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January 02, 2007

Gone in 60 Stories: The Grunt Work

It has long needed to be done, and I kept hoping someone else would do it: checking out the list of 61 Associated Press stories ferreted out by Curt at Flopping Aces, where the AP used Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein as a source. Perhaps it has been done and nothing was found warranting suspicion, but that, too, warrants publication. Verifiable, unverifiable, or undetermined, we need to know if Jamil Hussein's stories prior to his very questionable "burning six" story also have reason to be suspect.

The only way I can do this is to take the 61 stories Curt found, Google the keywords and dates of the described events, and see if other news organizations can corroborate the details of the events provided. Those with LexisNexis access might be able to do a better job of verifying or disputing these accounts, but you get to research using the tool set you have, not the tools you would like to have. As I don't have the time to do a complete search, I'll attempt to search through roughly the first half of the 61 stories using Jamil Hussein as a source.

I'll provide the headline, byline, and brief description provided by Curt, along with any supporting evidence I can find, and attempt to render a judgement as to the likelihood of the AP story being verifiable, or unverifiable via the limited means at my disposable. Put on a pot of coffee, and perhaps consider printing this out, as this is going to be the longest blog post I've written. We're going to be here a while, and this is just Part I (Part 2 is here).

Let's begin.

HEADLINE: 7 car bombs explode in Baghdad, bodies of 20 other Iraqis are found

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

That was followed by a car bomb that targeted a police patrol in the Mansur area of Baghdad, wounding three policemen and four civilians, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

That maps perfectly to this AP report captured by truthout.org. The relevant details of three policemen and four civilians injured in Mansur by a car bomb on or about April 24. An unattributed BBC report states that:

A car bomb explodes in the Mansur area of the city injuring seven people.

This BBC report corroborates the location and number of people in the attack as sourced by Hussein, but we don't know if this came from the AP reports or another source. al Jazeera published a similar account attributed only to "agencies."

It should be noted that most of the media's attention that day was likely focused on the Dahab resort bombings in Egypt that killed at least 23 and wounded dozens more. I am unable to either verify or dispute this account.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 1

The second and third accounts where Curt finds Jamil Hussein cited as a source describe the same event:

April 26, 2006

HEADLINE: 6 Iraqis, 14 suspected insurgents killed in Iraq

BYLINE: By LEE KEATH, Associated Press Writer

In southwest Baghdad, police received a tip that two men were traveling in the area with explosives hidden beneath their clothes, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein. After a brief gunbattle, the explosives detonated, killing both men, he said.

April 26, 2006

HEADLINE: U.S. Troops Kill 12 Militants in Iraq

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

In southwest Baghdad, police received a tip that two men were traveling in the area with explosives hidden beneath their clothes, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein. After a brief gunbattle, the explosives detonated, killing both men, he said.

That would seem to be this AP story of April 26, as attributed to Keath. I cannot find any other reports to confirm or dispute these events.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 3

Two days later, we have another story by Thomas Wagner using Jamil Hussein as a source:

April 28, 2006

HEADLINE: Death of U.S. soldier makes April deadliest month for Americans this year

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

On Friday, the weekly day of worship in mostly Muslim Iraq, a roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol exploded in southwestern Baghdad at 8:20 a.m., killing one policeman and wounding two, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

This account is cited here, though accounted to the AP as an organization, not Wagner. I can find no other accounts from any news organization claiming a similar event happened in Baghdad on this day.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 4

Next up, these two related stories:

April 29, 2006

HEADLINE: Iraqi official: Sectarian violence forces 100,000 families to flee homes

BYLINE: By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

The 17 people killed Saturday included six men found dead in the Dora section of southwest Baghdad, police said. All were handcuffed, blindfolded and appeared to have been tortured, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

April 29, 2006

HEADLINE: New estimates of displaced families in Iraq as violence continues

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

In Saturday's worst violence, the bodies of six handcuffed, blindfolded and tortured men were found in the Baghdad neighborhood of Dora, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein. The area has seen frequent sectarian violence.

Again, no reporter is credited, but the AP byline takes us to the story containing this claim here.

17 killed, six of them handcuffed, blindfolded, and tortured in Dora, Baghdad. That should be easy to corroborate. It isn't.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 6

METHODOLOGY BREAK: I find the original articles cited by Curt by copying the entire block of text into Google with quotes around them, and hitting search. I rather easily find the AP article, as you would expect, often a variant with a differing headline or credit, but the supposed factual information is consistent.

