The Latest & Greatest On Jamil Hussein


I decided to step away a bit, but not completely, on the Jamil Hussein story and get back to the crux of the story.  The whole thing has become convoluted and twisted to the point where people are not sure which way is up so I figured a little history on the story would be worth my time to convey with some additional commentary.

If you read through all of my posts on this subject from the beginning you will find that I named my original posts "Getting The News From The Enemy".  I named them that because THAT was the crux of the story.  I put in a lot of work to show that much of what was being reported by the AP should be questioned and appeared to come from stringers.  When I focused on Jamil and my suspicions turned out to be justified the blogosphere went bananas.  But in so doing everyone, including myself, focused on one man, one source, as the crux of the story.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The story begins with the Burning Six incident and the lack of any evidence to suggest that this event ever happened.  In fact there is much more proof that the incident was just rumors that flew around the neighborhood by people who heard it from someone who heard it from someone.  And then the AP got into the act.

Much of the evidence suggests that they spoke to one man, a police Capt. Jamil Hussein, who reported this to them:

Shiite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near Iraqi soldiers who did not intervene, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

The savage revenge attack for Thursday’s slaying of 215 people in the Shiite Sadr City slum occurred as members of the Mahdi Army militia burned four mosques, and several homes while killing an unknown number of Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad.

Four mosques burned, unknown number of Sunni’s killed, and six burned alive worshipers. 

But when the troops were sent in they found:

Contrary to recent media reporting that four mosques were burned in Hurriya, an Iraqi Army patrol investigating the area found only one mosque had been burned in the neighborhood.

Soldiers from the 6th Iraqi Army Division conducted a patrol in Hurriya Friday afternoon in response to media reports that four mosques were being burned as retaliation for the VBIED attacks in Sadr City on Thursday.

The Soldiers set up a checkpoint near the Al Muhaimen mosque at approximately 2 p.m. and found the mosque intact with no evidence of any fire at the location.

[…]The patrol was also unable to confirm media reports that six Sunni civilians were allegedly dragged out of Friday prayers and burned to death. Neither Baghdad police nor Coalition forces have reports of any such incident.

Centcom later confirmed for me:

We have no confirmation that this event happened; so it is very likely that this is not a legitimate source. In addition, of the four mosques that were suppose to have been burned/destroyed at that time; we only confirmed one mosque was damaged by a fire that lasted an hour and then was extinguished with no casualties.

But since the AP reported this news as fact the damage had already been done.  The New York Times:

Defying a government curfew, Shiite militiamen stormed Sunni mosques in Baghdad and a nearby city on Friday, shooting guards and burning down buildings in apparent retaliation for the devastating bombings that killed more than 200 people the day before in the capital’s largest Shiite district, residents and police officials said.

One story from one policeman became THE news of death and destruction, people "storming" buildings, setting mosques on fire, and burning people alive.

Oh man Iraq is outta control.

But alas, none of it appears to be true.  There was no outcry from the Sunni citizens of that neighborhood which caused CNN reporters to dismiss the story.  There has not been any pictures or video of the damage done to "four" mosques, or even one mosque.  There has not been any identification of the victims nor the victims families.  The AP first reported that the bodies were taken to a local hospital morgue but quickly changed that story to the bodies being taken to the cemetery immediately. (I wonder if the story was changed because the morgue workers that they initially said helped confirm the story didn’t exist seeing as how the hospital doesn’t have a morgue.)

Why did we focus on Jamil Hussein then?

Well, he was THE source for the AP.  They went back and found three people who would not go on record who said they saw it but their only "on the record" witness recanted his story.  It all came down to Jamil Hussein.

I asked Centcom to verify this guy and found a very helpful lieutenant (Lt. Dean) who asked the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.  They did a search and found no Jamil Hussein and announced this fact.

For weeks on end the AP would not produce this man, Capt. Jamil Hussein, who they insisted was real leading to further suspicion.  Then, more then four weeks after this story broke they announce to the world that the MoI had verified Jamil Hussein works at the very station they said he did. 

Wow!  How did Centcom and the Iraqi police not find this guy right under their nose? 

It didn’t make sense.  For over four weeks the AP couldn’t or wouldn’t produce him nor could the  American civilian liaison for the Iraqi police confirm this fact but all of a sudden he appears as if out of thin air.

That civilian liaison, Bill Costlow, verified that this was the guy that the Iraqi police questioned on December 20th: (via Michelle Malkin)

my CPATT sources informed me today that MOI officials have now questioned Captain Jamil Ghlaim at MOI headquarters. Ghlaim continues to deny speaking to AP or any other media outlet.

Within a few short hours Bill confirms his real name via his personnel record and the fact that the AP and MoI have appeared to come to an understanding in which the MoI will be treated a bit fairer:

There has been some sideline discussion between MOI PA and the AP.  We’re at a point where the MOI needs to look to the future and establish a new relationship with the AP — hopefully it’ll be a friendship that enables them to avoid issues like this in the future.


Now why was this guy so important to the story?  Well, because of the 61 other stories where he is mentioned as a source:

In yesterday’s worst violence, the bodies of six handcuffed, blindfolded and tortured men were found in the Baghdad neighborhood of Dora, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

Gunmen in three speeding cars also ambushed a patrol in western Baghdad, wounding 10 people, including six policemen, and two other policemen were injured in drive-by shootings in a nearby neighborhood, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Two explosions struck an Interior Ministry patrol and a market in the Baghdad area on Monday evening, killing at least seven people and wounding 16, police said. The first attack was a car bomb that struck an Interior Ministry patrol in western Baghdad, killing four commandos and wounding six, Capt. Jamil Hussein said. About 30 minutes later, a bomb exploded in a market in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 10.

Gunmen also ambushed a bus in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Amariyah in western Baghdad, killing six passengers, including a woman, and the driver, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

How much of these stories were true?  That is just a sampling of the death and destruction told by our good Captain.  The same Captain who now appears to have a totally different name and denies being a source for the AP.

This same Captain was stationed at al-Khadra police station but reported incidents all over Baghdad:

You see that black mark on the map?  That is al-Khadra station.  A full 7 miles from the southern most attacks:

7 miles in a huge city is a eternity.  How is it that this Capt knew about all these incidents and was the go-to guy for the AP?

At this point my belief is the guy is real.  He gave them information they wanted to hear and they printed it as fact.  Did they knowingly use a pseudonym?  The evidence suggests yes, they did, since they stated they had visited him in his office.  It is reasonable to believe that they could very well have verified his name there.

So they used a pseudonym without telling the readers they were doing so and then used this Capt to report on a incident that appears to have never occurred.

Now the question is, how many of the other stories they reported on are made up out of whole cloth?

That is the crux of the matter here.

But bloggers such as Patterico tackle this story like a lawyer would and demands some definitive evidence, as if the AP will be put on the stand under oath and tell it like it is.  That will not happen.

All we can go on is the circumstantial evidence of the case so far and in my mind it proves that the AP has been very derelict in their duty to report the news.  Their duty is to report the news that they can verify or in the cases where it is difficult to verify they tell that fact to the reader. 

It is my belief that the reason why they don’t tell this to the reader is because there is a huge bias in our media where they only want to get one message out.  That message being Iraq is a disaster.  As they did in Vietnam during the Tet offensive.

But Dafydd takes a shot at the question posed by Patterico and goes through a few scenarios at Michelle Malkins blog.  One being the AP was telling the truth all along, three being that the AP made the source up, and number two:

Finally, case 2: AP has a source at Khadra, but his name is not Jamil Hussein

This is the case that Patterico implicitly assumes to be the only plausible alternative to case 1 (though I still haven’t entirely given up on the "Lieutenant Kijé" scenario!) There are two possible "subcases" here, which is the llama on whose horns Patterico sticks:

  1. Steven Hurst and his editors at AP were aware that their source’s name was not Jamil Hussein

If this is the case, then AP was complicit in passing along a false name to the Ministry of the Interior, causing them to erroneously (in this scenario) report that the source did not work at the Khadra police station. At the very least, this is devious practice.

Did AP just forget that "Jamil Hussein" was actually "Mohammed Achmed al-Fruitbat?" Was the purpose to make the MOI look foolish, forcing them to make a statement then correct it later? Or did they not give the real name because there is a problem with the source, and they didn’t want anyone looking too carefully?

If the reason for the pseudonym was entirely honorable — Hurst worried about death threats against the man — then why not simply say "said a souce who would only speak on condition that we not name him, due to fear of reprisals"? That would have been honest. Thus, I think we can rule out this honorable reason; and all remaining reasons are disreputable and dishonorable.

  1. Steven Hurst and his editors at AP were completely unaware that their source had given them a nom de guerre

If anything, this is even worse for AP than sub-scenario (a) above. If Hurst and his editors were blissfully unaware that their source was giving them a false name — then that can only mean they did not even make a minimalist check on his veracity… not even so much as verifying his identity!

What does this mean? Basically, that anyone can call up an AP reporter in Iraq, claim to be a police captain with a story to tell… and that story — propaganda — will wind up in an AP war dispatch without the slightest checking. Rumor central — and a lovely example of the big-box media’s "multiple layers of editing" in action.

