Monday, March 31, 2008

Americans Missing in Iraq

Remains of 6 hostages held in Iraq were found and identified last week. (ref)

SSG Keith Maupin kidnapped on April 9, 2004
Paul Johnson Reuben kidnapped on November 16, 2006
Joshua Munns kidnapped on November 16, 2006
John Roy Young kidnapped on November 16, 2006
Bert Nussbaumer (Austrian) kidnapped on November 16, 2006
Ronald Withrow kidnapped on January 5, 2007
Nine American men are known to still be missing in Iraq.

Kirk von Ackermann of Moss Beach, California missing since October 9, 2003

Missing in Iraq

Timothy E. Bell of Mobile, Alabama missing since April 9, 2004

Not Knowing is the Most Frustrating
Timothy Bell...Four Years Later
If anyone has a clearer photo of Timothy Bell, please email me. Thank you.

Aban Elias of Denver, Colorado was kidnapped on May 3, 2004

American Taken Hostage

Radim Sadeq Mohammed Sadeq also known as 'Dean Sadek' of Charlotte, North Carolina was kidnapped on November 2, 2004

Remembering the Forgotten American Hostages: Dean Sadek and CNN

Jeffrey Ake of LaPorte, Indiana was kidnapped on April 11, 2005

Jeffrey Ake - News Lib

Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie (also Taie) of Ann-Arbor, Michigan was kidnapped on October 23, 2006

Wikipedia - al-Taayie

Jonathon Cote of Getzville, New York was kidnapped on November 16, 2006

Free Jonathan Cote

Update: remains found near Basra were identified as Cote on April 23, 2008. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Pfc. Byron W. Fouty of Waterford, Michigan missing since May 12, 2007

Missing soldiers' family unite in shared grief

Sgt. Alex Ramon Jimenez of Lawrence, Massachusetts missing since May 12, 2007

Missing in Iraq: Jimenez

Photos were found publicly displayed on the web and are intended as "fair use" under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. Please email me if you'd like a photo removed, changed, or added.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thoughts on Conspiracy

I just want to take a moment to expand on something I touched on in my last post, The Bridge Theory:

There are many out there -- honestly, I've lost count -- who wonder if the investigation was deliberately suppressed or sabotaged. Perhaps I'm just naive. I tend to lean towards a much simpler explanation: the difficulty and confusion of coordinating a kidnap and murder investigation in a war zone.
The person(s) responsible for the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann and the murder of Ryan Manelick have the most to gain with any sort of interference or disruption to communications. Assuming the person(s) are not insurgents, it would not surprise me to learn that they monitor what they can of the investigation by any means available to those person(s). As a result, the possibility of malicious intent can not be ignored. After all, chances are good that if you have a sneaking suspicion someone is intercepting or monitoring your email, that yes, some one is intercepting or monitoring your email.

Not Alone

I think some of you would be quite surprised at the number of people who think there's something seriously funky surrounding everything.

Now regarding the investigation, do I believe CID deliberately dragged their feet? No. But I do get the feeling their resources are extremely limited. There are hundreds of thousands of men and women in the US military in addition to hundreds of thousands of civilian contractors.
Q. How many people are in CID?
A. CID is a worldwide command with fewer than 2000 Soldiers and civilians and approximately 900 special agents.
Advice, for what it's worth, just use some basic common sense. Share your information with trusted friends or colleagues, keep sensitive information off of shared networks, back up files to discs, print information and keep hard copies. Last but not least, always assume any email is archived and monitored as it passes through mail servers. If it's keeping you awake at at night, considering using an encryption product.

Additional Reading

Crime in the United States
Summary of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program
Department of Justice, FBI, 2004

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Bridge Theory

Sacred Bridge, Hiroshi Yoshida, woodblock print 1935

Under the circumstances, there's little to be gained by keeping my thoughts to myself. So, today I'm going to share with you what I've spent a great deal of time working on for the last three months.


October 9, 2003 -- Kirk von Ackermann left a meeting at FOB Pacesetter near Balad. His vehicle was found later that day abandonned in the Jabal Hamrin mountains roughly 140 miles from FOB Pacesetter.

