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Burning Sunnis, burning mosques, burning questions

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 29, 2006 02:00 PM

***update: Action item…Bruce Kesler has contact info for the AP Board of Directors***

My column and Vent today cover the Associated Press controversy over the six-burned-alive-Sunnis story. Shortly after I filed and taped, the AP released its statement (which I finally received this morning after my Gmail problems) and a new story on the incident, which I noted last night. For one Huffington Post blogger, the matter is settled and he’s demanding an apology.

Yeah, well, the matter is far from settled.

LGF reports this morning:

LGF reader Glen K. forwarded an email he received from CENTCOM today, indicating that the Iraqis are planning a rebuttal to the continuing AP claims about Jamil Hussein:

From: MNC-I PAO Victory Main JOC
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 9:14 AM
To: [deleted]
Cc: MNC-I PAO Victory Main JOC
Subject: RE: [U] RE: Could you confirm that the letter below was sent by CENTCOM

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Sir:

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:

A Statement from the Ministry of Interior

After media became free in Iraq and expressed the will of all without the government interfering, unfortunately, some satellite TV channels began misleading public opinion and disclosing chaos for a particular political agenda, by broadcasting propaganda that harms people and tries to shake the trust in security forces.

Such satellite channels are trying to affect Iraqi unity and claim that information was stated by a security source without mentioning the source. Information sources should be well-known and reliable, and to avoid repeating such unfair actions, MOI warns the media and insists on defending the people’s security and safety. MOI will take all immediate preventive procedures against media that broadcast propaganda, because such media intend to repress the will of Iraqis in fighting terror and crime.

We would like to mention that such procedures we do not consider as chaining true free media, but it is a legal defense for Iraqi security and the safety of our people.

If you have any additional questions, please let us know.

Vr,
LT Dean

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

Austin Bay probes “Captain Jamil Hussein” further.

Curt at Flopping Aces and Dan Riehl dissect the new AP story.

And Jim Hoft reports that the imam at the mosque in question where the “6 Sunni torchings” supposedly took place is accused of being a member of Saddam’s secret police by his own congregation.

Jim also reminds us of the AP’s false reporting about the “torched” mosques…that weren’t.

For those who are all too familiar with the Theater of Jihad, the AP’s new story raises more questions than it answers. To sum up so far:

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.

Next move: CENTCOM’s.

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