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Inquiry into why police failed to act over explosives sales

Published on November 22, 2004

22 November 2004

MADRID – Spain’s Attorney General is to open an investigation after revelations police failed to act over the sales of explosives to terrorists three years before the Madrid massacre.

Cándido Conde-Pumpido announced the investigation will centre on the Guardia Civil in Asturias in northern Spain.

The move comes after a senior Guardia Civil officer was demoted for failing to report a cassette recording about trading explosives to terrorists to officers investigating the Madrid massacre.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jose Antonio Rodriguez Bolinaga, commander in chief of the northern city of Gijon, was demoted last week for “breaking the link of confidence” between the judiciary and the police.

Bolinaga was found to have dithered over handing the tape to examining judge Juan del Olmo, investigating the bombings which killed 191 people in Spain’s worst terrorist attack.

The tape contained a conversation from 2001 between a police informant and a civil guard.

According to the Spanish daily El Mundo, the informant accused the Spaniards implicated in the sale of dynamite to the Islamic radicals affiliated to Al-Qaeda who carried out the bombings, of having trafficked explosives from the summer of 2001.

The informant claimed that the pair, Emilio Suarez Trashorras and Antonio Toro, former miners turned drug dealers, asked him how to make bombs which could be set off by mobile phone, which was how the bombs used on 11 March were activated.

According to El Mundo, a civil guard recently stumbled across the tape and handed it to his superiors on 16 October.

In 2001, Del Olmo’s colleague, Baltazar Garzon, dismantled an Al-Qaeda cell in Spain but there was no indication that the group or an affiliate was planning an attack within Spain.

Conde-Pumpido said the investigation will be separate from the investigation into the Madrid bombings.  

It will look at how judicial and police investigations may have been obstructed in Asturias by a failure of communication by key police or legal figures.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news