FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Railroading of Taysir Alony

by LAMIS ANDONI

When Madrid was struck with the heinous terrorist attack on March 11, it was Taysir Alony who conveyed the tragedy of blood and loss to millions of Arab speakers all over the world. In his serene demeanor and warm voice, Taysir told us about grief stricken Spaniards who lost loved ones in a matter of few seconds to a massacre of steel and fire that traumatized Madrid and the rest of the country.

He reminded the audience that Spain was hit in spite of the presence of a strong opposition to the war in Iraq and demonstrated in interviews with Spaniards in their own voices, the travesty of terrorism as a blind and arbitrary tactic that spares no innocents regardless of ethnicity and color. Yet today Taysir stands to be sentenced on charges of links with a terrorist organization. The same organization suspected of committing the March 11 atrocity.

As a colleague of Taysir I have mixed feelings of hope and deep concern. Hope that he will be found innocent and walks away as a free man and concern that he would be convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment or more.

I strongly believe in Taysir’s innocence but I am very aware that he could be sacrificed to a nationaland international atmosphere of fear and loathing as exceptional laws against terror are either invoked and enacted undercutting the due legal process.

Spain has distinguished itself by insisting on combating terrorism through its court system. This is deeply appreciated but as Human Rights Watch noted on Feb 1st, 2005, the measures against terrorism, as applied in “the Spanish Qaeda cell” were a violation of human rights and did not guarantee “a fair trial”.

Today the verdict will be announced. As a colleague of Taysir I have followed the trial broadcast livewith simultaneous translation on Al Jazeera Live Channel : I beg to differ with the prosecutor’s evidence to Taysir’s guilt.

As a journalist I was astonished, by the focus on Taysir’s exclusive interview with Osama Bin Laden, obtained few weeks after the September 11 attacks, during the hearings but especially in the closing statements. I found it alarming that the prosecuter Mr.Pedro Rubiro was using a journalistic interview as evidence.

“He (Taysir) sounded as if he is talking to his boss (Bin Laden)”, Mr Rubiro asserted.

On what basis did the prosecutor make his conclusion?

The interview was neither watched by the court nor has Mr. Rubiro ordered it as evidence. A reading of the interview’s transcript, as published by CNN, clearly proves that Taysir has delivered a highly professional performance challenging Bin Ladens statements on Islam’s position on killing of civilians, fighting Jews and Christians, and pointed out that the Afghan people were paying a high price as a result of Al Qaeda’s presence in their country.

But none of that was told to the court or to the Spanish people. Instead the prosecutor claimed that Bin Laden favored Taysir for his close ties with Al Qaeda. Bin Laden did not choose Taysir but did choose Al Jazeera and CNN to give the interview and not Taysir. Tasyir was representing both Al Jazeera and CNN–a fact that widely publicized at the time.

It is equally amazing that the prosecutor would conclude that Taysir’s role and answers about the interview during the hearings convinced him of the correspondent’s guilt. Taysir’s was asked whether Afghans had though he was a member of Qaeda to which he honestly answered that ordinary Afghans thought that most if not all Arabs in their country were members of the group. Unless I missed something I cannot see a self-indictment in that reply.

The second charge is that Taysir channeled money to Al Qaeda. Taysir did deliver $4500 to an Arab family living in Afghanistan. There was a plenty of time to double check the story.Yet instead assumptions were made without launching what could have been an easy investigation. In an atmosphere of presumed guilt and fear assumptions became facts that were used to condemn a man and his family. What was produced at best was flimsy evidence that does not convince Taysir´s colleagues or those who know him. I wish the prosecutor had asked his Spanish crew, who have known Taysir, before making assumptions of culpability based on the dangerous notion of “guilt by association”.

These are trying times indeed. Governments feel obligated, as they should, to protect their people, from carnages as those of New York, Madrid and London. As a colleague of Taysir I appeal to the Spanish court not to send an innocent man to jail.

LAMIS ANDONI may be reached at: lamisandoni@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
Gerry Condon
In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard
Weekend Edition
May 19, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Getting Assange: the Untold Story
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Secret Sharer
Charles Pierson
Trump’s First Hundred Days of War Crimes
Paul Street
How Russia Became “Our Adversary” Again
Andrew Levine
Legitimation Crises
Mike Whitney
Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State 
Robert Hunziker
Early-Stage Antarctica Death Rattle Sparks NY Times Journalists Trip
Ken Levy
Why – How – Do They Still Love Trump?
Bruce E. Levine
“Hegemony How-To”: Rethinking Activism and Embracing Power
Robert Fisk
The Real Aim of Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia
Christiane Saliba
Slavery Now: Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Chris Gilbert
The Chávez Hypothesis: Vicissitudes of a Strategic Project
Howard Lisnoff
Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain
Brian Cloughley
Propaganda Feeds Fear and Loathing
Stephen Cooper
Is Alabama Hiding Evidence It Tortured Two of Its Citizens?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail