Just received this from Linda Wagner of the Associated Press:
The following news story about your recent inquiry has just moved on the AP wire.
Iraq threatens arrest of police captain who spoke to media<
By STEVEN R. HURST=
Associated Press Writer=
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ The Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media.
Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.
The captain, whose full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, was one of the sources for an AP story in late November about the burning and shooting of six people during a sectarian attack at a Sunni mosque.
The U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry raised the doubts about Hussein in questioning the veracity of the AP's initial reporting on the incident, and the Iraqi ministry suggested that many news organization were giving a distorted, exaggerated picture of the conflict in Iraq. Some Internet bloggers spread and amplified these doubts, accusing the AP of having made up Hussein's identity in order to disseminate false news about the war.
Khalaf offered no explanation Thursday for why the ministry had initially denied Hussein's existence, other than to state that its first search of records failed to turn up his full name. He also declined to say how long the ministry had known of its error and why it had made no attempt in the past six weeks to correct the public record.
Checking it out. Moving forward…
And you’re just about to head over there?
Full story here.
On Thursday, Khalaf told AP that the ministry at first had searched its files for Jamil Hussein and found no one. He said a later search turned up Capt. Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, assigned to the Khadra police station.
But the AP had already identified the captain by all three names in a story on Nov. 28– two days before the Interior Ministry publicly denied his existence on the police rolls.
Khalaf did not say whether the U.S. military had ever been told that Hussein in fact exists. Garver, the U.S. military spokesman, said Thursday that he was not aware that the military had ever been told.
Khalaf said Thursday that with the arrest of Hussein for breaking police regulations against talking to reporters, the AP would be called to identify him in a lineup as the source of its story.
Should the AP decline to assist in the identification, Khalaf said, the case against Hussein would be dropped. He also said there were no plans to pursue action against the AP should it decline.
He said police officers sign a pledge not to talk to reporters when they join the force. He did not explain why Jamil Hussein had become an issue now, given that he had been named by AP in dozens of news reports dating back to early 2006. Before that, he had been a reliable source of police information since 2004 but had not been quoted by name.
Hussein told the AP on Wednesday that he learned the arrest warrant would be issued when he returned to work on Thursday after the Eid al-Adha holiday. His phone was turned off Thursday and he could not be reached for further comment.
I am awaiting reaction/response from my sources. Bob Owens received this from MNF-PAO:
The validity of the AP story below has not been confirmed at this time.
Allah’s take is here.
So 6 weeks after people asked AP to produce him, AP produced him.
Now to verify his claim that 6 Sunnis were burned alive.
Capt. Jamil Hussein, controversial AP source, seems to exist. That’s one important component of credibility!
Fascinating. But let me be the first to say to the Left, before they lose themselves in glee, I don’t see that bloggers have anything to apologize for, nor do I see this story being at an end. The ultimate question is what happened in Hurriya the day six Sunnis were claimed to have been burned alive?
Did it happen? Is Shi’ite domination of one or more ministries trying to cover up violence by Shi’ite factions? Or is Hussein unreliable as a source?
If the story ends up being an expose’ on a troubling Shi’ite dominated Iraqi regime, as opposed to the AP being light on sourcing, so be it. Like most bloggers following this story, all I have ever wanted is the truth.
Commenter Dwilkers at Patterico’s:
So why has it taken all this time to produce him then?
And where are the bodies of the folks that were burned alive? And what about the mosques that weren’t destroyed?
I’m making the same point as Patterico of course – the underlying story was the original problem. The failure to produce this guy was just the marker that let you KNOW it was BS.
So they produced him. Now produce the people set on fire and destroyed buildings claimed in the story. Otherwise its nonsense.
I also question the timing, since Malkin was OTW over and the attention level was about to increase. I seriously doubt we’ve heard all there is to know about this.
