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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 November 2007, 14:32 GMT
Spanish press mulls bombings verdict
One of the suspects Mouhannad Almallah Dabas
Investigators say the accused have no direct links to al-Qaeda

In their response to the verdicts delivered in the Madrid bombings trial, Spanish newspapers focus on the political capital that the government and opposition are perceived to have made from the attacks.

Several papers highlight the fact that the court ruled out any Eta involvement in the bombings. The Popular Party, which was in government at the time and is now in opposition, initially blamed the Basque separatist group for the attacks.

At least one paper notes that the court also avoided linking the bombings to Spain's involvement in the Iraq war. The governing Spanish Socialist Workers' Party has always maintained that there was a connection.


The ruling could not be clearer: there is nothing about a conspiracy and no trace of Eta. No doubt should remain that what happened in Madrid on 11 March was exclusively the work of jihadi terrorism.


The court concluded that the bombings were the work of a network of Islamist terrorists subscribing to a jihadi doctrine. Not a single piece of the evidence links Eta with 11 March.


Since the trains were blown up, a crazy conspiracy theory has built up that Eta collaborated with the jihadi in an attack aimed at removing the Popular Party from power. Well, those in that party and the media who supported those theories to save the face of the then government must now apologize to the victims and to the public as a whole.


Some media outlets have emphasised with suspicious triumphalism that the ruling had confirmed Eta did not take part in the attacks. What the court actually said was that there is no conclusive information in the police reports to link the group to the attack, and we already know how those reports have been massaged. We will continue to investigate the identity of the ultimate masterminds and all the other matters the ruling leaves open.


The responsibility of those - not only in the Spanish state - who are fuelling the spiral of violence that daily afflicts, for example, Iraq and Afghanistan, does not appear in the ruling. And however great an effort is made to deny the evidence, therein lie the roots of 11 March, as do those of 11 September.


The governing Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) expect the public to ignore the fact that the court avoided the theory, which they vigorously upheld, that the attacks were carried out because of Spain's presence in the Iraq war... The court took great care not to link the explosions on the Madrid trains directly to our troops' participation... PSOE propaganda will strive to silence that conclusion.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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