Saturday, March 13, 2004


It is 8:25 PM. Interior Minister Angel Acebes has just given a press conference live on national television in order to announce that five arrests have been made and two more interrogations are taking place. Three of the arrested are Moroccan and two are Indian. The two people being interrogated are Spanish citizens of Indian origin. All the arrests and detentions were made in Madrid by Spanish national police. The clue that lead investigators to these people was the mobile phone used as a timer in the backpack bomb that didn't go off.

The reports floating around, I do not know with what validity, are that at least one of the Moroccans has connections with a Moroccan radical Islamic group, that they are all males under age 30, that at least some of the arrests were made in the Madrid neighborhood of Lavapies, that these men were infrastructure operatives (safe houses, transport, and the like) rather than the material authors of the bombing, and that the police are looking for three men seen wearing ski masks and getting on and off trains at Alcala de Henares.

Looks to me like I am at the very least partially wrong in my insistence on ETA as the terrorist group responsible for the bombings. The arrested people certainly aren't Basques, though we don't know who put the bombs on the trains yet. The operation might have been done in collaboration with ETA or with one of many radical Islamic groups, including Al Qaeda.

This is wonderful news. We are now seven suspected conspirators closer to finding the killers. May they all be caught, tried, convicted, and punished soon.

I maintain that those on the left who accuse the government of covering up the truth are wrong. They, and I, jumped to the conclusion that it must have been ETA, but they continued investigating down various paths and threads and informed us promptly when this latest break in the case happened. Obviously, they are keeping some basic details under wraps, but we have been told the essential news as it has been happening, whether it pointed toward the ETA hypothesis or not.

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