AP Isn't the Only One Playing Tricks in Iraq… Others Were Banned

On Monday January 1, 2007, the Boston Herald reported the news that Iraqi officials shut down the Pro-Baathist Al-Sharqiya news station offices for inciting violence.

The station, owned by a former chief of radio and television for Saddam, clothed their newscasters in black while reporting on the hanging of Saddam Hussein.
So did Al-Jazeera, by the way.

But, that was not all…

Iraqi students attend classes at Baghdad University. (Yahoo)

Iraqi officials also discovered that Al-Sharqiya’s story on the kidnapping of three female Sunni college students… was bogus.

The Boston Herald:

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said the Al-Sharqiya station, owned by a former chief of radio and television for Saddam, had incited violence and hatred in its coverage and had ignored warnings to stop.

Brigadier Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the spokesman, said the order was issued after an allegedly false report by the news channel about the abduction of three Sunni Arab female students from a university.

But the order also followed criticism of the tone of Al-Sharqiya’s coverage of Saturday’s execution, which struck some as sympathetic to the ousted dictator.

“We had sent many warnings to the channel previously, but it insisted on circulating false news that provoked violence and hatred,” said Khalaf, the interior ministry spokesman.

In 2004, the Arab satellite TV station Aljazeera was banned from Iraq for inciting violence.

In September of 2006, Al-Arabiya channel was kicked out of Iraq last week for promoting sectarianism and violence.

This brings us to the latest debacle with the Associated Press.
The AP broadcast a very suspect story, later discredited, of “Six Sunnis burned alive” outside of a “bombed mosque” in Baghdad.

After six weeks this AP story is still looking like something from Al-Sharqiya news!

Curt at Flopping Aces lists just a few of the difficulties with this very suspect story including:

There’s been a series of murders reported by the AP:

* There are no bodies.
* The source is a police officer from a different area of the city
* There’s no official police report to refer to — so where did the information come from?
* The bodies were reportedly taken to a hospital morgue that doesn’t have a morgue
* There are no family member reports, complaints or interviews
* There are no pictures or video of the event.
* None of the other media in Baghdad are covering this

And, here are a few more items that the AP needs to address about this horrible story that made international headlines:

* Witness Capt. Jamil Hussein is not a credentialed media source and is wanted for questioning. He has been breaking Iraqi law.
* There were not 4 Sunni mosques torched in the attacks in the Hurriya neighborhood but only one mosque was damaged and not destroyed
* Witness Imad al-Din al-Hashemi is described as a University professor, foreign pediatrician, and a Hurriya elder depending on the article
* Witness Imad al-Din al-Hashemi says the mosque he was attending was attacked by “rocket-propelled grenades” yet there is no such damage to the mosque
* No bodies were discovered by Iraqi or Coalition investigators
* No pictures were released as promised
* The AP later produced anonymous witnesses from the neighborhood, no family members, no record of the attack
* The Multinational Forces Iraq and Baghdad Police did not find any reports of such an incident occurred after investigating the Hurriya neighborhood
* The imam at the mosque in question where the “6 Sunni torchings” supposedly took place is accused of being a member of Saddam’s secret police by his own congregation!
* Attempts by Sunnis to smuggle arms into this mosque were foiled by Iraqi security forces back in December 2003

As you can tell by this information listed above, the Associated Press is in a very serious predicament.

The Iraqi government booted foreign news agencies from working Iraq for far less offenses than what the AP pulled off six weeks ago.

Maybe it is time for the Iraqi government to ask the Associated Press to join the other inciters of violence and do their reporting elsewhere!

* * * * *
More:
Dan Riehl sees more AP misreporting.
AllahPundit has more on this very controversial story.
Patterico sees distortion in the latest reports.
Big Lizards has a great point:

If the mainstream media has no agenda, and their misreporting can solely be blamed upon the
fog of war, we should see the mistakes benefiting the both sides equally.

You would think so anyway.

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