Scores die in Madrid bomb carnage.
March 11, 2004 4:13 AM   Subscribe

Scores die in Madrid bomb carnage. A string of deadly blasts has hit three Madrid train stations during the rush hour with latest reports speaking of at least 131 people killed.
posted by Brilliantcrank (96 comments total)
I was just about to post about it.

Current speculation is that it was an ETA operation, however, Al Quaida has not been ruled out. Spain assisted the US and Britain in the "war on terror". Although it doesn't count for much, Batastuna, the political wing of ETA denied that ETA could have been involved.

All in all, it's an awful day for Europe. My condolences to the families of the victims.
posted by tomcosgrave at 4:17 AM on March 11, 2004

Fatalities were revised just now to 170 people.

Pictures here. Commentary from people in Madrid can be found here..

I feel ill, especially when I wonder that, if it was ETA, it might been Irish citizens who trained them to make those bombs.
posted by tomcosgrave at 4:29 AM on March 11, 2004

my god...

I weep... and pray for the victims and their families.
posted by gen at 4:29 AM on March 11, 2004

Are we the highest life form on this rock or what?
posted by Fupped Duck at 4:43 AM on March 11, 2004

how awful...
posted by amberglow at 4:45 AM on March 11, 2004

They're saying on tv that it doesn't fit ETA's bombing methods and history at all (they always warn beforehand, and do small car things usually)...could this be bec of Spain's support for the Iraq war?
posted by amberglow at 5:06 AM on March 11, 2004

Euskadi Ta Azkatasuna.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:18 AM on March 11, 2004

posted by kickingtheground at 5:21 AM on March 11, 2004

People are taking a big step blaming ETA for this atrocity. As amberglow says it doesn't fit their style, which is normally small-scale attacks on political figures. Perhaps it would be better if everyone just waited for the actual facts before pointing the finger at any group.
posted by squealy at 5:24 AM on March 11, 2004

Iberian Notes has breaking news and details.
posted by PenDevil at 5:32 AM on March 11, 2004

I have many doubts about this. If it is ETA, then they have gone too far, or maybe we're seeing the effects of a breakup in the organization. There has been always rumors of a palestinization of the attacks of ETA, as it seems there are factions that want to go further in their actions.

ETA has always warned before bombings, and check this, before today, ETA has killed more than 800 people (since its inception in 1959) and today they have killed more than 170 people and injured more than 800???? it seems to me than this is too much for ETA...

Today is a very sad day.

daniel from Barcelona (Spain)
posted by samelborp at 5:59 AM on March 11, 2004

yet another sad day for humanity, however onward in our war against terror, till we all drown in a reservoir of blood.
posted by johnnyboy at 6:03 AM on March 11, 2004

What is it about the 11th of the month?

(this one comes exactly 2.5 years after 9/11 too - conspiracy theorists start your engines)
posted by SpaceCadet at 6:10 AM on March 11, 2004

agreed that most agencies are saying it doesnt fit the eta profile, however the fact that less than two weeks ago police arrested two suspected ETA members who were heading for Madrid with a van containing 500 kg (1,100 lbs) of explosives, puts a different light on it maybe?
posted by kev23f at 6:14 AM on March 11, 2004

Yes, and apparently Spanish elections are coming up in a couple of days.

But in the long haul, how much difference does it make if it's the ETA, al Queda, or some heretofore unheard-of group? I suppose in the long run it makes a difference politically (assuming it is ever determined) but for now, we have hundreds of people dead and wounded, and hundreds of families grieving.

I don't know what else to say.
posted by deadcowdan at 6:31 AM on March 11, 2004

I thought this was supposed to happen in France? I'm not sure why you would threaten one country and then blow up another, but then again, I'm not exactly sure why you would blow anything up in the first place...

