July 29, 2004 2:23 PM   Subscribe

THE TERROR WEB. Were the Madrid bombings part of a new, far-reaching jihad being plotted on the Internet?
posted by semmi (21 comments total)
The Internet : cornucopia, or the bane of civilization ?
posted by troutfishing at 2:38 PM on July 29, 2004

this internet, it vibrates.
posted by quonsar at 2:56 PM on July 29, 2004

Quick, let's shut down this so-called "Internet" before the terrorists use it to kill us all!
posted by reklaw at 3:28 PM on July 29, 2004

And all this time I thought the next terrorist attack was being plotted in the pages of Conde Nast magazines.
posted by wendell at 4:33 PM on July 29, 2004

This is an incredilby well-researched and very thoughtful and very chilling article about the most dangerous threat facing Western civilization in this age. It goes into detail about how a past attack that killed 191 people was carried out, more importantly it details why it was carried out, and it makes a solid case for how and why and where future attacks will be carried out (hint: Brits, be aware).

So naturally, it gets little response here, save for the usual snark or joke. A story that deserves a Pulizter nomination (can magazines get Pulitzers too, or just newspapers?) for some very thorough journalistic legwork gets laughed at's not Bush-bashing? It talks about Islamist terrorism without flinching from or omitting the implications of some of Islam's basic tenets? It talks about jihad as developing into a canny political strategy, rather than as a quaint religious relic?

Thanks for posting this, semmi.
posted by Asparagirl at 7:15 PM on July 29, 2004

the most dangerous threat facing West

Really? I thought it was The Corporation and the political influence it buys.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:13 PM on July 29, 2004

You know...this may be a sign of the coming apocalypse, but I have to agree with Asparagirl. This was a very well researched and informatively written article, and it surprises me that right out of the gate it got snarked. This is the sort of post that I would have expected to generate some fairly interesting conversation.

For instance, I know that we have a fair number of Spanish members...I'd like to know how their experiences compare to how this article presents things.

Also, this article dipped into a section of world history that I'm willing to be not many westerners know...and it intrigued me enough to want to go research more on "Al Andalus".

I think this article is a long, but very interesting read for those willing to make the effort.
posted by dejah420 at 8:54 PM on July 29, 2004

Were the Madrid bombings part of a new, far-reaching jihad being plotted via the telephone system?

Were the Madrid bombings part of a new, far-reaching jihad being plotted with the aid of the postal service?

Was the headline of this article so filled with technophobic hyperbole that I didn't even bother reading it?

Stay tuned!
posted by spazzm at 9:20 PM on July 29, 2004

I read this piece earlier in the week. It seems to be two separate articles jammed into one. The details of the Madrid train bombing and the historical background as to why the conflict was taken to Spain are fascinating (and scary.) The part about the web didn't strike me as particularly compelling; lots of quotes from anonymous idiots on Yahoo message boards, which proves little beyond the fact that Islam has its very own freepers.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:26 PM on July 29, 2004

I thought it was The Corporation and the political influence it buys.

When "The Corporation™" starts flying planes into buildings, killing thousands, give us a call.
posted by dhoyt at 11:01 PM on July 29, 2004

Phone's ringing, dude
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:42 PM on July 29, 2004

Here in Spain, we've had a commission investigating the bombings, and guess what, the fighting between the recently ousted Partido Popular and the Socialist Party PSOE (now in the government) has clouded the proceedings. As you may know, it is widely believed that one of the reasons the PP was kicked from power was that it refused to admit that the main line of the investigation was islamic terrorism and instead they were giving more importance to the ETA option (which were supposedly more convenient to their political aspirations). Yesterday, Ángel Acebes, former ministry of interior, was being questioned in the commission, and he said that "he also wants to know who was behind the bombings and that he still doesn't not rule out ETA..." Right wing newspapers are full of what can only be described as conspiracy theories, that applied to other terrorist attacks would had produced laughs, but here, it seems, security is less important than appearing as "champions of the truth", no matter how hard you have to spread shit...

