Four simultaneous attacks cause a massacre on trains in Madrid. This is how El País titled it in its edition of the 12th of those days of March. At least 193 dead and more than 1,400 injured in the worst terrorist attack suffered in Spain. The Ministry of the Interior attributed to ETA the massacre although later he did not rule out that it could be Al Qaeda.
The attacks of March 11, 2004, were a series of terrorist attacks on four trains of the Madrid Cercanías network, carried out by a type of terrorist cell, as revealed by the subsequent police investigation, the National Court ruled and reiterated the Supreme Court. Was the second largest attack committed in Europe behind the Lockerbie attack in 1988, but it was not the first jihadist attack perpetrated in Spain. In 1985 there was an attack on the El Descanso restaurant, which caused 18 deaths.
Against all odds, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero He won the general elections on March 14, 2004, three days after the Madrid attacks, in the midst of a political and social upheaval. The question arose very soon. Would it be ETA, as the government said, or the Islamic fundamentalists, as it seemed, who were behind the savagery? The so-called conspiracy theory has been launched.
In the middle of the electoral campaign, the political parties suspended their electoral acts, under the shadow of the attacks. The night before the opening of the polling stations, citizens dissatisfied with the information policy of the Ministry of the Interior on the authorship of the attacks. While the rallies were taking place, the Minister reported the arrest of three Moroccans and two Indians in connection with the attacks.
The 2004 general election They will be remembered for three reasons: the unexpected victory of the PSOE in the opposition, despite the fact that all the polls had predicted a victory, albeit narrow, for the Popular Party; the largest terrorist attacks ever committed in Spain perpetrated three days before the elections were held; and the controversial action of the Government of Jose Maria Aznarin the hours after the attacks, accusing ETA of responsibility.
Both the police investigation and the preliminary investigation were subject to a constant pressure. The summary consisted of 245,000 pages, rigorous with the smallest detail, backed by seven reports. According to the proven facts of summary judgment 20/2004 and Supreme Court ruling 503/2008, it suggests that the final trigger for the attacks was Spain’s participation in the Iraq war, a constant argument for acts of these terrorist groups: In New York, on 9/11 there were four planes and in Madrid four trains. In New York it was the 11th, as in Madrid, and President Aznar and his politics had focused on ETA. It did not protect citizens against Islamist terrorism and did not pay attention to the consequences of Spain’s participation in the Iraq war.
That day “Everything was brutally cut short. I listened to Cadena Ser and Iñaki Gabilondo reported on the attack and since then everything has been a lifeless“, he told me in 2014 Pilar Manjon, president of the Association 11M Affected by Terrorism and mother of Daniel, who lost his life in the terrible terrorist attacks. Years of pain and lack of understanding. Pilar remembers the words of Álvarez Cascos: “we changed the government for this whore and four more shits.” Or when Hope Aguirre, when giving him a grant for the Association, he told him: “this is better than a lottery prize, because it does not pay the Treasury.” Also Manuel Cobo, then deputy mayor of Madrid, at the inauguration of the monument to the Victims of 11M: “Now the whores of La Montera will come to ask for another little monument.” Contempt, threats and insults by many, against the victims.
The forensic recognition process was painfully slow. They did not want to make the same mistakes that had occurred, a year earlier, with the 62 bodies of soldiers killed in the Yak-42 accident, when 30 of the Spanish military deadwere buried or cremated, without their identity having been proven, according to El País on March 2, 2004.
The Spanish government did not take into account all the information that was coming out regarding the jihadist groups. Everything seems to 11M attacks They were devised in 2001, a year before the invasion of Iraq, as revenge for the dismantling of the Al Qaeda cell. This cell had been established seven years earlier in Spain, accusing citizens and rulers of occupying the Islamic territory of Al Andalus.
This March 11 marks the 19th anniversary of the Madrid attacks. At this time there has been a controversy surrounding who was behind the authors; what did they want, if the police investigation and judicial investigation were rigorous; if the sentence reached the end of the facts, or if the conspiracy theory it was true.
Conspiracy theses are part of contemporary folklore, but they are neither banal nor innocuous. They are characterized by attributing to a conspiracy of powerful agents the concealment of a relevant truth and sometimes they achieve great acceptance. The emotional impact of major attacks, such as 9/11 and 3/11, favors the appearance of such theories, which tend to undermine public confidence in institutions. In both cases, the theories that try to deny the result of the official investigation lack evidence. (Juan Avilés Farré, Professor of Contemporary History at UNED).
11M conspiracy theories is a term used to bring together the hypotheses formulated by certain journalists such as Casimiro García-Abadillo, Pedro J. Ramírez, or Federico Jiménez Losantos They were published in various press, radio and television media, such as the newspaper El Mundo, Libertad Digital and esRadio, COPE, or Intereconomía Televisión.
The controversy over the 11M attacks introduced the concept of conspiracy theory into the public debate for the first time, to the point that those who had expressed their opinion on the subject were classified as pro-government or conspiracy. The latter came to convince a large, albeit minority, sector of the population for a time, which demonstrates the importance that conspiracy theories can acquire, which leads to taking them seriously. However, the international academic community has not been used to doing so.. These theories are considered inconsequential elements of popular culture, which allow the unscrupulous who propagate them to earn money and satisfy their desire for prominence.
On March 12, eleven million people took to the streets shouting “¿Who has been, who has been? There were many doubts that ETA had been the armed wing of the attacks, as the Government anticipated. The emotional crowd headed from the Plaza de Castilla in the north, or from the Atocha Station in the south, to the Plaza de Colón, showing their condemnation of the attacks and solidarity with the victims. According to the Government Delegate, 2,300,000 people from Madrid demonstrated in Madrid.
On Sunday March 14, 2004, the Spanish had been called to the polls for the ninth time since the Transition to renew the Cortes Generales. Participation represented 75.66% of the Spanish registered. The PSOE led by Rodriguez Zapatero won with a 4.9% advantage over the PP. The PSOE surpassed 11 million votes (42.59%), with 164 seats, the highest popular support ever obtained in Spain. The PP, led by Mariano Rajoy, received 9,760,000 votes (37.71%), obtaining 146 deputies. The elections had been held under the shock of the attacks.
A study has scientifically shown that information from the media, SMS and word of mouth from voters after the 11M attack influenced the outcome of the elections. The study, which has been carried out by researchers from the School of Informatics and the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Granada, in collaboration with the University of Newcastle in Australia, has used social simulation models to verify mathematically that the informative treatment of the attack influenced the electoral result of March 14.
The conspiracy theory defends that members of the security forces and bodies that for decades fought against ETA have been involved in the worst attack in our history. An assumption that is completely without foundation, as was demonstrated in the trial against the terrorists in the National High Court first and in the Supreme Court ruling later. The jihadist terrorists were the only ones responsible of 11M. In memory of the victims.