February 07, 2007

His Name Was Scott

If you are going to write about the contractors killed by a mob in Fallujah, at least do them the honor of getting their names correct, you careless AP hacks:

The deaths of the four, all former members of the military, brought to U.S. television some of its most gruesome images of the Iraq war. A frenzied mob of insurgents ambushed a supply convoy the guards were escorting through Fallujah on March 31, 2004. The men were attacked, their bodies mutilated; two of the corpses were strung from a bridge.

At the hearing, Kathryn Helvenston-Wettengel, mother of Stephen Helvenston, read a statement on behalf of the families. She stopped several times to collect herself as she recounted the emotional day.

His name was Scott Helvenston.

He was a fitness instructor, a celebrity trainer, Navy SEAL, and most importantly, a father. I don't expect AP to go into those details of his life, but I do expect them to pay enough attention to at least get his name right.

Update: I stand corrected. Via email from Eddy Twyford, Scott Helvenston's best friend:

His full name is Stephen Scotten Helvenston but as you know he was always called Scott.

The reporter simply chose to use Helvenston's lesser known given name, instead of his preferred nickname. I apologize to the Associated Press for calling them "careless hacks."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at February 7, 2007 02:42 PM

From what I can gather, his first name was Stephen.

Middle name Scott.

Posted by: Aubrey at February 7, 2007 09:02 PM

When you pass, we'll be sure to add Hysterical to your name. I know you're pissed all to hell that you haven't got anything on the AP and you reaaaaally want them to be guilty of something, but this won't fly either.

Posted by: Lesley at February 8, 2007 02:18 AM

Ignore the crude comments - but if you want to retrieve credibility from this, you need to retract and apologize unreservedly.

If you don't you will have discredited yourself entirely.

Posted by: Jake Ketcher at February 8, 2007 02:28 AM

"His name was Scott"

I always knew you were a spacemonkey.

Posted by: bargal20 at February 8, 2007 02:34 AM

Hmm, His given name was Stephen, he went by Scott.

All this argument over semantics?

CY, the post is technically incorrect (unless I read many wrong articles on him).

Crude Comment Guys - people make mistakes, you can let them know without showing your true colors, your crudeness shows more about your character then CY's.

Posted by: Retired Navy at February 8, 2007 06:16 AM

Oh come on, give us a little wiggle room on the snark.

So calling AP reporters who were rights careless hacks, and being snarky about their "mistake" is cool, but a little snark back to CY is out of line?

You dish out the condescension, you gotta eat the leftovers when it goes wrong.

Posted by: jonrog1 at February 8, 2007 06:33 AM

"Crude Comment Guys - people make mistakes, you can let them know without showing your true colors, your crudeness shows more about your character then CY's."

Um, sure. And this would this be the same CY that, as one can clearly see above, called the AP reporters who wrote the original article "careless hacks," a particularly nasty insult to lob at a journalist, methinks... especially journalists CY clearly knows nothing about, save that they are guilty of being employed by current right-wing whipping boy Associated Press.

Character? Yeah, tell me about it.

Posted by: lard lad at February 8, 2007 06:35 AM

Retired Navy,
"People make mistakes"? "You can let them know without showing your true colors"?

Hmm...did Confederate Spanker take your advice or did he come rushing out in a cloud of cheeto dust, accusing AP reporters of dishonoring dead celebrity trainers, and of being hacks? Was he desperately trying to salvage even a smidgeon of his testicles after AP chewed them up and spat them back at him during the Jamal Hussein "conspiracy"?

The difference between we "crude" commenters and Confederate Wanker is we're commenting on actual defamation by him against AP, while he was fighting imaginary killer spiders.

Posted by: bargal20 at February 8, 2007 06:35 AM

You know, I would have thought that a real retired Navy man would have been a little more tolerant of vigorous language. The Navy isn't exactly known for its habits of gentle speech.

Posted by: ajay at February 8, 2007 06:47 AM

Heh...Neal's comment has vanished. How funny.

