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billyboy
Mar 11, 2004, 05:50 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3500452.stm

This is so bad on so many levels. A direct hit against the Spanish democratic process, a direct hit against people who have got nothing to do with anything related to ETA's grievances and a great excuse for some governments around the world to stir some Al Qaeda stories.

russed
Mar 11, 2004, 06:24 AM
it is truly terrible, the guilty and co planners should rot in hell. just watching the news though, they beleive it isnt ETA due to them not having admitted it. maybe the finger of blame points at Al Qaeda.

hvfsl
Mar 11, 2004, 06:41 AM
it is truly terrible, the guilty and co planners should rot in hell. just watching the news though, they beleive it isnt ETA due to them not having admitted it. maybe the finger of blame points at Al Qaeda.

Yeah, there are certainly signs it could be Islamic extremists. Since ETA generally try to do more property damage, but Islamic terrorism is all about killing as many as possible.

I also just heard that there were bombs were the emergency services are, but they were detonated in a controlled way. So it is looking more and more like Islamic terrorism.

MongoTheGeek
Mar 11, 2004, 06:48 AM
The first one he gave when he said we were headed after terrorist groups everywhere. I had hoped that ETA, FARC, and Tupac Amaru were getting the ax after Al Queda. :(

virividox
Mar 11, 2004, 07:15 AM
crap im going there next week!!!

Mr. Anderson
Mar 11, 2004, 07:32 AM
That's just sad. A coordinated attack like that is very al-qaeda'esque, but it doesn't make that much sense given the timing of the attack with the elections.

Glad I don't ride the metro in DC any more...... :(

I hope who ever is to blame for this is caught.

D

eav
Mar 11, 2004, 08:34 AM
I live in Madrid, but not in the bombed areas. What I've witnessed is the flood
of ambulances coming/going from the hospitals to the train stops.
They are blaming ETA, but it looks more an integrist attack.
The images are astonishing. I hope it never repeats again.

To virividox: Feel free to come. Madrid isn't a dangerous city.

Thanks to all for your concerns,

E

elmimmo
Mar 11, 2004, 08:40 AM
Yeah, there are certainly signs it could be Islamic extremists. Since ETA generally try to do more property damage, but Islamic terrorism is all about killing as many as possible.ETA has a dramatic figure of deaths in its CV, and you can be sure that ETA's usual purpose has nothing to do with doing as much property damage as possible. Their main purpose is to kill, and so they recognize in each one of their manifests.

It is true that ETA's actions in the past years have been aimed to kill individuals, usually polititians, policemen and militars. ETA's griever killing up to this point, though, was a bomb in a mall in Barcelona on 1987, killing 21 civilians, so this is not, at all, the first time that ETA (if they are to be credited for this masacre) aims civilians.

We cannot know the true responsible for this repulsive act, yet. There are, still, issues that make blaming ETA for it quite understandable. In the past two months, the police deactivated two bombs in a regular train, just like the ones that were bombed today, and detained the 2 ETA activists blamed for placing those bombs, and just a week ago they detained two other ETA activists carrying an insane ammount of explosives in a van towards Madrid that, if used at once, would have caused a tragedy quite bigger than today's, according to what authorities said at that time.

elmimmo
Mar 11, 2004, 08:49 AM
they beleive it isnt ETA due to them not having admitted it. maybe the finger of blame points at Al Qaeda.Al Qaeda never admitted September 11 NY, AFAIK. At least I did watch Bin Laden in TV saying that he was glad for an event that, otherwise, he had nothing to do with.

Unless they openly admit it (which I wonder if they would, in case they have done it, since, after 1987's killing, ETA issued the only message of "excuse" that I am aware of because of the dramatic violent nature of the act) we'll never be able to be sure who did it.

iGav
Mar 11, 2004, 09:17 AM
Glad I don't ride the metro in DC any more...... :(


It's the one concern I have when travelling on Tube... that they'll be some religious fruit with a belt of TNT... :rolleyes:

We've been incredibly lucky in London that nothing major has happened for awhile, and that as of yet, we've not had any suicide bombers, but I personally feel it's only a matter of time before we do... :(

Before with the IRA and The Real IRA :rolleyes: it was car bombs... with a degree of warning, but the tide changed with the Soho bombing a few years ago... that was erieely similar to a suicide bomber style attack... :(

Foxer
Mar 11, 2004, 09:25 AM
Unless they openly admit it (which I wonder if they would, in case they have done it, since, after 1987's killing, ETA issued the only message of "excuse" that I am aware of because of the dramatic violent nature of the act) we'll never be able to be sure who did it.

That's a silly attitude. By that measure, no court of law could convict anyone who pleads "not guilty."

elmimmo
Mar 11, 2004, 09:59 AM
That's a silly attitude. By that measure, no court of law could convict anyone who pleads "not guilty."I think I did not express myself properly (although that does not necessarily mean that mine is not, maybe, a silly attitude). Of course, if an court investigation which we consider as reliable pronounces in one way or the other, it is a very different matter. Still, I do not think anyone has been judged for September 11, although I may have missed it. In those conditions I, as an average Joe, have no means to distinguish what is manipulation and what is solid information, and thus, have not the tools to decide who I deposit my confidence on.

Juventuz
Mar 11, 2004, 11:10 AM
Personally I do think it's the ETA. On February 29th Spanish police arrested two ETA members in Madrid, guess what they found with them.... 1000 lbs of explosives.

Maybe they haven't taken responsibility for it yet is because it got out of control and was worse than they expected. Perhaps they thought that the level of destruction would have been a lot smaller and now that it's over 180 dead they don't want that being blamed on them.

