January 7, 2007

So Where IS Lieutenant Kije?

Hatched by Dafydd

At long last, after weeks of fumfahing around, the Associated Press has labored and labored and finally given birth -- to a mouse.

They managed to cajole a spokesman of the Iraq Ministry of the Interior (MOI), Brigadier Abdul-Karim Khalaf (who has also been quoted on Reuters, albeit in other contexts -- so I'm willing to accept that he, at least, exists) into admitting the existence of a Police Captain Jamil Hussein -- actually Jamil Gholaiem (or Ghlaim) Hussein -- working at the Khadra police station. So here is at least a candidate for Baghdad's own Lt. Kijé!

For those who have forgotten the earlier Big Lizards post already (yes, we are eminently forgettable), in the 1927 tale by Yury Tynyanov, the entirely ficticious Lt. Kijé is "invented" when the Czar mishears a word in his general's report. As it is death to contradict the Czar, the general must concoct a series of adventures of the mythical lieutenant. Soon it becomes a game, where everybody in the Czar's court is telling fantastical farces of daring-do by the elusive Lt. Kijé.

But half a mo'; has anyone besides AP spoken to Lt. Kijé himself about this? Back on December 21st, the MOI questioned Ghlaim (or Gholaiem), and as our dearest Michelle reports, he denied being the Jamil Hussein who was blabbing to AP:

Meanwhile, 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.

I may be the last skeptic standing; but I must point out, in a loud and clear voice, that we still have no independent verification that the Jamil Hussein reportedly found by the MOI is the same Jamil Hussein repeatedly interviewed by AP. We have only AP's word for it -- and a denial by Lt. Kijé himself. At the moment, the identified Jamil Ghlaim (or Gholaiem) Hussein remains as elusive as Elwood P. Dowd's 8-foot tall invisible rabbit, Harvey. (Is Jamil a Pookah?)

Of course, I'm not entirely sure I trust the MOI about Hussein's denial, either: JGH could have lied to avoid prosecution. But at the very least, if the issue is the credibility of Gholaiem (or Ghlaim) as a source, then the fact that he is inclined to lie whenever he finds it pays is certainly worth at least a mention, I should think. So I ask again: has any news source besides AP actually questioned Jamil Ghlaim (or Gholaiem) Hussein of the Khadra police station about the 62 stories for which he was allegedly AP's principal source, including more than a dozen where he was actually named?

Let's assume Hussein is not, in fact, the blabbermouth; since the AP source was explicitly identified as "Jamil Hussein" at "Khandra," didn't Jamil Gholaiem (or Ghlaim) Hussein wonder why he was being quoted, if he actually never spoke to AP? Did he think there was another Lt. Kijé of the same name, working at the same police station as he? Or does he just not read the papers?

On the other hand, if we assume he is the AP source -- then did he actually deny it to the MOI? And why hasn't he spoken to any other new agency to verify his existence, reaffirm all of his claims, and clear his good name (or names)?

Since we now know that at least one Jamil exists in a disclosed location, it should be child's play for Reuters, the Times, the Times, the Post, CNN, or some other newspaper or television network to hound the guy into an interview with them: have they? For that matter, has anybody -- other than AP -- even interviewed Brigadier Khalaf and asked him about Jamil Hussein?

I get the strong sense that a lot of news agencies are reluctant (to the point of phobic) to investigate further, lest they uncover the sordid underbelly of the rampant, promiscuous use of Iraqi "stringers" to gather putative news stories... and just how much of the last three years reporting out of Iraq may have been concocted by sources driven by their own, private agendas.

Imagine, by analogy, that everthing ever reported about global warming came from officials of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international agency that brought us the Kyoto Protocol; yet the news wires, newspapers, and TV news networks consistently failed to note the inherent bias of sourcing from the primary political organization pushing global-warming theory... especially as global-warming skeptics are never quoted. (Oh, wait...)

Meanwhile, in a long but fascinating post Friday, Confederate Yankee recaps the actual content of the AP reporting on the Burning Sunnis story, which has shifted like the desert sands of Iraq itself... and which relies, not only upon the unsupported testimony of Jamil Hussein -- who may or may not be Jamil Ghlaim (or Gholaiem) Hussein -- but also in part upon the pronunciamentos of the Association of Muslim Scholars, or the Ulema Council.

The Ulema Council is split between one faction of Sunni clerics and scholars who merely issue fatwas ordering Sunnis not to cooperate with the Iraqi government, and another faction that actively collaborates with al-Qaeda in suicide bombings against "infidels," very liberally construed. (Can we call this second faction the Baghdad Ten?)

Which faction did AP interview to get the poop on the "inflammatory" burning of Sunni mosques and the Sunnis contained therein? The merely anti-Shiite government faction, or the Sunni terrorist faction? They don't tell us. (And don't blame me for the pun above; it's Confederate Yankee's pun, sir.)

But before we even get into the specifics of what Lt. Kijé claimed in the scores of stories where he was the primary source (often the only source)... can't we at least settle the question of whether the AP's Jamil Hussein really is the same person as the Jamil Gholaiem (or Ghlaim) Hussein working at the Khadra police station? Something akin to an admission by Hussein himself (and a retraction of his earlier denial) -- carried by some news organization other than AP.

Then, perhaps, we can move on to the actual substance of the charges.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 7, 2007, at the time of 4:37 PM

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» Monday Morning Jamil Roundup from Confederate Yankee
While I've been busy over the weekend doing family stuff, other bloggers have kept up the pressure on the continuing on-going scandal called Jamilgate, where the Associated Press claimed that 24 people were burned to death and four mosques were... [Read More]

Tracked on January 8, 2007 7:52 AM

» Jamil Hussein - What's In a Name? from Michelle Malkin
According to Curt at Flopping Aces, one reason that the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior (MOI) -- boss of the National Police -- and Multinational Force Iraq (MNFI) were unable to locate Police Captain Jamil Hussein at the Khadra police... [Read More]

Tracked on January 9, 2007 2:43 PM


The following hissed in response by: Robert Schwartz

The story of Lt. Kije was made into a film, directed by Aleksandr Fajntsimmer, which is now remembered primarily for its music, Lieutenant Kije Suite, Op. 60 composed by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) in 1933

It is a really fun piece give it a try.

The above hissed in response by: Robert Schwartz [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 7, 2007 6:50 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Robert Schwartz:

I've listened to it many times, Robert; and of course, two themes from it were used by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, in "I Believe in Father Christmas," from Works vol. II (without attribution); and in Sting's song "Russians," from Dream Of The Blue Turtles (with attribution). (Each used one theme, I mean to say.)

But I've always been inordinanty fond of the literary idea itself and have tried, futilely so far, to find a way to work it into one of my novels.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 7, 2007 7:10 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Excellent post, Dafydd, and no you are not the last skeptic standing. I've predicted all along that if Lt Kije Jamil is put in a line-up the AP will "protect their source" by refusing to finger him.

I excerpted and linked at Lt. Kije identified, facing arrest? -- Day 4, which is part 33 of my Jamilgate series.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 7, 2007 10:10 PM

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