December 22, 2006
In the detailed follow-up account to the initial "burning six" story AP insisted:
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.
This is a damn fine trick. According to Iraqi Brigadier General Abdul-Kareem, (via an email exchange with MNC-I PAO) their is no morgue at Kazamiyah Hospital. Any dead at Kazamiyah Hospital are transported by the police to the Medical Jurisprudence Center at Bab Almadham.
To sum up the "Burning Six" story so far:
- The primary source for the story doesn't apparently exist.
- The secondary source retracted his claim
- The tertiary source (Assn of Muslim Scholars) is suspected of being in league with the insurgency
- All other sources are anonymous, and in at least this instance, cite a factual impossibility.
- 6 men were pulled out of a rocketed mosque, doused in kerosene, and burned alive. No bodies have been recovered, and the mosque has curiously never been named.
- Those killed were seen by workers of Kazamiyah Hospital in the morgue. Kazamiyah Hospital does not have a morgue.
- 18 people were burned to death in an inferno at the al-Muhaimin mosque. Not a single casualty of any type has been found, and their is no evidence tha the mosque was set on fire.
- A total of four mosques-Ahbab al-Mustafa, Nidaa Allah, al-Muhaimin and al-Qaqaqa were attacked "with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and automatic rifles," before being burned. There is zero evidence that any of the mosques were assaulted in such a manner, and only the Nidaa Allah suffered minor fire damage from a molotov cocktail. The fire was put out by local firefighters.
In short, four weeks after breaking this story, the Associated Press has no credible witnesses, nor any physical or photographic evidence, of a series of four terrorist attacks that they claimed killed as many as 24 people, six of them burned alive. To date, they refuse to issue a retraction.
Faith-based reporting is apparently the new Associated Press standard.
12/26 Update: I was offline over the past few days and so didn't check my email, but Michelle Malkin lets me know via email that according to her sources, Kazamiyah Hospital does not have a morgue, but it does have a large freezer that can be used to store bodies.