Eight paragraphs in, we learn it was a "suspected Islamist cell." Until then, one might almost have gotten the impression that Pakistan had declared war on Spain.
And that is the problem with this kind of coverage, which is, of course, thoroughly ordinary. It is not because they are "men," or "Asians," or "Pakistanis" that they are waging war on Spain. So these reports are essentially misleading.
"Asians jailed over planned metro attack," from AFP, December 15
Spain's anti-terrorism court has convicted 11 men of South Asian origin, mostly Pakistanis, in connection with a plot to stage suicide attacks in the Barcelona metro last year.
The men have received jail terms of between eight and 14 years, a copy of the ruling indicates.
They intended to "carry out a violent attack using explosives against the Barcelona metro, which could have caused many casualties", the court said on Monday.
"The indiscriminate aim is evidence of the terrorist nature of the attacks."
Shaib Iqbal and Qadeer Malik, both born in Pakistan, received the stiffest terms of 14 years and six months for "belonging to a terrorist group" and for "weapons possession".
Maroof Ahmed Mirza, also of Pakistani origin and who the court said was "the leader of the group", was jailed for 10-and-a-half years for "belonging to a terrorist group", while the other eight each received terms of eight-and-a-half years on the same charge.
Ten of the men were arrested in the northeastern city of Barcelona in January 2008 in raids during which police also recovered bomb-making equipment. Another was detained five months later in the Netherlands.
The charges were based on the declarations of an informant who was a member of the suspected Islamist cell and who then became a protected witness.
The court said the cell was inspired by Baitullah Mehsud, leader of a Pakistani Taliban group linked to al-Qaeda, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan....
In May 2007, Spain's high court acquitted 11 Pakistanis of planning extremist attacks in Barcelona, but convicted three of them of collaborating with terrorists and two of falsifying documents.