Chapter 3

The Madrid Train Bombings of 2004

by Mathieu Miquel

On March 11, 2004, around 7:40 in the morning, ten bombs exploded on four trains  in Madrid in the space of a few minutes. The attack left 192 dead and 1,800 injured and it also represented an authentic trauma for Spanish society, above all because the controversy over the identity of the real perpetrators has not yet ended. The date (11M for March 11) appears to have been carefully selected because the events took place just three days before the general elections in which the People‘s Party (of the political right) of outgoing President José María Aznar was presented as the favorite. The suspicions of the press and of many Spaniards turned immediately to ETA, the Basque nationalist group, against which the outgoing prime minister had preached a policy of force. But with the arrest of a group of Moroccan suspects on the eve of elections, the suspicions of the public were redirected towards al Qaeda.The attack might have been committed in retaliation for Spain‘s participation in the war against Iraq, although there is no evidence that it had been a suicide attack. The subsequent insistence by the Aznar government in condemning ETA was imputed to an election calculus, so the elections of March 14 were won by his contender,  the Socialist Party of Jose Luis Zapatero. Three weeks later, on April 3, seven North African suspects were found dead in the ruins of an apartment which had exploded after it was surrounded by police. There were alleged to have blown themselves up. 

The investigative proceedings thereafter lasted more than two years until the trial for the bombings started in February 2007. The courts upheld the theory of an Islamist attack but the alleged organizer, Rabei Osman, of the attack was acquitted. Only one defendant, Jamal Zougam, was found guilty of having planted bombs on the trains and most of the 29 defendants were only convicted of membership in Jihadist groups, not as accomplices in the crime. The appeals trial upheld that ruling in July 2008. We will, however, discover that this theory is baseless. Given that the Spanish justice system has endorsed the theory of an Islamist attack, we will begin by laying out this theory. As incredible as it may seem, the evidence that supposedly confirms this theory can not stand up to rigorous analysis. And the suspicious behavior of certain elements of the police forces clearly indicates an intent to sabotage the investigation, suggesting in turn that the real culprits have been shielded for overriding «national interest.»

In order to carry out our demonstration, we will rely on five judicial documents. Four of them were released to the public: (1) The indictment; (2) the recordings and transcriptions of the trial hearings; (3) the Court Judgment; (4) the Appeal Judgment1 [1]. The fifth document is not publicly available: the investigation file was compiled from 2004 to 2006 and comprising all the documents assembled by the investigating judge. Only certain journalists were able to obtain it.2[2].  

The Islamist trail

The theory of an Islamist attack emerged of an investigation that developed out of two tracks. We will present here the progress of that investigation, emphasizing the evidence that was accepted by the Spanish courts.3 [3]. The first track of the investigation began with a bomb that did not explode. Three of the bombs placed in the trains were defective and failed to explode. This meant, that shortly after the attack, it was known that the bombs had been concealed in backpacks. On the morning of March 11th, explosives specialist neutralized two of them by controlled explosions.

But no one noticed the third backpack and it was set aside with the victims’ possessions. It was upon inventorying these possessions in the police station of suburban Vallecas during the night of March 11th and 12th,  that the backpack containing the bomb was found. That bomb, known as "the Vallecas backpack" bomb, consisted of 10 kilograms of "Goma-2 Eco" dynamite, shrapnel, a detonator and a cell phone that was supposed to have triggered the explosion via its alarm setting.

The cell phone contained a SIM card which made it possible to determine where it had been sold. The tracking led to a telephone shop in Madrid belonging to Jamal Zougam, a Moroccan national. Based on those elements, the police arrested Zougam, two of his employees and two Indian employees who had allegedly sold the phone. Those arrests were carried out on March 13, the eve of national elections. The media announced the arrests and published photos of the suspects. During the following days, several passengers of the metropolitan network claimed to have seen the suspects on the bombed trains. The inconsistency of these testimonies led, however, to the release of four of the five suspects several weeks later. Zougam remained in custody because testimonies against him seemed more solid.

The other track that served as a starting point for the investigation were revelations by Rafa Zouhier, a petty drug dealer from Morroco, who also acted as an informant for the Guardia Civil (the second largest police force in Spain).4 [4]. A few days after the attack, he told police in a taped telephone conversation that he harbored strong suspicions toward a man named Jamal Ahmidan, alias "El Chino". El Chino was another petty drug dealer of Morrocan origin.  Zouhier had put him in contact with a gang operating in Asturias (a region of northern Spain) and suspected of smuggling, inter alia, explosives intended for mining activities.

One member of that gang, Emilio Trashorras, confirmed to the police that he had provided El Chino with Goma-2 Eco explosives, an assertion corroborated by a young gypsy who participated in the transaction. Moreover, communications among various members of El Chino’s gang were being intercepted as part of an investigation into drug trafficking, and the recordings confirm that the persons concerned had traveled to Asturias.

The two tracks of the investigation led to two different sets of individuals. On one hand, Zougam, and on the other, El Chino and his gang. No personal links have been found between the two. The only connection comes from seven SIM cards whose numbers appeared during efforts to track the phone marketing networks. On one hand those SIM cards are linked to Zougam because he bought them together with the SIM card found in the Vallecas backpack. On the other hand they are connected to El Chino because the telephone carrier Amena declared that the cards were activated for the first time the day before the attack in the antenna reception area that covers El Chino’s house.

According to the verdict, the explosives were apparently for some time stored in that house and the bomb preparation took place in that same location. There were no telephone calls from the seven SIM cards after their activation, which seems to indicate that they might have been used to detonate the bombs. This is how the link was established between Zougam and El Chino’s gang.

Around noon on April 3, 2004, three weeks after the bombing, police finally located El Chino’s gang in an apartment in Leganés outside Madrid. Upon discovering the presence of the police, the suspects refused to surrender and opened fire. At the end of the day, the GEO (Special Operations Group of the Spanish police) launched an assault to try to capture the members of the terrorist group. The intelligence services told the police that the besieged suspects had made several telephone calls  in which they announced their intent to commit suicide. The police forced open the apartment door and an explosion occurred that killed the seven suspects and a GEO police officer.

Amid the rubble of the apartment Goma-2 Eco explosives were found, some documents and a video claiming responsibility for the attack, but the people featured in the video were not identifiable due to masks they were wearing. Like El Chino, most of the seven dead were petty drug dealers. The rest were, according to some witnesses, radical Islamists. The trial court concluded that these people set the bombs, together with Zougam, and planned to commit other attacks in the region of Grenada, where they had rented an apartment.

A certain amount of secondary evidence supports the conclusions of that investigation. Among the exhibits is a van of the type Renault Kangoo which was the first important element found during the investigation.  Its discovery led to numerous controversies. The vehicle was discovered in the parking lot of the Alcala subway station, through which all the trains that exploded had passed on March 11. An attendant in the neighborhood said that on the morning of March 11 he had seen three suspicious individuals loitering around the Kangoo. They were almost masked by their scarves and hats and one of them walked to the subway station carrying a bag.

Towards the end of the morning [of March 11], the police opened the van and inspected it. Two bomb-sniffing dogs checked the Kangoo without finding anything suspicious. Upon discovering that the van was on a list of stolen vehicles, it was moved to a police location. There, after a new inspection, seven detonators were found in the van, along with a fragment of Goma-2 Eco explosive wrapped up under a seat and, most importantly, an audio cassette with a recording of the Koran, which would have a decisive impact on Spanish public opinion. 

The trial verdict concluded that the objective of the terrorist group was to impose by force Islamic law in Europe and that the group was inspired by Al Qaeda, while not being actually linked to that organization :

Appeal Judgment, page 581-582:

"Al Qaeda’s ideological paternity is proven by the claims of responsibility for the terrorist acts and by the rest of the seized material. Nevertheless there is no hierarchical relationship with other groups or other leaders of that organization. This lack of relationship allowed to conclude that the cell which operated in Madrid, to the extent it has been identified, was not hierarchically dependent on any other group and therefore could be considered for criminal purposes as a distinct and independent terrorist group or organization."5[5] 

The cracks in the verdict

We have just presented all the main items of evidence that served to support a theory of an Islamist attack. The authenticity of all these items, nevertheless, is tarred by suspicious circumstances, as we will see as we analyze them again one by one. 

The primary physical evidence relates to one of the bombs that did not explode on March 11 — the one which was found in a backpack in Vallecas. Serious suspicions exist regarding its composition and the circumstances in which it was discovered.  The bomb did not explode because one cable simply was not connected. The explosives expert in charge of deactivating it testified in court that this "shoddy piece of work" did not match the complexity of the rest of the device :

Testimony of the bomb dismantling specialist, protected witness #64501, March 19, 2007:

"The design of the cellphone […], though simple, is very ingenious, […] and that does not fit with the shoddy bit of work of not wrapping the wires, right, because it is illogical."6 [6] 

There is also an essential difference between the composition of this bomb and those which did detonate. The Vallecas backpack contained 640 grams of screws and nails intended to serve as shrapnel. However, autopsies revealed that none of the victims had been struck by metal projectiles,7 [7]. And, according to the police who handled them, the two bombs defused on the morning of March 11 contained no such projectiles. What motivated the terrorists to put shrapnel in just one of the bombs?

And finally, the circumstances of the discovery of the Vallecas backpack are unclear. During the trial, explosives experts explained that they had searched all the objects left in the train cars four times and they stated that it was impossible that they might have overlooked the bomb which was later found :

Testimony of Madrid’s chief explosives disposal expert, protected witness #28296, March 14, 2007:

"What I am totally convinced of, is that after the search carried out by the TEDAX who worked there, there was not a single backpack containing an explosive device. And I can assure you of that."8 [8]

The provenance of the Vallecas backpack is doubtful also because the abandoned objects, among which the bomb was purportedly found, were moved three times throughout the day of March 11, not always under strict surveillance,9 [9], and ended up at the Vallecas police station, despite the fact that the judge had ordered to deposit them at the morgue.  Adding this fact to the conflicting testimony regarding the time it was discovered10 [10], its absence from the list  of abandoned objects [11], and the absence of photographs of the bomb before it was dismantled, the inconsistency of the evidence becomes clear. Notwithstanding this cumulative inconsistence, the court relied on the Vallecas backpack bomb as key evidence in support of its verdict.

