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Video shows mass arrest of 16 Marines at Camp Pendleton on human smuggling charges
The battalion formation at Camp Pendleton in late July that ended in a mass arrest was filmed by Marine Corps public affairs personnel but was not intended for public release, a Marine official said Wednesday.
"The video was filmed as a way to document the detainments that took place on July 25, 2019 in an unbiased, non-editorialized manner. The video was then and is now intended for official use only," Edinburgh said in an email to Task & Purpose. "We are cooperating with the judicial proceedings regarding this case. To protect the rights of the accused, the video has not been released by the government to the public, nor do we intend to release it at this time."
On that Thursday morning in July, members of the approximately 800-strong 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment assembled in formation as the senior enlisted leader, Sgt. Maj. Matthew Dorsey, called off a list of 16 names between the ranks of private first class and corporal. The Marines then ran to the front, lined up, and NCIS agents moved in and took them into custody.
"They lined up in front of the formation," Maj. Kendra Motz previously told Task & Purpose. "Then once everyone was lined up, they were arrested."
But the public nature of the arrests, and the decision to film them, has become a sticking point for attorney Bethany Payton-O'Brien, who represents one of the arrested Marines currently in the brig. She filed a defense motion last week arguing that it was evidence of unlawful command influence and illegal pretrial punishment, according to Andrew Dyer of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Payton-O'Brien argues the arrest and statements from the unit's top leadership, which appear to be critical of the arrested Marines despite their being presumed innocent until proven guilty, were improper.
She quotes either Dorsey or the commanding officer, Lt. Col. Eric Olsen, as telling his Marines that this is "what happens when you break the law." After the Marines are taken away by NCIS, according to the U-T, Olsen said, "what you just saw ... these Marines are a distraction to leadership and readiness."
That same day, the 1st Marine Division sent a press release to reporters saying the 16 Marines were arrested for "alleged involvement in various illegal activities ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses." An additional eight Marines were taken aside for questioning over alleged drug offenses, the division said. In September, the Division announced that only 13 of those taken away by NCIS were officially charged.
1st Marine Division declined to provide a copy of the video on Wednesday, saying it was for internal use only. Task & Purpose filed a Freedom of Information Act request that same day, which is still pending.
The Union-Tribune posted a portion of the video on Thursday, which can be viewed below:
Marines arrested during formation at Camp Pendleton www.youtube.com
The arrest of the 16 Marines traces back to the case of two Marine infantrymen, Lance Cpl. Byron Law and Lance Cpl. David Javier Salazar-Quintero, who were pulled over and arrested by Border Patrol on July 3 — along with three undocumented immigrants in the backseat — as they were allegedly trying to make a quick buck shuttling people from Mexico into the United States, according to a federal court complaint first reported by Quartz.
According to the July 3 complaint, Law told Border Patrol that he was an active-duty Marine and dimed out Salazar-Quintero as the organizer of the smuggling operation. "Law stated that last night, Salazar called and asked him if he was willing to make $1000.00 USD picking up an illegal alien," the complaint said.
On July 2, Law said they both traveled to Jacumba, California while being guided "via cell phone instructions from an Unknown Mexico number," the complaint said. They then picked up a single immigrant and brought him to a McDonald's parking lot in Del Mar, it continued.
The next day, Law said Salazar called him for another job. This time, they both went to the same area and picked up "three illegal aliens" off the I-8 freeway.
Salazar, meanwhile, said Law introduced him to smuggling through a recruiter. Salazar also admitted to coming to Jacumba to pick up undocumented immigrants on four different occasions, the complaint said.
The three immigrants who were arrested identified Law as the driver of the car that picked them up. Two of them said they were going to pay $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S.
The arrest of other Marines in 1/5 came after NCIS examined the phones of Law and Salazar-Quintero.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.
On a military base, a black flag is bad news. That means it's too hot outside to do anything strenuous, so training and missions are put off until conditions improve.
As the climate changes, there could be plenty more black flag days ahead, especially in Florida, a new analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists found. America's military bases could see an average of an extra month of dangerously hot days by mid-century. In Florida, they could quadruple.
Pentagon data shows heat-related illnesses and injuries are on the rise in every branch of the military. Last year, nearly 2,800 troops suffered heatstroke or heat exhaustion, a roughly 50 percent jump from 2014.
"I think most of us, if we hear there are tens of thousands of cases of heat stress in our troops every year, our minds would go to where they were deployed," said Kristy Dahl, a senior climate scientist at UCS and the lead author of the study. "But more than 90% of the military cases of heatstroke happened right here at home."
BANGKOK (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea said on Sunday they will postpone upcoming military drills in an effort to bolster a stalled peace push with North Korea, even as Washington denied the move amounted to another concession to Pyongyang.
The drills, known as the Combined Flying Training Event, would have simulated air combat scenarios and involved an undisclosed number of warplanes from both the United States and South Korea.
An opening ceremony will be held Monday on Hawaii island for a military exercise with China that will involve about 100 People's Liberation Army soldiers training alongside U.S. Army counterparts.
This comes after Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke on Veterans Day at Punchbowl cemetery about the "rules-based international order" that followed U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II, and China's attempts to usurp it.
Those American standards "are even more important today," Davidson said, "as malicious actors like the Communist Party of China seek to redefine the international order through corruption, malign cyber activities, intellectual property theft, restriction of individual liberties, military coercion and the direct attempts to override other nations' sovereignty."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"