Truthout - Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden

A slight detour from what I had originally intended to post today.

Regular readers know that for years now I've been following the story of the 2003 disappearance of a contractor in Iraq, Kirk von Ackermann. In a strange twist, the Department of Defense recently released a report about the joint forces counter terrorism division he worked with. Truthout has released an article about that report.

Report: Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden
By Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout, May 23, 2011

Tracking Bin Laden had been undertaken by a secret unit within the JFIC, the Asymmetric Threats Division, formed in 1999 "to take a non-traditional approach to analysis." Known by its DoD acronym, DO5, it was tasked with providing "current intelligence briefings and produced the Worldwide Terrorist Threat Summary in support of the USJFCOM Intelligence staff [J2]." Almost no public source material exists on DO5 activities, except what is in the IG report.

Based on 7+ years of research, I can with 100% confidence say that the above Asymmetric Threats Division, is the same division that Capt. Kirk von Ackermann USAF was assigned to. (I've provided some of the background research as to why on my blog - including two scans of Capt. Kirk von Ackermann's JFIC awards See: Counter Terrorism and JFIC, By Susie Dow, Missing Man, May 6, 2011).

Killed in Benghazi: Mohammad Nabbous, the "face of citizen journalism" in Libya

Via The Guardian,

The death has been announced of Mohammad Nabbous, described as the "face of citizen journalism in Libya".

Nabbous was apparently shot dead by Gaddafi forces in Benghazi on Saturday.

Known as "Mo", Nabbous set up Libya al-Hurra TV, which broadcast raw feeds and commentary from Benghazi, on Livestream.

Video from the Guardian article, via YouTube

A Google search on the term "journalists targeted" yields quite a few results, indicating the potential power and impact that live reporting can have on fluid, dangerous situations - particularly in this age of ubiquitous and instant communication. Any time that there's a potential for oppression through violence, those doing the oppression know how important it is to keep the truth hidden as long as possible. A few samples from the search results as of this report:

  • Journalists targeted in Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya:
    New York, February 18, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities today in Bahrain, Yemen, Libya to cease their attempts to prevent media from reporting on anti-government demonstrations. Bahraini authorities used live ammunition--including fire from a helicopter--against peaceful protesters and journalists, according to news reports. Pro-government thugs attacked at least two journalists in Yemen, and the Libyan government appeared to be shutting down Facebook, Twitter, and Al-Jazeera's website as a means of silencing reporting on protests.

  • Journalists Targeted by Warring Factions in Ivory Coast:

    The New York-based Committee to protect Journalists [CPJ] says both sides are using media outlets allied with them to disseminate their political message.

    Media houses have been used to inflame passions and win the hearts of civilians in both the south and the rebel-controlled north, says Mohamed Keita, the CPJ Africa advocacy coordinator.


    Thirty people were killed recently when they marched on the offices of the state-controlled television station to demand the resignation of its director.


    "It is becoming unbearably dangerous for media outlets and their journalists to operate in Ivory Coast,” says Keita. He calls on both sides to “refrain from targeting the press or using politically motivated censorship."

  • Turkish newspaper claims more journalists targeted by ruling party:
    Turkey’s ruling party has a list of 70 people, including journalists and opposition figures, to be kept under surveillance or detained in the scope of the Ergenekon investigation, a daily newspaper has claimed.

The truth hurts. Sometimes, ensuring that the truth gets out can be deadly.

Be careful out there. Without journalists - and without citizen journalists - the forces of oppression and decay can operate with less fear of opposition.

We need to stand together, and we need to keep those who have given their all to keep the rest of us informed, and safe, in our hearts and minds.

Support your local citizen journalists and their efforts - remember, they're doing this for all of us.


Note: For those interested in the fate of the four missing NYT journalists, they'd been held in Libya and are now scheduled for release. Via the Boston Herald,

NEW YORK — Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have said they will release four New York Times [NYT] journalists who were captured during fighting in the eastern part of the country, the newspaper said today.


The journalists are reporter Anthony Shadid; photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario; and a reporter and videographer, Stephen Farrell. In 2009, Farrell was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan and was rescued by British commandos.

Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, told ABC News reporter Christiane Amanpour during an interview that the journalists were in Libyan custody, and on Thursday evening Libyan government officials told the U.S. State Department that all four would be released, the Times said in an article on its website.

[...Read the rest at the Boston Herald...]


Missing Americans in WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs

Cross posted at dKos

There are an estimated 18 Americans still missing in Iraq.

The missing cover a wide range of citizens, from a civilian installing water bottling equipment to military personnel to civilian and government contractors to private security. At least four of the missing are Iraqi American - one of whom is a Staff Sargent.

The WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs (mirror site) includes a number of the earliest known incident reports for the kidnappings of most of these Americans. And of some of the kidnapping victims, absolutely nothing is known beyond what is in these early reports.

