March 12, 2004
3/11 MARKS NEW ERA OF 'MEGA-TERROR'
** Observers stress the
"macabre identification" of Spain's 3/11 with the 9/11 attacks on
"massacre" reaffirms the need for a "common front" to
defuse the terror threat.
** Most find the
"scale of death and destruction" more likely the work of al-Qaida
** Some speculate the attack aims at subverting Spain's
"relatively recent democracy."
A September 11 that 'crossed the ocean'; Europe will 'never be the
same'-- The bloody massacre on an "innocent
railway" in Spain marks a new dimension of terrorism that shows the
scourge is "an evil and an issue for all Europe," not only for
America. While Spanish papers were
grappling with the shock of the crime and lack of clarity about the suspects, a
columnist in Italy's centrist Corriere della Sera concluded that
"different enemies have come together in a single subversive
operation." Some right-leaning
papers worried that "continental Europeans are not ready for this;"
Europe can no longer see terror as an "Arab-American affair," chided
Berlin's Die Welt. Noting the
tragedy has "dispelled Europe's illusions" about being immune,
Russia's reformist Izvestiya mused: "Hopefully, it will become
safer and less arrogant." But an
Israeli editorial more cynically stated: "Welcome to the Europe of the
Need for a 'united' response and 'calm determination'-- Pledging unequivocal solidarity with Spain,
papers in Europe and the Americas urged "the need for a common front
against the bacillus of all terrorism," reflecting that "none of us
is safe" until the war on terror is won.
As this "concerns us all," declared France's right-of-center Le
Figaro, "more than ever the fight against terrorism needs to be
everyone's unrelenting objective."
Spain's conservative ABC called for "serenity and
calm," while a German paper warned against following "a blind campaign
a la George W. Bush." Given that
the attack "redoubles the challenge" among nations to act against
terror, Argentine and Brazilian dailies urged the "international community
to unite even more...in the fight against the inhumanity" of these
The 'Al-Qaidazation of terror' in Europe-- In attempting to discern who was behind the
massacre, most analysts decided the "unequaled ruthlessness" of the
"genocide" bore the trademark of al-Qaida--"specialist in crimes
against civilians"-- more than the fingerprint of ETA. Many were not convinced Spain's PM Aznar
provided evidence of ETA involvement. It
was "virtually immediately clear" the attacks "did not bear
ETA's signature," a conservative Belgian paper proclaimed: "They very
clearly bear the mark of ruthless Muslim terror." Spain's left-of-center El Pais would
judge an attack by al-Qaida a "very worrying consideration," as the
"price of the role J.M. Aznar and his government played in the decision to
A 'cowardly' attack on a 're-democratized' Spain-- Some analysts did not rule out ETA involvement
entirely, saying it was "no coincidence" the disaster happened so
close to Spain's parliamentary elections at "a time when the future
political course will be reset."
Spanish dailies vowed not to allow terror to "direct the political
agenda." France's communist L'Humanite
was adamant that if ETA were responsible, "it will signal the end of the
[Basque] separatist group."
EDITOR: Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report
is based on 77 reports from 24 countries, March 11-12. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
An editorial in left-of-center El Pais
argued (3/12): "The eventuality
that this is the work of Al Qaeda and that it is related to the role played by
the Aznar government in the war in Iraq introduces a novelty that cannot help
but give one a profound sense of disquiet...although the government continues
to insist that this is most probably an act of ETA. One can only hope that this hasn't produced
any sort of concealment or manipulation of information by the government, in
treating these sorrowful facts which have covered the coming elections with
blood,only 72 hours before the election booths open.... The only thing that the terrorists can
achieve is to demoralize, and divide democracies.... The terrorists, of whatever stripe, must know
they can't win."
"Terrorism In El Pozo"
Left-of-center El Pais Director General
Juan Luis Cebrian contended (3/12): "An attack by Al Qaeda against our
country and Europe would add a very worrying additional consideration to the
political analysis, as the price of the role Jose Maria Aznar and his government
played in the meeting in Azores when it was decided to invade Iraq.... We have seen how in countries with immense
traditions of democracy how the ripples of an act as horrible as the downing of
the Twin Towers has depreciated and mined the credibility of 100-year old
institutions, which form the basis for the continuity of a system of
liberties. This should be something the
government should reflect on, as it goes before the voters.... Against the enemies of freedom the only
possible response is more freedom...we can demonstrate it next Sunday by
showing up to vote."
"Terror Without Limits"
Conservative La Razon observed
(3/12): "This March 11 represents
for Spain a 'shock' similar to what September 11, 2001 was for the U.S. The testimonies of solidarity received from
all corners of an ever more globalized world must be translated into a solid
front facing the killers that is translated in judicial measures of global
range.... We can't allow terror to
direct the political agenda....
Democracy is much more than going periodically to vote, but placing the
ballot in the box is the supreme sign of the freedom."
The independent El Mundo stated
(3/12): “It escapes no one that the
political consequences vary radically depending on who is responsible for this
attack. If finally, the authors are from
Al Qaeda or one of its satellites, the Ministry of Interior will have committed
a grave error in treating as settled that ETA is to blame. One can’t reproach the government doe not
being able to prevent attacks so
terrible...but one could doubt the judgment of the Minister of Interior...if on
this occasion he imposed his own prejudices on the facts.”
"From S-11 To M-11"
Jose Antich maintained in centrist La
Vanguardia (3/12): "September 11 has in Spain a macabre identification
with the March 11 attacks.... We should
not concede this victory to the terrorists, be they fanatics of ETA, or of Al
Qaeda.... We have to gain the streets
back standing with the victims and against the terrorists. But, in any case, if it is ETA or Al Qaeda
that are the perpetrators of the massacre, this country will never be the
"Madrid, March 11"
Jon Juaristo wrote in conservative ABC (3/11): "The worst has happened. Madrid, like New York, like Jerusalem, like
Baghdad and Karbala have had its terrorist holocaust, and from now on nothing
can be the same.... ETA and Islamic
terrorism are now indistinguishable in their actions. The massive and indiscriminate killing of
citizens: this is the ground zero of terrorism
in our days.... We are at war. It is a global war between democracy and its
"With Spain, With The Constitution, With The Victims"
Conservative ABC editorialized (3/11): "With serenity and calm, conscious of
the absolute moral superiority of the Spanish society over the terrorists and
their supporters, now is the moment to tell the nationalists that their tribute
to terrorism is over. Bullets and bombs
kill, but words, speeches, and plans give support to terrorists as well. Now is the hour for loyalty to the
constitution, without reservations or conditions."
Independent El Mundo commented (3/11): "The first thing one should highlight is
the lack of proportion between the infinite pain these deaths are going to
cause and the political return that the criminals are going to get, which is
"Terror Will Not Prevail"
Conservative La Razon had this to say (3/11): "There is no hope for these
killers. Not even the brutality of this
massacre will change things. ETA is cornered
and has lost the battle politically. Its
killers can only spread more pain. But
that is all."
Left-of-center El País editorialized (3/11): "The [ETA] terrorists have tried to
compensate for their own impotence, caused by the effectiveness of police,
judicial and international action against them, with a great slaughter.... In the sick mind of the terrorists Madrid is
the equivalent of the Twin towers, the symbol of all the ETA is fighting
"Madrid, Zero Tolerance"
Independent El Mundo judged (3/11): "So that today's events are never
forgotten, the [political] parties and the government that will be created
after March 14 and which has already been forever marked with the blood shed in
Madrid, should make clear to all concerned that there is no room for the hope
of those who want to negotiate with murderers.
