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Thread: Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi

  1. #1
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    Default Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi

    Just looked up this case, in which the ex-US Marine Sergeant was arrested by Mexican police when he accidentally (it appears) crossed the border from the United States carrying a number of guns - legal in the US but not in Mexico, and remains detained in a Mexican prison awaiting proceedings.

    I have great sympathy for Sgt. Tahmooressi. It would be easy to say that the Mexican police would have saved everyone a lot of trouble by simply escorting him back to the border, and sending him and his guns on their way. However, given the difficulties with drug smuggling and general violence in the border area between Mexico and the US, I suppose it is not surprising that they would be very suspicious of anyone found on their patch carrying what were, for them, illegal firearms.

    With respect to those who regard the mess into which he has fallen as "bureaucratic", I have a feeling that it is not that simple. I have no particular knowledge of the Mexican legal system, but I imagine that it is modeled largely on the Civil/Roman law system of Spain. This is also the system followed by most European countries, the exceptions being the United Kingdom, and Ireland and, to an extent, Malta and Cyprus. On the criminal side, this system is inquisitorial rather than the adversarial model followed by Common Law countries (including the US). Persons accused of serious crimes are routinely remanded in custody (or simply detained) pending the completion of an investigation by an Examining Magistrate or a State Prosecutor. This can take weeks, months or (not unusually) years. Even in Europe, cases frequently occur where a citizen of one country is detained for lengthy periods pending the preparation of a report by an Examining Magistrate, a situation by and large accepted in the Continental Civil Law countries. Problems do arise from time to time when a citizen, or a person connected with a citizen of a Common Law country is detained, apparently on pretty flimsy evidence, and is held on remand for very lengthy periods pending completion of the preliminary investigation. The Diplomatic services of European countries will, usually, provide consular support for one of their citizens caught in this plight, but are very wary about challenging the judicial norms of the arresting country. Likewise, the local courts are generally impervious to pressure to accelerate their procedures coming from abroad. I would guess that this is the predicament in which Mr Tahmooressi.

    Raw political pressure on the Mexican authorities may help Mr. Tahmooressi. It may, for example, keep his case in the face of the Mexican authorities, and help ensure that he is treated well in captivity. However, European examples do not suggest that it will much advance his release or trial. I hope I am wrong - for myself, the practice of lengthy pre-indictment detention to facilitate a preliminary investigation, typical of the Civil Law system is something of an affront to justice. However, it is the way things are done in Civil Law countries, and local judiciaries are understandably reluctant to yield to foreign challenges to what is a fundamental and long-established of their procedure in dealing with persons charged with serious crime.

    I hope that this matter is resolved soon - but it would be too much to say that I am optimistic. Best regards, JR.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    I have great sympathy for Sgt. Tahmooressi. It would be easy to say that the Mexican police would have saved everyone a lot of trouble by simply escorting him back to the border, and sending him and his guns on their way. However, given the difficulties with drug smuggling and general violence in the border area between Mexico and the US, I suppose it is not surprising that they would be very suspicious of anyone found on their patch carrying what were, for them, illegal firearms.
    Pity the Mexican police don't take the same energetic approach to locals carrying illegal firearms, and even better, the appalling crimes routinely committed by drug cartels torturing and murdering anyone who stands in their way.

    Curious that the US is all out to degrade ISIL and its barbaric beheadings of innocents half a planet away, yet doesn't commit anywhere near the same effort to confront an equal evil on its border which allows drugs into the US through Mexican crime gangs which, among other things, routinely behead people.

    Presumably the US Government is more fearful of barbarians half a planet away than those next door who, I would have thought, present a greater and more immediate threat to America and Americans.

    Think of the savings in logistics if the US got into Mexico half as hard as it's getting into Iraq for another round in its usual self-imposed hamstrung war which, if successful for a change, will just push the enemy into another place. From which the enemy will persist with their evil, because the US and its Western partners, including my nation, are constrained by self-imposed rules of engagement based on noble principles of human rights and liberty which, had they applied in WWII, would have precluded all significant and many insignificant bombing campaigns against the Axis powers; much of the land advances in North Africa, and most of the land advances in Italy and from D Day onwards, thus ensuring the failure of all Allied assaults in those regions and leaving the Soviets to win the war on their own, which they probably would have lost. Thank you, legal officers and your ilk and your rules of engagement for Western Allied forces for giving victory to the Nazis.

    Maybe my reading over several decades about WWII is deficient, but I don’t recall ever reading or hearing of a legal officer attached to and at battalion, brigade, division or higher level in any Allied force being consulted by the commander or anyone else on every, or any, operation by such units or formations. Let alone the legal officer having the power of veto.

    The reduction of waging war by the West to the demands of people who don’t actually fight it reminds me of the trenchant observation of Ch’i-shan, the Chinese official responsible for the European trading port of Canton in the final stages leading to the Opium Wars, that so far as the capability of Chinese troops was concerned, the Chinese civilian officials who ran the Chinese military were very likely admirable calligraphists but knew nothing of war (which the Chinese duly lost). Same now. Pen pushers make rules for grunts to ensure that grunts don’t win. Then pen pushers express surprise that grunts didn’t win, the fault of which is, of course, that of the grunts hamstrung by the pen pushers.

    It is perplexing that in the ‘take it by force if you have the force’ era of national and colonial expansion up to the middle of the 20th century, the nations which had the greatest capacity to and activity in expanding by force, and which have now become the greatest opponents of such expansion and the greatest defenders of human rights despite having the greatest military and other powers to defend human rights, are now the ones which quail most at the prospect of and are lukewarm in defending human rights (e.g. Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Palestine, Cambodia) and resisting expansion by ‘take it by force’ mobs such as ISIL. And also the most committed to occupational health and safety requirements for their own troops, so that my son goes by bus with all troops seated, with gear and weapons elsewhere, to the same major base that I went to nearly 45 years ago when we just slung our gear and weapons and selves into the back of a truck. I doubt that ISIL has work safety inspectors ensuring that its fighters aren't securely strapped into a bus seat before advancing.

    If we're not prepared to wage total war against the likes of ISIL, which are waging total war, we’re wasting our service people’s lives; our nation’s resources; and our nations' dwindling prestige as defenders of human rights by fighting a self-imposed restricted war. Same way that not going into North Vietnam while allowing it to flow south was a major contributor to losing that war.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi

    "Pity the Mexican police don't take the same energetic approach to locals carrying illegal firearms, and even better, the appalling crimes routinely committed by drug cartels torturing and murdering anyone who stands in their way." (from Rising Sun*)

    Problem with the local gun-toting gangsters is that they would probably shoot back - something that would not have crossed the mind of Sgt. Tahmooressi. Terrible situation on the border - must be well known even by news-averse Americans. It even features in television series like "NCIS, Los Angeles". Hard to see any solution, short of the Mexican state pulling itself together and dealing with the problem. Given the scale of the problem, however, I would not be very confident of that happening at all soon ... Best regards, JR.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi

    It was reported in the media last evening the Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi has been released, and is presently in the U.S. While all are well pleased with his release, the feeling is that he should never have come to be in custody at all, much less held in Prison and subjected to the Mexican Judicial system. The Fallout over this incident will continue for some time.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi

    It's amazing that Mexico can capture and prosecute one person that declares a firearm and miss several hundred thousand others that transport illegal drugs and firearms annually.

    Mexico has been Keystone Cops Territory since the days of Pancho Villa.

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    Glad he made it home.
    Last edited by Wittmann; 01-10-2015 at 12:05 AM.

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