Friday, December 31, 2010

State Department Statistics

The US Department of State website includes a search feature for Death of U.S. Citizens Abroad by Non-Natural Causes. It appears that the murder of Ryan Manelick on December 14, 2003 is in the database. The presumed death of Kirk von Ackermann on the day of his disappearance, October 9, 2003, is not.

Death of U.S. Citizens Abroad by Non-Natural Causes
US Department of State
Data is available from October 2002 to June 2010

A screen cap for December 14, 2003 is shown below.

The search results show the name of the area as 'Addujayal, Iraq' which in all likelihood is the town of al Dujail - just to the south west of what was then Camp Anaconda (now known as Joint Base Balad). The map below shows the region.

View al Dujail, Iraq in a larger map

I am making my way through the events recorded in the database trying to pair up deaths with known kidnappings.


Peter said...

The cause of death is listed as "homicide," not "terrorist action," which I guess indicates how the State Department views the investigation.

Susie Dow said...

You raise an interesting point - homicide vs terrorist action - which I will try and cover in more detail in a new post.

For now, I'll leave a link here to the Center for Disease Control which has an article on new codes to identify deaths from terrorism:Classification of Death and Injury Resulting from Terrorism. The classes of death are:

Assault (Homicide) - includes 'injuries'
Intentional Self-harm (suicide)

So in theory, the determination of 'homicide' covers terrorist action. But does it?

Last I checked, the US military - while adopting these terms in its SIGACT reports - doesn't include clear guidance on how to use the terms within in its own manuals on casualty reporting. They include 'terrorist' in charts but not in the 'category' definitions.

When asked which was correct, I learned that there's only one person in all of the DOD who handles policy for casualties - and he was too busy to answer my questions.