And of course, if they couldn’t even bother to verify "Jamil Hussein’s" name, why trouble to verify any other piece of the 62 stories he told them? The source could have said that Dick Cheney personally few to Baghdad and shot some kids, just for fun… and AP would have run with it that evening.

There it is!  As only Dafydd can do he has detailed the crux of this story in a few paragraphs, which  incidently took me a bazillion words for me to detail.  If they couldn’t even be troubled to verify this guy’s name how in the world can they be troubled to verify a story?

Other’s Blogging:

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I made a similar post in response to Dafydd’s article at MM’s site, but it has not appeared yet, and I don’t know how to activate the links and all the cool computer stuff so the post is kind of raw… I’m sorry. but on to it..

I think that the AP are just idiots. Who else would, after their main source of this story is questioned, use someone like Imad al-Hashimi as a back-up? Actually they claimed he was more than a back up they say he broke the story..

“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”

So after a month an a half of everyone questioning this story they still haven’t read enough of THEIR OWN stories to know that THIS guy should be the last person to use.

I mean, is he a;

“a Sunni elder IN Hurriyah” ~

“a RESIDENT of Hurriya district” who is “a university academic” ~

“university teacher” ~

“a university professor VISITING Baghdad” ~

or just “a resident ” ~

and just what does this Sunni elder who is a visiting resident teacher say he saw?

“three women, three children and two men were badly burned BUT SURVIVED when gunmen threw petrol INTO THEIR HOMES and set fire to the buildings” ~

people who were drenched in kerosene and then set afire, burning to death before his eyes. ~

“people were killed and wounded. When the gunmen moved on to attack another mosque we evacuated the wounded” (how nice that he is a hero,) ~

Also where did he give his interview?

“Imad al-Hashemi said in a telephone interview on Al Jazeera” ~

“Imad al-Hasimi….. told Al-Arabiya television” ~

And this is there eye witness… but wait which mosque was burned?

“The attack on the small MUSTAFA Sunni mosque began as worshippers were finishing Friday midday prayers.”

and where was Imad al-Hashimi?

“he was in the NIDA ALLAH mosque when it was attacked during Friday prayers.”

Great eye witness, he was not even at the same mosque!

If they don’t even bother to take the time to look at this Hashimi’s statements before they hold him up as a cooberating witness for a story they are under fire for, I don’t think they care where they get their stories from, if the person is giving their real name or even if the stories are true.

I think a first year english student would fail the class if they submitted something this poorly fact checked.

Let’s see if I have this straight/correct:

A police captain reports to an Iraqi stringer, who passes the story to Steve Hurst, who writes the story for AP, who releases the story to the world as a factual story?

EXCEPT——- the original police captain (Jamil Hussien)doesn’t exsist or was the ghost writer for Captain Jamil Ghlaim, who claims he is NOT THE SOURCE…..and along the way the story has been changed about a half dozen times?

AND——- this police captain (who claims not to be the source) may have reported 61 storys that were released to the world as FACTUAL?

Are we still looking for a “source”? Or is the Associated Press publishing their own history of the war in Iraq?

I see three distinct possible outcomes of this mini-drama…

1) AP (that’s Associated Press, not to be confused with Allah Pundit) produces the person of, or verifiable evidence of the existence of, a Captain Jamil Hussein who works or worked at the al-Khadra police station. At this point AP is not off the hook, but will still have to provide sufficient evidence of the “Burning Six” story to satisfy at least neutral observers before their lost credibility is regained. I doubt seriously that this will happen as it is unlikely that a Captain Jamil Hussein has been kept hidden from so many interested observers, or that the MoI enjoys having egg on its face. Could they be protecting him from a little “Sadr justice”? Many things are possible, but it boggles the mind that the good Captain would have agreed to be named in 62 AP stories detailing Shiite-on-Sunni violence if he was concerned about his name getting out.

2) AP, perhaps with the cooperation of the MoI, ignores Curt and others until, finally, Curt collapses from sheer exhaustion. This one is more likely, as Curt alone cannot generate sufficient pressure to compel the AP to do anything. For that he requires the active cooperation of many others. For Curt, this is the “big one”. For the Malkins and Allahs of the world, it is just another feather in their respective caps if it plays out. Without some development, they will eventually move on. Once that happens and Curt is alone, he either quits the story or becomes the Don Quixote of the MSM hunters. Don’t get me wrong, what he’s done already has caused significant erosion in the AP news machine’s credibility rating, but the damage is survivable.

