Friday, November 21, 2008

Passing Patrol & the Checkpoint

Continuing my thoughts from the previous post...

A passing patrol is said to have reported Kirk von Ackermann's abandoned vehicle to a checkpoint minutes after a satellite call was placed asking for help with a flat tire. The call, believed to be from von Ackermann, was received by an Iraqi employee. The employee arrived 45 minutes later. Von Ackermann had vanished.

The critical question: how many minutes elapsed between the satellite call and the arrival of the passing patrol at the checkpoint - was it really only 5 minutes?

View Larger Map

North/East towards Kirkuk
Blue - checkpoint
Pink - abandoned vehicle
Yellow - nearest crossroad in the opposite direction of the checkpoint
South/West towards Tikrit

The journey in a military vehicle between Tikrit and Kirkuk - roughly 75 miles - was described in one news article as taking roughly 2.5 hours through the mountains. Simple math - 30 miles per hour. The distance between the checkpoint and the abandoned vehicle maps out to just over 1 mile - a 2 minute drive. The distance between the abandoned vehicle and the nearest road not in the direction of the check point, maps out to just over 1.5 miles - a 3 minute drive.

Assuming the passing patrol never stopped, super simple math says the passing patrol was only 1.5 miles behind von Acerkmann when (and if) he made the call. That places the patrol at the intersection of the nearest crossroad in the opposite direction and away from the checkpoint.

Maybe my math is a little off -- high school math was a very long time ago -- but doesn't this put the military patrol quite literally on top of von Ackermann's abductors on a narrow isolated country road? The only other option is that the kidnappers passed right through the checkpoint - and no one noticed. That's just not possible.

In the fall of 2003, US and Coalition forces were actively looking for Saddam Hussein in the Tikrit region. While it seems unlikely Hussein would have headed for Kirkuk (an area he was very unpopular in)...I find it even harder to believe American troops weren't taking fine tooth combs to every single vehicle coming from the Tikrit area.

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