Maybe it's vanished because he didn't read his own source correctly:
" Paid Notice: Deaths

HELVENSTON -- Stephen Scotten, 38, died in Iraq on Wednesday, March 31, 2004. Born in Ocala, FL, he was preceded in death by his father Harry Stephen Helvenston, grandparents Donald Root Scotten and Mary Lu McLeod, and grandparents, Harry and L'Ouida Helvenston and Everett Wettengel. Residing in San Diego, California for the past 15 years he is survived by his mother Katy Helvenston - Wettengel of Leesburg, FL, a brother Jason Helvenston with fiance Jennifer Preiss of Orlando, FL, a son Kyle Jacob, a daughter Kelsey Erin and their mother Patricia Irby of San Diego, CA. He is also survived by Sybil Cross, Sheryl Lybbert, Donald Scotten, Mary Clare Scotten, and Paul Scotten..."

Posted by: bargal20 at February 8, 2007 07:14 AM

"I apologize to the Associated Press for calling them "careless hacks." The reporter simply chose to use Helvenston's lesser known given name, instead of his preferred nickname."

What? Are you serious? The reporter chose to do what a reporter is supposed to do when reporting on a death. He used the dead guy's real name! Do you expect your local giveaway newspaper to report the death of "Confederate Yankee" when they find you dead of an AP-induced conniption fit?

Posted by: bargal20 at February 8, 2007 07:20 AM

Neal's comments--like so many of those from TBogg's site--violate the comment policy here, and have been deleted. I screwed up. I was wrong I admit it, with no excuses.

Mmmmm.. crow.

Somehow, life will go on.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at February 8, 2007 07:22 AM

All I can say to you is:


Posted by: joeyess at February 8, 2007 08:43 AM

Update: I stand corrected. Via email from Eddy Twyford, Scott Helvenston's best friend:

You should be used to this postition by now.

Wouldn't you like to sit down once in awhile?

We would appreciate it if you would "stand down".

jesus KEEEEEEEErist!!!

Posted by: joeyess at February 8, 2007 08:48 AM

And why exactly is my comment gone?

Posted by: owlbear1 at February 8, 2007 10:50 AM
And why exactly is my comment gone?

I must have gotten a little trigger happy deleting the "reasoned discourse" that a Tbogg link usually brings.

Your request to post an apology was within my posting guidelines, and I apologize to you, as well.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at February 8, 2007 10:59 AM

I apologize for laughing.

Posted by: Lettuce at February 8, 2007 11:43 AM

I realise it's not easy for any of us on either side of the political spectrum these days, but it's always worth a five minute search on Google before assuming the worst about The Other Side. At the very least, it keeps us from giving the other guys more ammunition for the "Look at those guys! What idiots!" posts.

Posted by: KevinJ at February 8, 2007 11:52 AM

Confederate Yankee:

I am curious.

Do you roast it with gravy?

Saute it with onions and mushrooms?

Grill it and have it on a sandwich with mustard?

How do you prefer to prepare your crow?

Do you use one of the methods above, or another method?

Given the amount you have had to eat over the past few years (and even months), I imagine that you you must now be an expert in its preparation.


Monkey Faced Liberal

Posted by: Monkey Faced Liberal at February 8, 2007 12:19 PM

If you don't you will have discredited yourself entirely.

well, I'd say it's WAY too late for that. This whole 'Associated with Terrorists Press' crap got old the minute he started harping on it.

Get over yourself. You found one picture that was photoshopped, and now you think you can discredit any media company that doesn't toe your sycophantic, bush-licking line.

Posted by: prozacula at February 8, 2007 12:33 PM

CY, you did that with a lot of class. I'm impressed. Self discipline and restraint are the only true kinds. Well done.

Posted by: brando at February 8, 2007 12:36 PM

Eating crow is admirable, but the real question is, will this may you stop and do a little fact checking the next you feel like going off on a tirade against your favorite windmills? My guess is probably not, but with humans I suppose there is always hope (you ARE human, aren't you?)

Posted by: The Frito Pundito at February 8, 2007 01:10 PM

This was a perfect example of the kind of things we see coming out of the Right-wing blogosphere every day....outrage and fury over situations that don't exist. Someone out there will create a firestorm over the Pelosi's big plane (that she never asked for), an Iraqi policeman who is said to be a figment of AP's imagination (until the Iraqis say, "yes, he's one of ours"), outrage over the language used by Edward's bloggers (yet they smile when Bush or Cheney use "salty" curses) or any number of the endless fabrications and non-stories that Freepers hyper-ventilate over on a daily basis. You need to take a look at the patterns that you've developed as each new hysteria (that turns out to be yet another false alarm) contributes to the advanced decay of Right-wing credibility. The next time you're tempted to post another tirade filled with your outrage, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you're making the same mistakes again and again and again. You'll thank me when it turns out to be just another Malkin/LGF hoax...just because they make themselves look ridiculous doesn't mean you're required to join them.