posted by Ptrin at 6:43 AM on March 11, 2004

I'd be careful with the talk of Al Qaeda linkage: as Dan pointed out, there's an election coming up on Sunday

excellent graphics about this morning's carnage here

good minute-by-minute coverage here and here

keep in mind that the campaign was dominated by the Basque separatism issue -- both the (conservative, now in power) Popular Party and the opposition Socialists ruled out talks with ETA, and both parties were positive during the campaing re the need of dismantling the ETA once and for all

even tho a Socialist Catalonia (a region where the separatist feeling is strong also, just try to call somebody from Barcelona a Spaniard and you'll see the reaction) politician was criticized for a meeting with ETA people in France a few months ago. but things looked pretty grim for the ETA, defeated both militarily and politically (Erri Batasuna)

posted by matteo at 6:50 AM on March 11, 2004

I forgot: in the graphics page I linked above just click on "comenzar" (start) and the presentation will begin

posted by matteo at 6:51 AM on March 11, 2004

posted by Zonker at 7:04 AM on March 11, 2004

I'm sitting here with my 10-day old daughter, and just feeling empty and a bit sick about the world she'll be growing up in. And realizing that everyone (attackers and victims) were cute little infants at one time, and wondering how one gets from A to B. Fuck.
posted by jalexei at 7:05 AM on March 11, 2004

Hmmm.. More Arabs....

It might be getting to be time that something gets done about them...
posted by eas98 at 7:07 AM on March 11, 2004

I hope by "them" you mean the small minority of the population that are terrorists, and not the huge population of people that make up the group referred to as "Arabs."
posted by moonbiter at 7:15 AM on March 11, 2004

With love and a heavy heart, from New York.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:16 AM on March 11, 2004

I'm horrified beyond words.

posted by swerve at 7:17 AM on March 11, 2004

Hmmm.. More Arabs....

It might be getting to be time that something gets done about them...
Come again?
posted by kickingtheground at 7:18 AM on March 11, 2004

My bet: ETA. They've been nailed with large quantities of explosives recently (on more than one occasion), it's near the elections, and setting off bombs is actually a LOT EASIER than political assassination., if ETA were badly damaged by recent arrests etc., it would make a lot of sense for them to attempt a major attack. It requires fewer operatives, and makes a hell of a bigger splash. Plus, if you're "on the ropes" you've got less to lose, vis-a-vis "going too far". Generally speaking, when groups see their choice as one between nonexistence and going a step too far, they almost ALWAYS go a step too far. That's just the way people are.
posted by aramaic at 7:26 AM on March 11, 2004


Your trolling isn't appreciated you prick.

I found first heard about this coming out of the shower when I heard my wife crying. Then I had to make a quick call to my sister who lives in the capital to see if she was ok. I'm frustrated and angry and fearful at what this is going to mean for Spain in the long run.

This was most likely ETA.

As somebody mentioned, two carloads of their commandos were captured with a large amount of explosive en route to Madrid only a few weeks ago. Although I don't rule out a backlash against Aznar's unilateral decision to implicate our country in the illegal attack on Iraq, (against the wishes of 90% of the population) at this point I have to believe that this is the work of the terrorist group ETA --don't call them separatists, PNV are separatists, ETA are simply criminals.

For the last 8 years Aznar's rightwing govermnent has increased the tension in the Pais Vasco, breaking off ALL dialogue, not only with the terrorists but with moderate pro independance parties like PNV and EA. Ask anyone involved in the Northern Ireland tragedy how far the peace process would have gotten if there were ZERO dialogue even among the non-terrorists! Every time there has been a terrorist attack Aznar has shamelessly used it to make electoral attacks against all of the nationalist parties (in Cataluña, Pais Vasco, etc.), not only those in the Pais Vasco, and even the socialist opposition who are also prime targets of ETA's atttacks. Since Sept 11 his government has stepped up the fear rhetoric in a disgusting effort to win more votes. Someone mentioned the case where a the president of Esquerra Republicana (an independance party from Cataluña) Carod-Rubina had met with the leaders of ETA in an ill-advised attempt to independantly start a dialogue process with the terrorist group. Apparenty the Spanish secret service had videotaped the meeting months ago but the government only brought out the "scandal" during the electoral campaign! Now if they were videotaping the meeting why in the hell didn't they arrest the terrorists!! Because the scandal is more valuable to the Partido Popular, Aznar's party, than defeating the fucking terrorists, that's why! If the other democratic opposition parties try to make moves towards dialogue or some solution to the problem they get called traitors, pro-terrorist and the like. Sound familiar? What do you think Aznar and Bush talk about when they are on his ranch?