December 14, 2003 -- Ryan Manelick was killed just after leaving a meeting at Camp Anaconda also near Balad. Shortly before his murder, he alleged fraud within his company and that it involved US Army officers.

Both worked for Ultra Services of Istanbul, Turkey.
What I refer to as The Bridge Theory looks at the whole of the above events, dividing them into three separate and unique parts much like a bridge spanning a river to connect two sides.
Part I is the north bank, the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann
Part II is the south bank, the murder of Ryan Manelick
Part III is the bridge that spans the river between the two events - the motive
The problem with the investigation to date - as I see it - is that the bridge between the events can not be built without first resolving what happened to Kirk von Ackermann in Part I. And yet, the bridge is exactly where most of the emphasis is placed.

Sometimes, you just need to look at things differently.

Current Status

Four years and yet no real answers. There are many out there -- honestly, I've lost count -- who wonder if the investigation was deliberately suppressed or sabotaged. Perhaps I'm just naive. I tend to lean towards a much simpler explanation: the difficulty and confusion of coordinating a kidnap and murder investigation in a war zone.

In August of 2006, CID informed Kirk von Ackermann's family that they had determined von Ackermann was killed during a botched kidnapping. I happen to disagree with their conclusion for the simple reason that I don't believe they sufficiently pursued an investigation into what actually happened to von Ackermann that day.

Yes, I know I'm just a citizen journalist, but please bear with me.

Based on what I have heard to date, CID doesn't appear to have aggressively pursued a specific line of inquiry. That line of inquiry requires finding the answer to what I now consider to be the single most critical question facing investigators.
What actions did Kirk von Ackermann take to try and fix the tire on his Nissan Patrol?
It's an incredibly simple question, no? Almost...boring. Tedious. Dull. And yet ultimately, it could be pivotal to discovering what really happened.

Indications are that CID pursued an investigation based on the assumption that Kirk von Ackermann went missing from where his car was found. To arrive at that assumption, CID has to assume Kirk von Ackermann made the deliberate decision to NOT repair the tire on his car. That decision, to not repair the tire on his Nissan Patrol, goes against years of von Ackermann's training and experience including service in both the US Army and the US Air Force. In other words, it's a decision that's completely out of character with who Kirk von Ackermann was as a person.

Some basics:
  1. The sellers told von Ackermann the tire was bad when he bought the vehicle
  2. The tire didn't bother him and he accepted the vehicle as is
  3. He had plans to drive over 160 miles in Iraq from Balad to Kirkuk, apparently alone
  4. Even though he was a linguist, he worked in vehicle maintenance during his time in the US Army
  5. Just 25 miles from FOB Pacesetter, Camp Anaconda was and still is the central distribution point for all parts and repairs of military vehicles in Iraq including salvage
  6. As a teen ager, von Ackermann customized a vintage sports car, later maintaining his own vehicles
I'd love to hear CID already pursued this line of inquiry but it doesn't look good so far. Once again, the question I posed up above:
What actions did Kirk von Ackermann take to try and fix the tire on his Nissan Patrol?
Decisions and Actions

Broken into three stages, this graphic tries to reconstruct the decisions Kirk von Ackermann made on the day he disappeared. It still has a few blanks to fill in but you should be able to follow the general logic.
Stage 1 - decision to repair or ignore tire
Stage 2 - decision to proceed alone to Kirkuk
Stage 3 - decision not to defend himself
Logic says he would have made the decision to repair the tire himself and NOT ignore it as has been assumed to date.

Each decision makes little sense unless von Ackermann was abducted before he had the opportunity to repair his tire. Then everything falls into place because absolutely none of the decisions in Stage 2 & 3 assigned to von Ackermann were actually made by him. Most importantly, it explains why there was no sign of struggle at the location where his car was found. He was never there to defend himself.

Are you following my train of thought so far? I hope so.

My own opinion is Kirk von Ackermann set out to repair his tire and that he was abducted and killed near Balad which -- coincidentally -- happens to be very close to where Ryan Manelick was killed shortly after leaving a meeting at Camp Anaconda.

While Part I and Part II now are much closer than first appeared, it's still too soon to build the bridge as it's not yet clear the two events are in fact connected.

