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The AP vs. the U.S. Military

This story just gets more and more interesting. Curt at Flopping Aces did some investigative work and found that the source for many AP stories from Iraq, including the recent "Burning Six" story, came from a Capt. Jamil Hussein. Curt did some digging and found through Centcom that Jamil Hussein is not who he claimed to be. Centcom asked the AP to correct their story and the AP has now fired back at the U.S. military. Via Little Green Footballs:

"The attempt to question the existence of the known police officer who spoke to the AP is frankly ludicrous and hints at a certain level of desperation to dispute or suppress the facts of the incident in question," AP International Editor John Daniszewski said in a statement e-mailed to On Deadline this afternoon
Charles at LGF has more on Daniszewski. My reaction is that if Hussein is not who he says he is, but the AP still believes the story is true, then fine, run the story using quotes from additional witnesses, as the AP has now done, but what is up with talk of "desperation" and calling the military ludicrous? You might think those at the AP were hostile to the U.S. military or something. Forgive those of us in the new media for questioning a story when we see that the source has not only been the sole source for quite a few other stories, but when there are now claims that the source is not who he says he is. Forgive us for the skepticism, but some of us still have visions of identically matched smoke clouds dancing in our heads.

Update: Michelle Malkin has more.


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Comments (40)

Wasn't this story confirmed... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Wasn't this story confirmed by 3 independent witnesses?

as the AP has now done</... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

as the AP has now done
As in, after they were questioned on Hussein's reliability they backed it up with additional witnesses.

Hmmm... excuse me - but if ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Hmmm... excuse me - but if they have one bogus story source, what's to prevent them from making up three bogus witnesses?

Just askin'... 'cause I know the AP wouldn't LIE to the public, after all..

J.

Forgive those of u... (Below threshold)
Heralder:
Forgive those of us in the new media for questioning a story when we see that the source has not only been the sole source for quite a few other stories, but when there are now claims that the source is not who he says he is.

It's not only that, it's that he's posing as an officer of the law. It's not something minor like "Yes, I'm a cab driver" when the guy is actually a construction worker.

We have this man feeding stories to global news, who's pretending to have official information, when in fact it could be (and probably is) made up.

Not to mention, the guy lies about being law enforcement, and then we're supposed to believe the stories he sells to the paper? Ok.

About those witnesses, Michelle has done a little more research than I:

Two unnamed Associated Press reporters get new acounts from three unnamed witnesses (who, of course, refuse to be identified by name-although the AP has no problem describing some weirdly specific details about their ages, occupations, ethnicity, and religions) about six burned-alive Sunnis, five of whom no one can name and whose bodies can't be disinterred in an investigation because it would violate Islamic law. And of the two original sources who claim the incident happened, one has recanted and the other is someone whom the military and Iraqi officials maintain is not who he says he is.
>Wasn't this story confirme... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Wasn't this story confirmed by 3 independent witnesses?

Yes. Jamil Hussein. Jamil Hussein and Jamil Hussein.

All 3 of them agree.

The AP already addressed th... (Below threshold)
Lee:

The AP already addressed the identity question, Lorie just conveniently forgot to quote the AP. The facts are being ignored by the blogo-wingnuts, which explains the AP's frustration over having to deal with tin-foil conspiracy kooks.

In the previous issued rebuttal, the AP states:

The Associated Press rejects unfounded attacks on its story about six Sunni worshippers burned to death outside their mosque on Friday, November 24.

AP reporters who have been working in Iraq throughout the conflict learned of the mosque incident through witnesses and later corroborated it with police.

The AP received an email communication late Monday signed by a U.S. military public affairs officer, Navy Lt. Michael B. Dean, alleging that the police captain cited in our story "is not a Baghdad police office or MOI (Ministry of Interior) employee'' and raising questions about whether or not he actually exists.

In fact, that captain has long been know to the AP reporters and has had a record of reliability and truthfulness. He has been based at the police station at Yarmouk, and more recently at al-Khadra, another Baghdad district, and has been interviewed by the AP several times at his office and by telephone. His full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein.

