Who are the bastards?

Who are the bastards?
: These days, when even accidents happen we are tuned to wonder whether it was The Terrorists — which, in this country, of course, means Islamofascist terrorists. A jet blows apart over Queens… the East Coast is thrown in to a blackout… we wonder every time whether it was them again.

In Spain, they are forced today into a sick and sad guessing game: Pick your terrorists… who are the bastards?

CNN analyzes the data so far. As we all know, it was at first assumed to be the Basque ETA; then a van was found with detonators and a tape of Koranic verses:

That doesn’t make a direct link of course. But we also have a claim of responsibility from a group calling itself Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade.

This is a group that has made false claims before for other actions though, including for example, the U.S. power blackouts last summer that turned out to be caused by technical problems and not an act of terror.

What do we know is that if this was indeed ETA it would represent a dramatic shift from what we have seen from them in the past: In terms of tactics and targeting; in terms of the way it was carried out; the indiscriminate targeting of civilians with no warning and no claim of responsibility.

Terror organizations, as bizarre as this sounds, act within their own boundaries, to their own rules, and have their own justification for how they operate and who or what is an acceptable target.

Thursday’s attacks broke every one of the rules that ETA has operated by in the past. So if this was ETA, the attack marks a fundamental shift, a passing of one guard to another, according to some Spanish officials.

: And in The Age, Tony Parkinson warns that whether or not bin Laden is behind Madrid’s 3/11, he is a model for terrorists who must be hunted down and stopped:

For the Spanish, understandably, there will be anger and despair. For their fellow Europeans, it is a sickening reminder that nobody is immune. Indeed, it was British Prime Minister Tony Blair who warned only last week that “we are in mortal danger of mistaking the nature of the new world in which we live”. Now, one of his more resolute allies in the war on terror, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, leads a nation in mourning.

If any of this speculation is close to the truth, the imminent US-led “spring offensive” in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan becomes all the more critical. The struggle to disrupt and destroy al-Qaeda now takes on added urgency. What sort of future beckons if bin Laden and his ilk serve as the model inspiring terror movements worldwide?

The fact that the Madrid bombings occurred despite a top-level alert points to the limits to security in open societies when fanatics are hell-bent on the mass murder of civilians. It is a challenge to which conventional law enforcement is struggling to respond.

Consider the grim ironies: in Germany, another alleged member of al-Qaeda’s Hamburg cell has just walked free; in Jakarta, Abu Bakar Bashir is poised for early release; in Canberra, lawyers for David Hicks demand justice.

In Madrid, they will bury the dead.

: Iraqi blogger Alaa shouts:



: Ali, the Iraqi blogger, believes it was al Qaeda’s fault:

-The nature of the attacks leaves no doubt that whoever carried them wanted to cause as much as possible causalities among civilians, which seems to be a trade mark for AL QUEDA.

: Sam offers the sentiments of support from many of his fellow Iraqi bloggers:

Terror against innocent civilian is same anywhere and this should unite us irrespective of our ideas and religions as Muslims, Christians, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikhism, or any one else against the terror any where from any one.

For Spanish people there are friends for you in Iraq!

: Did anyone else notice yesterday that it took the BBC hours to even mention the possible al Qaeda connection? FoxNews and the AP were way ahead, from what I could see. Laziness? Agenda? They didn’t want to admit that the U.S. was in Baghdad and now they don’t want to admit that bin Laden is in Europe?

UPDATE: A commenter says that Reuters was the first to report the Islamic link. I’m hoping and assuming what I saw on the BBC was merely a dropped ball; just struck me as odd since they are usually quite quick on big news such as this.

: Sophia Sideshow says:

If al Qaeda is behind their only export–death–I wonder about any other targets, Bulgaria is an ally in this war, and certainly not as well-protected as the US (all the more courageous they).

I’m glad that the words coming out of Spain are not, “flee!” That would be so U.N.