Friday, January 21, 2011

AP Article on Missing Americans

New article on American hostages and missing persons in Iraq. It more or less centers around Sgt Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie, missing since October 23, 2006.

Unfortunately, there's no formal list of the missing to accompany the article. And based on information within the article, it's reported the U.S. State Department is taking over outstanding cases. Pardon my cynicism but that sounds like a bureaucratic black hole to me - a polite way to tell families, "We're doing everything we can," while accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Search goes on for missing Americans in Iraq
By Kim Gamel, Rebecca Santana, Associated Press, Marine Corps Times, January 21, 2011

The search effort is now in the hands of the military's Personnel Recovery Division, a group of 20 people overseen by Col. Michael Infanti of Stafford, Va.

Infanti was the battalion commander in charge of the search for three U.S. soldiers who went missing after their unit was ambushed south of Baghdad in May 2007. Their remains were found more than a year later, after Infanti and other soldiers, who had spent months combing through the canal-lined terrain, had returned to the U.S.

Besides al-Taie, the Personnel Recovery Division is also looking for seven other Americans, four South Africans and a British man.

The military said it is developing a plan to transfer the cases concerning American citizens to the U.S. State Department, which has promised to maintain a strong diplomatic presence after the troops leave. The other cases will be turned over to their respective countries. more...
The article notes that the SIGACT report for the abduction of Jeffrey Ake can be found in the Iraq War Logs at WikiLeaks - as far as I know, this article is the first from a mainstream news organization to report on the SIGACT reports for Americans missing in Iraq. Call it progress.

According to my own records and assuming Major Troy Lee Gilbert is included, a minimum of 8 to as many as 18 or more Americans still remain missing today.


Washington Post carries the same article but it contains some additional information. In particular, this passage:
Search goes on for missing Americans in Iraq
By Kim Gamel, Associated Press, Washington Post, January 22, 2011

U.S. Air Force Maj. Jimmy Smith, the [Personnel Recovery Division]'s deputy director, said nine American abductees, including three who were still alive, have been recovered in Iraq since 2004.
I'm feeling a little frustrated. Where are the Personnel Recovery Division getting their figures? At least 42 Americans have been abducted in Iraq. Of those, 1 escaped and 5 were released alive; remains of 18 deceased have been recovered; 8 are missing; status of the remaining 10 is unknown.

See the chart in the post linked below.

Additional Reading

SIGACT Reports of Americans Missing in Iraq (includes chart of the missing)
December 17, 2010

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