To this day, some of the victim's identities have never been revealed to the public.

Kidnapping Reports at WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs

While it's very slow going, I am currently searching the WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs for the preliminary incident reports of kidnappings of Americans in Iraq. It is - most definitely - not a speedy project. That said, I thought I'd share some of my findings as well as search methodology that seems to work fairly well in terms of maneuvering around the database.

For whatever reasons, navigating the WikiLeaks' site is a bit clunky.

Here is a sample incident report for the kidnapping of American photojournalist, Paul Taggart, abducted on October 10, 2004. Taggart was released several days later:

2004-10-10 11:00:00


Americans Missing in Iraq as of August 2010

Cross posted at the Missing Man

There are currently 7 American men publicly known to be missing in Iraq. Those men are:

Kirk von Ackermann
Timothy E. Bell
Aban Abdel Malek Mahmoud Elias (also Aban Elias)
Radim Sadeq Mohammed Sadeq (also Dean Sadek)
Jeffrey Ake
Spc. Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie (also Ahmed K. Altaie)
Maj. Troy L. Gilbert (deceased)

Based on news reports, as many as an additional 10 Americans may also be missing. Attached below is a chart showing the incident date, name and status of those Americans known to be missing and/or held hostage in Iraq in table format.

Strange Coincidence - former Xe guards asked to leave Iraq

Less than a week after the discovery of online video footage of an American Iraqi hostage, Issa Salomi, 250 former Blackwater security guards have been formally asked to leave Iraq (Iraq orders former Blackwater security guards out Washington Post, By Qassim Abdul-Zahra, February 11, 2010). One of the kidnappers' demands, as presented by Salomi in the online video, was "the expulsion of former Blackwater security guards."

That's an uncomfortably strange coincidence.

Iraq expels 250 ex-Blackwater staff

Al Jazeera, February 12, 2010

Making the announcement on Thursday, Jawad Bolani, the interior minister, said: "We have sent an order to 250 former Blackwater employees, who today are working with other security companies in Iraq, to leave the country in seven days and we have confiscated their residence permits.

"All of those concerned were notified four days ago and so they have three days to leave. This decision was made in connection with the crime that took place at Nisur Square."

Bolani was referring to an incident at the busy Baghdad square in September 2007, when five guards employed by Blackwater were accused of killing 14 unarmed Iraqis in a gun and grenade attack, and wounding 18 others.

Standard Forms and Missing Persons in Iraq

Originally posted 2008-07-27 12:33:36 -0600, bumping for the front page - standingup

To be honest, I'm just not sure what to make of this.

I've stumbled across an inconsistent application of casualty definitions within the Department of Defense while researching the Missing Persons Act and how it pertains to civilian contractors working in Iraq.

The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness distributes what's known as an instruction that "provides uniform official casualty terms and definitions." The relevant Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) is DoDI 1300.18 - "Personnel Casualty Matters, Policies, and Procedures." The most recent version was issued in January 2008.

The instruction provides a chart and definitions used for casualty reporting. So every time some one is injured or killed in Iraq, paperwork is filed. This paperwork in turn sets in motion a variety of actions through different agencies and departments, for instance alerting the Casualty Assistance Center to get in touch with next of kin, etc.

But here's the thing. The status of "Missing," as in missing person, is itself missing from one of the casualty reporting forms.

Remains found of two soldiers missing in Iraq

According to a news report from the Associated Press, on Wednesday July 9, 2008, the remains of two US soldiers kidnapped in Iraq in 2007 were located and identified.

Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts
Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Michigan

Sincere condolences to their friends and family.

The following is an Associated Press report posted at YouTube.

Americans Missing in Iraq as of June 2008

Americans Missing in Iraq

There are currently eight American men publicly known to be missing in Iraq:

Kirk von Ackermann
Timothy E. Bell
Aban Abdel Malek Mahmoud Elias (also Aban Elias)
Radim Sadeq Mohammed Sadeq (also Dean Sadek)
Jeffrey Ake
Spc. Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie (also Ahmed K. Altaie)
Pfc. Byron W. Fouty
Sgt. Alex Ramon Jimenez

What follows are brief entries on these Americans. Ages given are those at the time of their disappearance. They are listed in chronological order, by date of incident.

Corrections and/or additions very much welcome.

Iraq: 5 Years - 5 Hostages - 5 Fingers

originally posted - 2008-03-14 08:54:56 -1100

Deeply disturbing news released in Austria on Wednesday that 5 severed fingers belonging to a group of missing contractors were delivered to the US Army in Iraq.

The missing contractors are:

Jonathon Cote, 25, of Getzville, New York
Joshua Munns, 25, of Redding, California
Bert Nussbaumer, 26, of Austria
Paul Reuben, 41, of Andover, Minnesota
Ronald Withrow, 40, of Lubbock, Texas