The investigation into the telephone marketing network concluded that the SIM card found in the backpack in Vallecas had been on sale in Zougam’s store.  What was the base for this conclusion? Before selling to a customer, SIM cards usually pass through the hands of three or four intermediaries. But only the initial brokers list on their invoices the identification number of each SIM card sold. Subsequent brokers only record the total number of SIM cards. In this case, there is no invoice showing that the SIM card in question was sold to Zougam [12]. The only thing that allows one to reach that conclusion is the testimony of his supplier, who says he remembers the sale of that particular SIM card among hundreds of other cards. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the supplier’s claim was true,  and continue examining the course of the investigation.

A seller of a SIM card is evidently not responsible for any possible criminal use the buyer might made of the card. But Zougam had appeared as a witness in a previous investigation about alleged Islamic terrorists. It appears that this was the only reason for his arrest on March 13, given that no witness had described him or identified him before that date. A re-analysis of Zougam’s behavior until his arrest shows that he apparently committed a series of truly incredible mistakes. First, he used a SIM card that was on sale in his own store to assemble the Vallecas bomb. Secondly, he left that SIM card in the phone even though it was not necessary to use its alarm clock function. And, thirdly, he continued his normal activity until the day of his arrest on the afternoon of March 13, despite the fact that all of Spain had known since the morning of March 12 that police had dismantled one of the bombs. From that moment on, Zougam had to know that the investigators were in possession of a SIM card that would lead to him. But he did not try to hide or flee. The incoherence of that behavior leads to doubts about his guilt.

The media gave wide publicity to the arrests of March 13 and to photographs of the suspects. Passengers from the attacked trains spontaneously volunteered to testify about suspects seen on trains on March 11. Some of these testimonies incriminate Zougam and constitute the only evidence of his involvement in the attack. The first problem with these testimonies is that Zougam’s picture was spread across the media, thereby influencing the identification process. Moreover, some witnesses did not agree regarding the trip that Zougam allegedly had made on the trains,  regarding his description, how he was dressed or stated that he had placed a bag where no bomb exploded [13].

The verdict of October 2007 only took into account three  testimonies incriminating Zougam [14]. In the appeals trial of July 2008, the court invalidated one of those three testimonies because the witness had only given his statement to the investigating judge rather than before an open court. That witness was not summoned to depose in court, thus preventing Zougam’s defense from questioning him, although doubts already tainted his statement. For example, according to that witness, the suspect got off the train onto the platform, and then returned to the same train car from where he got off, through the door connecting to the other coach. Such conduct would be strangely conspicuous for someone planting bombs. Thus, only two statements remained which incriminated Zougam.  These came from two Romanian friends who were traveling together. The first came forward as a witness three weeks after the bombings. At that moment her description of the suspect was very brief: The suspect was a person 1,80 m tall, of average built, and carried a handbag.  That was all. But surprisingly that witness was able days later to offer a more precise description, after the police showed her a series of photographs among which she recognized Zougam: shoulder-length hair, a rather thick nose, a goatee, lower lip thicker than the upper, etc.  Was this witness perhaps describing what she saw in the photograph rather than what she actually saw on 11 March? But this is not all. Her statements continued to change with regard to other details, such as the position of the coach in the train. After a full year, the witness suddenly recalled that the suspect had pushed her, justifying in that way why she remembered his face, and then said for the first time that she was traveling with a friend, who thus became the second witness against Zougam. Suppressing that fact for a whole year does not inspire confidence in her credibility.  Why did that other witness wait a full year before coming forward? What could this new witness still remember after all this time? Can her testimony be considered as independent of that of her friend? The only guilty verdict for carrying out of the bombings on March 11 was reached precisely on the basis of these two dubious testimonies. For his part, Zougam always denied any involvement in the bombings.

All the others who allegedly planted bombs died in the explosion of the Leganés apartment, three weeks after the attacks on April 3. An important consequence of their deaths is that the investigation did not reconstruct the exact role each of them played in the attack, thus diverting the attention onto the living accused. The court acknowledged in its ruling that it ignored which of these seven individuals were involved in placing the bombings and where they did it :

Appeal Judgment page 7: 

"Three members of the aforementioned terror cell, without there being absolute certainty as to their identities, traveled to the town of Alcala de Henares in a white van (...) In time, other members of the group did the same, getting on the trains in undetermined locations." [15]

This vague language regarding the dead suspects contrasts with the case of Zougam, who is clearly accused of having placed the bombs on the train that exploded at the Santa Eugenia station. The deaths of the suspects in Leganés relieved the Spanish authorities from proving their accusations against the suspects, because dead people cannot be brought to trial.  And as long as no one, such as family members of the deceased, legally challenges the accusations, the police will have the final word regarding their guilt. The prosecution then focused on demonstrating that the deaths in the Leganés apartment represented a collective suicide. The suicide theory was in turn used to prove, as it were, the suspects’ fanaticism, while documents claiming responsibility for the attack, allegedly found in the ruins of the apartment, were interpreted as a posthumous confession.

The circumstances under which the Leganés apartment was discovered, just at the time when the seven suspects were inside, remain unclear. For a long time, the police spoke of a shootout in the street between several of its officers and a gang of North Africans. The incident allegedly resulted in a chase that led the gang to take refuge in the apartment [16]. But this episode later disappeared from the official version and was replaced by another explanation. According to the new version, the police reviewed the list of calls from a suspect phone belonging to the terrorist cell. By calling one of the numbers on that list, the police made contact with a property owner who claimed to have let an apartment in Leganés to a group of Arabs about a month earlier. This became the version of the apartment’s discovery mentioned in the verdict, ignoring the story of the chase.

According to the official account, the police surrounded the Leganés apartment in the afternoon of April 3, 2004. Around 9 PM, the GEO began the assault in a hasty manner, as reported by members of that team [17]. But before they could gain entrance, the apartment blew up, killing its seven occupants and a GEO member. Due to the condition of the bodies, so it was claimed,  it was necessary to use fingerprints or DNA for identification. The conclusion of the investigation that it was a group suicide was accepted by the court, but in reality the suicidal nature of the explosion was not clearly established.

Before the assault by the GEO and the explosion, neighbors said they had heard gunshots, shouting and even Arabic chants coming from the apartment. But no one has actually seen the suspects, as the shutters were closed. And according  to journalist Fernando Mugica there were no sign of bullet impacts that should exist there after an exchange of gunfire[18]. The decisive argument supporting the suicide theory is that the suspects allegedly had communicated by telephone with their families during the siege to say goodbye. During the trial, the only family member summoned to testify about those phone calls was the brother of one of the seven suspects, a certain  Abdenabi Kounjaa. This witness said in court that he could not recognize the voice of his brother during the call, and that he did not think it was him :

Testimony of Abdelkader Kounjaa, April 9, 2007:

"the voice he had ... I had doubt about whether it was the voice of my brother. And I asked him: who is this? And he said to me: It’s Abdulá. And I responded: Who is Abdulá? And he said, I am Abdulá. And I said: Who is Abdulá?  -Your brother." [19]

This is the reason why he immediately alerted the police and did not call back to convince his brother not to commit suicide. That testimony casts serious doubt on the authenticity of the calls, especially if one considers that no other family was summoned to testify as a witness. The investigative file contains three successive reports on those calls, but provides no further clarification of the matter. Each report contradicts the previous one in various aspects: the phones used, the identity of certain recipients of calls, and the number of calls made to some recipients [20]. All these differences justify doubts about the reliability of such information.

Did the suspects really commit suicide? What circumstances brought about these individuals to that apartment? By April 3, 2004, the media had already been announcing for four days that the seven suspects were being searched for and their pictures were publicized. Considering this fact, it was extremely foolish for them to meet together in an apartment outside Madrid, instead of escaping each by his own means. And why would these men, had they committed a massive crime a short while earlier, wait for the police to evacuate the entire neighborhood before blowing up their apartment? The inconsistencies do not end there. Looking at the movements of the suspects from the time of the attack to the moment of their alleged suicide, we learn, for example, that El Chino was partying with his wife’s family eight days after the attack in the same house where he allegedly assembled the bombs. The very profile of most of the members of the cell does not correspond to the radical Islam attributed to them as a motive for perpetrating the massacre and later commit suicide. Four of them were petty criminals linked to the drug trafficking milieu, not something compatible with religious Islam. El Chino lived with a native Spaniard, who wore showy clothes, and their son went to a Catholic school [21]. The death of the other seven suspects allowed, in any case, the promotion of a scenario that would not be questioned, and which the accused could not challenge.

Moreover, journalists who have had access to the investigative file [22] have cast doubt regarding an alleged connection between the seven «suicidees» and Zougam. According to these journalists, there is nothing in the documents provided by the phone company Amena to indicate that the seven SIM cards in question had been put into use at the home of El Chino. The defense brought up that issue during the trial, but the Amena employees who testify as experts ignored the defense’s questions. [23]

The last major element in support of the Islamic attack theory is the van (the Renault Kangoo). The verdict stated that several unidentified members of the terrorist cell [24], used the van to arrive to the station with their bombs. The court, therefore, disregarded the evidence given during the trial by the dog handler who participated in the inspection of that vehicle. Although the dog handler admitted the possibility that he could have overlooked a small piece of explosive, that expert stated that the handling of bags with dozens of kilograms of explosives would have left a trace of smell inside the vehicle that his dog would have detected. 

Testimony of dog trainer, protected witness #28226, March 19, 2007:

"[Question :]In the event that the van had been transporting 50 or 30 kilos of explosives, would the dog have detected that smell?  

— Yes, he would have detected it, he would have immediately, because explosive residues remain and the dog would have detected it."[25]

Furthermore, the attendant who brought the Kangoo van to the attention of the police stated that he thought the individuals were East Europeans, and the train station employee who sold a ticket to one of the individuals claimed that he spoke without an accent [26]. Regarding this point, once again the behavior of the suspects is surprising. Would masked individuals turn to a ticket vendor instead of buying their ticket at a vending machine? Why run the risks of using a stolen vehicle without changing its license plates? And why did the terrorists abandon that vehicle with detonators, explosives and clothing inside it?  It does not make sense.

These numerous unexplained and implausible aspects of the supporting evidence undermine the credibility of the Islamic attack theory. And that is just the beginning. 

In his book Les Dessous du Terrorisme [27], Gerhard Wisnewski shows, for example, the inconsistency in the various Islamist claims of responsibility for the attack. In accepting the theory of Islamist responsibility, the Spanish court also dismissed these inconsistencies as insignificant.

