Political battle over Madrid bombing 'conspiracy'

21st September 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2006, MADRID — A political battle is raging over claims by the opposition conservative Popular Party connected with the Madrid bomb attacks.

21 September 2006

MADRID — A political battle is raging over claims by the opposition conservative Popular Party connected with the Madrid bomb attacks.

The PP and its allied newspaper El Mundo has repeatedly claimed there was a cover-up to hide links between alleged Islamic terrorists who carried out the bombings and the Basque separatists ETA.

The attacks in March 2004 left 191 people dead.

The then PP government claimed ETA were involved.

They were accused of trying to divert attention from Spain's support for the Iraq war and lost the general election three days later.

Representatives of the ruling socialists and six minority parties said on Thursday they will block efforts by PP to raise these claims in parliament.

Socialist deputies who served on the parliamentary commission created to probe the causes and consequences of the attacks pointed to "manipulation" of the media by the PP government of Jose Maria Aznar during the period between the Madrid massacre and Spain's 14 March general elections.

They claimed this was done to obscure the shift in the investigation away from the Basque separatists and toward Islamic terrorists.

National Court Judge Baltasar Garzon, who heads Spain's judicial offensive against Al Qaeda and has played a major role in battling ETA, told the legislative panel in July 2004 that evidence pointing clearly to Islamic militants as the perpetrators emerged within hours of the bloodbath.

Aznar's government had provided Spanish troops for the U.S. occupation of Iraq and was closely aligned with the Bush administration despite popular opposition to the war.

According to one line of reasoning, Aznar's administration feared that, if radical Islamic authorship of the train attacks became known, people would see the assault as a response to Madrid's support for Washington and would chastise the PP at the polls.

Indeed, the socialists won the general election despite all previous polls pointing to a conservative victory.

Twenty-nine people - 15 Moroccans, 9 Spaniards, two Syrians, an Egyptian, an Algerian and a Lebanese – have been accused of playing various roles in the attacks.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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