Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Trial....Day 42, May 28th

The Mental State of the Man Accused of Selling the Dynamite

The day began with the appearance of expert witnesses Juan Miguel Monje Pérez, Sira Peña López, José Luis Morán Junquera and Julio Bobes Garcia. These witnesses testified on the psychiatric condition of Emilio Suárez Trashorras. They declared that Trashorras had a personality disorder but that this did not affect his capacity to understand things. They said he presented no psychotic symptoms, although the only test on which their report was based was an interview with the accused. The witness José Luis Morán had treated Trashorras for several years and testified that he had observed a paranoid personality disorder in his patient, with additional symptoms resulting from alcohol and substance abuse. They said that Trashorras’ condition was permanent. They also said that he was not a schizophrenic. The witnesses believed that Trashorras was fully aware of the danger of dynamite given that he had worked in the mine from where the explosives used in the bombs are said to have been stolen.

Next the specialist witnesses from the Guardia Civil, identified by numbers M-95317-B and X-16151-P declared on their report on clothes that were abandoned near to the railway station of Vicálvaro on the morning of the bombings. From this clothing they recovered genetic profiles identifying Rifaat Anouar and Abdennabi Kounjaa.

The witnesses from the Tedax (bomb disposal squad) identified by police numbers 58655 and 66646 testified on a report they prepared on some detonators connected with the bombings. They were joined by another witness, with number 27390, to declare concerning a report they prepared on shrapnel associated with the bombs. They studied nails and screws that were recovered from the bombed trains and they found similarities between them; they were of a type that is freely available commercially.

The Explosives Used

The trial then entered into the issue of the explosives used in the bombs. The experts declaring came from the police, the Guardia Civil together with representatives of victims associations and the defence of some of the accused. These were the experts who had carried out the latest explosives analysis requested for the trial. Chief judge Gómez Bermudez began the questioning by asking about the components of Goma 2 Eco, the explosive said to have been used in the bombs. These components were identified as ammonium nitrate, nitroglycol, nitrocellulose, dibutyl phthalate and calcium carbonate. Next came the components of Goma 2 EC, the explosive that was the predecessor of Goma 2 Eco. These were listed as ammonium nitrate, nitroglycol, nitrocellulose and dinitrotoluene. Finally, the judge asked about the components of Titadine, and these were given as ammonium nitrate, nitroglycol, nitrocellulose, dinitrotoluene and nitroglycerine. It was made clear that none of the mentioned components are contained in the detonators used to explode the bombs.

The experts present were joined by other expert witnesses who declared on the unexploded bomb discovered in the early morning of 12th March 2004 in a police station in Vallecas, Madrid. These witnesses declared that this device was set to be activated by a mobile telephone connected to the detonator. The telephone was turned off and the reason the bomb did not explode was due to the poor connections made in the modification of this device. Despite this, the telephone itself was in perfect working order.

On the detonators discovered in the van found at Alcalá de Henares on the day of the bombings, the witnesses declared that 3 of these were identical to those discovered in the unexploded bomb. The telephones in the bombs were set to activate via their alarm facility. The witnesses also analysed the detonators discovered following the explosion in Leganés. They affirmed that the intensity of the current provided via the connection between the telephone and the detonator was sufficient to activate the bombs.

Next declared the expert witness with number 17632 from the bomb disposal squad (TEDAX). This witness declared to having prepared many reports on explosives used in bombings by ETA and other incidents involving the participation of bomb disposal units. The witness testified on the methodology used in the analysis of the samples collected from the sites of the train explosions. She declared that she analyzed 12 samples from sites of the explosions, and that these tests revealed the presence of components of dynamite; ammonium nitrate and nitroglycol. Based on this analysis she said that it was impossible to determine the commercial brand of dynamite used, because in the explosion the traces of additives or other components are lost. She told her superior officers only that the explosive used was “dynamite”. At no point did her tests detect either nitroglycerine or dinitrotoluene (DNT).

On the possibility of the samples being contaminated, the witness could not rule out this possibility although she emphasised that the presence of a contaminating agent in the atmosphere would have to be high. One of the analysts present expressed disagreement with this view. The witness carried out tests on the, now famous, sample of fire extinguisher powder recovered from the bombed train at the station of El Pozo. She declared that she found no other relevant substance in this sample.

The same witness declared also on the issue of master samples of explosive used for comparison purposes, she said that these came clearly labelled from the manufacturer. She said that the component dibutyl phthalate discovered in many of the analyzed samples is only a component of Goma 2 Eco, whilst DNT (also detected in many samples) is a recognised component of Titadine and Goma 2 EC. Questioned on the analysis of the samples using water and acetone, the witness said that only part of the sample was treated in this way. She was also questioned on the presence of metenamine in samples, and said that she concluded this must be a contamination as it was not present in the master samples of Goma 2 Eco. Another of the analysts present intervened to say that this substance could be produced as a by-product of analysis, or via contamination.

The witness declared on the conditions under which the samples had been stored, saying that they were kept in a closed and unlit storage place with constant temperature and humidity. They were stored in bags kept inside boxes that were in turn covered by other bags. She said that she never detected DNT in any of the samples. Those samples where there were doubts about the possible presence of other substances were sent for examination by the forensic police. All of the expert witnesses present acknowledged that the unexploded substances recovered from different sites connected to the case consisted of Goma 2 Eco. The witness was asked to provide her notes made on the initial tests to the court and after a recess these were presented. She said that she presented her initial conclusions to her superior officers between 14-14:15 p.m. on the day of the bombings.

The session ended with the testimony of different experts on the analysis of panels found lining a hole in the grounds of the house in Morata de Tajuña said to have been used for the preparation of the bombs. The only components of explosive detected were ammonium nitrate and nitroglycol.

Footnote: A big day as the analysis of the explosives finally made its entrance into the trial itself. Those who are interested in more details on the issue might like to read my post on the report that was presented to the court. The claim that no proper analysis of the explosives used on the trains was ever carried out took a knock today; the witness from the Tedax made it clear that she tested the samples recovered, and that the idea that you can identify a particular brand of explosive from such samples is not sustained. No nitroglycerine was found, the crutch of those who cling to the idea that Titadine may have been used; a past favourite of ETA. None of this means that the conspiracy theorists will drop their campaign, but they had their representatives from the analysis in court today and when they had the chance to make their case they failed to do so. A constant theme of the trial, those who believe in such theories can never complain that they had no opportunity for their outlandish claims to be tested, they have been present throughout the whole process.

Datadiar - Daily Summary
ABC - Trashorras
ABC - Explosives

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