Patterico's Pontifications


Eason Jordan on Jamil Hussein

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:43 am

Eason “Saddam appeaser” Jordan actually has it almost entirely right on the Jamil Hussein controversy:

Iraqi officials and U.S. military spokesmen look foolish for making the mistake of flatly stating in late November that there was no Iraqi police captain by the name of Jamil Hussein. Those clumsy, baseless statements were unfair to the AP. Those erronenous statements — and their statements questioning the information the AP attributed to Captain Hussein — triggered the six-week-long controversy that followed.

Jamil Hussein made a mistake by waiting six weeks to speak out on this matter.

The AP erred in part by responding in a hot-headed, antagonistic way to questions about the existence of Jamil Hussein and the credibility of AP reports featuring comments from Captain Hussein. The AP’s harsh statements fueled the suspicions of critics and those who otherwise would give the AP the benefit of the doubt. Another mistake: the AP took too long to provide irrefutable evidence of Captain Hussein’s existence.

The AP’s most strident critics were wrong to accept the word of U.S. and Iraqi officials as the absolute truth while dismissing the AP’s sourcing, stories, and explanations as outright lies.

He also notes (as I did earlier) that there are several lingering questions.

This is a much more sober and balanced take than, say, that of Jane Hamsher:

Wrong wrong wrong. You were wrong, Malkin, wrong. Dead wrong. Now please STFU and stay in your bunker before you and the wingnut nob-sucking Eason Jordan get any American servicemen killed guarding your skanky ass in your narcissistic vanity trip, because your desire to hoover up all the wingnut welfare in sight spreading the delusional stories of a desperate and sinking administration is truly not worth it.

. . . .

Even I don’t want her to go over there and get her ass shot up, so in the spirit of blogger comity I extend to that shreiking ding-dong a Steve Gilliard Reality Check.

Who’s the “shreiking ding-dong” again?

AP Staffer Killed in Iraq

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 11:34 am

Another AP employee has been found shot to death in Iraq:

The body of an Associated Press employee was found shot in the back of the head Friday, six days after he was last seen by his family leaving for work. Ahmed Hadi Naji, 28, was the fourth AP staffer to die violently in the Iraq war and the second AP employee killed in less than a month. He had been a messenger and occasional cameraman for the AP for 2 1/2 years.

. . . .

The death came as colleagues were still mourning Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah, 35, an AP cameraman who was shot to death by insurgents while covering clashes Dec. 12 in Mosul. He was the second AP journalist killed in that northern Iraqi city in less than two years.

On April 23, 2005, cameraman Saleh Ibrahim was killed after an explosion in Mosul. He was a father of five in his early 30s. AP photographer Mohammed Ibrahim was wounded. The circumstances surrounding the death and injury are still unclear.

In 2004, Ismail Taher Mohsin, an AP driver, was ambushed by gunmen and killed near his home in Baghdad.

You’d have to be crazy to think that there is a widespread conspiracy of AP reporters to help the enemy. Most of them are out there doing a dangerous job. I don’t always think the information is reliable, which is in part a function of the nature of Iraq in general . . . but we should recognize the sacrifice they are making to try to tell us what’s going on.

Bill Ardolino Piece on Navy Corpsmen in Fallujah

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 11:15 am

Bill Ardolino has an amazing piece on Navy Corpsmen here. An excerpt:

Within five minutes of arriving at the Fallujah-Iraqi Police Station headquarters, I was welcomed by the sound of shouts and hurried footsteps. An Iraqi policeman had been shot at the northwest perimeter of the station — a sniper had found his mark.

A crowd of Iraqis carried the groaning victim up the station’s main staircase and placed him on a litter hurriedly set down on the floor of the second-story hallway. A crowd of Iraqi Police and Marines coalesced, only to be shooed away by two Navy corpsmen rapidly assessing the gaping exit wound in the man’s stomach.

“Is he going to live?” I asked a Marine standing by on the fringes of the press.

“Dunno, his guts are hanging out.”

What a welcome.

Read it all. Bill sets it up in this blog post, which has a photo of a couple of Americans acting as civilian police officers helping out the Police Transition Teams.

By the way, I had a chat with Bill earlier today. He has some really great stuff coming up. I can’t say more. Keep your eye on INDC Journal, and throw a few bucks (and best wishes) his way.

Another “Preposterous” Prison Race Riot — In the Year 2007! L.A. Times Editors Would Be Shocked!

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General,Race,Second Amendment — Patterico @ 10:45 am

L.A. Times editors, February 2005:

The Supreme Court made the right decision Wednesday in all but overturning California’s policy of housing new prison inmates in cells based on their race. Clearly, the state cannot classify people solely on that basis in the year 2005, and it would be preposterous for state prison officials to continue arguing that there is a compelling reason to do so.


