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December 04, 2006

Associated/Depressed

The Associated Press scandal-without-a-catchy-name* continues today, as Tom Zeller Jr, of the NY Times bends over backwards to provide cover for the APís abortive attempts to brush aside the continuing criticism of their reporting of an incident where mosques and people reputedly burned during a Shiite rampage in a Sunni enclave in Baghdad.

Taking the opposite tack, Boston Herald City Editor Jules Crittenden rips into the AP on his blog, his column, and on Fox News.

For those of you who might have forgotten how this got started, it went a little something like this:

Six burned alive in Iraq
The Associated Press

BAGHDAD, IRAQ -Revenge-seeking militiamen seized six Sunnis as they left Friday prayers and burned them alive with kerosene in a savage new twist to the brutality shaking the Iraqi capital a day after suspected Sunni insurgents killed 215 people in Baghdad's main Shiite district.

Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in Friday's assault by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia or subsequent attacks that killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same neighborhood, the volatile Hurriyah district in northwest Baghdad, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

Most of the thousands of dead bodies that have been found dumped across Baghdad and other cities in central Iraq in recent months have been of victims who were tortured and then shot to death, according to police. The suspected militia killers often have used electric drills on their captives' bodies before killing them. The bodies are frequently decapitated.

But burning victims alive introduced a new method of brutality that was likely to be reciprocated by the other sect as the Shiites and Sunnis continue killing one another in unprecedented numbers. The gruesome attack, which came despite a curfew in Baghdad, capped a day in which at least 87 people were killed or found dead in sectarian violence across Iraq.

In Hurriyah, the rampaging militiamen also burned and blew up four mosques and torched several homes in the district, Hussein said.

Residents of the troubled district claim the Mahdi Army has begun kidnapping and holding Sunni hostages to use in ritual slaughter at the funerals of Shiite victims of Baghdad's raging sectarian war.

Such claims cannot be verified but speak to the deep fear that grips Baghdad, where retaliation has become a part of daily life.

President Jalal Talabani emerged from lengthy meetings with other Iraqi leaders late Friday and said the defense minister, Abdul-Qader al-Obaidi, indicated that the Hurriyah neighborhood had been quiet throughout the day.

But Imad al-Hasimi, a Sunni elder in Hurriyah, confirmed Hussein's account of the immolations. He told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were drenched in kerosene and then set afire, burning to death before his eyes.

Two workers at Kazamiyah Hospital also confirmed that bodies from the clashes and immolation had been taken to the morgue at their facility.

They refused to be identified by name, saying they feared retribution.

And the Association of Muslim Scholars, the most influential Sunni organization in Iraq, said even more victims were burned to death in attacks on the four mosques. It claimed a total of 18 people had died in an inferno at the al-Muhaimin mosque.

That is how the story was reported by the Associated Press, and yet, much of what was stated in this article is unsubstantiated. In fact, this may be a story that never was.

We know several things about this original article are categorically false. We know that though the Associated Press article claims four mosques were burnt and blown up, that simply didnít happen. One mosque had its doorway set on fire which was extinguished, and graffiti was painted on the building. Limited fire damage and spray paint on one mosque is a far, far cry for four mosques being blown up.

We also know that "police Capt. Jamil Hussein," who was the key witness leaning credibility to the APís allegations, simply does not exist. The Iraqi interior ministry has confirmed that they have no employees by the name of Jamil Hussein, as a police captain or otherwiseÖ and yet, the fictional Captain Hussein has been a source in no fewer than 61 AP stories.

al-Hasimi (alternately al-Hashimi), the Sunni elder who is credited with witnessing the attack in the original story, now says that he did not.

Even the most key element of the story, that six men had been burned alive, seems to be false.

Nevertheless, the AP circled the wagons and continues to insist the story is real, despite the overwhelming evidence that mosques were not burned and blown up. 18 people did not die "in an inferno" at the al-Muhaimin mosque, for the al-Muhaimin mosque was never destoryed, just as six men were never pulled into the street, doused in kerosene, and set on fire.

This entire series of events is an apparent fiction from which the Associated Press will not back down, and a lie to which the new York Times seems unwilling to seriously question.

