January 22nd, 2005


Did the Interim Iraqi Defense Minister have two Americans murdered for $300 million?

The mysterious death of two U.S. contractors has some in the government very concerned about Iraqi government corruption, as the FBI opens an investigation into potential foul play.

In the middle of a election that will decide who controls Iraq, Interim Iraqi Defense Minister Hazim Shaalan has announced that Ahmad Chalabi -- a rival candidate -- will be arrested on 13-year-old charges. But why now? Shaalan says Chalabi "wanted to malign the reputation of the defense ministry". How?

1> Shaalan claims Chalabi released documents accusing Shaalan of being a former member of the Mokhaberat, Saddam's intelligence service. (Shaalan claims these are political fraud, meant to silence his claims against the Iranians.)

2> Chalabi claims that Shaalan flew $300 million in U.S. currency to a shady businessman in Lebanon, bypassing financial controls, the public bidding process, and Iraqi government oversight.

So, how does this tie in with Stoffel and Wemple? Stoffel recently alerted senior U.S. officials that the Iraqi Defense Ministry was involved in a kickback scheme involving a shady businessman in Lebanon and a multimillion-dollar arms deal. Late last year, Stoffel, a prominent Republican donor and arms dealer, met with aides to Sen. Santorum, R-Pa. Santorum wrote Donald Rumsfeld on Stoffel's behalf, asking him to raise the issue with Shaalan. Stoffel was then invited by British Brig. Gen. Clements to meet with the Lebanese businessman and and sort out the problem. After several days of discussions, Clements told the businessman to pay Stoffel's company -- a debt which is still unpaid. Upon leaving the meeting, Stoffel and Wemple were attacked and killed near the base. A video from a previously unknown terrorist organization claimed responsibility, but experts suggest that it may have been "manufactured". A reporter recently granted an interview with an Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman was forbidden to ask "dangerous" questions about the contract. Stoffel and Wemple are survived by their wives and five children.