When I look for the defining characteristics, however, I look for the details that story that should make it unique, for instance using the details of the previous AP story-17 killed dora 6 handcuffed tortured April 29-and I'm unable to find it, Jamil Hussein or not.

Am I doing something wrong here?

Now back to your regularly scheduled, presently 0-for-April, source hunt. Let's try Sinan Salaheddin's similar account in the same neighborhood.

May 1, 2006

HEADLINE: Four Iraqis killed, protesters demand better security in Baghdad

BYLINE: By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writer

The bullet-ridden, handcuffed and blindfolded bodies of three Iraqi men were found in Baghdad's southern Dora neighborhood, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein. A drive-by shooting also killed a Shiite grocer in his shop, Hussein said.

Right-wing and semi-reliable news site Newsmax runs those exact same AP-attributed words here. The Pakistani Daily Times seems to pull from this same account, but their account cites neither the writer nor the news service they got their information from, citing only "Iraqi police." I can find no other new agencies claiming these events took place.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 7

The next day, we have accounts of attacks on Iraqi military units.

May 2, 2006

HEADLINE: Official urges Iraqis to renounce violence, but insurgent attacks continue

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

In Dora, one of the capital's most violent neighborhoods, a roadside bomb wounded three Iraqi soldiers in a convoy, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

The Houston Chronicle ran this account showing that same event, where it is also mentioned that coalition forces killed ten terrorists, three wearing suicide vests. I was finally able to corroborate something--the suicide vest account, but of course... I'm still O-for-Jamil.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 8

Next up, an assassination:

May 6, 2006

HEADLINE: 3 U.S. soldiers killed in roadside bombing south of Baghdad

BYLINE: By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writer

An Iraqi police major was assassinated in a drive-by shooting in Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad, police said. And a Shiite cleric, Hussein Ahmed al-Mousawi, was shot and killed near his home in Baghdad's Dora district, according to police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

I've never heard of the Seacoast Online but they have this AP account, and even give Salaheddin his byline. A Shiite cleric in Dora by the name of Hussein Ahmed al-Mousawi shouldn't be too difficult to track down, especially since we know when he was assassinated, and where. Once again, al Jazeera sources "agencies," and nobody else seems to have ever heard of such a man, alive, or dead.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 9

On May 8 we get this:

May 8, 2006

HEADLINE: U.S. soldier, dozens of Iraqis die in Iraq's latest bloodshed

BYLINE: By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writer

Gunmen stopped a bus carrying Higher Education Ministry employees to work in western Baghdad, killing the driver and wounding a guard, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Fox News runs this AP story citing this exact text, and so we have an AP match. What can we find from other news organizations regarding the May 8 attack on a busload of Higher Education Ministry employees? CNN offers up a version of it also attributed to AP, but drops the Jamil Hussein reference. Once again, no one else has the story brought forth by the Associated Press and Jamil Hussein. Am I doing something wrong? I don't have LexisNexis; does anyone know if Google simply isn't able to easily find other corroborating accounts for some reason? In any even the running tally hits double digits without a single corroborating hit.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 10

Back again to a series of Thomas Wagner articles, or perhaps just a series of updates to one article:

May 10, 2006

HEADLINE: Talabani says the kidnapping and killing of hundreds of Iraqis must stop

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

One of the BMWs stopped to block the car of Mohammed Musab Talal al-Amari, a Shiite, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein. Three men got out of the other BMW and opened fire in the residential neighborhood of Bayaa, killing al-Amari and wounding an Iraqi pedestrian, Hussein said.

May 10, 2006

HEADLINE: 12 Iraqis killed in drive-by shootings, including government official

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

In Baghdad, suspected insurgents fatally shot Mohammed Musaab Talal al-Amari, a Shiite who directs the Defense Ministry's public relations office, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

May 10, 2006

HEADLINE: Talabani Urges Unity Among Iraq Factions

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

One of the BMWs stopped to block the car of Mohammed Musab Talal al-Amari, a Shiite, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein. Three men got out of the other BMW and opened fire in the residential neighborhood of Bayaa, killing al-Amari and wounding an Iraqi pedestrian, Hussein said.

"Winger" site Newsmax once again runs the AP story. Once a gain, you wold think that the killing of a specific person (Mohammed Musab Talal al-Amari) in a specific Baghdad neighborhood (Bayaa) might get picked up by another source and provided to another news agency. Once again, this story seems to start and end with AP-exclusive source, Captain Jamil Hussein.

I sent emails to both U.S. Central Command's PAO and to CPATT (Civilian Police Advisory Training Team ), to see if they can contact the Iraqi Ministry of Defense public relations office to see if Mohammed Musab Talal al-Amari ever existed, or worked for them, or was assassinated. Unfortunately, the primary CPATT contact and his assistant are both out of the country and so cannot verify this story with any certainty. The primary contact did say he recalls that a Ministry of Defense Public Information Office did lose an employee in May, but was unable to verify a name. He suggested another contact in U.S. Central Command's PAO that might be more familiar with this case, and I'm still awaiting verification. If it is obtained, then I will have one story in 13 using Jamil Hussein as a source verified, and ironically enough, verified by Central Command and CPATT, organizations that the Associated Press has attacked.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 13

Moving right along:

May 12, 2006

HEADLINE: Targeted attacks against Sunni Arabs spread as Iraq struggles to form government

BYLINE: By TAREK EL-TABLAWY, Associated Press Writer

A member of the Interior Ministry's elite Falcon Brigade was also shot dead by a sniper in southwestern Baghdad, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

I've been unable to find this AP article, and have been able to find precious few articles about the Iraqi Interior Ministry's Saqr (Falcon) Brigade, other than Mudville Gazette post noting that they are one of the units taking control over in Najef province. We'll skip this one.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 13 Skipped: 1

Back to Thomas Wagner again:

May 14, 2006

HEADLINE: 7 bombs explode in Baghdad killing 12 Iraqis; six Shiite shrines bombed around Baqouba.

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

Two suicide car bombs exploded near a U.S. convoy at a checkpoint on Baghdad's airport road, wounding 18 Iraqis, six civilians and 12 security personnel, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

This time, the International Herald Tribune provides a link to the story. You would think that two suicide car bombs targeting a U.S convoy in Baghdad on May 14, 2006 wounding 36 people would get wider attention. Once again, nothing on a Google search by any other news agency.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 14 Skipped: 1

Now a pair stories on May 21 that seems to be a story and an update:

May 21, 2006

HEADLINE: Suicide bomber kills 13 in Baghdad restaurant, new government meets

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

In southwestern Baghdad, a roadside bomb missed its target a police patrol but wounded five civilians at 8 a.m., in the mostly Sunni Arab neighborhood of Saidiyah, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

May 21, 2006

HEADLINE: Bombs, shooting kill 3 Iraqis in Baghdad

[No byline]

In southwestern Baghdad, a roadside bomb missed its target a police patrol but wounded five civilians at 8 a.m., in the Sadiyah neighborhood, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

USA Today runs the Jamil Hussein-sourced article under an AP byline. Once again, AP is the only purveyor of this news account, and Jamil Hussein is the only source.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 16 Skipped: 1

Are you getting tired of this? So am I.

Nevertheless:

May 24, 2006

HEADLINE: 19 Iraqis killed as Iraq's leader meets with the Danish prime minister

BYLINE: By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

In southwestern Baghdad, gunmen shot dead a grocery store owner in his shop, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

Can't find the AP story. Skipping.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 16 Skipped: 2

Now we have three related posts on May 27, all probably by Sinan Salaheddin, describing the same event.

May 27, 2006

HEADLINE: Iraqi politicians struggle to reach agreement on key security posts; 21 killed in violence

BYLINE: By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writer

A bomb in a parked car exploded near a busy bus station in southern Baghdad, killing at least four civilians and wounding seven, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

May 27, 2006

HEADLINE: Iraqi politicians struggle to reach agreement on key security posts; car bomb near bus station kills 4

BYLINE: By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writer

Violence resumed Saturday as a bomb in a parked car exploded near a busy bus station in southern Baghdad, killing at least four civilians and wounding seven, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Gunmen in three speeding cars also ambushed a patrol in western Baghdad, wounding 10 people, including six policemen, and two other policemen were injured in drive-by shootings in a nearby neighborhood, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

May 27, 2006

HEADLINE: Bomb explodes in parked car near bus station in Baghdad, killing at least 4 and wounding 7

[No byline]

A bomb in a parked car exploded Saturday morning near a busy bus station in Baghdad, killing at least four civilians and wounding seven others, police said.

The attack occurred in the southern neighborhood of Dora, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said, a day after bombs hit three different outdoor markets in Baghdad, killing at least 18 people and wounding more than 60.

Here you go. And guess what? We've got pictures. Well, sorta. Once again they are from the Associated Press, and the picture itself is not exactly a smoking gun; a crying boy in a hospital beside an elderly woman on a stretcher is touching, but not conclusive, and not on-scene. Once again, there are no other sources than Jamil Hussein, and no other news organizations apparently involved other than the Associated Press.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 19 Skipped: 2

May 30, 2006

HEADLINE: Roadside bomb kills police officer, civilian dies when mortar lands at interior ministry

BYLINE: By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer

Police found the bodies of three blindfolded and handcuffed men who had been tortured and shot in the head. The bodies were found in central and southern Baghdad, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Taipei Times has the AP story this time around. This is perhaps the most generalized story with Jamil Hussein's name attached: three men were tortured and shot in the head somewhere in central and southern Baghdad. Where, exactly? We don't know, and once again, other news agencies couldn't seem find these three men that Hussein alleges were found on May 30.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 20 Skipped: 2


Newly promoted Kim Gamel offers up this account:

June 1, 2006

HEADLINE: Iraqi premier to present choices for key security posts, announces investigation on Haditha killings

BYLINE: By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer

Three gunmen shot to death two mechanics at their workshop in an industrial area in the al-Bayaa neighborhood in western Baghdad, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

ABC News provides us the link here, in a report contributed to by Bushra Juhi and Qais al-Bashir. Once again, no other news organization could corroborate these accounts.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 21 Skipped: 2


Also as we enter June:

June 1, 2006

HEADLINE: Mortar barrage kills 9 civilians, wounds 40 in southern Baghdad.

[No byline]

A mortar barrage Thursday killed nine civilians and wounded 40 in southern Baghdad, police said.

The attack occurred in south Baghdad's predominantly Sunni Arab Dora district and involved seven mortar rounds landing on four houses, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

The Pakistani Dawn provides a variation of this report. As is sadly becoming a trend, I can find no other news service reporting an attack on Dora using mortars on June 1.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 22 Skipped: 2

That brings us to June 5-6, where Kim Gamel goes on a three-story, two-day run on a string of kidnappings:

June 5, 2006

HEADLINE: Dozens kidnapped in Baghdad in new challenge to government

BYLINE: By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer

According to Capt. Jamil Hussein of the al-Yarmouk police station, gunmen opened fire on a minibus in Dora's predominantly Sunni Arab Mahdiya neighborhood. He said 11 people were killed, but Al-Yarmouk hospital reported receiving only two bodies from a shooting. It was unclear if the victims were Sunni or Shiite. There was no one available at Baghdad's main morgue to confirm if it had received any bodies.

June 6, 2006

HEADLINE: Gunmen Kidnap Dozens in Baghdad

BYLINE: By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer

Gunmen also killed a school watchman in Baghdad, and two other brothers were shot to death in a drive-by shooting elsewhere in the capital, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

June 6, 2006

HEADLINE: Dozens kidnapped in Baghdad in new challenge to government

BYLINE: By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer

Gunmen also killed a school watchman in Baghdad, and two other brothers were shot to death in a drive-by shooting elsewhere in the capital, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said. ... According to Capt. Hussein of the al-Yarmouk police station, gunmen opened fire on a minibus in Dora's predominantly Sunni Arab Mahdiya neighborhood. He said 11 people were killed, but Al-Yarmouk hospital reported receiving only two bodies from a shooting. It was unclear if the victims were Sunni or Shiite. There was no one available at Baghdad's main morgue to confirm if it had received any bodies.

CBS News has the account, and it should be noted that even AP reporter Kim Gamel seems not to trust Hussein, noting that though Jamil Hussein said there were 11 people killed, only two bodies made it to the hospital. Kim Gamel is one of two AP reporters who wrote about Jamil Hussein who was promoted to a newly created position after "Jamilgate" broke (the other being Patrick Quinn). To use the left's favorite news-related phrase, "I question the timing." Again, no other news agencies can corroborate this Hussein-sourced story, at least not when it can be found by Google.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 25 Skipped: 2

Hussein was used as a source again twice on June 10:

June 10, 2006

HEADLINE: Bomb hits market in central Baghdad, killing 4 people and wounding 27, Iraqi police say

[No byline]

Gunmen in two cars also shot to death a Shiite metal worker and wounded two others in their shop in western Baghdad, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

June 10, 2006

HEADLINE: U.S. launches dozens of raids to find al-Zarqawi followers in Iraq

BYLINE: By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writer

Gunmen also stopped a minivan carrying Sunni passengers on the highway from Baghdad to Abu Ghraib, ordered them off the bus and opened fire, killing four and wounding another, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

USA Today and Newsmax presents versions the first AP account (Newsmax does not use Hussein's name, but parrots the information he provided to the AP wire), and a Google search for "Shiite metal worker June 10" came up empty for reports from other news services, as all previous search have.

Hussein's' contribution to Sadaheddin's article, once again with Hussein's name stripped, was presented in the same Newsmax account . Once again, no news organization other than the Associated Press has this story, and once again, Jamil Hussein appears to be the only source for the information.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 27 Skipped: 2

AP Reporter Ryan Lenz joins Jamilapolloza on June 12:

June 12, 2006

HEADLINE: Raid by U.S. forces kills 9, including 2 children

BYLINE: By RYAN LENZ, Associated Press Writer

A bomb also struck a minivan in southern Baghdad, killing six people and wounding 10, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Lenz's story was picked up by the Washington Post here, Fox News here, and once more, Jamil Hussein was the only source for that account. No other news organization corroborated this account.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 28 Skipped: 2

On June 18:

June 18, 2006

HEADLINE: Gunmen seize 10 workers from bakery in Baghdad, police say

[No byline]

Gunmen attacked a police checkpoint on a highway in the insurgent-infested neighborhood of Dora, wounding two policemen before fleeing, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Irish site BreakingNews.IE provides this AP account. Again, no other news agency seems to have a corroborating version of this account.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 29 Skipped: 2

The next day:

June 19, 2006

HEADLINE: Explosions strike Baghdad area, killing at least seven people and wounding 16

[No byline]

The first attack was a car bomb that struck an Interior Ministry patrol in western Baghdad, killing four commandos and wounding six, Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

A CBS network news affiliate provides the Jamil link here. A Google Search for "car bomb Iraqi commandos Baghdad"--all the relevant terms you might expect here--again provided nothing related to this attack from any other wire service in a Google search.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 30 Skipped: 2

On June 20:

June 20, 2006

HEADLINE: Bomb hits square in central Baghdad, killing 2 civilians and wounding 18

[No byline]

Elsewhere in the capital, police Capt. Amir Kamil, who provided security for Yarmouk hospital, was shot to death Tuesday at a bus station, Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Al Jazeera quotes "agencies" again; citing Hussein's name cements the agency for this as being an AP story. I thought I'd come close to being able to supply some photographic evidence of this account, but once again, it fell short. This cached version of an AP story on MyWay.com has the caption for a picture reading:

Two friends of police Capt. Amir Kamil comfort each other at al-Yarmouk hospital after he was shot...

Unfortunately, the picture was not saved in the cache, and even if it was, seeing two people crying doesn't really establish whom they are crying over with any degree of certainty.

Update: Eason Jordan of IraqSlogger founded and fowarded me the picture to the caption above:

IRAQ-6.sff_BAG117_20060620095516
End Update

But... if Iraqi Police Captain Amir Kamil, who provided security at Yarmouk Hospital and was shot at a bus stop on Tuesday, June 20 does exist, I know precisely who will be able to verify that story, and an email is on the way to Baghdad as we speak to verify this account.

For those of you keeping score at home, this is the second individual ID specific enough to allow me to forward these questions to the PAO at MultiNational Corps-Iraq in Baghdad, who in turn will pass these along to CPATT, which is working directly with the Iraqi Interior Ministry. The Ministry will hopefully have records of Captain Kamil in Yarmouk, gunned down on June 20, 2006, as claimed by Jamil Hussein. As of Tuesday, January 2, 2007, I'm still awaiting verification.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 31 Skipped: 2

Four days later:

June 24, 2006

HEADLINE: Roadside bomb strikes police patrol in northern Baghdad, killing two policemen and wounding three others

[No byline]

A roadside bomb in western Baghdad hit an Iraqi army patrol, injuring two Iraqi soldiers and damaging one vehicle, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Pakistan's Dawn one again has the AP wire report, and once more, no other agency can verify the account.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 32 Skipped: 2

Four days later:

June 28, 2006

HEADLINE: Iraqis announce capture of a Tunisian al-Qaida member wanted in Samarra shrine bombing

BYLINE: By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Writer

A roadside bomb targeting a U.S. convoy exploded in western Baghdad, killing an Iraqi civilian and wounding another, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Oddly enough, while I could find a sendmail link about this story in Kuwait Times (and less than flattering posts about Mr. Mroue), I could not find non-AP verification of this account. Are you shocked?