I dunno, I could be wrong. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

poopyhead
Mar 11, 2004, 01:09 PM
How odd
this doesn't seem to be getting much coverage in the states (on tv)
I would think that they would pre-empt the loop on hockey violance and Kerry v. bush in order to cover something of such great magnatude.

poopyhead
Mar 11, 2004, 01:57 PM
Wait
a van containing both detonators and a tape of Qua'ranic verses has been found
CNN and MSNBC have now deemed it news worth

krimson
Mar 11, 2004, 03:03 PM
NPR just announced that Al jezeera (sp) just aired a tape from Al queda that says it is claiming responsibility for the bombing and ETA had nothing to do with this one.

edit: correction quote.
The Arabic newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi said it had received a claim of responsibility issued in the name of al-Qaida.

MongoTheGeek
Mar 11, 2004, 03:20 PM
NPR just announced that Al jezeera (sp) just aired a tape from Al queda that says it is claiming responsibility for the bombing and ETA had nothing to do with this one.

edit: correction quote.

Rather chicken of Al Queda going after Spain. Spain's support has been lukewarm at best. I would rather see the attacks here in the US where it is more deserved.

poopyhead
Mar 11, 2004, 04:36 PM
Rather chicken of Al Queda going after Spain. Spain's support has been lukewarm at best. I would rather see the attacks here in the US where it is more deserved.

I agree
If you're gonna bomb
at least bomb those most culpable for the infraction/pervasive ideology you hope to right or change through violence.
Violence without proper direction is completely pointless violence
not that violence is typically justified
it just seems if you're gonna do it you should do it those you most hate, not those of whom you have a vehement indifference.

wdlove
Mar 11, 2004, 04:42 PM
A very sad incident. My prayers are with the family and friends involved tin this tragic incident. I heard that Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility. The NYSE has tumbled today as a result of the news, with continued threat of terror. I wonder if there is any coincidence with the date being on 3/11! :(

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/03/11/spain.blasts/index.html

billyboy
Mar 11, 2004, 05:48 PM
A very sad incident. My prayers are with the family and friends involved tin this tragic incident. I heard that Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility. The NYSE has tumbled today as a result of the news, with continued threat of terror. I wonder if there is any coincidence with the date being on 3/11! :(

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/03/11/spain.blasts/index.html

Obviously I cant say for definite, but for those looking in from across the Atlantic, you must be very skeptical about Al Qaeda being involved. It would suit certain governments to have it down to them, but really look at it from Spains specific point of view. The timing is so close to an election. The history of ETA is not just a litany of individual police, army and politician assassinations, they have carried out mass civilian attacks before since 1968. Also the scale of this could be down to the fact that a couple of their less crazy "leaders" are under lock and key right now leaving some known ultra nationalists holding the reins and taking a chance to show how bad they are. It just makes an ETA job more logical.

And the Eta responsibles probably wouldnt dare own up to it now, because the attacks were so outrageous they would risk losing support from even their most avid supporters in Pais Vasco.

This is so OTT, I pity anyone on Spanish soil who remotely has a connection with the guilty parties. If it is ETA, there is going to be some serious breaking down of doors in Pais Vasco which wont make pretty viewing. If you didnt know, the Basque police literally dress as stormtroopers, the only force in the world who I believe deliberately dress to intimidate the people they protect. In a more subtle way the European wide anti terrorist network will kick in as well and I am sure that with their specialist experience which probably only the Israelis can equal for experience with terrorism, the authorities can get this particular episode knocked on the head and life can get back to happier times in Madrid.

takao
Mar 11, 2004, 06:23 PM
actually from the news that are broadcasted there already were a lot of evidence that this might be an Al Qaeda attack:

*they found the minivan with coranic tape
*ETA never made such large attacks and are prefering politic targets
*the day and time of attack: 11th March, 7:30-8:00 am ...2,5 years since 9/11
*one bomb was a suicidal attack
*spain was pro-war with much media presence involving their prime minister

some passages from the fax:
"We successfully infiltrated the heart of crusader-Europe and hit one the camps of the crusader-alliance"
"Aznar, where is America now? Who will protect you from us: Great Britain, Japan, Italy?" (Aznar is the spanish prime minister)
"we bring the good message to the Muslims of the world that the expected attacks 'winds of black death' against America in their locking phase... to 90 per cent finished and, so God wants, near"

(sorry translated with altavista)
lets hope this fax isn't real...

my hearts are with all the spanish victims and their relatives

billyboy
Mar 11, 2004, 06:56 PM
actually from the news that are broadcasted there already were a lot of evidence that this might be an Al Qaeda attack:

*they found the minivan with coranic tape
*ETA never made such large attacks and are prefering politic targets
*the day and time of attack: 11th March, 7:30-8:00 am ...2,5 years since 9/11
*one bomb was a suicidal attack
*spain was pro-war with much media presence involving their prime minister

some passages from the fax:
"We successfully infiltrated the heart of crusader-Europe and hit one the camps of the crusader-alliance"
"Aznar, where is America now? Who will protect you from us: Great Britain, Japan, Italy?" (Aznar is the spanish prime minister)
"we bring the good message to the Muslims of the world that the expected attacks 'winds of black death' against America in their locking phase... to 90 per cent finished and, so God wants, near"

(sorry translated with altavista)
lets hope this fax isn't real...

my hearts are with all the spanish victims and their relatives

The police arrested two ETA guys in the week with 1000lb of explosives in their truck.
The bombs were set off by a series of mobile phone calls and bombs were made of material historically favoured by ETA. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1-1034465,00.html

Let's just see how it plays out before getting too far into Al Qaeda territory.

