December 17, 2006

Hussein Revealed?

Marc Danziger posts over at Winds of Change that he thinks there might be a Jamail Hussein at the Yarmouk Police Station in Baghdad. He doesn't provide any evidence, but then, he doesn't claim this is a certainty, either.

I posted the following in the comments:

I guess the question to this part of the equation is whether or not "Jamail Hussein" is "Jamil Hussein."

I find it unlikely.

AP pointed us to this specific police station and provided Jamil Gholaiem Hussein as the full name of their source. It defies all logic to think that both the American and Iraqi forces involved here would not have combed every possible variant of his name, and have not run through through the personnel records of every single officer at the Yarmouk police station... not to mention the probability that they interviewed every cop at Yarmouk to see if they knew of Hussein. I think it more likely that your Jamail Hussein is indeed a real Iraqi policeman, but somehow I doubt he is a Captain, and I think you'll find he will deny being AP's source.

But as I've said on my site, Hussein is only one aspect of the story reported on November 24.

The AP reported 4 mosques were rocketed with RPGs, machine-gunned with both heavy machine guns and assault rifles, burned, and blown up... and yet the AP has provided no evidence that these buildings were damaged, and officials from the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, and Iraqi Health Ministry (presumably in charge of the fire department) report only one mosque suffering minor fire damage, with the other three untouched.

The AP claimed six men were pulled alive from a rocketed mosque, doused in kerosene, and then burned alive. The AP also uncritically reported a claim by the Association of Muslim Scholars (long thought to be affiliated with the insurgency) that as many as a dozen people burned to death inside one of the burning mosques... one of the mosques that was found to be undamaged, much less destroyed.

Not a single body has been found, nor does anyone seem o be able to locate family members of those killed, or friends, or anyone who can so much as name the victims.

There seems to be zero physical evidence that the AP could produce in three trips to the area, and with three trips they've been unable to get anyone, official or unoffical, or go on the record supporting their claims with the exception of a Sunni elder that has since refuted his claim, and our friend, Captain Jamil Hussein.

The AP insists Hussein exists. At this point, they must. He is the only thing they can hang this story on, and if that falls apart, this story is utterly discredited. Of course, if this story falls apart, the AP's credibility takes a huge hit, not just for thist story, but becuase Captain Jamil Hussein was a named source on 60 other AP stories, throwing all those stories in doubt.

Bylines to those 61 stories were provided by 17 AP reporters... not exactly helping their credibility, either.

To further up the ante, Jamil Hussein is just one of more than a dozen "Iraqi policemen" cited by the AP in past (and current) reports for which the Iraqi Interior Ministry cannot confirm their employment or authenticity.

I don't think I'm overstating the case by saying that AP's entire portfolio of Iraq reporting credibility rests on the existence and authenticity of Jamil Hussein being an authentic Iraqi police captain.

For this very reason which the Associated Press undboutably understands, the AP would have produced an authentic police captain by now if they had one.

More than likely, Jamail Hussein is not Jamil Hussein, just as these blown up mosques still stand.

I think it is worth repeating that Jamilgate is a multi-faceted scandal. There are two basic questions driving this continuing event:

  • Were four mosques and 18 people murdered (not including the six men by immolation) in Hurriyah as alleged by the Associated Press?
  • Does the long-time AP source "Jamil Gholaiem Hussein." a Captain in the Iraqi Police, actually exist?

The first part deals with the specific allegations of a series of terrorist acts, and the evidence supporting those allegations. The second part deals with the credibility of a heavily-used and deeply trusted Associated Press source.

The common thread uniting the two parts? The unquestioning belief of the Associated Press in both the Hurriyah attacks they reported, and the man who was the primary source of this and 60 other stories, Jamil Hussein.

So far, the Associated Press hasn't been able to provide the first shred of physical or photographic evidence to support the existence of 18 killed in "an inferno at the al-Muhaimi mosque," nor six men pulled from a mosque and immolated, nor four mosques being rocketed, machine gunned, and burned, nor of a solitary Iraqi police captain who is the primary source of all those claims.

I somewhat doubt that he will when so many others have failed, but if Marc Danziger can prove the existence of Jamil Hussein, the world will be able to thank a blogger for doing what the largest news agency in the world could not.

With the Hussein question settled, we can then focus all of our efforts on trying to unravel why Hussein apparently lied about the attacks in Hurriyah, and begin to determine how many of the other five dozen stories he fed to the Associated Press were falsified, to what extent, and why.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 17, 2006 07:45 PM | TrackBack

Excellent post, Bob. I added a teaser and link to CENTCOM says APís "Iraqi police source" isnít Iraqi police -- Part 19. I'm betting Jamail and Jamil  are not the same person and Jamail will say as much.

Posted by: Bill Faith at December 17, 2006 11:17 PM

For $20 you could get anyone to say they were Jamil Hussein.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at December 18, 2006 12:16 AM

There's obviously a lot more to the story than his simply being there, so I agree. We're working on several of the questions you've got posted; let's see what we've got tomorrow.


Posted by: Armed Liberal at December 18, 2006 12:24 AM

My first thought upon hearing of AL's report was that this had all been some sort of "honey pot" trap.....I guess I'm just a product of the times I live in.

Posted by: TBinSTL at December 18, 2006 02:43 AM

So left wing bloggers are coming to the defense of AP. My question is when is AP going to come to the defense of AP? So far all AP is responded back with is righteous indignation. When are they going to release actual facts and evidence to support their CLAIMS? Or has the fourth estate forgotten that the need to occasionally back up their stories with EVIDENCE.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at December 18, 2006 08:59 AM

I smell a rat....still.

Posted by: cfbleachers at December 18, 2006 12:14 PM