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Madrid Bombing


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 11:29 AM

A string of blasts has hit three Madrid train stations during the rush hour with latest reports speaking of at least 131 people killed.

Spain's government has blamed Basque separatist group ETA for the attacks which come ahead of Sunday's elections.

However, I doubt very much if ETA carried out this attack. They have no history of attacking civilians.

It seems to me much more likely to have been an attack by terrorists campaigning against the Spanish government’s support for the invasion of Iraq. I fear that in time the same kind of attack will be seen in London and New York.

#2 Andrew Field

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 12:22 PM

However, I doubt very much if ETA carried out this attack. They have no history of attacking civilians.

Is a terrible tragedy whatever or whoever the cause.

Your statement about ETA not attacking civilians doesn't quite fit with what I understood though. Attacks linked with ETA since 1997 have been increasingly severe, those killed at a supermarket (earlier - 1987), car bombs in 1998, bombs injuring over a hundred civilians in Madrid in 2001, and the series of bombs on holiday targets last July. The explosions last year were very similar in pattern to the simultaneous explosions today.

Edited by Andrew Field, 11 March 2004 - 01:11 PM.



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#3 John Simkin

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 12:42 PM

However, I doubt very much if ETA carried out this attack. They have no history of attacking civilians.

Is a terrible tragedy whatever or whoever the cause.

Your statement about ETA not attacking civilians doesn't quite fit with what I understood though. Attacks linked with ETA since 1997 have been increasingly severe, those killed at a supermarket the same year (earlier - 1987), car bombs in 1998, bombs injuring over a hundred civilians in Madrid in 2001, and the series of bombs on holiday targets last July. The explosions last year were very similar in pattern to the simultaneous explosions today.

The bombing in Barcelona supermarket bombing was carried out by a dissent group of ETA. ETA have traditionally targeted politicians and members of the security forces. Recently they have started attacking tourist destinations in an attempt to hurt the Spanish economy. However, warnings have been given before hand. ETA always immediately admit to their bombings and assassinations. So far they have not done so.

It is not in the interests of ETA to carry out attacks on innocent civilians (especially those travelling in from a working class area of Madrid). ETA is a Marxist organization that is attempting to persuade left-wing politicians in Spain to give them an independent state. This bombing will only help the right in Sunday’s elections. If it is ETA, it is a dissent group within it, but I still feel this is highly unlikely.

Islamic terrorists will obviously punish those countries that have supported the invasion of Iraq. Spain, along with Britain and the United States are obvious targets for this campaign. They will want to make sure that Bush/Blair’s claim that they can bring an end to Islamic terrorism by invading Iraq is political illiteracy. In fact, it will make it worse and people living in these countries will see a reduction in their sense of security against international terrorism. It is of course what the anti-war movement have said ever since Bush/Blair had this idea of invading Iraq.

Edited by Andrew Field, 11 March 2004 - 01:10 PM.


#4 Andrew Field

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 01:00 PM

If it is ETA, it is a dissent group within it, but I still feel this is highly unlikely.

This would appear to be the line that the Spanish Government are suggesting. One interpretation could be that as ETA has become more and more of a spent force, the more radical split off and try to create something of enormous impact. Recent arrests seem to suggest this pattern.

I'm well aware of ETA aims and tactics, but it is possible to identify a shift in tactics and targets after the 1997 public outcry to the kidnap and killing of the councillor.

ETA normally admit involvement within days. Also suggested is that such individuals could be working with such Islamic / terrorist groups as you suggest. The massive death toll and lack of warning is significant. Also potentially significant is the outright denial from their political wing. If a denial from ETA itself that would strongly suggest it was not them.


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#5 Andrew Field

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 03:18 PM

A good article about this can be found here http://news.bbc.co.u...ope/3501364.stm


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#6 neil mcdonald

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 03:34 PM

I don't care who did it. That is hardly the point. A terrorist is a terrorist. The deliberate targeting of civillians is a fundamental crime of morality. ETA or Islamic extremists I do not care. Find them and then remove them from society. Whoever these people are they have to realise that good people of the world will not care one wit about their politics but instead think more about the innocent civillians murdered and their famillies.

Edited by neil mcdonald, 11 March 2004 - 03:35 PM.

Bernard Woolley: Have the countries in alphabetical order? Oh no, we can't do that, we'd put Iraq next to Iran.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernard Woolley: That's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I give confidential security briefings. You leak. He has been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.

#7 georginadunn

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 05:26 PM

Don't want to be blasted with messages saying this is an unsympathetic post (cause it ain't - was horrified this morning when I heard the news) but it links to something we did on the shp course yesterday about ending KS3. You choose a relevant topic and ask how it should be dealt with, relating it back to past examples. Neil's post reminded me of this.
Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like nobody's watching.

#8 CD McKie

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 06:02 PM

I don't care who did it. That is hardly the point. A terrorist is a terrorist. The deliberate targeting of civillians is a fundamental crime of morality. ETA or Islamic extremists I do not care. Find them and then remove them from society. Whoever these people are they have to realise that good people of the world will not care one wit about their politics but instead think more about the innocent civillians murdered and their famillies.

I agree with Neil’s post up to a point. Speculation at this time about who perpetrated this heinous crime is purely academic. Human suffering is at stake. The scale of this atrocity is staggering. However, if we ever do get to the bottom of the tragedy (and that seems likely given past terrorist attacks), then we should start to come up with solutions. What made these murderers do what they did? What can we do to prevent it happening again? There will come a time when we have to start addressing these questions. Terrorism was around before 9/11 and the Iraq war. It will, I’m afraid, be a prominent feature of international relations for some time to come. Finding and removing terrorists is the easy bit. It's stopping others following in their footsteps that we have to work towards.
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#9 Gidz

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 07:16 PM

Terrible, ominous and cold.

