View Full Version : AP-Contractor pleads guilty to Taliban shooting

02-04-2009, 06:33 PM
Comforting, isn't it? :(

Contractor pleads guilty to Taliban shooting

By Matthew Barakat - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Feb 4, 2009 16:34:47 EST

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An Army contractor is facing up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of a handcuffed Taliban member who had just set one of the contractor’s colleagues on fire.

Don M. Ayala, 46, of New Orleans struck a plea bargain Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria, avoiding murder charges that could have resulted in life in prison.

Ayala provided security on what the Army calls a Human Terrain Team, in which social scientists and anthropologists are embedded with combat brigades to help soldiers understand local culture.

On Nov. 4, Ayala and two other team members were on a walking patrol about 80 miles west of Kandahar, in a village called Chehel Gazi. Team member Paula Loyd was distributing candy to villagers and talking about gas prices with an Afghan man, Abdul Salam, when he lit a pitcher of fuel on fire and threw it on her.

According to court documents, Ayala helped arrest and subdue Salam, who was then placed in plastic restraints. Ayala kept a pistol pointed at Salam’s head as he continued to resist arrest.

After a few minutes, when Ayala learned how badly Loyd had been burned, Ayala shot Salam in the head, killing him instantly.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on Loyd, 36, who suffered second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of her body and died from her injuries last month at an Army hospital in San Antonio.

Ayala’s case had been the first case in which federal prosecutors brought murder charges against a military contractor serving in Iraq or Afghanistan under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, the 2000 law that allows such prosecutions.

Ayala was employed by Strategic Analysis, Inc., an Arlington company working as a subcontractor for BAE Systems, which has its U.S. Headquarters in Rockville, Md.

Strategic Analysis did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday seeking comment.

Ayala had previously worked for contractors providing personal security for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Ayala is scheduled for sentencing on May 8.

02-04-2009, 07:16 PM
Who ever was involved with the prosecution of the contractor should have his neck stretched.

02-05-2009, 06:32 AM
I don't get it.

A man attacked a woman handing out candy, most likely to children, by pouring gasoline on her, and the guy that shot him is going to jail? I can understand he shot him after the fact, but still...

Sad times.

02-05-2009, 06:51 AM
Who ever was involved with the prosecution of the contractor should have his neck stretched.



02-05-2009, 07:34 AM
I think this is whats called Justifiable Homicide
His only mistake was running the bastard down and cuffing him first. If I'd wanted to question him, I'd have shot him through the pelvis. If not...well, you get the point...I wouldn't have bothered with the cuffs.
There are just some people that need killing...and that rat bastard with the gasoline was one of them.

And the tard who turned him in needs to have his balls cut off...you can't call yourself a man for turning in another man who dispensed justice on a sick freak who MAIMED a comrad, let alone a woman.

02-05-2009, 09:24 AM
should have shot his ass when it went down.... very sad though.....

02-05-2009, 09:58 AM
"...second and third degree burns over 60% of her body..."
It took Paula Loyd around two months to die from the burns..
I think Mr. Ayala showed a great deal of decency by just shooting the murderer in the head.

It is just disgusting that somebody could be so low stupid and ethically backward that they ratted him out under the circumstances.

02-06-2009, 01:12 PM
SSG Paula Loyd passed 6 Jan 09 at Brooks Army Hospital. The MI Human Terrain Teams (and the fatalities & injuries they sustain) continue to prove that the enemy is psychopathic in prosecution of their agenda.


02-06-2009, 01:39 PM
SSS was not followed properly. Who the F*** talked to the Big A?

02-06-2009, 03:24 PM
Shooting a handcuffed man in the head. Really bright move there.

He should be going to prison for not being smart enough to shoot him before putting the handcuffs on.

We live in a civilized world. Most here believe in the Bible. From a moral stand point, "Vengeance is Mine saith The Lord".

There is no justification for a "professional" shooting a man in handcuffs in the head. This guy lost it. Now he has to pay the price.

02-06-2009, 03:33 PM
In WW2 nothing would have happened to this man.


