Patterico's Pontifications

1/11/2007

The Latest on Jamil Redacted: Sorry, I Don’t Get It

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:10 pm

This Jamil Whatever story is getting so confusing, I may stop trying to follow it, at least for a while. There are so many contrary facts coming out, it’s impossible to know what to believe.

The latest (UPDATE III here — Curt, you should do a new post when you have new info!) is that apparently, Jamil’s personnel file says that his name is really “Jamil Gulaim [redacted].” (The redacted name is not Hussein.) From Curt’s CPATT source:

Curt,

Seems like every time I talk to somebody about this guy, his name changes. His personnel record says his name is: Jamil Gulaim (Redacted).

Spokesman BG Abdul-Kareem has spoken with members of the AP in Baghdad and has confirmation that he is their source. That said, CPT Jamil still denies ever speaking to them.

As far as the MOI is concerned, CPT Jamil gave the AP bad information: there’s still no evidence the six murders occurred.

V/R
Bill

This is as clear as mud. How did the spokesman confirm with the AP that Mr. Redacted is the source? Did he show them a picture, or what?

Bob Owens says: “And so a major Associated Press claim in “Jamilgate” takes an apparently fatal hit.” I can’t agree with that at this point, because I don’t trust, or even completely understand, the information I’m getting. It all traces back to the MOI, and to completely believe them at this point without solid corroboration, you’d have to be a sucker, in my view.

Allah begs to differ with Bob Owens, saying:

I would think the bigger scoop is the fact that we now have independent confirmation, via Curt’s source, that the man known to AP readers as “Jamil Hussein” exists and is indeed a police officer at Khadra.

I can’t completely agree with that, either — at least until I understand how the heck we are supposed to know this. And I’m at the point where a CPATT rep, repeating claims by the MOI spokesman, doesn’t cut it for me.

Get me evidence, or at least more detail and clarity. Or I’ll just give up and watch this play out.

Maybe Michelle Malkin will come up with something I can understand.

UPDATE: Let me make clear what I’m confused about. Everyone is running around screeching that the AP knowingly used a pseudonym.

What is the proof?

Xrlq Tilts at the Windmill

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:22 pm

Nowadays, when I see certain types of errors in the L.A. Times, I’m more likely to toss off a snarky post than to write the Readers’ Representative. If the proof of the error takes more than a sentence to explain, they will always claim that the mistake is really a matter of opinion.

So when I saw the editors making a legally indefensible statement in an editorial about gay marriage, I pointed out the error in this post, but I didn’t bother writing the paper.

Xrlq did. And he was persistent.

In a follow-up post, Xrlq expresses “cautious optimism” that the editors will actually fix the mistake. Me, I’m reminded of something Allah said recently in another context: “You’ll rarely go wrong betting on pessimism, especially when it comes to this subject.”

Anonymous Law Enforcement Source: Cops Lied in No-Knock Atlanta Case

Filed under: Crime,General,Scum — Patterico @ 6:53 pm

It is an old Internet trick to decry the “suspicious silence” of your ideological opponents regarding news that appeared a couple of hours ago. This trick was used by John Cole when the Terri Schiavo autopsy came out. But the pinnacle of the format was achieved by our friend Thomas Ellers, known by some as Glenn Greenwald, who excoriated a few of us for not denouncing a blogger calling himself “Emperor Misha” — for comments made while most of us were asleep, getting ready for work, and/or working. When Greenwald pulled this trick, I called him a “douchebag.” That was neither restrained nor civil of me, but many have called it accurate.

For reasons unknown even to myself, I’ll be more civil to commenter “Frank N Stein,” who this morning left the following comment:

In other, more important news, turns out the Atlanta cops lied about the drug buy that cost an old lady’s life. Cue the chirping crickets…

The commenter was referring to this article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a paper I do not read. The story came out this morning, and I was not aware of it when I left for work at about 7:15 a.m. My friends, the comment from “Frank N Stein” was left at 10:51 a.m. Pacific time. Evidently he was upset that I didn’t take time out of my workday to troll the Internet, stumble across the story, and post my reactions.

Well done, “Frank N Stein.” Well done indeed! Rick Ellensburg himself would be proud.

Of course, perhaps Mr. “Frank N Stein” simply meant that he believed I would never get around to commenting on the story. I await his apology with bated breath, because here is my post — written up as soon as I got a chance.