The kind of political unity that 911 produced in the USA (although I suspect one of the parties took unfair advantage from it) is nowhere to be seen in Spain, which is very sad, as it seems that we were irresponsibly out of touch of the threats our nation was facing.
posted by samelborp at 1:42 AM on July 30, 2004's not Bush-bashing?

Apart from the line:
“We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections,” the authors write. Bush’s “idiocy and religious fanaticism” are useful, the authors contend, for they stir the Islamic world to action.

It's an excellent article. It tallies with what I know to be correct about the political situation in Britain and Spain. It's also chilling to note that Al Qaeda appear to have a sophisticated political strategy other than just killing people.
posted by salmacis at 2:27 AM on July 30, 2004

It's also chilling to note that Al Qaeda appear to have a sophisticated political strategy other than just killing people.

What really scares me is that neither political party in America has figured this out yet, and I'm not sure that the Republicans (at least, the wing of that party which is currently pulling the strings) would heed this warning instead of assuming that overwhelming might can prevent a few intelligent but deranged individuals from wreaking havoc in myriad ways.

They're clever, they're metchodical, and they're deadly.
posted by oaf at 2:34 AM on July 30, 2004

Whoops, that should be methodical.
posted by oaf at 2:51 AM on July 30, 2004

What utter bullshit, samelborp.

The Partido Popular has spent the first 100 days of the new administration basically refusing to believe that they lost their absolute majority in the Parliament. The traditional 100 day grace period that is given to new administrations has been totally trampled on, spit upon, as is not surprising considering all of Aznar's men are still controlling the Partido Popular. They've continued their "politics" of insulting everybody, constant vitriolic hyperbole over every single issue aimed at making the democratic process impossible. They have Aznar lurking in the US saying things that no ex-president should say if he cares about his country (or is having a stable government not good for Spain?).

The 11 de March Commission, like the Parliament, has been treated with usual disdain by the PP; Acebes and Zaplana (the numbers 2 and 3 in the current PP opposition, both Aznar's men) basically contradicted all of the evidence given by the numerous witnesses that came before them. Who were these witnesses? Police officials, eye-witnesses, members of the CNI (the Spanish FBI) including the head of the CNI during the last administration. Not only do they contradict them, but for some bizarre reason they claim that the prior witnesses support their claims! Typical, they expect the electorate to not read the contradictions, just the headlines "Acebes claims that he didn't lie!" and be satisified. Good luck. The last elections (by the way the FIRST CHANCE that the spanish people could vote in a National Election after Aznar got the country involved in this illegal war) proved that bald faced lying just won't cut it anymore, people are paying attention.

Here's a little example of how "serious" the PP is taking the Commission: Acebes showed up to testify with a "posse" of obnoxious MPs from his party. The filled up the chamber and cheered, whistled, grumbled and insulted throughout the morning basically turning the proceedings into a circus. And at the same time the right wing argues that it's the Socialist Party that wants to "cloud" the commission. Riiight.

So now the PP, with Aznar still pulling its strings from behind George Bush's skirts, is trying every possible lie to save what little respect it has left outside of its hardcore base of cognitive dissonators. The rightwing press here has gotten so desperate that it actually insinuates that the Socialest Party is trying to "cover up" some sinister involvement in the terrorist bombings. It's obvious what newspapers samelborp is reading. The security forces in Spain are continuing the investigation, if there is an ETA link, it will be uncovered, but don't hold your breath, every single piece of evidence that has been uncovered points in only one direction: Al-qaeda.

Remember kids, Spain has it's foaming at the mouth rightwing press too!
posted by sic at 2:52 AM on July 30, 2004

Samelborp, quiero pedir disculpas, metí la pata... I misread your first post. I thought you were placing the blame for the circus in the commission at the feet of PSOE, but now I understand that you are seeing things the way they really are. I should learn to read more slowly! I too would like to see all the parties work together to achieve security for Spain, but right now only PSOE, IU, ERC, CIU, PNV, EA and CC are working together.

