US snipers accused of 'baiting'

abudabit

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Oct 10, 2004
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WASHINGTON - Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to "bait" their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, and then kill whoever picked up the items, according to the defense attorney for a soldier accused of planting evidence on an Iraqi he killed. Gary Myers, an attorney for Sgt. Evan Vela, said his client had acted "pursuant to orders."

"We believe that our client has done nothing more than he was instructed to do by superiors," Myers said in a telephone interview.

Myers and Vela's father, Curtis Carnahan of Idaho Falls, Idaho, said in separate interviews that sworn statements and testimony in the cases of two other accused Ranger snipers indicate that the Army has a classified program that encourages snipers to "bait" potential targets and then kill whoever takes the bait.

The Army on Monday declined to confirm such a program exists.

"To prevent the enemy from learning about our tactics, techniques and training procedures, we don't discuss specific methods targeting enemy combatants," said Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman.

Boyce also said there are no classified programs that authorize the murder of Iraqi civilians or the use of "drop weapons" to make killings appeared to be legally justified, which is what Vela and the two other snipers are accused of doing.

The transcript of a court hearing for two of the three accused snipers makes several references to the existence of a classified "baiting" program but provides few details of how it works. A copy of the transcript was provided to The Associated Press by Vela's father.

The Washington Post, which first reported the existence of the "baiting" program, cited the sworn statement of Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of a Ranger sniper scout platoon.

"Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use, with the intention of destroying the enemy," Didier said in the statement. "Basically, we would put an item out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against U.S. forces."

The Post said the program was devised by the Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group, which advises commanders on more effective methods in today's unconventional conflicts, including ways to combat roadside bombs.

Within months of the "baiting" program's introduction, three snipers in Didier's platoon were charged with murder for allegedly using those items and others to make shootings seem legitimate, according to the Post.

The Post said that although it doesn't appear that the three alleged shootings were specifically part of the classified program, defense attorneys argue that the program may have encouraged them by blurring the legal lines in a complex war zone.

The court martial of one of the accused soldiers, Spec. Jorge Sandoval Jr., is scheduled to begin in Baghdad on Wednesday. Also facing premeditated murder charges are Vela and Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley.

They are part of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.
This is a really bad one, hope it isn't true.
 

Fr. Dougal

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Feb 17, 2004
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#2
If there was a program like this really, honestly in place... wouldn't you think more and more soldiers/former soldiers would be coming out of the woodwork and talking about it?
 

TrybalRage

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Aug 5, 2004
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#3
I wouldn't have so much of a problem if the 'bait' was more developed to attract real combatants, not just something as simple as a something laying on the ground. Anyone could come by and pick it up because they didn't know what it was, or think it has some value.
 

seeinred

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Apr 29, 2007
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#4
What's the problem with baiting enemy combatants into the open to shoot them? Seems like a sound strategy to me.
 

TheDrip

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Jan 9, 2006
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#5
I'm guessing they didn't use bars of soap or deodorant for bait.
 

abudabit

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Oct 10, 2004
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#6
What's the problem with baiting enemy combatants into the open to shoot them? Seems like a sound strategy to me.
Really? So only combatants would pick up a free gun or interesting object? For every combatant you kill you probably kill 10 civilians doing this. Might as well just shoot random people.
 

Treat_Yourself

Registered User
Nov 17, 2006
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#7
What's the problem with baiting enemy combatants into the open to shoot them? Seems like a sound strategy to me.
I don't know about that. I'd pick up a free AK just laying there on the ground.
 

seeinred

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Apr 29, 2007
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#8
Really? So only combatants would pick up a free gun or interesting object? For every combatant you kill you probably kill 10 civilians doing this. Might as well just shoot random people.
I don't know about that. I'd pick up a free AK just laying there on the ground.
Apparently I was imagining the situation wrong. I assumed that they would be able to tell whether or not the person checking out the thing laying on the ground was a soldier or not, but I guess that's probably not the case.
 
Aug 10, 2007
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#9
Apparently I was imagining the situation wrong. I assumed that they would be able to tell whether or not the person checking out the thing laying on the ground was a soldier or not, but I guess that's probably not the case.
So it took you six years to realize that the "Insurgents" aren't wearing an army uniform? Everyone looks the same, thats why we're getting our asses handed to us by a couple third world nations.