There are no charred bodies numbering between 6-18, nor four blown-up mosques, nor a police captain named Jamil Hussein who has been cited in 61 media reports. In one of the most graphic images of sectarian violence manufactured in the Iraq war yet, this incident seems quite entirely fabricated out of thin air. No other news organization will back the Associated Pressís account of burning mosques and men. Even Rueters cannot find the artificial police captains or anonymous sources to back such a claim.

If the Associated Press produces evidence that Jamil Hussein exists, or else admits that they were duped as part of a long running insurgent propaganda campaign, we can at least say the Associated Press got the wrong facts via an honest attempt to report the news. They can then go back and see if they can verify if the other 60 stories they wrote consulting the imaginary captain were real, or also part of a work of extended insurgent fiction.

Instead of looking for the truth, however, Kathleen Carroll seems to be rallying the troops around a "fake, but accurate" defense.

That response hasn't worked out too well for Mary Mapes and Dan Rather, and I suspect that it won't work much better for Kathleen Carroll, and the curiously incorporeal captain, Jamil Hussein.

* Not that it matters, but my vote goes for "Imaginary Friendgate."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 4, 2006 04:32 PM | TrackBack
Comments

I know HotAir is using Jamilgate. I prefer comparing the "Capt. Jamil Hussein-Watch" to Groundhog Day. If AP can produce the fictional character and make him see his shadow, we can expect six more months of Anti-American reporting from the MSM. Oh, and on a similar note AP's official description of Anbar Province is the place "where many of Iraqís Sunni Arab insurgent groups are based and where many U.S. Marines die in battles with the militants." That's accoring to AP Writer QAIS AL-BASHIR.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at December 4, 2006 05:04 PM

CY...AP duped trying to report honest facts AFTER USING THE GUY 61 TIMES???? I know you are trying to be generous and reasonable...but, c'mon!

They said they had been IN HIS OFFICE, checked him out AND STAND BEHIND HIM. If he's not a captain and is duping them, they have to more stupid than Sgt Schultz in Hogan's Heroes. That's not being "duped" that being an accomplice in foisting an intentional lie on the American public, CY.

If they had used him once, said that they had never been in his office at the police station,...maybe we could give them a pass. The malignancy is not confined to AP...it is a now a virulent sepsis coursing through the very bloodlines of the old media. They are now quite apparently willing to operate as the propaganda arm of the enemy. Reuters, BBC, CNN, NYTimes have all been caught red-handed undertaking nefarious acts on behalf of enemies of state. ABC, CBS and NBC news are more than happy to work side by side with them.

This is no longer even open for serious debate, no matter how hard they try to obscure the facts of their own complicity. Bloggers have saved America (so far), in my opinion.

I think we owe a debt of gratitude to Glenn, Charles and guys like you. I really do.

But, I'm tired of trying to find some "less offensive" way of saying this: The Ministry of Media...not only supports the enemy...they are the enemies...of truth.

Posted by: cfbleachers at December 4, 2006 06:26 PM

One other thing, CY...this Vapor Caper with Captain Invisible would be just a blip on the radar screen (again...since the Ministry of Media refuses to pick up a story when their own leftist agenda is caught in a yet another bald faced lie)...but NBC and Matt Liar RELIED on this to say that there was civil war already breaking out in Iraq.

They not only use lies to promote leftist propaganda...they use lies...to promote BIGGER lies.

The Vapor Caper and Captain Invisible needs to be exposed fully...it is NOT enough to simply let this one die....like all the other have. Quietly. It's time to start making a list and checking it twice.

Posted by: cfbleachers at December 4, 2006 07:03 PM

I guess it is a lot easier and safer to sit in a hotel in the green zone with an Iraqi hooker and buy 'war stories' from the terrorists than it is to go out in the field. 61 stories from one terrorists. How many other terrorists are they buying 'war stories' from? That means that everything you have read or heard with an ASSociated (with terrorists) Press byline has a 99 44/100% chance of being a lie. How many years have we been listening to these lies. We know it started in Vietnam and has never let up. Sure makes me happy that I cancelled my subscription to the Media General rag two years ago. Now when the set up their little booth in the mall and offer to give me a free copy and try to get me to subscribe I tell them there is no benefit to the paper once you read the comic strips.

Posted by: Scrapiron at December 5, 2006 12:50 AM

How about this for a title.

Phantom Fire strikes the Invisible Six.

News at 11.

Posted by: Retired Navy at December 5, 2006 06:43 AM