Of course, ETA, whose ideological leaders have long since been jailed, killed or have recanted their association with the group, can only thrive in a hyper-confrontational political atmosophere. Only in this situation will radical but non-violent people begin to develop sympathies for this scum. That's why in my opinion they actually prefer that Aznar's right wing francoist party is in the government.

sorry for ranting, I just feel sick today.
posted by sic at 7:45 AM on March 11, 2004

man. bummer for the people of madrid, spain and the whole world today - el dios es triste hoy.
posted by specialk420 at 7:50 AM on March 11, 2004

Humans have giant brains but no clue how to use them. We simply haven't evolved fast enough to rise above fear and superstition and this is how we react. Very sad given the enormous potential we possess.
posted by krtzmrk at 7:50 AM on March 11, 2004


I know I posted the WikiPedia link earlier, but I've read it twice now and I still don't really have a grasp on what ETA actually wants and why those wants would inspire their operatives to violence like today's attack. If anyone can sum it up for me, I'd appreciate it.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:53 AM on March 11, 2004

I'm not expert in ETA historical strategy, but it seems very strange to me that a well known terrorist group with a political wing should use such a devastating strike 2 days before the elections.

What's the point ?

ETA is well know already, they don't need much more advertisement. They could have reached the same (albeit insane) objective of remembering people of their existence with a little inconsequential bomb somewhere, not necessarily killng people 2 days before an election.

They could have used political assassination (harder indeed but not as politically devastating as a 180 deaths attack).

My _guess_ is that this attack was an al-quaida related one, as promised by Osama as a form or retaliation for Spain partecipation in Iraq. We'll see.

My sympathy goes to the victims.
posted by elpapacito at 7:58 AM on March 11, 2004

Consulates of Spain in the U.S.A. -- please take a moment to email, write, or call and convey your sympathies to the Spanish people.
posted by anastasiav at 8:06 AM on March 11, 2004

Apparently, the explosive used is Titadine, a brand commonly used by ETA after they raided the factory.
posted by spazzm at 8:08 AM on March 11, 2004

How hard is it for other terrorist organizations to take inspiration from Al-Qaida style coordinated bombings, though?

My heart goes out to Madrid. I still hope to go back there someday.
posted by furiousthought at 8:08 AM on March 11, 2004

What they want is to have a totally independent Basque nation (País Vasco). They claim that historically their "country" included the current País Vaco, Navarra and a chunk of SW France. They will kill anyone who has a different opinion on this subject, which is just about everybody including nearly the entire population of Navarra, the French and even a large percentage of the people in the País Vasco.

Batasuna, the political wing of ETA was illegalized last year (similar to Sinn Fein), so they no longer have a political voice, could have something to do with their desire to interrupt the election. One of the former leaders of ETA , a woman whose name I can't recall, once said that when ETA comes to the table to negotiate it will bring a hundred dead bodies to bargain with. This may give you an idea of what we are dealing with.
posted by sic at 8:09 AM on March 11, 2004

As someone who commutes via train every day, this is a horrible fear realized. I hope whoever's responsible is caught and brought to justice.

. . .
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:13 AM on March 11, 2004

If you've got an election coming up and you want people on your side. You might make a point by shooting a polititian, but killing 170 people is only going to piss people off.

Not saying this isn't ETA, just that they are incredibly stupid if it is...
posted by twine42 at 8:14 AM on March 11, 2004

This is classic terrorist mentality: provoke a situation where the government is likely to "crack down" in such an extreme way that people not involved in terrorism, but who are simply politically opposed to the ruling party begin to radicalize. Not many of them will go terrorist, but it only takes a couple of brainwashed kids to snap when government is acting in a fascist way and soon you have two new ETA commandos. This is why I said in an earlier post that ETA could not exist without the very tense political situation that Aznar's partido popluar has created. Remember that they no longer have a political wing so they aren't worried about losing votes.

It's only going to get worse.
posted by sic at 8:23 AM on March 11, 2004

What's the point ?

Not to get people on their side; they don't care about that. The point is to get independence for the Basque provinces, and the strategy is to make Spaniards bleed and hurt until they're willing to let the Basques go to make it stop. It's the classic terrorist strategy, the same one used by Palestinian terrorists against Israel. (What makes al Qaeda even more frightening than your average terrorist group is that there's nothing you can do to make it stop; there's no goal they're trying to make you accept, just destruction for all who don't fit their standards of Islamic orthodoxy.)

