Patterico's Pontifications


WaPo on the Flopping Aces/AP Bombshell

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:28 pm

The “AP vs. CENTCOM and Flopping Aces” story has hit the Washington Post.

Except that Flopping Aces is not mentioned.

20 Responses to “WaPo on the Flopping Aces/AP Bombshell”

  1. Bombshell?

    The AP backs its shit up. Looks like the military has some ‘splaining to do on whether it is once again being played – quite possibly willingly – as the fool for Shiite propoganda.

    Macswain (5b310d)

  2. Macswain,

    How exactly did the AP back up its story?

    1. The only named eye-witness, al-Hashimi, recanted.

    2. The AP claims it has three additional Sunni sources, all of whom are unnamed because they fear for their lives. That may be completely understandable but it undermines the reliability of the information where the sources are unnamed. It also raises a question of bias because they are Sunnis blaming Shiites for an atrocity. Two of the sources claim they were eye-witnesses to the burning at the mosque, while the third admitted second-hand knowledge. The two eye-witnesses gave identical stories. Their testimony might be reliable and persuasive. On the other hand, very few witnesses tell identical stories of highly emotional events unless they have been coached.

    3. The AP reporter has seen his primary source, Capt. Hussein, several times in an office at the police station. After 3-4 days, couldn’t the AP or Capt. Hussein locate someone, preferably a high-ranking police or government official, that would vouch for Capt. Hussein and his authority to provide official police information to the press?

    4. According to the WashPost account, the burned men were dragged outside and the immolation occurred at the gate of the mosque but there were signs of fire inside the mosque.

    5. The victims were reportedly buried but the reporter did not verify the location or condition of the grave(s).

    6. This event purportedly occurred in a “small Mustafa Sunni mosque” in a “Sunni enclave in the largely Shiite Hurriyah district of Baghdad.” It allegedly resulted in the deaths of six Sunni men but only one of those six men could be named by their Sunni neighbors. Although that seems unlikely in a small neighborhood, even if they did not know the men initially it would seem that 3-4 days later the Sunni victims’ names would be known to the people in the Sunni neighborhood.

    DRJ (0df497)

  3. It’s possible, I suppose, that the Iraqi police captain is not giving the AP his real name.

    htom (412a17)

  4. I can’t speak for flopping aces, but when I first read this story that started it all I noted the new issue of people being doused with liquids and set afire.

    This was obviously a new tactic reported in the news.

    I also connected that another story at about the same time told of a person who doused themselves with a flammable liquid and set themself afire.

    The two stories appearing so close together spoke to me of someone trying to evoke the old image of saffron robes burning in the wannabe vietnam parallel universe.

    So at this point AP has effectively doubled down on their bet.

    Independent parties will have to sort it all out, but Flopping Aces is correct in their call, since still nothing has been beyond a doubt confirmed.

    At this point we have AP trying to protect their rep.

    And if you take the idea that their feed was compromised, then the people responsible for the disinfo also have their own interest in validation to keep it in front of the media and world opinion.

    Awaiting further developments to clarify the situation.

    SlimGuy (658d0b)

  5. The end of the article says something about residents taking the burnt corpses to the cemetary for burial, but didn’t one of the earlier AP articles mention the bodies were taken to the morgue?

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    Lornkanaga (f2e82f)

  6. Why you cant ever trust the liberal left-wing news media especialy AP and its lie a day reports

    krazy kagu (d61c23)

  7. Shouldn’t someone find out where “captain” Hussein’s police station is? If he is in fact a cop CENTCOM needs to be called on this. If he is not, the AP needs to be called on it, and a visit by US/Iraqi forces to the “police station” might be in order.

    nittypig (4c1c43)

  8. what i find interesting is that the apparently the ap interviewed the only people in Iraq that don’t use the metric system… as near as i can tell, Iraq adopted the metric system somewhere near 1930… so again why would two store owners (who probably use metric amounts daily in their businesses) identify a container in its non-metric amount… unless of course, the ap thinks that the average reader wouldn’t know what a 5L container was…..

    something stinks here

    chris (64da58)

  9. From a 4/12/05 article, at least one leader of the al-Mashadani tribe had ties to Baathists in Syria and Iraqi insurgents/terrorists:

    Also Tuesday, the Iraqi government said its forces captured an insider from Saddam’s ousted regime at a farm northeast of the capital.

