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Drop weapon

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This article was heavily edited by what appears to be soldiers or soldier proponents with PoV statements. Ethics appears to be a foreign land to these people. Drop weapons, that subvert the course of justice and law, are carried because one might get in trouble with the law if one did not

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Drop weapon (2nd nomination)

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A drop weapon is a weapon carried by a soldier for the purpose of creating false evidence (WP), placing it on or near a slain individual to make that person appear to be an enemy combatant or insurgent. Alternatively, a drop weapon or other item is left in the open; any individual who picks it up may be fired upon; a process known as baiting.[1]

The use of drop weapons has been the cause of some controversy in the Iraq War.[2][3]

Baiting is a similar procedure, in that the perpetrator leaves items on the ground, but it has far different ramifications. Items are left for people in the area to find and pick up; doing so is considered evidence of insurgency. This is despite there being a multitude of reasons for them to do so,[4] including simple curiousity and importantly, the desire to AVOID being branded as insurgents because of damning evidence left outside their houses. Rather than falsification of evidence, baiting creates the danger of legal entrapment (WP) for the perpetrator, and thus illegal killing of the victim. According to documents quoted by the Washington Post,[5] the U.S. military's Asymmetric Warfare Group (WP) encouraged snipers to drop items "such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition"[1] then kill Iraqis who handled the items.[1][2]

In one incident United States Army (WP) Sgt. Evan Vela was sentenced to a 10 year prison term for murder after being convicted of murdering an unarmed Iraqi and planting evidence.[6]

""Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use, with the intention of destroying the enemy...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." - Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of an elite sniper scout platoon attached to the 1st Battalion of the 501st Infantry Regiment, in a sworn statement. Josh White and Joshua Partlow, Washington Post Staff Writers, Monday, September 24, 2007 , in the Washington Post[1]"

The Asymmetric Warfare Group is said by Captain Didier to have sent boxes of the kind normally used to hold ammunition filled with "drop items" to his unit, the 1st Battalion 501st Infantry Regiment in order "to disrupt the AIF [Anti-Iraq Forces] attempts at harming coalition forces and give us the upper hand in a fight."[1][7]

The Independent newspaper quoted a spokesperson for the US military as saying: "We don't discuss specific methods of targeting enemy combatants. The accused are charged with murder and wrongfully placing weapons on the remains of Iraqi nationals. There are no classified programmes that authorise the murder of local nationals and the use of 'drop weapons' to make killings appear legally justified."[7]

Iraq, 27 April, 2007

Spec. Jorge Sandoval, it was found by a military court, shot an Iraqi man, who was cutting grass with a rusty sickle, on the order of Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley. The two men then placed a spool of wire into the pocket of the dead man.[1] Hensley and Sandoval were charged with murder, of which they were acquitted and with planting evidence, of which they were found guilty.[6]

May 11th, 2007

In the village of Jurf as Sakhr along the Euphrates River most of the sniper team chose an area to hide and sleep in. One of the members of the unit, Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley stayed on guard. While on his guard he witnessed an Iraqi man, Genei Nesir Khudair Al-Janabi,[6] slowing creeping towards the hide area where the other snipers were sleeping. At this point he put in a call to then-first-lieutenant Matthew P. Didier, for permission to make a "close kill". The request was authorized on a "as needed" basis. Hensley again ordered another man, Sgt. Evan Vela, to make the kill, and several minutes later Didier received word from of the kill from Hensley.

In court documents Hensley is quoted as saying "I thought that he was trying to alert insurgents," Hensley said. "I felt like I had no choice or we would be further compromised."[6]

Jorge Sandoval and Evan Vela were charged with murder, and the two men plus Hensley were charged with planting an AK47 on the body of Al-Janabi. Sandoval was acquitted of murder. Sandoval, Vela and Hensley were convicted of planting evidence,[6] and Evan Vela was convicted of murder.

