Monday, October 13, 2008

Defense Intelligence Agency - on hostages

A lengthy article on kidnappings based on information provided by the Defense intelligence Agency. Includes information on Kirk von Ackermann coinciding with the five year anniversary of his disappearance.

Iraq calmer but copycat kidnappings spread
By Pamela Hess, Associated Press, October 13, 2008

Five years ago, retired Air Force intelligence officer Kirk von Ackermann became the first of 39 Americans to be kidnapped in Iraq. He's still missing, his wife fearing she'll never see him again.

Besides the personal tragedy, his disappearance and those that have followed have taken on a larger significance. They mark a turning point in terrorist tactics that U.S. intelligence officials say has produced a startling statistic: a 500 percent increase in foreigners taken hostage around the world as militants adopt the methods of the most violent figures in the Iraq insurgency.
The article includes statistics on kidnappings from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) which "analyzes information about prisoners of war and those missing in action." About the DIA POW/MIA cell:
• Compiling and analyzing reams of data to build profiles of terrorist groups worldwide that use kidnapping, noting where hostages are captured, moved, released or executed.

• Predicting where future hostages may be taken, and when.
It's a little unclear, but it sounds like 9 Americans are still missing in Iraq one of whom is likely to be American Navy pilot Capt. Scott Speicher from Gulf War I. Here's the sentence from the article:
Iraq has been most dangerous for Americans, who have a better than even chance of being murdered by their captors there — an 80 percent chance if the nine still missing are factored in.
Additional Reading

Office of Hostage Affairs
September 8, 2006

Hostage Working Group
April 1, 2006

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