The Railroading of Taysir Alony


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



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


Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxembourg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
Sam Husseini
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey