Sunday, May 24, 2009

Contractor abducted and killed in Iraq

The body of contractor Jim Kitterman, 60, of Houston, Texas, was found Friday in the Green Zone after reported missing the night before. According to news reports, Kitterman was found bound and blindfolded, stabbed multiple times, with his throat slit.

Below is a very strange passage taken from the Washington Post which leaves you wondering what is being left out:

American Killed in Baghdad's Green Zone Identified
By Ernesto Londoño and Steve Fainaru, Washington Post, May 23, 2009

A security alert sent by Western security officials in the Green Zone to an American client said Kitterman was apparently abducted Thursday night as he was leaving a shop in the Green Zone. The alert, which was provided to The Washington Post, said his throat had been slit.

The U.S. official said a preliminary investigation suggests the killing might have been a crime of passion.

"Our suspicion is that it was some kind of an argument that went bad," the official said.

'Crime of passion' is a rather bizarre way to describe a thoroughly brutal and horrific murder.

Kitterman was the President of a small construction company, Janus Construction. A colleague reported he had previously served as a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy. Sincere condolences to his friends and family.


Five U.S. contractors held in slaying of another in Iraq
CNN, June 6, 2009

Five American security contractors were detained in connection with the killing of another American contractor last month inside Baghdad's Green Zone, sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN Saturday. [...]

The five suspects knew the victim, a source inside the Green Zone familiar with the investigation said. Both the Iraqi and the Green Zone sources noted that the FBI has been involved in the investigation from the start.

Once the suspects are charged and referred to trial, the case would be sent to Iraq's Central Criminal Court, the Iraqi official said. If that happens, it would be the first time U.S. citizens were tried in Iraq since the United States returned the country's government to the Iraqis.

If it's in fact true that the five American men will be tried under the Iraqi legal system, it's more than likely they'll receive the death penalty.


I'll continue to add updates to this one post so as to consolidate information. 

Five U.S. contractors held in slaying of another in Iraq - includes video & grainy photos of some of the men
CNN, June 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm

The five men work for Corporate Training Unlimited, sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN Saturday.

The company was founded by a former member of the Delta Force elite anti-terrorist unit and has been operating in Iraq since 2003, according to its Web site. [...]

Four of the detainees were identified by multiple sources as Donald Feeny, the founder and chairman of the company; his son, who shares the same name; Micah Milligan; and Mark Bridges. The name of the fifth detainee was not immediately clear.

Corporate Training Unlimited website can be found at


The following article includes information from Feeney's wife that all of the men have alibis for the time during which Kitterman was abducted and killed. 

Murray mother's longing for justice may be satisfied
By Matthew D. LaPlante, The Salt Lake Tribune, June 7, 2009

Four years had passed since her son had died in an explosion in Baghdad and Carol Thomas Young was getting no closer to knowing why.

Her lawsuit against the famed special forces operative who had employed her son -- and refused to pay an insurance settlement when he was killed -- had stalled. The Murray mother dropped the suit, saying she would leave Don Feeney's fate in the hands of a "higher court."

Continues with more about missing pay, verbal agreements, and promises not kept, etc. In other words, the usual.


A fifth security contractor has been identified as Jason Jones and is said to work for a different company. [ref]


Some or possibly all of the men have now been released. One article cites "drug offenses" as the basis of two of the arrests. This is proving to be a very strange story.

Iraq police free 3 U.S. contractors
By Ned Parker , LA Times, June 11, 2009

Judy Feeney, the wife of one of the detainees, confirmed that her husband, Donald Feeney Jr., 55, had been released but had no information about the other men, including her son Donald Feeney III, 31.

Judy Feeney said a U.S. Embassy official told the wife of one of the other men that the embassy expected all five Americans to be released soon.
Iraq Clears 5 US Contractors in Killing of American Businessman
By VOA News, Voice of America, June 11, 2009
Iraqi authorities said five U.S. contractors detained last week in connection with the killing of an American businessman have been cleared of his death.

Iraqi officials said Thursday they released three of the American contractors for lack of evidence, but ordered them to post bail due to the ongoing nature of the case. They say the other two Americans remain in Iraqi custody for suspected drug offenses.

2 U.S. Contractors Transferred From Iraqi Jail
By Nada Bakri, Washington Post, June 15, 2009
Two Americans arrested this month during an Iraqi investigation into the killing of an American contractor were transferred to a U.S. military facility at the request of Iraqi officials, the U.S. Embassy said Sunday.
According to the article, the two American men who still remain in custody are Jason Jones and Micah Milligan.