The defense claimed two somewhat contradictory justifications: one, Vela was sleep-deprived, and did not mean to kill, and two, that he was ordered to by Hensley, and was only carrying out orders.[6]

Soldier PoV
This article was heavily edited by what appears to be soldiers or soldier proponents with PoV statements. Ethics appears to be a foreign land to these people. Drop weapons, that subvert the course of justice and law, are carried because one might get in trouble with the law if one did not

Wikipedia editor Zznarcolepsy's PoV on the subject :

"Drop weapons are a soldier's response to the 21st century's bureaucratic approach to urban warfare. Insurgencies thrive on their ability to be a combatant one moment, then conceal their weapon and appear as a random civilian. In such cases, after an attack, they carelessly use and create great risks for the civilian population around them when standard military units respond to contact. (It should be noted that most insurgents in Iraq are not nationals and/or don't operate militarily in their own neighborhoods) The soldiers may plant weapons to avoid legal punitive repercussions involving a situation that is intentionally very lethal and confusing."

and also, by another author:

"The "unarmed Iraqi", who has been identified by the lt. colonel of the sniper unit, as an Al-Qaeda insurgent, happen to come across a group of the 501st Sniper Division while they were sleeping. The Iraqi then began screaming and drawing attention to the location of the whole sniper team which resulted in orders to then kill the Iraqi before the sniper position was compromised."


"The only reason the “drop Weapons” have come to light is due two soldiers who had been on several missions with the sniper groups decided to come forward with stories of wrongdoing after finding out charges were being filed against them for falling asleep while the were supposed to be on guard during a sniper mission. Once they found out charges were being filed they went to the Military Police with information an elite parachute infantry sniper-scout platoon."

and another:

"think of it as an insurance policy."

The original incident happened Apr 27 2007. Many soldiers were involved in this case which started as a planting evidence case and eventually was expanded to a murder case. But the real problem has not even been addressed yet. A group of people in the Pentagon were/are encouraging snipers and other Military personal to drop weapons that would be useful to insurgents such as explosives, metal wire, AK-47s and ammunition. Due to this program three snipers have been charged with murder and one of them was convicted of murder.

The commander of the 501st Lt. Col. Baclavage is quoted in the news saying the Iraqi that was killed was in fact a member of Al Qaeda. He did not mention that the sniper team was give a list of names of high value target to kill and that this Iraqi was on that list.

According to many soldiers Baiting or using “drop weapons” is a common practice in Iraq for several reasons. One of the reasons being is a legal one. If a U.S. soldier shoots and kills a civilian it is considered murder. Another reason, according to Pfc. David C. Petta, the baiting items were carried by soldiers was to, "to enforce if we killed somebody that we knew was a bad guy but we didn't have the evidence to show for it."[1] According to Sgt. Robert Redfern “most soldiers have the drop weapons, it is really risky not to.”

And finally, a piece by a US Army sympathizer, or perhaps apologist, that sheds some more light on the thinking behind these atrocities: . If 'winning the war' is seen as the paramount consideration, then any means to the end becomes acceptable. Of course, one would also have to accept that the end itself is an acceptable one, rather than being an expedient way to put three US bases in just the right place to guard an oil pipeline, as the Bush administration plans drawn up before 9/11 show.[8][9][10][11][12] Earlier wars may have been fought at least partially for this reason as well; there is a similarly-placed US base in Kosovo.[13]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 U.S. Aims To Lure Insurgents With 'Bait'
  2. 2.0 2.1 U.S. Snipers Accused of 'Baiting' Iraqis, Pauline Jelinek and Robert Burns, The Associated Press, Tuesday, September 25, 2007
  3. Stark writes to Defense Secretary Gates to express alarm at military "Baiting" of Iraqis
  4. Snipers Baited and Killed Iraqis, Soldiers Testify, Paul von Zielbauer, New York Times, September 25, 2007
  5. U.S. Army Snipers Accused of 'Baiting' Iraqi Insurgents Published September 25, 2007 "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 transcript of a court hearing for two of the three accused snipers makes several references to the existence of a classified "baiting" program"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Murder or Exhaustion in Iraq?, Time
  7. 7.0 7.1 Weapons left by US troops 'used as bait to kill Iraqis', Kim Sengupta, Baghdad, Tuesday 25 September 2007
  8. Afghanistan - A war for Gas and Oil Pipelines, 21st Century British Nationalism, Wednesday, 5 August 2009. Herat, Ferah, Lashkar Gah, and Kandahar bases follow the path of the proposed oil pipeline extremely closely
  9. same maps, another source
  10. website for the book: The New Great Game - Blood and Oil in Central Asia, Lutz C. Kleveman
  13. Camp Bondsteel and America’s plans to control Caspian oil, the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), Paul Stuart, 29 April 2002