Counterfit
Mar 11, 2004, 10:33 PM
In a more subtle way the European wide anti terrorist network will kick in as well and I am sure that with their specialist experience which probably only the Israelis can equal for experience with terrorism, the authorities can get this particular episode knocked on the head and life can get back to happier times in Madrid. Too bad a unit like the one in Rainbow Six doesn't exist, or does it?

glyph
Mar 12, 2004, 12:18 AM
i wonder who the victims were......if certain routes were targetted, ect. it just seems like a well coordinated attack, so some thought must have gone into what routes, areas, ect. to hit - among other things.

i'm curious because in israel for instance, you have these bombings where people are blown up that seem to have no connection with the government, (people on buses, resturants, ect.) in areas where palestinian movements are so severely restricted, you gotta wonder how they can succeed in carrying out their suicide missions in the first place. then you have to wonder why - if they are going to blow themselves up - why they wouldn't target government personnel or politicians. it doesn't make sense.

i just wish these terrorists were a little more considerate of innocent lives and target their enemies a little more precise, because events like these don't help their cause. that's assuming these terrorists aren't working for the government.

maka
Mar 12, 2004, 02:34 AM
I normally take the train at one of the stations that was blown and am quite staggered. Heard the explosions from my house.¡, and later witnessed the scene... Some friends of mine weren't in those trains because they had woken up 5 minutes late... what can I say? This has been horrendous...

One thing to bear in mind is that the trains weren't on time, they arrived a bit late to Atocha station. If all the bombs would have gone off in both trains inside the station, i'm sure it would have been totally destroyed with not haundreds, but thousands dead...

The magnitude of the attack plus the fact that one of the explosions was a suicidal attack makes it very hard to believe it was ETA... even in their worst civilian attack (21 dead in Barcelona in a supermarket) they called before to warn about it. No warn was given now...

elmimmo
Mar 12, 2004, 02:38 AM
the Basque police literally dress as stormtroopers, the only force in the world who I believe deliberately dress to intimidate the people they protect.Well, I confess I never thought of it that way. And I never heard of anyone interpreting their looks as that. You have also to consider that Euskadi (Basque Country in their native language) is a relatively small territory (around 2 million people), so in certain places people live in a very conflictive neighbourhood, having people from the same family and neighbours positioned around opposing environments. Pais Vasco is mostly formed of small villages and hence, you can pretty much say that everyone knows everyone at a local scale.

So the most common interpretation I have heard, and what is my own, of why policemen wear helmets, bulletproof wear and head coverings to hide their faces is basically because they deal, sadly, in familiar environments with very violent events (violence there is not just limited the punctual ETA acts, "kale borroka" is an expression in euskera -basque native language-, meaning "street violence", that pretty much everyone in Spain knows, and that is the only euskera most of non-basques know because of its used in Spanish language media). If they went head-naked they would be comprimising their own integrity, and that of their relatives and close friends.

The Basque County is an extremely beatiful place, and most of the people I have known there are beatiful people, but usually conversations around politics is a taboo between friends and family. I do not want to give, though, a darker picture of it than what it is. Most of the time you can do tourism there (avoiding selected radical obvious places) and you will be perfectly OK. Still, you are obviously risking more going there than going, say, to Norway.i just wish these terrorists were a little more considerate of innocent lives and target their enemies a little more preciseTo give you an idea, the trains were regional ones going to Madrid's center. Those trains are usually used by people living in Madrid's suburbs to go to their jobs, schools and universities in the capital.

The trains should have been just arriving at Atocha, Madrid's main train station linking with the subway, and hence a nuclear point of civilian traffic. Casually, they were some min. late in its destination... One exploded when passing by a residential area, a bit far from houses because of the high number of railways, and it literally blew away the windows of my godparents, living about 1km away from the explosion. The terrorist were, consciously or by accident, also "generous" in lowering the possible number of victims because yesterday two universities in Madrid, hundreds of students of which use those very trains now ripped down to pieces, were in walkout (I do not know if that is the proper English word: students were not going there to rise their protests in different matters). A colleague from my job just told me that a schoolgirl, friend of his, accidentally stayed asleep and missed her train to school, which was one of the two that exploded.

I hope that gives you an idea of who they were targeting and how precise they knew they were going to be.

Juventuz
Mar 12, 2004, 08:36 AM
There's a lot of talk now that it might not necessarily be AQ. A lot of agencies are doubting the claim that was sent in by the Al-Quds al-Arabi Bridgade. Many agencies are doubting if the brigade even exists outside of one person. The same group claimed responsibilty for the blackouts here last year when we all know it wasn't because of them.

One train was running two minutes late, had it arrived when it was scheduled to the damage would have been far greater.

nspeds
Mar 12, 2004, 08:36 AM
Well, I confess I never thought of it that way. And I never heard of anyone interpreting their looks as that. You have also to consider that Euskadi (Basque Country in their native language) is a relatively small territory (around 2 million people), so in certain places people live in a very conflictive neighbourhood, having people from the same family and neighbours positioned around opposing environments. Pais Vasco is mostly formed of small villages and hence, you can pretty much say that everyone knows everyone at a local scale.

So the most common interpretation I have heard, and what is my own, of why policemen wear helmets, bulletproof wear and head coverings to hide their faces is basically because they deal, sadly, in familiar environments with very violent events (violence there is not just limited the punctual ETA acts, "kale borroka" is an expression in euskera -basque native language-, meaning "street violence", that pretty much everyone in Spain knows, and that is the only euskera most of non-basques know because of its used in Spanish language media). If they went head-naked they would be comprimising their own integrity, and that of their relatives and close friends.

The Basque County is an extremely beatiful place, and most of the people I have known there are beatiful people, but usually conversations around politics is a taboo between friends and family. I do not want to give, though, a darker picture of it than what it is. Most of the time you can do tourism there (avoiding selected radical obvious places) and you will be perfectly OK. Still, you are obviously risking more going there than going, say, to Norway.To give you an idea, the trains were regional ones going to Madrid's center. Those trains are usually used by people living in Madrid's suburbs to go to their jobs, schools and universities in the capital.

