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In a Large Box

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Not so long ago, a variation on the ‘Nigerian billionaire’ spam scam started circulating. A certain Sergeant Dewayne Pittman of the US military sent out a few thousand emails asking for help transferring large sums of money out of Iraq. It seems that Sergeant Pittman has not only changed his citizenship and moved to a new theatre of war, but has been very rapidly promoted – those smuggled Iraqi millions must really have come in handy. He wrote to the LRB this morning:

Hi,
I am an active British soldier currently in Afghanistan. I am with the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery in Afghanistan. We hijacked a suspected helicopter painted black[…]

We discovered other currencies including US dollars of about $ 16 million loaded inside the Blackhawk helicopter. We want to move this money out of this place.. This place is a war zone, so that you may keep our share pending the end of our assignment here in Afghanistan.

We will take 70%. You take 30%. No strings attached, just help us move it out of Afghanistan, Afghanistan is a war zone. We plan on using secured logistics courier to ship the money out in a large box.

If you can help to receive the box for us, I will send you the full details. Kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for quick communication also your contact details. This should be a secret and must be kept secret.

Respectfully,
Gen Sir Dewayne Pittman (right)

Right?

Comments on “In a Large Box”

  1. Mark C says:

    This appears to be inspired by William Gibson’s novel “Spook Country”, in which several groups of characters chase after a shipping container (or “large box”) full of Iraqi cash.

    • Thomas Jones says:

      I like that idea: though in the novel they’re not planning to steal the cash so much as [SPOILER ALERT] irradiate it to make it unlaunderable. [END OF SPOILER]

      Here’s a conversation between two of Gibson’s characters:

      ‘Oversight of twelve billion, in a situation like the one in Iraq? It’s literally impossible, today, to say with any authority exactly where the majority of that money went.’
      ‘But it was used to rebuild the country?’
      ‘Does it look like it?’

      Perhaps Gibson had been reading Ed Harriman’s pieces in the LRB.

  2. Mark C says:

    I think the baddies wanted to steal it but the goodies beat them to it.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Gibson had read those pieces and I’m sure he would be amused by the spam email, whether or not it was inspired by his book.

  3. Martin says:

    Could someone please tell me what has happened to the calibre of the average British soldier? Where is the British Army recruiting from: ‘we hijacked a suspected helicopter’! It must have been extraordinarily well disguised. Even my four-year-old son can tell a helicopter by sight or sound within a split second.

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