Terrorism

Text found in Bin Laden’s hideout praises 2004 Madrid train bombings

Declassified document mentions ex-PM Zapatero's decision to pull troops from Iraq

An undated photo of Osama Bin Laden.
An undated photo of Osama Bin Laden.Uncredited / AP

Among the 103 secret papers belonging to Osama Bin Laden that were declassified by the US government on Wednesday is a document written by one of his associates that praises the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings.

A 15-page text in English titled the Terror Franchise: The Unstoppable Assassin was written by Abu-Salih Al Somali, operations commander of Khorasan, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia.

They struck the Spanish railways with multiple deadly explosions which by the grace of Allah led to the Spaniards getting the message”

Al Somali states how terrorist attacks, such as the Madrid train bombings at Atocha, Santa Eugenia and El Pozo commuter stations – which left close to 200 people dead and many more injured – had forced some foreign governments to change their policies toward Iraq.

“By the grace of Allah, the honorable Global Mujahideen struck the Spanish railways with multiple deadly explosions at rush hour which by the grace of Allah lead to the Spaniards getting the message,” Al Somali wrote.

The document goes on to note how Spaniards afterwards showed “sufficient intelligence” to give in to terrorism and pull their troops out of Iraq, unlike the “stupid arrogant Americans and Brits.”

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Shortly after the attacks, Spanish voters pushed the Popular Party out of power and new Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero pulled all Spanish troops out of Iraq who had been participating with the United States, Britain and other countries in a coalition force to topple dictator Saddam Hussein.

Zapatero’s move chilled relations between Washington and Spain for the rest of his time in office.

“The voters are the ones, who demanded America’s pullout from Vietnam, and they are the ones who pulled out their Spanish troops [...] and they are the ones who turned the evil Tony Blair into a lame duck and ended his ten year carrier of arrogance and American subordination with disgrace,” the document reads.

Filled with religious references, the long text calls on followers to join a crusade against the Kafir – “non-believers on the globe especially in America and NATO alliance countries” – and engineers, biologists, pharmacists and doctors.

The Khorasan commander also wrote that one of the goals of the Mujahideen is “to destroy the American economy by targeting American economical targets globally.”

The Mujahideen mission is to kill thousands of the infidel citizens of America and its western ally countries ”

“The mission of the Global Mujahideen of today is to kill a few tens, or hundreds or thousands of the infidel citizens of America and its western ally countries in their homelands and wherever they are sited on any spot on the planet until they fear participating in or supporting any actions against Islam and the Muslims as they fear death itself,” Al Somali wrote.

It is not clear when the text was written, but it seems to make reference to the “Yes, we can” presidential campaign slogan used by Barack Obama when he was running for his first term in office in 2008.

“The voters in America and its ally countries should know that their lives and the lives of their loved ones are going to be the price paid for the evil actions of those who they vote for (against us and our loved ones),” he wrote.

The document is part of a stash of papers, books, magazines, and newspapers confiscated by US Navy Seals during their 2011 raid on Bin Laden’s secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

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