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:

US ___ KIDNAPPED IN BAGHDAD (ZONE ___)
2004-10-10 11:00:00


AT 1600C, /___ MP REPORTS THAT AN ___ WAS KIDNAPPED NEAR THE ___ HOSPITAL. THE E___ DRIVER AND ___ REPORTED THE KIDNAPPING TO THE ___ IP STATION. HE WAS WEARING A LIGHT BLUE GOLF SHIRT AND BLUE JEANS. E___ NAME IS ___. KIDNAPPERS WERE DRIVING A BLACK ___ PLATES. IPS CASE NUMBER ___, INVESTIGATING OFFICER ___ BADGE # ___.

Search Tips

Category - To search by category, for instance, "Kidnapping" the search query url is: http://wikileaks.org/search/?q=kidnap&category=Kidnapping&sort=date&p=1 which takes you to page 1. Change the very last number in the url to jump pages. Which is really useful for the Kidnapping category - currently comprised of 408 pages. There are 10 incident reports per page, in other words, over 4,000 reports to comb through.

Date - WikiLeaks is also set up to search by date range. The search query url for an event within date range of October 10, 2004 to October 11, 2004 is: http://wikileaks.org/search/?sort=date&date__gte=2004-10-10&date__lte=2004-10-11 Just replace the dates for whatever range you are searching within. Give your search a little padding of a day or two in front of and after a known incident date.

Term - To narrow a query by a word - 'missing' - the search query url for is: http://wikileaks.org/search/?q=missing Replace missing with your own search term. I've been slowly making my way through a list of terms such as hostage, kidnap, missing, abduct, etc.

Nationality - With search results, watch the second line under the Incident Caption hot link for the word, 'Casualties.' Casualties will be followed by a number, 0 and up. The number is a clue as to whether or not American or Coalition personnel were impacted.  If the number is a 0, the Incident Report is likely for Iraqi persons - who apparently don't qualify in the casualty counts. Which, in itself, is worthy of an extended analysis.

Two final notes.

The database unfortunately begins with the date of January 1, 2004. The longest known missing American in Iraq is a civilian contractor, Kirk von Ackermann, who disappeared on October 9, 2003.

The 'Overload' page comes up a lot. Give it a moment and then just hit refresh. Again. And again. Until you get through.

Incident Reports of Kidnapped and Missing Americans

Below is a chart showing the incident date, name, link to WikiLeaks incident report when available, and status of those Americans known to be missing and/or held hostage in Iraq in table format. Assumption that exact date matches found within the WikiLeaks database correspond to reported kidnappings follows. This is an ongoing project, so if you find an incident report that I have so far missed, let me know.

Americans Missing in Iraq - as of November 3, 2010


Date Name - incident report Status
1 Oct 9, 2003 Kirk von Ackermann missing 1
2 Apr 9, 2004 Thomas Hamill escaped
3 Apr 9, 2004 Nicholas Evan Berg deceased
4 Apr 9, 2004 William Bradley deceased
5 Apr 9, 2004 Pfc Keith Matthew Maupin deceased
6 Apr 9, 2004 Timothy E Bell missing 2
7 May 3, 2004 Aban Elias missing 3
8 Aug 13, 2004 Micah Garen released
9 Sept 16, 2004 Jack Henlsey deceased
10 Sept 16, 2004 Olin Eugene Armstrong Jr deceased
11 Oct 10, 2004 Paul Taggart released
12 Nov 1, 2004 Roy Hallums released
13 Nov 2, 2004 Dean Sadek missing 4
14 Apr 11, 2005 Jeffrey Ake missing 5
15 May 17, 2005 unknown - incident? missing 6
16 Aug 2, 2005 Steven Charles Vincent deceased
17 Sept 27, 2005 Abbas Kareem Naama (Tim) missing 7
18 Nov 25, 2005 Ronald Alan Schulz  deceased
19 Nov 27, 2005 Thomas William Fox deceased
20 Dec 2, 2005 unknown missing 8
21 Jan 7, 2006 Jill Carroll released
22 Jun 16, 2006 Pfc Kristian Menchaca deceased
23 Jun 16, 2006 Pfc Thomas Tucker deceased
24 Oct 23, 2006 Sgt Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie missing 9
25 Nov 16, 2006 Jonathon Michael Cote deceased
26 Nov 16, 2006 Paul Christopher Johnson-Reuben deceased
27 Nov 16, 2006 Joshua Mark Munns deceased
28 Nov 16, 2006 John Roy Young deceased
29 Nov 27, 2006 Maj Troy Lee Gilbert (deceased) missing 10
30 Jan 5, 2007 Ronald J Withrow deceased
31 Jan 27, 2007 unknown - incident? missing 11
32 Jan 27, 2007 unknown - incident? missing 12
33 Feb 1, 2007 unknown Iraqi-American citizen missing 13
34 Mar 3, 2007 unknown American-Iraqi citizen missing 14
35 Apr 25, 2007 unknown missing 15
36 May 12, 2007 Sgt Alex Ramon Jimenez deceased
37 May 12, 2007 Pfc Byron W Fouty deceased
38 May 25, 2007 unknown missing 16
39 Aug 17, 2007 unknown missing 17
40 summer 2008 unknown missing 18
41 May 21, 2009 Jim Kitterman deceased
42 Jan 23, 2010 Issa T Salomi released