On the other hand, you can just lay out some detonation cord or an RPG and expect every person that picks up the said item is then enemy.
 

abudabit

New Wackbag
Oct 10, 2004
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#10
I got it! Hold a house party in Iraq. But on the signs and invitations for the party put "Insurgents Only!" in big red letters. Then when the insurgents come - blow up the house.
 

TheDrip

I'm bi-winning.
Jan 9, 2006
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#12
I got it! Hold a house party in Iraq. But on the signs and invitations for the party put "Insurgents Only!" in big red letters. Then when the insurgents come - blow up the house.
Goddamn it, that's crazy enough that it just might work!
 

WhiskeyWhispers

I Want To Kill You All
Mar 11, 2007
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#13
They should try that with fried chicken and watermelon here in the states.
 

Budyzir

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Nov 12, 2004
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#14
If true, I'm thinking there is more to the program than released in the media. As highly trained and professional as snipers are I seriously doubt they would just shoot anyone picking up a bait object. There would be other considerations such as intel on a location or possible insurgent activity, a highly developed profiling matrix and lastly, the discretion of the sniper himself.

The few USMC snipers I've met in my time were extremely disciplined professionals who took their occupation and duty very seriously.
 

MJMANDALAY

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Jan 26, 2005
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#15
Kill em all, as long as they ain't American
 

Mags

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#16

Your_Moms_Box

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Dec 20, 2004
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#19
even better idea, why don't we stop putting our soldiers who are trying to do their jobs in ompromising situations.

In other words... GET THE FUCK OUT OF THOSE SHIT HOLE COUNTRIES
 

MJMANDALAY

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Jan 26, 2005
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Yup. At this point, anyone who lives in that shithole that's not us is suspect.
Sorry, but that's just the way it is.
Thanks for translating my babble.
Your a very wise and very old man. :)
 

Xyn

3 letters, 0 meaning
Mar 3, 2005
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#21
If everyone is a suspect, why not just shoot everyone?

Why not just bomb the place?

That will make the world much happier with us.

Let's all remember that we're the strongest motherfuckers around, but a lot of other countries could still nuke us into oblivion if they got pissed enough.

They may not even get retaliation from us either. If enough countries wanted us gone badly enough, they could do a much better job of sneaking suitcase bombs into the US than any towel heads could.

So lets behave the way a civilised country does, even if we are fighting a bunch of savages.

Better yet, let's not fight a bunch of savages.
 

WhiteHonkyDevil

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Dec 8, 2004
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#22
Let's all remember that we're the strongest motherfuckers around, but a lot of other countries could still nuke us into oblivion if they got pissed enough.
What, North Korea is going to look down on us with the way they treat their own citiizens? Iran is going to be pissed?

These countries are going to hate us, and want our destruction no matter what happens. I don't see colateral damage making any difference to them at all.
 

BCH

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#23
If true, I'm thinking there is more to the program than released in the media. As highly trained and professional as snipers are I seriously doubt they would just shoot anyone picking up a bait object. There would be other considerations such as intel on a location or possible insurgent activity, a highly developed profiling matrix and lastly, the discretion of the sniper himself.

The few USMC snipers I've met in my time were extremely disciplined professionals who took their occupation and duty very seriously.
No, I'm sure they just throw a nondescript 3 foot piece of det-cord on the ground and shoot whoever picks it up. Hey is that a 10 year old? Ahhhh Who cares, the Brass told us to kill brown people.


PLus I'm sure word of this wouldn't spread through the Jihadist community. "Hey, sahib picked up some explosives that were just lying around the other day and his head came off".
 

seeinred

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#25
So it took you six years to realize that the "Insurgents" aren't wearing an army uniform? Everyone looks the same, thats why we're getting our asses handed to us by a couple third world nations.

On the other hand, you can just lay out some detonation cord or an RPG and expect every person that picks up the said item is then enemy.
It's not a matter of uniform or not. On second thought, I really don't see anythign wrong with the practice. Iraqi people armed with weapons are probably bad guys, so fuckin' kill them.