02-06-2009, 04:07 PM
If we intend to win this war we need to get tough and do what needs to be done.What are they going to do?Blow us up with IEDs,car bombs,cut our heads off on the internet?Any attempt at decency or restraint is considered weakness and talked about throughout the Arab world.We should do what Black Jack Pershing did and wrap their dead asses in pig skins and bury them in mass graves.This contractor did what any one of us would have done in that situation given those circumstances.We were once respected all over the world,if not respected then we should be feared by our enemies.;)JMHO.

02-06-2009, 09:52 PM
My god, she died on my birthday an hour from where I live...
the fact this MAN is up on charges for doing what any MAN should do to an animal like that is an atrocity in and of its self. There is a special place in hell for the rat that ratted him out...and I hope he winds up there SOON.

02-06-2009, 10:23 PM

You and i hold different values and ideals, but i respect your view. Bottom line for me is that i would have shot the MOFO tambien!!!!
As far as the Bible, God and Our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned.......... i pray he would forgive me , "If i did something wrong"!!!

I with you man... I got told on all the time by CA teams and PSYOPS teams. My chain of command was breathing down my neck everyday because of it. I don't care what people think and I know from first hand experience the things that haunt you the rest of your life are not the things you did but the things you should or could have done.

If I had to spend the rest of my life in prison for executing a turd like that I would glady accept the sentence and I would not regret it for one second. The motherfu**** got what he deserved.

I watched a husband and his pregnant wife get executed right infront of me. I chased the guy who did it down. He had been shot in the spine at that point. I wanted to to gut him but I didn't. I think about how I should have murdered him every 5 minutes since then. That will be with me the rest of my life. If I could go back and finish him off I would. Even if it got me time in prison. I was in Iraq to rid the country of people like that. not to be nice or play by the rules. Why should I show any kind of mercy to my enemy? If I was the one laying there on the ground I would have got my head cut off.

02-09-2009, 12:51 AM
It sucks this guy is going down but: when you do a professional job, you have to be a professional. Always. How hard this may be.

That is what makes us better than those we are fighting.

In hindsight, that Taliban animal should have been shot the minute he threw the gasoline.. Why would you even try to make an arrest?

I just hope the judge has the cojones to come up with some symbolic sentence though. ;)

Gabriel Suarez
02-09-2009, 05:44 AM
What bothers me is that his people didn't have his back.

Americans have had the back-covering issue fairly trained out of them. It is a rare man who understands the importance of this. One reason why I worked alone most of the time in the old days rather than have an untrustworthy partner with me.

02-09-2009, 07:09 PM

You and i hold different values and ideals, but i respect your view. Bottom line for me is that i would have shot the MOFO tambien!!!!
As far as the Bible, God and Our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned.......... i pray he would forgive me , "If i did something wrong"!!!

I agree with ya Vincent. I'd better leave it at that.

The Searcher
02-10-2009, 01:53 AM
I don't get chasing him down a la COPS and cuffing him in the first place.

We often complain that the West doesn't understand that we are in a war with a ruthless enemy and that we must either eat or be eaten. Hell, some of the people actually out in the field apparently don't get this and they just saw their team member torched.

02-11-2009, 06:01 PM
If you haven't read E.B. Sledge's With the Old Breed, do so immediately. In the meantime, do a Youtube search for keyword "E.B. Sledge." Pay particular attention to Sledge's explanation of the "possum squad."

I know first hand the number of Frank Burns' now populating the service. Its truly another country from the one defended by my grandpa and ol' Sledgehammer.

05-08-2009, 09:15 AM
Ayala walks!!

And the comments on the left lib WIRED mag site are heartening.


