I prefer every last one of them dying over even one American losing their life. I see Kerry adopting a frightened apologist stance.

  91. Jean Bart

    I seem to finding stories all over the place this morning to the effect that “This may not be Eta’s usual MO, but maybe they’ve changed their tactics.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/spain/article/0,2763,1167856,00.html

  92. Gadfly:

    And a poll taken by Andres McKenna Polling and Research found that Americans overwhelmingly believe “the terrorists would prefer” Mr. Kerry to win the election.
    The poll of 800 registered voters, taken in February, showed 60 percent thought terrorists would be happier with Mr. Kerry, while just 25 percent said the terrorists would prefer Mr. Bush.

    Rick

  93. Gadfly,

    Actually, their greatest success came when daddy Bush was in office around the time they were established from various sources (muhajideen, EIJ, IIF, etc.) They take credit for bringing down the Soviet Union, not just running them out of Afghanistan, but the subsequent collapse. Read “Quest for Jihad”, their newsletter, occasionally, and you will see this is the crown jewel that makes them think they can bring down the West as well.

    As for their success with son-of-a-Bush in office, you are correct in thinking they’ve seen some great successes. However, for the first time they have faced significant reprisals. Bases in Afghan, gone or significantly disrupted, significant portion of their leadership dead or gone, large portions of their financial support frozen or disrupted, and several new infidel hotspots that they have to throw money and men at.

    My assertion that they would prefer Kerry comes from the generally held assumption (largely based on Kerry’s own words) that he would respond to terror with intelligence and law enforcement and international meetings of the minds. This is not as disruptive to them, only removing portions of their network that have already been successful.

    They would like nothing better than to go back to a time when the US responded to terror attacks with, as Bin Laden put it, a few missiles and a lawsuit.

  94. “I see Kerry adopting a frightened apologist stance.”‘

    Other than an obsolete view of Democratic foreign policy, what do you base this on? The only areas where I’ve seen Kerry criticize Bush’s anti-terror activities were 1) he’s bad at them and 2) he gets distracted by ideological hobby horses like Iraq. When has Kerry ever apologized to Al Qaeda?

  95. I guess that settles that, then.

    Fact is, Al Quaeda is more in control now than ever in their history. They control our budget, our foreign policy and our domestic priorities. Despite hundreds of billions spent and a foreign country conquered (that they didn’t like, anyway), they still pull the strings that make us jump.

    A traditional military solution is not possible, much as it feels good to go smack somebody. Small, mobile attack units and good human intelligence (who here speaks Arabic?) holds much more promise.

  96. Ah, cthus echos Shrubs “serving papers” line from the SOTU speech. What astounding ignorance of what law enforcement and intelligence work is about.

    Perhaps there was a subpoena attached to the Hellfire that pulverized that car in Yemen two years ago.

  97. Gadfly,

    I think their position is better described getting a response rather than being in control. If I go out tonight with an old box of matches and a gasoline can, and start running around setting fires all over the place, I am not in control of the fire department and police force. This despite the fact that I can predict that they would both respond.

    As for traditional military response, I agree, it isn’t relevant and wouldn’t help. There’s no firebombing of Tokoyo to be done here. But our military responses in Afghanistan and Iraq have been anything but traditional. I think that our response needs involve the use of the military, but that is not the whole of it. It isn’t an either or choice (no military or all military), even if some try to set it up like that.

    Nothing is settled, we’re merely in discussion. If some one disagrees with you, it doesn’t mean that either you must agree with them completely or else no further discussion can be had, again, a false choice.

  98. Joe,

    I don’t disagree that law enforcement can pack quite a punch at times. But that’s doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t pack the same punch as a military response. You may think the latter overkill, and at times I would agree. However, I’m much more concerned at what law enforcement doesn’t root out than where military over does it. We can disagree here, and you can even point out there are things that military response doesn’t root out either. But what I was originally arguing was that AQ would prefer a law enforcement response without the military aspect rather than see both.

    As for echoing the SOTU, I’ll take your word for it. I was playing the SOTU drinking game and don’t remember much. You should recognize the two parties issuing similar sentiments sometimes is the result of similar independent conclusions made from observation rather than one having necessarily parrotted the other. I know it’s fun and all to claim those who disagree with you are merely repeating the D or R talking points (an argument that I’m willing to bet is contained in both the D and R talking points), but it really isn’t getting the discussion anywhere.

  99. Isaac Bertram,

    “I seem to finding stories all over the place this morning to the effect that ‘This may not be Eta’s usual MO, but maybe they’ve changed their tactics.'”