One should not even suggest the idea that peace can be achieved by
talking with terrorists. If there is
anything in the world that might relieve the pain of the victims today and
tomorrow is the political commitment that one should not deal with the
dead. A democratic state becomes
stronger when its representatives consider that the dead are always
BRITAIN: "Atrocity Was
Attack On Spanish Democracy, But Will Not Undermine It"
The center-left Independent editorialized (3/12): “The scale of the death and destruction in
the Spanish capital supplied one reason to doubt whether this really was the
work of the Basque separatist group, ETA....
One of the more malign aspects of the Madrid attacks is their timing, so
close to Spain’s general election. The
proximity suggest that the purpose was not only to drive home the separatists’
point in the most lethal of ways, but to subvert Spain’s relatively recent
democracy.... Spain’s outgoing prime
minister is to be commended for the dignity and sense of his public response. He congratulated the emergency services and
the many civilians who rushed to the aid of the victims; he was not panicked
into unreasoned anti-terrorist rhetoric of the sort that so often reaches us
from across the Atlantic, and he pledged that the election would be held as
planned. The millions who will take to
the streets this evening in silent protest the killings will demonstrate not
only that Spaniards will not be cowed in the face of the terrorist thereat, but
that their democracy is sound and secure.”
"Spain And Beyond"
The conservative Times commented (3/12): “The very fact that in the Madrid bombings
suspects other than ETA cannot yet be ruled out shows the need for a common
front against the bacillus of all terrorism.
There are legitimate differences within Europe on how to deal with the
intractable issues of regional autonomy, minority rights--be they Basques or
Kurds--ethnic rivalries and social issues such as abortion and animal
rights. What must be clear to all voters
throughout Europe, old and new, is that the common enemy is terrorism. Spanish voters must definitely send that
message to those who have murdered indiscriminately with the aim of
intimidating a nation.”
"Terrorist Tactics Cannot Triumph"
The independent Financial Times editorialized (3/12): “The bloody massacre of at least 190 innocent
railway passengers caused by the terrorist bombs in Madrid yesterday is a
terrible reminder of man’s insanity to man.
No political cause, however desperate, can justify such actions. The only possible purpose must have been to
create the maximum public panic and confusion just three days before Spain’s
general election. The most effective
answer to such brutality is therefore calm determination.... Mr. Aznar has refused to countenance demands
for more autonomy from the 17 regional authorities. In so doing he has alienated moderate Basque
nationalists who are fierce opponents of the violent tactics of ETA.... But ETA, if proved responsible for the
massacre, will have forfeited any right to a seat at the table."
FRANCE: "Help For
Pierre Rousselin wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro
(3/12): “More than ever the fight
against terrorism needs to be everyone’s unrelenting objective.... The tragedy that has hit Spain may be linked to
al-Qaida terrorism, with a terrorist attack targeting one of Washington’s
principal allies in Iraq. Whoever is
behind the attacks, we cannot say that this business does not concern us
all.... If it is proven that the ETA is
responsible, Spain will have every right to expect more support from
France. If al-Qaida turns out to be
behind it, cooperation between our two countries will be just as
necessary. Nothing is as disturbing as
not knowing where the enemy lies.”
Gerard Dupuy held in left-of-center Liberation (3/12): “There are no words to express one’s
horror.... There is no proof of ETA’s
responsibility or of al-Qaida.... But
Islamic terrorism is at the least a moral co-perpetrator of these crimes. One of the secondary consequences of 9/11
is...that for groups seeking international notoriety, the price of human lives
has steadily dropped, as was evident in Bali and yesterday in Madrid. This massive bombing is more in keeping with
the methods used by al-Qaida than with those of ETA. But before the perpetrators are even
identified, we can already say with certainty that this carnage will re-enforce
the popularity of those who fight against terrorism.”
"A Spanish September 11"
Francois Xavier Pietri maintained in centrist La Tribune
(3/12): “Yesterday’s bombings which
Spanish editorialists are already calling ‘Spain’s September 11’ is a reminder
that the Spanish model built by Aznar is a fragile one. Beyond Spain it is all of Europe that
suddenly remembered that the terrorist threat remains very much alive, as
illustrated by the uniform fall of European markets. Just when confidence was beginning to show in
people’s minds, still very much affected by the syndrome of the U.S. tragedy
and the war in Iraq.”
Bruno Frappat noted in Catholic La Croix (3/12): “Sometimes, when confronted with the forces
of evil, the only words that come to mind are obscenities.... In the face of such horror we want to scream
‘bastards’ along with the families of victims and all those who reject the
infernal logic of murderers.... Whoever
they are, they acted with method and premeditation. We must imagine them as they picked the most
crowded of suburban trains.... Whether
they are followers of al-Qaida sending a farewell message to Aznar or more
probably members of ETA, their methods and the finality of their acts are the
same.... New York 2001, Madrid
2004: the same bastardly logic at work.”
Claude Cabanes opined in communist l’Humanite (3/12): “This massacre is one of the most horrendous
tragedies suffered by a European capital since the Second World War.... This has the mark of a perfectly structured
organization, with very effective material, financial and human logistics
working behind the scene.... If it is
proven that the ETA is behind these bombings, it will signal the end of the
separatist group. Its men are fanatics
who have adopted a nationalism worthy of primitive tribalism.”
D. Borchers commented on regional radio stations Westdeutscher
Rundfunk of Cologne and Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (3/11): "Whoever is responsible for the massacre
in Madrid, March 11 marks a new dimension of terrorism in Europe. All those governments in Europe should take
note of it that have considered regional conflicts like the one in the Basque
country or in Northern Ireland more or less as the smaller evil."
Jochen Wieland commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
(3/12): "Democratic Spain by no
means stands on the abyss, the arc of those who signal a mood that shows the
willingness for self-defense ranges from a conciliatory King Juan Carlos over
acting Prime Minister Jose Aznar to the top candidates of all parties. Spain may be the only and last country in the
EU that is still exposed to such a threat by strange sources based on an
antiquated ethnic nationalism. All
comparisons with Northern Ireland, Corsica, or the Balkans will be flawed if
the mentality and rationality in the minds of Basque extremists are
involved. Modern Spain with its moderate
political climate, its prosperity, and its deliberate European identity will be
able to cope with it despite all barbarities."
Peter Burghardt judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (3/12): "This March 11
will make an imprint on Spain's memory like 9/11/01 made an imprint on the
memory of United States and the world.
And we must fear that the implications will be the same. These bombings took place not only shortly
before the parliamentary elections but also at a time when the offensive of the
rule of law [against ETA] was at least superficially successful. ETA seemed to be capable of acting only to a
limited degree...and it was certainly no coincidence that the disaster hit
Spain in a week, in which the future political course will be reset.... The terror of the ETA cannot be explained
with rational arguments. This tragedy
has no religious reference like violence in Northern Ireland, which can only
dream of the autonomy the Basque country enjoys. Almost 29 years after the death of Spain's
dictator Franco, the Basque region enjoys greater rights than even a land in
Germany. At best 50 percent of the
Basques are interested in independence, and only a minority supports the
ETA.... This March 11 makes us
stunned. But the reaction should not be
a blind campaign a la George W. Bush.
