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 ___)
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 # ___.
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|
|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)
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.