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 33 Skipped: 2

Next:

June 29, 2006

HEADLINE: String of bombings and shootings kill a dozen people in Iraq

BYLINE: By QAIS AL-BASHIR, Associated Press Writer

The trash collector, a Shiite, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting early Thursday in western Baghdad, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Google has a cached version of a Townhall.com release of this AP story, as does the Saudi Press Agency. Other actual news agencies in Iraq however, once again fell short.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 34 Skipped: 2

And now into July:

July 8, 2006

HEADLINE: Three U.S. soldiers killed in Anbar province, more sectarian violence in Baghdad

BYLINE: By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer

Gunmen in two speeding cars opened fire on a Sunni mosque in west Baghdad's Ghazaliya neighborhood. Mosque guards returned fire and the attackers fled, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

While the byline in this version goes to Bushra Judi, the Houston Chronicle has the AP account citing Jamil Hussein once more, as does ABC News. Once more, Google refuses to offer up a corroborating account from any other news sources.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 35 Skipped: 2

Next up, our good friend Qais al-Bashir:

July 10, 2006 HEADLINE: Car bombs strike Shiite area of Baghdad, killing 8 and wounding 41

BYLINE: By QAIS AL-BASHIR, Associated Press Writer

Gunmen also ambushed a bus in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Amariyah in western Baghdad, killing six passengers, including a woman, and the driver, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

USA Today is all over this as Jamil seems to jump in importance, being cited just below the lede for the first time that I can recall. In general, Jamil Hussein's accounts most often occur near the end of stories. Once again, the bus attack seems only to occur in Associated Press reporting sourced to Jamil Hussein.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 36 Skipped: 2

Now from Qassim Abdul-Zahra:

July 11, 2006

HEADLINE: Sunni Arabs announce end of legislative boycott in Iraq; at least 47 killed in attacks
BYLINE: By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writer

Gunmen in three cars attacked a Saudi Arabian import/export company in the upscale Mansour neighborhood in western Baghdad, killing five Iraqi employees before fleeing, Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

al Jazeera provides the link for this one. Once again, Google and Google News provide the big nada when it comes to providing some sort of corroboration from other news services.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 37 Skipped: 2

Last try:

July 12, 2006 HEADLINE: Gunmen in Iraq kidnap some two dozen Shiites from bus station, then kill them BYLINE: By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer

A suicide car bomber also struck an Iraqi army checkpoint in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Amariyah, killing one soldier and wounding two others, Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

This story could not be found, and was therefore skipped.

Running Tally: Verified: 0 Unverified: 37 Skipped: 3

* * *

At this point, I've attempted to find independent verification by outside news agencies for specific events claimed in a total of 40 AP news stories, roughly two-thirds of the Flopping Aces-produced total of 61, where Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein was cited as a source. I'm convinced I've done enough to establish questionable reporting and sourcing, and see no need to finish out the remaining Hussein-attributed accounts, though if someone would like to tackle the remaining third, I'd be interested to see their results.

I've used the Google search engine to hunt down examples of the original articles as they've run unquestioningly in newspapers and even in official government press releases around the world. I've then chosen keywords and dates from these claims made by the incorporeal Captain, and searched for them, in the hopes that Reuters, or the Washington Post, or AFP, or the New York Times could provide independent verification of these same claims.

In 40 attempts, I have not been able to verify a single AP story, though I think I may be able to eventually provide evidence supporting the assassinations of up to four stories involving the assassination of two Iraqi government employees, courtesy of the same MNF-I PAO and CPATT officials that the Associated Press has gone out of their way to disparage.

My conclusions from this exercise are published here.

01/04/07 Update: A source has provided me with a translation of this Arabic account, one of several verifying the death of MOD PAO Mohammed Musaab Talal al-Amari, killed on May 10. Why did you click the link? You don't speak Arabic any better than I do.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 2, 2007 11:27 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Excellent, Bob. Linked from Eason Jordan calls out al-AP on Jamilgate!

Posted by: Bill Faith at January 2, 2007 11:59 AM

Heh, now AP is saying poor Jamil Hussein may have been a victim of "ethnic cleansing".

I've asked a few questions regarding this claim that Hot Air didn't.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at January 2, 2007 02:10 PM

I also wish someone would dig into the Reuters daily stories out of Baghdad that are vaguely attributed to "an interior ministry source", are generally a single sentance and give little detail other than the number of dead. They don't tell where they were found, their ethnicity, nothing.

Examples (and I am not paraphrasing here, these are the ENTIRE report taken from the Reuters site ... one sentance.):

December 28: BAGHDAD - Police found 41 bodies in different parts of Baghdad over the past 24 hours, an Interior Ministry source said.

December 27:BAGHDAD - A total of 40 bodies were found, shot dead and most showing signs of torture, in different districts of Baghdad on Tuesday, an Interior Ministry source said.

December 26:BAGHDAD - A total of 40 bodies were found, shot dead and most of them showing signs of torture, on Monday in different districts of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

December 25:BAGHDAD - A total of 29 bodies were found shot dead, with most showing signs of torture, in different districts of Baghdad on Sunday, an Interior Ministry source said.

Posted by: crosspatch at January 2, 2007 02:14 PM

No more profanity, folks. I had deleting comments, epsecially from the regulars.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at January 2, 2007 03:38 PM

Well done. I've covered the AP's reaction over at Stubborn Facts with: Let Them Eat Cake!

Posted by: PatHMV at January 2, 2007 04:56 PM

I looked for "Mohammed Musab Talal al-Amari" in Lexis-Nexis under wire services, news transcripts and world news for any mention in the past ten years. The only news organization that has ever mentioned him is the AP and only in relation to this one story.

Posted by: antimedia at January 2, 2007 11:34 PM

Same thing for "Hussein Ahmed al-Mousawi".

Posted by: antimedia at January 2, 2007 11:40 PM

Same thing for "Falcon Brigade" AND "Interior Ministry" AND "sniper".

So, for all the assassination stories, there is no corroborating source anywhere in the world. AP is entirely on their own.

Posted by: antimedia at January 2, 2007 11:48 PM

Same thing for "Amir Kamil". So far AP is batting 0.000 for corroboration of their stories.

Posted by: antimedia at January 2, 2007 11:58 PM

Has anyone investigated the possible relationship between Thomas Wagner, AP writer, and Linda Wagner, AP Media Affairs Director? It would be quite interesting if they are somehow related.

Posted by: W Page at January 3, 2007 01:12 AM

I think it's obvious what has happened. Jamil Hussein has been kidnapped by Waldo. Find Waldo, you'll find Jamil Hussein.

Posted by: spacemonkey at January 3, 2007 01:27 AM

Nice bit of work. The first time I've seen the names of the AP writers who talked?? to Hussein. Has anyone contacted them directly to see what they know about him? If you're looking for someone, the first thing you do is talk to the people who've been in contact with him. Skip the AP front office, talk to the people who supposedly had contact with him.

Posted by: John at January 3, 2007 10:12 AM

June 18, 2006
HEADLINE: Gunmen seize 10 workers from bakery in Baghdad, police say

Gunmen attacked a police checkpoint on a highway in the insurgent-infested neighborhood of Dora, wounding two policemen before fleeing, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Irish site BreakingNews.IE provides this AP account. Again, no other news agency seems to have a corroborating version of this account.

Try here: http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/mideastwire/index.php?id=156


Gunmen travelling in five civilian cars kidnapped today 10 bakery workers in the city of Al-Kazimiyah, north of Baghdad. An Interior Ministry source said that the incident took place after 1000 at the Wisam Bakery in Al-Nuwwab Street.


Posted by: The Kenosha Kid at January 3, 2007 12:20 PM

The first attack was a car bomb that struck an Interior Ministry patrol in western Baghdad, killing four commandos and wounding six, Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

June 19, 2006 - MidEastWire.com Daily Iraq Monitor
June 19, 2006

Al Sharqiyah TV:

Four people were killed and seven wounded in a car bomb blast targeting an Iraqi army patrol in Al-Waziriyah neighbourhood.

http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/mideastwire/index.php?id=157

Posted by: The Kenosha Kid at January 3, 2007 12:25 PM

Elsewhere in the capital, police Capt. Amir Kamil, who provided security for Yarmouk hospital, was shot to death Tuesday at a bus station, Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

A security source has reported that the police captain in charge of security in the Al-Yarmuk Hospital in Baghdad was assassinated by gunmen in the Al-Bayya area in western Baghdad.

http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/mideastwire/index.php?id=158

Posted by: The Kenosha Kid at January 3, 2007 12:38 PM

Kenosha, in the first instance you cite, he talks about the kidnapping reported on many sites, but has nothing about the AP-provided story where Hussein says there was an attack on the polcie checkpoint. Critical reading skills are warranted.

Various readers have emailed me overnight after they have run LexisNexis searches, and they all independetly confirm that only AP had these stories. Dhar Jamail seems to be reposting AP content, perhaps cribbed from al Jazeeza, and usually not attributed.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at January 3, 2007 12:49 PM

I can't get your track backerer to work so here is a substitute:

the Captain and Jamil

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at January 3, 2007 01:36 PM

You could try calling the AP's international desk and asking for whatever documentation you're looking for: 212-621-1663.