The Bridge Theory

Part I must be resolved in order to build any bridge to Part II, the murder of Ryan Manelick. In order to resolve Part I, Kirk von Ackermann's body must be found. To know where it lies, CID must discover exactly where and when he was abducted.

Fortunately, there are several avenues to pursue:
  1. The 'best mechanic' at FOB Pacesetter in October 2003
  2. Point of Entry and Exit records at Camp Anaconda
  3. Von Ackermann's satellite phone records - duration of outgoing and incoming calls
  4. The 'passing patrol' that first reported von Ackermann's abandoned vehicle - where were they from and where were they going?
  5. The 24-hour open burn pile at Camp Anaconda
I wish I was just being melodramatic about that last one. I'm not. It depresses me immensely.

Four years and yet no real answers. Maybe this post will help shake things up a bit. And I do mean that in a good way.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sun, Moon, Weather Data

As the saying goes, context is everything.

The last few posts were on the ground - quite literally - reviewing maps and cars. Now it's time to look up in the air. What follows is available data for sunrise, sunset, and annual weather patterns for Baghdad, Iraq for October and December 2003.

Calendar 2003

Julian Date Converter

The Julian date for CE 2003 October 09 00:00:00.0 UT
JD 2452921.50000

The Julian date for CE 2003 December 14 00:00:00.0 UT
JD 2452987.50000
CPA: Announcements for October 7, 2003
*Curfew changed from 11:00 pm - 4:00 am to a new time of midnight - 4:00 am.

Islamic Calendar 1423-24 hj. (2003 AD) is a Lunar Calendar, each month starting with the first sighting of the crescent Moon.

Islamic Holidays - no holidays or festivals appear to coincide with events.

Phases of the Moon

A Waxing Crescent + increasing (ref)
B First Quarter
C Waxing Gibbous
D Full
E Waning Gibbous - decreasing
F Third Quarter
G Waning Crescent
H New Moon
Sun and Moon Data

Sunrise and Sunset for Baghdad, Iraq
Data for the month of October in 2003

Complete Sun and Moon Data For Baghdad, Iraq
33° 20' 19" N 044° 23' 38" E, UTC/GMT Universal Time + 3h

Thursday 9 October 2003



Begin civil twilight
Sun transit
End civil twilight



Moon transit

17:01 on preceding day
05:53 on following day
Phase of the Moon: waxing gibbous with 99% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.
Full Moon on 10 October 2003 at 10:28 AM

Sunday 14 December 2003



Begin civil twilight
Sun transit
End civil twilight



Moon transit

20:05 on preceding day
11:45 on following day
Phase of the Moon: waning gibbous with 74% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.
Last quarter Moon on 16 December 2003 at 20:43 PM


Average Weather for Baghdad, Iraq
October Average: 76.8 °F 24.9 °C
December Average: 52.0 °F 11.1 °C

Average Rainfall
October Average: 0.1 inch 2.6 mm
December Average: 1 inch 26.3 mm

One of my favorite weather sites, Weather Underground (, has limited historical information for Iraq:
Weather Underground Baghdad, Iraq October 9: 65 °F
Weather Underground Baghdad, Iraq December 14: 65 °F
Try searching the same dates but in more recent years as they provide a wide range of data including dust and haze. It'll give a general sense of what the weather was like. They also have information for other cities in Iraq including Baiji just north of Tikrit.

Satellite Images

Search Middle East images using Julian dates.

Dust Storm

On December 13-14, 2003, there was a dust storm to the East over Iran and Southern Asia. (satellite image).

The Nashi wind (also N'aschi) responsible for the dust storm also affected Dubai in the United Arab Emirates during the same time frame (ref). The winter Nashi wind carries dust storms through the straits and along the coast of Iran. Dust storms can interfere with electronics and distort navigational systems. Also see Shamal Wind below.

Additional Reading

Satellite Images from Tafsir Co. Consultant Engineers

Shamal Wind from Wikipedia

Sandblasted troops dig in

By Elliot Blair Smith, USA Today, March 13, 2003


Sun, Moon and Weather data must seem like truly petty information. But, the data provides some context that's easy to overlook.