The trains should have been just arriving at Atocha, Madrid's main train station linking with the subway, and hence a nuclear point of civilian traffic. Casually, they were some min. late in its destination... One exploded when passing by a residential area, a bit far from houses because of the high number of railways, and it literally blew away the windows of my godparents, living about 1km away from the explosion. The terrorist were, consciously or by accident, also "generous" in lowering the possible number of victims because yesterday two universities in Madrid, hundreds of students of which use those very trains now ripped down to pieces, were in walkout (I do not know if that is the proper English word: students were not going there to rise their protests in different matters). A colleague from my job just told me that a schoolgirl, friend of his, accidentally stayed asleep and missed her train to school, which was one of the two that exploded.

I hope that gives you an idea of who they were targeting and how precise they knew they were going to be.


Coordinated attacks of such magnitude are never imprecise.

billyboy
Mar 12, 2004, 09:07 AM
Well, I confess I never thought of it that way. And I never heard of anyone interpreting their looks as that

So the most common interpretation I have heard, and what is my own, of why policemen wear helmets, bulletproof wear and head coverings to hide their faces is basically because they deal, sadly, in familiar environments with very violent events (violence there is not just limited the punctual ETA acts, "kale borroka" is an expression in euskera -basque native language-, meaning "street violence", that pretty much everyone in Spain knows, and that is the only euskera most of non-basques know because of its used in Spanish language media). If they went head-naked they would be comprimising their own integrity, and that of their relatives and close friends.

A Madrileño told me of the "intimidation theory" that lay behind the aggressive attire of the Basque police. From what I have seen the police who specifically protect their identity from their subjects seem to be anti-terrorist squad who wield guns, and wear civilian clothes and balaclavas, sometimes begging the question that the only difference between goodies and baddies is that one has the blessing of the government and the other doesnt - the root cause of the conflict in the first place

The Basque County is an extremely beatiful place, and most of the people I have known there are beatiful people, but usually conversations around politics is a taboo between friends and family. I do not want to give, though, a darker picture of it than what it is. Most of the time you can do tourism there (avoiding selected radical obvious places) and you will be perfectly OK. Still, you are obviously risking more going there than going, say, to Norway.

You are right there. It is a fabulous place, the cuisine is rather good too and yes, dont even think about talking politics if you are with younger Basques. My observation that paying into a fund to help out the families of Basques "wrongfully" imprisoned was just the same as buying bullets went down like a lead balloon. I have to say I felt a bit uncomfortable speaking Castillano and when we were in Bilbao and a friend was advised not to wear a jumper because coincidentally it was predominantly the colours of the Spanish national flag I had to wonder.

elmimmo
Mar 12, 2004, 10:07 AM
First, I should mention I do NOT live in Euskadi nor visit it often (I live about 700km away from it). So my knowlegdge of it is mostly thorugh the press media, admitedly sometimes biased, but there are quite a lot of press media you can chooe from. I do not know the everyday dealing of the basque community, and a civilian relation with the police that is supposed to protect them. Still, I think that either I misunderstood your comments, or you are wrong IMHO.

the police who specifically protect their identity from their subjects seem to be anti-terrorist squad who wield guns, and wear civilian clothes and balaclavas, sometimes begging the question that the only difference between goodies and baddies is that one has the blessing of the government and the other doesntWell, excuse me but what is the police and army in a country if not an armed group to serve the population in guaranteeing their protection. What are you implying? That the basque police should not be carrying arms when wearing civilian clothes while on duty, that they should not be carrying arms whatever the uniform or that there should be no police at all?

An Ertzaina (Basque policeman) can be usually seen with one of three uniforms. The casual and ceremony onces, which are nothing close to extravangant or intimidatory (unless you consider the txapela -typical basque beret- as either thing), but rather elegant IMHO. Google assisted me in showing you this:

http://www.mvcr.cz/casopisy/policista/2003/02/baskic1.jpg http://www.mvcr.cz/casopisy/policista/2003/02/baskic2.jpg

The other one is the protective uniform used by anti-riot squads, which participate in events not always related to terrorism, such as violent walkouts or conflictive cultural acts, for instance, in the parade of the mixed company Jaizkibel, partly composed by women, in the Alarde de Hondarribia (a commemoration of a historical fact supposedly carried out only by men). They always use helmets, balaclavas and bullet-proof wear. These are the ones I thought you refered to "stormtroopers", the ones non-basques are more used to see, (because usually they are only in the news if something violent happened), and they do wear uniform and do always hide their identity, instead of what I understood from your comment (that most ertzainas hiding their identity are ones wearing civilian clothes).

http://www.el-mundo.es/fotografia/2001/03/espana/ertzaina/registro.jpg

And then, obviously, are the anti-terrorism/drug/crime people wearing civilian clothes, which I do not really understand what is the problem you find in.

billyboy
Mar 12, 2004, 03:06 PM
First, I should mention I do NOT live in Euskadi nor visit it often (I live about 700km away from it). So my knowlegdge of it is mostly thorugh the press media, admitedly sometimes biased, but there are quite a lot of press media you can chooe from. I do not know the everyday dealing of the basque community, and a civilian relation with the police that is supposed to protect them. Still, I think that either I misunderstood your comments, or you are wrong IMHO.

Well, excuse me but what is the police and army in a country if not an armed group to serve the population in guaranteeing their protection. What are you implying? That the basque police should not be carrying arms when wearing civilian clothes while on duty, that they should not be carrying arms whatever the uniform or that there should be no police at all?

An Ertzaina (Basque policeman) can be usually seen with one of three uniforms. The casual and ceremony onces, which are nothing close to extravangant or intimidatory (unless you consider the txapela -typical basque beret- as either thing), but rather elegant IMHO. Google assisted me in showing you this:

http://www.mvcr.cz/casopisy/policista/2003/02/baskic1.jpg http://www.mvcr.cz/casopisy/policista/2003/02/baskic2.jpg

The other one is the protective uniform used by anti-riot squads, which participate in events not always related to terrorism, such as violent walkouts or conflictive cultural acts, for instance, in the parade of the mixed company Jaizkibel, partly composed by women, in the Alarde de Hondarribia (a commemoration of a historical fact supposedly carried out only by men). They always use helmets, balaclavas and bullet-proof wear. These are the ones I thought you refered to "stormtroopers", the ones non-basques are more used to see, (because usually they are only in the news if something violent happened), and they do wear uniform and do always hide their identity, instead of what I understood from your comment (that most ertzainas hiding their identity are ones wearing civilian clothes).

http://www.el-mundo.es/fotografia/2001/03/espana/ertzaina/registro.jpg

And then, obviously, are the anti-terrorism/drug/crime people wearing civilian clothes, which I do not really understand what is the problem you find in.