The shadow of the police

Is there other evidence to support the theory of an Islamist attack or to steer the investigation in another direction? The problem is that key elements of the investigation have been neglected to a disturbing extent. First, the train coaches where the bombs exploded were destroyed just two days after the attack [28]. Such hasty destruction of a "crime scene" is by and itself highly suspect.  In 2006, a subway train that had suffered an accident in Valencia was kept for 2 years because of the needs of the investigation. The court acknowledged in its ruling that such hasty destruction was not usual:

Appeals Judgment, page 652: 

"In spite of that, such a hasty destruction and even the insistence on its necessity may seem surprising, preventing as it did a more deliberate and thorough investigation of details which might have been relevant to the investigation." [29]

But the most important of the doubts has to do with the nature of the explosive used. The analysis of the chemicals deposited on the objects located near the explosions would have provided key clues for the investigation. Still, no one knows exactly what it was that exploded on the trains, as admitted in the verdict [30].  Why wasn’t  possible to determine the type of explosive used? The first reason was negligence in selecting the agency that performed the analysis of the samples. The responsibility for that analysis was given to bomb disposal specialists, whose laboratories had only rudimentary methods for analysis of explosive substances. Under the usual procedure, forensic police should have conducted the analysis, because it possessed more advanced methods.

The results of the analysis were thus very imprecise. The report submitted to the investigative judge indicated the presence of generic components of dynamite" in the samples. But the report does not specify what type of dynamite it was. Was it Titadyne, Goma-2 Eco? Even more surprising, it does not include a list of chemical components found in the samples. Faced with so much uncertainty, the court ended up ordering a new expert analysis at the time the trial began in 2007. Unfortunately, the new expert analysis had to rely on the already analyzed samples, since they could not collect new samples due to the previously mentioned destruction of the trains. The experts complained about the small number of samples kept by police and the contamination of these samples due to serious negligence in the course of the previous analysis [31]. Finally, their findings did not shed more light on the type of explosive used, given that those findings include a list of products that do not correspond to the composition of any explosive [32].

At the end of this whole process, the director of the laboratory of bomb deactivation specialists answered questions about the work she had accomplished in March 2004. But she testified that she no longer possessed the chromatography media in which the chemical elements appeared [33]. She did not even have the documents in which the experts had made notes during their analysis [34]. She nevertheless shocked the court when she recited for the first time the precise listing of chemical compounds found, explaining that she had never turned over that list because no one had explicitly asked for it : 

Testimony of the laboratory director of bomb-disposal specialists, expert #17632, May 28, 2007:

"[Question from the lawyer for the victims’ association:] Why did you wait until today to make them known and in these three years they were referred to only as "generic components of dynamite"? (...) 

— Excuse me, they told me which components there were, and I mean we were talking uh without me being told in detail what came out of the analysis, they never gave that to me. (...) And I do not remember anyone asking me at anytime in these four years to write down the components."[35]

The imprecision of the analysis report had led to such a huge controversy in Spain during the three years between the attack and the testimony of the laboratory’s director that her explanation was laughable. Can any credence can be given to that list,  mentioned first  after three years and which corresponds to the composition of Goma-2 Eco dynamite?

To the questions surrounding the nature of the explosives must be added the doubts that led to the statements of the chief of the bomb-dismantling specialists who oversaw operations on March 11. Upon seeing the damage the bombs had caused, the chief of the specialists stated that the visible tearing of the coaches’ structures was characteristic of military-grade explosives,  not of dynamite :

Indictment, page 53: Statement by the chief of bomb disposal specialists in Madrid:

«  It was clearly not Titadine because this type of explosive bites, meaning it does not cut cleanly, while on the other hand a high explosive cuts completely and, once the results of the explosion are seen, it could be C3 or C4  » [36].

It is important to remember that certain military explosives leave no chemical traces at the scene of an explosion, which make them very difficult to detect. Another source of doubt is the location of the bombs as reconstructed in the indictment [37]. According to that document, most of the backpacks, which contained 10 kilograms of explosives, were not hidden but left, for example, between two seats facing each other next to a window, or in the baggage area, or beside the trash bin, or under a folding seat (which would have popped up when the suspect left his seat). Only one of the bombs was hidden under a non-folding seat.

Why didn’t the terrorists try to better hide the backpacks ? And how is it possible that such heavy bags, abandoned in such visible places, did not attract the attention of the passengers? To answer these questions, several journalists expressed the hypothesis that the bombs were very much smaller and were not made of dynamite but rather of high-powered explosives [38]. The Goma-2 Eco dynamite found in the Kangoo van, in the Vallecas backpack, and in the Leganes apartment does not prove that the same explosive was used to blow up the trains. These discrepancies suggest that the latter were  intended to divert attention from the crime scene, in other words, away from the trains. 

One final example of negligence: the recordings of conversations among police patrols would have helped to clarify the issue of the chase that allegedly took place in Leganés. But when the judge asked for these recordings, the police said they had not been preserved [39].

More serious than these acts of negligence is the existence of strong suspicions of falsification of various elements of the investigation. We have already mentioned the Vallecas backpack, the Kangoo van and the goodbye phone calls by the Leganés «suicidees.»  But there are other elements whose fabrication is so obvious that the verdict didn't take them into account, such as, for example, the telephone recordings of Rabei Osman, an Egyptian who lived in Italy. Italian police recorded and translated his conversations in 2004, and in one of them he allegedly took responsibility for organizing the attacks. During the trial, new translations requested by the defense showed that the statements in which Osman took credit for organizing the attack had simply been invented by the Italian translators :

Court Judgment, page 634:

"The statements of Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, in which, according to the accusations, he takes credit for masterminding the attacks, stating that "the idea of Madrid was mine ... it was my most cherished project, etc.", are clearly erroneous." [40]

After Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed had been widely presented as the brain of the Islamist group, the Spanish court was nevertheless obliged to absolve him of all ties to the attack. Thus the verdict does not name anyone who actually masterminded the attack, a fact which provoked the indignation of victims’ associations, who appealed the verdict.

The most notorious fabrication by investigators is a Skoda Fabia car that police found near the Alcala metro station, 20 meters from where the Kangoo van was found. The Skoda Fabia was found on June 13, 2004, in other words, three months after the attacks. This second vehicle allowed the strengthening of the argument that the seven or eight terrorists reached Alcala by car, which also bore traces of DNA from one of those killed in Leganés. Nevertheless, many observers doubt that a vehicle parked so close to the Kangoo would have remained there unnoticed for three months, let alone when considering that its registration number was not even mentioned in records collected on March 11.

That piece of evidence thus floated in limbo until June 2005, when police delivered the testimony of a Chilean prisoner to the investigative judge. This prisoner claimed to have stolen the Skoda and sold it in October 2003 to one of those killed in Leganés. But this evidence was once again discredited in March 2006, when a journalist from El Mundo revealed the testimony of a security guard in a suburb of Madrid where the Skoda was abandoned in November 2003. According to this new witness, the vehicle had been improperly parked for three weeks and had received numerous parking violations until it disappeared. By verifying the records of parking violations, it was discovered that the Skoda had been involved in various crimes, including street robberies. These crimes were committed between September and October 2003, a period during which the car was supposedly in possession of the Chilean witness. Until then the police, as well as the witness, had totally concealed those facts from the investigative judge. When the judge tried again to examine the South American prisoner, the judge learned that the man had been discreetly extradited to Chile. 

These anomalies are complemented by implausibilities.  To commit one of the worst terrorist attacks ever committed in Europe, the «terrorists» were supposedly unable to come up with anything better than using a stolen car that had been involved in a series of crimes, then  abandoning that car with unchanged license plates in a street where it accumulated numerous parking violations. The court, sensing the absurdity, removed the Skoda from the list of material evidence in its verdict [41]. 

All of the above is topped by dubious testimonies.  Emilio Trashorras confirmed that police had asked him to invent the episode according to which he was the person who provided the explosives to El Chino [42]. He might have thought that  he would enjoy the status of a protected witness and would have no more problems with the law. For his part, the witness Hassan Serroukh told the investigative judge that his statement to police had been falsified. In that testimony he allegedly described Zougam as a religious fanatic, something that Serroukh claims he never said [43].

Negligence and suspected fabrications by some police elements have pervaded the investigation of the events. But suspicions are heightened even further when examining the preparations for the attack that were presented in the verdict. 

Two key players in the attack were actually informants for the security forces [44]. The first, Zouhier, put the terrorist cell in contact with an explosives trafficker. The investigation revealed that the Civil Guard, which controlled this informant, called him during the two days preceding the attack. The second, Trashorras, was nothing less than the actual explosives trafficker. He conducted several telephone conversations with his police contact the day before, the day after and two days after handing the explosives to El Chino. But his police contact maintains Trashorras told him nothing about that fact. In addition, the mobile phones used to assemble the bombs were unlocked at a phone store belonging to a Spanish policeman of Syrian origin, Maussili Kalaji [45].

Was it a coincidence that all these «terrorists» were linked to the police? Was it mere «negligence» that none of them were denounced by the police informants before the crime? Apparently, the «terrorists» were also lucky regarding the surveillance to which they were subjected by the police. As discovered in police records, the police had been closely monitoring since January 2003 an Islamic group which included several of those who would later die in Leganés.  This group was under surveillance during 81 days between January 2003 and February 2004. This surveillance appears to have intensified during the first half of February 2004, ceasing abruptly on February 17, that is, eleven days before the delivery of the explosives, and twenty-four days before the attack itself [46]. The same good luck will later accompany the two accomplices of the terrorist cell whose telephone conversations were intercepted in the course of an investigation into drug trafficking. These phone taps were suspended abruptly on March 12, 2004,  i.e. the day after the attack [47].

Let’s consider one last example in which the long shadow of the police is visible behind the terrorists. After the explosion of the apartment in Leganés, several documents regarding ETA appeared among the ruins. It was determined later that these documents had originated in the neighboring apartment, which was partly destroyed.  So far, so good. But that neighboring apartment was occupied by a policeman who - surprise, oh surprise - specialized in counter-terrorism :

Court Judgment, page 563:

Pages 73,357 and 73,358 record the appearance before the court of an official #73158 of the National Police Force who, after explaining that until July 2003 he had been assigned to the special monitoring area of the information department of the police and that he had lived at number 40 Martín Gaite in Leganés, identified a folder of documents with his name and official number.[48]

All these suspicious behaviors, before and after the attack, linked to the obvious inconsistency of the Islamist theory, suggest that the real culprits were under the protection of the state apparatus. This was confirmed in the trial, which revealed evidence and testimonies shattering the official version and absolved the alleged organizer from guilt.  This raises the question: Who were the real culprits? A serious investigation should adopt a systematic approach: draw up an exhaustive list of tracks, then follow each track, seeking clues and motives. We will examine one of these hypotheses, namely that of a false flag operation mounted by secret services of NATO states.  But before proceeding, we will  briefly present all the hypotheses that should be explored if the investigation should be reopened.

