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Hawaii fights release of details on drone contracts

January 29, 2011 

Jim Dooley wrote an interesting article on watchdog.org about the proposed use of aerial drones to monitor harbors in Hawai’i as part of no-bid contracts awarded to Hawaiya Technologies.  Hawaiya is a military technology company owned by Paul Schultz. Schultz, formerly a Rear Admiral and commander of a fleet stationed in Okinawa, was demoted to captain when he retired from the Navy. He had come under investigation for allegations of adultery and fraud tied to a Navy research contracts scandal at the University of Hawai’i and the Pacific Missile Range Facility.

While in the Navy, the married Schultz allegedly had an affair with an Office of Naval Research program manager Mun Won Chang Fenton who helped to steer research funds and technology to Schultz’s ships outside of normal procurement channels.  Fenton later awarded several grants to University of Hawai’i professors for research related to missile defense systems.  She directed the UH researchers to hire technical personnel under the grant. These “directed hires” took their orders from Chang Fenton. Chang Fenton directed these personnel to write a large net-centric warfare technology contract proposal under the auspices of the Research Corporation of the University of Hawai’i (RCUH) and submit the proposal to Navy research programs that Chang Fenton helped to manage.  The Navy awarded RCUH a contract for its proposal named “Project Kai e’e”, to establish a military Pacific Research Center to serve as a conduit for federal military high technology funding.

Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) documents and other sources allege that the Schultz and Chang Fenton tried to use government funds to create jobs for themselves in the new Pacific Research Center.   The job announcement for Executive Director of the Pacific Research Center was posted on the bulletin board in the RCUH office for a few minutes.  After Schultz submitted his application the job announcement was taken down.  RCUH staff were directed by Chang Fenton to rate the applicant favorably.  Schultz was offered the job, but he never formally accepted it.  RCUH Executive Director Harold Masumoto suddenly sent a letter to the Office of Naval Research canceling the contract award.

Naval investigators were closing in. My theory is that someone may have tipped off Schultz and his co-conspirators, sending them scurrying for cover.

The Project Kai e’e scandal morphed into the proposed University Affiliated Research Center (UARC), a military classified research lab that met fierce protest by students, faculty and community groups in 2004 – 2006.  The really interesting part of the this sordid tale is that the various projects were earmarks from Senator Inouye.  Sources familiar with the scandal told me that the investigation went nowhere because it could have implicated four admirals and a senator.

As Dooley’s article suggests, Schultz seems to have found a new niche in the homeland security gold-rush.  But the proposed use of unmanned aerial drones to monitor harbors raises many issues of civil liberties, safety and propriety.   The contracts were awarded without any bidding.  The plans for aerial drones are proceeding without approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.  And details about the project are being kept from the public.

Could the no-bid contract have been awarded via Aina Kai, a Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO) established by Schultz and Chang Fenton (who are now married) in partnership with former Hawai’i governor John Waihe’e?  NHOs are given special preferences for federal contracting to receive contract awards without competition and without a limit on the size of the award.

High stakes government funding, exotic and dangerous military technologies and secrecy are a recipe for corruption.   The tsunami of military spending that was unleashed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks have brought with it a flood of corruption. Such is life in the military-industrial-political complex.

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http://watchdog.org/8124/hawaii-fights-release-of-details-on-drone-contracts/

Hawaii fights release of details on drone contracts

Posted on January 28, 2011

BY JIM DOOLEY — The state and a private contractor are installing extensive new security and surveillance measures at harbors and shorelines that include planned use of unmanned aerial drones, according to public records.

Neither the contractor nor state officials have applied to the Federal Aviation Administration for necessary permission to deploy the unmanned aerial vehicles in civilian air space here.

Repeated requests for details about the plans and their status made to the state and its contractor have not been answered for more than a month.

Paul Schultz, chief executive of Hawaiya Technologies, the company installing the new security measures, refused to discuss his company’s shoreline security plans in general or the use of UAV’s in particular.

“You can go find out your story on your own,” Schultz said.

“This is not a friendly story,” Schultz continued. ”You’re coming after me. You can come after me by yourself. But don’t call me looking for information.”

State Department of Transportation and harbors division personnel did not respond to repeated requests for comment submitted by email, telephone and in-person since late last year.

Glenn Okimoto, nominated by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as director of the Transportation Department, and his harbors division deputy director, Randy Grune, have said a department response was being prepared.

Okimoto was head of the harbors division in 2007 and personally recommended award of the original $1.46 million non-bid Honolulu harbor security contract to Hawaiya Technologies, according to state purchasing records.

Some $1 million of the contract is paid with federal grant money and the remainder comes from the state.

Grune said three weeks ago the department was still researching “technical issues” about non-bid security contracts awarded to Hawaiya.

The UAV’s are described as an anti-terrorism tool in documents describing new security measures at Honolulu and Kalaeloa Harbors on Oahu under a 2009 contract awarded to Hawaiya Technologies.

Another non-bid contract award worth nearly $1 million to Hawaiya is planned for Kahului harbor on Maui and the contractor has proposed installing the same system on Kauai and the Big Island.

The jobs would include use of UAV’s to conduct surveillance flights in the congested skies above state harbors, which abut two international airports, a general aviation airfield and Hickam Air Force Base.

The drones can’t fly without an FAA “certificate of authorization” and the state has not applied for one, said Ian Gregor, FAA spokesman.

The drones cost $75,000 each, according to purchasing records posted at the state procurement office website.

The type of drones – there are many different designs being marketed now – and the number to be purchased are details that the state has redacted from contracting files.

Only two civilian government agencies in the country – one in Texas and one in Kansas – have applied for and received necessary certifications for use of the drones, which must be operated by licensed pilots from ground control stations, said Gregor.

The Texas aircraft would be used to patrol remote sections of the Mexican border and the Kansas drones would be flown at a UAV testing and training facility 30 miles outside of Wichita.

The FAA requires that civilian-operated airborne drones must also be tracked by either a ground spotter vehicle or a manned chase plane.