Green Zone Killing heightens security fears
By Chelsea J. Carter, Associated Press, May 23, 2009

Slain American Led Construction Firm
By Ernesto Londoño and Steve Fainaru, Washington Post, May 24, 2009

Civilian contractor with Ariz. ties killed in Iraq remembered
By Elias C. Arnold, The Arizona Republic, May 25, 2009

Contractor detained in Iraq has history of exploits - includes photo
By Greg Barnes, The Fayetteville Observer, June 9, 2009

Photo source

5 detained in death of Houston contractor
Houston Chronicle, June 6, 2009, caption reads: Family Photo

Photo of Jim Kitterman was found on the web and is intended as "fair use" under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Based on absolutely nothing, I keep getting this feeling there's going to be a significant break in the case.

It's possible this obsession of mine has pushed me over the edge. On the other hand, my 'lawyer' has a new perfectly ordinary girl friend. A lot of folks would point to that event as a sure sign that hell has frozen over.

So, anything is possible. 

Or not.

PS I thought it might help readers to expand on the above statement...

Me: Did [name] get a new job?

Husband: Why do you ask?

Me: He's wearing pants. The kind that go down to his shoes.

Husband: He never wears pants. And look, he has a goatee too.

Later that day...

Husband: Guess who has a new girlfriend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Website for Joint Base Balad

Official website for Joint Base Balad - formerly referred to as Anaconda - from the US Air Force. The site includes photos, archived news articles, etc. Still no map though. Here's a background article on vehicle maintenance.

Vehicle maintainers keep Balad rollin
by Senior Airman Candace Romano
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
May 5, 2007

The maintainers, responsible for more than 1,200 vehicles of the base's Air Force vehicle fleet, keep mission-critical vehicles rolling for cargo movement and emergency response for the busiest aerial port in Iraq and the busiest single runway operation in the Department of Defense.
Related Reading

The Big Base near Balad - and its zillions of names
September 27, 2008

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Contractors and Overseas Clinics

Contractors Using Military Clinics
By Walter Pincus, Washington Post, May 7, 2009

Military clinics and field hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan have supplied more than $1 million a month in health-care services to civilian contractors during the past two years without seeking reimbursement from their employers, as provided by law, according to a new audit by the Defense Department inspector general.

The report, issued Monday, noted that all costs associated with both emergency and primary medical care are reimbursable to the government and are the responsibility of the contingency contractor personnel, their employer or their health insurance provider.
The United States desperately needs to overhaul its entire health care system and just provide care for everyone. 

The Report itself is an interesting read. I admit I kept wondering why does the government even rely on private insurance when using contractors overseas? It just adds a middle man with fees resulting in an unnecessary expense. Not to mention, half of the insurance companies fight or severely delay payments. So what's the benefit of using private insurance to begin with?

D-2009-078 PDF Health Care Provided by Military Treatment Facilities to Contractors in Southwest Asia 
Office of the Deputy Inspector General for Auditing, May 4, 2009 
(Project No. D2008-D000LF-0241.000)

Statistic from the Report:
U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) census data for the first quarter of FY 2008 stated that there were about 223,200 contractor personnel in USCENTCOM’s area of responsibility.
As a side note, according to this press release, as of August 1, 2008, there were 134 investigations involving contracts for Southwest Asia (Iraq and Afghanistan). Fascinating website. I should hang out there more often.

Department of Defense - Office of the Inspector General


Military Fails to Collect From AIG for Care to Injured Contractors
by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica, May 7, 2009
The report, however, found that no agency in the Defense Department enforces the policy. Insurance carriers or defense contractors are rarely charged when civilian contractors are treated at military medical facilities, the report found.

As a result, the Pentagon often pays twice for contractors' medical care: once in paying premiums to AIG and other carriers for insurance and a second time in failing to bill the companies for providing care to injured civilians.

Senate Hearing on AIG Care for Contractors Injured in Iraq Postponed Until June
by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica, May 12, 2009

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Back in December, I stumbled on an old interview with Ryan Manelick in a Swiss news article in which it was revealed that Ultra Services procured vehicles for the US Army.

Ryan Manelick, lui, a 30 ans. Il est Texan. Il n'a qu'un seul client, l'armée américaine qu'il approvisionne en unités sanitaires, électroménager, meubles, ordinateurs ou voitures d'Europe et des Etats-Unis.
If Manelick arranged the purchase of the Nissan Patrol SUV for Kirk von Ackermann, then I wonder if he's also the one who revealed to von Ackermann that the vehicle had a bad tire (exact problem unknown). Which would explain how investigators knew for certain that von Ackermann was aware of the problematic tire before setting out. It also explains why the investigators accepted the information at face value. 

The question in my mind is this: did Manelick offer any suggestions to von Ackermann as to how and/or where to repair that tire? Did any of the investigators think to ask Manelick?