Danger Room What’s Next in National Security
No Jail Time for Army Contractor in Revenge Killing
By Noah Shachtman
May 8, 2009 10:39 am
Don Ayala — the U.S. Army contractor who pleaded guilty 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 nonviolent options for stabilizing chaotic areas: Islamic radio broadcasts to mollify Afghan mullahs, shame tactics to nudge out corrupt Iraqi cops. “In a counterinsurgency, your level of success is inversely proportional
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