Sunday, March 20, 2011

Infrared Video

Army to take new look at friendly fire death
By Joe Gould, Army Times, March 20, 2011

The Army is reinvestigating the 2008 friendly fire death of a 101st Airborne soldier whose team leader shot him and left him to die on the battlefield in Iraq, according to prior inquiries.

The Army has notified David H. Sharrett, the father of Pfc. David Sharrett, 27, that it has launched a new and broader investigation.

An earlier probe found that the team leader, then-1st Lt. Timothy Hanson, left the battlefield on a helicopter while two of his soldiers were unaccounted for. Hanson subsequently received a temporary reprimand, was promoted to captain, and is now in the Reserve.

Sharrett, a former English teacher, has aggressively pressed the Army for information on his son’s death. He said he wants this inquiry, the Army’s third, to provide truth and accountability.
But of particular interest to this blog is this:
For years, Sharrett has met with his son’s colleagues and superiors, investigators and other general officers in an effort to wrangle information about how his son died.

“I’m convinced that decisions were made early on that this is not going above any kind of level,” Sharrett said. “They were not counting on anyone being aggressive in pursuing what the truth was.”

Sharrett said he was eventually able to view gun-sight video from an Apache helicopter that provided a chilling infrared view of the battlefield.

“You can see Hanson getting on the helicopter, you can see [my son] up on the wide screen, he’s struggling, and in the same frame, [the team leader is] leaving,” Sharrett said. “That’s where it really, really got to me.”
A lot of information was collected by the military in Iraq. Somewhere, there's footage and audio that's of direct relevance to the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann and the murder of his colleague, Ryan Manelick. I guess the big question remains - why didn't investigators pursue those materials?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Birthday Boys - theater

Throughout March, Theater Unleashed in Hollywood, CA will present The Birthday Boys.

Their brief description of the play, set in 2006 Iraq, 'a gritty and terrifying dark comedy that tracks three United States Marines who have been taken hostage, bound and blindfolded, as they do whatever's necessary to keep their sanity and stay alive.'

The Birthday Boys
Playwright: Aaron Kozak
Director: Jacob Smith
Show Information
NoHo Stages
4934 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Friday, March 04, 2011

Captivity - book

James Loney, a Canadian, was one of the four members from Christian Peacemaker Teams seized in Iraq on November 26, 2005.

Loney has written a memoir of his experience which is due out in April. He was abducted with Canadian Harmeet Singh Sooden, British citizen Norman Kember and American Tom Fox. Two additional books have been written to date on the CPT kidnapping - details can be found at the Books link below.
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)
About the author:
James Loney is a Canadian peace activist, writer and member of Christian Peacemaker Teams. Based in Toronto, he has served on violence-reduction teams in Iraq, Palestine and First Nations communities in Canada. In November 2005, he was kidnapped along with the CPT delegation he was leading and held hostage for four months. One member of the group was murdered, an American named Tom Fox. The surviving three were released in a military operation led by British special forces.
Of note: in searching through the Iraq War Logs, I couldn't find a record of the kidnapping. However, one reader did find a SIGACT report for the discovery of a body on March 9, 2006, which is believed to be that of Tom Fox (a post on the SIGACT reports can be found here).

Related Posts

Books - Iraq Hostages
July 9, 2010

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Old Photos

Looking back through some of my old notes and I came across some things that I don't believe I ever posted here.

Aerial photo of a portion of the Jabal Hamryn ridge. The road between Tikrit and Kirkuk crosses this ridge. Kirk von Ackermann described the area as the most dangerous section of road to drive on - his vehicle would later be discovered abandoned there. Unfortunately, I don't know where I found the photo nor which section of the ridge is shown. It looks like it might to the south of the Tikrit-Kirkuk road.

Next up is an article on the Balad Burn Pit - an unfortunately easy place to dispose of a dead body.

Engineers Operate Burn Pit in Balad
By Pfc Abel Trevino, 28th Public Affairs Detachment, Defend America, October 2004

I forgot about this one.

