Monday, April 14, 2008

Unanswered Questions - Ryan Manelick

I realize it's repetitive but I like to repost the following overview for those who might stumble on this post, unaware of the background.

October 9, 2003 -- Kirk von Ackermann left a meeting at FOB Pacesetter near Balad. His vehicle was found later that day abandoned 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.

In addition to Ryan Manelick at the December 14th meeting at Camp Anaconda, there were other Ultra Services personnel: Charles Phillips, Bora Tuncay and a driver named Aydin. By the date of that meeting, there was an enormous amount of internal company strife and open hostility within Ultra Services. Employees were in the process of 'shop lifting' the business out from under the founder, John Dawkins, who was viewed as difficult, disorganized, sloppy, and a risk to personal safety. The new company -- which had not yet received any contracts -- was registered in late October in Bermuda and was named Irex Ltd.*

Excerpt from Death of Contractor by Dan Halpern

On December 8th, [Ryan Manelick] met Charles Phillips and Bora Tuncay, from the Istanbul office, at the Turkish border and spent the next few days taking them to Army bases around Iraq. Then, on December 12th, the three co-workers went to Saddam's former palace in Tikrit, where CID was headquartered. According to Tuncay, Manelick told CID investigators that he was convinced von Ackermann had discovered that Dawkins was bribing Hall, and that Dawkins had ordered von Ackermann killed before he could talk. Manelick also told the investigators that he feared he might be next.

As Manelick and the others were leaving the base, Dawkins arrived. The meeting was unplanned, but Phillips took advantage of it to confront Dawkins, all but calling him a murderer to his face. "You are one shady motherfucker," Phillips said. "I hate breathing the same air as you."

Dawkins was silent. "I had never seen a guy humiliated like this," says Tuncay. "Charles was talking and Ryan was grinning. And that day I saw the hatred in John's eyes. This is a character who would never accept this. He took it, but he would never let that go. And Charles said to Ryan, 'Never tell him where we are, never tell him what we are doing, never tell him what we are going to do.' Because Charles was very scared John was going to try to get rid of them."

In response to a discussion in the comments of an earlier post, The Bridge Theory, the following are just some of the many questions I have accumulated over the last four years. I'm posting them here in the event anyone out there might have information.


Who scheduled the December 14 meeting for Ryan Manelick, Charles Phillips and Bora Tuncay at Camp Anaconda?

How far in advance was the meeting planned? (Did someone make arrangements that day, the day before, a week before, etc.)

Was the meeting for past or future business with Ultra Services or for the new business venture Irex Ltd?

Where were Ryan Manelick, Charles Phillips, Bora Tuncay ('the group') just before the meeting at Camp Anaconda?

Where did they stay the night before the meeting at Camp Anaconda?

Did Ultra Services maintain an 'office' or base of operations of some sort at Camp Anaconda? (even if just a desk and an outlet to plug in a lap top, etc)

There were two vehicles
Vehicle #1 - Manelick's white Hyundai Galloper
Ryan Manelick
Iraqi Employee #1 - survived
Iraqi Employee #2 - killed

Vehicle #2 - what was the color and model of the car?
Bora Tuncay
Charles Phillips
Aydin - driver

Names of the Iraqi employees in Ryan Manelick's vehicle?

Did the vehicles arrive together or separately?

What time did each arrive at Camp Anaconda?

What were base access procedures to enter Camp Anaconda?

Did the guards at the Anaconda gate search vehicles at entry and/or exit?

Where did the vehicles park?

How long did the process take to get on to the base, off of the base, through security?

'Escort' or 'No Escort' - status on base

Did the group require escort as Bora Tuncay was a Turkish citizen? (Non-American citizens generally require 'escort' at all times)

If there was an escort, how many person(s) and who were they?

Did the escort 'check in' periodically with supervisors?

Did they have full base access?

The Meeting
Who was at the meeting?

What was discussed

What time did the meeting end?

How long did the group stay at Camp Anaconda? (approximate)

Who else did the group meet while visiting Camp Anaconda? Other suppliers, subcontractors, or their employees, friends, etc?

Leaving Camp Anaconda
What time did the group leave (approximate)?

Which gate(s) did both groups leave through, the north gate or the south gate, or both?

Where was the vehicle carrying Charles Phillips and Bora Tuncay when Phillips satellite phone rang in the car?

Change in Attitude

Ryan Manelick was Colin Freeman's source for the first article on Kirk von Ackermann's disappearance, Bay Area civilian vanishes in Iraq. There is not so much as a hint of internal company strife in the article. The article was first published in the UK on November 9, 2003.

When was Ryan approached about joining Irex?

Did the sudden 'promotion' to business partner influence his perception of Kirk von Ackermann's disappearance?

Additional Reading

For additional background information on Irex Ltd., please see my article One Missing, One Dead which details corporate structure and history.

Ultra Services - Who, What, Where - includes photos

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