Intelligence services, and justice authorities are now required to do
even more than they did in the past to stop terrorism, but they will hardly be
able to stop terrorist activities with its perfidious means all by
themselves. It is not possible to
negotiate with murderers, but it is absolutely necessary to resume the dialogue
with moderate forces to isolate ETA.
Spain cannot guard every city council and every commuter train."
"Terror As Massacre"
Jacques Schuster argued in right-of-center Die Welt of
Berlin (3/12): "What we are
experiencing in Spain is the al-Qaidazation of terror in Europe, the copy of
the tactic of violence invented by Islam that does not know a goal like the
ouster of a government, but which finds its satisfaction in the biggest
possible suffering, in the worst chaos.
Europe's societies will have to adjust to this form of terror. They must expect bombings that could not be
more painful, ranging from the use of biological weapons to the 'dirty'
bombs. Germans, Spaniards all
continental Europeans are not ready for this.
They consider terror an Arab-American affair. The bombings from Madrid may now lead to
banishing this kind of thinking to the empire of illusions."
"The Handwriting Of Evil"
Christoph von Marschall had this to say in a front-page editorial
in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (3/12): "Again a wave of horror is spreading
around the globe--as it happened following the attacks in New York and
Washington, on German tourist at a synagogue in Jerba, vacationers at a
discotheque in Bali, and the inner cities of Istanbul and Riyadh. The pictures of the scenes of the crime
filled with blood, the screams of the wounded people, the tears of relatives
will note leave anybody unmoved; they demand our sympathy. But the terror of Madrid also carries the
fear to Europe, which has thus far been spared from crimes of such dimension. It has the extent of al-Qaida's crimes. Europe has never witnessed a mega bombing
with so many victims. It experienced
terror. But ten bombs whose explosion
was closely coordinated and this without any previous warning, this is new for
Europe, new for Spain."
Center-right Leipziger Volkszeitung concluded (3/12): "Security experts have warned for along
time against terrorist being inclined to chose targets that can easily be
bombed --like now the commuter trains in Madrid. This is why the strategy papers of the
terrorists increasingly include hotels, railway stations, passenger ships, and
shopping malls as potential targets.
Then it does not make a difference whether the criminals are from ETA or
must be sought among Islamic extremists from al Qaida's nature. The terrorists' calculation is always the
same: they want to disrupt the peaceful
co-existence of society. These coward
and insidious attacks aim at creating fear, chaos, instability and havoc."
ITALY: "The War In
Leading foreign affairs commentator Sergio Romano opined in
centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (3/12): “We still don’t
know who is behind the attacks in Madrid, but we know that one of the
possibilities could be a ‘joint ETA and Al Qaeda operation’ - between Basque
and Islamic terrorism. That’s not hard to imagine.… Yesterday’s date will in
many aspects be more important than September 11. The war has shifted to Europe
and different enemies have come together in a single subversive operation. They
will not win, because they will be met with resistance by a democratic society
whose foundation is being threatened. But this European war will have to be
fought by the Union with much more unity and solidarity than it has shown in
recent months. We will decide later if what happened yesterday is a result of
the Iraqi war that should have been fought with other instruments. But for the
time being, let’s limit ourselves to noting that this is a new war, our war,
and that it must be fought.”
"Our Own September 11"
Prominent commentator Barbara Spinelli judged in centrist,
influential daily La Stampa (3/12):
“Up until the end, Aznar’s government believed that ETA, the Basque
terrorist organization, was behind the terrifying explosions in Madrid. But
such horror could not have been the doing of those minds.… [This attack] seems
to be more and more the work of Al Qaeda, which is an unequaled specialist in
crimes against civilians. According to
London-based daily Al Quds, Al Qaeda has already claimed responsibility for the
attacks.… Frightened by the idea that it could be a European September 11 on
the eve of Sunday’s elections, Aznar did everything he could yesterday to
dismiss thoughts pointing to [of Al Qaeda].… This was a September 11 that
crossed the ocean, and that landed in our homeland.… Along with Great Britain,
Spain is a bridge that unites the U.S. with those European states that decided
to show their alliance to Washington in the dual battle against terrorism and
to change Islam in the world.… We are at a turning point. Terrorism is now an
evil and an issue for all of Europe, and not only for America.”
"From September 11 To March 11"
Khaled Fouad Allam judged in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (3/12): “If the claim is authentic...not only are we witnessing
an escalation of the conflict, but the emerging of an extremely meticulous
strategy and a widespread terrorist network that are capable of moving from one
point of the globe to another or to lean on the notorious sleeping cells that
have the ability to attack and strike at any given moment. It’s obvious that
these networks, which may have a fragmented appearance, must answer to a
central command and this command is not necessarily Bin Laden, who could just
be one of the links--although important--of the chain. So this central command
must exist somewhere, but we don’t know where. On a European political level,
if this attack is attributed to Islamic terrorism, there is a risk that the
conflict between Muslim communities and the Europeans will flare up.… As is
already the case in Great Britain, this kind of terrorism in Europe will weaken
our democratic assets because we will have to resort to exceptional measures
through an unprecedented judicial apparatus.”
"Spain, The Massacre At the Polling Stations"
Siegmund Ginzberg noted in pro-Democratic Left party (DS) daily L’Unità
(3/12): “They clearly wanted to emulate Al Qaeda and the mass murder of
innocent civilians in New York’s Twin Towers. Now Europe, too, has its
September 11. But one cannot imagine that the terrorists’ emulation will be met
with an emulation of George Bush’s response to the terrorist attack in America.
And it won’t be met with an emulation of Vladimir Putin’s response to Chechen
independence. The only possible analogy is in the atrocity of terrorism, not in
the way we respond to it. Military solutions are simply not possible. What
should they [the Spaniards] do? Bomb and occupy the Basque Country?… Why did
someone decide to carry out an attack only three days before the elections?
This question is not only pertinent to Spain.… U.S political commentators
unanimously maintain that the presidential race between Bush and John Kerry in
November will greatly depend on possible ‘surprises’, like a new clamorous
terrorist attack, or on the contrary, a clamorous success in the fight against
terrorism, like the capture of Osama Bin Laden.”
"The Massacre And The Response”
An editorial in elite, classical liberal daily Il Foglio
(3/12): “There is only one consolation in the agony of Madrid - terrorism has
lost and this is why it has raised the ante. It has even marred its military
protocols and it tends to separate itself from its social and national context
and it carries out its attacks randomly. It’s only objective is fear,
resignation and surrender by the society.... But that’s an unreachable goal in
a country where the two countries alternating in the government have stipulated
a pact whose aim it is to keep the exploitation of attacks and their
consequences out of the political battle. Behind this pact lie a vital society,
a strong political system, and a free and vigilant press.… A Spanish newspaper
has made a rational appeal to its readers: do not change your vote on Sunday
according to the feelings that this attack has brought out. Don’t allow ETA to
modify the course of things.… A free vote will erase the dismal influence of
terrorism: a great social and political effort will bury the pain of the
RUSSIA: "Europe Will
Never Be The Same"
Maksim Yusin said on the front page of reformist Izvestiya
(3/12): "To Europe, March 11, 2004,
has become what September 11, 2001, is to America. A shock.