Posted by: Fred at January 3, 2007 06:30 PM

Dhar Jamail seems to be reposting AP content, perhaps cribbed from al Jazeeza, and usually not attributed.

As many of his stories contain details not included in the AP stories, he isn't cribbing their content. And he does attribute his stories - to MideastWire. Critical reading skills, you know.

Posted by: The Kenosha Kid at January 3, 2007 08:33 PM

Gunmen also ambushed a bus in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Amariyah in western Baghdad, killing six passengers, including a woman, and the driver, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Ayad recalled an attack last month when gunmen ambushed a bus in Amiriyah and killed six passengers and the driver, then set the vehicle ablaze. Like many in his neighborhood, he believed that the Mahdi Army orchestrated the attack -- and that the Iraqi soldiers there to protect the neighborhood looked the other way.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/17/AR2006081701755_2.html

Posted by: The Kenosha Kid at January 3, 2007 09:25 PM

Kenosha Kid, about those critical reading skills.....

Your MidEastWire source, "Gunmen travelling in five civilian cars kidnapped today 10 bakery workers in the city of Al-Kazimiyah, north of Baghdad. An Interior Ministry source said that the incident took place after 1000 at the Wisam Bakery in Al-Nuwwab Street."

The AP source, "Gunmen seized 10 workers from a bakery today in a predominantly Shiite neighbourhood in Baghdad, while a car bomb in the northern city of Mosul killed one woman and wounded 19 other people, police said.

The gunmen arrived in two cars, broke into the bakery in the northern suburb of Kazimiyah and abducted the 10 workers, police Lt. Mohammed Khayoun said, a day after a mortar shell hit a well-known market in the area, killing four people."

Was it two cars or five? Is "Lt. Mohammed Khayoun" an "Interior Ministry official"? While the stories *may* be independently sourced, they may not be. They also have a serious conflict in the detail of how many cars were involved.

Your MidEastWire source, "Al-Imam al-Sadiq University, formerly known as Al-Bakr University, in eastern Baghdad came under mortar shelling. Police sources said that three mortar shells had fallen on the premises of the university, which is located in the Al-Qahirah neighbourhood in eastern Baghdad, injuring three civilians."

The AP source, "A mortar shell also hit the al-Sadiq University for Islamic Studies on Palestine Street, one of the capitalís main thoroughfares, wounding five students and a teacher, police Lt. Ahmed Qasim said."

Again there's a factual disagreement; on the number of injured as well as how many mortar shells hit the university. However, I think the two independently confirm the basic story lines.

Nice catch. Don't know why Lexis-Nexis doesn't know about MidEastWire services.

I don't think the second or third examples corroborate anything, however. The MidEastWire stories are too vague to confirm that the source is not the AP in each case. In the latter case, the "security source" could well be our good Capt. Jamil Hussein. In the former case they disagree on the number of wounded and the nature of the patrol - Iraqi Army or Interior Ministry - but the MidEastWire story has no source at all.

Posted by: antimedia at January 3, 2007 10:04 PM

That was followed by a car bomb that targeted a police patrol in the Mansur area of Baghdad, wounding three policemen and four civilians, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

Verified: http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=71191392&cdi=0

Baghdad, IRAQ: Wreckage of a car that exploded in Baghdad's upscale Mansur neighborhood, lay strewn across a street, wounding seven 24 April 2006.

Posted by: The Kenosha Kid at January 5, 2007 01:04 PM

You've missed part of the story. By my count the following are the number of bylines by name for the AP stories (subject to errors and omissions):

Thomas Wagner 11
No Byline 8
Sinan Salaheddin 5
Kim Gamel 4
Qassim Abdul-Aahra 2
Qais Al-Bashir 2
Sameer N. Yacoub 2
Lee Keath 1
Robert H. Reid 1
Tarek El-Tablawy 1
Patrick Quinn 1
Ryan Lenz 1
Bassem Mroue 1

How many stringers vs, regular AP reporters?
Will any of them admit to actually speaking with Capt. Jamil Hussein?
How come so many AP reporters can find this guy but no one else?
Where are they based? U.S.? Green Zone? Imbedded?
How many other Iraq war reporting bylines do they have?
What is their individual credibility and/or integrity?
Who has interviewed the above?
Any willing to go in the record?
If they are shown to misrepresent their source will it hurt their careers?
Can the blogs put pressure on them?

Posted by: Ed Davidson at January 6, 2007 11:47 AM