Also, what sic said.
posted by languagehat at 8:30 AM on March 11, 2004

How about the Spanish government (or a non-governmental peace organization) plaster every billboard in Basque areas with images of the carnage (specifically bodies of women and children with their limbs torn off, etc) with the simple line "If you know of an ETA member and have not notified the police, there is blood on your hands." Might this have the effect on people who are fervent Basque nationalists and possible ETA sympathizers to turn in suspected terrorists?
posted by gwint at 8:37 AM on March 11, 2004

Why is CNN devoting all of thirty seconds per hour to this?
posted by PrinceValium at 8:46 AM on March 11, 2004

ETA has often tried to compare themselves to the Palestinians and to the IRA. Since the majority of the Spanish see the Palestinian situation as a hellish situation which produces the terrorist mentality, ETA has tried to justify their terrorism by claiming a similar situation in the País Vasco, which is patently absurd. There are no occupying forces in the País Vasco, no bulldozing of homes, no wall separating them from the rest of Spain, there is no real oppression. I once met a Basque radical, not a terrorist, but somebody who "understands" why ETA does what it does, who told me that he supported independance by whatever means necessary because he couldn't stand to have a flag that wasn't his flag and to have a King that wasn't his King. Believe me, these assholes have never suffered the way the Palestinians have suffered. The situation in País Vasco can be summed up in one word: demagoguery. On the side of the basque radicals and on the side of the francoist government.
posted by sic at 8:51 AM on March 11, 2004

To expand on sic's statement: the Pais Vasco is per capita richer than most provinces of Castillia...
As for motive: I think Edward's comment in this Fistful Of Euros thread hits the nail on the head and I'm including a big quote below because it seems to me the only explanation that makes sense if indeed ETA is behind this:
"they seem to have a motive: they want to guarantee a PP government is returned in the elections on Sunday. The affair 'Carrod Rovira' really only allows that interpretation...
...what is known as Eta Militar is in a desparate situation since the majority of *radical* Basque nationalists (maybe 200,000 supporters) are now prepared to formally support an 'end to the armed struggle', and accept the offer of Basque President (moderate nationalist) Ibarretxe (who coincidentally is talking on TV right now) to hold a referendum on self determination. As I am indicating the opinion polls suggest that this referendum would give a result in favour of independence.

So either: this Eta group are trying to sabotage this.

Or: they are trying to so radicalise Spanish politics that the PP government whose election today's events now seem make inevitable would find it impossible to negotiate a way out of confrontation with Ibarretxe.

To be clear: this referendum will be illegal. The government in Madrid passed a specific law last year which would mean the Basque president would go to prison if he holds the referendum.

So we have two possibilities:

1/. Eta wanted to torpedo the referendum, by causing so many deaths that a 'peace process' would be impossible in the foreseeable future.

or 2/. They want the referendum and they want Ibarretxe in prison.

This second possibility would lead us to Mr Carrod Rovira and all the recent fuss. If Ibarretxe were imprisoned it would be difficult to see how the Catalan government could avoid demands for holding a self-determination referendum here. In other words Spain could become 'ungovernable'. Possibly none of this will happen, but this doesn't stop it being Eta's objective."

Sounds plausible - still I must remind everyone that the last time ETA committed something remotely like this (the bombing of a supermarket in Barcelona in 1987) it "apologised for the mistake". Also if this is ETA's work, it would be the first time AFAIK that Batasuna actually distances itself from an ETA attack...
posted by talos at 9:30 AM on March 11, 2004

This is so crappy. I was in Madrid a month ago, and expect to go back soon. Deepest sympathy for the victims and their families...
posted by daver at 9:42 AM on March 11, 2004

posted by Mick at 9:43 AM on March 11, 2004


I have long believed that ETA, which decades ago may have actually fought for something that resembled an ideal, although in the most brutal fashion, is now simply a criminal organization, a mafia, that lives off of extorision and fear. Their ideological leaders are long gone and they are recruiting younger and younger, people who were not even alive during the dictatorship and are completely divorced from the real History of the dictatorship and the transition. They are fighting to maintain their own power. They accomplish this through demagoguery in the pueblos, especially in the province of Donostia, where they fill young minds with false history and made up oppression.Of course their task is made much easier by having the perpetually conflictive Partido Popular in the government. As for Ibarretxe and PNV they are only moderate when you compare them with ETA militar and the now illegal ETA política: Batasuna. The Ibarretxe plan for referendum is actually a vile piece of legislation that calls to mind Nazi Germany's "legal classifications" of citizens as full, half or jewish. PNV are not a bunch of swell guys, they are the natural descendants of the ultra-catholic and conservative Carlist movement of the 19th century.