    Fadhil Ibrahim Mahmud al-Mashadani, a former high-ranking member of Saddam’s Baath Party, was among “the main facilitators of many terrorist attacks in Iraq,” the government said in a statement. While al-Mashadani was not listed among the 55 most-wanted Iraqis, the Iraqi government had posted a $200,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

    Al-Mashadani led Iraq’s military bureau in Baghdad during Saddam’s rule, the statement said, adding that he was “suspected of being a critical link between the senior Baathist leaders hiding in Syria and the terrorists within Iraq.”

    This might cut both ways. On the one hand, there might be a reason members of this tribe were targeted by Shiites seeking revenge. On the other hand, the al-Mashadanis might also be sophisticated enough and motivated to use the media for propaganda purposes to damage the Iraqi government.

    DRJ (0df497)

  10. I would describe the WAPO article as laying down covering fire for AP via a hit piece on the military. I don’t see any new information other than the pushback by AP.

    Note the mention in the middle of the article of the use of media consultants by the military – clearly to imply that the military’s denial is false. It seems to me that I saw an article a few days ago that ended with that same information. This article seems to be a re-issue of that one, with the AP-defending stuff added on to the end of it.

    Sherlock (790917)

  11. The AP drags in a red herring at the end of the story: its blatant attempt to declare that any news that agrees with CENTCOM’s position must placed in media by bribery and corruption.

    Whereas their own tactics of top-down selective ‘reporting’ based on fake or corrupted sources – gosh, ‘Jamil Hussein’ has a middle name, that PROVES he’s a reliable official source, even if the Iraqis don’t have any such officer in their police stations – are supposed to represent all the truths the J-schools preach about.

    Good reason to take the AP AND the J-schools with proper cynicism.

    Insufficiently Sensitive (01397c)

  12. Since DRJ has already smacked down MacSwain in a lengthy fashion, I’ll give the abridged version:

    Saying that you are correct does not make it so. Facts are king.

    AndrewGurn (c37ea2)

  13. Sorry if this is a repost. If this happened and this Capt. Hussein knows about it, it would stand to reason that there is a report of some type. With him being such a solid source, the AP should be able to get a copy to be translated.

    Labcatcher (afe438)

  14. Bombshell…on the right-wing blogosphere.

    Seriously, if you guys keep this up, maybe you can go back and prove that 200 Shiites actually weren’t killed in a mortar barrage. Or if you really really work at it, maybe you can un-behead Nicholas Berg, or un-kill those contractors in Fallujah.

    Xanthippas (a4855e)

  15. If this happened and this Capt. Hussein knows about it, it would stand to reason that there is a report of some type. With him being such a solid source, the AP should be able to get a copy to be translated.

    Because the Iraqi police has impeccable reporting.

    actus (10527e)

  16. Opportunity knocking:

    Several Lefty commenters have demonstrated well developed abilities to see through the initial police version of recent events in Atlanta.

    So, I’m waiting to see what they come up with after turning the same penetrating scrutiny on the AP’s burning controversy.

    mokus (b705f5)

  17. Actus,

    According to Section B.3. of this Boalt law review article (citing Human Rights Watch as shown in footnote 199), Iraqis under Saddam were meticulous record-keepers. They may still be if past history is any indication. Their record-keeping was one of many reasons that Saddam’s Baathist regime has been compared to the Nazis.

    DRJ (0df497)

  18. According to Section B.3. of this Boalt law review article (citing Human Rights Watch as shown in footnote 199), Iraqis under Saddam were meticulous record-keepers. They may still be if past history is any indication.

    The past history of them keeping up all the organization of the state that was under saddam?

    actus (10527e)

  19. My point was that it’s conceivable current Iraqi institutions keep accurate records – especially those maintained by Sunni officials as Capt. Hussein is reputed to be – because when the Sunni/Baathists were in power they were reportedly meticulous record-keepers.

    DRJ (0df497)

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