Molokai residents criticize Ranch’s water management

Trevor Atkins

Molokai residents came to Oahu earlier this month to call for the state government to intervene in a staggering 178% increase in water rates by Molokai Properties Limited the resort-cum-water utility for that land. The residents called for the rate increase to be declared void, and for a new public hearing to decide water rates.

Protest converges on Naue burial site

Ikaika M Hussey

Over 30 campaigners for native cultural protection from O'ahu, Maui, Molokai and Hawai`i Island arrived on Kauai's north shore this morning in an attempt to stop a housing development over an ancient cemetary.

"Our goal is to make them forcefully remove us," said Andre Perez of Pohaku O Kane. "This is not just about Kaua`i. We're serious about protecting our iwi kupuna, our `aina, and our lahui. " HUGOMORE42

The property, formerly owned by actor Sylvester Stallone, and purchased by California luxury homebuilder Joseph Brescia seven years ago, is considered culturally sacred by Kanaka Maoli and contains more than 30 ancient burials as well as numerous artifacts.

With legal challenges currently in progress, previous protests had stopped construction until recently when concrete was poured directly over the well-documented bones of ancient Hawaiians on the property.

"We're sick of rich foreigners coming over here and destroying the resting places of our families," said Keli`i Collier. "Hawaiians do not desecrate the graves of others, why do they desecrate ours?"

Mr. Brescia's claims of property ownership is also being disputed by Kaiulani Eden-Hoff, a former media personality who traces her lineage back several centuries on that parcel.

The Independent will expand its coverage of this story in future stories, including obtaining responses from Brescia and the state institutions responsible for burial sites.


Construction begins at Kaua’i native burial site

Ikaika M Hussey

Rachel Gehrlein of The Garden Island reports that home construction has begun at the property of Joseph Brescia in Naue, Kaua'i, where 30 Kanaka Maoli burials were found last year. Scores of Kaua'i residents are contesting the development, saying that it violates state regulations concerning native burials.


Marshall Islands nuclear survivors speak

Ikaika M Hussey

On the 54th anniversary of 'Bravo', March 1, 2008, survivors of the U.S. nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands and the people gathered at the International Convention Center to pay tribute to members who have died from radiation contamination. Over 600 people attended the event. 'Bravo', a thermo nuclear device was 1000 times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Nuclear fallout exposed the people who were living on Rongelap and Utrik atolls. HUGOMORE42

Statement of Minister Amenta Matthew
For Nuclear Survivors Day
March 1, 2008

Ladies, Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests,

Today is the 54th anniversary of the Bomb. We gather here together to honor both the victims and the survivors of US Nuclear Testing. I will share with you, the story of the people of Utrik. Among those on Utrik exposed to 'poison' were my grandmother, cousin, and many other close family members. My family, as well as all who lived on Utrik Atoll during the time of the Bomb, suffered the terrible consequences of radiation exposure.

On morning of March 1, 1954, the life of all our people was forever changed, when the Bomb, a thermo-nuclear device code named "Bravo" was detonated 300 miles west of Utrik. History will record that the Bravo 'bomb' had 1000 times the explosive power of the bombs dropped on Japan, and was by far the largest explosion to have taken place anywhere in the world up to that time.

People living on Utrik remember seeing a "bright light" something like a second sun rising in the west. Others recall that the "sky turned red" and heard a loud explosion like thunder, and thought a new war had started. In a very real sense March 1, 1954 was the beginning of a new "war" but this war was upon the people of Utrik, and others in the Marshall Islands. Our enemy, was invisible contamination what we call "poison" that invaded our food, our water, our land, our homes, our bodies and the bodies of our children.

At first, the invisible enemy, "poison" was not known. For many years that after the bomb, our people went about their lives. They did not know they were living with 'poison' as no one warned them of the danger they were facing, or the risk to their lives and the lives of their children. Poison cannot be seen, or heard or felt. No one on Utrik knew where the poison was located, or how it got into our food, into our water, and invaded our lives.