L.A. Times, January 2007:

The weekend riot at Chino state prison erupted after two inmates — a Latino and an African American — began fighting in a recreation yard, and others, watching from surrounding dormitories, followed suit, clashing along racial lines that have racked the state prison system for decades, prison officials said Sunday.

In keeping with our progressive notions, the facility was not segregated:

The medium-security facility where the riot occurred — Reception Center West — has 1,381 prisoners in five dormitories.

[Prison spokesman Lt. Mike] Hargrove said prisoners are not normally separated by race in that facility — except after a riot like Saturday’s.

And such violence is nothing new:

Racial violence has beset the California prison system since the 1970s, when gangs like the Mexican Mafia, the Black Guerrilla Family and the Aryan Brotherhood fought for power. Last month in Chino, officers put down a fight between 60 black and Latino inmates in an eating area.

In September 2005, a clash between 270 black and Latino prisoners there left one critically injured. That January, a guard was stabbed to death.

Just tell his family that “it would be preposterous for state prison officials to continue arguing that there is a compelling reason” to segregate inmates on the basis of race.

In recent years, racial fighting has also erupted in the Los Angeles County jail system. In February, more than 2,000 inmates at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic went on a rampage that left one dead and 50 injured. A black inmate was killed in Men’s Central Jail downtown in a racially motivated fight the next week.

And at Pitchess in July, 16 inmates received minor injuries in two brief fights between 1,600 black and Latino inmates.

Preposterous, I say!

Kaus Sums It Up

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:53 am

Mickey Kaus on Jamil Hussein:

Capt. Jamil Hussein, controversial AP source, seems to exist. That’s one important component of credibility!


Too bad about the other components . . .

UPDATE: For those of you who don’t know what I mean by that, I’ll spell it out.

Let me just remind you what a couple of the major questions about the initial “Burning Six” story are.

For one thing, the story initially claimed, based on Captain Hussein’s word, that there were four mosques burned:

The savage revenge attack for Thursday’s slaughter 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 12 other Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighborhood, [Police Captain Jamil] Hussein said.

But after an Iraqi Army patrol said the mosques had not all been burned, the AP later appeared to back off of this claim, saying that they had corroborated claims of a burning at one mosque.

Second, the event generated remarkably little buzz — a fact that caused a local New York Times correspondent to doubt that it had happened. Here is what that correspondent said in response to a query from a New York Times reporter:

Hi Tom,

You ask me about what our own reporting shows about this incident. When we first heard of the event on Nov. 24, through the A.P. story and a man named Imad al-Hashemi talking about it on television, we had our Iraqi reporters make calls to people in the Hurriya neighborhood. Because of the curfew that day, everything had to be done by phone. We reached several people who told us about the mosque attacks, but said they had heard nothing of Sunni worshippers being burned alive. Any big news event travels quickly by word of mouth through Baghdad, aided by the enormous proliferation of cell phones here. Such an incident would have been so abominable that a great many of the residents in Hurriya, as well as in other Sunni Arab districts, would have been in an uproar over it. Hard-line Sunni Arab organizations such as the Muslim Scholars Association or the Iraqi Islamic Party would almost certainly have appeared on television that day or the next to denounce this specific incident. Iraqi clerics and politicians are not shy about doing this. Yet, as far as I know, there was no widespread talk of the incident. So I mentioned it only in passing in my report.

Edward Wong

Also, the Washington Post reported that “two local imams, in an interview, denied such an attack took place.” Could they have been wrong? Sure. But does their denial raise questions? Yes, it does. Have those questions been answered? No, they haven’t.

I’m still curious about Marc Danziger’s sources, which said that the only Jam(a)il Hussein at Yarmouk was a Sgt. Hussein who was a Uday acolyte and Baathist holdover. Is this the same guy that the Ministry of the Interior says is at al-Khadra? I don’t know.

There are plenty of other unanswered questions. Plenty. Cassandra has an excellent post on this which you should read, which mentions a few. Karl at Protein Wisdom has more.

But the left hopes to try to embarrass righty bloggers into ignoring all these questions, as if the fact that Jamil Hussein is a policeman ends the whole inquiry. But it doesn’t, as I noted when we thought Marc Danziger had found the guy:

[F]inding that such a person exists doesn’t answer the many lingering questions about the story. . . . [I]f the [AP] story is completely wrong — and there is such a person as Jam(a)il Hussein, Legit Iraqi Cop — doesn’t he have some ’splainin’ to do?