Listing the suspects

The general public is aware of two hypotheses about the perpetrators of the attack:  The dominant one is that of an autonomous Islamist outfit, the other is that imputed to ETA  by José María Aznar, who used that hypothesis to justify his Basque policies. Spanish journalists have explored at least four additional tracks that might have involved secret services mounting the operation under false flags. The six hypotheses are as follows:

- 1. Islamists: This is the thesis adopted by all mainstream media, with the exception of some Spanish media, such as El Mundo. In French, the main book available about the Madrid attacks “Manipulation: Madrid, March 11” espouses this point of view [49]. Note that the book’s author, Jean Chalvidant is a member of the editorial board of the neo-conservative magazine Le meilleur des mondes (Brave New World) [50] explicitly established in conjunction with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies [51] to serve as a mouthpiece for French neocons and counter the influence of the Voltaire Network and its supporters. [52] Despite all the inconsistencies we have outlined, this hypothesis has been endorsed by the judicial authorities. It should be noted that in two important respects its conclusions differ from those generally accepted by the public. First the perpetrators have no link to Al Qaeda. [53] And secondly, the attack was not committed in retaliation to Spain 's participation in the invasion of Iraq, because the preparations for the Madrid attacks preceded that war.

- 2. ETA: After 30 years of terrorism and hundreds of casualties, the Basque separatist organization became moribund after years of police raids. ETA nevertheless appeared as the usual culprit in the initial headlines of daily newspapers and newscasts, before elements pointing to an Islamist attack turned the focus in another direction. The purpose of the attack could have been to bring to power José Luis Zapatero, who was more favorable to the autonomy of the Spanish provinces.

- 3. The Moroccan secret services: The majority of defendants have Moroccan nationality.  Spanish-Moroccan relations have experienced several episodes of extreme tension, the latest being the 2002 dispute concerning the sovereignty of the small island Persil, in which troops of both sides had been involved. The demise of PM Aznar in favor of Zapatero, considered more conciliatory and conveniently in disfavor in the United States, was said to have benefited in Morocco.

- 4. A sector of the Spanish secret services close to the Socialists: The first dramatic consequence of the Madrid attack was the accession to power of Zapatero, to whom the polls forecasted defeat. Suspicion surrounding the manner in which the investigation was conducted led some journalists to think that the chief of state was behind this crime (although he had taken office only five weeks after the attack). This highly subversive theory is suggested by the right-wing journalist Luis del Pino, who became the leading reporter on the investigation of the attack, after Fernando Mugica from El Mundo left this field around 2007 [54].

- 5. Secret services opposed to the participation of Spain in the "Coalition of the Willing" against Iraq: The second dramatic consequence of the attacks was the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq, as promised by Zapatero in an election campaign he did not expect to win. But the withdrawal appears to be a setback for the "Coalition of the Willing", although its effect was more symbolic than tangible. Some investigators suspect therefore that behind the Madrid attacks were powers opposed to that Coalition led by the United States, such as "old Europe” (France and Germany), Russia and China [55].

- 6. Secret services who support the "war on terrorism”:  They would have enjoyed the support of a sector of the Spanish state apparatus, at least when the investigation was shifted to another direction. We will now focus on this theory, also defended by journalist Bruno Cardeñosa [56], starting by revealing clues linking the Madrid attack to the United States, whose government was the main promoter of the so-called "war on terror". 

The Vallecas bag and the finger-prints in the Kangoo:  Exhibits falsified by elements of the state apparatus, suggesting a trans-Atlantic link.

A first link between the attack and the United States appears in late March 2004 with the appearance of a mysterious photograph of the Vallecas bomb bag. This is the only known photograph so far of the main criminal exhibit, an object of great controversy. In the night of March 11 to 12, 2004, an officer of the forensic police went to the location where bomb experts were busy disabling the Vallecas bomb, in order to ensure a photographic documentation of the bomb, in accordance with regular procedures. As the bomb had not yet been deactivated, he remained aside and allegedly entrusted his camera to one of the EOD (Explosive Device Disposal) technicians and saw several flashes. Once the bomb was disabled he tried to approach it with his camera but to his great astonishment the EOD technicians barred him the access. A high-ranking police official then demanded from him the film, which since disappeared and was never seen anymore. [57].

In that month of March 2004 no photo of  the Vallecas bomb was therefore published. This uncertainty was reinforced by contradictory explanations in the media about the reason why the bomb hadn't exploded. We were first told that the terrorists had forgotten to activate the SIM card, then that they had mistakenly programmed the explosion for 7:30 pm and not for 7:30 am., or that the electrical power supplied by the phone was insufficient to trigger the bomb. All these versions were later denied. The most incredible explanation was that which was invoked to justify the arrest of Jamal Zougam, the only person alleged to have planted a bomb and who was incarcerated. The shell of the phone was deemed to have been chipped and the small missing piece of plastic was allegedly found in his home. While most of the media claimed that the bomb was composed of a model Motorola Triumph, the official version accepted ultimately that it had been a Mitsubishi Trium [58]

On March 30, the U.S. television network ABC News broadcast the single photo known to date of the bomb, a photograph adopted uncritically by all Spanish media. It was to fill the void left by the disappearance of the film and it gave credibility to the bomb, which  till then was clouded by doubts. But the photograph gave rise to new questions that have not yet been answered. Who took this photo? In what circumstances? And why did it surface in the United States, far from the Spanish media who followed the case closely? Intrigued, Luis del Pino questioned ABC correspondents in Spain, to whom the photo was attributed, but they denied being the sources and did not know how the leaders of ABC News obtained it. [59]

On May 6, 2004, eyes turned again back to the United States when Newsweek revealed that Brandon Mayfield, a U.S. lawyer, had been arrested in the State of Oregon a few days earlier. His fingerprints had been allegedly found on the packaging of detonators found in the Kangoo that terrorists are believed to have used. Throughout the month of May, and notwithstanding the doubts expressed by the New York Times, Newsweek claimed police sources had confirmed the reliability of the evidence (against Mayfield). Thus on May 17, “a senior U.S. counter-terrorism official  told Newsweek that the identification of the fingerprints is incontrovertible." [60] The FBI had identified the fingerprints shortly after the attack and had then subjected Mayfield to surveillance. It was the fear of leaks to the press that explained the discreet arrest. A bombshell exploded on May 20, as Spanish police announced that it had, for its side, identified the fingerprints as those of Ouhnane Daoud, an Algerian living in Spain. U.S. authorities took notice and released Mayfield on the very same day, offering him – a rare occurrence – apologies of the FBI and compensation. As for Daoud, he is still at large to this day, making it impossible to assess the reliability of his identification.

It is worth noting how convenient it was to identify Daoud, who went unnoticed during the two months that followed the attack, but was identified in the weeks following Mayfield’s arrest. Mayfield’s credentials also arouse suspicion. He is deemed a low-profile lawyer without much activity who had converted to Islam. He had defended in a family law case a U.S. citizen accused later of terrorism. But it was his relationship with the U.S. military that attracts the most attention: Mayfield is a reserve officer after spending 8 years in the army including a year in an intelligence unit. [61]

The two indices we have discussed concern the two main pieces of physical evidence: The Vallecas bag and the Kangoo. Before continuing our investigation, let us open a parenthesis in order to consider what may seem a contradiction. We noted how inconclusive the evidentiary items (the Vallecas bag, the Kangoo, but also testimonies, telephone data, etc.) are. The observer is necessarily surprised that the protagonists - whoever they were - would display such clumsiness while manufacturing a bogus track. Several investigators, including Luis del Pino [62], proposed the following explanation for this paradox: the Vallecas bag and other evidence may have been made hastily because "they" predicted that the investigation would be based on two unexploded bombs found in the morning trains. “They” would have deliberately assembled the two bombs defectively and would have  made them bear carefully selected indices. By such means the police was helped to build the appearance of a solid investigation. But unexpectedly the two devices exploded during the deactivation process, thereby destroying the evidence planted on the devices and intended to be discovered. To deal with this unexpected occurrence, "they" had to improvise – albeit imperfectly – the items that we know. Thus the Vallecas bag emerges in a police station among a collection of personal effects that had nevertheless been searched previously and should have been at the morgue like any other personal items. At the same time the evidence incriminating the Islamists appears in the Kangoo, but only after it was transported to the police station: An earlier search where the Kangoo was discovered revealed nothing.

This hypothesis of two "decoy bombs" was confirmed by the testimonies at the trial of the bomb experts who have deSactivated one of them. They found the device on the platform and not on the train. And even if a municipal police officer testified that he found the bag in a coach and had transported to the platform , it is unlikely that the device was left unattended and that the bomb experts had "rediscovered" it. Importantly, the intact appearance of the bag containing the bomb cast doubt upon the claim that it came from the train because all the objects that came out of the coachs showed signs of impact, smoke, etc. [63] These elements suggest that the bag was planted on the platform shortly after the explosions, and not that it was in the train as other bombs. The apparent contradiction between the wobbly nature of pieces of evidence and the involvement of a secret service, find with this hypothesis a possible explanation.

The activation and the nature of the explosives: Military equipment or amateurism?

Let us continue our analysis and add two elements which confirm that the attack was the work of a military-style organization and not of a gang of delinquents. First, the 10 bombs were probably activated by remote radio control systems rather than scheduled in advance with the mobile phone alarm clock function as the official version has it. Indeed three trains exploded while they stopped in the Atocha, El Pozo and Santa Eugenia stations, while the fourth bomb exploded outside Atocha where he awaited the departure of the first train. Unless one considers that an extraordinary coincidence, it can be presumed that the terrorists wanted the bombs to explode at the stations. But such result is extremely difficult to achieve in advance by scheduling the start time. First, because the mobile phones allegedly used do not allow a very precise setting of the clock and alarm:One can set minutes but not seconds. And secondly because commuter trains are not strictly punctual. In that case some trains were actually late that day, the El Pozo, for example was "a couple of minutes late" according to the testimony of its driver. [64] Explosions were therefore not scheduled in advance but triggered in real-time. The means of radio transmission suggest a sophisticated operation, out of reach of the small band of offenders designated by the official version. This being so, why did the planners desire that they explode in the train stations? The reason could be that these locations were more easily and discreetly accessible, thus corroborating the hypothesis of two "decoy bombs" planted after the explosions.

