Thursday, February 15, 2007

News from the 3/11 trial: Rabei Osman El Sayed, alias "Mohammed the Egyptian," the first of the defendants on the stand, denied any involvement in the bombings and refused to speak any further, but after a recess has apparently agreed to testify. He is currently serving a ten-year sentence in Italy for belonging to a terrorist organization; he was part of the infrastructure sending jihadis to Iraq from there. The Italian police bugged his apartment and caught him on tape bragging that the 3/11 bombings were his idea.

Gustavo de Aristegui, a reasonable man and one of the PP moderates, this morning limited himself to saying that he hoped that "the truth would come out" at the trial. He claimed that too much is still unknown about what happened, which I suppose he is sort of right about, but any operation this big is impossible to completely unravel. To continue with the metaphor, there are still a lot of loose ends, but we know the basics about the bombings: who did it, why, and how.

The Samuel Eto'o conflagration has been put out. Everybody had a nice talk, Eto'o claimed to have been misinterpreted, Puyol convinced him to behave himself, Ronaldinho hugged him for the cameras, and Rijkaard didn't punish him for first refusing to play and then shooting off his mouth. Let's hope that a big blowup like this is what the team needed in order to get its shit together for the rest of the year. Barcelona has about an 80% chance of winning the league championship, I think, and as good a chance as anyone to win the Champions' League, which would make it the first club to repeat as champions in this format.

To show how important the Barça is, TV3 has devoted the past two days to the Eto'o story, much more time than the 3/11 trial. The afternoon talk show has wrung at least three hours out of it. And La Vanguardia has given front-page color photos to the story, both yesterday and today. In La Vangua, Barcelona's most serious newspaper, the 3/11 trial got one page yesterday and two pages today, along with a banner front-page headline. The Eto'o story got three pages yesterday (including an anguished opinion piece titled "It'll never be the same again"), and three more pages today.

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