From your further info, it was the anti riot police I was referring to as the storm troopers. They are scary mothers, which is the way their uniform is designed to work and my impression was that their anonymity was more as part of the aggressive image than as a means of not being spotted by friends and family in a city centre riot. I have never seen the type of "regular" policeman in your other links.

The disguise of the anti terrorist guys was I thought a means of protecting their identity. I also tried clumsily to make an observation that some members of the undercover anti terrorist police I have seen on the news bulletins in Pais Vasco dress and appear in public disguised in balaclavas, armed and looking and behaving in the same aggressive way as the bad guys they are charged with policing. I dont question that their approach and anonymity is effective and totally valid under the circumstances, they are the authorities protecting the majority after all. However looking on as a third party, I could sort of see that on the surface both the terrorists and these specialist police could be viewed as different sides of the same coin. Both have chosen a position to defend at all costs, but the police have might and right on their side and "suspected terrorists" dont. That doesnt break down barriers, more reinforces the differences of opinion.

The same aggressive tactic is probably employed everywhere in Europe or the world probably in this day and age but it was the lack of physical differentiation with the Basque guys that is not something I recall seeing with say the British forces. Maybe I just havent paid close enough attention though.

elmimmo
Mar 12, 2004, 03:56 PM
They are scary mothers, which is the way their uniform is designed to work and my impression was that their anonymity was more as part of the aggressive image than as a means of not being spotted by friends and family in a city centre riot.Well, I meant more as way to protect their family and friends in case of revenge, but I guess that is another reason to have less problems.some members of the undercover anti terrorist police I have seen on the news bulletins in Pais Vasco dress and appear in public disguised in balaclavas, armed and looking and behaving in the same aggressive way as the bad guys they are charged with policing.I am not denying that some of their actions might be considered less than appropiate. I repeat, I do not have a single experience with them, so will not judge other's witnessings. Still, all of us have heard how, elsewhere all around the world, certain pacific manifestations have been spoiled by violent minorities, triggering an unjustified and definitely unappropiate blunt action by the police, not distinguishing between manifestants and adopt a bullying attitude towards whatever the passerby is. I have not been in Euskadi in a similar moment, but I guess as somewhat inevitable that they have had similar experiences more than once. I do not justify that, at all, but that does not mean that I do not understand how difficult it might be for the police to answer with a controlled response under certain circumstances. The men and women under those helmets and balaclavas are human after all, fearing for their lives in many of the difficult situations they see themselves into, because even if they chose that job, those situation are putting their sense of control and appropiateness at stake. That does not mean they are not to blame for their actions, but we often forget that police men are not robots.

Besides that, maybe it might be not o accidental, and be a planned attitude following a certain strategy, such as the one your friend pointed out. Or not at all. Whenever I have an encounter in such an incident, I'll let you know ;-)

MongoTheGeek
Mar 12, 2004, 05:10 PM
I have a question about the character of the people there in Spain.

If it does turn out to be Al Queda, will the people be more likely to:

1) Increase backing of US efforts against Al Queda
2) Stop backing US efforts
3) Stay the course

maka
Mar 12, 2004, 06:01 PM
last year there was a general inquary between spanish population and the vast mayority said they didn't aprove of Spain getting involved in the war on Irak. Also there were huge demonstrations in all the citys of spain with more than a million people here in madrid agains the war in irak. People in Spain don't necesarly have anything against the US, but lots of them are against Bush... (as many there in the US, i believe...)

By the way, ETA made a statement saying they didn't do the attacks yesterday in madrid. The police said the detonators were not the ones used normally by ETA and nor is the modus operandi...

ETA are killers, I have no doubt, but I don't like just putting the blame on someone without being sure...

elmimmo
Mar 12, 2004, 06:16 PM
will the people be more likely to:

1) Increase backing of US efforts against Al Queda
2) Stop backing US efforts
3) Stay the courseThat is a very difficult question... You see, the party in the government, which backed the US in the war, has had absolute majority (more than 50% of the parliament) for 4 years. This Sunday we have elections and the same party is most probably going to stay in the government, although their absolute majority is questioned by some polls. That party is usually blamed for manipulating media towards their interests, and although I do agree to a certain extent (public TV lost in court blamed for misinformating of the number of people that did a general walkout in 2002), I also think there is a lot of manipulation from other media against them, and I think that those second media have succeeded in creating an environment where, casually, those people supporting the government can be intimidated by making it public in an environment where everybody seems to be against a party, that otherwise got absolute majority (I guess somebody voted them to get where they are). Maybe I see it that way because that party does have indeed a slim support were live (Barcelona).

During the war thousands of people manifested repeatedly against the government backing the US and UK in the war, and I am sure many people that voted that government participied in the protests, even if they felt favorable to this government in other aspects of politics. The media's POV were basically giving the idea that pretty much everyone was against the government on that issue, and I cannot believe that, nor the opposite.

But because of what I described in the first paragraph, I cannot be confident in believing that I do know wether what I see (predisposition to be against the US in quite a prejudiced way) is reality or the "reality" that opposing parties and media have sistematically sewn piece of news after piece of news thorugh counter-manipulation (if people are so apathetic to the central government, how can they be near absolute majority again?).