Secondly, everything indicates that the bombs were loaded with military explosives, which “cut", and not with mining dynamite, which “bites”, as was mentioned earlier. In his explanation to the trial judge, the chief of the Madrid EOD technicians refers even to C4 military explosive [65]. We recall in passing that this is the type of explosive that German police had intercepted on Americans agents who tried to smuggle it to the G8 summit in June 2007. [66]

The matrix of the operation is therefore clearly  military, as confirmed by Salvador Ortega, pioneer of the Spanish forensic police, interviewed by Bruno Cardeñosa a few days after the attack. Asked about the unsolved aspects of the ongoing investigation, he pointed out the absence of "some concrete perpetrators and a mastermind, because behind these facts, very sophisticated elements appear to have participated, probably under the direction of a member of intelligence and the military; and also because it was a very expensive operation."[67].

CMX 2004: Simulation or NATO cover-up?

Having demonstrated that unidentified entities of the state apparatus falsified evidentiary items to divert the investigation onto a wrong track and cover-up a military-style operation, it is legitimate to consider that the Madrid bombings have been committed by a military secret service.

According to Eric H. May, a former intelligence officer in the U.S. Army [68], "the easiest way to mount a false flag operation is to conduct a military exercise which simulates exactly the desired operation ". [69] Indeed, as in the attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States and those of 7 July 2005 in London, the Madrid bombings have coincided with a simulated terrorist attack [70] From 4 to 10 March 2004, NATO carried out its annual crisis management exercise called CMX 2004 [71], and on the morning of March 11 real bombs exploded in Madrid.

The scenario developed this year by NATO for its exercise was precisely a vast terrorist attack by Al Qaeda across western countries. In spain, the office of its prime minister, the Ministry of Defence and the CNI (secret services) took part in the exercise. It is not known, however, if the exercise included activities in the Spanish capital, because the respective data is confidential. In one of the rare media mentions of this exercise, El Mundo wrote: "The similarity between the scenario developed by NATO with the events that occurred in Madrid sends a cold shiver down the spine and had been noted by diplomats, military officials and intelligence services who participated in the exercise only a few hours earlier. "[72] The details of exercise CMX 2004 being classified, it is unfortunately not known where the similarity ends.

The sudden departure of a large CIA team

Another disturbing coincidence is the stop-over in Spain of a clandestine CIA aircraft. These aircraft have since been made famous because of the kidnappings’ scandal and the revelation of secret prisons in Europe, in the framework of the U.S. program of "extraordinary renditions". [73] A Boeing 737 with tail number N313P landed March 9, 2004 at the airport in Palma, on the Spanish island of Majorca, and took off on March 12, the day after the attack. [74] This aircraft is the largest that has been used for these secret flights and the principal aircraft cited in the report of the Council of Europe in 2006 (regarding “extraordinary renditions”).  Palma is for its part described as a "hinge platform in the CIA rendition program" [75]

Having been awarded prizes for their investigation into the CIA rendition flights, journalists of the local daily El Diario de Mallorca, were interviewed by the Cadena SER, the most popular Spanish radio. Concluding the interview they revealed: "On March 11, 2004, the Boeing 737 of the CIA was in Palma. The next day it departed hurriedly because its take-off schedule had been changed. The crew claimed to fly to Sweden but they actually went to Baghdad."[76] What was the reason for this rush to depart, just hours after  the discovery of the famous Vallecas bag? In addition to this haste, it is the very presence of the aircraft in Spanish territory at the time of the attack that draws attention. According to the Commission of the European Parliament on the CIA flights, 125 secret flight by the US  agency landed on a Spanish airport from 2001 to 2005 [77] (a period of about 1500 days). As these stop-overs usually last one or two days [78], the simultaneity of two events is a remarkable coincidence.

NATO, a suspect with a sordid history

In a country which, since its return to democracy, has undergone several attempts of military coups, it is not conceivable that nostalgic Franquist forces could mount an operation such as the Madrid bombings without being immediately unmasked. It is, however, possible that a foreign military secret service could hatch this operation, and should the need arise, recruit personnel from that Spanish movement always sensible to the Reconquest myth.

Historical background is necessary here. As in all of Western Europe, a secret network headed by NATO was established in Spain shortly after World War II [79] despite the fact that because of its political system, Spain has only joined the Alliance in 1982. In a reference book , The Secret Armies of NATO [80] , the Swiss historian Daniele Ganser described these secret networks, called “stay-behind” groups ( i.e. they can be activated behind the front lines during an enemy occupation ) and popularly known under the generic name of the Italian unit “Gladio” ( the Sword ). Ganser demonstrates how these units have committed false flag terrorist attacks in the context of the so-called "strategy of tension". The objective was to justify the strengthening of the security apparatus and prevent the participation of Communist parties in government coalitions by generating public fear of the “commies.” Spain played "a crucial role in the recruitment of Gladio agents" , and also served them as a refuge. Thus Spain reportedly hosted Stefano Delle Chiaie, deemed "the best known members of terrorist secret armies who fought communism in Europe and the world during the Cold War," to whom  "a thousand bloody operations , with about 50 murders” are attributed. The network acted "against the communists and anarchists , particularly among miners in Asturias and [against] Catalan and Basque nationalists" Admiral Carrero Blanco, the master architect of [Spain’s] secret services and Franco’s right-hand man,  was " his liaison officer with the CIA ," and his intelligence apparatus "one of the best allies of the CIA in Europe " [81].

Although they were allegedly designed to lead national resistance during a hypothetical Soviet invasion, nothing suggests that the stay-behind networks were dismantled since the collapse of the Eastern bloc. U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and NATO incidentally maintain in Spain the naval and intelligence base of Rota and the Moron Air Base. Finally, the Southern Command of NATO was installing the headquarters of its ground troops in Madrid at the time of the attacks. [82]

Note that the secret services of the U.S. Navy and Air Force, respectively NCIS and OSI, enjoyed during the period under consideration here, an amazing freedom of action. In April 2002, José María Aznar and George W. Bush amended the bilateral defense agreement between the two countries. This agreement legalized for the first time the presence of these two secret services in Spain who were also given police prerogatives. The deliberately vague wording of the agreement provided a large margin of action: “The respective authorities of the two countries will have to establish regulatory standards for the conduct of NCIS and OSI in Spain." In February 2006 the “Pimienta case” brought to light the lack of regulatory standards. The NCIS  kidnapped Federico Pimienta, a Marine deserter in Spanish territory , without any intervention by the Spanish police or judicial authorities. It was only following the controversy generated by this blatant violation of Spanish sovereignty that norms will be drafted, such as “prior accreditation of members of NCIS and OSI by the Spanish authorities " and the requirement that ”Spanish authorities be informed of any operation ". [83]

The search for the motive

In the event that NATO were involved in attacks, such as those of Madrid, the strategic decision to undertake a covert action should have been endorsed by the Coordinating Committee of the Allies for a specific purpose. The tactical conception of each operation, including that of Madrid, could only be taken by the United States and the United Kingdom, without reference to their Allies.

In other words, if the leaders of allied secret services had agreed to stage an operation in the "war on terrorism", General James Jones (SACEUR) [84], Ambassador Nicholas Burns (USA) [85] and Ambassador Peter Ricketts (UK) [86] could have decided to hit Madrid without the knowledge of the Spanish Government, possibly recruiting elements of the Spanish state apparatus to perform the operation.

The decision to resort to false-flag terrorism would have been linked to the overall strategy of the Alliance and not to parochial political interests, even if immediate political interests had actually distorted the assessment of the relevance of the operation. From this point of view, it is a mistake to interpret the involvement of NATO-led secret services as a function of Spanish elections or of the U.S. presidential elections.

The Atlantic Alliance is supposed to refrain from intervening in the internal political life of its Member States when the contending parties adhere to Atlantism  (The Spanish Socialist Party PSOE and the People's Party PP, The Republican and Democratic Parties in the United States, etc). His vision is much broader. Moreover, it is mistaken to place too great emphasis on the loss of power by the Spanish People's Party led by Aznar (who anyhow did not want to run another period) and the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq. Indeed, the Spanish Socialist government is a privileged partner to New Labour in power in the UK. A week after his election, Zapatero announced that his "top priority was the fight against terrorism." On the other hand, the Spanish contingent in Iraq constituted only the ninth in terms of enrollment: 1,300 men, that is than 1% of the total number of troops. In addition, the withdrawal from Iraq was offset by an increased commitment in Afghanistan.

Many Spanish commentators have asked themselves what prompted the terrorists, whoever they were, to act in the wake of the legislative elections. These commentators brought to light how the reactions of domestic actors were guided by their own interests. This, however, does not tell us anything about the intentions of the terrorists. Should the operation have been sponsored by NATO, the electoral context allowed to reinforce the theory of "clash of civilizations", namely that Muslims want to destroy democracy and Western institutions, independently of Al Qaeda. This is precisely the version chosen by the Spanish judicial authorities to explain the Madrid bombings as the British Justice had done about the London bombings [87]

Were NATO goals in this period likely to motivate such a plan? In 2004, the Atlantic Alliance is undergoing a major reorganization. On the one hand, NATO seems expanding: it is preparing to welcome new members and is committed to stabilize Kosovo, it ensures the safety of navigation in the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa, is deployed in Afghanistan, began deployment in Iraq, and it establishes a rapid intervention force capable of defending its interests anywhere in the world. On the other hand, NATO is undergoing a serious crisis: While in 2001, for the first time in its history, its members offered without hesitation their assistance to a victim of their own, which according to them had suffered foreign aggression, NATO is torn on the same issue in 2003: France and Belgium, for example, denied that Iraq was a terrorist threat to the United States, while Turkey has denied to the United States the use of its airspace and NATO bases in Turkey to attack Iraq. While apparently growing, the Alliance faces the danger of breaking-up. Its disunited members commit themselves in Iraq "a la carte.”. The only way to weld the ranks of the Alliance is to initiate new joint operations in the "war on terror.”

