The Spanish press has finally
confirmed it: the outgoing government of premier Jose
Maria Aznar - just like the Bush administration and the
British government in relation to the non-existent
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - lied and
manipulated information concerning responsibility for
the Madrid bombings. Since the morning of March 11,
hours after the bombings took place, journalists at the
Spanish news agency EFE knew that the official version
blaming Basque separatists from ETA was false.
According to the journalists, "already in the
morning, EFE learned about the existence of a cellphone
configured in Arabic, the van found in Alcala de Henares
and [knew] that one of the dead was one of the
terrorists. But the information designating Islamist
radical terror was expressly forbidden." Those
journalists are now calling for the resignation of the
news director responsible for the censorship. Spanish
and European journalists are talking about a "coup
d'etat using information".
Leading Spanish film
maker Pedro Almodovar, presenting his latest movie in
Madrid, went even further, talking about an e-mail
circulating widely on the Internet in Spanish and first
published in an Internet forum: "The PP [Partido
Popular], by Saturday midnight, was about to provoke a
coup … But it was the Spanish people who took to the
streets demanding information, and fortunately they
could not be stopped."
Almodovar was referring
to the "SMS [special messaging service] revolution" -
the word in the streets of Barcelona - that led to
spontaneous demonstrations in major Spanish cities when
an avalanche of voters had the impression that Aznar and
his government chose to lie on the backs of the 200 dead
and more than 1,500 injured in Madrid. The anger was
translated in the polls by the victory of the socialists
against Aznar's PP.
connection The Spanish daily El Pais, even before
the Ministry of Interior, claimed on Tuesday that the
bombings were perpetrated by Salafia Jihadi, a secretive
Moroccan Islamist group linked to al-Qaeda and also
blamed for the May 2003 Casablanca suicide bombing that
killed 42 people, including 12 suicide bombers.
But the plot thickened when Spanish police said
that Algerian Said Arel, a resident of Barcelona,
coordinated the preparation of the bombings, under the
general supervision of none other than the alleged
al-Qaeda operative, Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
insistently sold by the Americans as "the new Osama".
Experts at a special anti-terrorist cell in Brussels are
taking the Zarqawi connection with a pinch of salt. He
has been blamed by the Pentagon for practically every
major terrorist attack in the last few months: Zarqawi
would by now be responsible for the deaths of more than
The fact remains that Jamal Zougam,
a Moroccan from Tangiers, already in custody, is the key
to the whole investigation. One of his cousins in
Tangiers denies any involvement. But Zougam was
recognized by a witness traveling in one of the trains
on March 11. Zougam is directly connected to the
Afghan-Moroccans - jihadis who received training in
al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan - and was already
investigated by French police on suspicion of being
connected to the dismantled al-Qaeda cell in Spain led
by Imad Barakat, aka Abu Dhada, directly implicated in
the September 11, 2001 attacks. Zougam is also connected
to fellow Tangiers-born Abu Mughen, one of dozens of
people arrested in Morocco for the Casablanca bombings.
Five other Moroccans, already identified, may have
placed the dynamite backpacks on the trains, but by now
may have already left Spain.
investigators are still puzzled: it remains to be seen
whether the Salafia Jihadi are connected or mingled with
the Lions of Al-Mufridoon, an al-Qaeda cell made up of
Moroccans, Tunisians and Algerians which claimed
responsibility for the Madrid bombings even before the
e-mail sent by the Abu Hafs Al-Masri Brigades to a
London-based Arabic newspaper.
their part, are understandably on edge. There is a wide
consensus in the country that good Muslims could not
have possibly perpetrated the attacks, while Moroccan
immigrants in Spain are bracing for an inevitable
backlash. A Moroccan political leader - who asked to
remain anonymous - told the website IslamOnline.net that
"all the talk about Moroccans being arrested is
suspicious … I smell a clear Zionist plot … Who has a
catch here? International Zionism is the answer.
Implicating Arabs and Muslims in such horrific acts
serves to add credibility to the Zionist project."
Spain is the ultimate Eldorado for Moroccans and
other northern Africans. There are up to 340,000 legal
Moroccan immigrants in Spain, plus tens of thousands of
illegals who crossed the 13 kilometers of the Straits of
Gibraltar using anything that floats. In 2003 alone,
more than 23,000 were repatriated to Morocco.
Conservative Spaniards are resolutely against Moroccan
The new sigh of the
Moor For Islamists and jihadis, Spain is
definitely Islamic territory occupied by infidels. Osama
bin Laden has already explicitly mentioned the
"Andalucian tragedy" when referring to the end of the
Moors' (Muslim) presence in Spain.
Arabs of the desert conquered Spain in the 8th century,
they thought they had reached heaven. No need to wonder,
then, why in the minds of jihadis the fate of Boabdil is
very much alive. Boabdil was the Last Moor, also called
El Zogoybi (The Unlucky). In 1491 the Castillans laid
siege to the last Islamic fortress in Spain - and the
most fabulous of them all: the magnificent Alhambra, in
Granada. On the morning of January 2, 1492 - only a few
months before Columbus discovered America - Boabdil
surrendered Alhambra. Every serious visitor to Granada
goes to the summit of a hill called El Suspiro del Moro
- the Last Sigh of the Moor - to reenact the moment when
Boabdil turned in tears to take a last glimpse of the
Alhambra. At the same time, church bells were ringing
all over Christian Europe.
insist that the Spanish Reconquista started as early as
722 - only 11 years after the Spanish had been soundly
defeated by a Muslim army of only 10,000. But Islam
started withdrawing from Spain only by 1085, when they
lost Toledo to Alfonso VI. This was 10 years before the
official start of the Crusades, when Pope Urban I
granted remission of all sins to everyone who joined the
holy war against Islam: the Pope said it was a Christian
duty to "exterminate this vile race from our lands".
The Moors were in Spain for almost 800 years.
Then the Spanish Inquisition deported all Muslims and
Jews from the Catholic empire. Those who stayed had to
convert. Spanish Jews fled to the Ottoman empire and
lived in peace for centuries under the caliph. Muslims
had to go back to northern Africa and live for centuries
in nostalgia of past glory. Islamic Africa could not
muster the energy to engage in another war with Europe.
But in the mind of many a jihadi, the Madrid bombing - a
direct attack on Castille - is the way of saying, more
than 500 years later: "It's payback time." A jihad is
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