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

April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
Susan Babbitt
Don’t Raise Liberalism From the Dead (If It is Dead, Which It’s Not)
Uri Avnery
Palestine’s Nelson Mandela
Fred Nagel
It’s “Deep State” Time Again
John Feffer
The Hunger President
Stephen Cooper
Nothing is Fair About Alabama’s “Fair Justice Act”
Jack Swallow
Why Science Should Be Political
Chuck Collins
Congrats, Graduates! Here’s Your Diploma and Debt
Aidan O'Brien
While God Blesses America, Prometheus Protects Syria, Russia and North Korea 
Patrick Hiller
Get Real About Preventing War
David Rosen
Fiction, Fake News and Trump’s Sexual Politics
Evan Jones
Macron of France: Chauncey Gardiner for President!
David Macaray
Adventures in Labor Contract Language
Ron Jacobs
The Music Never Stopped
Kim Scipes
Black Subjugation in America
Sean Stinson
MOAB: More Obama and Bush
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail