October 17, 2011
Today, there was a protest at the first APEC event in Honolulu, a symposium on climate change:
“People’s need not corporate greed,” chanted protestors.
About 30 people from various groups marched and chanted outside an APEC meeting at Jefferson Hall at the East West Center. Then they went around back to the windows where they couldn’t be missed by the participants inside eating lunch.
“APEC, Wall Street, same same,” went another chant.
As Hawaii News Now reports, “Groups are calling APEC the perfect storm when you mix world leaders with the Occupy Wall Street movement, APEC protests and possible union strikes.” But government officials are imposing an unprecedented level of security that will make APEC extremely disruptive to local residents and will set the tone of government restriction of speech in future events.
The Civil Beat published a report on the ACLU’s efforts to protect the right to free speech during the APEC summit. The lack of transparency regarding security zones is making it extremely difficult for anyone to make plans for normal activities, much less protected speech. The City says that it will allow for protest and free speech. However by restricting use of many public spaces, it has made it very difficult to plan for protests. The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports:
Exactly how and where protests will be allowed is being determined. While the city said it intends to provide opportunities for exercise of free speech, it also has accommodated requests for city, state and federal use of several public areas to stage emergency vehicles. Those areas include Ala Moana Beach Park, Ala Wai Promenade, Ala Wai Community Park, Ala Wai Golf Clubhouse, Kapiolani Park and Kamokila Community Park.
A city spokeswoman said all of the plans for using the park areas are awaiting final approval and could change based on the needs of law enforcement and security for APEC.
At least one group, World Can’t Wait-Hawaii, had requested a permit to gather at the Ala Wai Promenade, where it demonstrated during the 2001 ADB conference. After initially being denied a permit, the group reached an agreement — with the intervention of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii — to access part of the promenade that will be shared with law enforcement.
Recently, the Coast Guard released its proposed rule to create ocean exclusion zones for APEC. These zones will prohibit people from using popular beaches and surf spots, a major recreational boat harbor and canoe paddling area:
Temporary Security Zones for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-10-06/pdf/2011-25855.pdf
The Coast Guard is establishing four temporary security zones on the navigable waters of O‗ahu‘s southern and western shores in support of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in O‗ahu, Hawai‗i. The establishment of these security zones is necessary to ensure the safety of all APEC attendees to include the President of the United States, as well as numerous foreign dignitaries and senior government officials. Entry into the temporary security zones established by this rule is prohibited unless authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Honolulu, or her designated representatives. This rule will be effective from 11 p.m. HST on November 9, 2011 through 11 p.m. HST on November 16, 2011. The § 165.T14–0800 (a)(2) and (4) security zones, West Waikiki and Ala Wai Harbor and Canal, will be enforced from 11 p.m. HST on November 9, 2011, through 11 p.m. HST on November 16, 2011. The § 165.T14–0800 (a)(1) security zone, Koʻolina Offshore, will be enforced from 11 p.m. HST on November 12, 2011, to 11 p.m. HST on November 13, 2011. The § 165.T14–0800 (a)(3) security zone, East Waikiki, will be enforced from 12 a.m. HST to 11 p.m. HST on November 12, 2011. Comments and related material must be submitted to the Coast Guard no later than October 17, 2011. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG–2011–0800 using any one of the following methods:
(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov/;
(2) Fax: 202–493–2251;
(3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001; or
(4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202–366–9329. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods (see, 76 F.R. 61950, October 06, 2011).
(From the Environmental Notice)
The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that sweeping APEC security measures are only slowly being revealed. But what has been disclosed has already disrupted the lives and activities of many residents and businesses:
As details about security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting begin to trickle out, local residents are discovering that delays, disruptions and displacements will accompany President Barack Obama, 20 other heads of state and thousands of attendees when they descend on Oahu next month.
The Nov. 7-13 event will close roads and snarl traffic, consume parking spaces and close access to public places, especially in Waikiki, where world leaders and their delegations will fill rooms in about 11 hotels. And it will disrupt access at key meeting sites like the Hale Koa Hotel and the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spa, which will be shielded by 10-foot-high barricades.
“APEC has brought us extreme high security with no information and lots of inconvenience. APEC will bring millions into our state so people are trying to overlook everything, all in the name of money,” said Les Among, a Waikiki Neighborhood Board member.
APEC security has already forced the World Invitational Hula Festival to make a last-minute venue change to the Blaisdell Concert Hall from the Waikiki Shell, where it has a 20-year history of shows over the Veterans Day holiday.
“I was told that (APEC) wasn’t going to use the Shell, so no problem. But now they are using all of the parking, so it’s impossible,” said Paulie Jennings, the hula festival’s 81-year-old executive producer, who is scrambling to save her Nov. 10-12 event after learning about the change on Sept. 30.
“We thought APEC was going to be a good way to sell tickets,” Jennings said. “We didn’t know the State Department was going to take over Hawaii. If they didn’t think that we all lived in grass houses, they would have let us know much sooner.”
Board member Among said he has fielded numerous calls from dissatisfied residents. “APEC is just going to be a mess,” he said, adding that concerns have surfaced about harbor use, traffic, lack of parking and access to Waikiki.
Increasingly, APEC is beginning to look less like a conference and more like an invasion.
October 7, 2011
Opposing paradigms converge on Hawaii
Hawaii is center stage for a meeting between the all-business APEC and international environmental conference Moana Nui
Jon Letman Last Modified: 07 Oct 2011 10:36
Speaking earlier this year on US National Public Radio, Intel CEO Paul Otellini suggested that the global power shift that occurred from the United Kingdom to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century is now replaying itself, as power moves away from the United States to the Asia-Pacific region, specifically China.
If that’s true, then Hawaii is well poised to serve as the place where the proverbial baton is handed off. This November (8-13), Honolulu will host the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) 2011 summit where 21 member economies will discuss region issues.
Read the full story here.
Native American Activist Winona LaDuke on Use of “Geronimo” as Code for Osama bin Laden and the “Militarization of Indian Country”
May 6, 2011
Winona LaDuke has just published a book The Militarization of Indian Country in which she discusses the situation in Hawai’i and the Native-owned military contracting industry. I spoke with someone from her organization as they were researching information for the book. I haven’t seen it yet to know how the information was incorporated. Today, she was on Democracy Now! She discusses the military assault on Hawai’i and the use of “Geronimo” as code name for Osama bin Laden. One figure she cites – 79,000 acres – of military expansion in Hawai’i doesn’t sound correct. But she describes Kaho’olawe, Pohakuloa and the Stryker Brigade expansion. Here’s the video of the program and an excerpt from the transcript:
We’re joined now by Winona LaDuke, Native American activist, writer. She lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. She’s executive director of the group Honor the Earth. She was Ralph Nader’s running mate in 1996 and 2000 presidential elections. And her new book is called The Militarization of Indian Country. She’s joining us from Minneapolis.
Winona, thank you so much for being with us. Let’s start off by talking about who Geronimo was and the significance of his name being used.
Let me see how the New York Times described the moment: “The code name for bin Laden was ‘Geronimo.’ The president and his advisers watched Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, on a video screen, narrating from his agency’s headquarters across the Potomac River what was happening in faraway Pakistan.
“’They’ve reached the target,’ he said.
“’We have a visual on Geronimo,’ he said.
“A few minutes later: ‘Geronimo EKIA.’
“Enemy Killed In Action. There was silence in the Situation Room.”
Winona LaDuke, your response?
WINONA LADUKE: I mean, you know, the reality is, is the military looks at it from its own perspective. This was one of the most expensive single campaigns to find somebody, bin Laden. And the reality was, is that the Geronimo campaign, the campaign against the Apache people, was one of the most expensive wars ever waged by the United States government. You know, for 13 years, they spent millions of dollars, essentially. Five thousand soldiers, and additional, went after these people, relentlessly, for that long period of time. So, from the military’s perspective, that’s a little of how they were looking at it.
You know, from our perspective, of course, and from, I think, all Americans’ perspective, Geronimo is a hero. He’s a national patriot for our peoples. And in that, it is indeed an egregious slander for indigenous peoples everywhere and to all Americans, I believe, to equate Osama bin Laden with Geronimo.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Winona, in terms of the military, this seems to be a constant historical inability to grasp, the relationship of the government to Native American people. I was struck particularly by—during the wars in Kosovo, when the United States used—constantly talked about the Apache helicopters that were leading the fight against ethnic cleansing, or the new helicopter that supposedly was going to be the stealth helicopter that the military developed but then had to scrap, the Comanche helicopter. And there seems to be a constant insensitivity to the long struggle for freedom and defense of their land by the Native American peoples on the part of the U.S. military.
WINONA LADUKE: The reality is, is that the military is full of native nomenclature. That’s what we would call it. You’ve got Black Hawk helicopters, Apache Longbow helicopters. You’ve got Tomahawk missiles. The term used when you leave a military base in a foreign country is to go “off the reservation, into Indian Country.” So what is that messaging that is passed on? You know, it is basically the continuation of the wars against indigenous people.
Donald Rumsfeld, when he went to Fort Carson, named after the infamous Kit Carson, who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Navajo people and their forced relocation, urged people, you know, in speaking to the troops, that in the global war on terror, U.S. forces from this base have lived up to the legend of Kit Carson, fighting terrorists in the mountains of Afghanistan to help secure victory. “And every one of you is like Kit Carson.”
The reality is, is that the U.S. military still has individuals dressed—the Seventh Cavalry, that went in in Shock and Awe, is the same cavalry that massacred indigenous people, the Lakota people, at Wounded Knee in 1890. You know, that is the reality of military nomenclature and how the military basically uses native people and native imagery to continue its global war and its global empire practices.
AMY GOODMAN: Winona, you begin your book on the militarization of Native America at Fort Sill, the U.S. Army post near Lawton, Oklahoma. We broadcast from there about a year ago in that area. Why Fort Sill? What is the significance of Fort Sill for Native America?
WINONA LADUKE: Well, you know, that is where the Apaches themselves were incarcerated for 27 years for the crime of being Apache. There are two cemeteries there, and those cemeteries—one of those cemeteries is full of Apaches, including Geronimo, who did die there. But it is emblematic of Indian Country’s domination by military bases and the military itself. You’ve got over 17 reservations named after—they’re still called Fort something, you know? Fort Hall is, you know, one of them. Fort Yates. You know, it is pervasive, the military domination of Indian Country.
Most of the land takings that have occurred for the military, whether in Alaska, in Hawaii, or in what is known as the continental United States, have been takings from native land. Some of—you know, they say that the Lakota Nation, in the Lakota Nation’s traditional territory, as guaranteed under the Treaty of 1868 or the 1851 Treaty, would be the third greatest nuclear power in the world. You know, those considerations indicate how pervasive historically the military has been in native history and remains today in terms of land occupation.
I must say, on the other side of that, we have the highest rate of living veterans of any community in the country. It’s estimated that about 22 percent of our population, or 190,000 of our—or 190,000—or 190,000 living veterans in Native America today. And all of those veterans, I am sure, are quite offended by the use of Geronimo’s name, you know, in the assault on bin Laden and in the death of bin Laden.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Winona, in your book, you go through a lot of these takings of land and what it’s been used for. Obviously, the nuclear accident following the tsunami in Japan has been in the news a lot lately, but you talk about the origins of the United States’s own nuclear power, the mining of uranium, the development of Los Alamos Laboratory. Could you talk about that and its connection to Indian Country?
WINONA LADUKE: You know, native people—about two-thirds of the uranium in the United States is on indigenous lands. On a worldwide scale, about 70 percent of the uranium is either in Aboriginal lands in Australia or up in the Subarctic of Canada, where native people are still fighting uranium mining. And now, with both nuclearization and the potential reboot of a nuclear industry, they’re trying to open uranium mines on the sacred Grand Canyon. You know, we have been, from the beginning, heavily impacted by radiation exposure from the U.S. military, you know, continuing on to nuclear testing, whether in the Pacific or whether the 1,100 nuclear weapons that were detonated over Western Shoshone territory. You know, our peoples have been heavily impacted by radiation, let alone nerve gas testing. You’ve got nerve gas dumps at Umatilla. You’ve got a nerve gas dump at the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation. You have, you know, weapons bases, and the military is the largest polluter in the world. And a lot of that pollution, in what is known as the United States, or some of us would refer to as occupied Indian Country, is in fact all heavily impacting Indian people or indigenous communities still.
JUAN GONZALEZ: You also talk about the radiation experimentation in Alaska in the 1960s in your book. I don’t think—very few people have heard of that. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
WINONA LADUKE: Yeah. You know, I was an undergraduate at Harvard, and I remember I used to—I researched all this really bizarre data, but there was this project at Point Hope, where the military wanted to look at the radiation lichen-caribou-man cycle, of bio-accumulation of radiation. And so, they went into the Arctic. You know, there’s widespread testing on native people, because we’re isolated populations. We’re basically—you know, most of us in that era were genetically pretty similar. It was a good test population, and there was no accountability. You know, testing has occurred, widespread. But in that, they wanted to test, so the village of Point Hope was basically irradiated. Didn’t tell the people. Documents were declassified in the 1990s. And all that time, this community bore a burden of nuclear exposure that came from the Nevada test site, you know, and in testing those communities.
You know, Alaska itself is full of nuclear and toxic waste dumps from the military, over 700 separate, including, you know, perhaps one of the least known, but I did talk about it in this book, The Militarization of Indian Country, VX Lake, where they happened to forget about some nerve gas canisters, a whole bunch of them, and they put them out in the middle of the lake, and they sank to the bottom. And then they remembered a few years later, and then they had to drain the darn lake to go get all these—you know, all the nerve gas, VX, out of the bottom of the lake. And, you know, they renamed it Blueberry Lake, but it’s still known as VX Lake to anybody who’s up there. And, you know, the unaccountability of the military, above reproach, having such a huge impact on a worldwide scale, having such a huge take at the federal trough, the federal budget, and in indigenous communities an absolutely huge impact in terms of the environmental consequences of militarization.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Winona LaDuke, Native American activist, writer. Her latest book is called The Militarization of Indian Country. Winona, talk about the history of native participation in and opposition to war. But begin with your dad, with your father.
WINONA LADUKE: Yeah, you know, I wrote this book out of a debt, really, to my father. My father was a Korean War resister, and he spent 11 months in prison for refusing to fight a war that he did not believe was his. There is a long history of native people, whether the Zunis, whether the Hopis, whether Iroquois, whether the Ojibwes, who said, “You know, that’s really not our war. We’re staying here.”
The United States, you know, people—one of the reasons that it is said that native people received citizenship in 1924 was so that they could be drafted. And they have been extensively drafted. You know, for a whole variety of social, political, historic, cultural and economic reasons, native people have the highest rate of enlistment in this country, from historic to present. You know, in some places, in our Indian communities, you have very dire economic situations, and the military recruiters are very aggressive. And young people do not have a lot of choices. I mean, I had a young man from my community say, “Auntie, I joined the military.” I said, “Why did you join the military?” He says, “Because I was either going to jail or going to the military.” You know, and I have heard that story more than once in Indian Country.
So, having said that, you have a history of warrior societies, of people who are proud, who have defended our land. You know, 500 years is a long time to defend your territory. And, you know, we’re still here. And within that, our warrior societies continue, whether it is at Oka, whether it was at Wounded Knee, whether it is on the front lines of the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, or whether it is in the Grand Canyon, defending our territory. At the same time, you have a number—you know, a large rate of enlistment. And so, you have native veterans who are, in our community, highly regarded for who they are as courageous individuals and a very significant part of our communities. At the same time, there is no program to reintegrate these individuals into our society. A lot of—you know, the highest rate of homelessness is in the veterans in this country. And many other issues of PTSD and such exist widespread in our communities because of our isolation and our high rates of enlistment and our high rates of veterans.
AMY GOODMAN: Winona LaDuke, you also talk, when talking about Fort Sill, about the Comanche people asking for Fort Sill not to destroy Medicine Bluff. Can you talk about the sacred places in the United States, starting with Fort Sill? Where are they threatened, and how do you preserve these lands?
WINONA LADUKE: Well, you know, the military has—the U.S. government is the largest landowner. The United States—you know, native people are large landowners, but the military has a huge chunk of our territories. And in those, there are a number of places that are our sacred sites. Perhaps the best examples are really in Hawaii, where the military took the island of Kaho’olawe, an entire island, to turn it into a bombing range for 40 years. You know, that was my first politicization, I would say, as to the impact of the military in indigenous communities. Took a whole island, and then, eventually, the island is now returned. The aquifer is cracked from bombing. And, you know, it is in—it’s unconscionable, the practice. Today, Hawaii, you see the continuation of the expansion of military holdings there. Pohakuloa is an expansion for the Stryker that they are looking at on the Big Island of Hawaii to take another 79,000 acres of land—there’s only so much land on an island—full of sacred sites, full of historic sites, that Hawaiians, Native Hawaiians and all people have a right to visit but now is becoming a part of a military base. And increasing land takings, particularly in Hawaii, is one of the worst cases.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And Winona, as we mentioned earlier, you were a vice-presidential candidate twice on the ticket, an Independent ticket, with Ralph Nader. And as you see now, in these years of the last few years of the Obama administration, do you see any significant change in the way that the Native American nations across the country have been treated under the Obama administration?
WINONA LADUKE: You know, I would say that things are better. I would say we’ve got a few egregious problems still. You know, you have, for instance, the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. As you likely know, there were four holdout countries, as of 2007, that did not sign on. U.S. and Canada are the only two countries that have yet to sign on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Obama administration made some lip service to it, posturing. I was thinking maybe we’re in like some kind of yoga position on it; I don’t know what posture he’s in. But we’d like to see that carried out. As well, you know, apology—you know, these are, in many ways, symbolic gestures. There was an apology to native peoples that was issued, but no one heard it. So its’ kind of like saying, you know, “I’m sorry,” to a wall. Probably should have a little formal apology.
But then there is the reality of—that things in Indian Country are not getting better. You can’t keep putting money in the federal budget for the military and robbing everything else, so that people on my reservation and other reservations don’t have housing, don’t have education money, don’t have health service, you know, don’t have basic, basic rights. And the only way in the native community, really, to get economically ahead, in many cases, is to become a military contractor.
I don’t know if you noticed in the book that it turns out that Blackwater is a Native American contractor. Now, I didn’t know that, you know, and I really hadn’t thought of them as a Native American contractor. But with the Chenega native corporation, they’ve got about $1.9 billion in federal contracts that they received, most of those as a sole-source, non-bid contractor, because they went under the shell of an Alaskan native corporation, the Chenega Corporation. And so, you know, native communities are becoming military contractors because that’s where the money is. You know, so the irony of the whole history of colonization, military colonization, valiant patriots like Geronimo fighting against the U.S. taking of our lands, the destruction of our peoples, to now a situation where the largest private army in the world is a Native American contractor. And the fact that they so egregiously abuse the name of Geronimo and, in widespread cases, you know, refer to Indian Country as the territory that is to be taken by the U.S. military, you know, it is time to revisit this history.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Winona LaDuke, ending on where we began, with Geronimo, you supported President Obama, Barack Obama, for president, the first African American president, who—it was under him that this Geronimo name was given. Of course, I’m sure it wasn’t he, himself, who gave this name for this operation to kill bin Laden. He was born in Hawaii. His school, native name, and you talk about Hawaii being so important in native history. Your thoughts about President Obama in light of what—this latest controversy?
WINONA LADUKE: Well, you know, I think a formal apology is due to the native community, to the family of Geronimo, as requested.
I think that a review of the impact of militarization on Indian Country—you know, we are trying to get back some of our land that is held by the military, but it’s so darn toxic. And the military is busy making more things toxic, getting more exemptions under federal law, so that they are above any environmental laws. You know, it would be nice to get something back that was taken, and to get it back clean and to get it back good, whether Badger Munitions in Wisconsin, Fort Wingate. But we don’t want—we don’t want toxic land, you know, back, returned to our people.
Reviewing the military psychology of Kit Carson, you know, and using that nomenclature, how offensive it is to native people. And talking about some kind of a justice, in terms of—I don’t have an answer—it’s a tricky one—how you make justice with the military. But what I would say is that what was done historically was wrong, what was done this week was wrong, and it would be an opportunity for the Obama administration to do the right thing in relation to Indian Country, because Indian Country is not to be assaulted by the U.S. military.
AMY GOODMAN: Winona LaDuke, I want to thank you very much for being with us, Native American activist, writer. She lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota, executive director of the group Honor the Earth. Her new book, just out, The Militarization of Indian Country.
March 14, 2011
Recently, versions of the same op ed piece appeared in both Guam and Hawai’i newspapers by James A. Kent and and Eric Casino. Kent describes himself as “an analyst of geographic-focused social and economic development in Pacific Rim countries; he is president of the JKA Group (www.jkagroup.com).” Eric Casino is “a social anthropologist and freelance consultant on international business and development in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.”
The authors argue that Guam and Hawai’i should capitalize on the U.S. militarization of the Pacific and remake our island societies into “convergence zones” to counter China’s growing power and influence in the region. They write:
Because of their critically important geographic positions at the heart of the Pacific, Hawaii and Guam are historically poised to become beneficial centers to the nations of the Western Pacific, the way Singapore serves countries around the South China Sea. In the 19th century, Hawaii was the “gas and go” center for whalers. In the 20th century it was the mobilization center for the war in the Pacific.
The writers even invoke the uprisings in the Arab world to encourage Guam and Hawai’i citizens to step up and take the reins of history:
Citizen action has shown itself as a critical component in the amazing political transformation sweeping the Middle East. It is time to change the old world of dominance and control by the few — to the participation and freedom for the many. The people of Hawaii and Guam will need to navigate these historic shifts with bold and creative rethinking.
“Change the old world dominance and control by the few – to the participation and freedom for the many”? You would think that they were preaching revolution. But its quite the opposite. In the Guam version of the article, they attempt to repackage the subjugation of the peoples of Guam and Hawai’i as liberation, part of the neoliberal agenda of the upcoming APEC summit:
The opportunity to capitalize on these trends is aligned with the choice of Hawaii as the host of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November.
Furthermore they encourage the people of Guam and Hawai’i to partake in and feed off of the militarization of our island nations while denigrating grassroots resistance:
The planned move of a part of the Marine Corps base must take place in a manner that builds Guam into a full social and economic participant in the power realignments and not just a military outpost for repositioning of American forces. Citizen unrest in Guam would sap U.S. energy to remain strategic and undermine its forward defense security.
So, while they exhort the people of Hawai’i and Guam “to navigate these historic shifts with bold and creative rethinking,” in the end, they are just selling the same old imperial and neoliberal arrangements imposed by foreign powers that the people of Hawai’i and Guam have had to contend with for centuries.
So what is the point of the op ed? It makes more sense when you understand the history and context of the authors. Both Kent and Casino are part of James Kent Associates, a consulting firm that has worked extensively with the Bureau of Land Management to manage the community concerns regarding development of natural resources in a number of western states. In 1997, the Marine Corps hired JKA Group to help counter resistance from the Wai’anae community to proposed amphibious assault training at Makua Beach, or as they put it to help “sustain its training options at Makua Beach in a cooperative manner with the community, and to be sure that community impacts and environmental justice issues were adequately addressed. JKA engaged in informal community contact and description by entering the routines of the local communities.”
They were essentially ‘hired gun’ social scientists helping the military manipulate the community through anthropological techniques:
Prior to JKA’s involvement, the NEPA process was being “captured” by organized militants from the urban zones of Hawaii. The strategy of the militants was to disrupt NEPA by advocating for the importance of Makua as a sacred beach. As community workers identified elders in the local communities, the elders did not support the notion of a sacred beach-”What, you think we didn’t walk on our beaches?” They pointed to specific sites on the beach that were culturally important and could not be disturbed by any civilian or military activity. As this level of detail was injected into the EA process, the militants were less able to dominate the process and to bring forward their ideological agenda. They had to be more responsible or lose standing in the informal community because the latter understood: “how the training activity, through enhancements to the culture, can directly benefit community members. Therefore, the training becomes a mutual benefit, with the community networks standing between the military and the activists.”
So community members active in the Native Hawaiian, environmental and peace movements are “organized militants from urban zones of Hawaii”? The military uses similar language to describe the resistance fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a way, their methods anticipated the use of anthropologists in the battlefield in the “Human Terrain System” program.
What they don’t report on their website is that they failed to win over the community. Opposition to the Marine amphibious exercises was so strong that PACOM hosted an unprecedented meeting between Wai’anae community leaders on the one hand and CINCPAC, the Governor, and other public officials on the other. As preparations were made for nonviolent civil resistance, CINCPAC canceled the exercise in Makua and moved the amphibious landing to Waimanalo, where the community also protested.
It seems as though JKA Group has been contracted by the Marines once again to help manage the community resistance to the military invasion planned for Guam and Hawai’i. So the people of Hawai’i and Guam will have to resist this assault “with bold and creative rethinking.” One such initiative is the Moana Nui conference planned to coincide with APEC in Hawai’i in which the peoples of the Asia Pacific region can chart our own course for development, environmental protection, peace and security in a ways that “change the old world dominance and control by the few – to the participation and freedom for the many.”
On the topic of the militarization of the Asia-Pacific region, I recently spoke with Korean solidarity and human rights activist Hyun Lee and community organizer Irene Tung on their radio program Asia Pacific Forum on WBAI in New York City.
Pentagon Takes Aim at Asia-Pacific
- KYLE KAJIHIRO is Director of DMZ Hawaii and Program Director of the American Friends Service Committee in Hawaii.
March 10, 2011
Columbia professor and Nobel Prize laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz wrote a very interesting article about the economic “miracle” of Mauritius, a small island nation and former colony in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius has a population of 1.3 million, almost the same as Hawai’i. He writes:
Suppose someone were to describe a small country that provided free education through university for all of its citizens, transportation for school children, and free health care – including heart surgery – for all. You might suspect that such a country is either phenomenally rich or on the fast track to fiscal crisis.
After all, rich countries in Europe have increasingly found that they cannot pay for university education, and are asking young people and their families to bear the costs. For its part, the United States has never attempted to give free college for all, and it took a bitter battle just to ensure that America’s poor get access to health care – a guarantee that the Republican Party is now working hard to repeal, claiming that the country cannot afford it.
But Mauritius, a small island nation off the east coast of Africa, is neither particularly rich nor on its way to budgetary ruin. Nonetheless, it has spent the last decades successfully building a diverse economy, a democratic political system, and a strong social safety net. Many countries, not least the US, could learn from its experience.
In a recent visit to this tropical archipelago of 1.3 million people, I had a chance to see some of the leaps Mauritius has taken – accomplishments that can seem bewildering in light of the debate in the US and elsewhere. Consider home ownership: while American conservatives say that the government’s attempt to extend home ownership to 70% of the US population was responsible for the financial meltdown, 87% of Mauritians own their own homes – without fueling a housing bubble.
Now comes the painful number: Mauritius’s GDP has grown faster than 5% annually for almost 30 years. Surely, this must be some “trick.” Mauritius must be rich in diamonds, oil, or some other valuable commodity. But Mauritius has no exploitable natural resources. Indeed, so dismal were its prospects as it approached independence from Britain, which came in 1968, that the Nobel Prize-winning economist James Meade wrote in 1961: “It is going to be a great achievement if [the country] can find productive employment for its population without a serious reduction in the existing standard of living….[T]he outlook for peaceful development is weak.”
As if to prove Meade wrong, the Mauritians have increased per capita income from less than $400 around the time of independence to more than $6,700 today. The country has progressed from the sugar-based monoculture of 50 years ago to a diversified economy that includes tourism, finance, textiles, and, if current plans bear fruit, advanced technology.
Stiglitz identified several factors for their economic success are
First, the question is not whether we can afford to provide health care or education for all, or ensure widespread homeownership. If Mauritius can afford these things, America and Europe – which are several orders of magnitude richer – can, too. The question, rather, is how to organize society. Mauritians have chosen a path that leads to higher levels of social cohesion, welfare, and economic growth – and to a lower level of inequality.
Second, unlike many other small countries, Mauritius has decided that most military spending is a waste. The US need not go as far: just a fraction of the money that America spends on weapons that don’t work against enemies that don’t exist would go a long way toward creating a more humane society, including provision of health care and education to those who cannot afford them.
Third, Mauritius recognized that without natural resources, its people were its only asset. Maybe that appreciation for its human resources is also what led Mauritius to realize that, particularly given the country’s potential religious, ethnic, and political differences – which some tried to exploit in order to induce it to remain a British colony – education for all was crucial to social unity. So was a strong commitment to democratic institutions and cooperation between workers, government, and employers – precisely the opposite of the kind of dissension and division being engendered by conservatives in the US today.
Imagine that, cutting military spending and investing in its people as its greatest resource.
He notes that Mauritius was able to chart its own course only after gaining independence. But militarism and colonialism continue to haunt Mauritius. The Chagos islands, which were formerly part of Mauritius, remains a British colony. Within the Chagos group, the atoll of Diego Garcia is occupied by one of the United States’ most strategic military bases. The Diego Garcia residents who were forcibly relocated to Mauritius and other places continue to fight for the right to return to their home island. Stiglitz writes:
The Mauritius Miracle dates to independence. But the country still struggles with some of its colonial legacies: inequality in land and wealth, as well as vulnerability to high-stakes global politics. The US occupies one of Mauritius’s offshore islands, Diego Garcia, as a naval base without compensation, officially leasing it from the United Kingdom, which not only retained the Chagos Islands in violation of the UN and international law, but expelled its citizens and refuses to allow them to return.
The US should now do right by this peaceful and democratic country: recognize Mauritius’ rightful ownership of Diego Garcia, renegotiate the lease, and redeem past sins by paying a fair amount for land that it has illegally occupied for decades.
March 2, 2011
A few tidbits from the news…
In the past week, I found myself having to yell on numerous occasions to be heard over the noise of increased Army helicopter flyovers. This problem will worsen for Kane’ohe residents with the Marine Corps proposal to increase the number and types of aircraft stationed at the Marine Corps Base Hawai’i in Kane’ohe. As a consolation prize, you can tour helicopters on Moku’ume’ume (aka Ford Island) this week. The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports “Military helicopters to fly to Ford Island to open conference”:
U.S. Army and Coast Guard helicopters will fly onto Ford Island on Friday and Saturday to open an aviation conference at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.
Meanwhile, Makua Beach and Keawaula sections of Ka’ena Point State Park have been reopened to the public after a temporary closure so the Army could survey for unexploded ordnance. The military had used the areas for training between 1930 and 1990. The Army found one munition:
The Army didn’t find any unexploded ordnance in public-use areas, but it found a World War II-era 4.2 inch mortar body in a remote and inaccessible spot inland from Keawaula.
The weapon didn’t have a fuse and was transported to Schofield Barracks for proper disposal.
And the Honolulu Police Department is not worried about losing $5 million in federal subsidies to provide security for the APEC conference in November. According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser:
The money was part of Hawaii’s $321 million share of a controversial $1.3 trillion appropriations bill that U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said he would no longer support after President Barack Obama vowed to veto any bill containing earmarks.
The Honolulu Police Department is already allocating $20 million for APEC security — $10 million in fiscal year 2011, which ends June 30, and $10 million in fiscal 2012.
When the Asian Development Bank held its meeting in Honolulu, the police grew more militarized. The Hawaii Tourism Authority even helped to buy riot control weapons and gear for the police. How militarized are we?
January 30, 2011
The Chamber of Commerce of Hawai’i has been a promoter of militarization and the U.S. takeover of Hawai’i for more than 100 years. Their website brags that two of the Chamber’s earliest achievements were:
Worked to secure a treaty of reciprocity with the U.S. to admit Hawaiian export at reduced rates of duty to help the sugar industry to grow and expand
Development of Pearl Harbor.
The two Treaties of Reciprocity can be thought of as early neoliberal trade agreements. The U.S. demanded access to Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa (Pearl Harbor) in exchange for lowering the import tariff on Hawai’i-grown sugar. The haole business community pressured King Kalakaua to sign the treaty, which angered Native Hawaiians, many of whom saw the concessions as violations of Hawai’i's sovereignty. Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa was a critically important food source for O’ahu island with 36 fishponds and numerous agricultural plots. The Treaties set up a political crisis that led to the invasion of U.S. marines and the overthrow of the Queen in 1893.
The Chamber has a dedicated Military Affairs Department and maintains a Military Affairs Council to lobby for increased militarization of our islands. Every year the Chamber organizes a Military Appreciation Month in May, a Hawaii US Military Partnership Conference and an annual lobbying junket to Washington D.C.
So, as would be expected, when the Army announced that live fire training would end in Makua, the Chamber penned its obligatory defense of the military in Hawai’i. It is couched in the language of protection, prosperity and security and subtly plays on fears of economic loss, which in itself has been a carefully conditioned reaction. It’s the kind of schizophrenic message an abuser might use with his victim: “I love you, but don’t get uppity. Don’t make me hurt you. Remember who protects and provides for you.”
Military presence in Hawaii serves many goals
By Charlie Ota
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 24, 2011
Some have questioned the viability of the military’s forward presence in Hawaii, reflecting on the negative environmental impacts caused by military training exercises during the 1900s. While the environmental damage is undeniable, it was not foreseen and is most regrettable.
Nonetheless, we must understand that the military’s presence is critical to achieving political and economic stability in the Asian Pacific.
Basing fully trained combat forces in Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific Command is a proven national strategy that has contributed to achieving political stability among Asia-Pacific nations and deterring enemy aggression. Equally important, it has kept the economic sea lanes and airways free and open for global commerce to thrive.
The negative spin posed by the Star-Advertiser’s editorial on the Army’s proposal to end live-fire maneuvers at its training range on Makua Valley (“Army’s Makua move welcome,” Jan. 14) could force the military to relocate to an area where training ranges are more accessible, thus compromising the gains made to restore stability in the region.
January 10, 2011
Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Pentagon’s Planet of Bases
[TomDispatch recommendations: If you have a chance, check out "The Tyranny of Defense Inc.," the latest piece by Andrew Bacevich, author of the bestselling Washington Rules, at the Atlantic. It was written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address (in which he coined the phrase “the military-industrial complex”), but you also find out about an Eisenhower speech you never knew existed. Don’t miss it. In addition, let me recommend the Coen brothers’s new film, True Grit. Having grown up on Westerns, I’m with the between-the-coasts crowd on this one, and thematically I think it fits in perfectly with TomDispatch: a drunken lout of a U.S. Marshall/nation ready to pull a gun on and shoot anyone, and hard to distinguish from the worst of rogues, could nonetheless still be capable of truly heroic acts. I find that moving and apt. Tom]
India, a rising power, almost had one (but the Tajiks said no). China, which last year became the world’s second largest economy as well as the planet’s leading energy consumer, and is expanding abroad like mad (largely via trade and the power of the purse), still has none. The Russians have a few (in Central Asia where “the great game” is ongoing), as do those former colonial powers Great Britain and France, as do certain NATO countries in Afghanistan. Sooner or later, Japan may even have one.
All of them together — and maybe you’ve already guessed that I’m talking about military bases not on one’s own territory — add up to a relatively modest (if unknown) total. The U.S., on the other hand, has enough bases abroad to sink the world. You almost have the feeling that a single American mega-base like Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan could swallow them all up. It’s so large that a special Air Force “team” has to be assigned to it just to deal with the mail arriving every day, 360,000 pounds of it in November 2010 alone. At the same base, the U.S. has just spent $130 million building “a better gas station for aircraft… [a] new refueling system, which features a pair of 1.1-million gallon tanks and two miles of pipes.” Imagine that: two miles of pipes, thousands of miles from home — and that’s just to scratch the surface of Bagram’s enormity.
Spencer Ackerman of Wired’s Danger Room blog visited the base last August, found that construction was underway everywhere (think hundreds of millions of dollars more from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers), and wrote: “More notable than the overstuffed runways is the over-driven road. [The Western part of] Disney Drive, the main thoroughfare that rings the eight-square-mile base,[...] is a two-lane parking lot of Humvees, flamboyant cargo big-rigs from Pakistan known as jingle trucks, yellow DHL shipping vans, contractor vehicles, and mud-caked flatbeds. If the Navy could figure out a way to bring a littoral-combat ship to a landlocked country, it would idle on Disney.”
Serving 20,000 or more U.S. troops, and with the usual assortment of Burger Kings and Popeyes, the place is nothing short of a U.S. town, bustling in a way increasingly rare for actual American towns these days, part of a planetary military deployment of a sort never before seen in history. Yet, as various authors at this site have long noted, the staggering size, scope, and strangeness of all this is seldom considered, analyzed, or debated in the American mainstream. It’s a given, like the sun rising in the east. And yet, what exactly is that given? As Nick Turse, who has been following American basing plans for this site over the years, points out, it’s not as easy to answer that question as you might imagine. (To catch Timothy MacBain’s latest TomCast audio interview in which Turse discusses how to count up America’s empire of bases, click here or, to download it to your iPod, here.) Tom
Empire of Bases 2.0
Does the Pentagon Really Have 1,180 Foreign Bases?
By Nick Turse
The United States has 460 bases overseas! It has 507 permanent bases! What is the U.S doing with more than 560 foreign bases? Why does it have 662 bases abroad? Does the United States really have more than 1,000 military bases across the globe?
In a world of statistics and precision, a world in which “accountability” is now a Washington buzzword, a world where all information is available at the click of a mouse, there’s one number no American knows. Not the president. Not the Pentagon. Not the experts. No one.
The man who wrote the definitive book on it didn’t know for sure. The Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist didn’t even come close. Yours truly has written numerous articles on U.S. military bases and even part of a book on the subject, but failed like the rest.
There are more than 1,000 U.S. military bases dotting the globe. To be specific, the most accurate count is 1,077. Unless it’s 1,088. Or, if you count differently, 1,169. Or even 1,180. Actually, the number might even be higher. Nobody knows for sure.
November 11, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kat Brady, Coordinator
Community Alliance on Prisons
Office: (808) 533-3454
Nationwide cell: (808) 927-1214
Kyle Kajihiro, Program Director
Office: (808) 988-6266
KULANI TRANSFER IS A VIOLATION OF THE LAW
Honolulu – Tuesday, November 9, 2010 – Last Thursday, November 4, 2010, the Lingle administration once again demonstrated their contempt for the laws of Hawai`i by holding a “Unifying Ceremony” at the now shuttered Kulani Prison during the appeals process challenging the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ (BLNR) vote to turn over public land to the military with no public discussion.
Community Alliance on Prisons; DMZ – Aloha `Aina Hawai`i, a network affiliated with the American Friends Service Committee; and Native Hawaiian lineal descendant, Michael Lee, have all submitted petitions for a contested case hearing on the transfer of Kulani Lands to the Department of Defense National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program.
“An appeal of the BLNR’s vote is somewhat like a court case, while the appeal is in play, everything stops. No further action can be taken until the matter is decided,” said Kat Brady, Coordinator of Community Alliance on Prisons.
“The Kulani prison site was created by an executive order that set aside the land for only one use – a prison.” said Kyle Kajihiro. “It was a shock to see the administration and the National Guard proceed with no regard for the law nor the appeals process.”
Kulani Prison was closed in November 2009, interrupting the most successful sex offender treatment program in the country and placing the community in danger since the program participants have not been receiving the treatment they need.
An informational briefing on the closure of Kulani held by the Senate Public Safety Committee on April 28, 2010 revealed flagrant violations of the law including the burning of 63 years of records in a pit with no authorization and in violation of EPA requirements and Hawai`i County’s ‘no burn ordinance’ in effect since 2008. Upon questioning, a Public Safety official blurted out, “We had to get rid of the evidence.”
The statutorily appointed Corrections Population Management Commission was not even consulted about the closure of this prison and the land was immediately turned over to DOD with no public input.
Kulani had a rich history that involved training those who violated the law to reenter the community as contributing citizens. It was the one facility in Hawai`i that had the kinds of outcomes we strive for today. The closure has overburdened the rest of Hawai`i’s correctional system and been a profitable decision for Corrections Corporation of America.
“The question remains,” asks Brady, “is the Lingle administration above the law? Our resounding answer is ‘No’ !”
October 11, 2010
Use of former prison draws group’s protest
By Leila Fujimori
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 09, 2010
A community group that opposed the state’s shutdown of a Big Island prison is formally contesting the transfer of the Kulani Correctional Facility site to the Department of Defense for the National Guard’s Youth Challenge program.
“The board (Board of Land and Natural Resources) didn’t do their due diligence,” said Kat Brady, coordinator of the Community Alliance on Prisons.
The group questions whether the Land Board overstepped its bounds by turning the land over to the Defense Department — in effect, canceling Executive Order 1225, which established its use as a prison. This action was taken without a formal document from the governor withdrawing the executive order, the petition said.
Community Alliance filed on Sept. 20 a request for a triallike hearing to contest the board’s Sept. 9 decision.
A hearing officer will assist the board in determining whether the group has any standing to bring a contested-case hearing before it. There is no timetable on when the board must rule.
Brady’s group opposed the shuttering of the facility, alleging the Department of Public Safety gradually decreased the number of inmates being sent to Kulani, resulting in its population shrinking from 200-plus inmates to 120 to help justify the decision. “What it looked like is it inflates operating costs,” she said.
With only 120 prisoners, Public Safety Director Clayton Frank cited the per-inmate cost at $110. A comparable Oahu low-security prison costs $65.
“The Department of Defense has had the keys since Nov. 20, 2009,” Brady said. “I don’t know what went on behind closed doors, but they were not ready to do anything with it.”
Frank said, “When the budget was spiraling downwards last year,” the department looked at the closure of Kulani, and the Defense Department contacted Public Safety about acquiring it.
Brady said Land Board Chairwoman Laura Thielen said at the Sept. 9 hearing that Kulani sits in the middle of a pristine rain forest.
“Then why just hand it over?” Brady asked. “They transferred the land to the state’s largest polluter. It’s a dangerous door to open.”
The board and its chairwoman would not comment on the petition, Ward said.
Brady said by transferring the land to the Defense Department, the board forecloses the option of reopening the prison or any other alternatives.
Hawaii National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony said the Guard requires an existing, nearly turnkey facility to start up a new Youth Challenge campus.
He said transfers from one state agency to another are nothing unusual, and there was never any intent to use the facility for anything other than the youth program.
“We gave our word,” Anthony said. “There are no plans to do anything other than the Youth Challenge Academy.” To do anything other than that would require going before the board again, he said.
After public opposition, the Defense Department quickly pulled its request to also use the prison site for military training. But it was simply a way of maximizing the use of that facility and not the primary purpose, Anthony said.