Don Ayala — the U.S. Army contractor who pleaded guilty (http://blog.wired.com/defense/2009/02/human-terrain-c.html) to a revenge killing in Afghanistan — won’t be going to prison. Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Claude Hilton sentenced Ayala, a member of the Army’s Human Terrain social science project, to five years probation and a $12,500 fine.
Ayala (pictured, left) began working in Afghanistan in late September, as part of a Human Terrain Team, which embeds cultural advisers in combat units. Originally, the program was conceived as a way to find for commanders non-violent options for stabilizing chaotic areas: Islamic radio broadcasts to mollify Afghan mullahs (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/politics/security/news/2007/11/human_terrain), shame tactics to nudge out corrupt Iraqi cops. “In a counterinsurgency, your level of success is inversely proportional to the amount of lethal force that you expend (http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/09/controversial-a.html#more),” lead social scientist Montgomery McFate told Danger Room.

But in a warzone, violence is never far off. Human Terrain teams became involved in several lethal incidents. The latest occurred on November 4th when Ayala was on a foot patrol in the village of Chehel Gazni, with teammate Paula Loyd (pictured, right). Loyd, a social scientist, approached Abdul Salam, who was carrying a fuel jug. He said he had bought it, to fuel up his motorcycle. They started talking about the price of gas. Suddenly, the man doused Lloyd in a flammable liquid and set her on fire, court documents recount.

Engulfed in a ball of flame large enough to force those near her to involuntarily back away, Paula Loyd screamed in agony as the children that had surrounded her ran away. In the several seconds following the attack, no one could get near enough to Ms. Loyd to help her. Panicked, Ms. Loyd ran around briefly before those near her pulled her to the ground. One of the platoon medics tried to put the fire out with dirt, ultimately grabbing Ms. Loyd by her foot and dragging her into the nearby drainage ditch to douse the flames. By the time the fire was extinguished, all of Ms. Loyd’s clothing had been burned off and only her helmet and body armor remained. Medical personnel would later determine that Ms. Loyd suffered second and third- degree burns over more than 60% of her body.

Ayala chased Salam down, tackled him to the ground, and restrained him with plastic cuffs. “After about 10 minutes,” according to an Army Criminal Investigation Division affidavit (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/images_blogs/dangerroom/files/HTT_affidavit.pdf), “a soldier approached the location where Ayala had Salam detained and informed the personnel in the area that Loyd was burned badly. Ayala pushed his pistol against Salam’s head and shot Salam, killing him instantly.”

Ayala was taken into custody, and flown to the United States (http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/11/human-terrain-m.html) two-and-a-half weeks later. He was charged with murder — the first military contractor to be charged with such a crime (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hM067vULxgQQZnSRtoCVH5C8pajAD94IUDH00) under a 2000 law that allows the prosecution of U.S. government workers who commit crimes overseas.
He later pled guilty to manslaughter – a crime, under federal sentencing guidelines, that calls for a prison term of 78 to 97 months (http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/05/alexandia_the_military_securit.html). Federal prosecutors had said they believed Ayala deserved substantial time in prison, the New Orleans Times-Piquayune observes. Ayala was a former Army Ranger and an experienced military contractor, serving on the security details of both Iraqi prime minister and the Afghan president. He should have known better than to attack someone in custody. If left unpunished, the prosecutors said, it could “erase in the minds of young troops, the “most basic rule” of their military training, “that you do not shoot prisoners.”

“For what he did to Ms. Loyd, Salam probably deserved to die, but not when and as he did. That was not Ayala’s decision to make (http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2009/05/33-1.pdf),” the prosecutors added.

Ayala’s defense lawyers countered (http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2009/05/ayala-29-1-50109.pdf) that “any term of imprisonment of Mr. Ayala would… further compound a tragedy that began with a violent and incomprehensible attack upon an unarmed, vulnerable American woman who was actively working to improve the lives of all Afghans, including her assailant.” As independent journalist John Stanton notes, the defense then went on to argue that the gruesome attack on Loyd had triggered “dormant combat stress injuries (http://openanthropology.wordpress.com/2009/05/07/whitewashing-a-us-war-crime-in-afghanistan-the-trial-of-don-ayala-human-terrain-mercenary/).” That lead to a “perfect storm” of mental duress. Ayala simply wasn’t in control of his own actions, when he shot Salam, the lawyers claimed.

Paula Loyd succumbed to her wounds in January, and became the third Human Terrain researcher to die in nine months (http://blog.wired.com/defense/2009/01/third-human-ter.html). Her family later asked the court to show leniency (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/02/family-wants-le/) for Ayala.

