The following text was translated from the Madrid La Razon (Internet Version-WWW) in Spanish on 27 August 2004:
The several explosions caused by ETA in northern Spain during August are, according to various experts consulted by La Razon, the start of a gradual increase in the intensity of its attacks. According to the same sources, the band wants to reach the scale of criminality habitual throughout its sinister history. With this strategy, the gunmen aim to get society slowly used to their macabre presence once again.
The Mexican Congress, meanwhile, has asked its government not to extradite six suspected ETA members. The “low intensity” attacks perpetrated by ETA this summer in Galicia, Cantabria and Asturias [northern Spain] and the reappearance of street terrorism form part of a strategy intended to progressively increase the criminal pressure until it reaches the band’s customary level during its sinister history, according to experts consulted by La Razon.
The 11 March [train bombing] massacre by Islamists in Madrid has determined ETA’s strategy, which, on the other hand, was seriously weakened by antiterrorist operations. The 191 deaths and more than 3,000 injured have weighed heavily on the gunmen’s plans, who, according to the same sources, saw no way of continuing, at least for the time being, with their usual attacks following the scale of the aforementioned slaughter.
In view of a Spanish and international public opinion sensitized like never before because of 11 March, ETA’s usual attacks – selective killings, car bombs, sabotage, etc – would have done the band’s strategy more harm than good, though it has continued with the terrorist extortion of the “revolutionary tax” in order to have the necessary economic means at its disposal. According to the same experts, the gunmen’s plans consist of progressively increasing the intensity of attacks.
That is why they have begun with bombs against tourism and, according to what is feared, in the coming weeks and months they will attempt criminal acts of greater importance. In view of this possibility, they say, the guard must not be dropped at any time and maximum political, legal and police pressure on the band and its framework has to be kept up. “To do anything else would be simply suicidal and have grave consequences for the future”. The pressure which Basque and Catalan pro-independence campaigners have put [Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez] Zapatero’s government under in recent months to reduce the pressure on ETA’s prisoners and its network and even to negotiate with the band must not be heeded (even if some concessions have been made to inmates) since it would be a step backwards in the fight against terrorism, they say.
According to the same experts, the “low intensity” which ETA has maintained so far in its attacks must not lead to erroneous conclusions or to the adoption of decisions on relaxing security measures or lowering the intensity of the fight against ETA and its framework at all levels. Meanwhile, on Thursday [26 August], the Mexican Congress’s Standing Committee sent the Foreign Ministry a plea passed unanimously by all parties urging it to rectify the ruling in favour of extraditing six suspected ETA members wanted by National High Court judge Baltasar Garzon, who accuses them of being linked to ETA’s financial apparatus, after considering that the extradition “is without foundation”, Senate sources told EP [Europa Press news agency].