Friday, March 26, 2004

Looks like Zap's Spain has made a deal with the Frogs and Toads in Brussels, which, greatly simplified, means that Spain will accept less power in the EU executive in exchange for a little more power in the EU legislative and readmission to the Axis of Weasels. The Poles, left twisting in the wind, have been forced to sign on, too. Aznar and the Poles had been holding out for more power for the mid-sized countries in the executive branch.

According to the Vanguardia, Josef Joffe wrote in Die Zeit, in a front-page article titled "The Islamofascist offensive; Appeasement is not the answer; The Spanish people draw the wrong lesson from the Madrid attentats", "In Spain terror has, for the first time, terror has won an election." I admire Mr. Joffe very much; he occasionally writes in the American political journal The New Republic, mostly on European issues, and his articles are always worth reading. And Angela Merkel of the German Christian Democrats said, "No government can give in to terrorist blackmail. We cannot permit the terrorists to "divide and conquer" in Europe. Nobody should try to buy security in exchange for "good" behavior."

Meanwhile, the EU made a declaration on terrorism that actually might mean a little something; they proclaimed that they will defend any member threatened by terrorism by any means, not excluding military force. I guess that's sort of hard-line; at least it's some kind of line. They also declared March 11 to be the European Day of Victims of Terrorism, for whatever that's worth, and promised some sort of unification of antiterrorist intelligence under Interpol (one of the several Nazi innovations that continued after the Nazis were sent packing in utter defeat and eternal disgrace; others were the Coal and Steel Community, the autobahns, the Volkswagen, dubbed Hollywood movies, and the American rocket program.)

Aznar, who as you know is still Prime Minister, has made it known that the relief and replacement of the Spanish troops in Iraq--standard military procedure, pull units on duty out of the line after a certain time and replace them with fresh men, this has been planned for months--will happen on schedule on April 21, while Aznar will still be PM. (Zap will not take over until the first week of May.) He's asked Zap to commit himself on paper, since the Socialist Party has asked the Government not to make any important decision without consulting them. Good one. If Zap agrees that the relief should happen, he'll look pretty dumb pulling those guys out like three weeks after they arrive; if he disagrees with the relief, then he looks like a jerk for extending those soldiers' Iraq duty for three weeks or so after they were supposed to come home; and if he dithers, he looks like, well, a ditherer.

Gee, guess which big story NOBODY is paying the slightest bit of attention to? Let me give you a hint: it's on page 15 of yesterday's Vanguardia and page 13 of today's. That shows how important it is, really, in people's eyes. Let me give you another hint: it's the issue that supposedly brought the PP government down. Right! It's the investigation into the Madrid bombings!

On Wednesday Judge Juan del Olmo bound over two more suspects in the 3/11 bombings, who had been arrested over the weekend in the third wave of arrests. They are Moroccans named Rafa Zuher and Naima Oulad Akcha, the latter the only woman arrested so far. These people are going into solitary confinement with no contact with a lawyer. For the next four years; then they have to be tried. And the Spaniards have the gall to criticize the Americans for Guantanamo, where, by the way, the number of innocent people is, I repeat, approximately zero. One of her brothers, in prison in Salamanca for robbery and battery, is also a suspect. The other two are still awaiting arraignment.

The fourth wave of arrests happened Wednesday night and Thursday morning. All five arrestees are Moroccan. Three were busted in a small town in Toledo called Ugena and the other two were arrested in Madrid. The Ugena Three are big fish of some kind, probably sharks; they were residents of Germany and have been known as members of extremist Islamic groups for many years. The German police say they have ties to Mohammed Atta's Hamburg Al Qaeda cell.

So far, the arrestees have been connected to Al Qaeda networks in Morocco, Britain, France, Norway, Germany, and, get this, Iraq. The biggest fish arrested so far besides the Ugena Three are Jamal Zougam, one of the leaders and the man with the connections, and Abderrahim Zbach, who seems to be the actual bombmaker.

Gee, I thought El Pais and the Socialists and SER Radio were saying the Spaniards voted the PP out because they weren't finding out who did it fast enough and were covering up the truth about the investigation. This seems to me like pretty good police work and complete governmental honesty regarding the matter. The government spokesman even announced that some information was being held for obvious reasons regarding the secrecy of the investigation, and nobody even said boo.

The police investigation is rolling along, with many more arrests foreseen in the next few days.

Here's CNN International on the story. CNN's got another article on a Zap speech to a Socialist Party conference, in which he "bristled at the notion" that Spaniards were cowards. (Note: To be specific, we said, and stand by it, that those 40% of Spaniards who voted for the PP or CiU, or the Socialists in the Basque country, are not cowards. The rest voted for Zap or somebody even worse.) Anyway, here's CNN on Zap:

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has pledged not to give in to terrorists, bristling at the notion that the Spanish are "cowards" when it comes to facing terrorism.

"No Spanish government has given into terror and no government will do that," Zapatero told a Socialist Party conference Friday.

He was referring to more than 30 years of terror attacks in Spain at the hands of Basque separatists.

True. The Spanish government and the Spanish people have never given in to ETA, to their eternal credit. They made some errors under the Felipe regime when they tried to "have a dialogue" with that gang of murderers, but Spain has never surrendered...not to ETA.

But the Spanish people gave in to Al Qaeda without firing a shot, when they elected a governing political party which promised to do exactly that. And, Mr. Zap, that new governing chickenshit political party is precisely yours.

(Oh, by the way, Mr. CNN, whoever you are, please call ETA what they are, terrorists. "Separatists" are PEACEFUL. I think the Basque non-violent separatist party Eusko Alkartasuna and the Catalan non-violent separatist Republican Left of Catalonia are a bunch of idiots, but they want a peaceful separation of their regions from the rest of Spain. They are attempting to come to power by democratic means. They are separatists, not terrorists. Terrorists are something completely different. Much as I disagree with them, the real separatists condemn violence and do not want to impose a dictatorship, unlike ETA or Al Qaeda.)

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