After the AP story was questioned by the U.S. military, Hussein was contacted again and confirmed that the incident took place. The AP also located additional witnesses outside the mosque in the al-Hurriyah district.

According to the witnesses interviewed by the AP, there was no U.S. military present at the time of the incident Friday, and the subsequent U.S. military statement about it cited only reports the U.S. military had received later from the Iraqi army.

which explains fully the follow up quote from the AP (which Lorie included, out of context absent the previous statement from the AP)

"The attempt to question the existence of the known police officer who spoke to the AP is frankly ludicrous and hints at a certain level of desperation to dispute or suppress the facts of the incident in question," AP International Editor John Daniszewski said in a statement e-mailed to On Deadline this afternoon

I thought this kind of desperation was over following the election, but I guess there just isn't enough tin-foil in the world to stop you squirrels.... And this has all of the appearances of the US military trying to manage the news.

A real "conservative" would be up in arms over this kind of military encroachment - but right-wing kooks are masquerading as conservatives lately, and the term "conservative" has become practically meaningless in the modern U.S. political vernacular.

Apparently the lying in America, that has its roots in the White House, is becoming more and more common place today - -all under the guise of "New Media".

"No Media" is more like it - it's all just political BS being pushed at the American public by the White House and the right-wing kooks.

Heh. Lee thinks we're the ... (Below threshold)

Heh. Lee thinks we're the ones wearing tin foil hats.

Thanks for the laugh Lee.

Lee, I love ya', b... (Below threshold)
codekeyguy:

Lee,
I love ya', baby!!! You are always right on point, loaded with facts to back up your position, and totally professional in your presentation. For example, you use AP sources to support your position that the AP isn't in fact using bogus witnesses. Just in case, you should also check with Reuters for their take on this incident.
Keep up the good work!!!

codekeyguy - put down the k... (Below threshold)
Lee:

codekeyguy - put down the kool-aid and cheer up. In another 20 years or so Americans will have forgotten just how nutty the evangelical Republicans got back in '06, and you guys might have a chance at the White House again.

"Just in case, you should also check with Reuters for their take on this incident."

If Reuters has facts which contradicts AP's account I'm sure someone intelligent will link to it or quote it, and bring it into the discussion.

I notice you didn't.... which suggests Reuters hasn't -- but feel free to smear with innuendo if it suits your purpose. You're obviously not alone....

Hey dipshit Lee, I'm no ... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Hey dipshit Lee, I'm no evan... Republican. You however are still a stupid lying POS who will not soon be forgotten.

but feel f... (Below threshold)
marc:
but feel free to smear with innuendo if it suits your purpose. You're obviously not alone.... :: by Lee on November 29, 2006 5:20 PM ::
You mean like using terms such as "blogo-wingnuts," "stop you squirrels" and "right-wing kooks?"

Don't complain when your post is followed by a string of invective and on point barbs to your ribs.

They will be well deserved after you started the childishness..

My reference to smearing wa... (Below threshold)
Lee:

My reference to smearing was the smearing of AP in particular, and the Mainstream Media in general.

Barbs? You call the babbling of the deranged right "barbs"? sheesh...

LeeAP in its folow... (Below threshold)
Corky Boyd:

Lee

AP in its folow up story has done nothing to document that Jamil Hussein is a police officer other than to say they checked with him again and he comfirmed the story and three unnamed sources confirmed it.

If AP is correct, they can very easily put this contreversy to rest by the following actions:

1. Produce Capt. Jamil Hussein to answer questions.
2. Provide his police or MoI ID number.
3. Provide a copy of the police report, which should exist if Capt. Hussein is a police officer.

They haven't. Perhaps there is a reason.

As for Reuters challenging AP, don't count on it. In the recent Israel/Lebanon conflict, when challlenged about doctored/staged photos, the three major news services (AP, AFP and Reuters) issued a joint statement in the same condescending tone, of how dare you question us.