Color this old dog very, very skeptical. So, the Iraqi Police may or may not arrest some dude and claim he’s Jamil, then they may or may not put him in a line-up where the AP people can claim “Yes we see him but we aren’t going to identify him; must protect our sources, y’know,” and we’re all supposed to just forget about all those sole-sourced stories that still don’t check out? And our source for all this new-found knowledge is … the AP?
Curt at Flopping Aces weighs in: “As many of us have said from the beginning, finding Jamil Hussein will not make this story go away…”
I repeat what I said yesterday about our upcoming trip to Iraq:
The “Jamil Hussein” story is one important item on our agenda, but not the only one. As Curt and other bloggers on this story have noted from the beginning, Jamilgate isn’t just about “Jamil Hussein.” Bryan and I plan to do as much on-the-ground reporting as we can to nail down unresolved questions–not only about Jamil Hussein and the Hurriya six burning Sunnis allegations, but also about the AP four burning mosque story discrepancies and the many other AP sources that our military has publicly challenged–including “Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq” and more than a dozen police officers listed by U.S. military spokesman Navy Lt. Michael Dean. There’s also the issue of detained AP photographer Bilal Hussein. And we are looking forward to reporting first-hand on the security situation in Iraq outside the so-called “Green Zone” (International Zone) and talking to as many American and Iraqi Army troops with insights on these and other broader matters.
Predictably, the AP is already declaring themselves vindicated, but the reality is they have already admitted they botched this story by changing their initial report from four mosques to one, and it still seems extremely unlikely anyone was actually set on fire, as the only “evidence” is second-hand rumors. Given their high-handed attitude thus far, I’m sure the AP will now claim victory and totally ignore the remaining problems with the actual story itself; this is called “arguing the strongest point of a weak case” and is a fine debating tactic but lousy journalism. I very much doubt the actual facts of the case will ever get cleared up.
Whether Jamil Hussein actually exists is really a secondary issue. The fact that the AP used a single source for dozens of inflammatory stories about atrocities in Iraq that still have yet to find any confirmation is almost as disturbing as making the source up.
My big question: If we were supposed to believe the AP when the AP said the MOI’s Khalaf didn’t know what he was talking about, why are we supposed to believe Khalaf now that the AP says he does know what he’s talking about? Especially when the AP, which has stalwartly stood by Jamil Hussein’s existence as a source, has backed off what Hussein told them about four mosques burning?
Just asking. Has this thing morphed from false but true to true but false?
The existence of cops with several variations of the name Jamil Hussein of varying ranks in several police stations around Baghdad was reported by bloggers several weeks ago. None quite matched. I’d suggest the jury is still out on this guy. The reliability of the AP’s Baghdad bureau and its stable of local stringers remain in question.
A relevant observation from Christopher Hitchens, who wrote a dispatch for Slate.com from Baghdad, Iraq on Dec. 27:
I flew to Baghdad from the northern city of Erbil, by the ordinary means of buying a local Iraqi Airlines ticket, boarding a plane that made a stop in Sulaymaniyah, and landing at the former Saddam Hussein International Airport. The whole exercise was almost weirdly normal. The plane was full of ordinary citizens carrying plastic hold-alls, with cheerful, unveiled hostesses handing out snacks and drinks. The terminal was quiet, and the airport road (which used to be known as “Route Irish” and was the scene of incessant mayhem) is these days considered fairly safe and has been stabilized by the Iraqi army. I stopped to be photographed with a unit of this force, a group of cheerful and professional young men. But as I waved goodbye to them, my Kurdish driver said, “Army pretty good. Police no good at all.” And, indeed, the sight of a police uniform is one of the least reassuring in the whole of Iraq. It is often no more than the disguise for religious fascism or organized crime or (as was revealed yet again in Basra last week) for both.
September 4, 2009 02:16 PM by Michelle Malkin
April 8, 2009 10:13 AM by Michelle Malkin
April 9, 2008 03:03 PM by Michelle Malkin
March 15, 2008 10:07 PM by Michelle Malkin
December 18, 2007 05:01 PM by Michelle Malkin
Categories: Bilal Hussein