In this respect, the interests of NATO overlap those of the Bush administration, which embarked on a campaign to conquer the Middle East that was not to stop in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gen. Wesley Clark (former supreme commander of NATO) revealed in 2007 some details of this conquest plan in an interview on the Democracy Now channel: [88] After Afghanistan, the plan had been to "take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off, Iran"[89] The Madrid bombings could thus have rallied NATO members in support of this conquest plan.

The icon Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, whose terrorist credentials were blown up at the time by corporate media to the stature of a new Osama Bin Laden, would have permitted to overcome the differences between allies regarding the invasion of Iraq. This man was supposed to be the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, fighting as part of the resistance. José María Aznar, and others inspired by neo-conservative propaganda, accused Al Zarqawi of plotting attacks in Europe. Aznar specifically accused Al Zarqawi in parliament of threatening Spain [90]. To sum up, if some members of NATO doubted about a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq before the invasion, an attack on Europe organized by Al Zarqawi from Iraqi soil would have convinced them that the war against terrorism in Iraq and possibly elsewhere was legitimate,.

But a grain of sand can never be excluded: Aznar reacted in a totally unpredictable way in the hours following the attack by accusing ETA, thereby pulling behind him most Spanish media [91]. There was, therefore, no rapid consensus in imputing the attack to Al Zarqawi [92], as had been the case in the early hours of September 11 regarding bin Laden. Another consequence was that controversial anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzon, who led the Spanish investigation on all Islamic terrorism cases, endorsing thereby the neo-conservative propaganda (he was the only judge world-wide - including the United States - who formally charged bin Laden for the attacks of Sept. 11 ) was not assigned to the case of the March 11 attacks. And finally Spain did not request a NATO military response, as it could have done on the base of Article 5 of the Atlantic Treaty. It is difficult to know why Aznar had such a reaction. It is likely that the doubts felt by the experts about the authenticity of the bombs which were found on the platforms, and shared with their superiors, ended by causing confusion and perplexity in the minds of the Spanish leader. This would explain why the Madrid bombings were not sufficiently associated with Zarqawi, Iraq and the Middle East, to influence the policy of European leaders on these issues, as had perhaps been expected. Having said that, this attack still helped advance the Atlantist agenda on several other points.

Strengthening counter-terrorism among the Allies

As for the Atlantic Alliance, it first strengthens the control of the population in Europe by extending the provisions of the USA Patriot Act. Sociologist Jean-Claude Paye described the reaction of the European Union to the Madrid attacks in the introductory chapter of his book The End of the Rule of Law, as follows:

“In the wake of the 11 March 2004 in Spain, a set of terrorism experts appeared on our television screens who attempted to conflate Al Qaeda, the ETA and various political refugees, transforming" terrorism” into a generic term intended to supplant all concrete situations.”

One of the measures unanimously clamored for to avert this tentacular peril , was the immediate enactment of the European arrest warrant. The European arrest warrant allows an almost automatic extradition by a Member State of a requested person by a judicial authority of another Member State. In relation to traditional extradition procedures that new mandate removes all political and judicial controls regarding the merits and legality of the request, as well as possible appeals against it. The application for extradition is thus unconditionally legitimized by all other countries, whatever its legality or its compliance with the principles of the rule of law. The mandate was to take effect January 1, 2004. Adopted by the European Union and already integrated into most national legislations, however, this measure was difficult to implement. One of the first consequences of the Madrid attacks of March 11 was to remove the last resistance to the use of this procedure as well as to strengthen control measures taken in the framework of police and judicial cooperation between European countries. There is reason to fear the acceleration of the process that suspends constitutional guarantees, a process initiated in the aftermath of September 11. The first proposed measures include strengthening of police and judicial cooperation. An “intelligence capability" function will be tasked to analyze information provided by the secret services and the police forces of the Member States. Another measure was to adopt legislation allowing investigators from several countries to work in joint teams and ratify the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. It is also envisaged to promote the exchange of data such as fingerprints and biometric readings. The Council of Heads of State and Government also wants to achieve by 2005 the introduction of passports and identity cards that contain data such as the photograph of the iris and fingerprints. Airlines would also be required to communicate to European customs and police authorities a set of data about their passengers. This measure had already been implemented for the benefit of U.S. authorities regarding transatlantic flights.

These varied measures, such as passports or identity cards bearing chips with biometric data, have been under discussion for a long time. The attacks were simply an opportunity to overcome resistance to such draconian measures. Turning to the Madrid attacks, the impact of the new European measures would have been anyhow slight, because those arrested had lived in Spain for a long time and did not cross the border. They could not have been identified by the new measures. On the other side, however, these provisions are perfectly adequate  for the purpose of controlling a population. The organization Statewatch has demonstrated that of the 57 measures envisaged by the Council of Heads of State and Government on 25 and 26 March 2004, 27 proposals have little or nothing to do with terrorism. They are not designed to monitor specific groups but the entire population by monitoring communications "[93].

Jean-Claude Paye shows that mass surveillance of the population is instituted for the benefit of the institutions of the Member States of the European Union but also of the United States. "The development of transatlantic cooperation in the [so-called] fight against terrorism reveals the organic nature of criminal law in the formation of the imperial structure. The European Union subjects itself to American hegemony regarding the organization of mass surveillance (population control). As to the United States, their exigencies are rather prompted by the quest of their police and judicial institutions to circumvent the formal structures of European executive and judicial powers.”[94]

The extension of the "war on terrorism" in Africa

General Jones, Supreme Commander of NATO and also chief of U.S. Forces in Europe (EuCom), strive to create an ad hoc command of U.S. forces for Africa (AfriCom). To justify this deployment which worries Africans, he continuously harps on the terrorist threat in the continent. The same argument will be used to involve NATO in Africa. The puzzling decision of the Supreme Court [of Spain] to impute the Madrid bombings to Islamic terrorists from North Africa fits neatly into NATO’s Africa strategy.

During his African tour in July 2003, President Bush warned: "We will not allow terrorists to threaten African peoples, or use Africa as a base to threaten the world". [95] U.S. officials increasingly make statements alleging the establishment of Al Qaeda in the Sahel desert, allegations questioned by many observers. Beginning in March 2004, it will be the turn of the deputy commander of U.S. forces in Europe (EuCom, then also supervising Africa) to warn:  Al Qaeda members are trying to establish themselves "in the northern part of Africa, in the Sahel and the Maghreb. They search a sanctuary, like in Afghanistan when the Taliban were in power. They need a stable location to equip and organize themselves and to recruit new members." [96]

At the initiative of the United States, an unprecedented meeting takes place at EuCom headquarters in Stuttgart on 23 and 24 March 2004.  This meeting is attended by the chiefs of staff of eight North African countries and the United Kingdom. At this time all eyes are turned toward North Africa, in particular to Morocco, where GICM (Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group) is being suspected to be behind the Madrid bombings. It is decided [in this meeting] to launch the TSCTP (Trans-Saharian Counter-Terrorism Partnership). This ambitious plan envisages training by the United States of African armies to combat terrorism. [97] These training plans enable Americans to set foot on African soil and take discreetly charge of local armies. The choice of this deployment strategy responds to a need to reduce military losses caused by the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Madrid bombing occurred at the appropriate moment for Washington and London to impose TSCTP on eight African countries. The event created a climate of uncertainty, particularly due to a rumor announcing an impending landing of the U.S. Army in North Africa, on the model of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. This rumor, which proved to be false, was maintained by several Spanish, Algerian and Moroccan newspapers. [98] The important Spanish daily La Razon wrote, for example on 21 March 2004 "Units of U.S. special forces and CIA militarized troops are expected in the coming days in the Sahel region ( North Sahara). They will participate in the largest anti-terrorist operation conducted by the United States since the Iraq war. It is anticipated that the fighting will last several weeks. The armies of the countries in the region, which have already agreed to open their airspace to the U.S. Air Force, will participate in the operations under U.S. command (...) The beginning of the military operation, decided after the Madrid bombings of 11 March may coincide with (...) the coming 26th of March "[99]. This rumor gave the appearance of a psychological operation intended to put pressure on  African leaders regarding TSCTP. The arrival of U.S. military and British trainers could indeed appear to these leaders as a lesser evil compared with the landing of the U.S. military in their countries.

NATO, in any case,  did not want to get involved as such in TSCTP. NATO Member States only agreed to send troops to Africa, starting in 2005, in support of operations by the African Union in Sudan and Somalia. The Madrid bombings, presented as a punishment of Aznar for his involvement in the Iraq war (an allegation later rejected by the court), has indirectly permitted to conflate the Iraq conflict with the "war against terrorism”, in a logical continuation from Colin Powell’s deceitful speech to the Security Council of the United Nations [100]. Finally the wave of alleged Islamic attacks in Europe was interrupted after the “failed operation” in Barcelona in January 2008. [101]


Summarizing the above analysis, we can state that the ruling of the Spanish Supreme Court responds to political needs but not to the reality. Elements of the Spanish state apparatus intervened by doctoring evidence and by diverting the investigation towards a manufactured Islamist track. The attacks were committed by a military organization with accomplices in the state apparatus. NATO, whose terrorist past is well documented, possessed the know-how, the logistics and the motive to carry out this operation. NATO should be considered as the prime suspect should a new judicial investigation be undertaken.



[3] The presentation of evidence in the verdict (2007) is laid out in Hechos Probados (Proven Facts; pages 172 to 228) and Fundamentos Juridicos (Legal Fundamentals; pages 423 to 722). The legal argumentation is available, in French, at the blog of Jean Chalvidant, author of La Manipulation: Madrid, 11 mars, the primary book on the attack published in French.

[4] Despite its recent incorporation into the Interior Ministry, the Guardia Civil is essentially military)

[5] La dependencia ideológica respecto de los postulados defendidos por Al Qaeda resulta asimismo del contenido de las reivindicaciones de la autoría de los actos terroristas y del resto del material incautado. Sin embargo no aparece relación alguna de carácter jerárquico con otros grupos o con otros dirigentes de esa organización, lo que permite establecer que la célula que operaba en Madrid, en la medida en que ha sido identificada, no dependía jerárquicamente de otra y por lo tanto puede considerarse a los efectos penales como un grupo u organización terrorista diferente e independiente.

[6] No cuadra la concepción del teléfono móvil, porque, aunque es sencilla es muy ingeniosa, (...) y eso no cuadra con la pequeña chapuza entre comillas de no encintar los cables, ¿no ?, porque no es lógico.