In America however, scientists knew about 'poison' or radiation as they called it. They knew about the dangers we faced. But these scientists did not want to help us. No, instead the wanted to study us. In a top-secret meeting held in New York City, in 1956, the Advisory Committee on Biology and Medicine of the US Atomic Energy Commission discussed the situation of the Utrik people. Dr. Merrill Eisenbud, the man responsible for the health and safety of people involved in the Nuclear Testing Program, made the following comments, and I quote him here. He said: "We think that one very intriguing study can be made and plans are on the way to implement this — Uterik Atoll is the atoll farthest from the March 1 shot where people were exposed." Dr. Eisenbud further said Utrik "is by far the most contaminated place in the world and it will be very interesting to go back and get good environmental data, .what isotopes are involved and a sample of food changes in many as to get a measure of the human uptake when people live in a contaminated environment."

Dr. Eisenbud was in charge of the Health & Safety Laboratory. He was responsible for protecting our health. As you can see, he was not interested in protecting the health of the Utrik people. He did not talk about how to prevent the people from being exposed to radiation. He did not try and warn the people, and tell them how to avoid being exposed to poison. Instead, he spoke about how to study the people when they are living on a land contaminated by invisible "poison."

Today, we in the Marshall Islands know firsthand what happens when people are exposed to radiation. Our surviving elders witnessed personally the devastation brought by 'poison.' As one of our survivors will tell you, our island home was visited by a plague of sickness and death. The unholy scourge of radiation silently made its way into everything and everybody on our beautiful island home. For many many years our people were left to live on land with levels of radiation deadly to humans. Those who knew, didn't protect us, didn't clean our land, and didn't do what they could have, and should have, done to protect all of our people from the consequences of Bomb.

Today, we seek compensation for what was done to our people. Our scientists, and our lawyers have proven before the Nuclear Claims Tribunal the injuries suffered by the people of Utrik. We have also learned that people from many other atolls have suffered from exposure to 'poison'. As the Senator from Utrik Atoll, I will diligently pursue all claims of our people for fair and just compensation. As the Minister of Health, I will work just as hard to insure that all of our Marshallese people who have suffered from the "Bomb" will receive fair treatment, and the healthcare needed to treat their injuries.

All Marshallese must stand together, united, and never cease till justice is finally done for the Marshall Islands. We must continue to press forward with out claims before the US Congress, and in the Courts, and at the United Nations. It is my hope that on this day of remembrance, we shall re-dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of fair compensation for all, and so that at long last the world can atone for what was done here to our people.

Thank you, very much for your time and attention.

Ceded lands deal ignites call for OHA audit

Ikaika M Hussey

Good article by Blane Benevedes, Ka Leo o Hawaii, on Saturday's settlement hearing. (Disclosure: the article quotes me.)


House version of OHA bill: ‘Not a settlement’

Ikaika M Hussey

Three committees of the state House of Representatives will hold a hearing Saturday morning on a very different version of the OHA settlement bill. HB 266 HD 1, released into the public today, alters the terms of the debate by not treating the recent agreement between the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Governor Lingle as a settlement, but as a "joint policy recommendation."

As such, the new bill does not include a broad 'waiver of claims' section.

The new bill raises a question, though: will OHA and the Executive Branch agree to this new bill? The two parties had been very willing to give up legal rights in order to accomplish the transfer of lands and money to OHA; without the quo, will they accept the quid?


Molokai Ranch extorts local paper for La’au anti-development coverage

Ikaika M Hussey

The Molokai Ranch, a multinational corporation that aims to develop luxury housing on Molokai's rural Laau Point, has pulled its advertising from The Molokai Times in protest of the paper's pro-conservation coverage.

According to sources close to the story, Ranch officials have complained about the papers' publishing of letters from proponents of conserving Laau Point for cultural and recreational uses.

In response to an inquiry from The Hawaii Standard, Becker Communications, the public relations firm hired by Molokai Ranch, says that "the decision to cease advertising was strictly budgetary."

"It was communicated to the paper that the Ranch did intend to advertise with them in the future on a spot basis," the response continues.