First: there was a full moon on October 10, 2003. As a result, 'lighting conditions' were pretty much as optimal as they could be for conducting a night time search for Kirk von Ackermann. In addition, just two days prior, curfew hours were changed, adding an extra hour to be outdoors after sunset.

Second: east of Iraq, there was a dust storm over Southern Asia December 13-14. Did the storm have any impact on Iraq? Was there more dust than usual in the air? If yes, how did the dust on the vehicle of Ryan Manelick's assailant(s) compare to other cars at the time? More, less, the same?

In an email to Ryan Manelick's father, Greg, John Dawkins described the assailant(s) as driving a 'nice white Land Cruiser.'

Did 'nice' actually refer to 'clean' and did this mean the assailant(s) vehicle was relatively dust free? And if it was dust-free, why? What does a clean vehicle at the moment of attack say about where the vehicle was kept, how far it was driven to the point of attack, and what does it say about the person(s) who were driving it?

Things to think about.

Or not.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

'Nice White Land Cruiser'

The third of three posts here at the Missing Man looking at vehicles:

1. Kirk von Ackermann's Nissan Patrol SUV
2. Ryan Manelick's Hyundai Galloper
3. The 'nice white Land Cruiser' driven by Manelick's assailants

Photo of a 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser for sale in the Middle East.

Death of Contractor
By Dan Halpern, Rolling Stone, March 8, 2007
Excerpt from 'Tale of the Emails' page 74 of the print edition
From: John Dawkins
To: Greg Manelick
Sent: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 14:35:53
Subject: Ryan - Please Read Urgently

This is the worst news I can give you. Ryan was killed today. He was driving along the main highway when allegedly a nice white Land Cruiser drove up next to his Hyundai Galloper and opened fire.....Obviously, you may call me. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. I am at your service.

Love, John
About the Toyota Land Cruiser

Photo of a 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser (Diesel) for sale to the Middle East.

First built in 1951, the Land Cruiser is Toyota's flagship four-wheel drive vehicle. Introduced in 1984, the 70 Series still remains the workhorse utility vehicle of choice for use as ambulances, fire trucks, security and military vehicles in regions with rough roads through out the world. The 90 Series was developed in 1996 to compete with the Mitsubishi Pajero.

Toyota Land Cruisers are common in Iraq. While not as popular as the Nissan Patrol, the Toyota Land Cruiser is also used by the UN around the world.

Perhaps the most infamous incident involving a Land Cruiser and Iraq was a plot discovered and foiled by Kuwaiti security forces back in 1993. The vehicle was laden with explosives and was intended to assassinate then President George HW Bush. The Iraqi government, then under Saddam Hussein, was believed to be behind the plot. (ref)

A New Day Dawns in Kurdistan
By Joshua Kucera, Time, April 9, 2003
Under the city's ancient citadel men danced to Kurdish pop music accompanying an impromptu parade of taxis, buses with a dozen boys on top, and shiny Toyota Land Cruisers with government officials inside.
In Love With A Car Called Monica
by Andrew Lee Butters, The Middle East - Time Blog, June 10, 2007
The Land Cruiser became known as the Monica [Lewinsky] in Kurdistan apparently because Kurds like their cars like they like their women: big and beautiful. I've heard less polite explanations for why the nickname stuck, something to do with treating their cars like they treat their women. Anyway, you're no one in Erbil if you're not at the wheel of a white Monica.
For U.S. workers in Iraq, a new sense of foreboding
By Susan Taylor Martin, St. Petersburg Times, April 7, 2004

The increased violence against Americans has also fostered two schools of thought about security. Many employees of Kellogg Brown & Root and other major contractors still feel safer traveling in big SUVs with heavily-armed guards. Other contractors think Americans present less of a target if they are less conspicuous.

Among the latter is Larry Underwood, an American businessman who lives in Paris but has been in Iraq since May helping supply the country's new army.

When he first arrived, Underwood had a driver and an expensive Toyota Land Cruiser. Then his driver was robbed of $5,000, and Underwood was forced off the road by would-be bandits.

Now Underwood drives himself around Baghdad, in an older-model Mercedes like those used by many Iraqis.