The American Civil Liberties Union has expressed concern about invasion of privacy issues raised by use of surveillance drones in other states and is monitoring the Hawaii plans.

“Use of ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’ or ‘drones’ by law enforcement has a vast potential for abuse,” sad Daniel Gluck, senior staff attorney for ACLU Hawaii.

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Native Hawaiian-Owned Companies and the Militarization of Hawai’i

December 27, 2010 

Jim Dooley wrote a revealing article for the Hawaii Reporter on the growth of Native Hawaiian Owned Companies (NHO) since the passage of legislation that gave them special preferences in federal contracting.  Under special provisions for Native American, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, these NHOs can get no-bid, unlimited sized contract awards, nearly all of it related to military funding.   Here’s an excerpt:

A handful of Native Hawaiian-owned companies used federal contracting preferences authored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-HI, to land some $500 million in non-bid or reduced competition government work since 2005, according to federal purchasing records.

Officials, employees and partners of many of the same companies donated nearly $100,000 during the same period to the Inouye election campaign and $100,000 more to other members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation, files of the Federal Election Commission show.

Much of the contract work involved installation of computer and communications systems for the armed services. A wide range of other jobs have been performed, including security guard work, explosive ordinance disposal and even provision of mental health professionals for treatment of U.S. Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

The article gives several specific examples of NHOs, including those associated with the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and their military contracting programs.

A note on the source: the Hawaii Reporter is a conservative-right news outlet that has opposed programs for Native Hawaiians, Hawaiian sovereignty in any form or federal spending on social programs.   DMZ-Hawai’i / Aloha ‘Aina usually disagrees with the editorial stances of the Hawaii Reporter on many of these issues. However, while our reasons may differ, we do agree with them on this point, that the public must be wary of the rise of NHOs in the context of corruption and lack of accountability in military pork barrel spending.  In our view, this system of NHO military contracting has increased Native Hawaiian dependency on and participation in a corrupt military-industrial complex.  In that way, NHOs promote the increasing militarization of Hawai’i.

In a perverse twist, Ken Conklin, known for his extreme anti-Native Hawaiian views, wrote a follow up editorial heavily drawing on original research by Hawaiian sovereignty activist and journalist Keala Kelly that lays out connections between NHOs, Alaska Native Corporations and leading proponents of the Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill.

Paul S. Schultz and Mun Won Chang (Fenton), a husband-wife team and two central figures in the Project Kai e’e/ Navy UARC scandal - a federal contracts fiasco involving the Navy, several high tech research programs at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, University of Hawai’i researchers and administrators and congressional earmarks by Senator Inouye – have recently turned up in the NHO fray.   It seems they have teamed up with former Governor John Waihe’e to form a NHO as a way to cash in on the Native Hawaiian military contracting bonanza. Their new entity is called Aina Kai Environmental.  But since neither Schultz nor Chang appear to have Native Hawaiian ancestry, Aina Kai with a Native Hawaiian principal appears to be a front for its partner company Hawaiya Technologies to access NHO for Super 8(a) contracts.

Recently the Army created a Native Hawaiian Advisory Council to counter community resistance to Army expansion plans. An example of how the military is using NHO contracting preferences to co-opt Native Hawaiians is a recent workshop sponsored by the Army Native Hawaiian Advisory Council to promote NHO military contracting opportunities.

The rise of “Tea Party” politics and the turning political tide in Washington D.C. may signal an end to the era of unbridled military earmarks in Hawai’i, at least temporarily.  The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that “141 Hawaii earmarks worth $321 million were in the omnibus 2011 spending bill that recently died in the Senate.”  This could be an opportunity to imagine and work for more peaceful, just and sustainable economic alternatives for Hawai’i.

Partial transcript of First Friday show with guest Annelle Amaral, Native Hawaiian liaison

August 11, 2010 

On Friday, August 6, 2010, Annelle Amaral was the guest on the “First Friday” live call-in program on ‘Olelo Community Television, Channel 53.  The taped program will run on subsequent Fridays for the month of August.    The program is also available online on-demand: http://olelo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=30&clip_id=15103

Annelle Amaral is the Native Hawaiian liaison for  the Army Garrison Hawai’i.  In 2008, she was awarded a contract (W912CN-08-C-0051) to perform the duties of the Army’s Native Hawaiian liaison in Hawai’i.  The original contract and its eight modifications are worth $742,392 until August 15, 2010.  Below is a partial transcript fo the First Friday program.

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First Friday 8/6/2010 – Guest: Annelle Amaral

Mililani Trask:

. . . Tonight we are going to be talking a look at a topic that has become controversial in the community because some people feel that there shouldn’t be a native Hawaiian covenant with the US Army. In part it is controversial because there’s not much known about what the covenant is, how it came about, and who the people are who are involved, and what the goal of this covenant really is. Tonight we’ll be taking a look at that . . .

Mililani:

. . . Joining us tonight to take a look at our main show which is focusing on the native Hawaiian covenant with the Army. Joining us tonight is Annelle Amaral someone who I have worked with for many years, someone who has been involved in many ways with the Hawaiian community. She was among the first women to become a fully vested police officer in the state of Hawaii. When she was a police officer she created the rape prevention education program which eventually covered all islands and reached 40,000 citizens. She was appointed to head up the affirmative action office by ex-governor George Ariyoshi she did a lot of grievances and mediation during that time. She went to the legislature in 1988 she served there until 1996 in the house of reps and was the majority floor leader when she left in 1996. She is a Hawaiian and in recent years she also had acted as a facilitator for some real difficult issues involving US government agencies private sector as well as the military. These issues such as the Superferry, Mauna Kea, and of course the Makua valley problems, and a number of other things. But let’s welcome to the show Annelle Amaral. And ask you Annelle to start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your background here in Hawaii.