Terror in Madrid and the 9/11 Factor

My thoughts are with many Spanish families tonight.

:(

Gidz

#10 John Simkin

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 07:17 AM

I don't care who did it. That is hardly the point. A terrorist is a terrorist. The deliberate targeting of civillians is a fundamental crime of morality. ETA or Islamic extremists I do not care. Find them and then remove them from society. Whoever these people are they have to realise that good people of the world will not care one wit about their politics but instead think more about the innocent civillians murdered and their famillies.

How can you deal with the problem until you discover who carried out the bombing? How do you find them and “take them out of society”. We are not talking about bank robbers here. We are having to deal with international terrorists who are willing to act as suicide bombers. They take themselves out of society. Unfortunately al-Qaeda have little difficulty replacing them. The policy therefore should be about finding ways where it becomes very difficult for al-Qaeda to recruit terrorists. This is what has happened to the IRA in Northern Ireland. That is what will have to happen in the Middle East.

Finding out who carried out this atrocity is very important to the British public. If it is ETA it will have less impact on them than if it was al-Qaeda. If al-Qaeda targeted Spain because it has troops in Iraq, then Britain can also expect such attacks.

The vast majority of the Spanish public were opposed to their country being involved in the invasion of Iraq. Many warned that it would lead to terrorist attacks in Spain. Therefore it is not in the interests of the Spanish government to admit that it was al-Qaeda before Sunday’s election.

As well as for the reasons given in the earlier posting two items of news have suggested it was al-Qaeda.

(1) A stolen van had been found in a town near Madrid containing seven detonators and a tape recording of Koranic verses. Four of the trains involved in the attacks passed through the town.

(2) A London-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Quds, has also said it had received an e-mail in which a group linked to al-Qaeda reportedly said it carried out the attacks. The message said a group called the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades had attacked "America's ally in its war against Islam" on behalf of al-Qaeda.

Of course it might have been ETA. Although I don’t know of another example where a political group has committed suicide by targeting the very group it was trying to persuade.

#11 alison denton

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 07:26 PM

I don't buy the ETA diversion.
Sure it could be them but why not claim it then - such a spectacular 'success'? as they always have before.
And why aim to kill so many? The killing of individuals or small numbers has always served to make their point just as forcibly before so why go to all the extra organisational bother (and potential risk) this time?
al- Qaeda on the other hand has tended as far as we know to operate on this large, indiscriminate scale, and it would serve their purpose of reminding the world they can still perpetrate atrocities almost at will very well.
We live in frightening times and there are no easy solutions unfortunately. This is why we need politicians of the very highest calibre and intent. 'Solutions', if ever they can be found, seem to take generations and be very fragile - look at Northern Ireland. Gun-toting, John Wayne attitudes are more likely to heighten the danger for us all I would think.

#12 Andrew Field

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 07:39 PM

The government was very quick to come out with the ETA viewpoint and are certainly backtracking now. Whoever did this it is terrible.

The incredible scenes of solidarity and mourning across Spain tonight highlights the impact of this. Such an awful tragedy. Appears it could also have been so much worse if the bombs had gone off in the train stations.


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#13 John Simkin

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 08:07 AM

In yesterday’s Guardian it was reported that all the Intelligence Services in the western world were claiming the bombing in Madrid was carried out by ETA. If that is the case, then a lot of countries are wasting a lot of money on people who know very little about ETA and other terrorist organizations. Of course the real reason is that Intelligence Services tell their political masters what they want to know.

A couple of hours after the bombing took place I pointed out on this forum that this was not the work of ETA. This was based on my limited knowledge of how the organization worked.

It was clearly not in the interests of ETA to carry out attacks on innocent civilians (especially those travelling in from a working class area of Madrid). ETA is a Marxist organization that is attempting to persuade left of centre politicians in Spain to give them an independent state. If ETA had been behind the bombing it would only help the right-wing government in Sunday’s elections. If ETA had carried out this bombing they had committed political suicide.

As I said at the time “It seems to me much more likely to have been an attack by terrorists campaigning against the Spanish government’s support for the invasion of Iraq. I fear that in time the same kind of attack will be seen in London and New York.”

The Spanish government could not admit to this before Sunday’s elections. The vast majority of the Spanish population had been against the invasion of Iraq. Many had warned about the dangers of terrorist attacks on civilians in Spain if their military forces took part in the occupation of another country. The Spanish government was aware that they would be punished at the polls for their decision to take orders from Washington.

Over the last few days information continued to leak out that the Madrid bombing was the work of Islamic terrorists:

(1) The bombing took place 912 days after 9/11. (It would have been 911 but the terrorists forgot about leap year).

(2) A stolen van had been found in a town near Madrid containing seven detonators and a tape recording of Koranic verses. The four trains involved in the attacks passed through that town.

(3) The detonators were made of copper. ETA had always used aluminium detonators.

(4) A London-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Quds, received an e-mail in which a group linked to al-Qaeda reportedly said it carried out the attacks. The message said a group called the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades had attacked "America's ally in its war against Islam" on behalf of al-Qaeda.

Last night’s the authorities announced that three Moroccans had been arrested. The government also admitted that Al-Qaeda had informed them that the attacks were revenge for Spain's "collaboration with the criminals Bush and his allies".

The Spanish people have now discovered their government has lied to them over the last couple of days. Hopefully they will be severely punished in today’s elections.




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