The Questions Still Remain

I'd never quite appreciated how amusing the Leftist swarm could be until last night and this morning, where an Associated Press report that Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf had finally, at long last confirmed the existence of Captain Jamil Hussein hit the wires, and liberals around the country (and around the world) conflated Hussein's ability to exist with the veracity of his claims.

The illogical leap this took—to purposefully decide that someone's state of existing is an immediate and overwhelming vindication that everything he claimed was true—is massive in its undertaking, and truly staggering to behold. Rarely have so many been willing to overlook so much in the simple hope of being able to say—or in many cases shriek—"I told you so!"

But the simple fact of the matter is that simply existing does not grant validity to the stories that several someone’s purport to have occurred.

The accuser in the Duke Lacrosse rape case assuredly exists, but it is her multiple stories and the lack of evidence that throws her accounts of what happened on the night of March 13, 2006 into question. She has presented multiple accusations, and multiple versions of her accusations, and yet, nearly the overwhelming majority of people following the case to any degree feel she probably falsified the events she reported. The feel this way because her story kept changing, and while there should have been copious evidence to support her claims, none has thus far been found.

And so it is with the on-going Associated Press scandal that started with the claim of one Iraqi Police Captain by the name of Jamil Hussein on November 24, 2006.

Karl, a guest poster at Protein Wisdom provides an excellent and well-documented summary of the events leading us to this point.

It is a history both intertwined with the existence of Captain Hussein as a long-running Associated Press source, and separate, in that so many of the claims made by this accuser seem to have no basis in fact. As these claims have become problematic, the Associated Press has quietly attempted to write them out of existence without an acknowledgement that these claims were unsupported, without issuing a retraction, or even so much as a correction. In their dogged pursuit of faith-based journalism, they are praying that no one will notice that they have presented a story that reeks of incompetent and biased journalism from bottom to top.

Regardless of Hussein's existence, Kathleen Carroll and the Associated Press have much to account for in their varying, oft-changing accounts of what happened on November 24 in the Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriyah.

In the span of less than a day, they claimed that Iraqi soldiers allowed the alleged murders of two dozen of their fellow citizens right under their noses, that four mosques were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns, and assault rifles, and then these four mosques were set on fire and blown up, with a total of 24 Sunni civilians burned to death.

How do we know this? Because the Associated Press tells us so in a story published around the world.

Jamil Hussein, and Jamil Hussein alone, stated:

Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in Friday's assault by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia or subsequent attacks that killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children.

To the best I can determine, not another source made such a claim, and yet the Associated Press felt that this single-source claim was enough to level such an inflammatory charge.

Further down in the same Associated Press account, they run the following accusation, again apparently single-sourced to Jamil Hussein:

In Hurriyah, the rampaging militiamen also burned and blew up four mosques and torched several homes in the district, Hussein said.

Has the Associated Press brought forth another witness to buttress this claim? On the contrary; the Associated Press has since backed away from such a claim... and it is not the only one.

In the very same article, the Associated Press cites the following account:

Two workers at Kazamiyah Hospital also confirmed that bodies from the clashes and immolation had been taken to the morgue at their facility.

This is a fascinating "fact," in that Kazamiyah Hospital does not have a morgue, but instead a freezer, as stated by the same Iraqi General that now vouches for Jamil Hussein's existence. Any dead at Kazamiyah Hospital are transported by the police to the Medical Jurisprudence Center at Bab Almadham. Is this general credible, or not? I'll leave that for you to decide.

But even that troublesome and apparently incongruous statement pales in comparison to the next single-sourced claim regurgitated by the Associated Press:

And the Association of Muslim Scholars, the most influential Sunni organization in Iraq, said even more victims were burned to death in attacks on the four mosques. It claimed a total of 18 people had died in an inferno at the al-Muhaimin mosque.

So who is this organization called the Association of Muslim Scholars? The Associated Press cites them as a single source, and yet leaves out this very important detail found in Wikipedia:

The Association of Muslim Scholars... are a group of Sunni Muslim religious leaders in Iraq. The Association is believed to have strong links with Al-Qaeda terrorists.[citation required]

They did not recognize the U.S. appointed government as legitimate and have at times questioned any democratically elected government and democracy itself. They have previously asked for withdrawal of American troops, who they accuse of causing the deaths of over 30 000 Iraqis since the war began. They publicly support Al-Qaeda and support the car bombs and the sectarian violence.

Do you think that having such strong alleged tied to al Qaeda might warrant a mention by the Associated Press, if for no other reason than to establish that they might be providing a potentially biased account? If you though so, you obviously disagreed with the Associated Press.

But the apparent affection between al Qaeda and the AP's single-sourced statement is far from being the only item of note in this paragraph; indeed, they make the very specific claim that "18 people had died in an inferno at the al-Muhaimin mosque."

In another version of this story, the Associated Press claims specifically that the Ahbab al-Mustafa, Nidaa Allah, al-Muhaimin and al-Qaqaqa mosques were attacked "with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and automatic rifles," before being burned. There is zero evidence that any of the mosques were assaulted in such a manner, and only the Nidaa Allah suffered minor fire damage from a molotov cocktail easily extinguished by an Iraqi fire company.

Military units in the area late claimed the al-Muhaimin mosque was never attacked at all. Within days, the 18 people that "died in an inferno" quietly left AP's narrative, never to be seen again, as did the allegations of attacks on all the mosques but Nidaa Allah, which suffered only minor fire damage. To this day, neither Jamil Hussein nor the Associated Press has told us which mosque the “burning six” were pulled from, a relevant fact that again, somehow slipped away from the AP, unnoticed.

And so we now find ourselves in a curious position, where AP claims to still stand behind their reporting on one hand, while on the other, dropping the number of alleged fatalities from 24 to six, and the numbers of mosques burned and blown up from four to one.

The Associated Press has not even begun to account for how their story has shifty almost completely from one account, into another story entirely.

They claim to still stand behind their reporting... but which reporting would that be?

Cross-posted at Confederate Yankee.