January 13, 2007

Somalia War Widens — Eritrea Sides with Al Qaeda (A ‘Local’ Connection)

From Pajamas Media — One of this guy’s former clients (possibly NOT former) is fighting against a country supported by US soldiers:

Eritrea has deployed some two thousand troops to fight alongside Somalia’s al-Qaeda linked Islamic Courts Union, Pajamas Media has learned.

Thus, Ethiopia and the United States are not the only foreign countries with troops on the ground in Somalia.

To prevent Somalia’s transitional government from being crushed in its final stronghold in the south-central Somali city of Baidoa, Ethiopia dispatched thousands of troops as well as aircraft in a major campaign that began on Christmas day.

The Ethiopian campaign has been successful to date, with Ethiopian troops capturing Mogadishu and scattering the ICU’s fighters.

Ethiopia’s longtime rival, Eritrea, had troops in the country for about four months prior to that. A confidential UN report drafted by the Monitoring Group on Somalia in late 2006 says that “2000 fully equipped combat troops from Eritrea” arrived to the north of Mogadishu in late August, and redeployed to different areas held by the ICU. According to high-level sources in Somalia’s transitional government and U.S. intelligence, these Eritrean troops never left the country—a development unknown to American policymakers until today.

Eritrea, an African nation found between the Red Sea and Ethiopia, has a history of violence with its larger neighbor. Eritrea fought a bloody campaign for independence from Ethiopia, which had annexed it in the early 1960s, and has since fought a border war with Ethiopia from 1998 until December 2000.

(added 7AM Jan. 14)

….. But (Dahir) Jibreel, who is in constant contact with transitional government leaders who are conducting the military campaign, told Pajamas Media that the Eritreans “were in full combat” alongside the Islamic Courts, including firing on Ethiopian and Somali forces. Jibreel called for sanctions against the Eritrean government, saying, “I think they should be sanctioned because they were helping terrorists.”

With U.S. forces on the ground in Somalia, have American troops killed Eritreans in combat? So far, Pajamas Media’s sources have refused to comment.

You-know-who, call your office. That would be your “still from all appearances a lobbyist” office. A former client (or perhaps still current client) is apparently among those fighting against a country supported by US soldiers.

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UPDATE, Jan. 14: Concerning the two paras added this morning — You’ll have to excuse me if I’m a little more interested in whether soldiers from Eritrea, represented as an Advantage Associates client by lobbyist Bob McEwen in late 2004, have killed or wounded US troops in combat, and whether Eritrea is still an Advantage client.

Weekend Question 2: What About Jamil xxxx xxxx Hussein ‘Captain Tuttle’ (or ‘Major Murdock’) Skywalker?

ANSWER: Glad you asked, because the inescapable conclusion has to be that Associated Press reporting out of Iraq cannot be relied on.

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Dafydd ab Hugh at Michelle Malkin identifies the current available options (renumbered by me to save the best for last):

1. Jamil Hussein (under that name) works at Khadra and was AP’s source

This would be the best-case scenario for AP (and for Eric Boehlert and others of his ilk). Alas for them, it seems very unlikely at this point: so far, the only news agency which has reported that Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said that “Police Captain Jamil Hussein” worked at Khadra police station — thus ever so slightly vindicating AP — was (drum roll) AP itself!

This is like shooting craps in the street: the dice roll down the gutter-drain; so you climb down to check, and you announce from the sewer than you made your point and won all the money.

Even if true, as Patterico himself has pointed out a number of times, this still would not be evidence either for AP’s “burning Sunnis” claim or it’s “burning mosques” claim. But so far, AP cannot even surmount the “existence” hurdle… other than by shouting up from the sewer that they made their point.

2. The AP simply had no source at all at Khadra

….. For the elite media to make up sources out of whole cloth is not common, but it’s not unheard of either.

