Skip to comments.Al-Jazeera: Too Close to Terrorists?
Posted on 09/15/2003 6:24:38 AM PDT by TastyManatees
Al-Jazeera: Too Close to Terrorists?
By Michael Isikoff and Eric Pape
Sept. 22 issue How does Al-Jazeera keep getting scoops like last weeks Osama bin Laden video? Editors at the Qatar-based Arab TV network wont say.
IF I TOLD YOU we received the tape by e-mail, then theyd start tapping all of Al-Jazeeras e-mails tomorrow, says one top editor. But questions persist about just how tight some of the networks correspondents may be with terrorists: an investigation in Spain has led to the imprisonment of a top reporter on charges that he conspired with some of that countrys most notorious Qaeda suspects. The reporter, Tayssir Alouni, a native of Syria, gained brief fame two years ago when, as Al-Jazeeras Kabul bureau chief, he got the first interview of bin Laden taking responsibility for 9/11. (Alouni says he scored the interview after being led, blindfolded, to a bin Laden hideaway.) But internal Spanish police documents obtained by NEWSWEEK show that Alouni, 48, has been under scrutiny since at least early 2000, when phone wiretaps revealed he was in frequent and continuous contact with Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, the suspected leader of Al Qaedas Spanish cell. Before moving from Granada to Afghanistan in January 2000 to open up the Al-Jazeera bureau, Alouni called Yarkas to let him know he was leaving. It sounded like he was informing this fact to a superior in a hierarchy, reads one report. Yarkas talked to Alouni about carrying cash to Mohamed Bahaiaha fellow Syrian whom Spanish authorities consider a key Qaeda moneyman. Bahaiah was well known to Alouni: two years earlier, according to the report, when Bahaiah was seeking to renew his residency permit in Spain, Alouni covered up for him, allowing Bahaiah to list Alounis home address and phone number.
Last week Spanish investigating Judge Baltasar Garzon charged that Alouni took a total of $4,500 to terrorists in Afghanistan on two occasions. Alounis lawyers say he did take smaller sums to Syrians abroada common practice in the Arab world, says Al-Jazeera editor Ibrahim Helal. But some of the most damning evidence against Alouni, according to the police reports, is what happened when he returned to Spain from Afghanistan in July 2001. Alouni contends he was returning to visit his wife in Granada. The police reports say he very quickly had two visitors: Yarkas and Mahmoun Darkanzanli, a German-based businessman who Western intel officials have long believed was a key financier for the Hamburg cell that included 9/11 ringleader Muhammad Atta. Helal insists that Alouni is being persecuted by the Spanish because he refused to cooperate when Western intel agencies asked him to become an informant against Al Qaeda. They got fed up with him because he refused to help them, Helal says. Other ex-colleagues say he never expressed the slightest sympathy for Al Qaeda. He told me that Al Qaedas actions were an error and a barbarity, says Spanish journalist Carlos Hernandez. But Judge Garzon doesnt buy it. Last week, after interrogating Alouni, he ordered he be held indefinitely in a maximum-security prison.
One has realistic footage of the WTC towers collapsing in flames, only to be replaced by two giant gasoline pumps labeled "Iraq". The rest show a calm and immovable Arafat in various stages of attempted removal by Sharon and Abbas who are depicted as bumbling buffoons.
Do ya see any shred of 'fair and balanced' ideology here? Nope. Aljazeera may be packaged as an impartial news source but it is anything but.
"Start" tapping email? Ha! You can bet we've been tracing every electron heading into AJ since 9/11.
Very interesting details here.
As well as making a small fortune televising to the so called Arab street, otherwise known as the Human Zoo.
You should know that aljazeera.com has NO affiliation with Al Jazeera the network. In Arabic al jazeera means either the island or the peninsula. AJ Television sued in the international intellectual property court and recently lost, because it's such a common word and the .com site had the name first. Al Jazeera's actual web site is much less inciteful and far more responsible. It is: engligh.aljazeera.net. Note that there is NO 'www' and it is '.net'. Cheers.
Why is it that Al-Jazzier is on site and set up to tape before some attacks? They get tipped off.
AJ in Iraq or Afghanistan = Heightened security, be cautious.
What I believe happens a lot is that they get tipped off about future enemy operations. They keep this secret and set up to capture it on tape.
The insurgent wants media coverage! Preferably positive media coverage. AJ has its agenda and these stories sell well too. Its a symbiotic relationship. AJ probably gets hundreds of thousands of viewers for no other reason than they get a lot of the footage of IEDs, air OBL tapes etc.