Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post on September 11, in a page 16 story, noted that a Spanish court had sentenced 18 people to prison on charges of cooperating with Al Qaeda and facilitating the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. The story also noted that “Tayssir Alouni, a journalist with the Arabic-language television network al-Jazeera, was sentenced to seven years in prison. Prosecutors used an interview that Alouni conducted in 2001 with Osama bin Laden as evidence that he had a link to al Qaeda.”

The evidence of his cooperation with Al Qaeda was that he had interviewed bin Laden? In fact, he was accused and found guilty of carrying money for Al Qaeda, and was a member of that Spanish-based Al Qaeda cell. Reports indicate that he took over $4,000 to terrorists in Afghanistan on two occasions. Some of the money went to Mohammed Bahaiah, one of Osama bin Laden’s closest aides, who is still at large.

The BBC noted that “Until his arrest in 2003, he was among al-Jazeera’s most prominent and popular correspondents, fronting the network’s coverage of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.”  Alouni is a Syrian with Spanish citizenship.

Newsweek reported that internal Spanish police documents showed that Alouni had 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 Qaeda’s Spanish cell. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison. The magazine said, “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.” The report said that “It sounded like he was informing this fact to a superior in a hierarchy.”

However, Al-Jazeera has responded by reiterating its support for Allouni and “his professional integrity and courage as a journalist,” according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Washington Post media reporter, Howard Kurtz, playing catch-up with USA Today over its breaking of the story about ex-Marine Josh Rushing joining Al-Jazeera, has done a story highlighting the fact that BBC interviewer David Frost is signing on to the Arab propaganda outlet. Frost has disgraced himself with this shameful decision. 

In an understatement, Kurtz noted, “Al Jazeera’s reputation wasn’t helped when a Spanish court last month sentenced former correspondent Taysir Alouni to seven years in prison on charges of collaborating with al-Qaida.”

That’s bad enough. But USA Today, Kurtz and many others have ignored the controversy over Al-Jazeera’s first managing director, who was let go when it was exposed that he was closely tied to the Saddam Hussein regime and was in fact taking “directives” from Saddam’s evil son Uday. You can read all about this in our AIM Report.

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