So a reasonable person would ditch the first two, leaving one remaining possibility arising from two scenarios:

3. AP has a source at Khadra, but his name is not Jamil Hussein

(Scenario A) Steven Hurst and his editors at AP were aware that their source’s name was not Jamil Hussein.
If this is the case, then AP was complicit in passing along a false name to the Ministry of the Interior, causing them to erroneously (in this scenario) report that the source did not work at the Khadra police station. At the very least, this is devious practice.

Did AP just forget that “Jamil Hussein” was actually “Mohammed Achmed al-Fruitbat?” Was the purpose to make the MOI look foolish, forcing them to make a statement then correct it later? Or did they not give the real name because there is a problem with the source, and they didn’t want anyone looking too carefully?

If the reason for the pseudonym was entirely honorable — Hurst worried about death threats against the man — then why not simply say “said a source who would only speak on condition that we not name him, due to fear of reprisals”? That would have been honest. Thus, I think we can rule out this honorable reason; and all remaining reasons are disreputable and dishonorable.
(Scenario B) Steven Hurst and his editors at AP were completely unaware that their source had given them a nom de guerre
If anything, this is even worse for AP than Scenario (A) above. If Hurst and his editors were blissfully unaware that their source was giving them a false name — then that can only mean they did not even make a minimalist check on his veracity… not even so much as verifying his identity!

What does this mean? Basically, that anyone can call up an AP reporter in Iraq, claim to be a police captain with a story to tell… and that story — propaganda — will wind up in an AP war dispatch without the slightest checking. Rumor central — and a lovely example of the big-box media’s “multiple layers of editing” in action.

And of course, if they couldn’t even bother to verify “Jamil Hussein’s” name, why trouble to verify any other piece of the 62 stories he told them? The source could have said that Dick Cheney personally few to Baghdad and shot some kids, just for fun… and AP would have run with it that evening.

Dafydd gets to the bottom line:

Thus, of all the possibilities, the only one that means AP acted honorably, responsibly, and professionally is case 1, where there really, really is a police captain, stationed at Khadra and actually named Jamil Hussein, and that this fellow was actually a source for the Associated Press. (shown to be false to any reasonable observer above. — Ed)

Under any other scenario — a source for AP at Khadra but who isn’t named Jamil Hussein, or even no source whatsoever — AP has acted despicably, dishonorably, and has forfeited whatever shreds of trust remained in news consumers …..

Bingo. This is a near R-I-P, with barely a pulse, for Jamil “Captain Tuttle” (or is he posing as “Major Murdock”?) Hussein. As demonstrated, it’s a REAL R-I-P to the credibility of AP’s reporting from Iraq.

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Previous Posts:
- Jan. 12 — Go Ahead, Tony; Make My Day
- Jan. 9 — While Waiting for a Jamil – xxxxx – xxxxx – Hussein – Skywalker Resolution
- Jan. 5 — Jamil Hussein (Delegated) Update (Late PM: BizzyBlog Resumes Updates)
- Jan. 2, 2007 — I Can’t Believe I’m Reading This (Eason Jordan Calls Out AP on Jamil Hussein)
- Dec. 29, 2006 — Well, Well: Investors Business Daily Weighs in on Jamil ‘Captain Tuttle’ Hussein
- Dec. 12 — Quote of the Day: Why Jamil Hussein and the Fake Sources Story Really Matters
- Dec. 6 — Cute, Very Cute (Jamil Hussein Graphic)
- Dec. 4 — Quote of The Day: Mary Katharine Ham on Why ‘Police Captain’ Jamil Hussein Matters (Plus Other Updates)
- Nov. 30 — Tonight’s Jamil ‘Captain Tuttle’ Hussein and AP (Always Paranoid) Update
- Nov. 30 — Jamil Hussein Update
- Nov. 29 — Burning Six Update: Michelle Malkin Sums It Up
- Nov. 27 — The Burning Question (Figuratively and Literally): Is Reliance on Bogus and Compromised News Sources Slanting Iraq Coverage?

Positivity: Heifer International

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 12:07 pm

From an Associated Press article about the organization:

Charity gives the gift of animals

62-year-old charity aims to provide means for people to exit poverty
Updated: 2:11 p.m. CT Dec 21, 2006LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Instead of waiting in line with hundreds of others for a chance at nabbing the year’s hottest Christmas gifts, Food Network chef Alton Brown decided on an intangible alternative for the people on his list — a donation to Heifer International.