Soldier Killed, Weapons Caches Found, Terror Suspects Arrested
December 6, 2005
Elsewhere, a joint raid by Iraqi and coalition forces resulted in two suspects detained and several military vehicles recovered Dec. 5 a few miles southwest of Dujayl.

Soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division, and coalition troops conducted the early morning raid. Troops also recovered five Toyota Land Cruisers used by the former regime. They also confiscated a large water truck and two assault rifles.

Additional Reading:

History of the Toyota Land Cruiser
Toyota Website

Photos of Toyota Landcruisers in Northern Iraq
Includes some photos of Kirkuk

Ministry of Interior receives new armored SUVs through Foreign Military
Press Release, Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq Public Affairs Office, February 10, 2008

Armored SUVs in Iraq
David Crane, Review at

Related Posts:

Ryan Manelick's Hyundai Galloper March 9, 2008
Kirk von Ackermann's Nissan Patrol SUV March 5, 2008
Safa Shukir & the Phone Call December 9, 2007
Kirk's Car December 4, 2007

Ryan Manelick's Hyundai Galloper

The second of three posts here at the Missing Man looking at vehicles:

1. Kirk von Ackermann's Nissan Patrol SUV
2. Ryan Manelick's Hyundai Galloper
3. The 'nice white Land Cruiser' driven by Manelick's assailants

Photo of a four-door 2002 Hyundai Galloper listed for sale in France.

On December 14, 2003, Ryan Manelick was driving a white Hyundai Galloper when he was shot and killed shortly after leaving a meeting at Camp Anaconda at the Balad Air Base in Iraq.
Gunmen had sprayed his vehicle with automatic fire, putting three bullets in him: one in his leg, another in his chest and a kill shot in the back of the neck. -- Death of a Contractor
Two Iraqi employees were traveling in the car with Manelick: one survived, one died. According to an email written by John Dawkins to Ryan Manelick's father, Greg, the assailants were driving a 'nice white Land Cruiser' when they pulled up along side and opened fire. Manelick had recently alleged fraud within the company he worked for, Ultra Services, and that it involved US Army officers. His murder remains under investigation.

In December 2003, at the time of Ryan Manelick's death, the insurgency had not yet taken hold; Saddam Hussein had only just been captured the day before and fewer than 20 contractors had died while working in Iraq. Four years later, civilian contractor fatalities stand at over 1,123 of which 301 were recorded in 2006, and 353 in 2007.

About the Hyundai Galloper

Photo of a two-door 2003 Hyundai Galloper listed for sale in Portugal.

The Hyundai Galloper is closely related to the Mitsubishi Pajero and the Hyundai Terracan ('Earth King'). The Terracan was introduced in 2002 to replace the Galloper. The Korean-made Hyundai Galloper was considered a "poor man's" version of the Japanese-made Mitsubishi Pajero. Financially, it was in reach for some middle class Iraqis.

The Hyundai Galloper was manufactured between 1991-2003 and later re-badged as the Mitsubishi Pajero. The Pajero is also known as the Shogun (UK) and Montero (Americas and Spain). The Mitsubishi Pajero is very popular through out the Middle East. The biggest direct competitor to the Mitsubishi Pajero is the Toyota Land Cruiser.

On March 31, 2004, four Blackwater employees, Jerry Zovko, Scott Helvenston, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague, were driving in two Pajero SUVs when they were attacked and killed in Fallujah (ref). Just one year earlier, British ITV News correspondent, Terry Lloyd, was driving a Pajero when he was caught in crossfire between the Republican Guard and US forces near Basra. (ref & ref).

The debris of war
By Phillip O'Connor, Post-Dispatch, March 14, 2004
[Sean] O'Sullivan, 39, founded his own nongovernmental organization whose goal is to use Iraqi labor to tear down and clear the hundreds, if not thousands, of bombed-out and looted buildings that scar Baghdad's landscape. [...]

He has almost no overhead. His office is a white Hyundai Galloper in which he rides from job site to job site. His few supplies include a laptop computer, cell phone, electronic organizer, business cards and a well-worn pair of black work boots.
Four months later, in July 0f 2004....

