Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Trial....Day 27, April 18th

The Head of the Forensic Police

Miguel Angel Santano is currently the head of the forensic branch of the police, at the time of the bombings he was the chief of the Madrid provincial branch. He said that on the day of the bombings his unit acted in the station of Santa Eugenia, and supervised the transfer of the dead to the IFEMA exhibition centre that was used as an emergency morgue. In IFEMA they worked on the identification of the bodies. A member of his unit was also present during the deactivation of the unexploded bomb found in the police station of Puente de Vallecas.

Santano stated that he was informed some time after 14:00 on the day of the bombings about the discovery of the Renault Kangoo van near Alcalá railway station, and that it was to be transferred to the headquarters of his brigade. Later he received another call advising him that the van was being taken to the central headquarters of the forensic police at Canillas. He said that two members of his brigade were involved after the explosion in Leganés that killed 7 of the alleged perpetrators; he was not involved in this action.

Nobody Mentioned Titadine

Santiago Cuadro Jaén was in charge of the police division responsible for public security on the day of the bombings. He testified that he was informed about the bombings at 7:50 on that morning, and headed immediately for Atocha station in Madrid. The emergency services were still arriving and he used his car and driver to help some of the wounded; however they had to stop shortly afterwards as evacuation took place because of the discovery of an unexploded device. Later he went to the station at El Pozo, where he remained until 13:00. Following this he passed by another station affected by the bombings, Santa Eugenia, and then the police headquarters at Canillas.

The witness stated that he received reports from the bomb disposal squad (the Tedax), and that he was given a preliminary report on the number of explosions and the places where they occurred. At about midday he was called by the sub-director of the police from a meeting in the Ministry of the Interior asking him about the explosives used. The witness said that he returned the call later and reported that he had been told by the Tedax that the explosive used was dynamite based on initial impressions on the damage caused by the explosives. Later in the afternoon it was confirmed by a Tedax laboratory chief that the explosive had been dynamite. Cuadro denied that he had ever said to anyone that the explosive used had been Titadine.

At 1:45 the next morning Cuadro said that he was informed about the imminent deactivation of the unexploded device found in the police station at Puente de Vallecas. When he arrived at the park where the device had been taken for deactivation he said the zone was cordoned off. The witness approached the device and saw a blue bag and a mobile phone. Cuadro was also present in Leganés on the 3rd April 2004. He declared that when he arrived at the scene the area around the apartment was already cordoned off, and nearby apartments had been evacuated. He was present at the time of the explosion in the apartment and said that there was a tremendous cloud of smoke. The police entered the building via the interior patio and saw a wounded Tedax member being brought out. They were not able to go up to the apartment itself.

The Identification of the Dead

The national police inspector identified by police number 81602 testified on her work on the 11th March in the emergency morgue. She was involved in the task of identifying the dead at the IFEMA exhibition centre. The witness said that they prepared an autopsy zone at the pavilion and that the autopsies commenced once the bodies had been numbered. All objects being worn by the dead were recorded and photographed to assist the process of identification. Another inspector involved in the same job, identified by police number 64447, also declared. This officer presented himself for duty on the morning of the bombings, despite not being in service on that day. His work consisted in reception of the bodies and in the setting up of the autopsy facilities. All data recorded was with the aim of identifying the dead.

The Day of the Bombings

The witness Raquel Fernández Suárez was working in the ticket office of the railway station at Alcalá de Henares on the morning of the bombings. She said that she remembered someone wearing a scarf and a cap and with only the eyes and nose visible coming to the window to buy tickets. She said this person first asked for a ticket to Torrejón, and then for one to Coslada; further down the line towards Madrid. The man spoke good Spanish but caught her attention because he was heavily dressed for a day when it was not cold.

José Luis Garcia San Roman caught the train that departed Alcalá at 7 a.m. He said he was dozing on the train when he heard a mobile phone ring 5 times. Immediately after there was an explosion. He was trapped after the explosion and declared that it took about 20 minutes for the smoke to clear, his main preoccupation was to avoid falling asleep. He is a member of the armed forces and said that after the attacks he handed in his regulation weapon because of the danger that he could lose self-control one day. The witness asked that more measures be taken to prevent similar attacks in the future.

The Asturian Connection

The witness from the Guardia Civil, police number Y-88769-P, was involved in taking the declaration made by one of those accused of involvement in supplying the explosives for the bombs; Iván Granados Peña. This witness could not explain why 2 declarations were taken, but denied that they ever took a declaration from the accused without the presence of a lawyer. Another Guardia Civil witness, K-65971-E, visited the Conchita mine, where it is alleged the explosives were stolen, in June 2004 to collect samples of earth for testing. The witness stated that explosives and detonators were discovered underneath some boxes during the inspection. The explosive discovered was both Goma 2 Eco and its preceding version, Goma 2 EC.

A witness from the national police, number 85745, took a declaration from Beatriz Higuera on the theft of a Toyota Corolla car alleged to have been used later by Jamal Ahmidam. This declaration was taken after the bombings occurred, the witness said that Higuera provided copies of fines which had been issued on the car in the name of Youssef ben Salah; an alias used by Ahmidam. Another witness present in this declaration, police number 86790, also testified.

ETA Members Identified in Madrid?

On the 11th March Antonio Beamonte González took a train on the Madrid underground at 9 a.m. During the journey someone boarded the train to play music for the passengers, one passenger complained that this was not appropriate after what had happened that morning. Another woman on the train replied that this had nothing to do with the bombings; the witness said that this woman was a suspected ETA member, Josune Oña. The witness said he recognised her photograph when it was published in the aftermath of the attacks.

The Renault Kangoo

José Garzón Huertas is the son of the owner of the Renault Kangoo van found In Alcalá de Henares on the day of the bombings. He said that the van generally contained possessions of his father, including a sports bag and tools. The witness confirmed that a music tape by the group Orquesta Mondragón found in the van belonged to him.

The Arrests After the Bombings

A deputy inspector from the national police, identified by number 65904, took part in the arrest of Jamal Zougam and Mohamed el Bakali. She declared that Zougam was arrested at 17:00 p.m. in the telephone shop which he co-owned.

Footnote: It was the declarations of the two senior police officers that attracted most attention on this day. Santano is a target for the conspiracy theorists because he is involved in a case that is possibly even more ridiculous than that of ETA and the ST timer. He has been accused by a Madrid judge of being involved in falsifying an official report that alleged a relationship to ETA based solely on the finding of boric acid in an ETA safe house and in the home of one of the accused in this case, Hassan el Haski. It is a crazy case that is entirely a product of the strenuous efforts made by the chess players to establish any kind of link between ETA and the Madrid bombings - I have already written about it in more detail on my other blog. The declaration by Cuadro was also interesting, because his testimony challenged that given by Pedro Díaz Pintado to the effect that Cuadro had told him the explosive used was Titadine. Why does this matter? It could just be one of those inconsequential first impressions from the chaotic day of the bombings were it not for the fact that the conspiracy theorists think that Titadine = ETA, and that the government at the time made the same assumption. In any case, the idea that Titadine was the explosive used was already dead by mid-afternoon on the day of the bombings.

ABC - Santano
El País - Cuadro

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