The story deals with the investigation into the killing of that elderly Atlanta woman who shot three cops as they executed a no-knock search warrant on her home. This morning’s story carries a revelation that, if true, is extremely disturbing — that one of the cops lied about the probable cause for the warrant:

An Atlanta police narcotics officer has told federal investigators at least one member of his unit lied about making a drug buy at the home of an elderly woman killed in a subsequent raid, according to a person close to the investigation.

In an affidavit to get a search warrant at the home Nov. 21, narcotics officer Jason R. Smith told a magistrate he and Officer Arthur Tesler had a confidential informant buy $50 worth of crack at 933 Neal St. from a man named “Sam.”

But narcotics officer Gregg Junnier, who was wounded in the shootout, has since told federal investigators that did not happen, according to the person close to the investigation. Police got a no-knock warrant after claiming that “Sam” had surveillance cameras outside the Neal Street residence and they needed the element of surprise to capture him and the drugs.

If the anonymous source is correct, then a terrible tragedy has likely occurred here. If the probable cause for the warrant was manufactured, that is strong evidence that the woman was firing at the police because she believed that they were criminals breaking into her home. If the allegations of the anonymous source are true, then I urge prosecutors to go after the lying cops — hammer and tongs. If a murder prosecution is viable under applicable law — and the story quotes a former federal prosecutor suggesting that it might be — I think it should be pursued. We can’t tolerate behavior like this from law enforcement.

P.S. I know that there will now be a pack of libertarians in the comments screaming that I was wrong and I owe an apology. I sense that it will infuriate them to know that I do not apologize for saying that we should wait for the facts before forming concrete opinions. If you form a firm and unswerving opinion before all the facts are in, sometimes your opinion will prove to have been wrong, and sometimes it will have been right. But the fact that your opinion was right doesn’t prove the wisdom of leaping to unswerving opinions before the facts are in. By that logic, a man who risks his life savings on a spin of the roulette wheel and wins has necessarily done a wise thing. After all, he won, didn’t he?

Those of you inclined to jump down my throat and scream that I was WRONG! WRONG! EVER SO WRONG! might stop for a second and ask yourself whether you were wrong about any aspect of this. For example, did you doubt that an investigation would do anything to get to the bottom of this? Did you ever say: “there’s no point in waiting for further facts, because all that will happen is that there will be a giant cover-up”? If so, then — if the source quoted in the article is correct — you were WRONG! about that. The investigation sounds as though it is yielding results — and if the cops truly lied, and there is proof of it, I’ll betcha there will be a prosecution.

P.P.S. The observant reader will note that, in this post, my opinion is conditioned on the statement “if the source is correct.” That’s because the source is anonymous, so there is a chance we are being fed bad information. I know that not a single libertarian will see this as a possibility. It’s a natural human impulse to be less skeptical of evidence supporting a position that you already agree with. My guess is that libertarians who might normally be skeptical of an anonymous source are likely to display little or no skepticism regarding the statements of this particular anonymous source.

P.P.P.S. I may stop blogging about libertarian topics generally, because people become so personally nasty with me that it becomes no fun running the blog. I said to someone the other day that nothing makes people more unreasonable and nasty than the emotion of self-righteousness, and this (like most libertarian topics) is an issue that arouses extreme self-righteousness in people. (Case in point: a guy I previously banned somehow got through this morning and called me a “filthy apologist for murderers.”) Still, having discussed this topic in the past, I felt an obligation to blog it, and I feel an obligation to leave comments open. One simple rule will be observed: comments that make disparaging comments or references to my job will be summarily deleted. However, comments that merely call me an idiot will remain.

It’s Goalpost-Movin’ Time!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:02 am

Bryan Preston reports that he and Michelle Malkin are in Baghdad. This must dismay lefties like Lindsay Beyerstein who smugly assumed it wouldn’t happen.

Move those goalposts, lefties! Pronto!

Comments are open.

P.S. This has gotta shock the “Liberal Avenger,” who said here:

There’s no way she will ever go.

How will she back out while trying to save face?

and said on his own site:

I’m ready to eat crow if she goes.

I got some recipes for ya, L.A. Try not to talk with your mouth full while you’re movin’ the goalposts.

