The story of contractor Ultra Services begins in September 2001 at an unlikely event: a wedding.
Within weeks of the wedding in Kyrgyzstan, the United States, in response to the attacks of September 11th, moved forces into Central Asia. With the possibility of working in Moscow no longer an option, Lockwood joined Dawkins to visit the newly leased7 Karshi-Khanabad (K2)8 base in Uzbekistan. The two initially approached the US Army offering to set up an IPSOTEL Internet café for American soldiers. The café would be built locally using pre-fabricated shipping containers. However, when the time came to complete the contract, the US Army no longer needed the Internet services of IPSOTEL. But the Army was in need of pre-fabricated buildings like the ones the local Uzbek partners could deliver.
Glen Lockwood went to work with Dawkins’ local Uzbek partners, Ramil Mullayanov and Naum “Neil” Emilfarb. The new business venture, now specializing in containerized buildings, was called Stratex Freedom Services DP. Through his initial investment, Dawkins owned 25% of the company.
From a legal standpoint, Stratex Freedom Services DP was originally a company registered in Uzbekistan. Officially, as translated from the Russian a ‘daughter-company’ from a Delaware company [owned by family of a Uzbek partner], called Stratex Inc.
Initially, Stratex Freedom Services DP was a locally registered company. Some time in September of ‘02, we registered Stratex Freedom Services LLC, in Delaware, so that we would actually have a more legitimate company presence in the United States. One that was not primarily controlled by the local partners. – Geoff Nordloh
Charles was mostly in Turkey, ostensibly dealing with backside of operations, dealing with suppliers who were building the modular units — prefabricated types of construction.
I know that Charles made at least two trips into Iraq; he might have made two or three more. At first things seemed to be fine, and then later on there seemed to be this conflict that developed between Charles and John [Dawkins]. – Geoff Nordloh
Unsure of the changing nature of the company’s partnerships, and with John Dawkins vague on details, Nordloh was dealing almost exclusively with Phillips in overseeing Stratex’s $50,000 investment in Iraq. Even with the addition of Charles Phillips to Ultra Services, John Dawkins increasingly worked as an independent agent, while simultaneously securing contracts with the US Army. As work progressed, Phillips became the one who was communicating with the suppliers and the Stratex partners, while Dawkins avoided any discussion of the changing partnership. The Stratex partners were growing increasingly alarmed.
In effect, John operated as ‘John Dawkins’ doing business as ‘Ultra Services.’ There’s no such legal company. – Geoff Nordloh
Prior to arriving in Istanbul, Charles Phillips had worked for the software company Siebel Systems of San Mateo, California. While at Siebel, Phillips had met former Air Force Captain Kirk von Ackermann. Von Ackermann had experience working in combat zones, having been assigned to NATO intelligence operations in Kosovo.10 Through contact with Phillips while he was in Istanbul, von Ackermann would eventually join Ultra Services and begin traveling between Turkey and Iraq.
Kirk von Ackermann was ostensibly coming to work for the company, but the fact is that Charles brought him over. He saw Kirk getting involved as an opportunity to start not being dependent on John [Dawkins] for business development in Iraq. Geoff Nordloh
By the time von Ackermann joined Ultra Services, Mete Mutluoglu was effectively no longer an active partner. Thus Von Ackermann’s salary would not need to be subsidized by Stratex Freedom Service LLC as Phillips' had. Phillips would pay his salary directly out of Ultra Services funds. Like Manelick, Kirk von Ackermann spoke a number of foreign languages, including Russian, which was useful in Istanbul with its large number of Russian ex-patriots.
As Ultra Services’ work progressed, Phillips was increasingly sending up alarms about Dawkins to Nordloh. He accused Dawkins of being disorganized and endangering people in Iraq. At one point Phillips reported Dawkins had driven up too quickly to a military gate, resulting in the car being fired upon. Phillips made it clear to Nordloh that he felt Dawkins was a risk. He also claimed to be nervous that Dawkins might withhold payments to Turkish suppliers.11
I spoke with [Kirk] once on the phone. It was at a point where, Charles had been reading the riot act, vis-à-vis John. At that point Kirk had been with John, had been into Iraq and I wanted to get his ‘take’ on the situation. He was a lot more mellow about the situation with John than Charles [was].” Geoff Nordloh