It's Official: Media Body Burning Story is Bogus

The news that six Sunnis were captured by Shiites, doused with kerosine and burned alive, was too sensational to not be picked up by the mainstream media. But it turns out that the event never happened. Furthermore, the Iraqi "spokesman" relied on to give all information regarding this event is as fictional as the story itself.

Jamil Hussein, the man news reports called "police Capt. Jamil Hussein," was the source for all information regarding the burning. Although he is mentioned by USA Today, the Associated Press, CBS News, and other outlets, Central Command says no such person exists. Centcom also asked the Associated Press to retract the story unless it has proof beyond Jamil Hussein's word.

Flopping Aces
has a press release from Centcom, which is in charge of all U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Associated Press:

Nov. 24, 2006, your organization published an article by Qais Al-Bashir
about six Sunnis being burned alive in the presence of Iraqi Police
officers. This news item, which is below, received an enormous amount
of coverage internationally.

We at Multi-National Corps - Iraq
made it known through MNC-I Press Release Number 20061125-09 and our
conversations with your reporters that neither we nor Baghdad Police
had any reports of such an incident after investigating it and could
find no one to corroborate the story. A couple of hours ago, we learned
something else very important. We can tell you definitively that the
primary source of this story, police Capt. Jamil Hussein, is not a
Baghdad police officer or an MOI employee. We verified this fact with
the MOI through the Coalition Police Assistance Training Team.

we definitely know, as we told you several weeks ago through the MNC-I
Media Relations cell, that another AP-popular IP spokesman, Lt. Maithem
Abdul Razzaq, supposedly of the city’s Yarmouk police station, does not
work at that police station and is also not authorized to speak on
behalf of the IP. The MOI has supposedly issued a warrant for his

I know we have informed you that there exists an
MOI edict that no one below the level of chief is authorized to be an
Iraqi Police spokesperson. An unauthorized IP spokesperson will get
fired for talking to the media. While I understand the importance of a
news agency to use anonymous and unauthorized sources, it is still
incumbent upon them to make sure their facts are straight. Was this
information verified by anyone else? If the source providing the
information is lying about his name, then he ought not to be
represented as an official IP spokesperson and should be listed as an
anonymous source.

Unless you have a credible source to
corroborate the story of the people being burned alive, we respectfully
request that AP issue a retraction, or a correction at a minimum,
acknowledging that the source named in the story is not who he claimed
he was. MNC-I and MNF-I are always available and willing to verify
events and provide as much information as possible when asked.

Very respectfully,

Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
MNC-I Joint Operations Center
Public Affairs Officer