Brown is on a growing list of donors who give to the Little Rock-based charity at the holidays after finding that, sometimes, the perfect gift for the person who has everything is to give them nothing — except the satisfaction of knowing money was spent to help poor people worldwide.

“If I can get a couple of cows in Russia, bees to people in Kentucky, or a couple of flocks of geese to folks in China, that actually matters and I feel really good about it,” Brown said from his Atlanta office at Be Square Productions, the company that produces his “Good Eats” show for the cable television network.

(more…)

Weekend Question 1: What Should You Do If You Win a Huge Lottery Prize?

Filed under: Money Tip of the Day,TWUQs — Tom @ 11:40 am

ANSWER: Nice problem? Yes, but it IS a problem. Don’t tell anyone except your spouse or partner. Maybe your parents. Maybe your kids. It can be done that way. It should be done that way.

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I’d say the scope for what’s covered here would be any prize that nets out to $5 million or more in cash, but I can think of many situations where a lower prize amount would carry many of the same problems discussed here.

The New York Post’s latest (HT Nix Guy) on the guy from West Virginia who has apparently has seen the $100-plus million he won some years ago entirely spent and/or stolen made me think of this.

So did what happened after a big Mega Millions winner who purchased the winning ticket at a Kroger store near the University of Cincinnati redeemed his (or her) $102 million dollar cash-option prize — by sending his (or her) banker:

5/2/2006 2:19:42 PM

The winning Mega Millions lottery ticket sold at a Corryville Kroger that’s worth $265 million has been claimed.

The person’s name has not been released because the winner opened a trust and claimed the money anonymously.

The winner opted for the lump sum option and took $102 million after taxes.

On April 19th, Corryville’s Kroger store got a check for $100,000 for selling the winning ticket. That money will be put back into the community, store officials said.

Think of the noise this person has avoided by having people not know who he (or she) is. The following just scratch the surface:

  • Getting bugged by “financial advisers,” charities, get-even-richer quick schemes, political organizations, hard-luck stories, etc., ad nauseam.
  • Having distant relatives and friends come out of the woodwork for transparently obvious reasons.
  • Getting treated differently (of course that will happen) by close friends and family.
  • And don’t overlook the fact that someone coming into a lot of money has financial and security problems on their hands — IF people know about the money.

Is it important to avoid the noise after winning a big-cahuna lottery prize? I can’t think of anything more important. YOU have to adjust the reality of being so rich you, and your spouse or partner, don’t need to work any more. Nice problem? Yes — but it IS a problem, and as the story of the Mountain Stater noted above shows, it has to be dealt with coolly and calmly, which he clearly didn’t do. When handled well, getting big money is, of course, a splendid opportunity to do a lot of very good and noble things.

Of course you have to tell your spouse. Whether you tell your kids or parents depends on your belief in whether or not they will tell anyone else about your good fortune (of course, you will instruct them not to).

I would also suggest that a huge prize winner not do anything in the first few months after winning that would betray a radical change in fortunes. Pay off debts? Sure (except those to family, which you might accelerate but not immediately eliminate; if they are interest-free debts, repay their generosity to you with significant gifts down the road). Quit work immediately and make a big scene while doing it? Tempting, but I’d resist. Get rid of the jalopy for a nice new car? Probably. Sell the house right away and move to a Bev Hills mansion? Uh, no.

One thing a big-prize winner who chooses to stay anonymous has going for them is most people’s short attention span. Almost no one is wondering who that May 2006 prize winner is any more, and that person or couple has hopefully has been able to reorder his, her, or their priorities to adjust to the new reality. He, she, or they have had the time to learn, and hopefully have learned, the accuracy of that tired-but-true Spiderman bromide: With great power (including wealth), comes great responsibility.

Some other time, I’ll hopefully have a chance to get into a riff about whether to take the cash or the payments.