A divide. The Madrid blasts are
bound to change the Old World. It turns
out that European terror is no better or more humane than Asian or Islamic
terror. The methods may be different but
the essence is the same. The effects are
the same, too--hundreds of innocent victims, helpless authorities, confusion
among special services. More importantly,
there is no guarantee that this won't happen again. Europe will never be what it used to be
before March 11. By blowing up Spanish
railway terminals, terrorists have dispelled Europe's illusions, making it less
naïve and complacent. Hopefully, it will
become safer and less arrogant. How has
3/11 affected European politicians, deputies, human rights advocates, and
journalists? Will they continue to
insist that Moscow should sit down at the negotiating table with those who
raided Daghestan and bombed Russian cities?"
"How To Stop A Monster"
Sergey Strokan commented in business-oriented Kommersant
(3/12): "President Bush urges joint
effort in the war on al-Qaida. As blasts
come one after another, the world's leaders clench their fists and swear to get
the bastards, each time declaring a war on the evil. The global 'war party,' from Bush to Sharon
to Aznar, increasingly sets the tone in international politics, their slogan
being 'no talks with terrorists.' But
that does not help. In fact, terrorist acts grow in number and acquire a new
quality. They are no longer the Red
Brigades' pin-prick attacks of the 1960s and 1970s but 9/11-type
mega-actions.... The trouble is that
what is being done to kill the monster more often than not has nothing to do
with a real war on terrorism. Herein
lies the problem and it explains the ongoing rampage. Do you call the operation in Iraq fighting
terror? The result of that operation is
obvious: a country that was closed to
international terrorism has within a year become its chief spawning
ground. This is the kind of war that
morally justifies and attaches legitimacy to the strong trying unabashedly to
bend the will of or subjugate the weak.
Acting that way, you can't tell a real thing from an imitation."
"It's More Like Al Qaida Than ETA"
Andrey Zlobin wrote on page one of reformist Vremya Novostey
(3/12): "Yesterday's blood-curdling reports from Madrid bring back the
memory of the2001 terrorist attacks. It
happened three days before the parliamentary elections, which will eventually
name a new Spanish Prime Minister. The
bombing looked like ETA's response to Spain's ruling Popular Party being all
for an uncompromising struggle against terrorists. The blasts were peculiarly inhumane and
characteristic more of Al Qaida than ETA.
It must be the same people, the leaders of a world-wide terror
corporation, who stood behind both the 9/11 and 3/11 attacks."
AUSTRIA: "Madrid Is
Senior columnist Ernst Trost wrote in mass-circulation tabloid Neue
Kronenzeitung (3/12): “They were
daydreaming about the victory of Real Madrid against Bayern Munich, reading the
sports papers, speculating on the upcoming elections, simply dozing, or
preparing to get off the train. There is
nothing more ordinary than a commuting trip to work in the morning. None of them knew that they had already been
sentenced to death by criminals who didn’t even know their names or faces;
didn’t want to know them. The mass
murderers only obey the law of terror--it doesn’t matter who gets killed, as
long as the toll of lives is high. The
only thing the victims did ‘wrong’ was to board a certain train at a certain
time--the banal choice of carriage and seat decided whether they were to live
or die.... Terror al-Qaida style has
struck again. While Madrid and the whole
of Spain are mourning the victims, somewhere the killers are enjoying the TV
images and congratulating themselves on their
‘success.’ It is hardly
possible to imagine what goes on in such sick brains.”
"A Bloodbath With Consequences"
Christoph Winder noted in liberal Der Standard (3/12): “Cui bono?
This is the question we must ask in trying to find our way through the
labyrinthine background of terrorist attacks, especially as the attackers
themselves did not deem it necessary to provide us with hints about their
identity. In the case of the devastating
bombing attack of Madrid, a possible guilty party is easily found, and the
Spanish government has immediately seized on the Basque ETA group as the
perpetrators.... However, there is a
possibility that ETA was not responsible for the bombings, but
Islamist-fundamentalist attackers in Bin Laden’s orbit--maybe to ‘punish’ the
Spanish Prime Minister Aznar for supporting the U.S. in the war against
Iraq. The randomness of choosing the
victims points in this direction, as does the unequalled ruthlessness, which
rules out even the faintest ‘rational’--in as far as this word can be applied
in such a context--connection between the type of attack, the number of
victims, and a discernible political aim.
One thing is becoming increasingly clear after the disaster of
Madrid: Europe must do whatever it can
to fight the barbarism of terror, in all its forms, and with all
vehemence. This is not a new
realization, but one that cannot be repeated too often.”
"The Massacre They Wanted"
Foreign correspondent Friederike Leibl wrote in
centrist daily Die Presse (3/12):
“The first law of terror is timelessness. If not today and here, then tomorrow and
somewhere else. This is not about
bringing about negotiations, or pursuing concrete goals, but about causing
chaos, suffering, and cruelty. The
terrorists of Madrid have taken over the al-Qaida pattern for drawing attention
to themselves: politicians and
institutions are no longer the target; the civilian population is.”
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn wrote in conservative
Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (3/12): "If the massacres are the work of ETA it
means that the Basque terrorist movement has not been defeated and that, in the
eyes of ETA, Aznar has no reason to celebrate now that his term is coming to an
end. If the perpetrators are Arab
terrorists it means that they want to punish Aznar for Spain's significant
support to America's Iraq policy. In
both cases the outcome is already clear: the attacks will yield a certain
victory for the Partido Popular next Sunday....The truth is that the attacks
were directed against Spanish democracy--and, consequently, against all
democratic governments. That makes the
democracies' task all the more difficult: this kind of terror must never
Chief commentator Luc Van der Kelen opined in
conservative Het Laatste Nieuws (3/12):
"Once more the attacks took place on the 11th of the month. Between the attacks in New York...and Madrid
there are exactly 911 days--from September 12, 2001 to March 10, 2004. 911 is 9/11 is September 11. People like Osama bin Laden use such symbols
to add an almost godly element to their actions. It is part of their perverse minds. Spanish Prime Minister Aznar hurried to hold
ETA responsible...but he did not give any evidence. Yet, it was virtually immediately clear to
independent observers that the attacks did not bear ETA's signature.... They very clearly bear the mark of ruthless
Muslim terror. It was total destruction
like in the Bali discotheque--the grave of many Australians, another ally of
America in Iraq. Japan, Poland, Italy
and England should start their own countdown and wait for their turn. 911 days from now?"
Deputy chief editor Bart Sturtewagen wrote in
Christian-Democrat De Standaard (3/12):
"With the simultaneous bomb attacks in three train stations in
Madrid, Europe has entered the era of modern, large-scale terror. America was woken up on September 11,
2001. Spain and Europe (were woken up) exactly
two and a half years later, on March 11, 2004.... Giving in to terror is not an option. But, restricting democratic principles to
fight terror is a dangerous choice. It
even does not guarantee more security.
Europe was to expect heavy attacks from Islamic movements. Today, domestic terrorism seems to be
following new paths. The greatest
nightmare is that both (ETA and al-Qaida) would find each other in a despicable
objective alliance. We probably have not
reached that stage yet, but the gigantic impact of yesterday's attacks can be
catalyst. How such a many-headed monster
should be destroyed is an unanswerable question."
Foreign affairs writer Marc Van de Weyer
remarked in conservative Christian-Democrat Het Belang van Limburg (3/12): "In the most difficult hour of his term
nobody wanted to criticize Aznar...for the certainty with which he held ETA
responsible for the bloodiest attacks in Spain's history, but the rest of
Europe wondered where his certainty came from.