Shortly after, an blatently doctored pic was published by Reuters. The infamous ambulance picture was a phony also. Unexploded bombs don't leave a perfctly circular die-cut hole.

For those who can't conceive a major news organization could falsely vouch for a story, look at the Washington Post. Ben Bradlee (editor of the Washington Post) stood by the roundly disputed story by Janet Cooke. Even submitted it for a Pulitzer, which it won. Neither Mr. Bradlee nor Ms. Cooke's immediate editor Bob Woodward had even checked the anonymous sources. The Post had to return the Pulitzer when it was revealed the story was a hoax.

Dan Rather of the Tiffany network stood by his story claiming the documents came form "an unimpeachable source with an unbroken chain of custody." Mr. Rather lied.

AP has to do better.

Corky said: "If AP is co... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Corky said: "If AP is correct, they can very easily put this contreversy to rest by the following actions:

1. Produce Capt. Jamil Hussein to answer questions.
2. Provide his police or MoI ID number.
3. Provide a copy of the police report, which should exist if Capt. Hussein is a police officer.

"They haven't. Perhaps there is a reason."

Ahh, the old "They're guilty until they prove their not"? AP answered with the facts as they know them. Until someone else produces facts that show they're wrong, I don't think AP has to do a damn thing. They've already invested more time in discounting the right-wing wingnut rantings then was warranted.

OK, let's play your way, Corky. Why doesn't the military provide proof that Capt. Jamil Hussein isn't who the AP says he is? They must be lying right - the military must be lying because they haven't provided proof?!?!?

That's silly of course, but it shows the logic of the logic-impaired right on this issue.

Never mind the fact that the military would have good reason to pick up Capt. Jamil Hussein and question him if the facts are as the military claims -- then why haven't they? "Perhaps there's a reason."?

And the rightwing bloggers dutifully blog on, oblivious of the facts and circumstances that prove this is a red herring issue.

Not to worry - this will die down in a day or two, and you won't find a single solitary apology from the right wing blogosphere or the military if and when they give up and can't prove anything. You see, being part of the "New Media" means never having to print a correction or say you're sorry....

Never mind the fact that AP produced additional witnesses to back up the story. With all of the resources they have the US military can't prove their claims? Sad.

It's the Smear and Run media - Limbaugh, Hannity, Malkin, and their doting wannabe supporters. America got wise, and now ignores these rantings. You'd be well-advised to do the same.

and Lorie got the headline ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

and Lorie got the headline bassackwardswhen she wrote "The AP vs. the U.S. Military"

Actually, it's the U.S. Military vs. the AP - and that's the scariest part of all of this. You knuckleheads are just too blind to see it.

I ask again - why hasn't the military picked up Hussein and questioned him, to prove their allegations? Isn't he guilty of a crime if what the military claims is true?

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Lee, you're quite obviously... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Lee, you're quite obviously way too sophisticated and worldly for this bunch. I just don't know what we'd do without you.

If there is anybody here who should understand bias, it's you.

More seriously, if you want people to listen to your point of view, speak like an adult. You don't convince anybody by calling them idiots. You're simply annoying people to no good purpose except your own entertainment, and you add nothing but infantile hostility to the conversation.

actually, Lee, the AP is ma... (Below threshold)
ke_future:

actually, Lee, the AP is making an affirmative statement about something. they are the ones how have to prove that their source is legit.

the Iraqi government has said that this person is not one of theirs. ball is back in the AP's court to prove that their original statement is in fact true as it is impossible for the Iraqi government to prove a negative.

"Why doesn't the militar... (Below threshold)

"Why doesn't the military provide proof that Capt. Jamil Hussein isn't who the AP says he is?"

You're kidding, right?

The AP (or Daniszewski) says:

added that "we have conducted a thorough review of the sourcing and reporting involved and plan to move a more detailed report about the entire incident soon, with greater detail provided by multiple eye witnesses."

Well? What's keeping them? I mean, they already have all this, right?

