Centcom: Iraqis will announce tomorrow that AP source is fake

posted at 4:07 pm on November 29, 2006 by Allahpundit

Fake in the sense that he’s not an official Iraqi police officer, not fake in the sense that he doesn’t exist.

The cast of characters here is getting unwieldy. There’s Centcom’s long list of questionable AP sources from Monday plus the three unknown eyewitnesses whom the AP interviewed for its new story about the Sunnis being burned alive plus the two unnamed AP reporters who interviewed them plus the five unnamed burned-alive Sunnis themselves (and one who was identified) plus Jamil Hussein a.k.a. the fake police captain plus Qais al-Bashir a.k.a. the only AP reporter who ever gets to talk to Jamil Hussein plus one of the original witnesses named Imad al-Hashimi who’s since recanted plus the media liaisons at Centcom and the AP who have been sniping back and forth about this.

And now a new character: the imam at the mosque that was attacked, who’s been accused of being a member of Saddam’s secret police. What relevance that has for this story I’m not sure, but people seem excited about it.

Here’s where we are now, according to the boss:

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.

It’s true that the five other victims weren’t named, but the witness did say they all belonged to the al-Mashadani tribe. It’s also true that one of the original witnesses recanted, but only after someone from the Iraqi defense ministry paid him a little visit. And then there’s this, from the new AP story:

On Tuesday, two AP reporters also went back to the Hurriyah neighborhood around the Mustafa mosque and found three witnesses who independently gave accounts of the attack. Others in the neighborhood said they were afraid to talk about what happened…

Two of the witnesses — a 45-year-old bookshop owner and a 48-year-old neighborhood grocery owner — gave nearly identical accounts of what happened. A third, a physician, said he saw the attack on the mosque from his home, saw it burning and heard people in the streets screaming that people had been set on fire. All three men are Sunni Muslims.

The phony police captain is important but the veracity of the story is more important, and it doesn’t turn on him. Unless I’m missing something there are only three ways the witnesses could have independently corroborated each other: (1) it happened the way they said it happened, (2) they got together beforehand, made up a story about six Sunnis being burned alive, and made extra sure to get their details straight in case some reporter came calling, or (3) the AP deliberately put them up to it or invented the story whole cloth, witnesses included. Occam’s Razor says it’s number one; to believe it’s number three, you have to believe the AP is capable of journalistic fraud on a scale that’s an order of magnitude beyond what we’ve seen from the media, as bad as they’ve been.

As for Jamil Hussein, we’ll see tomorrow. Curt has a map of Baghdad up at the bottom of his latest post showing where the burning incident took place and where Hussein is supposedly stationed. It’s a long ways off of what should be his beat.


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Duckgate? If it looks like a duck…

WriterMom on November 29, 2006 at 4:10 PM

So, I guess Bob Geiger is going to apologize now?

Moron.

mesablue on November 29, 2006 at 4:21 PM

Associated w/terroristsgate Press , or APGate, AgateP, Fakegate, they’llbelieveanythinggate, holds-no-water-gate

shooter on November 29, 2006 at 4:29 PM

Hah! Bite it, AP! (uh, not A[llah]P[undit], of course)

urbancenturion on November 29, 2006 at 4:33 PM

Fauxflambeaux-gate

RedWinged Blackbird on November 29, 2006 at 4:33 PM

The problem is that this investigation is happening AFTER the news stories

I could basically give a full account of what happend based on what I read. So the question is are these witnesses of the event or witnesses of what was reported in the papers ?

William Amos on November 29, 2006 at 4:34 PM

I vote for “newsgate’ but that is more than just this story.

William Amos on November 29, 2006 at 4:36 PM

juked-gate, fake-gate, impersonate-gate, fool-gate, sham-gate, imitate-gate, fence-gate, trick-gate, makingnews-gate, B.S.gate, & my fave…assume-gate or ass/u/me-gate.

Ok OK I’m done.

shooter on November 29, 2006 at 4:41 PM

(4) they heard/read the accounts in the media and parroted them to anyone to asked four days later.

It happens all the time. It also explains why the are so consistent when eye-winess accounts usually diverge significantly.

TheBigOldDog on November 29, 2006 at 4:41 PM

The old media won’t cover it so the damage is done and will continue. They’ll have another fake source by morning.

Griz on November 29, 2006 at 4:44 PM

propagandagate

infidel on November 29, 2006 at 4:45 PM

AP = Assistant Propagandist

Enoxo on November 29, 2006 at 4:48 PM

Allah Propaganda

infidel on November 29, 2006 at 4:50 PM

BigOldDog has a good point,it has been news for days and having the same story from several witnesses is very rare,no one sees the same thing the same way,

bbz123 on November 29, 2006 at 4:52 PM

Does this suprise anyone?

right2bright on November 29, 2006 at 5:02 PM

(4) they heard/read the accounts in the media and parroted them to anyone to asked four days later.

That was my guess -but not necessarily the media. Depending on the community, it could just be passing from person to person.

On another note, I’m guessing the AP interviewed many, many people to be sure they had it right (isn’t that their job?). But only two gave “nearly identical accounts”. Depending on how you define “nearly identical” that could be completely meaningless.

taznar on November 29, 2006 at 5:02 PM

Did I miss something? Aren’t the “witnesses” unidentified?

You can’t simply assume the three choices are valid, since they are dependent on the witnesses being real.

If the witnesses don’t exist then all three choices are out the window.

So far, all I’ve read is that every person involved either doesn’t exist, or is un-named.

Gregor on November 29, 2006 at 5:21 PM

And even so …

I’m not sure what would cause us to believe they are not capable of planning this “skit” and having their stories organized beforehand.

Isn’t this the same blog that has written in-depth about previous staged attacks?

Gregor on November 29, 2006 at 5:25 PM

Centcom: Iraqis will announce tomorrow that AP source is fake

…pre-news?

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2006 at 5:59 PM

Let us not forget this incident where another major news organization sent its reporter back to verify a story. He returned with verifcation that was radically different and nobody at the newspaper noticed. I think this has to be considered as another possibility.

Annoying Old Guy on November 29, 2006 at 7:47 PM

Occam’s Razor says it’s number one; to believe it’s number three, you have to believe the AP is capable of journalistic fraud on a scale that’s an order of magnitude beyond what we’ve seen from the media, as bad as they’ve been.

Not really… a short list for your Google pleasure: Janet Cooke, CBS Reports: The Wall Within, Jayson Blair, Jack Kelley…

elgeneralisimo on November 29, 2006 at 7:47 PM

to believe it’s number three, you have to believe the AP is capable of journalistic fraud on a scale that’s an order of magnitude beyond what we’ve seen from the media

Been a lot of domestic reporters fired in the past few years at major US media outlets for cutting stories from whole cloth…and those were ones that didn’t even have a political motivation to do so.

Now there is two motivations – political for the first bogus story, and desperation for the second defense of it.

Habeas freaking Corpus baby — produce the effing bodies. Show me the burned corpses or at least fresh graves, or show me the supposed sources. “Proof by repeated assertion” isn’t good enough anymore with these people.

Purple Avenger on November 30, 2006 at 2:15 AM

I know … POZERGATE!!!

One Angry Christian on November 30, 2006 at 3:11 PM