Last evening, the facts began to urge for more caution: the first elements in the investigation of
the attacks in the heart of a European metropolis pointed into a completely
different direction. Is Madrid's March
11, like New York's September 11, an act of Islamic fascists? Are the attacks the bill that Spain has to
pay for its position in the Iraq war--a resolute pro-war position, on the side
of the Americans and the British? It
does not matter who is responsible for the bloodbath in Madrid--ETA murderers
with an immoral vision on Basque patriotism, or Muslim fanatics who took
revenge against the 'Andalusian' crusaders.
It does not change a thing to the perverse character of their act."
"Retalitation For Spanish Troops In
Foreign editor Jean Vanempten held in financial
daily De Tijd (3/12): "Aznar
won't like to hear it, but the attacks may be an act of retaliation for Spain's
position during the war in Iraq. Spain
fully supported America's approach and sent troops to Iraq. In any case, the attacks show that blind
terror can barely be stopped. Increased
security measures are in force--in the framework of the upcoming parliamentary
elections--and, nevertheless, terrorists succeed in hiding 13 bombs in trains
and stations. What is possible in Spain
is possible elsewhere in Europe. That is
a horrifying thought.... Just like U.S.
President George Bush, Aznar opts for an unyielding war on terror. Today, Aznar is forced to conclude that that
is not enough. Security must be won in
the field. As of now, the Spanish people
will have to live with the traditional aspects of the war against
terrorism. That means fewer civil rights
in exchange for more security. But, that
is no guarantee that a new bloodbath like that of March 11 can be
Patrick Dath-Delcambe wrote in tabloid La
Derniere Heure (3/12): "Exactly
two years and six months after the New York attacks awoke the world to the
threat of terrorism, the danger is still as present: whoever committed yesterday's ignominious
attacks, this 3/11 will be remembered as a black day. If it were, indeed, al-Qaida that was behind
these attacks, it would be even scarier than if it were the ETA, because it
would mean that Western democracies are far from having won the fight against terrorism.... If al-Qaida is the author of yesterday's
massacre, the nightmare is only at the beginning, and Europe has a ringside
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Everybody Can Become A Target"
Adam Cerny wrote in business Hospodarske noviny
(3/12): "Seeing the hundreds of
dead or wounded in Madrid, the first question that jumps to mind is “Who did
this?” The kind of explosive that caused
the blast points to Basque separatists.
While resorting to violent action was comprehensible in the time of
Franco’s dictatorship, with liberation of the country in the 1970s violence by
separatists lost its justification. The
alternative that the attack was committed by Al Qaeda is more terrifying. Anybody in the democratic world can become a
target for terrorists, as was proved in Washington, New York, Madrid and also in the Paris metro in
1995. The dead and wounded after all
assassinations of this kind show that it’s easy to harm people living in
democracy. However, it should not be
taken as evidence of the weakness of democracy as a concept."
Pavel Verner wrote in center-left daily Pravo (03/12): "The Spanish police detained a car with
500kg of explosives earlier this month.
The Spanish Interior Minister praised the police for a job well done in
preventing a terrorist attack. Ever
since yesterday we know that the police were not successful, as other cars
loaded with explosives obviously did cross the Spanish borders. Also, we in the Czech Republic arrested two
smugglers who managed to get 328 tons of plastic explosives into the
country. Knowing what happened in
Madrid, one gets the shivers. The Madrid
massacre confirmed that to rid the world of terrorism is impossible, as the
very diagnosis is undefined. Terrorism
must be destroyed before it destroys our civilization through cowardly
assassinations. What can you think in
this context of the Czech communists who want to challenge the cabinet's
decision to send a mission to Afghanistan in the Constitutional Court?"
"Caught Up In the World"
Leading Nepszabadsag editorialized (3/12): "Expected, though still dramatic was the
terror attack yesterday also because the [European] continent's illusion that
'we can probably escape it' is now gone.
And also because Europe's dilemmas are going to be even more serious
than the dilemmas of the United States after 9/11. Europe will spend much more money and
personnel on various world commandoes that will chase the enemy in Asia, Africa
and anywhere else (under American leadership) in caves and in gopher
holes. This is how things stand in
Europe right now. As regards Hungary it
is now part of the West too. No, we're
not going to be a main target of blind terror, we're just too small for
that. But neither can we be safe in such
a world, because we can't run away from the world. And we can't run away from our duties of an
ally either. We are here again, caught
up in a new, dangerous world."
"Spanish And Hungarians"
Laszlo Szentesi Zoldi judged in right-wing conservative Magyar
Nemzet (3/12): "One thing is
sure, the causes and motivations of the new kind of violence that threatens the
world should be sought on the shore of the Euphrates river. Or more precisely the demonstration of
American power and the occupation of Iraq have turned the terror loose, not
only around the globe but in our backyard as well. Europe has been more or less peaceful so
far. Beyond the brutality of the attacks
the Madrid bombing is a turning point also from the psychological point of
view. The mysterious perpetrator's
message is that from now on, the nations of the ancient world have also become
part of the global game. Now it can be
clearly seen the great risk the Hungarian parliamentary parties have taken by
becoming involved in the Iraqi adventure, since almost all of them agree that
they have to continue to play the role assigned to Hungary in the Iraqi
hell. The Medgyessy government has made
Hungary the target of violence and we have become, against our own will,
involved in a worldwide crusade."
Bombings--Disgusting Attack On Democracy"
left-of-center Irish Examiner held (3/12): "It was an outrageous, disgusting and
cowardly blow against democracy.... It
represents a blow against the very heart of the democratic process at a time
when the bonds of unity are being strengthened across Europe.... The indomitable spirit of the Spanish people
was also manifest as, within hours of the atrocity, thousands took to the
streets in a spontaneous outpouring of protest, leaving no room for doubt about
the extent of public abhorrence at this madness.... We should never lose sight of the close links
between ETA and the IRA. There can be no denying that frightening parallels are
to be found in the murky connections between the terrorist organisations. In a
perverse way, their malign interests have been interwoven down the years.... Despite reports that ETA has apparently been
growing weaker in recent times, yesterday’s bomb attack underlines the capacity
of a small number of extremists to strike at vulnerable targets with
repercussions far beyond their numerical strength.... As Ireland and the world join Spain in
mourning, March 11 will for ever be etched in the memory of the Spanish people
as yet another terrifying example of man’s endless capacity to create hell on
earth in the perverse name of a blind political agenda.”
right Irish Independent asserted (3/12):
"Initially, most fingers were pointing at the Basque separatist
group, ETA. If it was ETA, then the terrorist outrage represents a significant
change in tactics for the group.... Some
evidence last night suggested a link with Al-Qa'ida. Certainly the co-ordinated
and extraordinarily brutal manner of the attacks is a hallmark of that
organisation. In addition, Al-Qa'ida would have reason to target Spain which
has been a staunch ally of the U.S. in the war against terror. It is hard to comprehend what ETA could
possibly hope to gain from such an atrocity. Spain is nearing the end of an
election campaign with the ruling centre-right Popular Party due to return to
power after making ETA a target of a vigorous anti-terrorism campaign. This
bombing would surely have neither of the effects ETA would wish. For a start,
it is more rather than less likely to result in the re-election of the Popular
Party, and it certainly would not bring an independent Basque state any
closer. Whatever its culpability in this
atrocity, ETA's campaign is entirely disproportionate to what it is trying to
achieve. It is not as though the Basque people live under oppressive and
dictatorial rule any longer.… We must
all hope that the Spanish authorities apprehend those responsible for this
atrocity as soon as possible, and that the perpetrators are put out of business
once and for all.”