P.P.S. Bryan Preston says:

Without hesitation, I can say that this fight is the most intricate and complicated mission our military has ever faced. Our troops are daily engaging in missions that their military training never prepared them for, but they are performing those missions with amazing thought and skill. When you add in the external forces at play, whether they’re stateside politics or the mix of enemies on Iraq’s doorsteps and operating on its streets, the mission in Iraq becomes a Gordian knot of military, political and humanitarian issues that overlap to the point that failure in any one will precipitate failure in all of them. So far, we’re failing in several but not to the point that the situation can’t be rescued. The failures are, in my opinion, almost entirely products of Washington politics and decision-making. Washington has yet to make the war in Iraq a truly national effort, and has not yet brought to bear the full range of American resources it will take to give us a chance of success here.

Bill from INDC says:

Very well put, though I would stress the mild caveat that aspects of some failures might be (but are not necessarily) beyond our control, at least within the time frame demanded by the American public. RTWT.

I don’t think some people truly appreciate how destructive the politics are to the mission. I’ve chatted with Bill about this; maybe someday he’ll elaborate on the topic on his blog at greater length.

UPDATE: Hey, lefties: if you were planning to move the goalposts by saying that Malkin needs to go outside the Green Zone . . . you’re going to have to move them again. As Allah notes in the comments, she already is.

A Cautionary Note on Jamil Hussein and the Burning Six Story

Filed under: General,Media Bias,War — Patterico @ 7:02 am

People sometimes hope for bad news for others, if they think it will be good news for them.

For example, anyone who has ever followed the stock market closely has observed situations where analysts predict that good news for the economy is likely to be bad news for the market. This is not always the case, but it does happen. For example, a report showing higher unemployment might cause the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates lower, which market analysts would welcome. Put simply, in those situations, higher unemployment translates to higher stock prices.

So you sometimes get situations where people — certainly not me! — await economic news with the hope that it will be bad, so that their stocks will go higher.

Bad news for others is sometimes good news for the individual.

I was reminded of this when I read this post by lefty Iraqi blogger Zeyad about the “Burning Six” incident. Zeyad basically makes many of the arguments you have heard from lefties on the Jamil Hussein issue — some of which may be valid, by the way. But this is the part that jumped out at me:

I have heard from friends in Baghdad that they have seen a cell phone video of the burning incident and that it was broadcast on Zawra TV. They couldn’t get me the clip when I asked for it, though. Mosques have been burned before in Baghdad, so I also can’t see why that would be surprising to some American bloggers. Just check my YouTube page on the sidebar for examples.

If such a video emerged, it would be bad news for Iraq and for the Burning Six — but good news for the lecturing left.

Do some lefties hope such a video surfaces? Well. I would never say out loud that the Glenn Greenwalds and Eric Boehlerts of the world would be thrilled to their core to see such a video emerge. But I can guarantee you this: if such a video were to emerge, they would run, not walk, to their computers. And if you thought that they were lecturing, moralistic, humorless scolds before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

So let me take this opportunity to warn conservatives: there is a chance that the Burning Six story could be true — all of it. Questions have been raised about the story, and they are legitimate, serious questions that deserve to be aired. But the fact that there are questions doesn’t mean, all by itself, that the story is bogus.

And, as Zeyad says, is it really that hard to imagine such an atrocity in the vicinity of Baghdad nowadays? The answer is, of course, a resounding “no.”

P.S. Zeyad also says:

Could the whole incident be just an urban legend, given the highly polarised environment in Iraq today and the total lack of trust between the Shia and Sunni communities in Baghdad? I would say it’s totally possible, and there have been many occasions of outlandish accusations made by both sides of the conflict, to the extent that it is hard to discern the truth of what is happening. That is why we have to rely sometimes on Internet postings, rumours, word of mouth, and incomplete reporting.

This, to me, is the takeaway point from the Burning Six story, my posts on the Ramadi airstrike, and all reporting from Iraq nowadays. It’s very hard to be smugly sure about anything, because it’s almost impossible to trust entirely any news coming out of Iraq.

The one thing it’s safe to say is that it is, in places, utterly chaotic and out of control. I have heard enough reports from sources I trust to believe that this is so; to take one example, look at Bill Ardolino’s most recent Examiner piece from Fallujah. Bill writes that firemen there were reluctant to put out a fire when an Abrams tank was hit with an IED, because they were scared of being killed by the insurgents, for helping Americans. Good Lord.

But any reporting out of Iraq has to be viewed with a very skeptical eye. We should all be able to agree on that.


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