This is a satellite photo of a massive dust storm - 1300 miles wide - that hit the Gulf of Oman region on December 13, 2003, the day before Ryan Manelick was killed in a drive by shooting. The car used in the drive by was described as a 'nice white Landcruiser' in an email from John Dawkins to Greg Manelick. I've always wondered if Iraq - further to the north - was also hit by dust storms that day. And if so, what does a 'nice white' car say about Manelick's assailants.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Hostage Negotiation

With pirates in the news almost daily, now seemed like a good time for this post.

To date, my research has concentrated quite narrowly on American missing persons in Iraq.

And for some time now, I've been collecting the names of companies and individuals involved in risk management, with an emphasis on hostage negotiation or incident response. I first became aware of the work in this area from news reports, trade magazine interviews, etc. Some of the individuals listed below worked with the Hostage Working Group at the US Embassy in Iraq.

I thought this information might be useful to post. I make no warranty as to the quality and effectiveness of the different individuals, groups and/or organizations. I honestly don't know anything about any of them other than what I've read in the news, so anyone using this list will need to do their own due diligence. It's a very safe assumption these services don't come cheap, and that this list is by no means definitive - many more companies are out there.

Government Agencies

Critical Incident Response Group
Hostage Rescue Team

Joint Personnel Recovery Agency
under Joint Forces Command
US Forces-Iraq Personnel Recovery Division
(part of CENTCOM)
Lt. Col. Kevin Dennehy - Director
Lt. Col. Patrick Wright - former Director
Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory
Baghdad, Iraq

Of note: A sole source contract was issued by USF-IPRD for 'support services' to Blackbird Technologies. Blackbird Technologies includes a job opening for Personnel Recovery Mission Specialist under current 'career' listings.

Blackbird Technologies Inc
13900 Lincoln Park Drive
Suite 400
Herndon, VA 20171
Fax: 703-464-9381

U.S. Department of State
Hostage Working Group
U.S. Embassy Baghdad
Tel: 1-240-553-0584, ext. 5340 or 5635
Iraqna: 07901-732-134
GSM: 914-822-5493
International Zone/Police Emergency Numbers:
Regional Security Office Tactical Operations Center: (914) 360-5828
FBI Tactical Operations Center: (703) 630-0996 ex 20501
Coalition Force Joint Area Support Group (JASG) Security: (914) 822-7775
Consular Affairs Emergency Duty Officer: (914) 360-6753

Erik Rye is the former director of the Hostage Working Group at the United States Embassy in Baghdad. He is currently an employee with the US State Department Operations Directorate, Office of the Coordinator for Counter terrorism.

US State Department Operations Directorate
Office of the Coordinator for Counter terrorism.
Erik Donald Rye - interagency coordinator of international hostage crises
S/CT 2509 HST
Phone: (202) 776-8396
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
More information about Erik Rye at the State Department blog:

Private Companies and Consultants

List of Security Companies operating in Iraq
Includes brief descriptions of company services

Altegrity Risk International (ARI) is the parent company of Kroll and USIS. Former NYC and LAPD Police Chief William Bratton was the Chairman of ARI before becoming the Chairman of Kroll in 2010.

Altegrity Risk International
Corporate Headquarters
570 Lexington Avenue
7th Floor New York, NY 10022

Mark Harris leads the incident response team for ASI Global, LLC. ASI is the hostage negotiator for personnel insured by Travelers Group. According to their website, they also provide Kidnap & Ransom services for uninsured parties.

Mark Harris
ASI Global, LLC
2925 Briarpark Dr. Suite 1100
Houston, TX 77042 USA
713-430-7300 phone
713-430-7318 fax
+44 (0) 207 240 3237 outside of the US

Christopher Voss was a member of the FBI in the US for 24 years and was the FBI's lead international kidnapping negotiator and is in private practice.

