Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jeffrey Ake - missing since April 11, 2005

Article at CNN on two Americans missing in Iraq - Jeffrey Ake and Sgt. Ahmed Altaie (alternative spellings: Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie, Ahmed K. Altaie, Ahmed Kousay al-Taie, Ahmad Qusay al-Ta’ae). Jeffrey Ake was abducted on April 11, 2005 and has now been missing for 5 years.

Five years after Iraq abduction, family tries making own closure
By Jason Hanna, CNN, April 11, 2010
[Jeffrey] Ake is one of 11 Americans still missing in Iraq, 21 months before the United States is scheduled to withdraw all its troops from the country. The 10 civilians and one soldier disappeared after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country, and each has been missing for at least two years, according to the U.S. State Department. [...]

U.S. officials are working for the safe return of all 11 missing Americans and continuing to call for their immediate release and any information about them, State Department spokesman John Fleming said. The government also is trying to help with the recovery of other nations' citizens who are missing in Iraq, including four from South Africa and one each from the United Kingdom, Russia and Japan, Fleming said.

In Ake's case, the director of the Office of Hostage Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad recently conducted a review of the kidnapping "to reinvigorate source development," Fleming said.
Some conflicting information - the CNN article states there are 11 Americans missing in Iraq but a February 8 article in the News Tribune cited 18 missing including a second unknown member of the US military. It should be noted that #18 was Issa Salomi - now safely returned to his family in California - leaving 17 believed still missing.

I'm attaching an updated chart.

Additional Reading - website for donations

US Army Sergeant Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie - facebook page

18 Americans Missing in Iraq - February 2010
February 8, 2010

They search if someone’s missing in Iraq
By Scott Fontaine, The News Tribune, February 8, 2010

Friday, April 09, 2010

Op-Ed on Hostage Reporting

I almost titled this post, the Goose, the Gander and the missing Gosslings.

The Goose and the Gander - PDF
By Cori E. Dauber, Strategic Studies Institute, April 1, 2010

The willingness to release information on one class of hostages—American military personnel—while withholding the same information regarding another class of hostages—fellow members of the press corps—is, if nothing else, a somewhat obvious double standard. Either publicizing a kidnapping puts the victim at risk or it does not, and it is hard to imagine a reason why Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, or Marines should not be granted the same respect in such a situation as is given to a reporter. It is common for members of the press to argue that they are not representatives of any particular country, and that they must observe a level of studied neutrality. The wisdom of such a position aside, these service members are not being taken by another state, but by stateless, brutal, terrorist groups, which use the taking of hostages as a tool of terror and of intimidation, and the desire to temporarily withhold information to protect the life of an individual service member hardly seems to violate objectivity. After all, these same news media organizations regularly tout the fact that when they are convinced by the government that national security interests are legitimately involved, they willingly withhold stories (for example, not reporting that particular Taliban leaders were captured until there is a chance to exploit intelligence gained subsequent to their capture), sometimes, indeed, details of a story are not reported for years—or at all.
Absolutely no mention of contractors. Funny, that.

For what it's worth - my own opinion on releasing information to the press: each kidnapping should be assessed on a case by case basis and should include input of affected family members.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Aerial Surveillance Footage - pt 2

Wikileaks recently released classified audio/video from Apache helicopters in Iraq. The footage shows the July 2007 attack by U.S. forces that killed a Reuters journalist and several bystanders. The controversial subject of the video is not relevant to this blog but the quality of that classified video is. The amount of detail the cameras captured is incredible.

I sound like a broken record here...

Did the U.S. military record similar images in the Fall of 2003? Specifically, is there aerial footage of Kirk von Ackermann's Nissan Patrol on the day he disappeared and of Ryan Manelick's Hyundai Galloper when he was killed in a drive by shooting? Did anyone pick up the Patrol as it left FOB Pacesetter? Anyone pick up the Galloper as it left Anaconda?

In the fall of 2003, Saddam Hussein was still at large. Who was watching the roads?


January 27, 2010

Reintegration Program for Hostages

Good to know - there is a voluntary reintegration program for former hostages. I'm curious as to how family members participate in the reintegration process.

Abducted Army linguist glad to be back in US
By Michelle Roberts, Associated Press, Army Times, April 1, 2010
A civilian Army employee kidnapped while working as a linguist in Iraq released a statement Wednesday saying he is delighted to be back in the United States and is focused being able to reintegrate back into his normal life.

Issa Salomi, a 60-year-old Iraqi-American kidnapped in January, returned to the U.S. late Tuesday night and is undergoing medical tests and debriefings with Army officials at Fort Sam Houston, where a voluntary reintegration program for former hostages is housed.
Issa Salomi may be voluntarily participating in a program much like those trying to address PTSD:
The Post-Deployment Health Re-Assessment (PDHRA) is a new program to address both physical and psychological needs of Soldiers after demobilization.
The following pamphlet provides a broad overview of a variety of programs and links to the various branches involved:
Active Army Family Action Plan - PDF - specifically see Issue #603
Issue Update Book
April 2009
Information about Fort Sam:

Fort Sam Houston Soldier and Family Assistance Center
The Fort Sam Houston Soldier and Family Assistance Center (SFAC) partners with the Warrior & Family Support Center (WFSC) to provide all SFAC services. The SFAC is a one-stop administrative resource center hosting 14 different services supporting Warriors in Transition, their Family members and Surviving Spouses.