Annelle Amaral:

Aloha and thank you for having me here, I appreciate it. Let’s see, what can I tell you about myself? I was born on the island of Hawaii raised here on Oahu. I’m a graduate of Star of the Sea High School, that’s a nice Catholic all girls school, not KS by the way. I also graduated from the University of Dayton. I have a BA in journalism, though I never worked in the field of journalism. You’ve given my background of work and what I found after sitting through far too many hearings at the legislature, and finding very little resolution there, I found myself drawn to the field of facilitation. Feeling as if, if people could just hear one another if they could just quiet the voices in their heads and listen to one another we actually would find ourselves agreeing more often than not, and though I after the leg became more and more involved with facilitation as a private business. It is to that end by the way that I end up here now as a contractor with the US Army.  It was Peter Adler who was putting together a team of facilitators when the Stryker hearings first began back in I think was 2001. And he asked if I would join his team and I did.

There were about 7 of us then. It turned out I ended up being the last facilitator standing and ended up facilitating almost all the Stryker hearings and facilitating almost all of the Makua meetings. The last facilitation I did for Stryker was at Kawananakoa School and at the end of the day when everyone was headed home it turned into sort of a bad scene with one young lady screaming at me and with a group gathered around me and sort of shoving and pushing and a camera in my face to try to provoke me and I ended up being escorted to my car by the police. So I went to the then colonel, the garrison commander, the day after and told him it was time for him to look for another facilitator. That clearly I was no longer perceived as neutral and I could no longer function in this capacity.  At that point, Col Margotta asked if I would consider another job, another task, and we talked about how hard the situation was becoming between Hawaiians and the Army and that clearly there had to be another way, another path. So he said to me, would you be willing to help us write a native Hawaiian community plan for the Army?  And my response was I am not crazy. There is no way I’m going to write a native Hawaiian plan I said what I will do is I will help bring together Hawaiian leaders that could advise you and I would be happy to staff that effort and together we would write the plan, and if he was interested in that. And so that, actually,  was the beginning of what ended up being the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council which is a group of people that come with either some substantive experience in broad subject matter areas like education, or economic development, or business, or people that come with a large constituency that have worked on Hawaiian issues like membership org like the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs and there’s another group,  whose name slips my mind, but they represent cultural practitioners, Aha Kiole, and so we invited them to come and to work together to draft up a plan. The end result of what essentially is about a year and a half of work is the signing of a covenant that essentially sort of mirrors the family covenant with the Army . . . we recognize, we are committed to, that’s sort of the way the family covenant goes.

Mililani:

You know Annelle, back in March, KITV news had done coverage of this and they had quoted you saying the relationship between native Hawaiians and the Army has become increasingly hostile as the years have progressed and I think that that’s probably a good place to begin because as you had pointed out, the Stryker hearings were terrible and you know that from coming up to Hilo. There was strong opposition to Stryker and I’m not surprised that you had to be escorted to your car because the issues that Hawaiians have with the military have gone on for years starting from the overthrow and they really haven’t ever been addressed. I’d like to ask you Manu if you’d maybe look at some of these issues and then we can come back, because some of these issues such as the situation with Pohakuloa, Stryker, Makua we can then focus in on but there’s a background of history that really is a terrible history.

Manu Kaiama:

Yeah I would assume that that’s something that you looked at within your group because unfortunately the American military truly has a less than glorious history in the islands. We have to begin with the military’s involvement in the illegal overthrow of our queen . . . with the excuse of protecting American interests . . . theft of crown and government land . . . not looking back at 1893, let’s roll it forward . . .161 military installations in Hawaii . . . 7 superfund sites . . . military makes up top polluters . . . Kahoʻolawe . . . Stryker Brigade . . . most recent EIS seriously flawed . . . Makua . . . Schofield Barracks . . . Depleted Uranium . . .

Mililani:

I think Depleted Uranium is also a big one, I think we’ve talked about it for the Big Island, but you can see that a lot of the history and a lot of the problems relate specifically to military use and toxicity . . . I wanted to go back Annelle to the community plan of action, you had brought some people together. When I looked at the plan of action, it seemed that there was a framework to actually address some of these horrible things that Manu has raised I mean the actual language, the preambular section, here it says the military is recognizing here, “our training programs require access to lands for the purpose of conducting activities that we realize may impact the environment, social and cultural conditions. It is our responsibility to prevent pollution, minimize adverse impacts to land, and to conserve protect and preserve our natural and cultural resources. So in this action plan there actually is this recognition and there is this commitment and there is also a statement that we are going to be sensitive to the relationship with native Hawaiian peoples. Now this is strong words in a community plan of action how are the Native Hawaiian Adv council people who were working on this and who are working on this now. What is their actual role in ensuring that these commitments come about? We have some Hawaiians, actually we have a list that’s going to be showing provided to us by Annelle, some folks on the list are Hawaiian and they are members of the NHAC other signatories actually are folks signing for the military. But those Hawaiians that are the Native Hawaiian Advisory group worked on this plan and are aware of this commitment, what is their role? What are they doing?

Annelle:

The first thing that we’ve accomplished is that we have come to agreement on this language that we are talking about right now, this preamble, this one goal, this covenant, this promise, this sacred promise that we’ve made to one another. The next thing that we will do is start to work on steps to begin to address that. Now I will tell you that we have not yet come up with specific steps as it relates to this language that you just read out. We meet on a quarterly basis, the signing was in March, the meeting after that was in May, and actually that was a short meeting because our garrison commander left and we were being introduced to the new garrison commander. So the next meeting we’ll have in August. Our commitment is now that we’ve finished the business of putting together this broad language together we will begin to work on specific issues and identify the steps forward. Actually, the first meeting that we’re going to have in August what is on the table is a discussion first about economic opportunities. So that is in that meeting in august. But the work ahead is in these three documents that we were discussing.

Mililani:

You know Annelle, one of the things that you just bring up now, is looking for economic opportunities, and one of the big criticisms that has come out is that when this group came together, it was flawed because many of them were actually subcontractors from the military and that they were actually there they were receiving money from the military and the example was of course the Danners, Jade and Robin Danner who have military contracts for digitizing military data but the point was that are these really, these members of the NHAC, are they really independent can they really be honest if they in fact are receiving contracts from the US military and one of the purposes in the preamble is to create opportunities for mutual enrichment. That can have a cultural interpretation but clearly that has an interpretation in terms of the contract money that they’re getting from the US government.

