RealNews

The Terror Web

For much of Spain’s modern history, the organization that has defined its experience with terror is ETA, which stands for Euzkadi Ta Azkatasuna (Basque Homeland and Liberty). ETA, which was founded in 1959, has a clear political goal: it wants to set up a separate nation, comprising the Basque provinces, in northern Spain, and parts of southern France. Although ETA has killed some eight hundred people, it has developed a reputation for targeting, almost exclusively, politicians, security officials, and journalists. Over the years, the terrorists and the Spanish police have come to a rough understanding about the rules of engagement. “They don’t commit attacks on the working class, and they always call us before an explosion, telling us where the bomb is situated,” an intelligence official in the Spanish National Police told me recently in Madrid. “If they place a bomb in a backpack on a train, there will be a cassette tape saying, ‘This bag is going to explode. Please leave the train.’” And so on March 11th, when the first reports arrived of mass casualties resulting from explosions on commuter trains, Spanish intelligence officials assumed that ETA had made an appalling mistake. Full Story

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