3) AP ceases the evasion tactics and cuts the arrogant condescention and comes clean, determined to turn over a new leaf and buy back their credibility through hard-nosed self-examination. We learn of bad process and lazy reporters allowing their lust for blood to trump their scepticism. Or worse, we learn that some reporter(s) collaborated to produce exaggerated or completely fictional accounts of anarchy in the streets of Bhagdad. Another possibility is that we learn the stories are legit, but the source managed to sneak in a little name-misdirection to avoid repercussions, or with AP’s or the reporters’ cooperation. The argument against this eventuality is that, once the process issue is sufficiently explained, the AP is still on the hook for the veracity of the stories. I believe that, if they manage to validate the “Burning Six” story, they will get a pass on the rest. But if they can’t, all of the remaining sixty-one (at least) become suspect and will become the subject of a blogswarm.

Excellent summary of the situation Curt. I’ve excerpted and linked your post and Dafydd’s from last night in Part 37 of my Jamilgate series. It’s all over but the hangin’, er, uh, shoutin’.


I added my trial lawyer’s bazillion words in the comments section at Big Lizards (and elsewhere).

I agree with you and CY. This IS a story that needs telling. I come to the same conclusions, although down a slightly different pathway…but all roads lead to Rome, here. I simply do not believe the AP was “duped”…their subsequent behavior and the manner in which the stories are used, then backed up, then stonewalled and not corrected, do not lend themselves to that conclusion.

And I don’t believe that “Jamil” was a “source” as I define that term. I believe someone playing “Jamil” exists…but, I’m sorry…that’s not acceptable for verification of facts for me.

And, even trial lawyers understand that sometimes you simply know things intuitively that you can’t “prove”. The example in first year law school classes in evidence primers…is “If you we go to bed at night and there is no snow on the ground and we wake up and the entire area is blanketed in snow…it snowed while we were sleeping”. We don’t have “evidence” of that, but there is no other sensible explanation. And it would take a Rube Goldbergesque explanation to convince us otherwise.

Likewise, “being Jamil” the ubersource for all knowledge of all horrific acts everywhere…is simply not believable. Without giving my full argument here again, …his reading the teleprompter for AP’s scripting of “replacement facts” is not acceptable. THAT’S the story. And a million thanks to you and Bob for telling it. You deserve praise, in my opinion, not criticism. Again, many thanks.

No Rovin, the Police Captain IS the stringer who fed stories to the AP.

It’s the GREEN HELMET approach to gathering news.

Different country. But the same propaganda wave.

You’d think they’ll have to start teaching this “course” in journalism skools. Jayson Blair will deserve a cut in the revenue stream, however.

ANd, talking about “revenues.” How do these people get paid? The AP doesn’t just “gather news” as if they’re out on a hike. And, anything they pick up in the jungle is there’s.

Checks go out.

And, when you’re dealing with public companies; (where you can buy stock if you think these organizations deserve your investment capital), then you could ask, “how was Jamail” paid for his “tips.”

The answer can’t be “inside the tip jar.”

As to the stories? All of them are fake.

And, there’s nothing new to that type of garbage, either. For about four years (1861 through 1864), the press was way behind Grant’s lines. They never even laid eyes on him! But the stragglers? They were the one’s who feared being in front. So they went into slow motion, back in the rear. And, this crap was the “hoyle” on grant.

Of course, after about four years suffering major losses, Lincoln finally wised up to the HERO OF OHIO. Only one State backed Grant, throughout. And, in desperation, which happens when the upper eschelon is stuck on saluting their own crap; Lincoln finally turned to Grant.

And, then? It took the British, who do top notch jobs investigating battles, after the fact. They’re like firemen, after the fires have subsided. Where they can go in and reconstruct the facts.

ACTUAL FACTS: Grant was a marvel! One of America’s best generals, EVER! (And, when this stuff hit the textbooks, it opened the eyes of Pershing. Which opened the eyes of MacArthur. And, Patton.)

The good stuff.

It sticks around long after the garbage gets collected. Disposed of. And, the bins of history are swept clean of the dust. Truth is an object you can then hold in your hands.

Immolate, I would have to go with option number 2. They know the damage is indeed survivable once the big guys move on to other stories and that is what they were banking on from the beginning. Once we didn’t go away they announced this news from the MoI which did indeed cause many of the bigwigs to abandon ship.

Great links Mark, I’m gonna need those for future posts.

Appreciate the compliments CFBleachers. I agree 100% with your take on this thing. Question is was their enough head generated by this story to force the AP to change? I would have to say no. They have since changed to putting every source as anonymous which makes everything easier for them to print whatever news they see fit.