"Europe’s Indifference To...Terrorism Allowed A 9/11 To Hit
Pro-LDK, mass circulation Bota Sot
commentator Elida Bucpapaj argued (3/12): “When international terrorism hit the
USA on September 11, 2001, it seemed that the conscience of the international
institutions and European statesmen managed to realize the danger that
threatened Europe itself; because when America was being hit this attack was
not against America only but also against the democracy as a political system.
But not too long after that, Europe forgot September 11 and began losing time
with its bureaucracy, began to feel compassion for miserable dictators like
Saddam, instead of joining the USA in a frontal attack on the international
terrorism and prevent other terrorist attacks.... Immediately after the tragedy
in Madrid (where hundreds of common people lost their lives) many politicians,
European and world institutions condemned verbally this macabre act.... Today Europe is divided more than ever, at
the very time it should be united more than ever before.... The international terrorism today is the
common enemy of all mankind. It should be uprooted. One should not express sentimentalism or
tolerance towards it for the terrorism does not show any mercy for common
people; for it kills and exterminates in New York, Madrid, Istanbul, Baghdad.
It kills Catholics, Moslems, Hebrews, Protestants.... Instead of telling the Europeans about the
danger they are in, Europe’s bureaucracy, these bureaucrats lied to their
people by saying that the threat was coming from the USA or George W. Bush.
Stop such lies. Today 186 common people lost their lives in Madrid. They were
not involved in politics, they were just catching trains to go to work.... It was said that the European Union has
lowered its flag at half-mast. For these 186 victims symbolism is not enough. These
186 victims seek justice. Justice, not in words but acts. To expunge the
Killers of Life.”
Influential liberal De Volkskrant editorialized
(3/12): "Thursday's bomb attacks
spread death and destruction in Madrid and spread rage, horror, and indignation
in the entire world.... There is no
clarity about the suspects. If the ETA
is indeed responsible, then these attacks at the eve of Spanish elections are a
major blow to outgoing Prime Minister Aznar....
However, the magnitude and timing of the attacks, exactly two-and-a-half
years after the September 11 attacks and roughly one year after the beginning
of the war in Iraq, raise questions about possible al-Qaida
involvement.... But even if it turns out
that the attackers do not maintain direct ties with international terrorist
organizations such as al-Qaida, they have been clearly inspired by them given
the method used and the magnitude of the attacks. The fact that this 'terror inflation' has now
also reached the European continent, is an ominous development--also for the
"Do Not Give In To Terror"
Left-of-center Trouw remarked (3/12): "Both Spain AND Europe have been struck
in the heart by the appalling bloodbath in Madrid. Never before in post-war history did so many
Europeans die in a terrorist attack....
It is good that Spain is not giving in to terrorism and continues
holding elections this Sunday. There
will be uncertainty about who is responsible for the attacks for some time to
come.... If it were indeed the ETA then
these attacks show a shocking change of ETA strategy.... However, we should not rule out al-Qaida or
another international terrorist group.
This would not/not make the attacks any less horrible, not for Spain but
certainly not for Europe."
Centrist Algemeen Dagblad commented (3/12): "The ten bomb attacks gave Spanish
voters ten extra reasons to go vote this Sunday.... Given the timing of the wave of terror in the
Spanish capital of Madrid--the eve of the elections--the attack cannot be seen
other than an attack on democracy. It
does not matter whether the suspects are to be found with the ETA or with
al-Qaida. Both organizations have one
and the same objective: cause as much
damage as possible to Spanish society....
The excessive use of violence places any organization responsible
outside of the international community and leaves us with only one
response: they must be fought."
Conservative De Telegraaf editorialized (3/12): "Those responsible for the terror
attacks have lost their right to a place in society. The attacks, whoever committed them with
whatever motives, make no sense and are cowardly. They make no sense because they would not
force any democratic government to change its policy and they are cowardly
because they were aimed at defenseless men, women, and children.... These kind of terror attacks demand tough
international retaliation and those responsible must be hunted down; not only
to avenge the victims but also to prevent future attacks."
Malgorzata Tryc-Ostrowska wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita
(3/12): “There is much to indicate that
the same organization stands behind the March 11 and September 11
attacks.... It may not matter to the
relatives of the victims whether their loved ones were killed by the criminals
from ETA or from al-Qaida. It does
matter to us, though. As cynical as it
may sound, an attack by ETA can be seen as an internal problem for the
Spaniards. An attack by al-Qaida is
entirely different. The masterminds
dubbed the Madrid operation the ‘train of death.’ Poland may find itself on its track.”
"Just To Kill"
Maciej Stasinski opined in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(3/12): “The associations are
obvious: the trains were ripped apart by
almost simultaneous explosions, as the planes were on September 11. Just to kill.
The more innocent the human beings, the better. Was it al-Qaida, that wanted to punish Spain
for its alliance with the U.S., and for Iraq?... Or perhaps the aim this time is not to
say who attacked and why. That way no
one can be sure about the next day, and so fear and chaos will reign in the
"In Solidarity With Spain"
Editor-in-chief Grzegorz Jankowski wrote in tabloid Fakt
(3/12): “Today terrorists hit in
Spain. Tomorrow their treacherous bombs
can explode somewhere else....
Therefore, we should support the fight on terror even more
decisively. We cannot demand that
[Poland] withdraw from the global anti-terrorist coalition.... We must be aware that our troops chasing
after terrorists in Iraq are in fact protecting us. They are doing all they can to make sure that
bombs do not explode in Krakow, Gdansk, or Warsaw. The response to terror must be firm. It is also our, Poland’s, duty.”
"Terror Against The Open Society"
Right-of-center independent Dagens Nyheter editorialized
(3/12): “The worrying question still
hangs in the air: is the world in the
process of seeing the formation of a terrorist international? People with different agendas cooperating
with terror attacks as their common signature, helping each other with
techniques, knowledge, and material?...
Presented with this lack of certainty and our fear, we have only the
security services to trust. This is a
dangerous situation. Security services
operate with their own logic, and their nature is as secretive as those who
attack us. Thus, they stand in tension
with democracy’s desire for openness, debate and alternatives.... There is, over the long term, apprehension
for Western countries. In a number of
places, and particularly in the United States, the reaction to terror has been
to encroach on citizen’s freedom and rights. This holds the seeds of a
catastrophe: because terrorist attacks
are aimed at our lifestyle, every intervention in citizens’ lives and every new
layer of surveillance is a step in the wrong direction. From the open to the closed society.”
ISRAEL: "Madrid Is Not
The End Of Terrorism's Road"
Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev Schiff wrote
on page one of independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (3/12): "Whether Thursday's terrorist attack in
Madrid was the work of the Basque underground or of another terrorist
organization, such as al-Qaida--or perhaps even a collaborative effort -- it is
clear that the massacre at the train station in Spain's capital was modeled
after acts by al-Qaida, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their ilk: a massive terror attack against innocent
civilians in the name of an ideology or political demand.... Israelis can empathize with the horror and
anguish experienced yesterday by residents of Madrid. The irony is that the Spanish media has for
the last several years shown 'understanding' for Palestinian attacks on Israeli
civilians in public places, on buses and in railway stations, and has even
justified such attacks. But no political
demand, however justified it might be, justifies such acts of mass
murder.... Thus anyone who objects to
what the terrorists did Thursday in Madrid cannot at the same time justify or
overlook similar acts of terror against other nations."