05-08-2009, 10:04 AM
U.S. soldier Steven Dale Green faces death penalty for raping and killing Iraqi girl, 14, and murdering her family

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 4:42 PM on 08th May 2009

Private First Class Steven Dale Green, 24, attacked Abeer al-Janabi at her Baghdad home during a tour of duty in 2006.

After raping her, he put a pillow over the girl's face and shot her three times with an AK47. He also killed her mother and father and sister, six.

Green, who was discharged from the army because of a personality disorder, was charged with carrying out the brutal attack alongside four colleagues.

The court heard how the soldiers had decided to rape Abeer while they were playing cards and drinking whisky at a nearby checkpoint.

After the attack they torched the house and disguised their appearance in a bid to avoid being caught.

But they were charged after they had returned to the States.

Green, of Midland, Texas, was found guilty on 17 charges including rape, murder and obstruction of justice and faces the death penalty when he is sentenced on Monday.

The four other soldiers are serving sentences of between five and 110 years for their part in the crime.

'This was a planned, premeditated crime which was carried out in cold blood,' Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Ford, prosecuting, told the court during Green's trial.

However, his defence team blamed his psychological state and the stress of war for the atrocity.

Green was diagnosed with Combat Operational Stress Disorder three months before the attac.

Scott Wendelsdorf, defending, said: 'Madness. Madness. That's the only possible word'

Green, who had been in the 101st Airborne Division, stared straight ahead as the verdict was read in U.S. District Court in western Kentucky.

Defence lawyer Darren Wolff, speaking afterward, said they had never denied Green's involvement.

'Is this verdict a surprise to us? No. The goal has always been to save our client's life,' Wolff said.

'And, now we're going to go to the most important phase, which is the sentencing phase and we're going to accomplish that goal.'

The trial began on April 27 and jurors deliberated for more than 10 hours before finding Green guilty.

Green's father, John Green, declined to comment on the verdict.


Personally I would've wasted Mr. Firestarter 'in the ensuing struggle '

05-08-2009, 10:55 AM
Thank God Ayala is not going to prison! Under those circumstances, shooting him when he did was OK by me...whoever turned him in is scum. I wish Ayala had just gutted him during the initial arrest.

05-08-2009, 01:07 PM
Shooting the rat bastard that torched a coworker to death deserves a medal.
What Green did deserves a shot to the head...let God deal with the punishment, just get that monster off the planet.

05-08-2009, 02:25 PM
Lightfighter, I don't understand the context of your post. Why here?

05-08-2009, 02:30 PM
Not trying to be provocative just thought it was timely as both cases are in the news currently

Additionally, it provides perspective on what's clearly right and clearly wrong

05-09-2009, 03:34 AM
I'm ignorant of how it works, but it sounds like the locals would've ratted him.

On the one hand, any of his comrades who participated in prosecuting him ought to be viewed as a traitor by the unit. And execution on the spot is, so I hear, the way the hadjis do it. When in Rome ....

On the other, it's hard to judge him any differently than if he were a cop and some piece of $#!+ had done that to his partner here in the States - and I'd want a cop to let a jury decide, but I can sympathize with some less extreme parallels where they didn't.

I can't say he was right, but I'd be proud to do that kind of wrong. So I'm ambivalent, but not on this: he should have covered his tracks. If he didn't know she was seriously hurt when he handcuffed the guy, couldn't they have taken the guy to a court, and, um, terminated his "escape attempt" on the way?

Also, it's a lesson on being aware of weapons and watching the hands. In my town a meth head did the same thing to a cabbie - torched the guy even though he was cooperating and handing over the money. And incidentally the cabbie would've committed a felony if he'd been carrying a gun, regardless of a permit. The meth head used a Big Gulp type cup for the gasoline, so it was a pretty well concealed weapon.

Walter Mitty
05-10-2009, 11:05 AM
Why , for heavens sake, would anyone who understood the culture there
send any women over there to interact with Patriarchal Muslim Men?
What a mess.