But they are not terrorists and the reaction of the Aznar's francoist government to PNV nationalism and the threat of terrorism has been extreme to say the least. The illegalization of a democratically elected party, Batasuna, the manipulation of the Civil code to make it illegal to hold the referendum, the absolute lack of dialogue with anybody who disagrees with their point of view, the constant anti-nationalist propaganda campaign, the insults and fear rhetoric. All of this has helped keep ETA alive.
posted by sic at 10:00 AM on March 11, 2004

"Why is CNN devoting all of thirty seconds per hour to this?"

In the wee hours (US time) when this happend, I flipped around and CNN was the only network covering this live.
I was amazed at how quickly they were ready to pin it on ETA.
posted by 2sheets at 10:45 AM on March 11, 2004

sic, I'm glad you and yours are ok. And thanks for filling us in on the real situation and politics behind it. My heart and sympathies go out to the victims and their families.
posted by dejah420 at 10:51 AM on March 11, 2004

What an utter, utter hellish thing to have done.

My deep sympathies to the people of Spain. May the perpetrators be brought to swift justice.

posted by konolia at 10:55 AM on March 11, 2004

El Pais is blaming ETA without hesitation in their hed: Matanza de ETA en Madrid
posted by amberglow at 11:44 AM on March 11, 2004

Just heard on the radio that Al Qaida has taken responsibility for the attack according to Reuters... Supposedly a letter was sent to an Arab newspaper (al Kutz???) in London, claiming to be from Al Qaida.
It's still unconfirmed and it follows a similar rumor (?) about a truckload of explosives found in a truck next to a Koran in Madrid...
posted by talos at 12:32 PM on March 11, 2004

Actually, the minister of the interior is now saying that they are not ruling out any line of investigation, (in Spanish) and Al Quaeda has apparently claimed responsibility in a London Arabic newspaper (no link yet).
posted by piedrasyluz at 12:49 PM on March 11, 2004

They're really too quick to blame ETA for everything. Reminds me of Oklahoma City (in reverse).

And El Pais has changed their headline.
posted by amberglow at 12:57 PM on March 11, 2004

al-Qaeda claims responsibility (from CBC News)
posted by mrgrimm at 1:13 PM on March 11, 2004

The Minister of the Interior, Angel Acebes, just announced that they had found a van near Alcalá de Henares with detonators, bomb caps and a tape in arabic with verses of the Coran. There is also the letter that was sent to the Arabic newspaper in London. It looks like Al Quaeda is targeting Spain for our government's involvement with the attack on Iraq.

Dear lord, now I am even more frightened.
posted by sic at 1:13 PM on March 11, 2004

Here's a list of injured (i think--heridos?) and the hospitals they're in, in case people want to check on people they know. It's not complete at all, I don't think.
posted by amberglow at 1:39 PM on March 11, 2004

When a van full of explosives and a Koran is found, is the assumption that it's an intentional calling card, or inept explosive-and-Koran storage coming to a head at a convenient time? Not trying to be funny; I ask because that sort of thing seems to happen a lot.
posted by COBRA! at 1:44 PM on March 11, 2004

Isn't it that they don't care who finds evidence afterwards? It's not like they're alive to be caught.
posted by amberglow at 1:53 PM on March 11, 2004

Cobra! I have to admit that It's crossed my mind as well. Just as I've though long and hard about all of the weirdness surrounding the 9/11 tragedy and it's "investigation" in Washington. People here are pretty hysterical right now and it's hard to think about what the political fallout will be. If it were ETA the results would be clear: a landslide victory for Aznar's (who is retiring from politics by the way) Partido Popular and an incipient police state, like the one being constructed in the US post 9/11, all in the name of our "security". But if is really was Al-Qaeda - and according to the letter that you can dowload here in Spanish from el País it is- the blame lies directly with Aznar's choice to support the attack on Iraq. He's actually named in the threats, as well as Britain, Italy and Japan. This may tip the scale to PSOE, the spanish opposition, which was running a strong campaign up until today.

