The Mystery of 3/11 – Part 1
Colt: I thought this was well done, and wanted to share it with Winds of Change.NET. Mr. Aguilar thinks the official explanation leaves a few things out, and his work adds some puzzle pieces and questions to Dan Darling posts like What I Think I Know About Huarte and Well, Well, Well, What Have We Here?
by Joe Aguilar (aka. "Joe_A")
This is a summary regarding some of the latest published advances in the investigation of the Madrid Train Bombings. Most of the information comes from EL MUNDO newspaper pages, being compiled and analyzed, among others, by the journalist Fernando M�gica and its deputy director, Casimiro Garc�a-Abadillo.
Taking into account the number of persons involved in the plot and the fragmented and complex information we have, it has only been included in this summary striking points that either are well proved or may fit into the testimony coming from at least two sources. Even though, it was necessary for further reduction of its length, and in order to try to build a linear chronicle, to focus it in just one role of the suspects. Consequently, there are points, some of them still darker, not included here.
Finally, the presumption of innocence of all the people named in this article is preserved.
On March 11th 2004, around 7:35 AM, ten powerful explosions ripped off four packed commuter trains in the same line near Madrid. Deaths topped 192, 152 people were severely injured and +1000 others lightly wounded. In the following three days before the National Elections were held on March 14th, some Moroccans allegedly related to the plot were arrested, and warrant orders for the others were issued.
On April 3rd, after the elections were won against what showed any previous poll, with a slim majority by the Socialist party, some of these suspects tried to set an explosive device under the tracks of a high speed train line, but they were unable to mount the bomb before a guard spotted them. They fled, leaving enough evidence to follow them to a flat in the southern Madrilean city of Leganes. Surrounded by the police the next day, they chose to blow themselves up, killing a special assault unit police officer. So far, according to the official version, the main suspects in the 3/11 plot had been arrested or were dead. Spaniards could now sleep quietly again.
Case closed? No.
Among the first arrested were the Moroccans Jamal Zougam, the owner of a shop selling long-distance calls at a reduced price in the Lavapies district of Madrid, and informer Rafa Zouhier. After the 72 hours he was held in custody, without any contact � as allowed by Spain�s Terrorist Law � that lasted well after the elections, the first evidence of bizarre elements in this story began to arise.
Zouhier insisted alone then, and has insisted ever since, that he informed the UCO Operative Central Unit of the Civil Guard, Spanish paramilitary security corps, about the plans of the group in which he was embedded, composed mostly by Muslims from northwestern Africa, to perform an important terrorist attack. In further open letters from the jail, he added that he had even carried a bit of the explosive to his UCO contact, when he saw that no action was being taken. Finally, he met his contact again just after the attacks and followed him to a Security Force�s building to declare, after telling the authorities all that he knew, after which he was arrested.
For any Spaniard, the UCO was not an alien police unit. It was brought into the light before 3/11 when Colonel Hernando was appointed its commander. Colonel Hernando allegedly participated with an accessory role in the Dirty War against ETA during the mid-1980s, as former Socialist secretary of Interior Rafael Vera aide. Vera is now in prison on reserved funds appropriation charges. Therefore Colonel Hernando appointment was, at least, questionable.
We�ll be back to him later. Let�s now follow the official investigation.
The TEDAX (Technicians in Explosive Deactivation) unit of the Spanish National Police in Madrid, directed by Sanchez-Manzano, was the responsible that infamous morning of checking all the bags, rucksacks and other cointainers left on the trains, searching for any unexploded device. In the morning of March 11th from that unit or its surroundings it was transmitted to the Interior Crises Cabinet the news that the explosive used was Titadine, French dynamite utilized by ETA. That made not only the government, but also many Spaniards to think of them as the perpetrators.
Nevertheless, that night, this same unit found an unexploded device in the bags moved into Vallecas precinct from the nearby Del Pozo station. The bomb used a mobile phone as a timer, a Spanish-made industrial detonator attached to its vibrating unit as a initiator, and Goma-2 ECO, Spanish manufactured dynamite, as explosive. The mobile phone contained a SIM card that led to the arrest of Zougam and the issue of warrants against the other northwestern African suspects. At this point Sanchez-Manzano and a prominent Socialist party official told that the Goma-2 ECO was stolen from a private mine in the northern region of Asturias.
Let�s go northwards then.
According to Sanchez-Manzano�s undisclosed investigations, two former miners from Gijon involved in drug trafficking, Toro and Trashorras, exchanged the dynamite, stolen from a private clay mine, for drug to Jamal Ahmidan, aka El Chino, a Moroccan that brought hash from his country and distributed it throughout Spain. El Chino told them that he wanted to sell the explosive in Morocco.