Iraq: A Place of Ambivalence
By Tish Durkin, Huffington Post, April 6, 2007
I remember Mohaymen, a 26-year-old Iraqi who, with my then-fiancé, co-founded JumpStart, a humanitarian organization that directly employed thousands of Iraqis in the rebuilding effort. Every morning at an ungodly hour, he would show up to pick up Sean [O'Sullivan], and the two of them would drive around in Mohaymen's white Hyundai Galloper to building sites all over the place....until one day in July 2004, when Sean and I were briefly back in the States, some gunmen pulled even with the Galloper on a busy highway in broad daylight and shot Mohaymen to death.
As previously mentioned, similar vehicles to the Mitsubishi Galloper: the Nissan Patrol, the Mitsubishi Pajero, Land Rover and Toyota Land Cruiser, were and still are popular.

What about other US companies operating in Iraq? Former Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, generally used GMC vehicles like Yukons and Suburbans as well as the occasional Hummer, though much less often.

Additional Reading:

Contractor deaths up 17 percent across Iraq in 2007
By David Ivanovich, Houston Chronicle, February 9, 2008

Related Posts:

Kirk von Ackermann's Nissan Patrol SUV March 5, 2008
Safa Shukir & the Phone Call December 9, 2007
Kirk's Car December 4, 2007

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Kirk von Ackermann's Nissan Patrol SUV

The next few posts here at the Missing Man will take a look at vehicles:

1. Kirk von Ackermann's Nissan Patrol SUV
2. Ryan Manelick's Hyundai Galloper
3. The 'nice white Land Cruiser' driven by Manelick's assailants

Photo of a "Nissan Patrol in Iraq that was being used by security contractors near the Syrian Border" in December 2005. More images, including interior, can be found at the source of this photo.

Kirk von Ackermann made arrangements to buy a used white Nissan Patrol SUV in Iraq.

Some time after leaving a meeting at FOB Pacesetter, von Ackermann called an Iraqi employee, told the employee he had trouble with his tire and to come get him in the Jabal Hamrin mountains between Tikrit and Kirkuk. His Nissan Patrol SUV was discovered abandonned 45 minutes later, roughly 140 miles from FOB Pacesetter.

About the Nissan Patrol SUV

Photo of a 2003 Nissan Patrol SUV in Australia.

Even though they are very popular world wide, they are not sold in the US and consequently have a very limited presence in the States. The UN has used the Nissan Patrol for over 40 years. The Patrol was also used by UNSCOM weapons inspectors in Iraq for years -- and everyone in Baghdad knew their Patrols by site. Of course, 'UN' in huge black letters on the sides made them hard to miss.

Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein
By Scott Ritter, former UNSCOM weapons inspector, page 1
Baghdad, 8 March 1998

The long convoy of white Nissan Patrol vehicles snaked its way along the Baghdad thoroughfare towards the Iraqi ministry of Defense. In side the vehicles were sitting dozens of grim stony faced men. They were experts from the United Nations Special Commission or UNSCOM: weapons inspectors mandated by the the Security Council to disarm Iraq. As chief inspector of this particular mission, I sat in the lead vehicle. We were in no hurry, being more concerned with keeping the convoy together than with speed. Our target was not going anywhere, so I was content to crawl along in the slow lane, letting the bustling traffic of a Baghdad rush hour stream on by. By this time, UN inspectors had been in Iraq for almost seven years, and our white vehicles, emblazoned with large black 'UN' letter, were an all-too-familiar sight to the citizens of Baghdad, who signaled to us in a variety of ways as they drove past. Most simply honked their horns and waved, but there were more than a few who shook their fists and cursed us in God's name for the economic ruin brought on their country. Iraq was reeling after more than a decade of UN-sponsored sanctions.
Suspicions that von Ackermann worked for the CIA -- thus making him a target -- based solely on his choice of car can not be ignored given the history of the Nissan Patrol SUV in Iraq and events with CIA and UNSCOM. Although, it seems a bit of a stretch.