    Like any military, etc. force, terrorist groups learn new techniques and change stragetic and tactical measures. This may be the case here. If it is Eta, well, I think they will be reaping the whirlwind soon enough.

  100. A military response is appropriate if the enemy is large enough and/or centralized. If the enemy is a diffuse network, an intelligence response of getting inside their groups and either killing them one-by-one (e.g. that car destroyed in Yemen) or arresting them makes more sense. If there’s no big base to overwhelm, then getting inside and tracking them down makes more sense.

    Of course, it’s more emotionally satisfying to see the tanks rolling in, and the large army marching. But many aspects of this war may be won by missiles hitting individual camps, moles identifying leaders and plots, traitors being bribed to hand in comrades, and agents raiding hideouts.

    Of course, it doesn’t give the same emotional satisfaction as a tank rolling down the street, but in the end there’s nothing more satisfying than victory. (OK, really good sex can be more satisfying, but unless we send a female agent undercover to join Osama’s harem, I doubt this war will have much sex involved…)

  101. In answer to my own question on the max prison terms allowed for under Spanish law – I think the following headline from 2002 answers the question pretty well:

    “Former ETA leader sentenced to 743 years in jail”

  102. I see “garym” has been reading Terry Prachett. ๐Ÿ™‚

  103. “…they will be reaping the whirlwind soon enough.”

    Indeed, many times it seems to me when a terrorist orginization escalates like this, it is an act of desperation. It is my impression (I may be mistaken) that Eta lacks any kind of popular support (as I said earlier, ETA is widely despised by Basque and non-Basque alike). It seems to me that the magnitude of this atrocity will stiffen the resolve of the people and they will probably consent to whatever program Aznar proposes. With the general disgust that this act has provoked I believe that the Spanish authorities (but probably only if the have the full cooperation of the French, and probably the Portuguese (and probably some I haven’t mentioned, because I’m not aware of them)) will finally put an end to this bunch of criminals.

    On the other hand, if it proves to be Al Quaeda, the opposition may be able to use the government’s lack of preparedness to advantage in the upcoming elections.

  104. Mossad alone is behind it

  105. greetings from vienna where a terrible “news program” on state funded news is being played.

    instead of blaming those Assholes (is “Asshat” a good word to use here?) for exploding their bombs and killing hundreds and wounding thousands, the focus is on Spain’s help to the US and how that “is responsible”. that makes me mad. although i was against the war in irak for lack of evidence (this opinion could get a, “oh, i’m sorry” when or if WMDs are found), i still support the War On Terror (the real one, lacking of a better term here), and the fear of seeing the symbol of Liberal Capitalism falling to the ground is still fresh.

    Black armbands for Spain, but please, ORF, do not blame america for this. you blame her for everything else. Even with Patriot, our civil liberties are lesser than her’s. To hell with that teacher i know (must love public, state-funded education) who claimed that the afghanistan was not justified because “america was wounded and acted like a spoiled bully”. i guess she doesn’t remember that there were austrians who died, too. schlei di uebers heis’r, du bissgurn!!!!

    Fun, true story for a change:

    my wife just came back from a visit to Chicago where she got the most wonderful of gifts: GIRLSCOUT COOKIES (proof why america is the strongest country in the world – you will always be the strongest with such wonderful things – and made with real girl scouts, too!!! grin)!

    there was a note from the TSA. This is true:
    “those cookies look wonderful. Safe trip and good luck”.

    For all the horror stories of the TSA, this was a nice ending. May the person who wrote that have a wonderful life. Thank you. that made our day. and we raised our glasses (pacific northwest Pinot Noir – tripple taxed here in austria – from the macmurray (as in the actor fred) vineyards, to the fun person. but delicious and expensive (benefit for having intelligent and beautiful wife who works in pure capitalism: managemen/director live in advertising).

    may the victims of the worst terror act in modern europe be remembered. may the person who claimed that europe “knows terror” remember those words now. all citizens of the EU are new yorkers (in the nice meaning) now. with a population ratio of circa 5-1, that’s like a 33% WTC. terrible.

    “welcome to the fight. this time, i know our side will win”

    may this be the actual cry of Liberals and friends of freedom and liberty the world round.

    friendly greetings,
    Karl

  106. Poor Spaniards, your government should have known better, but instead decided to help Bush rob the Iraqi’s of their oil.

    Im pretty sure there is more terror in Iraq now than there was when that nob Sadaam was in power.

    I guese Al Qaeda are pissed off at the fact that America and its allies initiated the wholesale destruction of property and people in Iraq.

    Would Spain have been a target if they Aznar had not sided with bush in his crooked campaign. Probably not.

    Peace

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