The bizarre elements here begin with the fact that the police was allegedly informed since 2001 of Toro and Trashorras suspicious activities (apart from drug trafficking), including their interest in knowing how to build a bomb using a mobile phone. At least two persons: Lavandera and El Nayo, supplied all this data to the National Police and the Civil Guard. Civil Guard Agent Campillo taped Lavandero�s testimony, and passed the matter to his lieutenant in Gijon�s command. The lawyer representing El Nayo, a Toro and Trashorras accomplice arrested with them in 2001 on drug trafficking charges, tried to negotiate a reduction in his defendant prison term using the same information about the stolen explosives they kept, adding that the destination was ETA�s hands. Other Civil Guards denounced General Pedro Laguna, promoted from colonel by the Socialist government three months after 3/11, for preventing the formation of a task group to investigate the Asturian plot of the explosives in early 2003. Moreover, agent Campillo, 31 years serving in the Civil Guard without any fault, the UCO informer Zouhier and Lavandero have all said they have received threats demanding they stay quiet. For instance, after his wife committed suicide, Lavandero received pictures of her autopsy with a note: �so you�ll never forget her�. These pictures can only come from the Police, the Coroner�s office or the judge.
This story worsens when witnesses affirmed that Trashorras was a prot�g� of National Police drug enforcement unit commander in the nearby city of Avil�s, Manol�n. And it goes pretty bad when the Civil Guard unit that took over the investigation of 3/11, a few days after the attacks, found the telephone number of the TEDAX unit in Madrid, in Toro�s sister (and Trashorras girlfriend) phone book, beside the name openly written of �Manzano�. Sanchez-Manzano later argued that somebody in his unit might be using his own name, the boss�, as nickname. The Civil Guards never swallowed that.
Later, on August 2005, we have known that the Civil Guard command of Oviedo, near Gijon, had sent information about the plot to the UCO in Madrid, arguing that the field of the investigation of the explosive trafficking issue �exceeded the scope of Asturias command and aimed at organized crime; an activity that enters completely in the field of the [UCO] unit�. The UCO had denied it, and in the 3/11 Investigation Commission Colonel Hernando declared that all was transferred back to Asturias. This motivated a very hard 12 page report from Oviedo to the investigating Judge Del Olmo, who is instructing the case, in which Colonel Hernando was accused �of "falsifications" in his parliamentary appearance before the 3/11 commission and of underestimating the data provided by his informer Rafa Zouhier. The report says that Hernando flagrantly deceived the members of the 3/11 commission of investigation� and provides an internal note to support this. In it, the UCO itself acknowledges that the explosives were directed towards Madrid, thus confirming that it was a nation-wide issue. As published in Libertad Digital on August 3rd 2005:
However, a note dated March 6th 2003, enclosed to the report, reveals that the UCO continued the investigation. The note informed about the last advances on it, and gave account of the connections with organized Mafias of national scope. This note denies Hernando�s affirmation that the UCO had finalized the investigation and proofs that he lay before the Parliament.
For that reason, the lieutenant of the UCO Jaime Trigo, put himself in contact by telephone with the head of Operations of the Asturias� Command to request him "to destroy that note" that would demonstrate the negligence of the UCO and the false testimony of Hernando.
Therefore, neither the UCO, nor the Civil Guard of Gijon nor the National Police of Aviles took any action against the plot of the explosives, an issue that lasted since 2001 until early 2004, though they might have been receiving accurate data about it. At least at one point, the work was stopped by the direct intervention of a high rank official, later promoted by the newly elected Socialist government.
However, that it is not all in Asturias. Lavandero, Toro, Trashorras and some of the Security Force�s members that did not inquire into the plot, share their neighborhood with a prominent citizen whose name has become worldwide known because of 3/11: Fernando Huarte.
The Asturian newspaper La Nueva Espa�a published on March 16th 2005 the information about the meetings between Huarte, a Socialist official from Gijon, that coordinated the security for public acts of his party in that city (thus having to be in contact with the security corps there); and Abdelkrim Benesmail, a member of a GIA (Argelian terrorist group) cell captured in Valencia back in 1997. Among the other six members of that cell was Allekhema Lamari, who a legal mistake put back in the street and later committed suicide in the Leganes flat along with the other official suspects of 3/11.
The investigation showed that Benesmail contacted Toro and Trashorras in prison, after they were jailed on drug trafficking charges, in order to arrange the purchase of some of the explosives they were offering. He also was connected to bloodthirsty French, Algiers-born ETA gunman Henri Parot, also in prison.
After all this data was brought into the light, someone, probably next to the Socialist government, leaked that Huarte was a CNI (National Center for Intelligence) operative. This had the effect of including all his activities under the Official Secrets Act, stopping any further questioning. A confirmation to that point might be the fact that after things calmed down; Huarte was seen traveling to Rome, where the former director of the CNI during 3/11, Dezcallar, is ambassador after his promotion, again, by the newly elected Socialist government. Dezcallar, as EL MUNDO newspaper plainly published on August 27th, 2005 defended publicly the theory that ETA was behind the 3/11 until March 14th, the Election Day, but at the same time he was confirming privately to a leftist media group that there was evidence that led to Islamists. Only he did not play this deceiving game. EL MUNDO also adds that other now-promoted intelligence agent, whose identity, by law, cannot be published; called several times between March 12th and March 14th that newspaper, insisting that ETA was behind 3/11.
Who was behind that attack then? Al Qaeda?
The EL MUNDO article by its director, on August 28th, 2005 was entitled: �If It Was a Policeman?�
To uncover more of the lies that surround the Madrid train bombings we must leave the green Asturias back for the much drier Madrid.