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.

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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.

US military vehicles & homes vandalized after drunk marine blamed for fatal Okinawa car crash

Dozens of vehicles and apartment buildings affiliated with the US military in Japan were vandalized in Okinawa, shortly after a local man was killed in car crash blamed by authorities on a drunken American marine.

A total of 29 civilian vehicles owned by US personnel in Japan were covered with paint early on Monday in the towns of Ginowan and Chatan in Okinawa, Stars and Stripes, the official US military newspaper, reported.

The cars had the blue-colored English letter ‘Y’ painted on them by unidentified perpetrators, the paper said. The marking may be explained by the fact that ‘Y’ is usually added to the license plates of vehicles owned by those who are covered by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which provides a legal framework to the vast US military presence in Japan.

On Sunday, Japanese law enforcement detained Lance Cpl. Nicholas James-McLean over a fatal road accident. The US marine is said to have ignored a red light, crashing his two-ton military truck into a vehicle driven by a 61-year-old local man, who was later pronounced dead in hospital. According to the results of a breath test, James-McLean’s blood alcohol level was three times over the limit allowed in Japan.

US Marine arrested following fatal Okinawa truck crash

A US service member has been arrested following a deadly vehicle crash on the Japanese island of Okinawa early Sunday morning.

Marine Pvt. First Class Nicholas James-McLean was driving a truck when it collided with another vehicle at 5:25 a.m. in Okinawa's capital of Naha, killing the 61-year-old driver, according to Jun Tamanaha from the Naha police department.

Police said James-McLean's blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit.

Okinawa residents have protested the US military presence on the southern Japanese island for years, in large part due to violent and fatal incidents involving members of the US military.

The case will be sent to the Naha prosecutor's office Tuesday morning, which will investigate and decide whether or not to indict James-McLean, Tamanaha said.

"It is extremely regrettable that this accident happened even though Japanese government has repeatedly asked for the thorough implementation of preventive measures and enforcement of disciplines," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference.

Japan is demanding that the US military "enforce the strict discipline and take preventive steps and give a sincere response to the bereaved family."

US military personnel and civilian contractors working for American forces have been accused of multiple crimes in Okinawa this year. From January to October 2017, two have been arrested on allegations of robbery, two on allegations of rape and six on allegations of violent offenses, according to the Okinawa Prefecture Police website. Last year, US sailors in Japan were banned from drinking for an 11-day period after a petty officer was accused of driving on the wrong side of the road, hitting two cars and injuring two people, while under the influence of alcohol. In 2016, two incidents in the space of three months prompted widespread public anger -- in March, a US service member was arrested on suspicion of raping a Japanese tourist, and in May, a civilian contractor at a US base in Okinawa was arrested in connection with the death of a 20-year-old woman.