January 12, 2007
Comment Thread For "Jamil, We Hardly Knew Ye"
It's new! It's you! It isn't even blue! Discuss the joys and raptures of Jamil, We Hardly Knew Ye right here...
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 12, 2007, at the time of 6:35 PM
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» Jamil, We Hardly Knew Ye from Michelle Malkin
Under no circumstances should anybody even imagine, even for a nanosecond entertain the notion, that this post is by our dearest Michelle (who is either in Iraq or in next-door Okinawa, as I understand it, but I've never been either... [Read More]
Tracked on January 12, 2007 6:38 PM
The following hissed in response by: Nethicus
I am so totally lost on the whole Jamil Hussein thing I don't know which way is up.
The above hissed in response by: Nethicus at January 12, 2007 7:13 PM
The following hissed in response by: JHS1
Give it up already. You are a total loser to even care about this ridiculous topic anymore...
The following hissed in response by: Patterico
I think it's case 2(b), and yes, they didn't undertake extensive efforts to verify his identity, but they did allegedly meet with him in his police station. They probably figured that was enough, and in their place I probably would have thought the same.
The above hissed in response by: Patterico at January 12, 2007 8:59 PM
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
They probably figured that was enough, and in their place I probably would have thought the same.
A journalist shouldn't think so. Sources are constantly trying to game the media; any journalist worth more than a cup of warm spit should realize that and investigate those who are telling him amazing things... especially amazing things that just happen to perfectly mesh with The Story the journalist wants to tell.
If something seems too good to be true -- it is.
Look at the skepticism you have applied to the revelations about the provenance of "Jamil Hussein." Do you actually think that, if you were interviewing "Jamil Hussein" in person, and he were telling you exactly what you needed, that you wouldn't be as skeptical then as you are now?
I sure would have been. Even on Big Lizards, I've been thoroughly skeptical a great many times, and especially when I see something "too good to be true."
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at January 12, 2007 11:01 PM
The following hissed in response by: RBMN
If only "Jamil Hussein" would say...er, report...that as a small boy (in the late 1960s) he just happened to be vacationing with his parents in Cambodia, fishing from the bank of a Cambodian river--about five miles inside the border--and just happened to see Lt. John Kerry ferrying CIA operatives up river. "It was just getting dark." He remembers it like it was yesterday. At that point, Senator Kerry would certainly vouch for Jamil's integrity and truthfulness and clear this whole thing up.... :-)
The following hissed in response by: cfbleachers
I posted this with Ace, but, with some modifications here.
Patterico, a respected fellow trial lawyer, says that everyone is running around screeching that AP used a source with a pseudonym and he won't believe that based merely on the word of the MOI, for whom he has little trust. But, I believe that misses the point.
I also believe that allah, who (along with several others) believes that the AP could be innocently duped...and with this, I have serious doubts.
The slippery slope that the AP appears to be backsliding down on their royal arses, is that they are promoting (and some are accepting?) is the notion that a source is real and "existing" if some person in human form, assumes the role of "the source".
Hear me out on this.
AP puts out more than 60 stories, sometimes "sole sourcing" the entire credibility of the accounts of what took place on a police officer named (in their version of what passes for "truthiness" these days) "Jamil Hussein", who works in Yarmouk or Al Khadra at a particular moment in time.
The purpose of any quote in a "news" article utilizing a police officer...is to pump up credibility for the story. This is axiomatic. It plants in the minds of the readers a level of credibility that he, being a person privy to inside information, investigative reports from the scene, forensic photos, etc. ...would know things that some community member would not, because he has access to facts on the ground and they do not. He has access to "evidence" and they do not. He knows and they do not.
The AP began using him two years ago, and at no time from that day to this...including after his accounts were called into question, have they ever said that his name was altered to protect him from reprisal. I make this distinction in timeframe for a reason, that I will outline below.
In point of fact, they have further pumped up his credibility by saying that other police officers would alter their names for precisely this reason, but "Jamil Hussein" did not, he chose to bravely use his authentic first and last name. So says the AP, quite emphatically.
This issue came to the forefront, because MOI and CENTCOM could not confirm that "Jamil Hussein", was a police officer.
The AP, stood by their story...and then trumpeted an "admission" that "Jamil Hussein" did, indeed "exist"...and rather haughtily suggested mopery and incompetence that he couldn't be "found" for six weeks...and harrumphed that the record hadn't been corrected for six weeks. (apparently the AP thinks that leaving a record uncorrected for six weeks does not apply to four burning mosques, six immolated bodies, 18 murdered others including women and children and private houses burned to the ground... but more on that later)
Well, not to quibble about the fine points....but if "Jamil Hussein" is not his name, then this phony bravado about him "existing", at least as far as finding him in the records is concerned, is utterly disingenuous.
Perhaps we should be more compassionate and understanding about the "root causes" for the AP to continue to stonewall, obfuscate and create diversions on this issue, but I'm having a hard time buying any of them. Either "Jamil Hussein" is his name on his records or it isn't. IF it isn't and the AP knows that, it seems to me they are ethically bound to admit that much at least. Instead, as Patterico points out, they made the situation muddier. This doesn't absolve them, however...it implicates them, in my opinion.
"Jamil Hussein" the police officer, in fact...may not exist. But rather, perhaps...the guy playing Jamil Hussein, exists.
If you see this as a distinction without a difference, then you would accept without question the AP's snarky comments about MOI and CENTCOM "hiding the truth" apparently with the nefarious intention of being so brazen as to call his credibility into further question.
But, as Patterico has said about the "pseudonym"...I think we can at a minimum equally ask....where's the proof of this?
From my view in the seats in centerfield, once the AP attempts to establish "Jamil" as the ubersource, all knowing and everywhere, (omnipotent, omnipresent and omniprescient) who bravely dares to use his own authentic name while other, lesser sources dare not...his existence AS "Jamil Hussein" is in play.
We may not yet know who he is, but I'm pretty damn sure who he isn't. He isn't Captain Marvel.
Now, I'm not saying that there isn't a somebody, even a police captain, who is now and has been for two years playing the role of "being Jamil Hussein".
I felt this was absolutely the case the very moment that Eason Jordan offered Michelle the trip to Baghdad on his dime.
But, for me...this is all about what a source is and what a source is not. And the AP appears to playing fast and loose with "sourcing", like a magician who appears on stage with their trinkets dangling from their sleeves, instead of hidden inside them. It's this faux "open and obvious" that confuses the mind and creates the distraction. Follow this up with righteous indignation, fatuous homilies and sanctimonious breastbeating about "putting this courageous man" in mortal "danger" of being outed if you don't stop looking here...and you indeed get people to be hesitant and halting...they want to stop analyzing the sleight of hand that's going on before your very eyes, and who can blame them?
But, that's precisely the point. It's a misdirection that keeps us looking at a distraction...while the sleight of hand continues unabated.
Look, we can all agree, I assume that a source, is someone who has reliable knowledge about events that lends credibility to a story because he/she can supply facts and evidence. Therefore, his/her credibility is of utmost importance. Who he is, what he does, what he knows, how he knows it are all in play automatically and the reporting service using him/her is vouching for all of that when they use this source...especially repeatedly, more especially when he is the sole source, most especially when there is no other verification of the story at all. No video, no photos, no hard evidence.
In this instance, it appears that "being Jamil" included "sourcing" events from the equivalent of Walla Walla, Washington to Kalamazoo. All over Baghdad. I posted a parody over at CY's the other day on a poem about fleas, that intimated that "being Jamil" meant having sources all over town, and those sources had sources etc.
If the "confirmation" of events all over Baghdad were all about Sunni's being grossly tormented...and were actually merely recantations of whisper campaigns and urban legends...being made into "hard news" by the use of "Jamil's high office"...then this is hardly confirmation at all. It's hardly being a "source" as I define it...and "Jamil" then is a composite character made up of sub-sources. As a SOURCE...not as an actor PLAYING the source..."Jamil" did not "exist"...because several people made up the "sourcing Jamil".
THIS...is the seminal issue. And the AP has a DUTY to not intentionally mislead the reader on this issue. If Jamil adds nothing by way of verification about actual facts and evidence...if he is merely a mouthpiece for giving a faux credence to otherwise unverified whisper campaigns and urban legends...then he is no "source" at all. He's a prop. A tool...used to relay the "message" that Iraq is as horrific a place as can be conjured on this stage,...he's an actor playing a part...in the "truthiness" stage play.
