The PP group in the Spanish parliament has tabled hundreds of questions on issues raised by the conspiracy theorists, and senior leaders have attempted to question the investigation of the bombings. This happens even though the PP were of course in power on March 11th 2004, and all the major developments in the investigation that took place in the following month happened whilst they were still acting as a transitional government. Many of the senior police officers involved in the investigation were PP appointees. Despite this, as soon as they passed to the opposition the party began to try and cast doubt on the events. Even the most tenuous suggestion of ETA involvement has been seized upon as vindication for their attempts in the immediate aftermath of the bombings to maintain ETA as the prime suspect, even as it became clear this was not the case.
Not all senior PP figures are very happy about this focus on the Madrid bombings, but the PP is not a party where freely expressed dissent is very welcome. Critical voices tend to be hushed as soon as possible. Also, some of the media supporting the conspiracy theories come down very heavily on anyone who steps out of line. However, the key problem is that the leadership of the party is composed of those who were responsible for the attempts to manipulate public opinion in the days between the bombings and the general election. They also have the support of José Maria Aznar whose departure was severely tarnished by the bombings and who has himself attempted to hint at a hidden hand behind the attack.
Even more shamefully, the regional government of Madrid, led by PP hardliner Esperanza Aguirre, has also thrown its weight behind this campaign. It’s more shameful because they so clearly put partisan and opportunist politics before even the minimum respect due to the many Madrid voters affected by the bombings. This policy extends as far as denying financial assistance to the largest association of victims of the train attacks because they refuse to back the conspiracy theories.
Monday, February 19, 2007
The Chess Players....Partido Popular
The main opposition party in Spain, the Partido Popular (PP) is at the centre of the controversy over the conspiracy theories, although the division of labour when it comes to spreading these theories sometimes gives the impression that their role is more marginal. Like El Mundo, they are very careful about making any specific allegations that can be tested and rebutted; but they have been instrumental in fanning the flames once the initial fire was lit. The pretence is one of maintaining “doubts” about the judicial investigation, although it goes without saying that such doubts are always favourable to the conspiracy theorist point of view.