Marines Arrested, National Guard Sent To Border, Punk Rock Historian
KPBS Midday Edition / July 26, 2019
Sixteen Camp Pendleton Marines were arrested in a migrant smuggling investigation. Also, the National Guard is heading to the U.S.-Mexico border to help trucks cross and John Doe goes from punk rock pioneer to punk rock historian.
Speaker 1: 00:00 More than a dozen marines were arrested at Camp Pendleton. Thursday in connection with the smuggling ring linked to a federal case involving two other marines and a platoon of San Diego. Seals was abruptly sent home from Iraq. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says the commander ordered them out after allegations of misconduct, which seems to be impacting both of these branches of the military. Steve, thanks for joining us. Well, thanks jade. Steve. First, what's being said about why these 16 marines were arrested? What are the allegations against them?
Speaker 2: 00:31 So this stems from the case involving a Byron Law. The second and David a cells are a Quintero there. Two marines from Camp Pendleton. They were arrested on July 3rd near the border at Takati. And uh, they were caught according to court documents with law was driving his truck and the in with them was found three undocumented, uh, migrants with them who, uh, said that they were, were paying $8,000 a piece to be smuggled into the United States after the marines were arrested. Uh, yesterday I talked to the major involved in this case. And so she gave me a little more detail
Speaker 3: 01:08 throughout the investigation of those two marines that were previously charged. There's an association that they found with those 16 marines. So they're trying to figure out if they should be charged with specific allegations.
Speaker 1: 01:21 And that was major Kendra Motts and marines were previously deployed to the US Mexico border where any of the marines involved in helping enforce border security.
Speaker 2: 01:30 Now, now we have marines down there where the US Mexico border right now, some of them are from Camp Pendleton as well as 29 palms. But we're told that this is not a, none of these marines were actually deployed down there at that time. They are part of the same battalion in the fifth regiment of the, uh, first marine down there. So they're all from that same battalion.
Speaker 1: 01:50 You know, the, the arrest of these 16 marines were made during morning formation. Do you think that was meant to send a message at all? Well, it's, it's hard
Speaker 2: 01:58 just say, I mean, I'm, this is something that's already come out. So this are in, in a way, it's already public because these two other marines are already involved in this. So apparently the thought was once the, they arrested 16 other marines and sent another eight into questioning that, uh, they decided to make it public right away even though none of those 16 marines have been charged, there is some indication that they in, some of them are involved with smuggling. Some of them may be involved with drug crimes and things like that. It's very clear that the two marines that are already under, uh, being charged in federal court are starting to talk. So this is where they're getting some other information.
Speaker 1: 02:34 Wow. All right. Meanwhile, a San Diego based Navy seals, speaking of which a navy seal pulls tune has been pulled out of I ride for alleged misconduct. Tell us more about that.
Speaker 2: 02:44 All right, so this happened, uh, on Wednesday they were pulled from Iraq. The, a major general in charge of the joint task force declared that that entire platoon should be removed from Iraq for conduct unbecoming. We haven't received um, officially yet all the details of, of why they were removed. We hear allegations of drinking, maybe even allegations of, of, of sexual assault, but we have, nothing's really come out officially. What is so unusual in that case is these are members of seal team seven. Now we didn't know that there was a platoon from seal team seven interact right now the movements of seal teams do not become public. So the, the notion that right after this happened in Iraq that what US Special Forces Command actually issued a press release, a press release and then put it out on Twitter that the, there were sending all of these uh, these seals back home to San Diego. And that I will tell you is incredibly unusual. The movements of seal teams are, are very secretive.
Speaker 1: 03:47 This is the same seal team, Chief Editor Eddie Gallagher was a with right
Speaker 2: 03:51 indeed. Indeed. So this, if this is a seal team seven, which is based here in San Diego, and of course everybody is, has heard of now of chief Eddie Gallagher who is on trial for war crimes. He was acquitted of the most serious allegation, though he was convicted of posing with a body on the battlefield during that trial. And I covered every single day of that trial. Among the things that came out is that that that platoon of seal team seven had a rooftop bar set up at their safe house outside of Mozel. Uh, some of the officers would take turns and enlist the high enlisted ranking. People would take turns deejaying. It was very open. There were, uh, there were beer cans found in one of the Humvees suggesting that maybe people were out on patrol and drinking at the same time. So it's, it's incredibly embarrassing to the special forces community that has seen a lot of these kinds of incidents come.
Speaker 2: 04:43 There are four more seals that are scheduled to go on trial for war crimes later this year. There've been a number of, there are two more seals that are, I'm on trial for a, for murder, for what may have been a hazing incident gone wrong in Mali. There have been others that have been charged with a couple of green baret that had been charged and convicted of smuggling cocaine, others' seals and seal team seven have been, uh, accused of, of using cocaine on a pretty wide base scale. So, uh, there had been headline after headline that has embarrassed the special forces community.
Speaker 1: 05:17 Mm. And, and given what's happening with the navy seals and the recent arrest at Camp Pendleton, what do you think this all says about the state of the U S armed forces?
Speaker 2: 05:25 Yeah, well about the special forces community in general. They obviously have had a number of these instances and w and the embarrassing headlines don't seem to be over yet. We'd have a new, a, a general that's taken over at Socom, uh, General Richard Clark took over earlier this year at Special Operations Command. Some speculation is that maybe he wants to send a message now congress got involved and they wanted actually asked the special operations command to look at their ethical framework and they, and report back to them. We actually saw a copy of that report. Not a lot of details, but they did look through the whole spectrum, how they're trained all the way down to the statements that commanders are making. You know, frontline commanders are making to their troops. They've looked at it before. It looks like they're gonna have to take another even more serious look at it. Now, I've been speaking with KPBS military reporter, Steve Walsh. Steve, thank you. Thank you.
Speaker 4: 06:19 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 More National Guard troops are headed to the US Mexico border, a thousand troops from Texas. We'll try to address one of the unintended results of president Trump's immigration crackdown traffic jams. Trekkers say it can take hours to cross the border and get through u s customs from far Texas. Carson frame reports for the American Home Front project.
Speaker 2: 00:23 Every day more than 40,000 commercial trucks cross over the Pharr international bridge carrying things like fruits, vegetables, and machine parts. Once the truck's reached the u s they spill out into an intersection with two gas stations or many go to refuel. Some have been idling on the three mile long bridge for hours waiting for customs officials to scan and approve their loads. Christiane Davila stands in the shade pumping diesel fuel into his tank today. He crossed the border with a load of mangoes, chilies, cucumbers, and squash. He says he can only make one trip per day because the wait times fluctuates so much.
Speaker 3: 01:01 Well [inaudible] sometimes see six hours depending on the line. Sometimes we get in line at night again and we get here at 6:00 PM four or 5:00 PM depending on the lions. Eight o'clock. Yeah, it's a really long time. There's not enough time for another trip across. In late March, customs and border protection began pulling customs agents away from their regular jobs at ports of entry and reassign them to process migrants at the border. [inaudible] and the migrant situation began in the began closing lanes. It became worse, but it's getting bad. I crossed over today in less than an hour, CBP has
Speaker 4: 01:35 since moved some personnel back to customs processing at the ports. That's improved wait times somewhat, but all along the border companies are still concerned. Staffing remains an issue and business leaders worry about a possible repeat of the situation. This spring when president Trump's threats of tariffs led to a surge of Mexican imports that made traffic even worse. Rufus [inaudible] is president of the National Foreign Trade Council.
Speaker 5: 01:58 The rates have definitely gotten much longer since many of these policy changes were put into place. These delays are lost. Money lost time. Um, very often it impacts their bottom line. It also impacts the workers in those, in those production fills Saudis and of course it impacts American consumers because it raises their costs.
Speaker 4: 02:21 In late June, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott announced the deployment of National Guard troops to ports of entry. He said they'll help support commercial trade.
Speaker 6: 02:29 They will be working, uh, in assisting border patrol at ports of entry, uh, to facilitate commercial traffic coming in as well as any other traffic that may be coming across the border. So they, they will, they will be performing basically, uh, the functions that border patrol performs collaboratively with the border patrol.
Speaker 4: 02:49 Neither Governor Abbott's office, the Texas military department nor CVP, responded to requests for clarification about what exactly the guard troops will be doing. CBP did brief some business leaders who do cross border shipping and logistics work. Tony Rivera is the general manager of Parker and company, a customs brokerage agency. He says, they were told that the national guard would not be processing shipments. They're here on a security function. That's what we were told later, that they're not here to be able to do law enforcement. They're here to secure our borders, to be able to also provide security for customs and for border patrol. Revera says he welcomes additional security at the ports and along the border generally, but he says to reduce the delays, customs needs trained officers, people who know how to process goods and handle manifest as a brokerage community, we need people that are experienced, that are trained to be able to process customs, documentation, understand the business, understand the urgencies. It takes a while to get there. Industry leaders say there would be a need for more customs officers even without the migrant situation, because trade between the U s and Mexico is expanding now with some truckers saying the immigration crackdown has made the delays worse. It's unclear how much the national guard deployment will improve things in Pharr, Texas. I'm Carson frame and this story was produced by the American Home Front project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting.
Speaker 7: 04:22 Okay.
Speaker 1: 00:05 [inaudible]
Speaker 2: 00:05 in the late 1970s, John Doe and his legendary band x dominated the punk rock scene in Los Angeles.
Speaker 1: 00:20 [inaudible]
Speaker 2: 00:20 on top of being on the road for more than 40 years. Doe has documented the early days of punk and a series of books. His latest one is titled More Fun in the world. And the audio version includes punk artists singing their songs. Like you may not have heard before. An acapella KPBS arts editor, Nina Garren spoke with doe ahead of a performance in San Diego this weekend.
Speaker 3: 00:43 Can you explain your first book under the Big Black Sun and what that covered?
Speaker 4: 00:49 So under the big black sign is a punk rock book about La Punk Rock. And instead of being the authority, which made me a little uncomfortable, and also it seemed like a whole lot of work. I, uh, reached out to some of the other people that were there and could tell their stories. And then I, uh, Tom to Salvia, my coauthor and I put it together being a little bit more of a narrator, if you will. And then this next book, both of them together, 10 years of La Punk rock inspired music, the community that it spawned and the kind of a rebel, I don't give a damn a attitude. And then the second book is a little bit more of the sex and drugs and rock and roll, even though there was plenty of that in the first one.
Speaker 3: 01:35 So why did you initially want to chronicle this time?
Speaker 4: 01:39 I didn't. It's a matter of fact when I came up with the idea of having more people write about it to me cause I didn't want to be the, um, authority then it got around to doing it. It's much more comfortable to be the narrator than, than the authority because I could tell some stories, but I couldn't tell like Jane Wheatland story and I couldn't tell. Um, you know, the story of held as Robert Lopez, his story in the new book, I, Louis Perez has a chapter and so he tells Los Lobos his stories and I, those are just too, too far outside of my experience. So
Speaker 3: 02:18 the message that you were singing about and the ideas that you were singing about when you first started, do you find that they're becoming kind of relevant again?
Speaker 4: 02:30 I think if something is basic enough, if it's true enough, then it doesn't lose its relevance.
Speaker 5: 02:38 Honest to goodness, the bars weren't open this morning. They must've man vote and far new president or something. Do you have a quarter? I said yes, because I did. Honest to goodness the Jews had been following all over this country. His face was better before, before the voted for, what's his name? This was supposed to be the [inaudible].
Speaker 4: 03:01 Like a song can be played in many different styles if it's a really good song. I mean politically. Yeah, no, I mean I, I think that there's a lot of, uh, yeah, you can make a case for anything. I know that there's a lot of punk rock bands that are coming up. There's a lot of people that are doing music that might have something to do with hours that are young and, and that makes me happy.
Speaker 3: 03:27 So how has it been personally to hear or relive these stories that happened so many years ago?
Speaker 4: 03:34 It's been eye opening. Charlotte Kathy wrote a chapter for this book and um, I knew Charlotte a bit, you know, but I had no idea that she struggled so much with heroin and I didn't know when she got into recovery what she's been in recovery for five years or something. So this chapter was her chapter, this particularly surprising and, and beautiful in, in her constant dedication to songwriting and, and how, even though she was struggling that she, she still, you know, had that as something of a center, even though it got pretty confusing. I guess
Speaker 3: 04:12 I was also really, I haven't read the whole thing, but I was so surprised that Jane Wieland's chapter was much more, um, to vouch Horace than I, I thought of the Gogo Charlotte
Speaker 4: 04:26 said, said it got thrown out of Ozzy Osborne dressing room. They got 86 from us. I mean, Ozzy Osborne, you think of him as being a complete party animal and, and the Gogos goes, were too tough for Ozzy and Rod Stewart,
Speaker 6: 04:43 yours sliver a glass under my skin. A sliver of glass.
Speaker 3: 04:51 [inaudible]
Speaker 6: 04:51 yeah, a constant hurt. Never a constant little hurt that never [inaudible] again. [inaudible]
Speaker 3: 05:10 why do you think x is still together 40 years later?
Speaker 4: 05:14 I don't know, cause we don't hold grudges that much and we've worked on a lot of our, uh, you know, problems. We don't sweat the small stuff kind of thing. And uh, and we'd like each other, you know, we basically, that goes a long way. We haven't made a bazillion dollars, so we can't just say, oh cool, I think I'll retire. So that's why we'll play the belly up for two nights. You know, right around the corner. Have a lot of respect for, for our music and what we've done. And if it wasn't for the fact that there's young people and old people coming out to see us, we wouldn't do it just for fun. We wouldn't, you know, this is our career at this point, you know. So this is what we do.
Speaker 2: 06:00 Yeah. And can you talk about the audiences? Are you seeing people who are kind of new to punk, and are you seeing people who were there in la that so many years ago?
Speaker 4: 06:11 Well, not so many people from so many years ago, but definitely people that are in their 50s and people that are in their teens. So we've been around, we've, we've stood the test of time and, and I think with all so many things that are things that aren't genuine, things that haven't been tested by fire, people that want to see that.
Speaker 2: 06:33 That was John Doe of the seminal punk rock band EQ speaking with KPBS arts editor, Nina Garren x will be performing at the belly up this weekend. You can also catch John Doe's signing copies of his new book, more fun in the world at lose records in Encinitas. That's on Saturday at 2:00 PM.