Monday, September 24, 2007

Documents: Classified program allowed U.S.snipers to kill Iraqis who picked up planted items; 'Basically, we would put an item out there and watch it'

Above: An Iraqi allegedly slain by a Marine sniper with a single 'kill shot' in Fallujah. Other details are unknown. Remains of head area blurred for this post.

Report: U.S. 'baiting' Iraqi insurgents

U.S. military snipers are using explosive components as a way to identify and shoot insurgents in Iraq, The Washington Post reported Monday...

In a sworn statement, U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Didier, the leader of a sniper scout platoon, described the process that involved such bait as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition.

"Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use with the intention of destroying the enemy," Didier testified. "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."

Read the rest at UPI

U.S. Aims To Lure Insurgents With 'Bait'

The classified program was described in investigative documents related to recently filed murder charges against three snipers who are accused of planting evidence on Iraqis they killed...

Soldiers said that about a dozen platoon members were aware of the program, and that numerous others knew about the "drop items" but did not know their purpose. Two soldiers who had not been officially informed about the program came forward with allegations of wrongdoing after they learned they were going to be punished for falling asleep on a sniper mission, according to the documents...

Members of the sniper platoon have said they felt pressure from commanders to kill more insurgents because U.S. units in the area had taken heavy losses. The sniper unit -- dubbed "the painted demons" because of the use of tiger-stripe face paint -- often went on missions into hostile areas to intercept insurgents going to and from hidden weapons caches...

One soldier who came forward with the allegations, Pfc. David C. Petta, told the same court that he believed the classified items were for dropping on people the unit had killed, "to enforce if we killed somebody that we knew was a bad guy but we didn't have the evidence to show for it." Petta had not been officially briefed about the program.

Read the rest at the Washington Post