Terrorists here in Spain

Spain Police Arrest 16 al-Qaida Suspects

I sorta feel obligated to post about this, even though I might as well be in California from the perspective of actually being involved in what's going on. They were caught in Barcelona raids, but have been brought here to Madrid for a few days of questioning before being returned to Catalonia. Since it's not like they paraded these guys into town in shackles on horse back, there's not much more I can say from a news perspective. I know nothing you can't find on the web. Well, I did see a video on TV of lots of weapons, explosives (I guess) and BARRELS of some unknown chemical (and bunch of mobile phones on the table as well... what are they doing there? Everyone has a cellphone, it's not a weapon.)

What I will tell you is that terrorism here in Spain, in case for some reason you don't know, is a daily part of life. The ETA terrorists have killed over 800 people in the past 30 years and there's a bomb somewhere in Spain on the average of once every couple of months (since I moved here at least). This is why if you see the video of the arrests, all the police have masks on. It's to protect their identities so the ETA can't finger them and kill them or their family. The ETA is a group from a region of Spain called the Basque Country who have a very old culture and has a substantial portion of the population who want to be an independant country. If you've seen the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (the wild Titanium covered building) that's smack in the middle of "Pais Vasco".

So, the Spanish government has a lot of experience dealing with terrorists as well as the populace. The first thing my wife asked when I told her about the arrests was "from the ETA?" At the bottom of the Yahoo story linked to above, they say there's been over 35 people detained since 9-11 with most still in jail. I find it interesting that Spain has played such a big part in the news lately. Stopping the ship with the North Korean missles on it last month, and launching this raid as well. Interesting.

By the way, I was watching BBC news last night and there was reports from downtown out in front of the Supreme Court building which, if you happen to see that, is right where my first office was here in Spain.


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