Not included in the chart (at this time) are the troops taken POW (status: missing) during the invasion of March 2003. All were Returned to Military Control:

Spc. Edgar Hernandez
Spc. Joseph Hudson
Spc. Shoshana Johnson
Pfc. Patrick Miller
Sgt. James Riley
Pfc. Jessica Lynch
Chief warrant officer David Williams
Chief warrant officer Ronald Young Jr.

US Navy pilot Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, shot down during Gulf War I, is also not included. Speicher's remains were recovered in August of 2009.

Additions/corrections are welcome, please email me at susie.dow at gmail.com

About the Data

  • the data is based on news reports which often contradict each other
  • an article from April 2010 (US Operation aims to find missing) cites 11 missing Americans
  • a February 2010 article cites 17 missing (They search if someone's missing in Iraq) which conflicts with the current count of 18. Think positive, let's assume someone was released.
  • an article from October 2008 cites a total of 39 kidnapped Americans of which 22 are known to have been executed (Iraq calmer but copycat kidnappings spread). The chart above was started with 39 kidnapped Americans as a base line.
  • the data represents the minimum number of missing Americans. Companies and/or families may deliberately choose not report a hostage or kidnap victim to US government agencies. I was told by one representative of the Department of Labor that they were aware of unreported contractors missing in Iraq.
  • not all names of those missing - both past and present - are known and/or publicized for a number of reasons
  • Technically, the status of 'released' should more properly be referred to as 'Returned to Military Control' (RMC)

References

Iraq War Logs
WikiLeaks, October 22, 2010 - search query kidnap

Data on Kidnappings from the State Department
August 8, 2010

Liberator II continues effort to find missing
By Sgt. 1st Class Roger Dey, April 20, 2010

US operation aims to find missing
By Sgt. 1st Class Roger Dey, 103rd Public Affairs Detachment, April 21, 2010

They search if someone’s missing in Iraq
By Scott Fontaine, The News Tribune, February 8, 2010

Officials confirm kidnapping of U.S. contractor in Iraq
By Ernesto Londoño and Leila Fadel, Washington Post, February 6, 2010

Iraq calmer but copycat kidnappings spread
By Pamela Hess, Associated Press, October 13, 2008

Susie Dow is the Editor of the Missing Man a blog dedicated to providing information about Americans missing in Iraq. 

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Comments

but it was essentially a random couple of swipes. Your intro to the search at Wikileaks is a handy reference, thanks for it.

Thanks also for the summary.

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"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

but their site was obviously being mined by every blogger and journalist out there. I got more error messages about the site taking too long to respond than I did successful searches.

Since my field of search is very narrow, I think it's helped a bit in learning how to navigate the reports. That said, I still have hundreds of pages of reports to go through.

Once an incident report is identified as potentially involving an American, there's still fact checking and cross referencing and trying to identify victim(s). For instance, in one incident report, "____ US women" were said to have been abducted but it later turned out to be a British man (later released).

This is getting in to the weeds on missing persons reporting...I have an ongoing gripe about uniformity in standards for missing persons reports. How difficult is it to use the same methodology for reporting standards across all government agencies? (More here on this topic...)

In searching the incident reports at WikiLeaks, I found that the term DUSTWUN (Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown) was repeatedly used for civilians. DUSTWUN applies to military personnel only. Period. The end.

The proper casualty term for civilians is EAWUN (Excused Absence Whereabouts Unknown) which isn't used at all in any of the WikiLeaks incident reports. Not once. 'Whereabouts unknown' is used frequently for just about everything.

Use of the term POW (Prisoner of War) is slang. Proper Casualty Status and Category is actually: Missing-Captured.

Anyway, I just thought it was worth noting the un-eveness of standards within the incident reports.