So I can basically not answer your question solidly, because I ignore what is the current level of support towards backing US efforts. But in any case, whatever reality is like, it most probably would cause less people of be favorable to US backing. Some people are already blaming the government of hiding information about possible AlQaeda implication, implying that it would affect people's vote denying their vote to actual government. The actions of the future government, I believe, will depend on Sunday's elections: quite unmovable if they get absolute majority again, and less supportive if they do not. But that is just guessing...

billyboy
Mar 12, 2004, 06:20 PM
last year there was a general inquary between spanish population and the vast mayority said they didn't aprove of Spain getting involved in the war on Irak. Also there were huge demonstrations in all the citys of spain with more than a million people here in madrid agains the war in irak. People in Spain don't necesarly have anything against the US, but lots of them are against Bush... (as many there in the US, i believe...)

By the way, ETA made a statement saying they didn't do the attacks yesterday in madrid. The police said the detonators were not the ones used normally by ETA and nor is the modus operandi...

ETA are killers, I have no doubt, but I don't like just putting the blame on someone without being sure...

Do you think the exposure of those responsible for the bombing would radically affect the outcome of the election? Generally people vote with their wallet and Spain is doing OK at the moment so presumably the status quo will continue. If ETA were confirmed responsible, would that over ride the economic success of the Government and cast them in the light of a Govt that has failed in protecting them from ETA and consequently lose them their power?

MongoTheGeek
Mar 12, 2004, 06:34 PM
That is a very difficult question... You see, the party in the government, which backed the US in the war, has had absolute majority (more than 50% of the parliament) for 4 years.

I am kinda glad that we have a 2 party system here in the US. True we don't have quite the same diversity of view but there is also not nearly the sense of party discipline and we don't have the seismic shifts in power from coalition parliaments. Also the deals with the devil tend to be fiscal rather than ideological.

But because of what I described in the first paragraph, I cannot be confident in believing that I do know wether what I see (predisposition to be against the US in quite a prejudiced way) is reality or the "reality" that opposing parties and media have sistematically sewn piece of news after piece of news thorughcounter-manipulation (if people are so apathetic to the central government, how can they be near absolute majority again?).


:) All news organizations lie and distort. The Washington Post is as biased as the Washington times. The Village Voice is as biased as the Limbaugh Letter. I am not sure its possible to get a clear view anywhere.

So I can basically not answer your question solidly, because I ignore what is the current level of support towards backing US efforts.

More what I was getting at is what the visceral personal reactions would be. Where I live in America the first thoughts after the dust settled from 9/11 and the only things they were pulling out of the rubble was corpses, the primary thought was that of revenge and exacting justice. I know people who went to join up in the military. When I look at the war in Afghanistan and Iraq I realize the cooler heads prevailed.

maka
Mar 12, 2004, 06:43 PM
Do you think the exposure of those responsible for the bombing would radically affect the outcome of the election? Generally people vote with their wallet and Spain is doing OK at the moment so presumably the status quo will continue. If ETA were confirmed responsible, would that over ride the economic success of the Government and cast them in the light of a Govt that has failed in protecting them from ETA and consequently lose them their power?

Well... if this attack turns out to be a revenge on Spain because of the support the current goverment gave Bush, then maybe they could lose the elections... if it's ETA, I don't thing the results would change that much... some say this would be better for the current party in power, but I think it may be a bit too much...

About the past elections, it's true that they got a mayority of votes, but it's interesting to note that participation on those elections was one of the lowest in history... so in these elections, it's going to be very important what the undecided people vote, and also how much people actually vote...

on a recent poll, the mayority of people said they wanted a change of goverment, yet the PP was most voted in the same poll. This seeming contradiction is very significant, because people that want to vote "left" don't really have a trusted party to vote. PSOE (the other main party) was in power for a long time (12 years) and there were some BIG scandals that finally resulted in PP getting the power. So it's quite complicated...

elmimmo
Mar 12, 2004, 06:43 PM
If ETA were confirmed responsible, would that over ride the economic success of the Government and cast them in the light of a Govt that has failed in protecting them from ETA and consequently lose them their power?Quite the oppsosite. We have had ETA since pretty much everyone remembers. If AlQaeda would be confirmed, that would be quite a strike for a government that backed the war with the apparent opisition of the majority of the population (credible only to a certain extent), while the last 4 years the government has been veey towards ETA and its political party (now illegal, thanks to a law supported by Spain's two main parties), and the legitimate basque government chosen by their electors in all the years of the democracy, because of its "complacence" (those are not my words) towards radical environments. Unfortunately, because of the big oposition between central and regional governments, this late 4 years have also been the ones of more dramatic confrontation between both parties, making it extensible to the populationThe police said the detonators were not the ones used normally by ETAStill, the minister of interior claimed that those are of the same kind that were take over from ETA last week in a van with two ETA activists and 500kg of explosives. But yet, there are so many contradictory signs being said, that I agree on you that we know pretty much nothing.

maka
Mar 12, 2004, 06:49 PM
Still, the minister of interior claimed that those are of the same kind that were take over from ETA last week in a van with two ETA activists and 500kg of explosives. But yet, there are so many contradictory signs being said, that I agree on you that we know pretty much nothing.

hmm... I just heard in the BBC (or was it CNN...) that the spanish goverment hasn't been able to really match the explosives to ones used by ETA in the past... I don't know if they took into account the ones from ast week...

elmimmo
Mar 12, 2004, 07:02 PM
it's interesting to note that participation on those elections was one of the lowest in history...All elections since the second ones in our democracy have been the lowest in history. Participation has decreased linearly election after election, quite before than the current party enetered the government 8 years ago. And yet, low participation reflects the population's apathy towards ALL parties.the majority of people said they wanted a change of goverment, yet the PP was most voted in the same poll.That poll was focused, in my opinion, in a clearly biased towards the main oppossing party (the only opposing one probable of winning the elections, and hence, represent a change in government): it is evident that if they do not get absolute majority, there are more people wanting them out than in(since they are not going to get >50% of votes). What is new about that? But choosing what of both things to say is definitely referential to the POV you want to transmit.

