"So, Susie. Who did it?"
I don't know.
But I do have some thoughts on where to look -- starting with the Passing Patrol that first reported Kirk von Ackermann's abandoned vehicle.
The Passing Patrol:
Also I think there was a report given in at the nearby checkpoint of an abandoned car very soon after Kirk had made the phone call (again, going off memory here). I remember when the CID was telling me the timeline that whoever grabbed Kirk had had only the smallest window of time - maybe a matter of minutes - to find him and not have any witnesses.It's easy to assume that the person(s) in the Passing Patrol were American troops but that's not necessarily the case. In 2003, there were still Coalition troops in Iraq. In addition, because of disagreements over local turf, the Kurds and area Turkmen were running patrols in the region. Even assuming the Passing Patrol were in fact Americans, it's still possible they were foreign born. That's a lot of wiggle room.
There's just too little information to make any assumptions about them.
So, I'd first like to know more about the Passing Patrol and the personnel manning the Check Point:
Who were they?The Missing Mechanics
Where were they from?
What was their background?
Were they supposed to be there?
Did they regularly patrol the area?
Where were they going?
Were there any connections to Ultra Services or Irex Ltd?
Who took the initial report?
Until I can be convinced otherwise, I'm holding firm to the belief that Kirk von Ackermann sought to repair his tire. I'd like to know if he spoke with any of the mechanics at FOB Pacesetter and if he tried to visit - by ground or by air - any of the other area bases, most especially Camp Anaconda. That's a whole lot of ground to cover but if he did speak with some mechanics, it could greatly narrow the time frame as well as the location of his abduction. Just to be clear, the mechanics are possible witnesses, not suspects.
By the Fall of 2003, John Dawkins had pissed a number of people off. His investors at Stratex back in Central Asia. His employees at Ultra Services. I'm under the impression the pissed off list included some suppliers and Turkish manufacturers. At one point, Charles Phillips reported that he was afraid John Dawkins wouldn't pay the bills and that he'd end up knee-capped by local suppliers.
Oddly enough, one exception was Dawkin's Turkish partner, Mete Mutlugolu. Mutlugolu's deal was negotiated and signed with Stratex, not John Dawkins, so he'd get paid no matter what.
Again, until I can be convinced otherwise, it's my belief that Kirk von Ackermann was killed because he was mistaken for John Dawkins. That so many people to this day fervently want Dawkins to be guilty, lends credence to the idea. That's a lot of hatred to carry around.
Questions worth exploring:
Who hated John Dawkins in the Fall of 2003? (Unfortunately, it's not a short list)Money
Did anyone have anything to gain by his death?
What was their financial situation at the time?
Was anyone looking for vengeance?
Past or unpaid debts?
Woman scorned with an angry friend on duty in Iraq?
Without even addressing the accusation of fraud, there was a lot of money at stake. Ultra Services' employees were seeking to shoplift the company out from under Dawkins to create Irex Ltd. Irex already had suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors, and investors lined up. There was already interest in their Demountable Guard Unit from outside Iraq. Anyone involved in future business with the new company could have had sufficient reason to want to hurry things along by getting rid of John Dawkins.
Strangely enough, Irex Ltd. didn't really see itself as a competitor to Dawkins. In his email to Geoff Nordloh (ref), Charles Phillips described Irex Ltd. as more of an agent or middle man rather than a direct supplier as Ultra Services was at the time.
Effectively, we would [be] switching our core competency from sourcing and logistical support to contract consulting, negotiations, and high-level strategic support.Conclusion
Squeeze from the Missing Mechanics to the Passing Patrol. Find out what happened to Kirk von Ackermann. I've always believed that if Kirk von Ackermann's disappearance was solved first, the connection, or lack of one, to Ryan Manelick's murder would be clear.