Sunday, August 31, 2008


Since finishing Colin Freeman's new book, The Curse of the Al Dulaimi Hotel, I've been thinking a lot about security. In theory, Kirk von Ackermann disappeared on an isolated road in an area he had previously identified as dangerous. Ryan Manelick died in what's more or less been described as a drive by shooting.

I'd like to know more about both men's approaches to their security although I know that's not a very realistic possibility. At best, the information will be hearsay. That said, a number of the Ultra Services principals socialized and were friends with security advisers. Their contact and interaction implies both men at minimum must have known the risks.

All of this thinking on security just stirs up questions, of course.

Kirk von Ackermann*

What is known about von Ackermann's views on security?
Had he ever offered advice to the other personnel at Ultra Services?
If so, what was that advice - is there a record - say in an old email?
Did he violate his own advice the day he disappeared?
Why did he travel alone that day?
Did he ever travel alone during his prior trips to Iraq?
Did he usually use a 'fixer' or translator?
If so, who and where was that person?
Who knew his travel plans that day?
Ryan Manelick
What is known about Manelick's views on security?
What was a typical defensive practice for avoiding drive by shootings?
He had friends in security, how aware was Manelick of those practices?
Was he prepared, did he ignore advice, had he grown complacent?
Did Manelick or his driver violate common security practices?
If so, why?
It all comes down to this final question: what was it that made each man vulnerable?

Additional Reading

Review of The Curse of the al Dulaimi Hotel
By Susie Dow, ePluribus Media, August 18, 2008

Missing Contractor: US Military Mechanics may Hold the Keys
By Susie Dow, ePluribus Media, April 21, 2008

* Assumption to date is Kirk von Ackermann disappeared between Tikrit and Kirkuk.

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