In spite of Becker Communications' response, however, the Ranch's actions do point to a history of political retribution against outspoken media. A year ago, the Ranch also pulled its advertising from The Molokai Dispatch, a local publication which has published several pro-conservation articles.

Army says Strykers to be based in Hawaii, Akaka is ‘pleased’

Ikaika M Hussey

After nearly five years of protest and litigation, the U.S. Army has announced that the Stryker brigade will indeed be based in Hawaii. U.S. Senator Akaka says that he is "pleased." HUGOMORE42

From the Army's press release:

This Final EIS identifies Schofield Barracks Military Reservation in Hawaii as the Army's preferred alternative for the stationing location of this brigade. A Record of Decision document will announce the final location decision no earlier than 30 days from the date the EPA notice of availability of the Final EIS appears in the Federal Register.

The 2/25th SBCT deployed in November 2007 from Hawaii to support ongoing operations in Iraq and will return to a home station in early 2009.

The Army analyzed 140 installations for their suitability to meet the appropriate training infrastructure, maneuver land, compatible mission and garrison support infrastructure to support the SBCT. Out of the 140 installations, three Army installations were determined to have the appropriate infrastructure capable of supporting the permanent stationing of the 2/25th SBCT. The Final EIS examines the three Army installations. It provides the Army's senior leadership with a "hard look" at environmental impacts associated with the proposed action so their decision-making process for selecting the final stationing location will be fully informed. The EIS effort included analysis of all activities (training, facilities construction, and Soldier and Family support) required to permanently station the 2/25th SBCT. In addition, the Final EIS identifies strategic deployment as a critical component of the need for the stationing action. Strategic deployment considerations for the stationing of the 2/25th SBCT will be evaluated further in the Army's decision-making process and justified in the record of decision.

The three alternatives for implementing the proposed stationing action are: (1) permanently stationing the 2/25th SBCT at Schofield Barracks Military Reservation while conducting required training at military training sites in Hawaii; (2) permanently stationing the 2/25th SBCT at Fort Richardson while conducting required training at military training sites in Alaska; and (3) permanently stationing the 2/25th SBCT at Fort Carson while conducting required training at military training sites in Colorado. In addition to these alternatives, the "No Action" alternative was described and its environmental impacts fully assessed and considered.

Direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the proposed stationing action have been considered in the final EIS. The document identifies impacts at each of the three alternative locations that would occur as a result of implementing the proposed action. Impacts at alternative sites would result from construction and training activities. Each of the impacts can be mitigated.

The Army invited full public participation in the environmental evaluation process to promote open communication and better decision making. All persons and organizations that have an interest in the permanent stationing of the 2/25th SBCT were urged to participate. The public has provided input and comments at scoping meetings and public meetings held at all potential alternative stationing locations for the 2/25th.


Settlement is unlawful sell-out

J. Kehaulani Kauanui

Although the Honolulu dailies have been touting the recent settlement agreement between Governor Linda Lingle and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as a "land and cash deal worth over $200 million dollars," let's be clear: this is no victory for the Hawaiian people. Because the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) and state had been in dispute over what the payments should be, and over which lands and what revenues are covered, OHA filed a lawsuit against the state that reached the Hawai'i Supreme Court. The state court instructed the state government to negotiate with the state agency of OHA. If the state legislation passes, the state government would continue to pay OHA about $15.1 million annually and transfer some lands from one arm of state to the other.

The whole thing is a charade! This recent maneuvering within the state is simply an attempt by OHA to collect as much from the state legislature in anticipation of the Akaka bill passing, so that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs portfolio will be worth more when transferred to the proposed Native Hawaiian Governing Entity. This is the sell-out deal that would follow in the immediate wake of the passage of the Akaka bill, if it makes it out of the US Senate. OHA is working in unison with the federal representatives; they have sold us out time and time again, and now reps are trying to work their way into becoming US recognized leaders of a Native Hawaiian Governing Entity under US domestic law. Or worse, it also works as a "plan B" scheme for OHA to work their way towards a global settlement with the state in case the federal bill fails again. OHA says it wants the "return" of the lands or compensation for the loss of the lands as a result of the overthrow and annexation. Unlawful sell-out!