You are quite welcome, but…don’t know if you have paid any attention to anything I’ve written (mostly at Bob’s place where I tend to hang out mostly but occasionally at VDH and recently at Big Lizards…[not sure why any blogger busy working on putting out news would pay attention to a specific poster…but, you never know, so I ask out of not knowing…not out of pride of authorship], but I’ve been complimenting and THANKING you guys with some frequency).

I think on this issue, (which I see as an important addition to the struggle to retrieve (get back…if possible) SOME ethical journalism…[as opposed to caricatures of truth, truthiness, and leftist propaganda], and that you…as a part of a battalion of good people willing to stand up against the stranglehold on our information stream, ought to be profusely thanked…in fact, that we ought to get down on our knees every night and thank LGF, Glenn, Michelle, you, Bob, VDH, Patterico, the Powerline guys, …all of you…because I don’t believe there is an issue in our lives which trumps this one for importance. I believe that with all my heart and soul.

I have said this more than once. If our lines of communication are tainted, (a first item of battle strategy in the war for hearts and minds), if our information stream is corrupted…if the places where our opinions are shaped and formed is unworthy of belief…then that touches EVERYTHING we do and say and act upon as a country.

For those in the volunteer front lines, the “grass roots” resistance to the tyranny of the so-called “reformers”,who have owned our information stream, virtually lock, stock and barrel for 40 years (talk radio, Fox news and blogging being relatively recent events)…and have arrogantly corrupted it…to an extent where there is now a full fledged anomie of the press…(they make the rules up as they go along, feel no constraints on following ethics or morals)…then every bridge you blow up that makes it more difficult for them to cross back over with more of their distortions and misrepresentations, for every train of “truthiness” and “fauxtography” you destroy…for every Green Helmet Guy you expose…the “resistance” wins a battle for truth and integrity.

Does it win the war? Not yet. The pen is mightier than the sword at times, but it is not mightier than the swarm. They have a 40 year head start, they have all the alphabet network news stations, the major city newspapers, the wire services, the NPR, all of Hollywood and virtually every humanities professor on campus. And have formed the Ministry of Media with all those sub-divisions, who all have rote memorized the playbook and sing from the same hymnal. They have ZERO tolerance for allowing anyone to speak outside the playbook (see, eg Lieberman)…and they really don’t care if the “facts” are in their favor or against them…because the “message” is the only important thing. If the facts are contrary…then they are simply trifling things to be “changed” to conform with the “message”. We get “replacement facts”…after all, they are only casting pearls before swine, anyway.

Here’s my take on the AP’s reaction. You (and Bob for the most part) have changed their behavior. It got their attention (and that of Tony Snow, apparently). This is a good thing. A great thing. It is, in and of itself…a victory for the good guys.

They stonewall, they obfuscate, they lie in wait and change tactics. Not the best result, but it is a de facto recognition that the corruption of truth is acceptable and that we have not surrendered to “truthiness”.

Did it “correct” their behavior? No, I’m afraid they still feel too powerful. But it changed it. You shined a light on them and they scurried back under the baseboards.

You highlighted another piece of the PATTERN…two thirds of the country doesn’t believe they are giving us the truth. That’s a start. When Patterico shines a light on the LA Times…that’s a start. When the NY Times is caught in yet another Blair fiasco, that’s a start.

Someone…more eloquent than I am…will put this jigsaw puzzle together and begin to weave the whole story into a picture that the masses will comprehend. These are not isolated, unconnected incidents. This is a pattern of behavior. Arrogant, despicable and destructive.

When the story of Cronkite lying about the Tet offensive and when the Green Helmet guy and Reuters fauxtography and the BBC’s blatant anti-semitism, when Blair, and Rather and the whole lot of them…when all of this is unveiled as the pattern of conduct that it is…then, and only then will we see real meaningful changes in behavior.

When WE stop treating these things as unrelated, when WE stop excusing their behavior as isolated incidents or unconnected events…when WE stop saying they were probably “duped” into yet another distortion, when WE stop accepting distortion and misrepresentations as being “ok” because, that’s just what they think and how they think…and start to say “Enough…no more”…then we will see real changes.

A corrupted information stream is reflected in the polls, in the voting booths, in the laws we allow to be enacted, in our decisions to move forward with policies and plans. We suffer when it is corrupted, each and every day. Until we get people to see this as a pattern of behavior…they own the information stream. We need to do a better job of connecting the dots.

Until then, they believe it’s their game and they play it by their rules…which is to say…by no rules at all.

So, from the bottom of my heart…thank you. I believe you guys are saving my country. Because you are saving the information stream from their stranglehold…and allowing us a few breaths of fresh air.