Annelle:

I think you have to admit that the Council on Native Hawaiian Advancement does a little more than just digitizing some documents with department of defense some more than that. They are not entirely supported with that one contract. And it is true that also on our council sits Bruce Kepler, who is an attorney with an organization that gets department of defense money. My hope is, quite frankly, that we will be able to create an educational program to help more native Hawaiians who own their own businesses to be able to compete for these contracts and other contracts that are available right now for NHOs (Native Hawaiian Organizations). Right now we only have 15 native Hawaiian organizations, we get millions of dollars of contracts that go unclaimed by native Hawaiians because we’re not qualified, and instead, those contracts are picked up by native Alaskans and Native Americans.

Mililani:

Well the thing is what is really the purpose of the effort? Is the purpose of the effort to address the commitments . . . in the covenant or is it really just a cover so people who are getting these contracts can say that they are going to be a part of the advisory council, but to the extent that they are, what are they doing outside of that to address some of these environmental, social and cultural conditions . . . the long litany of which Manu just read?

Annelle:

Well Jade Danner is a member of our council and helped to craft this language as did all the other members of the council. So it would seem to me that all of us are part of producing a larger effort than simply economic development. Economic development is one piece of it, and as I said, we’re going to be discussing that in August. We haven’t started the discussion yet, but we will start and this is not an economic development council it is a council that deals with all facets of our life – employment and enrichment and sustainability of us as individuals is I think one good goal to go towards, but there are other aspects that we’ll be working on.

Manu:

Do the council members paid for their membership, for participating?

Annelle:

No, they’re all volunteers.

Mililani:

I don’t know if you took a look at who the members of the council are – they are Peter Apo, Jade Danner, Chris Dawson, Neil Hannahs, Alan Hoe, Rev. Bill Kaina, Charles William Kapua, Jalna Keala, Bruss Kepler, Leimomi Kahn, Deejay Mailer, Kaleo Patterson and William Richards those are the Hawaiians that signed the covenant, but they also together comprise what we are calling the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council. Annelle, are these people here representing Hawaiian organizations? Are they representing the Bishop Estate? In what capacity are these people serving?

Annelle:

These people, Mililani, were invited because of the whole body of work that they as individuals have done in the Hawaiian community. The wisdom, the knowledge of all of their work when it’s brought to the table is amazingly powerful. But they do not come to the table representing their businesses or where they work, they come to the table as Hawaiians who love things Hawaiian and who want to help create some positive solutions. No, they don’t come representing their organizations.

Mililani:

When I looked at the materials you had sent me, it seemed that they were clearly identified because they were people who were high profile and because they would be viewed as Hawaiian leadership. Also when I look at some of the press releases that are coming out from the military itself they’re identified in this way. Here’s a press release: ʻNative Hawaiians and Army talk about ʻIwi Kupuna.ʻ This was the recent July NAGPRA event that you had . . . and this was released by the US Army Garrison Hawaii Public Affairs Department, it says, “among those attending were reps of native Hawaiian organizations, later it goes through identifying Bishop Estate, Kamehameha Schools, but the military itself is saying reps of NHOs, and you’re saying they really are not . . .

Annelle:

This is the workshop that we had though. So, the workshop we had on NAGPRA at the end of July, what we intended there was to invite individuals from different native Hawaiian organizations to hear what NAGPRA defines as claimants, to understand the law, and to make informed choices as to whether or not they or their organizations qualifies as claimants for the ʻiwi kupuna found at Schofield BAX. So in that press release, when we talk about organizations, those people were invited to that training were invited because of the organizations they belong to that’s different from the NHAC.

Mililani:

Do these organizations provide funding, did the Bishop Estate or Kamehameha Schools ever provide funding for this effort.

Annelle:

No. The work that we do, the work that I do is funded by the Army

Manu:

You know there are so many things for me . . . when I look at this sheet for the NHAC and they are characterized as native Hawaiian leaders, I think that’s a loose interpretation because when I look at the names, and I know many of these people, I have aloha for many of them, but I don’t know what group of n Hawaiians they have led so I guess ʻleadersʻ meaning not that they lead native Hawaiians but they are native Hawaiians and maybe in a leadership position in their job or in their community.

Annelle:

These people have not led native Hawaiians? Rev. Kaina has not led native Hawaiians?

Manu:

I’m not saying all of them, but I wouldn’t consider all of them for example Peter Apo as a native Hawaiian leader.

Annelle:

Ok, he’s a former legislator, he’s led somebody.

Manu:

So that’s my point, the use of the term ʻNative Hawaiian leaderʻ is a little bit misleading or confusing. Because . . . when you have something like a huge media blast: US Army Hawaii Covenant with Native Hawaiiansʻ not with ʻsome Hawaiians in leadership positionsʻ but with ʻnative Hawaiians’ . . . it’s putting out to the general public that look, we are on this road, and native Hawaiians are on that waʻa also. It almost marginalizes those of us who have legitimate claims against the military for some of the wrongs that have been committed. So, my point is this kind of looks to me like an illusion of inclusion type deal . . . we are going to put this forward, we are going to have a big celebration, have a covenant signing and have a bunch of people willing to sign it, because I noticed that there were many people who could have tried to be involved in this, but the invitation wasn’t extended to them. And what we’re doing is we are making an illusion to the general public that things are going in a positive direction with the military and the Hawaiians and you read the covenant and I just don’t understand what the native Hawaiians are getting out of this. The Army is going to consider our culture and historical experience. I see the Army as being the recipient of everything here, and us, nothing that can even be quantified. And that goes even further for the things that you’ve been sponsoring. Like teaching the military wives hula or moʻolelo or oli …

Mililani:

It’s not things that get to the issue I think. But you know Manu, if I could just ask you, you’re a lineal descendent of Makua. I think maybe if we looked at an actual problem, the situation at Makua, the situation with Depleted Uranium on the Big Island, where there’s great concern. Initially Army said that there was no DU, but now we have the testing, we know there is. There was hope that when this covenant would be signed, there would then be a follow up and a way to address it. And I think that some of the folks in Makua were hoping that would come about as well, because there was an event in Makua. (To Manu) But yourself, as a lineal descendant, what issues do you raise, and how can these issues be addressed by either the military or yourself (Annelle), or possibly this Native Hawaiian community leaders group.

