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Post Eyewitness to Las Ramblas Attack
Created by John Eipper on 08/18/17 3:50 AM

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Eyewitness to Las Ramblas Attack (Jose Manuel de Prada, Spain, 08/18/17 3:50 am)

For my wife, Helena, it was a really close call.

I was with my mom when the attack took place, and Helena called to say she was OK, although something had happened on the Ramblas about a quarter of an hour before, but at that time she wasn't sure what that had been.

Helena is a tour guide, and she was going to the old quarter to meet a couple to whom she was going to show the area.

As she was emerging from Tallers, one of the narrow streets that lead to the Ramblas, she suddenly realized that something was amiss.

There was a deadly silence, people on the street just stood there, in shock, looking at the Ramblas, where the vehicle must have passed performing its deadly task just a minute before.

She then saw a chaos of objects everywhere, and some of the bodies on the ground.

She had a strong sense of unreality, as if all that was part of a film set, and the bodies were just extras performing their roles.

Then she quickly crossed to the other side of the Ramblas, to meet the people for the tour.

They weren't there yet, but agreed over the phone to postpone the tour.

A young couple of English-speaking tourists approached her asking if she knew what was going on.

She said she didn't know exactly, but that it seemed that a vehicle had stepped on the promenade and run over people.

Then they asked her for directions to their hotel, which she gave them as it was nearby.

After this she headed home, while the police and ambulance were arriving and the area was being cordoned off.

A real nightmare.

Las Ramblas was such an obvious and easy target for this kind of attack that one wonders if could not have been better protected, but then, as the later attack in Cambrils shows, they can strike anywhere.

It's awful to see that today Barcelona is in the headlines of the New York Times, not Donald Trump and his antics.

JE comments:  WAISdom has many connections to the city of Barcelona, so this latest terror attack strikes very close.  Please thank Helena for this first-hand report, José Manuel.

WAISer Enrique Torner has family in Barcelona.  His comment is next.

Vehicular assaults have become almost commonplace.  Sadly, this is also what I said two months ago, in the wake of the London Bridge/Borough Market attacks.  Expect the world's major cities to build massive barricades around their pedestrian areas.

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  • Attack on Las Ramblas, Barcelona (Enrique Torner, USA 08/18/17 4:33 AM)
    Yesterday was a very emotional day for me, with the three terrorist attacks in Barcelona, the main one on Las Ramblas, right where I walked when I lived in Barcelona. It's been surreal to be able to follow all the events, hour by hour, right on my phone, while I was out of town! The miracles of social media!

    My family is OK, because, as most middle- and upper-class people from Barcelona, they were vacationing on the coast, 25 miles north of the city. Because of this fact, I can predict that many victims will be foreigners, especially Americans, British, people from the northern part of Europe, and maybe Japanese, who love Gaudi!

    It didn't shock me to observe two pieces of news that were later refuted as false: terrorists holed up in a bar at Las Ramblas, and the gas explosion south of town not being connected to terrorism. I initially believed the first (wrong!), but I didn't the second (right this time!).

    It's hard to believe there were 3 terror attacks in and around Barcelona in less than one day, with over 13 people dead, more than 100 injured, and at least 5 terrorists killed.  Unfortunately, the van driver is still at large. I would really like to hear a report from Jordi Molins. I hope you and your family are OK, Jordi!

    JE comments: Check in with us, Jordi, si us plau! WAISer Henry Levin is also just outside the city at his summer home. Hank: please let us know you and Pilar are safe.

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  • Barcelona Attack: Report from Catalunya (Henry Levin, USA 08/18/17 4:43 AM)
    Sorry to be so neglectful in not sending a note on the attacks yesterday in Barcelona and Cambrils. You know the basic statistics. A furgoneta (van) weaved its way down the Ramblas for 650 meters (from Plaça Catalunya to the Liceu) killing 13 and wounding 100 from 18 nations. There were three persons in the van, and all got away. The police have picked up two, but there are no reports of who they are and how they were connected, if at all.

    In Cambrils (about 70 miles south, a beach town in the province of Tarragona), five or six men with suicide vests were killed by the police. Again, we have little information on how they were connected or what happened. ISIS has taken credit for the attack.

    Unfortunately, the Spanish authorities have released little information on the attackers or how they connected this with those in Cambrils. Instead, we see endless repetitions of the aftermath of the tragedy with bodies lying about, ambulances being loaded, and police tapes blocking off the Ramblas and other areas. There is considerable speculation on who and what and so on, loads of talking heads, but little insight or news.

    Sorry, but perhaps you will get more information ultimately from some of the news agencies.

    JE comments:  Thank you, Hank.  A strong abraçada to you and Pilar.  The Barcelona attack underscores the fact that no city is immune from ISIS, which is ever on the lookout for targets of opportunity.

    Tomorrow is the day of the enormous Dream Cruise on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.  Nearly 1 million spectators will line Woodward Avenue, just three blocks from WAIS HQ.  Police are beefing up security measures, including a ban on all trailers and vehicles over 10,000 lbs.


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  • Walking Les Rambles the Day After (Jordi Molins, Spain 08/18/17 10:14 AM)
    This morning, I decided to walk through Les Rambles, in Barcelona. I wanted to emphasize that totalitarians will not defeat us--i.e. we have no fear. There were no blood stains on the ground, despite the massacre some of us have been able to see in videos circulating through social media (not in the mass media, though).

    Several WAIS posts suggest there is no connection between the Barcelona events, and other violent attacks that have happened in Catalonia during the last few hours. In fact, the initial comment from the police was that "it was not proven there is a connection." However, given current knowledge, the events in Barcelona, Cambrils, Vic and Alcanar are all connected to each other. Most of the terrorists have still not been captured.

    Left-wing politicians, media and commentators were busy yesterday night asking people to forget about the attack, even though the blood was still warm, and we had to suffer the Cambrils killings. CUP, the extreme left-wing Catalan political party, has shamefully stated today the acts are due to "fascism" and "capitalism," with no single word about Wahhabism.

    It is also surprising, in my opinion, the insistence of left wingers not to show images or videos of the dead and wounded, when instead, they did not argue the same way with the famous picture of Alyan. Equally, the emphasis in not trying to link terrorism with Islam, but having no problem in relating the Charlottesville car killing to neo-Nazism and white supremacism.

    This double-think (believing some terrorists are better than others, according to one's ideology) is the biggest problem in Europe.

    JE comments: So relieved to hear that you and yours are safe, Jordi. Terrorists of all stripes are reprehensible, yes. But is there a moral equivalent between Islam and white supremacism? It would be more accurate to compare the violent, rogue offshoots of both Islam and Christianity (Al-Qaeda or ISIS with white supremacism).

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