Let's not be distracted by the dangling trinkets from the magician's sleeve...I believe there exists a guy, one guy...through whom, the AP got out the "message" they wished to convey. In this regard, some one individual does "exist". I think that "Jamil" the SOURCE, however, is a composite character of this one guy and several other unnamed "little sources" who phone it in...and he reads the teleprompter. In that regard, Jamil the Source...is not a real person...but, rather a composite of several people. And the AP fudged this fact and continues to, to this day. After two years of using this guy to "source" events all over town, giving details to things he can't possibly have known...they had to know that he was using sub-sources...not facts.
And when it turned out, at a minimum...in this case...that the sub-sources were merely whisper campaigns and urban legends...then they had a duty to correct the record. The fact that they chose to stonewall and stand by the story and prop up their "prop"...is damning.
I don't believe "Jamil" the police officer has or had individual knowledge on many, if not most of the events on which he was the "source". I think based upon sound inference and based upon what we do know...it would be nearly impossible for him to have been a "source" as I define it.
A police captain in the U.S. may indeed have access to forensic materials, reports from the scene by authorized personnel and other "evidence" that might make him a spokesperson for the police version of what took place at a scene. But "Jamil" was never put forth as THAT guy...but rather...it was left "unsaid"...and the reader was to get that impression. In fact...he is NOT that guy. Because if he was, that's all the AP has to say...and this inquiry is over. They didn't. And that is damning.
And after the Reuters photoshopped photos and Green Helmet guy and Jason Blair...I think that we have gone down way too many slippery slopes to find any of this acceptable, nor to give the AP or any of the other media outlets who want to give us their "message" through caricatures of truth...a pass on utilizing these fraudulent methods.
If "Jamil the source" is really some guy using his Sunni civilian friends to pass him whisper campaigns and urban legends...which he then passes to the AP, as the "front man"...and the AP uses him, they cannot have done this without complicity...over a two year period of time.
If strains credulity to believe that INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS are not suspicious of a guy who claims to know, of his own volition..events that take place all over town. And that they never asked.
It also strains credulity to believe that they ADMIT knowing that officers use altered names...and for two years they don't come to know that their main "go to" guy...has done the same.
They say, he used his authentic name, unlike the other officers. He's braver, stronger, swifter, better...the ubersource.
But, based upon this story...his credibility and how he comes by his knowledge is in play. And if his credibility is in play, then so is the AP's. What did he not really know, and when did he not really know it...are very important questions. And what did the AP "oops, not discover" about him...is also in play.
There is a pattern that is already fully developed by "news" organizations in the Mideast in general and Iraq, in specific...that no thinking person can refute. We are being served a "message" of "truthiness"...and if it's simply too inconvenient to get the actual facts, then "replacement facts" are fine.
I don't think that "replacement facts" are fine, I don't think that composite sources spreading urban legends as truth are fine, I don't think that "truthiness" is fine and I believe that "Jamil the Source"...is simply a composite messenger of truthiness. He is a guy who used sources all over town, who simply fed him swill, which he fed to the AP, who fed it to us.
Big Sources have little sources
To call upon and cite em
And little sources have littler sources
On and on ad infinitum
The following hissed in response by: Nikolay
87,339 Iraq horror stories that turned out to be complete fabricationsWhat are you smoking???
The following hissed in response by: tazzerman2000
cfbleachers, you've hit one out of the park here!
The only thing I would add is this, our enemies are smart... Is there any doubt that they can and DO manipulate the western press in order to spread their own brand of 'Truthiness'?
Is it not outside the realm of possibility and in fact, I would argue that it's MORE than likley that your composite 'Jamil The Source' and especially is sub-sources are actually comprised of folks on the other side.
Our enemies are intent on spreading false stories and urban legend in an overt attempt to use the AP as a megaphone to spread lies and sow fear and ambiquity throughout the west and in particular, the left side of the world who eat this crap up like mothers milk.
We've seen this ploy used time and time again in Israel and now also Lebanon. Iraq is just a bigger more 'target rich' environment for them.
Allowing themselves to be that megaphone, whether willingly or not, CERTAINLY calls into question ANY reporting done by the AP anywhere.
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