[7] Interview with Carmen Baladia, head of forensic doctors on March 11, by Luis del Pino to Libertad Digital TV, January 23, 2008. Interview entitled: "But no nails, nor nuts, nor screws. No shrapnel was found in our 191 dead." (Pero ni clavos, ni tuercas, ni tornillos. No había metralla entre nuestros 191 muertos.)

[8] Lo que sí estoy totalmente convencido es de que después de la revisión de los TEDAX que trabajaron allí, no había ni una sola mochila que contuviese un artefacto explosivo. Y eso se lo puedo asegurar.

[9] "La fiscal prescinde del testigo clave de la custodia de la mochila de Vallecas" (Prosecutor ignores key witness on custody of Vallecas backpack), El Mundo, March 21, 2007.

[10] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 24, "Llamame"" (Call me).

[11] Lo cierto es que, como pusieron de manifiesto varias partes, en esa relación no aparece la bolsa de deportes que contenía el explosivo.

[12] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 17 "Los intocables" (The Untouchables)

[13] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres 2006), Chapter 21, "Déjà vu" (In French in the text).

[14] "La Sentencia del 11M. La autoría material (II) (The Sentence of March 11: The Material Author (II)), by Lucia Velasco, Asturias Liberal, September 1, 2008.

[15] Tres miembros de la célula terrorista descrita, sin que se tenga la certeza absoluta de sus identidades, se desplazaron hasta la localidad de Alcalá de Henares en una furgoneta blanca (...) Al tiempo, otros miembros del grupo hacían lo mismo subiendo a los trenes en lugares no determinados.

[16] Las enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 20 "La busca (The Search), paragraph "¿Cómo llegó la Policía al piso de Leganés?" (How did the police arrive to the Leganés apartment?).

[17] Nos llaman héroes (...) y somos tontos por ir donde fuimos (They call us heroes (...) and we were fools to go where we did),, April 7, 2004 (Cadena SER is the radio station with the largest audience in Spain) "Some of the special operations agents who participated in the assault on the apartment in Leganes last Saturday questioned the manner in which the assault on the building was ordered. This is the unabridged testimony compiled by Cadena SER." (Algunos de los agentes de operaciones especiales que participaron en el asalto del piso de Leganés el pasado sábado cuestionan la forma en la que se ordenó el asalto al inmueble. Este es el testimonio íntegro recogido por la Cadena SER.)

[18] Las piedras de Pulgarcito (The stones of Tom Thumb), by Fernando Mugica, El Mundo, March 11, 2005: "The rate of fire of these weapons is 300 per minute. But the casings of the bullets allegedly fired by those machine guns are not found in the exhaustive records of TEDAX and the Forensic Police. And where are the impact marks from these bullets? And what about the exact path of their trajectories, which is always mapped out in any police investigation?" (Trescientas por minuto es la cadencia de disparo de esas armas. Pero en la relación exhaustiva de los Tedax y de la Policía Científica no existen las vainas de los cartuchos presuntamente disparados por esas ametralladoras. ¿Y dónde están los impactos de esas balas ? ¿Y la marcación exacta de sus trayectorias, como se hace siempre en cualquier investigación policial?)

[19] La voz que tenía… que tenía duda como no si fuera mi hermano. Y le digo: ¿quién es ? Y me dice: Soy Abdulá. Y le digo: ¿quién es Abdulá ? Tu hermano.

It is important to point out that by completely overlooking the doubts expressed in this testimony, the verdict pushes the inconsistency to the extreme of citing this testimony as proof of the authenticity of the goodbye phone calls (pages 568-569).

[20] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 26 Las llamadas de Leganés (The Leganés calls).

[21] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 12 El cuento de El Chino", paragraph "A industrious terrorist".

[22] Los enigmas del 11M, (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chaper 39 "The Amena records", paragraph "What about the 7 cards?"

[23] Testimony of telephony experts, May 21, 2007. Question from Zougam’s defense attorney: "Could you indicate exactly in which volume of this report can be found the information that allows you to state that these 7 cards had been activated in Morata?" (Podrían indicar ustedes exactamente en qué folio de este informe se encuentra el dato que les permite afirmar que se encendieron esas 7 tarjetas en Morata ?) The experts failed to provide a concrete answer to this question.

[24] See Appeal Judgment (2008), page 7, Op. cit.

[25] En el caso de que en esa furgoneta se hubieran transportado 50 o 30 Kilos de explosivo ¿El perro habría detectado ese olor  ?- Si lo habría detectado, inmediatamente lo habría, porque quedan residuos del explosivo y el perro lo habría detectado. 

[26] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 5 "Las miguitas de Pulgarcito” (Tom Thumb’s crumbs), paragraph “La furgoneta de Alcala” (The Alcalá van).

[27] Les Dessous du Terrorisme (The behind the scenes of terrorism), by Gerhard Wisnewski, editorial Demi-lune (2007), pages 23 to 28.

[28] Court Judgment, page 476: "The trains, as stated in the case file, were scrapped on March 13, 2004."

[29] A pesar de ello puede resultar sorprendente una tan apresurada destrucción, que impidió un estudio posterior más reposado y en profundidad, e incluso su reiteración de haber sido necesaria, de aspectos que pudieran haber resultado de interés para la investigación. 

[30] Court Judgment, page 538: "No one knows with absolute certainty the type of dynamite that exploded on the trains."

[31] La nitroglicerina no ha venido volando (The nitroclycerin did not come flying), El Mundo, June 4, 2007, interview with one of the experts by Antonio Rubio. The expert: "When a chemist analyzes anything, he makes a solution that is passed through measurement devices and the results are saved. In this case they were not saved." (Cuando un químico analiza cualquier asunto, hace una disolución que pasa por unos equipos de medidas y lo que procede es reservarla. Pues aquí no estaban reservadas).

[32] Court Judgment, page 541: "The court, (...) accepts as fact that in each case there were components of GOMA 2 ECO, indicating that this dynamite was present at each of the locations on the trains, even though one can not rule out the presence of one or more other brands of dynamite.” (El Tribunal, (...) da por probado que en todos los casos aparecen componentes de la GOMA 2 ECO, lo que indica que ésta dinamita estuvo presente en todos los focos de los trenes, si bien no se puede descartar la presencia de otra u otras marcas de dinamita.)

[33] Testimony of the laboratory director of bomb-disposal specialits, expert #17632, May 28, 2007. Zougam’s Lawyer: "Were those plates saved?  — Obviously not." (¿Esas placas las conservan ? - Evidentemente no.)

[34] Ibid. Judge: "In other words, those from March 11 (notes taken by the laboratory director of the bomb-disposal specialists), relating to the analysis you did on March 11, were not retained? — Those particular ones, no." (O sea, las del 11 de marzo, la del análisis que hace usted el mismo 11 de marzo no las conserva ? - Esas mismas no.)

[35] I¿Por qué ha esperado hasta hoy para concretarlos y en estos tres años se refería únicamente a « componentes genéricos de dinamita » ? (...) - Perdone, a mí me hablaron de qué componentes había, y digo estuvimos hablando eh, sin que me dijeran detálleme los que le salen a usted en el análisis, a mí eso nunca se me produjo. (...) y yo no recuerdo que se me dijera en ningún caso en estos cuatro años que escribiera los componentes.

[36] Tenían claro que no era Titadine porque este tipo de explosivo muerde, es decir, que no tiene corte limpio, en cambio un alto explosivo corta totalmente y una vez visto los resultados de las explosiones podía tratarse de un C3 o un C4).

[37] Indictment, starting on page 78.

[38] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11) by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 10 "El tiempo debe detenerse" (Time must stop), paragraph "Tirando el hilo” (Pulling the thread).

[39] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 20 "La busca" (The search): Response of the police, May 20, 2005 - "In compliance with the request of the court ... regarding the events which took place in the locality of Leganés on April 3 and 4 of last year, it is hereby notified that, given the time elapsed, the tape recordings of that incident were not kept." (Dando cumplimiento a lo solicitado por ese Juzgado... respecto a los hechos ocurridos en la localidad de Leganés los días 3 y 4 de abril del pasado año, se participa que, dado el tiempo transcurrido, ya no se conservan las cintas de grabación de dicho suceso).

[40] las conversaciones de Rabei Osman EL SAYED AHMED en las que, según las acusaciones, se atribuye la autoría intelectual de los atentados al decir que «el hilo de lo de Madrid fue mio...era mi proyecto más querido, etc.», son claramente equívocas. And Court Judgment, page 720: "WE MUST AND DO ACQUIT (...) Rabei Osman EL SAYED AHMED (...) of all crimes that he had been accused. "[DEBEMOS ABSOLVER Y ABSOLVEMOS A (...) Rabei Osman EL SAYED AHMED(...) de todos los delitos de que venía acusado).

[41] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), chapter 29, "El Chileno" (The Chilean).

[42] Trashorras: “La Policía me ofreció dinero para incriminar a Zougam y El Tunecino“ (Trashorras: ’The police offered me money to incriminate Zougam and The Tunisian, El Mundo, September 15, 2006, interview of Trashorras by Fernando Mugica. "I told the judge that Jamal Ahmidan, who I knew as ’Mowgli’, carried the explosives because the police told me to say it [...]; I was threatened and coerced to testify that way." (Yo le dije al juez que Jamal Ahmidan a quien conocía como ’Mowgli’, llevaba los explosivos porque así me lo pidió la Policía [...]; fui amenazado y coaccionado para que declarase en ese sentido).

[43] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 7 ”Jamal Zougham, cabeza de turco" (James Zougham, scapegoat)

[44] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibroLibres, 2006), Chapter 9 Visperas de sangre (Vespers of blood), paragraph «Quinto enigma: llamadas de cortesía» (Fifth enigma: courtesy calls).

[45] Court Judgment, page 529: "An additional six [phones] were ordered (...) from the company Test Ayman by the employee Medina Cuenca, according to the corroborating statements of (...) and of Ayman Maussili Kalaji, owner of Test Ayman." (Otros seis fueron encargados (...) al establecimiento Test Ayman, S.L. por el empleado Cuenca Medina, según las declaraciones coincidentes de (...) y de Ayman Maussili Kalaji, dueño de Test Ayman, S.L.)

[46] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luís del Pino, (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 15 “Un ejercicio de escapismo" (An exercise in escapism), paragraphs «Con la Policía en los talones” and “El escape» (With the police on his heels and The Escape)

[47] Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 9 “Visperas de sangre" (Vespers of blood), paragraph “Cuarto enigma: el tiempo invertido” (Fourth enigma: the time invested).