Yes, he does. Will we get the explanation? I doubt it.

By the way, those oh-so-careful leftists? Some of them are claiming that Jamil Hussein has already been arrested — based on a report that says he faces arrest. Careful leftists like this guy, who says “Malkin may get this guy killed” because “Jamil Hussein has been found, and he’s been arrested.” There is another example I could give you from a much more major lefty site (“he’s now been arrested . . .”), but it’s a site I don’t link as a matter of principle, so you’ll have to figure it out yourself. (It rhymes with “Madly Ho.”) Anyway, keep your eyes open for the lefties who claim Jamil Hussein has already been arrested. You’ll see ’em. Because they’re the careful ones!

The bottom line is that, as Kaus says, existence may be “one important component of credibility” — but there are others. And Jamil Hussein fails miserably on those.

Saying that “Jamil Hussein exists” ends the story is like saying there is nothing to Rathergate because Bill Burkett existed.

Usually, the fact that a media outlet actually has a source is not cause for rejoicing. Usually, the source is expected to be accurate and reliable.

Not here. For the lefty bloggers, existence ends the inquiry. Or so they hope.

Kate Coe on Press Coverage (Including LAT Coverage) of the Long Beach Black-on-White Hate Crimes

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General,Race — Patterico @ 12:03 am

Kate Coe has an interesting piece in the L.A. Weekly about local media news coverage of the black-on-white hate crime in Long Beach. She has a few things to say about the L.A. Times:

The bizarre case, now in its fifth week of trial, resulted in hate-crime charges against nine girls and three boys, two of whom will be tried later. Yet the story didn’t run in the Los Angeles Times until November 7, buried inside local news. In that piece, writer J. Michael Kennedy quoted the Press-Telegram’s interview with the victims, watering down the racist language to the vague and more acceptable phrase “a series of antiwhite epithets.”

It didn’t get any better:

. . . [T]he Times sent its sixth reporter to cover the story — its constant rotation of writers a hint that the paper had assigned the issue a low-priority. That reporter, Joe Mozingo, published a jarring — some say biased — juxtaposition of facts by identifying one of the victims of the violent attack — who had begged the court for anonymity — while granting one of the defense lawyers anonymity in the same story.

By naming the victim against her wishes, Mozingo arguably followed a Times policy of identifying all individuals aged 18 or over in criminal cases. However, the Times has touted another policy in the wake of media scandals, to keep self-serving anonymous quotes out of the paper. Yet Mozingo let an unnamed defense attorney brag he’d “impeach how the police handled the identifications.”

The Press-Telegram’s recounting of the same courtroom day was so different — filled with extensive detail about eyewitnesses’ descriptions of the clothing, jewelry and hairstyles of victims and defendants alike — that black activist Najee Ali and conservative KFI radio talk-show host John Ziegler, though strange bedfellows, publicly derided the differing accounts, with Ziegler saying, “It’s as if they were at two different places.”

Is this a coincidence? Not if the editors on the news side shared one editorial writer’s attitude about black-on-white hate crimes:

Then, in an opinion piece on December 3, Times senior editorial writer Michael McGough floated an argument critics said reflected the Times’ shading of news-side race stories. In the op-ed, he wrote that hate-crime laws “could end up punishing blacks who commit violence against whites — which is a far cry from the historical experience that inspired hate-crime statutes.”

The piece prompted a fiery response by David Mills, a black former Washington Post reporter turned Emmy-winning screenwriter. In a letter to the popular Romenesko media blog, the Glendale-based Mills wrote: “You don’t have to be a card-carrying Klansman to point out that the L.A. Times surely would be treating this story differently if three black women had been attacked by 30 white teenagers hurling words like ‘F— black people.’ ”

Mills was also aghast that Times editors buried a vivid story a day after newspapers in 20 states, Canada, the U.K. and Australia published a wire-story account of how reputed gang members rammed and ruined the car of a black woman, Kiana Alford, who testified that she saw a crowd of black youths attack, kick and beat the white women without provocation on Halloween.

I told you about Mills’s letter on December 18 (as it happens, thanks to an e-mail tip from Kate Coe). Weirdest thing — and I do believe it’s a coincidence — but Coe says the paper finally published a detailed and unsanitized piece on December 19, the day after I published my post noting Mills’s letter. According to Coe, the reporter “wouldn’t comment on his December 19 piece, but he must have won an argument with his editors.” For one thing, the fact that the defendants used the phrase “white bitches” was reported for the first time.

Read the whole thing. It’s an interesting look into how media cover a story that clearly makes them uncomfortable.

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