It is biased because it is focusing the elections in a "current government vs the rest" way, and you cannot put such an heterogenous sample in the same bag. It think it is a very irresponsible act by that media and that it promotes people's vote on what they DON'T want to have instead of what specific parties they feel identified with.I just heard in the BBC (or was it CNN...) that the spanish goverment hasn't been able to really match the explosives to ones used by ETA in the pastJust as your other post, the minister was supposedly referring to the detonators, not the explosives. I am not sure, though.

elmimmo
Mar 12, 2004, 07:20 PM
I am kinda glad that we have a 2 party system here in the US. True we don't have quite the same diversity of view but there is also not nearly the sense of party discipline and we don't have the seismic shifts in power from coalition parliaments.Precisely because of that I pretty much prefer our system. I find it quite more logical that people under the same overall opinions gather under the same flag, instead of the flag representing little more than a gathering of heterogeneuos (maybe conflicting) ideas. It is far easier and better for the citizen IMHO to vote for a general project, than getting to know each and every candidate. I confess I know very little of the US election system, though.

I also think than a government having a confortable but non-absolute majority is the best for the country. That means that the government will have to make efforts to take into account groups representing other minorities (and since the purpose of the parliament i to be a represntation of the population, the fact that those groups have a certain weight is good IMHO), but be strong enough to be able to govern comfortably if it gets to stablish stable pacts with those other small groups.Also the deals with the devil tend to be fiscal rather than ideological.And you consider that preferable? I'd prefer that ideology moved money one way or the other than the other way around...

maka
Mar 13, 2004, 04:54 AM
All elections since the second ones in our democracy have been the lowest in history. Participation has decreased linearly election after election, quite before than the current party enetered the government 8 years ago. And yet, low participation reflects the population's apathy towards ALL parties.That poll was focused, in my opinion, in a clearly biased towards the main oppossing party (the only opposing one probable of winning the elections, and hence, represent a change in government): it is evident that if they do not get absolute majority, there are more people wanting them out than in(since they are not going to get >50% of votes). What is new about that? But choosing what of both things to say is definitely referential to the POV you want to transmit.

It is biased because it is focusing the elections in a "current government vs the rest" way, and you cannot put such an heterogenous sample in the same bag. It think it is a very irresponsible act by that media and that it promotes people's vote on what they DON'T want to have instead of what specific parties they feel identified with.Just as your other post, the minister was supposedly referring to the detonators, not the explosives. I am not sure, though.

I don't know if the poll was biased, but I think that what is happening is that many people don't really want to vote the current party in power, but don't have an alternative they like. That's why the poll is significant. It shows that the current party in power has lost a lot of support but it hasn't flowed from them to the biggest opposing party because there is a lack of confidence towards them. And I think that's also a reason why in the last few years there has been less and less participation. Many people that would vote to a party from the left end up not voting, but the core voters from the PP vote no matter what happens.

About the attacks: we won't know what really happend until after the elections. Most people are still disturbed after the attack on thursday, and sadly this is going to make and effect in the vote of some. That is very bad, and maybe elections should be delayed until we have a clearer head...

elmimmo
Mar 13, 2004, 06:54 AM
I don't know if the poll was biasedI was refering to its interpretation, not the actual figures. The most obvious interpretation would have been that PP was not going to get absolute majority again, plain and simple, IMO of course. That centers the focus in that, still, a vast majority want them in the government, which is after all the practical interpretation (what are we going to have on Monday?), instead of implying that we are getting an unfair and illegitimate scenario in favor of PP, because the vast majority of Spaniards do not want them in (this is NOT a referendum): I repeat, it is the same in every democratic elections that do not turn out in an absolute majority, and it is the thing to expect (that there is an heterogeny of ideas).I think that what is happening is that many people don't really want to vote the current party in power, but don't have an alternative they like. That's why the poll is significant. It shows that the current party in power has lost a lot of support but it hasn't flowed from them to the biggest opposing party because there is a lack of confidence towards them.I completely agree with you on that. My original intention was also to give a blank vote (although I am irritated that the media does not usually add a bar next to valid votes pertaining to each party, so that everyone has it clear the highlevel of discontent with all the political options -last election's valid blank votes were higher than those that the party in Basque government obtained, for instance, and I do agree that it is dramatic ). I have remade my intentions in the last three weeks, though. Still, I do not agree on this issue:Many people that would vote to a party from the left end up not voting, but the core voters from the PP vote no matter what happens.That is discrediting the people's opinion supporting PP in a reasoned way (voting them no matter what!?): there are "core voters" in all parties, you just cannot number them. Remember 15 years ago the opposing party had absolute majority. Stadistically, lots and lots of people supporting them do not support them anymore, still vote, and choose the now governing one. The first filter in tagging people "core voters" must be trying to find them only among the ones who always have voted the same party (which, again, I think it is unfair to say the other way around that people voting the same party are core voters, because you imply that a criteria does not guide their votes). I do not think "core voters" are enough to make PP win, since years ago, they were not. If the rest changed their idea once, they had their reasons and can chance their idea again.

Edit: although now that I think about it, I am leaving out the ammount of people that changed their vote to a blank vote, and you have a point in that. Still, since I do not have the figures comparing the number of valid votes to PP 15 years ago and 4 years ago, I cannot know.

MongoTheGeek
Mar 13, 2004, 09:01 AM
And you consider that preferable? I'd prefer that ideology moved money one way or the other than the other way around...

The ideology battles are usually fought fiscally. Congressmen sell their votes in omnibus bills in return for special projects in their districts. Senator X wants 100 Mill to build a monorail around his city. To get that he will vote for a gun control bill that his modestly disapproves of.

