January 04, 2007

AP: Jamil Hussein - Real (UPDATED - Phase II Begins)

Kaboom! Apparently, the Iraqi Interior Ministry didn't know and denied, or did know and denied, or botched its record searches and denied, or whatever. Who knows.

ht: Ace
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UPDATE III: Bob Owens, with many valid questions still unanswered, has recieved an email from The MNF offices regarding the above-linked story:

Mr Owens,

The validity of the AP story below has not been confirmed at this time.

Stay tuned for phase two - factchecking Jamil Hussein. Much more from Allah.
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UPDATE II (Good Lt): I'm suddenly reminded of my Full Metal Jacket:
LOCKHEART: In strategic terms, Charlie's cut the country in half... the civilian press are about to wet their pants and we've heard even Cronkite's going to say the war is now unwinnable.

In other words, it's a huge shit sandwich, and we're all gonna have to take a bite.

JOKER : Sir...does this mean that Ann-Margret's not coming?

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UPDATE (Ragnar): Michelle has more here.
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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 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.

This is kind of interesting:
Hussein was not the original source of the disputed report of the attack; the account was first told on Al-Arabiya satellite television by a Sunni elder, Imad al-Hashimi, who retracted it after members of the Defense Ministry paid him a visit. Several neighborhood residents subsequently gave the AP independent accounts of the Shiite militia attack on a mosque in which six people were set on fire and killed.

Khalaf told the AP that an arrest warrant had been issued for the captain for having contacts with the media in violation of the ministry's regulations.

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.

Hussein appears to have fallen afoul of a new Iraqi push, encouraged by some U.S. advisers, to more closely monitor the flow of information about the country's violence, and strictly enforce regulations that bar all but authorized spokesmen from talking to media.

So now the AP has a hand in having this man charged with a crime by reporting his name (or three versions of it) back in November. This is interesting:
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.

Assuming the story is accurate, we here and elsewhere were incorrect positing that Jamil Hussein did not exist. We'll see if the AP decides to identify Mr. Hussein in a lineup (take a wild guess at what they're going to do.) Given that they risk nothing (apparently) in choosing not to do so, they won't. Gotta protect that source they outed.

Fweh. Have at it.

By Good Lt. at 05:56 PM | Comments |