"Welcome To The Real World"
Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever Plotker wrote on
page one of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (3/12): "Welcome to the Europe of mega-terrorist
attacks. First there was September
11. Now there is also March 11. Between one and the other, citizens of
Indonesia, Kenya, Turkey, Russia and Iraq were massacred in mass terror
attacks. But Western Europe, for some
reason, thought itself protected.
Immune. It won't happen to us,
the Europeans said, we are not in terror's gun sights. After all, we are not part of imperialistic
America or Russian imperialism and Zionist imperialism. We are enlightened, post-modern,
progressive.... Now it has happened to
them too.... People ask, why should
al-Qaida, or some organization affiliated with it, slaughter civilians in
Madrid commuting to work? Experts are
quick to respond: it is because of
Spain's participation in the war in Iraq....
The game of motive guessing leads nowhere. There is no logic here, what there is is
seizing opportunities to murder as many people as possible. Let us pay attention to what British Prime
Minister Tony Blair said in a prophetic speech a week ago: he said that for him, September 11 was a day
of epiphany. He realized that zealots
had declared unlimited war on our world....
Europe still refuses to internalize what happened. It still refuses to open its eyes wide and to
accept the fact that as of this morning, every trip by any child to any school
in Europe on public transportation is a trip into the heart of darkness, filled
with fear and trembling. In Madrid as in
JAPAN: "U.S. To
Restructure Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy?"
Washington correspondent Kondo wrote in the conservative Sankei
(3/12): "A series of indiscriminate
terrorist bombings in Madrid on Thursday, which claimed the lives of more than
180 people, is also having a great impact on the Bush administration, which has
been leading the global war on terror since the 9/11 simultaneous terrorist
attacks on the U.S. ... The latest
Madrid bombings, believed to be the worst terrorist attack ever in Spain, may
be serious enough to shake the foundations of the U.S.-led war on terrorism. The Bush administration will undoubtedly be
forced to restructure its global counter-terrorism strategy, which is designed
prevent 9/11 type attacks."
"Spain Demonstrates That The War On Terror Must Be Fought"
Marcus Gee commented in the leading Globe and
Mail (Internet version, 3/12):
"It is no mystery why Spain was the target of yesterday's terror
attacks, which killed nearly 200 people in Madrid. The government of Jose Maria
Aznar, the outgoing Prime Minister, is one of the world's staunchest foes of
terrorism.... Like Mr. Bush and Mr.
Blair, Mr. Aznar understands the nature of the enemy and why it is impossible
to duck this fight.... There is no alternative to the defence of liberty,
democracy and the values that define our way of life.... Spain's high-profile stand in this war may
well have made it a target.... If the past few years have proved anything, it
is that there is no place to hide in the age of terrorism.... Today, ETA's tactics are reviled by most
Basques, and even its goal of independence is supported by less than a third of
them. With their own police force and schooling in their own language, Basques
cannot remotely claim to be an oppressed group, and most seem to know it. The
Basque government enjoys wide autonomy under the Spanish constitution,
including the right to raise its own taxes.
"So if ETA did carry out yesterday's
attacks, it must have been partly out of desperation. In the face of Basque
indifference and the government's admirable firmness, its struggle is going
nowhere. Young Basque militants may have concluded that the only way to make
progress is to follow al-Qaeda's example and resort to megaterrorism, killing
people in large numbers in the very heart of the country. If so, they will not
succeed.... The rest of us may not truly comprehend it yet, but this truly is a
war, and none of us is safe until it is won. Under Mr. Aznar, Spain has had the
sense to realize that the only way to stop terror is to confront it head
"The Medium Of terror"
Editorialist Mario Roy commented in the centrist La Presse
(312): "The series of ten
simultaneous attacks which bloodied three train stations in Madrid mark a
terrifying escalation of terror, regardless of who the authors were.… The
medium is more than ever the message…. The authors of the 9-11 massacre did not
have any attainable objectives. The kind souls who keep on looking for the
'root causes' of the event are wandering aimlessly in an endless desert. In
Iraq, ten days ago, the attacks against the Shiites that killed more than 180 people
in Baghdad and Kerbala had no other purpose than to perpetuate chaos. Just like
all the other operations of the Iraqi 'resistance' that target mainly local
police, [the attacks are perpetrated against] the hope of reestablishing some
form of order. Even in Madrid, if the
ETA were the sole perpetrators of yesterday's attacks, they could not bring
about any political consequence but the hardening of the central state's
attitude. Even if they were conducted by the ETA, the attacks have nothing to
do with the fate of the Basque people, just like Usama bin Laden could not care
less about the fate of his co-believers (as we have seen a thousand times,
Muslim extremists kill mainly other Muslims). The attacks have everything to do
with a globalized ideology, a sort of multinational of terror, which practices
terror for the sake of terror."
"Barbaric Acts Repudiated, Victims Mourned"
An editorial in leading Clarin held
(3/12): "Once again terrorism has
launched a ferocious attack... Beyond the identification of the author of the
attack, we should bear in mind that it took place in a delicate international
framework, and adds a new bloody event that demonstrates the still important
terrorist ability to act. This redoubles the challenges of nations and the
community of nations to rationally and legally fight the diffuse threat of
terrorism.... Building adequate
security conditions in prevention of terrorist attacks without affecting
personal rights and democratic principles is a must for the current
"Why ETA? Why Al-Qaeda?"
Marcelo Falak, columnist of business-financial Ambito
Financiero commented (3/12):
"Yesterday early in the morning, markets registered strong losses
due to fears that Al Qaeda had finally launched its attack on Europe to punish
George W. Bush's allies in the occupation of Iraq. But the Aznar administration
did not doubt and...blamed ETA for the Madrid killing.... Beyond the unanimity of the Spanish
government, the opposition and the media in blaming ETA, the world doubted.
From the political point of view, the group did not seem to have chosen a good
timing. The criminal assault would undoubtedly increase repression on the
remains of the ETA structure, and from the election viewpoint, it could
strongly favor the PP.... Beyond the
controversy over the author of the attack, yesterday's was obviously a Bin
Laden-styled attack. The coordination of an attack...against four commuter
trans and three different railway stations seems unlikely for a withdrawing
group like ETA. Also, the day of the calendar -11- and the fact that the attack
was made against means of transport reminded the September 11 attacks... If,
finally, it is found out that the Islamic terrorism attacked Spain, the PP
could receive a very tough blow even on Sunday -- if the people has enough time
to react - due to its pro-US foreign policy and to its hurry in blaming Basque
"Shocked, Bush Reiterated His Support For
Francisco Seminario, international columnist of
daily-of-record La Nacion, stated (3/12): "The worst criminal
assault in the history of Spain...immediately reminded the U.S. of the dramatic
September 11 attacks, and it made President George W. Bush express his
condolences to the Spanish people and the victims' relatives.... The first
journalistic reflection in all cases was the evocation of Al Qaeda's constant
threat.... But the official argument was
differently oriented.... Both Bush and
Powell...were quick to blame ETA.