Annan's Office Leaked Allegations of US Spies in UNSCOM
By David Ensor & AP, CNN, January 7, 1999
The sources said the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] did help UNSCOM, at its request, to eavesdrop electronically on officers of special Republican Guard units assigned by Hussein to both conceal his illegal weapons programs and provide for the Iraqi leader's personal security. [...] More than a year of tension between Washington and Baghdad began in the fall of 1997 when Iraq demanded an end to U.S. participation in the weapons inspections, charging that they were espionage operations.
In addition to the Nissan Patrol, the Mitsubishi Pajero, Land Rover and Toyota Land Cruiser were and still are equally popular. During Saddam Hussein's rule, all such vehicles tended to be the property of well-connected party members, security forces, and/or non-governmental organizations such as agencies of the UN. In general terms, all such vehicles were and still are out of reach to the ordinary citizen of Iraq.

Return of exile who hopes to lead nation
By David Blair, UK Telegraph, Baghdad April 17, 2003
With all the assurance of an American presidential candidate, Mr Chalabi sailed into Baghdad in a motorcade of five white Nissan Patrol cars.
What about other US companies operating in Iraq? Former Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, generally used GMC vehicles like Yukons and Suburbans as well as the occasional Hummer, though much less often.

Problems with the Jack

Suspicion surrounds missing Bay Area man
By Colin Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle, February 13, 2005
In the midafternoon of Oct. 9, 2003, Kirk von Ackermann, an American contract worker from the Bay Area, used a satellite phone to call a colleague from a lonely desert road between Tikrit and Kirkuk in northern Iraq. He told his colleague he had a flat tire and needed a jack.
A spare tyre with jack comes as standard equipment on a Nissan Patrol. Was the jack missing or did it just not work? Which tire had a problem, front or rear?

This is a photo of a Hi-Lift Jack from ARB, an Australian manufacturer and distributor of 4x4 accessories. For storage, the Hi-Lift Jack typically mounts on the exterior rear or roof of the vehicle with the spare tire.

This type of jack, the Hi-Lift Jack, is not standard equipment for the Nissan Patrol but is generally recommended for off-road vehicles. However, there's some on-line discussion about tipping problems using Hi-Lift Jacks for rear tires on Nissan Patrols. Discussion about those problems, and the need for a custom bracket in order to use a Hi-Lift Jack, can be found at Patrol 4x4. Includes photos of a custom lift bracket made for a Hi-Lift Jack.


Run-flat tires are extremely popular for off-road vehicles because of the likelihood of punctures in remote locations. There's no indication von Ackermann's Nissan Patrol had run-flat tires but I thought they were worth noting given the environment he was working in. I also mention them because I spent 5 months working in a foreign country with some rough roads. My boss at the time had 3 flat tires in one day. I think the record was 5 by someone working in another department.

Run-Flat Tires are standard issue on armored vehicles as a safety feature. If a tire is shot out, the car can still get away safely. All of the US military vehicles in Iraq? They come equipped with run-flat tires. Hummers, Strykers, etc, all have run-flats. The US military has been using some version of run-flats for decades.

There are three types of run-flats.
A) An inner rigid ring -- like a donut -- basically hugs the rim. If the tire goes flat, the car can still drive about 100 miles at 50mph without damaging the rim as it rides on the ring. Enough to get you to a garage.

B) The tire has a rigid wall on either side that again holds up the vehicle from riding on the rim if the tire loses pressure. Type B relies on an electronic pressure gauge that alerts the driver to losing pressure otherwise they might not notice the tire has lost air.

C) Used in racing cars. The tires are filled with a foam-like substance. Type C don't apply, but if you google you'll come across information on them.
Some Type B tires require a specialized jack to change the tire, which means taking the vehicle to a mechanic. But Type B also alerts the driver to service the vehicle.

Additional Reading:

Iraqi Police to receive 2,600 vehicles this year through Foreign Military Sales
By Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq, Public Affairs Office, Phoenix Base, February 18, 2008 (includes photos)

Nissan Patrol used by the International Committee of the Red Crescent
(includes photos)

Packing List
from photographer Erwin Voogt for a two-year expedition from the Netherlands to Tibet. He and his party traveled in a Toyota Land Cruiser; while the example is extreme, the photos and the stories are good. Includes a photo of fixing a flat tire in Pakistan.

Prior related posts:

Safa Shukir & the Phone Call December 9, 2007
Kirk's Car December 4, 2007