As far as this being staged, I can't believe ETA would try to frame Al-Qaeda, because it makes no sense whatsoever. And as much as I dislike our current government, I can't believe that they'd stoop to such depths....
posted by sic at 1:57 PM on March 11, 2004

(this one comes exactly 2.5 years after 9/11 too - conspiracy theorists start your engines)

As of now, it's been 912 days, 6 hours, 30 minutes since the first plane hit the first World Trade Center tower on September 11, 2001.
posted by homunculus at 2:18 PM on March 11, 2004

As of now, it's been 912 days, 6 hours, 30 minutes since the first plane hit the first World Trade Center tower on September 11, 2001.

Doesn't that mean the bombings took place 911 days after 9/11?

But I would hasten to remind everyone that Al Qaeda took credit for the NYC blackout too.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:37 PM on March 11, 2004

Did Al Qaeda take credit? Or were they given credit early on?
posted by tomplus2 at 7:58 PM on March 11, 2004

For the blackout? They took credit.

"Let the criminal Bush and his gang know that the punishment is the result of the action, the soldiers of God cut the power on these cities, they darkened the lives of the Americans as these criminals blackened the lives of the Muslim people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. The Americans lived a black day they will never forget."
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:10 PM on March 11, 2004

A lot of people are appropriating this illo from El Pais for their blogs if anyone wants it.

If it is Al Qaeda, does that mean the PP loses? (I'm trying to think of some reason for the excessive and immediate blaming of it on ETA by the Spanish govt.) Any more news on evidence?
posted by amberglow at 8:35 PM on March 11, 2004

PP doesn't lose if it's Qaeda. Chirac and that feckless German PM lose.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:39 PM on March 11, 2004

This is a truly horrid act. I hope it wakes certain people up.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:44 PM on March 11, 2004

But wouldn't people see it as a revenge move by Al Qaeda for the PP's supporting of Bush on Iraq, bringing death and destruction down on them, and making them now a target, like we are here in NY? I've heard that the vast, vast majority of Spaniards did not want to go to Iraq, and did not support their govt's actions.
posted by amberglow at 9:06 PM on March 11, 2004

(this whole tragedy is bringing up so many 9/11 memories)
posted by amberglow at 9:07 PM on March 11, 2004

Amberglow, I was refering to myself--PP. As for whether the Spanish would blame the incumbant for Al Qaeda terrorism, well, I don't even think the French would do that.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:15 PM on March 11, 2004

Wow amber - that graphic is like the Daily News' "I still love New York" after 911
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:16 PM on March 11, 2004

Well, I and millions of others would blame our incumbent for not keeping us safe as they promised if another thing happens. And if I was Spanish, I'd blame them for bringing Al Qaeda's horrendous shit down on us. (PP=Parti Popular=Aznar's party.)

Cunning: It's very powerful, no? I've been reading Spanish blogs (with my limited Spanish) and seeing it everywhere--I put it on mine...I want to live in Madrid someday--it's such a great place.)
posted by amberglow at 9:31 PM on March 11, 2004

Actually, the van did not contain explosives, but ignition devices. In the van was a (commercially available) tape of Koran-verses. The van was found near the trains' starting point.

The really bad scenario is of course when it turns out to be a joint ETA-Al Qaeda operation.
posted by knutmo at 12:21 AM on March 12, 2004

I agree with ParisParamus,I hope this wakes certain people up.

We have to realize that we can't support Bush's preemptive attacks to steal oil from other nations and not expect to suffer from it. Hundreds of innocent people in my country just paid the ultimate price because our government supported that criminal and unjustified "war" against the wishes of the vast majority of the spanish. I have already spoken to many people and they have said the same thing, if Al-Qaeda is targeting us because of Aznar's war, he is going to be held responible.

Fuck you PP.
posted by sic at 1:32 AM on March 12, 2004


can you link to some of the Spanish blogs that you have been reading please?
posted by sic at 1:34 AM on March 12, 2004

Strange how things are reported, in my morning paper it read that the van contained ignition devices and a tape of arabic music.

this is so, so horrible, I really feel for Spain. The spontaneous demonstrations against the ETA where people held their white painted hands up in the air to show they don't believe in the power of violence/guns respect for the Spanish and their young democracy. The Spanish embassy here is already awash in flowers.
posted by dabitch at 1:41 AM on March 12, 2004

This touches me immensly. It's been 5 days since the explosions and I'm still shocked.
posted by ruelle at 4:39 AM on March 12, 2004

