For some time, now, I have been keeping in personal contact with an associate of a man whom he believes was assassinated in Iraq. By his request, I've been keeping the story under wraps for quite some time now, but that time is finally over.
THE death of an American arms dealer in Iraq has led to one of the most intricate and far-reaching inquiries into corruption among US military officers in Iraq. Some suspect that he was killed because he was a whistleblower who knew too much.Read the entire story. And a watered down version of the story at the New York Times.
When Dale Stoffel, 43, was gunned down on his way into Baghdad at the height of the insurgency in Iraq, his murder appeared all too predictable. He was an adventurer who seemed to have met his end at the hands of jihadists while engaged in one of the riskiest businesses on the planet.
However, it has emerged that Stoffel had complained to US authorities about a multi-million-dollar contracting office where two senior American officers had worked. The two officers are now under investigation.
Stoffel’s death in 2004, along with that of Joseph Wemple, 49, his friend and colleague, had all the hallmarks of an assassination. His black BMW was found with the bonnet smashed and windscreen shattered in a grim part of the Iraqi capital near the banks of the Tigris.
David Stoffel, his younger brother, who worked with him at his company Wye Oak Technology, said: “Joe [Wemple] was shot once through the eye at long distance while driving at 90mph. My brother was shot six times, in the front, the back, the shoulders and the head.”
Shortly afterwards, a rambling tape from an unknown jihadist group called him a “CIA shadow director” and “close friend of George Bush”.
“It was exactly like you see in the movies, with the guy in the black and white headscarf,” David Stoffel said. “I think it was a setup.” Since his brother’s murder he has received several death threats, warning him to stay away from Iraq.
Dale Stoffel had the swagger of a soldier of fortune. “This is what I was born for,” he used to say. He knew how to lay his hands on weapons from former Soviet bloc countries and saw the opportunity for rich spoils in Iraq. He had reckoned without the huge scale of corruption, not just among Iraqis but at the heart of the US military, which was securing a $125 billion reconstruction effort.
“We didn’t mind not winning contracts – it was not having the possibility of winning contracts that was the problem,” said David Stoffel. “These people were taking bribes just to put names on the bidders’ list.”
Dale Stoffel’s whistleblowing and line of work earned him many enemies in Iraq, including prominent Iraqis and Middle Eastern contractors with whom he had done business. There is no suggestion that the two US officers were involved in his killing.
Stoffel had passed on hair-raising stories to Stuart Bowen, the special inspector-general for Iraq reconstruction, about pizza boxes stuffed with tens of thousands of US banknotes being delivered to American contracting offices in the guise of takeaway food.
There were dead drops for cash in paper sacks all over the green zone, from which the Americans ruled Iraq, and Stoffel claimed he had been swindled out of $25m owed to Wye Oak for refitting Saddam Hussein’s tanks and armoured vehicles so they could be used by the new Iraqi army.
Stoffel made sure his complaints were heard at the highest level. Before his death he sent an e-mail to a senior assistant of General David Petraeus, the US commander, pleading for tighter controls. “If we proceed down the road we are currently on, there will be serious legal issues that will land us all in jail,” he warned.
Suffice it to say that this is merely the beginning of a scandal that will not only touch high ranking officers in the military, but elected officials in high office, as well.
This story, as they say, is developing.
This just in from my source:
As I stated before, this is just the tip of the iceberg.A new letter was written to the Senate Democratic
Policy Committee...and just yesterday they removed
access on their web site to the hearing in which
they accused his ( family of treasonous actions. No
response to us...the other hearings
are still there...just gone...no retraction...
let's just erase the page amd maybe no one will
notice it is gone even though it was there for four
months...and quoted all over the web.
UPDATE 2/22/08, 8:22am
This post will be bumped and updated as events develop.