Manu:

Well, they do not speak for me so I can’t even answer that question.

Mililani:

No I mean as a lineal descendent at Makua.

Manu:

No, but you’re saying how can we work with them. So I don’t want them speaking for me. I find it very mahaʻoi that they went and signed this as native Hawaiians and they’re talking about many sensitive issues that Hawaiians do not want to be delegated to the sidelines on this because they are really, really important issues. So I don’t really have an answer for that . . . maybe in your plan Annelle, you guys have an answer of rolling it out to the people who have really been affected by the military and their misuse of the land, and maybe reaching out to lineal descendants, I don’t know. So is that a plan?

Annelle:

We don’t deal specifically with those issues, with any specific issue, quite frankly. The intention of the work of the council is to deal with the large issues that impact the lives of native Hawaiians and in a way that the Army may have some influence. So when it comes to Makua, I think that the division, the cultural resources deals directly with the issues around Makua, as does natural resources. The people in training, and so there are specific people who deal with the Makua issue. The council does not deal with that, neither do we deal with Depleted Uranium . . .

Mililani:

I think that’s the point.

Annelle:

It’s not within our skill range to deal with those specific issues.

Mililani:

But I think that’s the point, when you have a community plan of action, a preamble, and it says here . . . we realize that these things may impact the environment, social and cultural conditions. It’s our responsibility to prevent pollution, to minimize these adverse impacts. So, when we begin the native community plan of action, then we have this covenant, you would expect that there would be some responsible action on the part of the military to address this. When I went back and did the research for Makua, the military released these statements that say: ʻthe native Hawaiian community leaders day at the Makua Military Reserve was a Key part of releasing the military reserve EIS record of decision. This was done quote to counter negative media and native Hawaiian opposition when the record of decision was released. The strategic communications plan called for a community leader and media day consisting of noted native Hawaiian businesses, education and community leaders and all newspaper and TV stations. Native Hawaiian leaders were solicited from throughout the community. So what really happened was Native Hawaiian Community Leaders Day was sponsored but it was a cover for bringing out this EIS and the record of decision, and at the end, what happened was that the Army announced that they were planning to resume training with live ammunition at Makua on August 31st. I think that the point that Manu is making is a good one. In that we have issues, we have a covenant, we have a plan, we say we’re going to address it, but what actually happens is there’s a native community leadership day to cover a military announcement that they we’re going to resume bombing, and it comes up looking like Hawaiians are endorsing it because these leaders are there. So how is that actually addressing the concerns of lineal descendents and others in Makua who are saying that they don’t want any more live fire and actually you were informing us that everything had fallen apart after this and it was back in court.

Well, alright, so, back the truck up . . . the article that you are reading is 2009; the signing of the covenant is 2010. The leadership day is a day to announce the record of decision, and what the garrison commander does in that meeting where certain Hawaiians were invited, not all Hawaiians, but some Hawaiians were brought, was for the purpose of the garrison commander to make an announcement about the use of Makua for training. Live fire training has in fact, till now, till August 6th not taken place at Makua . . .

Mililani:

Why? Why hasn’t it taken place?

Annelle:

Well, as I’ve later read is there are different types of training strategies I think that are being planned for Makua, as well as for Pohakuloa. And that’s the bringing out with these commanders, bringing out their strategies for training. In part, the use of live fire has, I think, not taken place because there are still a couple of issues still pending in the court. One of them had to do with a shellfish study, and another had to do with cultural sites, so those are the two issues that I think are still pending in the courts, and that’s I think why live fire has not resumed live fire training. But when they are talking about the live fire training, they really are talking about a different kind of training in Makua than what you’ve seen in the past. That was the purpose of this prolonged explanation by the garrison commander in 2009. Given the situation in Afghanistan, the different way they would be using the land for training. Let me be real clear, the Army only has only one mission, and the only mission of the Army is to protect and defend this nation. And those that work for the Army only have one purpose, and that one purpose is to assure that the mission of the Army is carried out and that soldiers are trained properly to be able to carry it out. I mean, it’s that simple.

Mililani:

I think that puts things down pretty clearly, in that this is Hawaii, this is our land. We know that the mission of the military is basically for the making of war, and to defend a country, but it may not be ours. It’s the US and they are an occupying force.  The thing is that if you’re . . .

Annelle (interrupting):

Well, you and I disagree there because I see myself as American

Mililani:

…We still haven’t had reparations for the overthrow, we’ve had an apology. The US has admitted to the illegality of the overthrow. The US admitted to the illegality of the military occupation, but we’ve never seen the reparations, we’ve never seen the restitution. We have military bombing at Makua, it hasn’t been cleaned up. We have DU up on Pohakuloa, and that’s a problem . . .

Annelle (interrupting):

And isn’t the Akaka Bill one of those steps toward getting reconciliation and reparations?

Mililani: The Akaka Bill? The Akaka Bill is not on this show, what’s on this show is the covenant and how it’s supposed to be addressing these issues.

*Questions

Mililani: . . . You know we’re obviously  . . . were coming to the end of our program now, we didn’t get to half of our questions . . . we may have to revisit this.  In fact, the American Friends Service Committee has called in saying that their research shows that this contract is worth $742.000 is that correct and will they have a chance to make some response . . .

Yes AFSC, we will bring you on to respond to this show. And Annelle is it true that you have a contract for 3 years worth $750,000?

Annelle:

I . . . if they say it’s true it must be true . . .

Top Secret America in Hawai’i

July 28, 2010 

The Hawaii Independent published an article exploring the Hawai’i connections to the Washington Post series on the growth of secret government programs since 9/11.    An earlier post on this website also discussed the size of the secret government connected to the US Pacific Command.