AP is a joke. They can't e... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

AP is a joke. They can't even bring themselves to find the fraudster, and admit they have been doing stories based on this guy's "information."

Another nail in the coffin for the good ole MSM.

In a story where there's co... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

In a story where there's conflicting statements between U.S. Military and an organization that has a reputation for biased reporting, the local Democrats side with the organization of questionable credibility insisting that the U.S. Military prove a negative. How typical.

The offials in the Iraqi po... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

The offials in the Iraqi police don't know who this guy is; isn't that odd, Lee/Pee????

Doh!

AP is a mess. It's that poo... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

AP is a mess. It's that poorly run turkey farm of song and fable, a gag from a Kurt Vonnegut novel. It's a lot of overworked, politically disparate and generally irritable alcoholics (please don't tell me this ain't so), who don't have time to acquire the essential knowledge of all the things they daily swear they know -- do not, in fact, have time to visit the bathroom in an eight-hour period.

It is a fate worse than many, if not most. Some have even left The Way to become...other things. Musicians. Electricians. Beauticians. Intellectual ditch diggers. Dishwashers and drugstore clerks.

You should feel sorry for those people. Really you should.

Remember Lou Boccardi, the ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Remember Lou Boccardi, the ex-Pres. of AP, was one of the guys "appointed" by CBS to find the "real killer" in that whole fake Texas Air National Guard doc bust with Bush.

You can see how, given past leadership, they could convince themselves of anything.

I remember when the AP repo... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

I remember when the AP reported that the military said Pat Tillman was killed by enemy forces and it was reported by the AP that Gen John Abazaid awarded him the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and a posthumous promotion within days of his death.

Then I remember when the AP reported what the military told his family when the military knew for a fact that he had been killed by friendly fire.

Of course the military was just providing good solid information to the AP and in doing protecting his family from the ugly truth and contnued to not tell the ugly truth until Pat Tillmans own father revealed his feelings upon finding out about the deception that the Army's mistakes were "deliberate,calculated, ordered and disgraceful"

At this time AP reversed its original statements attributing his death to enemy fire and truthfully reported what the government had hidden as the real reason for his death.

Why didn't the AP prove that the original source for the information about his death was legitimate? Weren't they guilty of a crime reporting from a source that was providing fraudelent information? Didn't they get at least a couple of witnesses to corroborate the information and if not why?

Foolish Americans....

How typical of the AP to re... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

How typical of the AP to report what the military tells them of a hero's death.

Another nail in the coffin of the AP.

Now now you guys are being ... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Now now you guys are being to hard on old "pucker puss" (lee lee). He is still helping OJ in finding the "real" killer. he he

"In a story where there'... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"In a story where there's conflicting statements between U.S. Military and an organization that has a reputation for biased reporting, the local Democrats side with the organization of questionable credibility insisting that the U.S. Military prove a negative. How typical."

The military made the claim that the AP is using a bogus source. The burden is on the military to investigate and prove their claim. They can't do that, or are unwilling to do that?

What does that tell you? All the military needs to do is prove their claim that the guy is not an official.

Clue time. The burden isn't on the accused to prove their innocence, the burden is on the prosecution to prove they are guilty. The military is the accuser, and the military has the investigative powers and capabilities to determine if Hussein is lying about his identity.

Lee, it is impossible to pr... (Below threshold)
gattsuru:

Lee, it is impossible to prove a negative in real life. Mathematics, sure, but reality tends to be a bit harder. Of course, you can prove me wrong if you care to : disprove the flying Sphaghetti Monster sometime.

As it is, however, the United States Military says that Hussein isn't in their records. So does the Iraqi government. That's more than enough to justify an inquiry.

For all we know, Jamil doesn't even fucking exist. He's not in the entire record system, according to CENTCOM; I doubt significantly that he's at the named police station. He does not, and did not, have a high enough rank to be allowed to talk to reporters as per Iraqi police policy.

If this were a defamation suit, the simple fact that the statesments have been shown to be untrue (the six mosques never happened, and the burning six have had several witnesses state did not occur), and that actual malice is quite clear, would clearly fufill burden of proof.