Uh, 5 days? It's been just over 1 day. I don't blame you for being shocked. The shock won't wear off for months at least...
posted by tomcosgrave at 5:20 AM on March 12, 2004

sic, here you go: I started here, (not sure it's still working, or overloaded or what--can't get in now) and followed the links. I went to Puerta Del Sol blog (in english) too, and followed more links from there. And I used the "other weblogs-espanya" links on top of this page.
posted by amberglow at 5:25 AM on March 12, 2004

sic: boingboing also has links to lists of spanish and other foreign blogs.
posted by amberglow at 5:43 AM on March 12, 2004

muchísimas gracias amberglow
posted by sic at 7:56 AM on March 12, 2004

ParisParamus, if you think this was caused in part by German and French opposition to the war in Iraq, you are completely, utterly delusional.
posted by moonbiter at 7:58 AM on March 12, 2004

De nada, sic. Sea seguro, OK?
posted by amberglow at 9:16 AM on March 12, 2004

Was it ETA or Al Qaeda?
The Christian Science Monitor provides a linky variety of views from the world press.
posted by y2karl at 10:21 AM on March 12, 2004

there's always a possibility that it was an ETA splinter group, somewhere along the lines of the Real IRA (responsible for the Omagh bombing) or Continuity IRA. i'm afraid i don't know enough about spanish politics to give evidence as to why there would be a splinter group, but it could show why it diverges from ETA's normal tactics (no warnings etc.).

that's all assuming it's not al qaeda.

"Batasuna, the political wing of ETA was illegalized last year (similar to Sinn Fein), so they no longer have a political voice"

just clarifying for anyone who didn't know, sinn fein aren't an illegal party, and are currently the largest nationalist/republican party in northern ireland.
posted by knapah at 11:00 AM on March 12, 2004

It wasn't caused by European opposition--who the hell said that? How moronic of you.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:39 AM on March 12, 2004

One thing I don't quite get is: why are people in Spain marching? Does Al Qaeda care about the marching? Will the marching reinforce security? Prayer vigils, I understand, but marches?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:52 PM on March 12, 2004

It wasn't caused by European opposition--who the hell said that? How moronic of you.

The assumption was made from this statement:

PP doesn't lose if it's Qaeda. Chirac and that feckless German PM lose

I'm interested, what is this in reference too? I admit that I am a moron if there is another obvious correllation to be drawn from it. Why single these individuals out, specifically, as losers if Al Qaeda is behind the attack and not Eta?
posted by moonbiter at 1:16 PM on March 12, 2004

moonbiter, he meant himself, and not the Parti Popular.

And this is very interesting (and god forbid), from Kaus (first item).
Isn't it pretty obvious that what just happened in Spain is a preview of what Al Qaeda has planned for the U.S. shortly before our elections?
posted by amberglow at 1:59 PM on March 12, 2004

They lose because it's likely the France and Germany are next.

But your reading more into what I said than I intended. I just despise France and Germany for their corrupt, unprincipled stances on the Iraq war. Every day, it becomes more and more clear that major players in said countrys' government and business communities were being bought off by Hussein dollars (to say nothing of biggies in the UN).
posted by ParisParamus at 2:27 PM on March 12, 2004

They lose because it's likely the France and Germany are next.

Ha! Surely it would be precisely the opposite? I mean, if this IS AlQ, and they're punishing the infidels for dicking around in the holy land.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:17 PM on March 12, 2004

what inpHilltr8r said...the countries that didn't join our "coalition" are safer than any others.
posted by amberglow at 4:12 PM on March 12, 2004

I'd rather be an infidel than French or German.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:31 PM on March 12, 2004

But your reading more into what I said than I intended. I just despise France and Germany for their corrupt, unprincipled stances on the Iraq war. Every day, it becomes more and more clear that major players in said countrys' government and business communities were being bought off by Hussein dollars

Ah, I see. Well, I guess time will tell. Maybe you will be more correct about this than you were with other predictions and claims you made concerning the war in Iraq.

I must admit, being a German-American with a German girlfriend, I'm hopelessly biased in this matter, so I'm going to stop now.
posted by moonbiter at 5:52 PM on March 12, 2004

So, are we here any more prepared than we were 2 years ago for this upcoming "Winds of Black Death" thing? Are we (or the Spaniards, or anyone, anywhere) any safer? Have we done enough to stop Al Qaeda from doing this shit?
posted by amberglow at 10:42 PM on March 12, 2004

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