The Hawaii Independent article reported that of the 127 top secret work locations in Hawai’i, only six could be identified using the Washington Post online database.   These companies include Akimeka, DS Information Systems (DSIS), JTSI Inc, Omega Federation Team, Referentia Systems, and Ventura Technology. The Hawaii Independent reports:

There are odd similarities in all the businesses appearing on Priest and Arkinʻs list. They are all “8(a) companies,” which means they are part of a federal program that aids privately owned companies run by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals. The companies also all aid the military with “advanced technology” support.

Some of the companies are “special” 8(a), Native Hawaiian owned companies that have special advantages in government contracting similar to the advantages given to Native American and Alaska Native Corporations (ANC).   A Government Accounting Office report from June 21 , 2006, entitled “ALASKA NATIVE CORPORATIONS – Increased Use of Special 8(a) Provisions Calls for Tailored Oversight” reported that:

ANC firms are permitted to receive noncompetitive contracts for any amount, whereas other 8(a) companies are subject to competitive thresholds of $3 million or $5 million for manufacturing contracts. ANCs can also own multiple subsidiaries participating in the 8(a) program, 1 unlike other 8(a) firms that may own only one and no more than 20 percent of another 8(a) firm.

These special advantages have led to a proliferation of native owned companies in Hawai’i specializing in securing military contracts.  There has been abuses of this system, whereby the sole source contract advantage of native owned companies has led to these companies becoming fronts for larger contractors to get the subcontracts.

Blackwater is operating in Guam and Shariki, Japan

May 4, 2010 

Another blogger shared the following articles about Blackwater and their involvement in Guam and Shariki, a tiny village in Japan that hosts a missile defense radar facility.  She points out:

• In 2006, Blackwater’s aviation division won a $91 million contract for air charter work in Guam, a contract the Navy had set aside for small businesses. Two losing bidders challenged the award, saying Blackwater had more than 1,500 employees, the threshold for an aviation contract. An administrative judge ruled for Blackwater, saying the company’s 1,000-plus guards working overseas did not count as employees…

• Blackwater teamed up with the Chenega, an Alaskan Native American tribe of 69 people, to guard a missile defense installation in northern Japan. As a native-owned company, Chenega can win special no-bid contracts because of rules crafted by Alaska’s powerful U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

• And this is from Wikipedia:  In Asia, Blackwater has contracts in Japan guarding AN/TPY-2 radar systems.

More:  A U.S. military mobile BMD radar (AN/TPY-2, i.e., “X-Band Radar”) was deployed in June 2006 to the. ASDF Shariki Sub-base in Aomori Prefecture, Japan. A new detachment, consisting of a small team of military service members and contractors who will operate and maintain the Forward Based X-Band Radar Transportable (FBX-T) system, was honored during an activation ceremony 26 September 2006 at Camp Shariki in Aomori Pref., hosted by Brig. Gen. John E. Seward, commanding general of 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command of the U.S. Army Pacific Command. The FBX-T radar is designed to provide early detection and tracking of ballistic missile threats while providing a key element to the layered defense strategy. The radar is a defensive system with no offensive capability and will fall under the command and control of the 94th AAMDC, which is based at Fort Shafter, Hi. The command officially joined USARPAC in Oct. 2005.

I found the information fascinating that Blackwater was teaming with Chenega, an Alaska Native Corporation that has “Special 8A” status to get no-bid, unlimited contracts from the federal government.   This arrangement is ripe for corruption.  The federal government has issued scathing reports on the abuses of the Special 8A status whereby, native corporations get the sole source contract as a front for a larger military contractor.

Native Hawaiian Organizations also get special 8A status for military contracts thanks to Senator Inouye.  However, since Native Hawaiians are not listed as a federally recognized tribe, every year Senator Inouye must add Native Hawaiians into the existing statutes via provisions of defense spending bills.  The so-called Akaka Bill to list Native Hawaiians as a native tribe under the U.S. government would solidify Native Hawaiian access to these special 8A contracts.  Some of the leading proponents of the Akaka Bill are already getting the no-bid contracts for defense projects.  The passage of the Akaka Bill will further militarize Hawai’i by co-opting Native Hawaiians into the military industrial complex.

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Blackwater’s Aggressive, Entrepreneurial Culture Keeps its Business Growing

By McClatchy-Tribune News Service

May 17, 2008

Blackwater was all over the news last fall, and the news wasn’t good. The North Carolina company created a diplomatic crisis when its guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad square.

The Iraqi government promised to evict the company from Iraq. Blackwater’s reclusive owner, Erik Prince, was called to Congress to testify; and afterward, he began a PR blitz of the national media. He even appeared on “60 Minutes.”

Today, however, the trouble has subsided. Last month, the State Department renewed its contract with Blackwater to provide security in Iraq. It’s still in Afghanistan for the military. In the fall, Blackwater won a new contract, for $92 million, to fly soldiers and cargo around Pakistan and Afghanistan for the Army. And the company was one of five picked to support the Pentagon’s Counter Narcoterrorism Technology Program, a five-year contract worth up to $15 billion.

As the company grows, so do its headaches: a persistent congressional investigation, several high-profile lawsuits and a federal weapons investigation. Still, Blackwater is thriving because of its aggressive and entrepreneurial business culture and a strong network of Republican connections. The company has hired extensively from the top levels of the CIA, Defense Department and State Department, and named the former No. 2 official at the CIA to its Board of Advisors.

“Their connections certainly help a lot,” said Peter Singer, an expert on military contractors at the Brookings Institution. “But they may be a vulnerability in the future, if the regime changes in Washington.”

This is a company that barely existed at the start of the decade; Blackwater grew from $204,000 in federal contracts in 2000 to almost $600 million in 2006. Its rise is a case study in business timing and the power of financial and political capital to take advantage of a new market.

Blackwater Lodge and Training Center was the brainchild of Al Clark, a Navy SEAL and instructor. Dissatisfied with the Navy’s rented training grounds, Clark told colleagues he would open his own when he left the service. Clark hooked up with Erik Prince, a young Navy SEAL who shared his interest in training. Clark didn’t know it at the time, but Prince was an heir to a billion-dollar auto-parts fortune.