AP can provide a defense if they want, but simply publishing a random tip in disregard of whether or not it was true is far from good enough.

All the military n... (Below threshold)
Heralder:
All the military needs to do is prove their claim that the guy is not an official.

Hopefully this information is correct:

I have just learned from Mr. Costlow, mentioned below, that Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the official Ministry of Interior spokesmen, will begin his regularly scheduled press conference at noon tomorrow with a statement that Capt. Jamil Hussein, is not a Baghdad police officer or an MOI employee.

Yesterday, coincidently, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior issued a press release warning of spreading propaganda aimed at broadcasters. The text of this statement follows: [snip]

I guess we'll see at noon.

The burden of proof is indeed on the military to produce the evidence. I have no doubt they should be able to back up their claims. Upon doing so, the AP will seem rather ludicrous and desparate for having lied about lying about a lying liar.

Lee, understand that many of us get pretty sensitive when the media produces misinformation about our troops, some of which can get alot of people killed. It's lazy, unprofessional and borders or treason.

"The burden of proof is ind... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"The burden of proof is indeed on the military to produce the evidence."

I still don't see how the burden is on the military. The AP is the one making these claims. They should be able to prove these stories.

Sure, at this point, the controversy has gone so far that the military should, and must, prove this one way or another. But each and every time these stories originally came out the AP should have been ready, willing and able to prove each story. Isn't that just basic journalism?

If I claim that Lee 'washes, rinses but does not repeat', is it now up to Lee to prove me wrong, or is the onus on me to prove my claim?

Remember now that old "puck... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Remember now that old "pucker puss" (lee lee) still thinks OJ did not "do" it so there is no way to reason with an idiot. He is the Ramsey Clarke of the Wizbang blog.

Don't be so hard on old Ram... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Don't be so hard on old Ramsey.

Classification... (Below threshold)
Thrush:
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Curt:

From CPATT PAO:

BG Abdul-Kareem, the Ministry of Interior Spokesman, went on the record today stating that Capt. Jamil Hussein is not a police officer. He explained the coordinations among MOI, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Defense in attempting to track down these bodies and their joint conclusion was that this was unsubstantiated rumor.

He went on to name several other false sources that have been used recently and appealed to the media to document their news before reporting. He went into some detail about the impact of the press carrying propaganda for the enemies of Iraq and thanked "the friends" who have brought this to their attention.

AP did attend the press conference.

Vr,
LT Dean

Michael B. Dean
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
MNC-I Joint Operations Center
Public Affairs Officer

Ok, so the Iraqi Ministry of Interiors says he's not a police officer (and they'd be the ones to know).

Hmmmm, AP, looks like an in... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Hmmmm, AP, looks like an interesting story to report, were you so inclined.

"Lee, understand that ma... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Lee, understand that many of us get pretty sensitive when the media produces misinformation about our troops, some of which can get alot of people killed. It's lazy, unprofessional and borders or treason."

I understand completely. I think the instances where the media can accurately be characterized as "producing misinformation" are extremely rare. For example, the Reuter's photos that were photoshopped and doctored - that wasn't "the media' and wasn't Reuter's - it was the act of one freelance employee,a dn teh error of a Reuter's pphoto editor for not catching it. The "MSM is out to lie to us" is nothing more than rightwing looney hogwash.

The same is true of the recent instances where US soldiers in Iraq have crossed the line and committed horendous crimes - murder and rape. Is it fair in those instances to say ">b>the military is raping and murdering civilians" when in fact it is only the actions of a few individuals?

I don't think so, and I don't the organized and deliberate attacks on the mainstream media by right-wing bloggers are justified either, since the errors seem to stem from the acts and errors of individuals.

The US military is stepping up efforts to correct the misinformation. I think that's great.

"Lee, understand that ma... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Lee, understand that many of us get pretty sensitive when the media produces misinformation about our troops, some of which can get alot of people killed. It's lazy, unprofessional and borders or treason."