Christopher Voss
Black Swan Group
1000 Water Street SW
Washington, DC 20024
917-374-2119 cell phone
202-621-7262 office

See 2012 comment below about AIG canceling its contract with Clayton - Acquired in 2007, Clayton Consultants is now a subsidiary of Triple Canopy. Triple Canopy is a private security company operating in Iraq. Clayton Consultants is the hostage negotiator for personnel insured by AIG. The former head of crisis response, Francisco Quinones, is said to have left Clayton Consultants.

Armand Gadoury - owner
Clayton Consultants - a subsidiary of Triple Canopy
12018 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, Virginia 20191 USA
703-673-5581 main
703-673-5001 fax

'Control Risks is retained exclusively by Hiscox at Lloyds of London to provide priority crisis response to clients insured under kidnap-for-ransom and extortion policies.' [ref] Side note: Guillaume Bonnissent is the Kidnap and Ransom insurance underwriter at Hiscox.

Control Risks
Cottons Centre
Cottons Lane
London SE1 2QG
United Kingdom
Tel: + 44 20 7970 2100
Fax: + 44 20 7970 2222

Dan O'Shea is the former head of the Hostage Working Group in Iraq at the US Embassy in Baghdad and is in private practice.

Daniel O'Shea
Daniel Risk Mitigation, Inc.
3212 W Santiago Street # A
Tampa, FL USA
813-835-1847 - (phone number may be incorrect)

Donald Palmer is a hostage negotiator who previously worked in military intelligence in Northern Ireland. He is now in private practice. G4S plc was formed in 2004 from the merger of Securicor plc and Group 4 Falck A/S’s security business.

Donald Palmer
Head of Crisis Response
G4S Security Group
The Manor
Manor Royal
West Sussex RH10 9UN
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 20 8770 7000
+44 (0) 20 8722 2000

According to a comment below, as of 2012, NYA now holds the AIG contract for crisis response.

NYA International
1 Cornhill
London EC3V 3ND
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 203 170 8661

Garry Vardon-Smith is a former police adviser to the British Embassy in Baghdad and is in private practice.

Garry Vardon-Smith
Risk Reduction Strategies Ltd
27-28 Monmouth Street
Bath BA1 2AP UK
Tel: 01225 840434 - Fax:0870 7051220
Company Registration Number: 5297384
Additional phone numbers: 960 360 6319 and 07901933352 - (phone numbers may be incorrect)

Bob Parr was the risk management adviser in 2006 to the documentary "Kidnap & Rescue: The Roy Hallums Story" This documentary was the first public look inside of the Hostage Working Group. I am listing him here as a potential source for additional information on the world of hostage negotiators.

Bob Parr
Global Film Solutions
PO Box 2240
Queenstown 9197
New Zealand
+64 3 442 1730 phone
+64 3 442 0730 fax

Compass Risk Management - security company
telephone: +44 (0) 1476 550 166
mobile: +44 (0) 7946 053 797

Kidnap Prevention Programs

Course: Surviving Hostile Regions
AKE Group
Saint Owen's Chambers - Corporate Headquarters
22 St. Owen Street
Tel: +44 (0)1432 267111
Fax: +44 (0)1432 350227

Training Services by subject
Asset Protection Network - trade group

Course Listings by date and location
ASIS International - trade group
Worldwide Headquarters USA
1625 Prince Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-2818
Member Services:
fax +1.703.519.6299

Training: High Risk Travel Seminar
National Hostage Survival Training Center
subsidiary Center for Personal Protection & Recovery
N. 108 Washington
Suite 600
Spokane, WA 99201
509-468-4128 phone
509-468-1225 fax


As kidnappings for ransom surge in Mexico, victims' families and employers turn to private U.S. firms instead of law enforcement
By Nick Miroff Washington Post, February 26, 2011

Tales of the hostage negotiators
By James Boxell, January 21, 2010

The business of kidnapping
By Joe Kelly, The Australian, February 17, 2010

Living the Baghdad Experience
Keeping Terrorism at Bay, Talk Through, April/May 2005, p14
Magazine of the Ministry of Defence Police, Printed in the UK by Holbrooks Printers Ltd.