When the two broke ground on Blackwater Lodge and Training Center in Currituck and Camden counties in northeast North Carolina in 1997, the timing was good. The military had closed and consolidated bases after the Cold War and neglected training facilities. Blackwater built the largest shooting facility in the country, with indoor ranges, mock urban landscapes, a 1,200-yard firing range, driving tracks and a lake for naval training. Blackwater boasted it could design any sort of training a client might want.

The location was excellent, within four hours of the Pentagon in Washington, and Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The country’s biggest naval base in Norfolk, Va., was less than an hour away. Despite the steady stream of business, Blackwater wasn’t making money. Clark recalled how Prince summoned him to his office, on Christmas Eve 1999 and said, “I want this place profitable tomorrow.”

Clark said his relations with Prince went downhill when Prince complained that he was training the students so well that no one would come back for more training.

Clark left Blackwater in the summer of 2000. Business was growing steadily, Clark said, but the company wasn’t making a profit.

“There are two people who put Blackwater on the map,” Clark said _ “Al Clark and Osama bin Laden.”

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the demand for training from military and law enforcement filled Blackwater’s ranges and classrooms.

Blackwater’s most lucrative line of business wouldn’t be in the Eastern North Carolina town of Moyock, but overseas. It was the brainchild of a former CIA employee, Jamie Smith.

While working at Blackwater before Sept. 11, Smith had suggested that Blackwater go into the private security business, guarding businessmen or government officials. Prince was initially skeptical, but warmed to the idea after the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.

Prince contacted Alvin “Buzzy” Krongard, the No. 2 official at the CIA. Krongard had known Prince since at least 1999, when Krongard’s son, a Navy SEAL, had trained at Blackwater, according to Al Clark. Krongard had visited Blackwater and shot at the firing ranges, Clark said. (In October, Krongard stepped down from Blackwater’s Board of Advisors because his brother, Howard Krongard, was the State Department inspector general responsible for investigating Blackwater. Howard Krongard later resigned.)

The CIA was stretched thin in the aftermath of Sept. 11 and the invasion of Afghanistan. Blackwater landed a sole-source, no-bid contract to provide security at CIA stations in Afghanistan.

When Blackwater won the contract, the company had no one to staff it. Smith advertised for security contractors in the Washington Post, according to author Robert Young Pelton. Smith led the security team when it arrived in the early spring of 2002.

The contract was not a big one; it called for 16 Blackwater security personnel, plus dozens of Afghan guards hired locally. But it was profitable, a Blackwater budget spreadsheet shows. Blackwater expected a 26 percent profit on the job.

Most important, the contract was a start, a foot in the door of what would expand into a billion-dollar industry once the U.S. invaded Iraq.

The invasion created a huge demand for private security in Iraq. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld sent about half the troops recommended by his Army chief of staff. There weren’t enough soldiers to secure the country, let alone protect U.S. diplomats and civilian workers.

In August 2003, Blackwater won a $27 million sole-source contract to guard Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority and probably the top assassination target of insurgents.

The contract called for helicopters to fly Bremer around Iraq. Blackwater was well positioned for that; the company had bought a Florida aviation company four months earlier.

Peter Singer, an expert on private military contractors, said this was typical of Blackwater’s business savvy.

“They are very good and very savvy at identifying market needs and pushing hard to enter into those markets, even before clients have recognized the need,” Singer said.

The private security business turned Blackwater into a heavyweight government contractor; the company went from $204,911 in government contracts in fiscal 2000 to $593 million in 2006, an average annual growth rate of 277 percent. Blackwater went from having 16 guards in Afghanistan to more than 850 personnel in Iraq.

By the end of 2006, Blackwater had received more than $1 billion in government contracts. That doesn’t include classified contracts, including providing security at CIA sites overseas.

The CIA contracts are lucrative, according to a document Blackwater filed in a federal lawsuit.

Blackwater had a contract since 2003 to protect a CIA site in Pakistan, the document said. “The profit potential is high (25%+ margin),” because of the classified nature of the budgets, and the knowledge gained from past performance on existing contracts.

During congressional testimony in October, Erik Prince said that Blackwater made a 10 percent profit on his State Department contracts, but he declined to elaborate or discuss the company’s annual profits. He also declined to comment for this report. But there is a healthy markup for the company’s services: Blackwater bills the State Department $1,221 for a security guard earning $500 a day.

For all the controversy, Blackwater has an unblemished record on its main task in Iraq: None of the diplomats in the company’s care have been killed or wounded. Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy recently told The New York Times that the diplomats could not function in Iraq without Blackwater: “If the contractors were removed, we would have to leave Iraq.”

A company that has banked more than $1 billion in federal payments since Sept. 11, 2001, doesn’t sound like a small business, but Blackwater says it is.

For a company providing security services, the threshold for a small business is $17 million in annual revenue. Blackwater passed that threshold in 2003, yet continued to list itself as a small business.

In 2006, Blackwater’s aviation division won a $91 million contract for air charter work in Guam, a contract the Navy had set aside for small businesses. Two losing bidders challenged the award, saying Blackwater had more than 1,500 employees, the threshold for an aviation contract. An administrative judge ruled for Blackwater, saying the company’s 1,000-plus guards working overseas did not count as employees.

Blackwater’s contention that its guards are not employees has generated a lot of controversy.

Last year, an Internal Revenue Service hearing officer ruled that a Blackwater security guard was an employee, not an independent contractor. U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman has asked the IRS to investigate whether the company used the independent contractor designation to avoid paying federal taxes. Blackwater disputes Waxman’s complaint. If that ruling were applied to Blackwater’s entire work force, the company could be on the hook for $50 million in unpaid Medicare and Social Security taxes that companies must pay for their workers.

Prince, Blackwater’s founder, is known for his libertarian views. He touts the virtues of the free market and entrepreneurs. But the company is not averse to exploiting contracting loopholes and government giveaways.

