Friday, October 30, 2009


Just over a year ago, on September 19, 2008 to be exact, I actually had a nightmare about Ryan Manelick. That had never happened before. For what it's worth, I thought I'd share the dream here.

The Dream

There were two rolls of vinyl tape (like duct tape) that were important to Ryan Manelick's case and someone was trying to destroy them. One of the rolls was lavender color. I felt an enormous amount of anxiety and panic within the dream.


I filed an FOIA with the NSA for two audio recordings (two tapes) of satellite phone calls made by Kirk von Ackermann shortly before he disappeared. It is my personal belief that von Ackermann did not place the second call (lavendar is wishy washy - literally). I believe that an impostor (roll = 'role') placed the call using von Ackermann's satellite phone.

Further on the two words lavender and roll...a 'lav' is a microphone or a washroom, LAV also is short for 'light armored vehicle' as used by the military. It's my belief that von Ackermann was abducted and killed on an American base in Iraq. Roll has many meanings, a few worth pointing out - roll as in tire, roll out, let's roll, rock n' roll (the vehicle was found among rocky outcroppings, steam roll, roll over play dead, I think you can get the general idea of how my mind works with word play. You can probably think up some variations of your own....

Destroying the tapes - I must be worrying in my sub-conscience that the NSA is going to destroy recordings. As to why the dream was specific to Ryan Manelick - I find that very odd. I substituted Manelick for von Ackermann even though I didn't file an FOIA for Manelick's satellite call.

Now you may be wondering, why not? Several reasons. The only known satellite call placed by Ryan Manelick that I am aware of -- specifically reported by news media and confirmed by colleagues -- is the one that Manelick made to Charles Phillips at the exact moment he was killed in a drive-by shooting.
1. Personally, I could never ever bring myself to listen to such a devastatingly violent event like that.

2. Even if the NSA had intercepted and recorded that particular satellite call, they would never release it under the privacy exemption of the FOIA. As an example of how I know this to be the case, the FAA does not release black box audio recordings of cockpit crew just prior to an impending airplane crash. The FAA won't even release the audio recordings to immediate family members of those killed in a crash.
As a result, there was no reason to pursue an FOIA of the satellite call from Manelick to Phillips.

Anyway, for what it's worth, that was the dream.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wild Dogs

You just can't make this stuff up.

‘Burn pit’ lawsuits land in Greenbelt
By Brendan Kearney, Daily Record Legal, October 20, 2009

A raft of lawsuits filed across the country by soldiers and contractors who say they were sickened by “burn pits” in Iraq and Afghanistan have been transferred to a federal judge in Maryland.

The suits against Halliburton Co. and its former subsidiary, KBR Inc., allege a variety of waste — from batteries to medical detritus, including human remains — was tossed and torched in huge, uncovered holes near army bases.

The plaintiffs, who hope to become a class of thousands, say the hazardous smoke from these sites caused ailments from rashes to upper respiratory problems to cancer. [...]

“Wild dogs in the area raided the burn pit and carried off human remains,” the suit states. “The wild dogs could be seen roaming the base with body parts in their mouths, to the great distress of the U.S. forces.”

The actual court filing of Eller v KBR Inc et al is available online. The Plaintiff is Joshua Eller. He was deployed to Iraq for ten months starting in February 2006.

Page 11 of 17, Line 50 reads:
50. Plaintiff [Joshua Eller] witnessed the open air burn pit in operation at Balad Air Force Base. On one occasion, he witnessed a wild dog running around base with a human arm in its mouth. The human arm had been dumped on the open air burn pit...

Monday, October 19, 2009


Something a little different...

An American playwright, EM Lewis, has written a play about a group of hostages in Iraq titled 'Heads.' The play features four characters separated as two pairs of hostages. The first pair are a journalist named Michael Apres and a photojournalist named Jack Velazquez. The second pair are a British embassy worker, Caroline Conway, and an American engineer, Harold Wolfe. I thought it was interesting the playwright chose only civilians for her characters.

Synopsis of the play:
'Heads' is the story of a British Embassy worker, an American engineer, a network journalist and a freelance photographer who are being held captive in Iraq; as death draws close, each hostage must decide what he’ll do to survive.
Denver Post has a review up although it's not clear what the reviewer really felt about the play - to see or not to see - it's not clear.

Review: "Heads" explores how hostages cope
By Angela Clemmons, The Denver Post, October 16, 2009
It's strange to say that a play about hostages in Iraq could be entertaining, but EM Lewis' "Heads" at the Victorian Playhouse is a gripping fictional drama that raises important questions about our times.

Susan Lyles directs the And Toto Too production to brutal depths. But what could have been a deeply political piece instead ends up a play about coping with current events. Who or what is it we reach for when it seems all hope is lost? What small gestures give us solace? Is optimism a better mechanism than pessimism, or the other way around?
The playwright's blog, Players to Broken Stones, has some production photos:

Coming up next: HEADS in Denver!
September 25, 2009

More Pictures from Heads in Denver
October 14, 2009

PS I've created a new label, 'drama', to cover theater, film and tv productions that touch on Iraq hostages.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Six Years

Six years ago today Kirk von Ackermann disappeared without a trace in Iraq.

I'm told the investigation into his disappearance remains active and that, about a year ago, CID launched a new round of interviews. My understanding is that the line of inquiry continues to focus on the allegations of fraud put forth by his colleague, Ryan Manelick, shortly before Manelick was killed in a drive by shooting.

I still believe the key to solving what happened to both men is to trace Kirk von Ackermann's movements on the day he disappeared - specifically, trying to answer the simple question of what did he do to try and fix his tire? Because I just can't, no matter how hard I try, believe that a man as sharp and discerning as Kirk von Ackermann could repeatedly make poor decisions on the day he disappeared.

Because if he didn't make poor decisions, then clearly something took him by surprise. Simple logic says that in Iraq he was most vulnerable where he felt safest - like surrounded by military personnel on an American base.


The Bridge Theory (graphic, includes decision chart)
March 25, 2008

Missing Contractor: U.S. Military Mechanics May Hold the Keys
By Susie Dow, ePluribus Media, April 21, 2008