Posted by: Arlington Acid at February 8, 2007 03:13 PM

If you don't you will have discredited yourself entirely.

That train left long ago.

Posted by: Randy Paul at February 8, 2007 03:35 PM

For the record, Acid, AP released a triumphant statement on January 4th saying that MOI's Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said that "Jamil Hussein" was an Iraqi police officer.

On January 11, I received word from Bill Costlow of the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT), who works directly with Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf's office at the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior.

He informed me that according to official MOI personal records, the man AP calls "Jamil Hussein" is actually Jamil Gulaim Innad XX-XXXXXXX.

He further confirmed that BG Abdul-Kareem Khalaf has spoken with members of the AP in Baghdad and has confirmation that he (XX-XXXXXXX) is the AP's source.

Can you follow what I just said? Let me repeat it for you:

  • MOI released the real identity of Jamil Hussein, and it is Jamil Gulaim Innad XX-XXXXXXX;, and
  • MOI got the Associated Press to admit this fact to BG Abdul-Kareem Khalaf.

I emailed Steven R. Hurst within moments after getting this email from Costlow (still on January 11) and asked the following:

Mr. Hurst, I refuse to publish his second middle or last name, but I hear that Jamil Hussein is actually Jamil Gulaim Innad XX-XXXXXXX, and that AP has been using Jamil Hussein as a pseudonym to protect him. Is that correct?

Hurst must have panicked. I had confirmation that Jamil Hussein wasn't Jamil Hussein, and not only did I have that, I had his real name (in the email, I published his full name).

Very quickly--within 90 minutes--I got a denial (on her second attempt, the first bounced back, she said) by none other than Linda Wagner herself, AP's Media Relations and Public Relations Director, with a denial.

So to recap:

  1. Iraqi personnel records confirm that Jamil Hussein is actually Jamil Gulaim Innad XX-XXXXXXX.
  2. Iraqi BG Abdul-Kareem Khalaf confirmed with AP that AP's Jamil Hussein is actually Jamil Gulaim Innad XX-XXXXXXX.
  3. Steven R. Hurst and Linda Wagner of AP panicked and issued a hasty denial, something they assuredly wouldn't do unless I had the right name. Otherwise, they simply would have deleted the email, as they have so many of my follow-up questions that they still don't want to answer.

To this very day, AP denies that "Jamil Hussein" is Jamil Gulaim Innad XX-XXXXXXX. They have no choice. If they acknowledge that fact, or are forced to acknowledge that fact, then there will be very good reason to ask for resignations from Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll, Linda Wagner, and a half-dozen AP reporters.

Of course, this is a side issue to my major concern, which is getting the AP to issue a few simple corrections to the Hurriyah reporting. You know, little things like:

  • admitting that though they published accounts saying 24 people died in the attacks, that there is zero physical evidence to support those allegations, and strong photographic evidence contradicting these claims.
  • admitting they greatly exaggerated the amount of damage done to the mosques in Hurriyah. AP claimed that four specific mosques were "burned and blew up." One was burned and blown up, one was burned, one suffered weapons damage without any evidence of fire (the very mosque where AP reported 18 people had died in an "inferno.") and the last suffered no more than a broken window, as stated in the most recent account by AP.

It's not physically hard to issue a correction. I did it.

I guess it is another thing entirely when you've back yourself into a corner based on compounding layers of lies.

I think a week or two back I promised a Jamilgate wrap-up, and I'm still working on it. Once it finally comes out, it should be quite interesting.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at February 8, 2007 04:07 PM

KevinJ made a wise recommendation at 11:52AM -- And I give CY credit for issuing a CORRECTION and APOLOGY dramatically faster than those he criticized.

Posted by: Larry Faren at February 8, 2007 09:56 PM

Stephen? Scott?
Contractor? Mercenary?
Tomato? Tomahto?

Posted by: DocAmazing at February 9, 2007 01:41 AM

So to recap:

1. Hey, everybody, look over there!

Posted by: Dave at February 9, 2007 09:18 AM

Actually Dave, it was your fellow underpants gnome Acid who raised the subject. I was merely correcting him.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at February 9, 2007 10:25 AM