I understand completely. I think the instances where the media can accurately be characterized as "producing misinformation" are extremely rare. For example, the Rueter's photos that were photoshopped and doctored - that wasn't "the media' and wasn't Rueter's - it was the act of one freelance employee, and the error of a Rueter's photo editor for not catching it. The "MSM is out to lie to us" is nothing more than rightwing looney hogwash.

The same is true of the recent instances where US soldiers in Iraq have crossed the line and committed horrendous crimes - murder and rape. Is it fair in those instances to say "the military is raping and murdering civilians" when in fact it is only the actions of a few individuals?

I don't think so, and I don't believe the organized and deliberate attacks on the mainstream media by right-wing bloggers are justified either, since the errors seem to stem from the acts and errors of individuals.

The US military is stepping up efforts to correct misinformation, I think that's great. Ive been surprised at the passiveness of the military amidst concerns over enemy manipulation of the media -- and I understand that they are concerned about the perception that they are attempting to manage the news -- but they have a duty to assist the media in righting any misinformation wrongs, imho. They have resources and powers the media doesn't have.

Lee lied:"I unders... (Below threshold)
Don't believe it:

Lee lied:

"I understand completely. I think the instances where the media can accurately be characterized as "producing misinformation" are extremely rare."

I'm sorry, but that is an absolute lie on Lee's part. On this very blog he said "..the media obviously produces misinformation when it needs to ...". This was in the Wizbang comments section.

Lee, The thing is... (Below threshold)
Thrush:

Lee,

The thing is, they don't care that they're spreading propaganda, that it endangers our troops or sways public opinion with false information. They're merrily working toward the enemy's goal, all in the name of the almighty scoop.

The AP's response to the Ministry of Interior saying this guy isn't a cop? "Pound Sand."

We are satisfied with our reporting on this incident. If Iraqi and U.S. military spokesmen choose to disregard AP's on-the-ground reporting, that is certainly their choice to make, but it is a puzzling one given the facts.

The facts are he's not a bloody cop. The facts are that your source is just some dude off the street who is posing as a cop, a lie in itself. The facts are that your original story was a provable exaggeration, forcing you to revise it.

Now who do you think wants to tell the Americans that it's a Civil War in Iraq? Certainly not the "Insurgent" Enemy, who wants us to leave. Oh no, it couldn't be them. Why, it must be some concerned citizens instead.

They publish a story, the Iraqi government and CENTCOM (that's us) refute it and the facts don't prove it. They claimed that 4 mosques were burned and 6 people burned alive. Evidence pointed to only one mosque having a fire, so they just edited their article from 4 to 1, but leaving in the everything else. And then they have the audacity to "stand by their story", which was wrong when they started and wouldn't have had the mosque count corrected unless someone had pointed to the evidence.

It's just mind boggling. And no, this isn't just some random occurrence.

Just because you can't beat America's military doesn't mean you can't win. Beat the will of our people and the military will go away.

I can't believe you can read what's at Flopping Aces and continue with your nonsense, Lee. But that's why we disagree, isn't it.

The problem is that most in... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

The problem is that most in the media view their job more as 'activists' than objective reporters. They repeatedly fail to properly check stories that fit nicely with their leftist agenda (anyone ever tried to flush a book down the toilet ? it fails the common sense test).

Apparently, most of us hold the media to a higher ethical standard than does Lee.

Uh Lee has it all backwards... (Below threshold)
Vanshalar:

Uh Lee has it all backwards.

It's up to the claim-maker to show that their claims are correct, not for them to be considered correct until others disprove them.

Don't people get enough spam to know this already? Or do we now send plenty of money to Nigeria?

Lee's right in that the burden is on the prosecution, the accuser. Unfortunately, the prosecution is the one who is supposed to prove that something occurred (he stole my wallet, she drove too fast, etc.). In this case, that's the AP ("we know those mosques thing happened because this Jamil guy said so") -- but they so far are unable to back up their evidence nor stand up against the military's "prove it".




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