Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl and WikiLeaks

Documents detail search for captive soldier
By John Miller, The Associated Press, July 29, 2010

[Pfc. Bowe] Bergdahl, a 24-year-old from Hailey in central Idaho, has been a captive since June 30, 2009.

Documents posted on the whistle-blower group WikiLeaks' website include transcripts of Afghan radio transmissions intercepted after Bergdahl went missing from his base in southern Afghanistan — as well as reports from U.S. soldiers about talks with village elders about a possible prisoner swap.

The documents show Afghan tribal leaders assured U.S. officials Bergdahl was unharmed. [...]

According to a transcript of what appears to be a radio transmission intercepted July 1, 2009 — the day after Bergdahl's capture — people aware he was being held hostage discussed what to do with him.
Reference material posted at WikiLeaks:

WikiLeaks, Afghan War Diary, July 26, 2010
At 0430Z, TF 1 Geronimo reported a B Co missing soldier after he did not show up for the 0900L morning roll call at Mest OP, grid 42SVB 59236 47877 Yahya Khail District, Paktika. A full search was ordered. At 0535Z, TF 1 Geronimo initiated DUSTWUN procedures for the missing soldier. At 0645Z, all remaining units had reported in 100% accountability. Geronimo TOC ordered blocking positions set in and around Mest OP. At 0707Z, Predator (VooDoo) was on station in support. At 0940Z, a Pathfinder and tracking dog team arrived at Mest OP in support. At 0945Z, Predator (Pfingston) arrived on station in support. At 1012Z, LLVI receives traffic that an American Soldier with a camera is looking for someone who speaks English. At 1303Z, Graphic 33(2x F-18) arrived on station in support. At 1309Z, FF receive intelligence that a U.S. soldier has been captured. At 1351Z, VooDoo and Pfingston RIP with Predator (Sijan). At 1520Z, Sijan RIPs with Predator (Kisling) and DUDE-21 (2x F-15) arrives on station to support. Between 1725Z and 1800Z, B Co conducted 2 breaches of suspected enemy locations with NSTR. Additional forces were moving into the area to place blocking positions and conduct searches based on all of the aerial and ground based intelligence sources available throughout the day and through the night.
There's much more including updates.

My question, does a similar report exist for the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann on October 9, 2003? Did the US Army in Iraq launch drones and intercept radio transmissions? I'd like to think they left no stone unturned, but I've been told the answer to that question is a big NO. That in fact, CID never requested assistance from any of the various agencies who were conducting surveillance in Iraq.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Missing in Afghanistan

To date, this blog has focused on Americans known to be missing in Iraq.

On Friday, two American Navy servicemen were captured by a Taliban 'faction' in the Logar province south of the Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. Also missing for over one year in Afghanistan is a US Army Private, Bowe Bergdahl of Idaho.

CNN is now reporting the body of one of the US Navy service members - reported as killed during a firefight - has been recovered with their vehicle.

Taliban negotiating over captured Navy personnel in Afghanistan
By Laura King, Los Angeles Times, July 25, 2010
A Taliban faction that said it had killed one U.S. serviceman and captured another offered to exchange the slain man's body for an unspecified number of insurgent prisoners, an Afghan official said Sunday.

The two Americans, identified by Western officials as U.S. Navy personnel, were last seen Friday in a dangerous part of Logar province, south of the Afghan capital. A massive ground and air search by NATO and Afghan forces was underway, with the men's photos plastered at military checkpoints and a reward offered for information about them.
Local officials: 1 of 2 abducted U.S. service members killed
By Matiullah Mati, CNN, July 25, 2010
Den Mohammad Darwish, the spokesman for the governor of Logar province, said he learned from locals that the service member was killed. Hesaid the body was found in the Patanak Mountains of Charkh district. He also said the vehicle the men were driving was located Sunday.

A Taliban spokesman confirmed that the killed American died in a firefight and the other is being held by the group.
UPDATE: Remains of both men have now been recovered. The identities of the US military personnel are Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley of Wheatridge, Colorado and Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Jerod Newlove of Renton, Washington.

Sincere condolences to the friends and families of both men.

Local sailor's body recovered in Afghanistan
AP, with Hal Bernton, Susan Gilmore and Maureen O'Hagan, Seattle Times, July 29, 2010

Friday, July 09, 2010

Books - Iraq Hostages

By no means definitive, this is a list of books available in English of accounts of hostages held in Iraq. At this time, I have not included Rick Bragg's book, I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story. It didn't quite seem to fit.

This list will be updated as new material appears.

Escape In Iraq: The Thomas Hamill Story
By Thomas Hamill, Paul T. Brown, and Jay Langston, Stoeger Publishing Company, October 31, 2004
ISBN-13: 978-0883173145

Hostage: The Jill Carroll Story (Audio Book)
By Jill Carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, September 1, 2006

Friendly Fire: The Remarkable Story of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq, Rescued by an Italian Secret Service Agent, and Shot by U.S. Forces
By Giuliana Sgrena and Amy Goodman, Haymarket Books, October 1, 2006
ISBN-13: 978-1931859394

The Business of War: Workers, Warriors And Hostages in Occupied Iraq
By James A. Tyner, Ashgate Publishing, November 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0754647911

Hostage in Iraq
By Norman F. Kember, Lorimer Publisher, October 31, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-1550289992

American Hostage: A Memoir of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq and the Remarkable Battle to Win His Release
By Micah Garen and Marie-Helene Carleton, Simon & Schuster, November 9, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-1416586319

118 Days: Christian Peacemaker Teams Held Hostage in Iraq
By Tricia Gates Brown, DreamSeeker Books of Cascadia Publishing House, February 15, 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1931038614

Big Boy Rules: America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq
By Steve Fainaru, Da Capo Press, October 13, 2009
ISBN-13: 978-0306818387

Buried Alive: The True Story of Kidnapping, Captivity, and a Dramatic Rescue
By Roy Hallums, Thomas Nelson Publishers, January 12, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1595551702

118 Days in Iraq and the Struggle for a World Without War
By James Loney, Knopf Canada, April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-39927-4 (0-307-39927-3)

Thursday, July 08, 2010


This is so looooong overdue. Hopefully this also means the VA will actually receive whatever funding it needs for PTSD treatment. Otherwise, disability payments will just lead to warehousing sick veterans without the medical treatment they need too.

V.A. Is Easing Rules to Cover Stress Disorder
By James Dao, New York Times, July 7, 2010

The government is preparing to issue new rules that will make it substantially easier for veterans who have been found to have post-traumatic stress disorder to receive disability benefits, a change that could affect hundreds of thousands of veterans from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam.
The ratio of contractors to military personnel in Iraq was 1:1 - so I gotta ask, who is watching out for the contractors?