Who is not working together? Aznar's Partido Popular.

Again, sorry I misread your first post, listening to Acebes and Zaplana has made me very very nervous!!

Un saludo.

/disrail (sorry to everybody else as well!)
posted by sic at 3:05 AM on July 30, 2004

sic, I was expecting you to post in this thread, your english seems way better than mine and I think that we have similar political positions, so you scared me to hell with your first sentence!!!!!!!!!

No pasa nada! Entiendo perfectamente lo que te ha pasado.

Anyway, what has happened to you is simply a sign of how convoluted and disgraced are things in the spanish media landscape. I too read to my dismay all the bullshit newspapers like La Razón (The Reason! ha!), ABC, El Mundo or Libertad Digital write each day. How they dare to be so manipulative?

Another interesting thing is that it seems that the latest official line of the PP in this issue is the "conspiracy theory", something that they would never admit in relation with other terrorist attacks (911, for instance), is now put forward as a suitable explanation, everything goes to put ETA again in the (confused?) Spanish public opinion.
posted by samelborp at 3:25 AM on July 30, 2004

Well, my wife and I talk about this political situation quite a bit and I've come to the conclusion that the politics of the Partido Popular only works to create something for the militants of the PP to hold onto: cognitive dissonance. As you well know, the PP is very big on making unsubstantiated accusations. In fact, Zaplana accused Gaspar Llamazares (leader of the United Left party) of breaking the law by organizing the spontaneous protests on "reflection day" before the elections. Of course he has no proof, but the accusation will be repeated in the media and the militants of the PP will point to this "fact" to justify their indignation.

Meanwhile President Zapatero continues to quietly, and with a certain dignity that has been missing in Spanish politics for some time now, to do his job. First he got the troops out of Iraq. I know that the rightwing loves to call this the "terrorist agenda" (from the article) but it also happened to be the agenda of the 90% of the spanish population who was against the illegal war. It was also PSOE's agenda before the attacks. To change their agenda because of the attacks would have been to "cave into the terrorists". You see the spin cuts both ways. Zapatero is also living up to his campaign promises, (reforming the education law to make sure that religion isn't mandatory in public schools, creating a law to protect abused women, creating the possibilty of having an independent head of the Public News stations, etc. etc.) one after another, although the PP tries to invent a scandal at every step.

The thing that has made me proudest to be part of the Spanish electorate has been our collective response to this tragedy. We don't feel we need to bomb Morrocco because of the activities of a few criminals from that country. We don't feel we need to deprive the Spanish citizen of his civil liberties to "protect ourselves". We have put our faith in the police, the guardia civil and the CNI. We are cooperating more and more with other countries to find a police solution to a police problem. There will be no more illegal wars (with Spanish participation) and WE ARE NOT AFRAID.
posted by sic at 4:13 AM on July 30, 2004

The kind of political unity that 911 produced in the USA (although I suspect one of the parties took unfair advantage from it) is nowhere to be seen in Spain, which is very sad, as it seems that we were irresponsibly out of touch of the threats our nation was facing.

Well, as sic said, everyone but Aznar's PP is united. I personally would NOT like to have seen the kind of political unity that 911 produced in the USA: lotsa flag waving while reason marches right out the door. Which is, incidentally, precisely what the PP would have liked. No, gracias.
posted by magullo at 7:08 AM on July 30, 2004

Amen Magullo, if the PP would have won the elections we would have had our very own version of the PATRIOT ACT here in Spain and probably would have implemented a barcode terrorist alert to keep the populace very very scared um, "informed". All I can say is thank you to my 13 million fellow voters (including all non-pp votes) that voted Aznar out.
posted by sic at 8:12 AM on July 30, 2004

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