Blackwater teamed up with the Chenega, an Alaskan Native American tribe of 69 people, to guard a missile defense installation in northern Japan. As a native-owned company, Chenega can win special no-bid contracts because of rules crafted by Alaska’s powerful U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

But to fulfill the terms, Chenega needed a partner to supply the guards, so it turned to Blackwater. The contract was worth $5 million for Blackwater in 2006 and $6 million for the first half of 2007.

In North Carolina, the Department of Commerce approved a $120,000 grant for Blackwater to support the company’s production of its Grizzly armored vehicle. The department projected that Blackwater would file for $637,500 in tax credits for the same project.

Despite the phenomenal growth, Prince has been quietly looking for more investors. At the end of April, the giant hedge fund Cerberus said it had decided against investing as much as $200 million in Blackwater. After news broke of Cerberus’ interest, Blackwater President Gary Jackson sent an e-mail message saying the company was anticipating even more growth, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The company has “had two successive quarters of unprecedented growth,” Jackson wrote, and is “exploring multiple avenues to finance our continued expansion.”

© 2008, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.).

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http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=49341

Tiny base assimilates into Japanese town

To allay locals’ health fears, housing built close to radar

By Teri Weaver, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Monday, October 8, 2007

SHARIKI, Japan

In Shariki, selecting the right place for American workers’ housing involved more than worrying about a daily commute.

For the 100 or so government contractors and two U.S. Army soldiers now living in and around the tiny Japanese village near the Sea of Japan, setting up a homestead also sent a message about their mission, according to the company commander at Shariki Communications Site.

“There were some people that told us, if you build that housing (elsewhere), it will be a public relations disaster,” said Capt. Will Hunter, whose unit in Shariki is attached to the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command in Hawaii. “It implies that you don’t think it’s safe to live around the radar.”

The radar is the AN/TPY-2, which points high-powered radio waves westward toward mainland Asia to hunt for enemy missiles headed east toward America or its allies. The system is serious — it could burn a person standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, Hunter says.

That hasn’t happened, he says, and occasional testing by the Americans and Japanese has found the radar does not interfere with local cell phones or harm local farming. Still, showing is better than telling, and that means building a housing complex for the Americans only a five-minute drive from the site.

It’s an apt example of how community relations can take on special meaning when a seaside village of 5,500 Japanese residents finds itself hosting several dozen Americans.

Hunter, the first commander of the year-old unit, has spent much of the past year making and implementing decisions like housing location. He’s also become a local ambassador of sorts at festivals, parades, Japanese military ceremonies and even afternoon cookouts.

“I think that’s my bigger job,” he said when weighing building relationships with local residents against his other tasks, working with the contractors and ensuring security of the radar site.

First Sgt. Ben Williams, the only other soldier in the unit, has picked up the role as well. Williams has been in the Army 16 years, and this is his first assignment without soldiers to lead and with a foreign language to negotiate. “I’m still feeling this out,” he says.

On one of his first days in town, he, Hunter and about 20 other workers from base helped drag a 16-ton float for a festival in Goshogawara, the biggest city about 45 minutes from base. “I was drenched,” he said of the sweaty work on the humid summer night.

For Hunter, much of the community relations means establishing safety procedures and conveniences for the Americans. He has set up phone lists and emergency procedures with local police and other officials so languages won’t be barriers to a response to Americans in need.

He’s even collected menus from local restaurants and had them translated to make it easier for the Americans to dine out and for local businesses to attract more customers.

The local community has responded as well. Lt. Col. Masaru Ohta, the Japan Air Self Defense Force’s 21st Air Defense Missile Squadron commander, ensures Americans get invited to festivals and meetings. And the city of Tsugaru, which oversees the smaller community of Shariki, has built a police koban in the village.

“I choose to say this police box was built for us, not because of us,” Hunter says.

Vehicle accidents have been the one sore spot for Hunter. There have been quite a few since the Americans came to Shariki, where an average of 12 meters of snow falls each winter.

Most of the accidents involve simple mistakes, not paying attention or slipping on ice, Hunter says. Still, a couple of Japanese people have been injured and gomen money, traditional compensation and condolence money, has been paid.

“In all honesty, I have beat up the contractors a lot about making their people drive correctly,” Hunter says while driving on a narrow two-lane road through rice paddies. The highway connects Shariki and Goshogawara, the closest place to big-city life that includes karaoke parlors, a dance club and two malls.

It’s hard to have absolute control, however, over a workforce that reports to a private company rather than a company commander, he says.

The Americans work for Raytheon and Chenega Blackwater Solutions, who, respectively, run the missile radar and provide security at the base.

In the past year, a couple of workers were sent home as punishment. But Hunter has no direct control over their privilege to hold a license, as he does over soldiers.

At the Shariki police station, inspector Yoshifumi Nakagawa warmly welcomes Hunter and gives business cards printed in English and Japanese to the two members of his staff – Williams and translator Yuko Akita.

Nakagawa was happy to learn Hunter has an interpreter, his first even though the Army unit officially stood up on Sept. 26, 2006. Previously, the captain relied on a handful of the contractors who speak Japanese, or a few of Ohta’s command staff who speak English.

The police official and the translator exchange cell phone numbers, then Nakagawa praises Hunter for participating in a recent community walk. It’s a formal thank-you for two men who see each other regularly. Both take the same language exchange course on Fridays, and the group has dinner together once a month.

Ohta credits the Americans’ involvement in the community with appeasing some of the fears first raised when the radar was built. “Because they participate in local events,” he says through a translator, “now there are no objections.”

The objections haven’t quite gone away. A Japanese Ministry of Defense office, at Shariki city hall, is where the Defense Facilities Administration Bureau works as liaison between the community and the U.S. Army base, Hunter says. It’s also where locals can go with concerns about the radar site.

In the past year, complaints have fallen off so much that the office has reduced its hours twice.

A couple of months ago, Hunter met with the bureau to hear about any recent complaints. One resident said his pacemaker had acted oddly when he drove on Shariki’s main street. Another man said his radio transmitted only static at 5 a.m. on a recent day. Both men suspected the radar.

“Things like that still come up,” Hunter said. “I think for the most part, people understand the radar is not going to hurt them.”