The law is like sausage. Sometimes its best not to know how its made. Personally I would like the government shrunk significantly.

maka
Mar 13, 2004, 04:48 PM
That is discrediting the people's opinion supporting PP in a reasoned way (voting them no matter what!?): there are "core voters" in all parties, you just cannot number them. Remember 15 years ago the opposing party had absolute majority. Stadistically, lots and lots of people supporting them do not support them anymore, still vote, and choose the now governing one. The first filter in tagging people "core voters" must be trying to find them only among the ones who always have voted the same party (which, again, I think it is unfair to say the other way around that people voting the same party are core voters, because you imply that a criteria does not guide their votes). I do not think "core voters" are enough to make PP win, since years ago, they were not. If the rest changed their idea once, they had their reasons and can chance their idea again.

Edit: although now that I think about it, I am leaving out the ammount of people that changed their vote to a blank vote, and you have a point in that. Still, since I do not have the figures comparing the number of valid votes to PP 15 years ago and 4 years ago, I cannot know.

I'm sorry... you're right about the "core voters", it's just a feeling I get when I see so many people still give their support to the PP after everything we've been through because of them (prestige, war on irak, etc...) It just seems to me that they are more loyal than PSOE's voters... but it's just a feeling...

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4517018/

Well.... now it's been confirmed. The attack was made by an islamic group, so it seems this may be the final coup to the PP... After two days of trying to convince everyone against all odds that it was ETA, they now look even worse....

They didn't inform on time when they found the van. They said the tape with arabic recordings could be bought in Spain, it's been confirmed it came from Eypt... It's a string of misinformation (I'm not sure this is the word I want to use...) for electoral interests... so sad...

wdlove
Mar 13, 2004, 08:42 PM
I feel very sad for your country elmimmo & maka. Although we went through 9/11 in our country, it is hard to really imagine what you are going through. I send my deepest sympathy and prayers. Hopefully our countries and continue to be strong allies in this war on terrorism. No matter the source of this massacre we are in a fight together for our very survival as a civilization.

wdlove
Mar 13, 2004, 09:54 PM
Al-Qaeda 'claims Madrid bombings'

The video says the attacks were because Spain backed the US

Al-Qaeda has allegedly said it carried out the Madrid train bombings, the country's interior minister has said.

Angel Acebes said police had recovered a videotape in which a man identifying himself as al-Qaeda's military spokesman in Europe makes the claim.

The minister says the authenticity of the video has not been verified.

His announcement comes hours after Spanish authorities arrested five suspects in connection with the blasts which killed 200 people.

The developments came as the first funerals for the victims of the bombings took place in the capital and across Spain.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3509426.stm

I'm not sure what the source was, but I had heard on Thursday that Al Qaeda had taken responsibility for the bombing.

How do you think this will affect your election tomorrow? The stability of your government? Your continued cooperation with the US?

elmimmo
Mar 14, 2004, 09:53 AM
Still, the minister of interior claimed that those are of the same kind that were take over from ETA last week in a van with two ETA activists and 500kg of explosives. But yet, there are so many contradictory signs being said, that I agree on you that we know pretty much nothing.This is old news already, but just in case Iwanted to clear up that I misunderstood the message. Those detonators are NOT the same as those found in the van 2 ETA activists drove 2 weeks ago, but the same as those found in a van right after the explosions, which also had a tape of Coran teachings.

elmimmo
Mar 14, 2004, 04:47 PM
Wow, all polls seemed to show a decrease in the support to the party governing during these last 8 years, but I think hardly anyone guessed not only that they would loose absolute majority (some polls 2 weeks ago said they could keep it), but that they would loose in such a vast way.

So, I just wanted to follow up on this to answer wdlove:How do you think this will affect your election tomorrow?The support towards the previous governing party was already quite eroded by Spain's support to Irak's war, and by several other important events throughout this last 4 years, but I do think this last events have been another key aspect to a change in government, because the final results are quite different to what polls seemed to show jut 1 or 2 weeks ago.The stability of your government?The new governing party has a vast majority, but not absolute, which I think is rather good (as I previously said). It will not be so stable as the previous one, since it must look for agreements, but I think that is actually a good thing, since that "stability" inmune to the other parties' points of view in the parliament is probably what got the previous government not reelected.Your continued cooperation with the US?The winning party has been extraordinarily critic with Acting President Aznar's inconditional support to President Bush. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to be Spain's President, has among other things said before the elections that, if he won the elections, the Spanish Army would only stay in Iraq past June or July if the UN adopted complete control over the US there. So you have a first idea... He has repeatedly stated that he was not at all reluctant to have a good relation with the US, but specifically with Bush and his idea of the world. It is now time to see whether he was just taking profit as an opposing party or if he does indeed have a clear position in foreign policy towards the US and the European Union.

Just to bring it on topic again. I am very glad that before pronouncing any word on the results, and knowing that pretty much all the media was centering the attention in what he was going to say, he asked for a minute of silence in support and remembering for all the victims of the bombings in Madrid on Thursday.

MrMacMan
Mar 14, 2004, 09:59 PM
Apparently all of the cable news stations in the U.S don't care because I have been flipping back and forth for 30 minutes...

No info.


What is the census?

ETA or Al Qaeda?


I'm pretty sure Al Qaeda will slap their name on anything now a days... even if they didn't do it.

maka
Mar 15, 2004, 03:15 AM
Just a last comment :)

I agree with elmimmo about the elections. I think the PP was going to lose, but the big difference is due to how badly they handled the crisis these last few days. Participation rates have gone up about 7,5% and it seems the PSOE has gotten back a lot of votes from peope that in 2000 didn't vote. It just seems to me that lots of people were just fed up with the current goverment...

About the attack, everything points towards an islamic group. there are 5 suspects being held (3 of moroccan origin and 2 of indian origin, I thinK) and one of them had been investigated by the police in 2001 because possible links to Al-Qaeda. Also, the police thinks that one of them may be one of the perpetrators, so...

here's a link

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/03/14/spain.blasts.invest/