I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's hilarious. Colin Freeman's former 'fixer,' Mohammed Kadom, should star in his own reality television series. There's a book review at ePluribus Media for those who might be interested.
A few pieces of information came to light in the book. Most notable, I was unaware that Charles Phillips was in Baghdad the week after Kirk von Ackermann disappeared. As close friends, it's surprising he didn't take more of an interest in securing von Ackermann's personal effects. After all, Phillips brought von Ackermann to Iraq. I realize work doesn't come to a stand still. But at the same time, no one collected his belongings in an orderly manner? It's not clear how long Phillips had been in Iraq.
So, new question: when did Charles Phillips first arrive in country?
Colin Freeman describes visiting the spot where Kirk von Ackermann's vehicle was found on the road between Tikrit and Kirkuk. This is the only first hand description in the public domain that I am aware of.
Excerpt from page 136:
A few days later, I drove with Saba and Ali up to the area where Kirk had disappeared, to ask a few questions. I'd heard that a local Iraqi police chief was on the case; perhaps he might spill some details that Ryan and Co were keeping quiet. It turned out he'd recently been sacked after some row with a rival, with none of his successors briefed about the disappearance. Later on, though, when I tracked him down to his house, I found him still in uniform with a dozen odd policemen at his disposal, running what seemed to be some kind of parallel force. He claimed to know John Dawkins, and said he had turned up not long before with photocopied pictures of Kirk, asking if anyone had seen him. He directed us to the spot where Kirk had vanished. It was near the brow of a long, winding hilltop road, miles from anywhere and surrounded by rocky outcrops. A long way from any help if you got yourself in a tight spot. At the bottom of the other side of the hill, there was a US Army checkpoint, where Dawkins had handed over a copy of Kirk's photograph. But during troop changeovers, no information was passed on about the case. The newcomers were unaware of who Kirk was, or why they had his photo. In a land where hundreds were dying or disappearing each week, no one had resources to spend time looking for another missing person.Here's an uncomfortable question: was the check point visible from the very top of the hill?
Review of The Curse of the al Dulaimi Hotel
By Susie Dow, ePluribus Media, August 18, 2008
Description: Landing in Baghdad on May 1, 2003 as an independent journalist, Colin Freeman's new book reveals the story behind getting the story including the hilarious antics of his charmingly insane personal assistant, Mohammed Kadom. Colin Freeman is now the Chief Foreign Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph.
Curse of the al Dulaimi Hotel - Pt I (image)
August 4, 2008