However, U.S. analysts doubted it in the broader framework of the war in
Iraq and the global fight on terrorism. Those analysts... reminded that Spain
offered an undivided support to the USG in the invasion of Iraq...and it even
sent some 1,300 troops to cooperate in the post-war scenario."
BRAZIL: "A Terrible
Attack Against The Spanish People"
Business-oriented Valor Economico editorialized (3/12):
"The cowardly terrorist attacks in Madrid will not have more political
effects in the short term than to spread fear, hatred and pain among the
Spanish people.... In the medium term, the reaction of the Spanish government,
which has attributed the crimes to ETA, will be one of more repression and
perhaps less aversion to demands for autonomy on the part of the nation's
provinces.... According to some European analysts, indiscriminate killing is
one of Al Qaeda's trademarks.... The prospect that bin Laden is resuming mass
terrorist attacks in a new part of the world, is sufficiently frightening to
turn initial suspicions toward ETA. But there is no doubt that Aznar's Spain is
a possible victim of Islamic terrorism. The immediate, enthusiastic support for
the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Aznar's unconditional alignment with the Bush
administration and the sending of troops to Iraq would be reasons sufficient to
bring terrorists into Spain."
"Terror, Trains And Brutality"
University Professor Denis Lerrer Rosenfeld commented in liberal Folha
de S. Paulo (3/12): "It is not a coincidence that trains and stations
were chosen for the attacks. Trains also crossed Germany during WWII to bring
Jews to extermination camps. Trains also crossed the Russian steppes while
taking those who opposed the communist regime to their final destination. And now trains appear again as symbols of
terrorist violence.... The meticulous planning of the attacks in Madrid shows
the operation of a malign will inclined exclusively to evil.... Although determining who is responsible for
the attacks is important, from the law enforcement, judicial and military point
of view, [the key issue here is] a totalitarian type of plan based in contempt
for rationality. This being the case, the Spanish government must not flinch in
the fight against such an evil act, because if it does so it will paradoxically
help terrorism to spread. Those who bow before fear end by increasing it.
Terror has no place in politics or at the negotiating table.... Individuals or groups
who negotiate recognize themselves as rational beings who share certain values
and principles.... If the condemnation of these acts is not unconditional, a
dangerous path will be opened up, along which humankind's values may be
irremediably lost. This isthe bottomless pit sought by terrorism."
"Echoes Of 9/11"
An editorial in center-right O Globo asserted (3/12): "For all its magnitude and devastating
power, a terrorist act like the one yesterday in Madrid cannot be assimilated
at once, nor clarified in a day.... Having occurred in Spain on the eve of
elections, the bombings carry the fingerprint of Basque separatists. But for the ferocity and symmetryof the date
(March 11 carries echoes of that fateful September 11) they remind us of the
methods of Osama bin Laden's terrorist group.... At any rate, it's clear ETA has lost its bond
with history as a separatist movement, and that support for it among Spaniards
has never been so low. Reacting to previous attacks, the Spanish people have
demonstrated a massive repudiation of terrorism as a political weapon.... If in fact it was an al-Qaeda act, let the
Madrid massacre help the international community unite even more, collectively
and on a global scale, in the fight
against the inhumamity and contempt for life of these terrorist
"The Bells Toll"
Center-left Jornal do Brasil reflected (3/12): "There
are no winners in this tragedy, whatever may be the intention of those
responsible for this crime. If the
separatist group ETA perpetrated the attack, this was the greatest disservice that
could have been practiced against the Basque cause. There is no human understanding for such
insane terrorist act.... But if it was
in deed - as presumed - another of Al Qaeda's feat, it will rekindle in the
entire West the rejection, the emotion and the hatred against Bin Laden's
terrorists....The re-democratized Spain is one of the most consecrated examples
of a country emerging as world power under the light of civil liberties and of
an extremely dynamic capitalism....
Ernest Hemingway gave the title, 'For Whom the Bells Toll,' to his novel
portraying the passion and heroism of the Spanish civil war, in which he quotes
an English poet and preacher, John Donne:
'If a piece of Europe is dragged into the ocean, a part of mankind is
also dragged along. So don't ask for whom the bells toll. They toll for thee.' In yesterday's attack Spain's suffering is
the suffering of each of us."
BOLIVIA: "Terrorism Without Limits"
Left-leaning La Prensa editorialized (3/12): ”The attitude of the terrorist groups who are
behind this action as well as the September 11 attacks, is insane, but, at the
same time it is a wake-up call to the world leaders. It will not be possible to make the planet a
place of peaceful living together, while the current levels of poverty, exclusion
and intolerance remain, as well as the irrational exploitation of natural
resources and the increasingly big imbalance in the distribution of
wealth.... That is to say, it is
necessary to understand that terrorism cannot be eradicated only through the
legitimate use of repression, but that it requires also the construction of a
social, economic, cultural and political system that is fairer, more tolerant
"Repudiation Of The
Criminal Attack In Spain"
Conservative El Diario asserted (3/12): "The repudiation that this collective
genocide has caused is heard throughout all the boundaries of the Earth, in the
midst of the indignation that a crime of this kind generates, a crime that must
be punished in ways that set a firm example....
At this time, we can only express our solidarity with the Mother Nation,
joining in the pain that covers thousands of families who have personally felt
how man has become the worst enemy of man and nature.”
CHILE: "Terrorist Attack In Madrid"
An editorial in leading-circulation, independent La Tercera
asserted (3/12): "Whether it was
ETA or an Islamic fundamentalist group’s (responsibility), the goal is...to
scare citizens and by that means to make authorities draw back in the face of
"We Are All Spaniards"
Peruvian writer Alvaro Vargas Llosa's opinion column in La
Tercera remarked (3/12): "Should those responsible be Islamic groups,
we are facing one of the most spectacular successes by organizations that have
declared war on Western democracies."
"Terrorist Attack in Madrid"
Conservative afternoon La Segunda held (3/11): "Basque extremism and Muslim fanaticism
are just facets of the new terrorism...which is currently the greatest enemy of
peace. Defeating it requires a commitment that goes beyond borders and political
Leading Prensa Libre weekly editorialist
Rodrigo Castillo del Carmen commented (3/12):
Following the tragedy of M-11, the lives of Madrid’s people will not be
the same because their beautiful city has turned into a war-zone of the insane
terrorist war, a global evil in which there will be no winners.”
"The Example Of Spain"
The main editorial in influential El
Periodico held (3/12): “Every time
Spaniards resist a terrorist attack… they take to the streets to express their
censure. They protest by the thousands,
regardless of their political party or any ideological differences… Despite the
proximity of their general elections, none of the candidates said anything to
try to favor his interests… The
interests of their nation are more important than anything.”
URUGUAY: "At The Margin Of Humanity"
The lead editorial of right-leaning, business-oriented El
Observador found (3/12):
“Yesterday’s victims have been converted into a tragic living reminder
to all Spaniards that the only contract one can have with terrorist
organizations is that of ending their capacity to kill. Not even the apparent
intention to frighten the Spanish people and influence the upcoming elections
or take revenge for Spanish intervention in Iraq even begins to justify the
cruelty of indiscriminately killing and mutilating innocent civilians of all
ages and conditions.... Whoever it is
that is behind yesterday’s cruel attacks, they deserve nothing short of total punishment,
without ceremony and without holding anything back.”