March 11, 2004

More than 170 people killed in Madrid bomb attacks. A string of deadly blasts has hit three Madrid train stations during the rush hour with latest reports speaking of more than 170 people killed. Spain's government has blamed Basque separatist group Eta for the attacks which come ahead of Sunday's elections.

This is the worst terrorist attack in the EU for a long time, as far back as I can remember. Its too early to say who's responsible for this, obviously, although everyone seems to thinks it is Eta.

  • A map showing the locations of the attacks.
  • God damn, it's wonderful on this freakin' planet, eh? Stupid fucking humans.
  • A Spanish weblog is covering this, unsurprisingly. They've announced the modus operandi of the bombing operations: what the killers did was simply get on a train, unobtrusively leave a pre-set backpack, and leave through another door before the train even left the station. This "rudimentary" technique, as they called it, worked perfectly, and it fits in with ETA capabilities now: three or four kids could have pulled this off
  • ditto.....Nostrildamus i wonder if anyone will do 'mea culpa' for such as this.
  • I was in Spain in 97 when ETA kidnapped this guy named Miguelangel and threatened to kill him if their demands weren't met. 40 million Spaniards took to the streets in protest. I wonder what the response will be this time.
  • As much as I loathe George Bush, I have to agree with him when he calls terrorism "cowardly".
  • I don't think George Bush is the only person to have expressed that opinion, or the first, by a long way.
  • Is the Basque movement similar to the Kurdish movement inside Turkey? Meaning this: is it a centralized organization with a charismatic leader (Abdullah Ocalan) that can be shut down when that leader is captured or killed, or is it more diffuse and popular?
  • Its more akin to the IRA, as far as I know. They've been around too long to be dependent on just one person, really.
  • David Trimble was suggesting just now on the radio that the 'leadership' of Eta is currently extremely fragmentary, with a younger group of terrorists who have a less political outlook - career terrorists, as it were, who are not carrying out such acts to further a politial agenda. Another expert on Eta was cautioning that the wholescale targetting of civilians and the complete lack of warnings was utterly unlike Eta - the current death total is over twice the largest number Eta have ever killed in an entire year before now - so an Islamist group could not be ruled out, especially given Prime Minister Aznar's very public support for the Iraq invasion. However, he too admitted the possibility that this was break-away group of Eta members who were 'inspired' by the methods of Islamist groups, or possibly even in co-operation with them. Guardian Q&A on Eta. Preliminary reports are suggesting that the explosive used was the type favoured by Eta.
  • i was in san sebastian (sorry, donostia - don't let a basque hear you call it by the spanish name, or you'll be corrected, gently the first time only) in the summer of 1991. northern spain, definitely a basque region... anything with a basque local name had both spanish and basque on the identifying signs, and even little things like movie posters, etc. all had basque titles or subtitles. when i was about to leave to go back to the US, my train back to madrid was delayed; turned out that basque separatists (probably eta) had planted explosives on the rail lines. as we were boarding the trains i was told that the authorities had "probably" found them all. comforting. personally, all the basques i met that summer were very nice people, as long as you made an effort to understand them. it's unfortunate that there are so many ethnic groups out there worldwide that are given a bad name because some of them endorse violent means of promoting their causes. don't really know what to say... terrorism is a cop-out i guess, it solves nothing, only serves to force both sides of the issue at hand to become even more polarized. anyone personally affected by this, you have my sympathies. i remember spain as a beautiful country. it's sad to hear about this tragic event. i hope those on both sides of the issue will condemn these actions, but who knows...
  • This is a sad day. Report from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The Spanish Red Cross hasn't made an appeal for international assistance yet, but there's never really a bad time to donate money to the IFRC.
  • Spanish press reaction. Spanish newspapers are here(abc, Elmundo, el Pais, la razon) for those who can speak Spanish.
  • Thanks dng.
  • Who is to blame? "If it is Eta, it's likely that we will know fairly soon. If it's al-Qaeda, we may not get confirmation for months"
  • So terrorism is cowardly, but dropping bombs from a B52 is heroic? Just askin'
  • rodgered: Ya gotta know yer war, buddy. Satchel bombs: bad Bombing: heroic Snipers: bad--they won't play by the rools. Napalming: good--yer fingers don't get ookey. Rather than go into it step by step, I will leave you with several general rules: 1. The further you are from the splattering blood, the less likely it is to stick to you. Knifing is bad; Uzis are good. 2. The bigger the weapon, the cleaner your hands. ANFO in a truck means messy; Red button in the O-office means tidy. 3. Always have a spin-doctor on your side. Fighting for food or survival is so primitive; fighting for democracy, freedom, patriotism, moral rectitude, wahwahwah--whatever, sounds much more enlightened and civilized. 4. Always have a big white guy or 2 on your side. Having Jesus and George on our side is way better than Allah and some brown guys. 5. Remember that four of a kind beats a full house. REAL WMDs beat imaginary ones. WE WIN!
  • Max Sawicky goes off on the blogosphere for the knee jerk reactions on Spain's elections. He states that war bloggers real reason for being unhappy for the Popular Party being voted out is that Bush lost a friendly government. They certainly are writing about that more than the fact that so many people were injured and mudered. The problem with countries supporting Bush is that he gives them nothing in return. Look at the steel tariffs on Britain. Bush refuses to understand that he has to make life easier for his allies at home. I think Aznar and Blair were more concerned with brownie points than whether or not Iraq had WMDs. Most people in the UK think the Hutton Report is garbage. Blair maybe the next guy out of a job. Do I think that the attacks played a part in the election? Yes. Keep in mind that America and Britain also won WWII without FDR and Churchill at the end. The issue that right-wing bloggers should be writing about is how to stop attacks. Keep in mind, no one takes internet pundits seriously.
  • One thing which angers me a lot about the American Right: they didn't mind funding the IRA for years. They were heroic freedom fighters, though, no doubt. We're their allies - so why aren't they ours? More recently, within weeks of September 11 2001, the US failed, astonishingly, to outlaw Noraid, despite having proscribed and seized the assets of every other terrorist fundraising organisation in the known universe.
  • Self-link, for which I apologise Damn, Flashboy. There's no mp3 of you singing Total Eclipse of the Heart on you blog.
  • I'm working on it, Sully, I'm working on it. Power ballads cost bandwidth, you know...
  • And it nearly happened again last week.
  • Madrid suspects killed in blast At least three men suspected of involvement with the Madrid train bombings have died in an explosion in a suburb of the Spanish capital. Interior Minister Angel Acebes said the blast was set off by the suspects as police closed in on an apartment in Leganes, south of Madrid.
  • 11-M... QuĂ© no olvidemos.
  • *Removes hat, observes a moment's silence*