Investigations into sexual misconduct by Darwin-based US marines dropped

A series of investigations into alleged sexual crimes committed by US marines in and around Darwin have been quietly dropped by Australian and American authorities.

That decision raises questions about whether Australia and the US are doing enough to investigate claims of sex crimes, and echoes decades of international concern about the cover-up of those crimes by US military personnel serving abroad.

ADFIS began an investigation into an allegation of inappropriate behaviour that stalled.

"All ADFIS action in this matter has ceased due to jurisdictional issues," the report stated.

... it was possible Australian and US forces were more concerned about the military relationship than they were about properly investigating the allegations: 'ADF are actively attempting to keep it out of the public eye'

U.S. Considers Boosting Asia Forces With Special Marine Units

The Pentagon is considering plans to send heavily armed, versatile Marine Corps task forces to East Asia, curtailing some deployments in the Middle East as it repositions forces in response to growing Chinese influence.


In a related step, the Marine Corps next month will expand the number of Marines who serve in rotating training assignments in Darwin, Australia, military officials said. About 1,250 Marines now deploy in Darwin for six months each year; the number will increase by an unspecified amount in March, officials said.

Over the past week, Gen. Dunford visited Australia, which faces its own strategic challenges with China, and toured the training base for U.S. Marines in Darwin. He also visited Thailand, now rebuilding ties to the U.S. after strains that followed a 2014 military coup.

Leader of U.S. Marines on Okinawa failed to report officer

The U.S. military justice system has faced criticism for allowing base commanders to decide whether to pursue charges against service members accused of serious crimes.

Adrian Perry, the mother of the 6-year-old girl molested by Wilson, said Nicholson ought to have been punished more severely.

“Lt. Gen. Nicholson’s failure to report Col. Daniel Hunter Wilson’s behavior in Darwin is a failure that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I believe wholeheartedly that if Wilson had been punished for his shameful behavior in Australia, he would never have been able to hurt my child,” she said.

Wilson committed numerous offences in Australia that included sexual harassment and heavy drinking, and also was suspected of drunken driving.

Military deal with Japan to counter China’s might

Japan’s military could conduct exercises out of Darwin under a historic defence agreement being negotiated by Malcolm Turnbull and Shinzo Abe, as part of a multi-pronged strategy to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific.

The wide-ranging agreement, which will also allow military equipment and ammunition to be transported far more easily between the countries, will be progressed during the Prime Minister’s trip to Tokyo next week, as Australia faces a growing row with China over government criticism of Beijing’s Pacific aid.

Mr Turnbull will arrive in Tokyo on Thursday to meet the Japanese Prime Minister, who has been keen to amend his country’s post-World War II constitution to give the military a more legitimate role on the world stage. The trip follows Mr Abe’s visit to Australia last year.

Australia and Japan have championed building up regional alliances — such as the revived Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between Japan, India, the USA and Australia — in the face of China’s increasing dominance in the ­region.

Mr Turnbull has said he and Mr Abe will discuss a new visiting forces agreement, a type of ­arrangement that Japan has with one other country — the USA.

Australian Strategic Policy ­Institute head Peter Jennings said he expected the deal would allow for Japanese forces to conduct ­exercises in Australia.

"I’d expect there’d be an ­opportunity for more army ­engagement, including, ironically enough, perhaps out at Darwin, maybe doing trilateral activities with the US marines there.”

the deal is expected to be signed this year, paving the way for the Japanese Self-Defence Force troops to train in Australia.

U.S. chopper makes emergency landing on Ikeijima Island, Okinawa

A U.S. military helicopter carrying four people made an emergency landing Saturday afternoon on a small islet in Okinawa Prefecture.

The chopper apparently landed about 100 meters from a house, a local resident said.

The aviation incident is the latest involving U.S. aircraft in the prefecture, where opposition to the huge U.S. military presence is rife.

The island is the same one where an AH-1 attack helicopter based at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma made an emergency landing on a farm path on Jan. 20 last year.

“I’m speechless. The frequency is too often. It cannot be helped but to think there’s a systemic problem within the U.S. military,” Okinawa Deputy Gov. Moritake Tomikawa told reporters.

“I felt it was dangerous because the helicopter was lowering altitude and heading toward the coast with a rattling noise,” he said. “The U.S. military always prioritizes military operations and neglects the anxieties of local residents,” said Tamaki, who heads the local residents’ association.