[48] Consta a los folios 73357 y 73358 una comparencia del funcionario del Cuerpo Nacional de Policía con número 73.158 en la que, tras explicar que hasta julio de 2003 estuvo destinado en el área especial de seguimientos de la comisaría general de información y que vivía en el calle Martín Gaite número 40 de Leganés, reconoce una carpeta con documentos con su nombre y número profesional.

[49] La Manipulation: Madrid, 11 mars, par Jean Chalvidant, Cheminements Editions, 2004. The author presented his arguments on his blog.

[50] Website of the magazine Le Meilleur des mondes.

[51] « Les trucages de la Foundation for the Defense of Democracies », Réseau Voltaire, 2 février 2005.

[52] Cf. the first issue of the magazine.

[53]  Judgment in Appeal,  pages 581-582.

[54] Fernando Mugica is the precursor of media criticism of the official version and the author of forty articles entitled "The black holes of 11 March" published by El Mundo. While never making clear which theory he favored, he wrote in his article of 11 March 2005 entitled "Las Piedras to Pulgarcito": "The field work carried out for a friend – a successful writer – in view of a potential novel, led me to investigate during late autumn 2003 all data surrounding the September 11 attacks in the United States (...) I will not reveal my findings on September 11, but I can say that without this preliminary work, the [black] holes [of March 11] would never have emerged."

[55] This theory is particularly championed by Ernesto Mila in his book “11-M los perros del infierno” (Pyre, 2004), in which he also presents a testimony from the inside of far-right circles on the strategy of tension during the War cold.

[56]  Bruno Cardeñosa wrote equally about the mystifications of 9/11. See “Le 11 september, vu d’Espagne” by Sandro Cruz, Réseau Voltaire, 13 septembre 2004.

[57] Testimony in the trial of this member of the forensic police, a protected witness 17054,3 May 2007 

[58] This is particularly the case of El Pais, in its issues of 13, 14, 19 and 24 March 2004

[59] « Historia de la mochila numero 13 », by Luis del Pino, El Mundo, 19 March 2006

[60] « An American Connection », by Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, 17 May 2004

[61] Ibid. et « Arrest in Bombing Inquiry Was Rushed, Officials Say », by Sarah Kershaw and David Johnston, New York Times, 8 May 2004

[62] Los enigmas del 11M, par Luis Del Pino, (Libroslibres éd, 2006), Chapter 11 « Atando cabos ».

[63] Testimony in the trial of one of these EOD technicians, protected witness 54868, 19 March 2007. 

[64] Indictment, p. 4 

[65] Indictment, p.  53.

[66] « La police allemande déjoue une tentative d’attentat états-unienne contre le G8 », Réseau Voltaire, 11 June 2007

[67] “11-M Claves de una conspiracion,” by Bruno Cardeñosa (Espejo de tinta, 2004), page 123.

[68] His portrait: « Capitaine Eric H. May », par Alan Miller, Réseau Voltaire, 9 June 2009

[69] « False Flag Prospects, 2008 – Top Three US Target Cities », by Eric H. May,, 23 February 2008

[70] « Attentats de Londres: le même scénario se déroulait simultanément sous forme d’exercice ! » et « Ces exercices de simulations qui facilitent les attentats », Réseau Voltaire, 13 July and 13 September 2005.

[71] Press communiqué by NATO, 1 March 2004

[72] « La OTAN simuló un atentado en Europa con 200 muertos », by Carlos Segovia, El Mundo, 14 March 2004

[73] « La CIA “directement responsable” des “restitutions extraordinaires” de prisonniers en Europe, selon les députés européens », Réseau Voltaire, 14 June 2006

[74] « La investigación halla en los vuelos de la CIA decenas de ocupantes con estatus diplomático », by Andreu Manresa, El Pais, 15 November 2005

[75]  Allegations of secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees by State Members of the Europen Council, Report by Senator Dick Marty to the European Council, Réseau Voltaire, 12 June 2006.

[76] « El Diario de Mallorca gana el premio Ortega y Gasset de periodismo », Cadena Ser, 12 April 2006. An audio version of the interview is accessible online.

[77] « Un informe de la Eurocámara eleva a 125 los vuelos de la CIA que hicieron escala en España », El Mundo, 15 June 2006

[78] « La investigación halla en los vuelos de la CIA decenas de ocupantes con estatus diplomático », par Andreu Manresa, El Pais, 15 November 2005

[79] « Stay-behind: les réseaux d’ingérence américains », by Thierry Meyssan, Réseau Voltaire, 20 August 2001.

[80] Les Armées secrètes de l’OTAN, by Daniele Ganser (Demi-lune, 2007). This book has been published as a series of articles by Réseau Voltaire. 

[81] Les Armées secrètes de l’OTAN, by Daniele Ganser (Demi-lune, 2007), Chapter 7.

[82] Official website of CC-Land-Madrid.

[83] « Defensa rechaza que los servicios secretos de EE UU actúen por su cuenta en suelo español », 16 April 2006, et « España autorizará a los espías de EE UU a actuar bajo supervisión en territorio nacional », 18 February 2007, by Miguel Gonzalez, El Pais. It should be noted that during the period 2004-08, the United States has signed many agreements with its allies in order to enable their secret services to act freely within these states. For example in France: "France authorizes the action of U.S. services in its territory", by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 8 March 2004.

[84] General Jones, who twice refused to become Assistant Secretary of State in the Bush administration, was appointed National Security Adviser to the Obama Administration.

[85]  Now semi-retired, Ambassador Burns is the center of a controversy: According to documents released by Hamas, he was one of the main organizers of the poisoning of President Yasser Arafat.

[86] Peter Ricketts, former President of the Joint Intelligence Committee, became Secretary-General of the Foreign Office

[87] « Attentats de Londres: le rapport officiel écarte la piste “Al Qaïda” », Réseau Voltaire, 10 April 2006.

[88] Democracy Now, 2 March 2007

[89] Note, in hindsight, that all these countries have actually since then been destabilized, attacked or had their government overthrown.

[90] El Pais, 6 February  2003

[91] Even El Pais, which later blamed Aznar for hounding ETA, titled its story on March 11, «ETA’s Massacre in Madrid»

[92]  But it is worth noting that all those who were for some time designated as the «brain» of the bombings (Said Arel, Abdelkarim el Mejjati, Amer Azizi, Setmariam Nasar) will be presented as Al Zarkawi’s mates.

[93] “La Fin de l’État de droit”, by Jean-Claude Paye (La Dispute, 2004), pages 13 to 15.

[94] Ibid, page 12.

[95] « Activisme militaire de Washington en Afrique », by Pierre Abramovici, Le Monde Diplomatique, July 2004

[96] « Enquête sur l’étrange “Ben Laden du Sahara” », by Salima Mellah and Jean-Baptiste Rivoire, Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2005

[97] Presentation of TSCTP on the website of US AfriCom.

[98] See particularly the articles « Des soldats US dans le Sahel », by Lounés Guemache in the Algerian daily Liberté, 17 March 2004 ; « EE UU lanza en el Sahara una gran operación antiterrorista tras los atentados del 11-M », by Pedro Canales, La Razon, 21 March 2004 ; «Les USA se préparent à mener une grande opération contre le terrorisme au sud du Sahara » in the Moroccan daily Al Ahdath al Maghribiya, 22 March 2004.

[99] « EE UU lanza en el Sahara una gran operación antiterrorista tras los atentados del 11-M», by Pedro Canales, La Razon, 21 March 2004

[100] « Discours de M. Powell au Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU », Réseau Voltaire, 11 February 2003.

[101] « Comment la DGSE a déjoué une nouvelle vague d’attentats d’Al-CIA en Europe », by Thierry Meyssan, Réseau Voltaire, 7 February 2008.

  These documents can be found in various websites. For example :

Indictment :

Recordings of the trial hearings :

Transcriptions of the trial hearings :

Court Judgment :

Appeal Judgment :

The journalist Luis de Pino obtained access to the investigation dossier and compiled a remarkable critical analysis of that dossier, which was not seriously challenged by Spanish media.  It is, however, regrettable that his efforts were made under the umbrella of a reactionary right-wing internet news media, libertad digital.  This had the unfortunate consequence that his critique of the official account on 11M was ignored by a large segment of the population. His first book, los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11, LibrosLibres, 2006), can be read online on his blog

The presentation of evidence in the verdict (2007) is laid out in Hechos Probados (Proven Facts; pages 172 to 228) and Fundamentos Juridicos (Legal Fundamentals; pages 423 to 722). The legal argumentation is available, in French, at the blog of Jean Chalvidant, author of La Manipulation: Madrid, 11 mars, the primary book on the attack published in French.

Despite its recent incorporation into the Interior Ministry, the Guardia Civil is essentially military)

La dependencia ideológica respecto de los postulados defendidos por Al Qaeda resulta asimismo del contenido de las reivindicaciones de la autoría de los actos terroristas y del resto del material incautado. Sin embargo no aparece relación alguna de carácter jerárquico con otros grupos o con otros dirigentes de esa organización, lo que permite establecer que la célula que operaba en Madrid, en la medida en que ha sido identificada, no dependía jerárquicamente de otra y por lo tanto puede considerarse a los efectos penales como un grupo u organización terrorista diferente e independiente.

No cuadra la concepción del teléfono móvil, porque, aunque es sencilla es muy ingeniosa, (...) y eso no cuadra con la pequeña chapuza entre comillas de no encintar los cables, ¿no ?, porque no es lógico.

Interview with Carmen Baladia, head of forensic doctors on March 11, by Luis del Pino to Libertad Digital TV, January 23, 2008. Interview entitled: "But no nails, nor nuts, nor screws. No shrapnel was found in our 191 dead." (Pero ni clavos, ni tuercas, ni tornillos. No había metralla entre nuestros 191 muertos.)

Lo que sí estoy totalmente convencido es de que después de la revisión de los TEDAX que trabajaron allí, no había ni una sola mochila que contuviese un artefacto explosivo. Y eso se lo puedo asegurar.

"La fiscal prescinde del testigo clave de la custodia de la mochila de Vallecas" (Prosecutor ignores key witness on custody of Vallecas backpack), El Mundo, March 21, 2007

10  Los enigmas del 11M (The enigmas of March 11), by Luis del Pino (LibrosLibres, 2006), Chapter 24, "Llamame"" (Call me).