Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Here's the news from Spain. We don't really have much that the American media doesn't have; here's Fox News's report.

A total of 14 suspects have now been arrested in connection with the Madrid bombings. Four more North Africans were arrested yesterday in the Madrid area, three in the run-down Lavapies district where already-jailed Jamal Zougam had his phone shop and one in the working-class suburb of Getafe. They will be arraigned over the next couple of days. One of these four new arrestees is a habitual criminal with more than 90 arrests on his record.

The five men in the second group of arrestees were brought before Judge Juan del Olmo yesterday. Four of them, Spaniard Jose Emilio Sanchez Trashorras and Moroccans Abderrahim Zbach, Abdelouhard Berrak, and Mohamed El Hadi Chedadi, were sent directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, see you in four years. They have been charged with, among other things, 190 murders. The fifth, Farid Oulad Ali, was released for lack of evidence.

Sanchez is a scumbag small-time crook; he used to brag about how he could steal dynamite from the mine he used to work at. When he was in jail (for drugs, weapons, and dynamite trafficking) he met some of these Friends of Ben Laden. They said they'd pay him well for some dynamite, 100 kilos of which he stole along with the copper detonators that were used. Zbach is believed to be one of the actual bombers; he left the courtroom crying.

Meanwhile, Le Figaro is reporting that the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi procured $70,000 from Ben Laden himself to fund the Islamic Combatant Group, the Morocco-based terrorist gang responsible for the Casablanca attacks that killed 45 and for the 3/11 bombings in Madrid. Jamal Zougam was apparently the contact in this operation.

Security vigilance is way up in Madrid, with all the National Police mobile units being called in except those at the French border and in the Seville-Cadiz area, where there's a strike that might turn violent (nothing to do with 3/11). There is especially tough security at Barajas Airport and at Atocha Station.

They're also preparing for the royal wedding in Madrid on May 22; the cops have been checking out every single building on the parade route. The couple (Prince Felipe and Letizia Ortiz) will ride in a covered, armored limousine rather than the horse-drawn carriages used at the Prince's sisters' weddings. A big show with pomp and circumstance and pageantry and fireworks and the like had been planned, but it has been called off at the express request of the royal couple.

Outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar was on Tele 5 last night and he said, regarding Zap's proposal to pull Spain out of Iraq and the Coalition, "This is a very serious error...Making concessions to terror is not the way to defeat terror...Sending messages that terrorism can be confronted with concessions seems wrong to me, and it seems to me that weakening the international coalition that is fighting terror is a serious error, and the message that the terrorists get will be a message that benefits no one...We form part of a world threatened by Islamic fundamentalism...When threatened, you don't throw in the towel, you grit your teeth and hang on."

This is the man whose party was voted out of office. His words don't match Churchill's, but the spirit is the same. Churchill didn't get voted out of office until the war had been won, though. I'm afraid the People's Party has been voted out at the very beginning of the war.

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