Given that former Governor Ben Cayetano refused to allot the revenues according to the court ordered formula in the past, we have to ask why Governor Lingle is so willing now. Don't forget that Lingle's State Attorney General relentlessly continues to get the Hawai`i courts to affirm that the state has the right to sell our national lands. The Hawai`i Supreme Court's order for an injunction to bar the sale of the land until claims are resolved has people focused on the stalled Akaka bill in Congress, which could create "a third party" to resolve claims on the ceded lands—but we already know who would constitute this so-called third party: the trustees of OHA.

Whenever any state government supports federal recognition of the indigenous peoples residing without the boundaries asserted by the state, we must ask why. What will the state government of Hawaii gain from passage of the Akaka bill? And why does the state support federal recognition in this case, when states almost always oppose the federal acknowledgement of Native Nations? It's simple: because the state has a lot to gain—the 1.8 million acres of land to which the Hawaiian people and other descendants of citizens of the Hawaiian Kingdom still hold collective title. Even the US Apology Resolution passed by Congress in 1993 affirms that these are our national lands: "the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum."

As everyone knows, and yet so many still want to deny, the Hawaiian Kingdom never ceded these lands to the provisional government, nor the so-called Republic of Hawai`i, nor to the US government. The new Republic seized these lands then ceded them to the US in 1898. The Hawaii Admission Act transferred them from federal to state control, then the Hawaii State Constitution asserted that the lands shall be: "held by the State as a public trust for native Hawaiians and the general public" (Article 7, Section 4). Different branches of the state can swap, scheme, and swindle, but those of us who hold true to our history of resistance to the US "annexation," and our unabiding claim to nationhood under international law will hold fast and hold firm; we will not settle.

U.S. Marine accused of raping 14-year-old girl in Okinawa Prefecture

Ikaika M Hussey

From the Asahi Shimbun 2/12/08:

NAHA–Police arrested a U.S. Marine on Monday on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old girl in Okinawa Prefecture, drawing immediate outrage from the governor that is spreading across the prefecture.

The suspect, Staff Sgt. Tyrone Hadnott, 38, has denied he raped the junior high school student, saying he only tried to force her into his arms and kiss her, according to investigators.

"Our government will firmly carry out negotiations with the United States," Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told a Lower House Budget Committee meeting on Tuesday. "We will do our utmost to clarify what happened and prevent a recurrence of similar incidents." HUGOMORE42

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura told a news conference Tuesday that the government will convey its concerns to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer.

According to the investigation, Hadnott talked to the girl, who was with her friends, in the city of Okinawa around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, although he had not met the girl before.

She accepted his offer for a ride home on his motorcycle, they said. But he took her instead to his house in the Shimabuku district ofKita-Nakagusuku village.

However, she fled after he tried to attack her. He chased her in his car, found her and then assured her that he would drive her home, investigators said.

She agreed. He then drove to a street in the neighboring town of Chatan, where he parked the car and raped her around 1 0 :35 p.m., investigators said.

Around 9:20 p.m., the girl had sent e-mail messages from her cellphone to a friend, such as: "Help me," and "I have been taken away by a foreigner".

The friend and her family immediately contacted the Okinawa Police Station.

Around 10:45 p.m., the girl called the mother of her friend and said, "I have fled (from the foreigner)."

Police found her near the place where Hadnott is believed to have parked the car and put her under protective custody.

The girl remembered characteristics of the car. Police found Hadnott in his car parked in front of his house, and asked him to come to the police station on a voluntary basis.

They arrested him around 2:10 a.m. Monday.

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima expressed anger over the alleged crime.

"This is a serious criminal act that tramples upon the human rights of a woman. In particular, given that the victim is a junior high school student, I can never forgive his act," Nakaima told reporters at the prefectural government office here.

The arrest will likely trigger strong protests against U.S. military forces among local governments and citizens' groups in the prefecture.

In 1995, after a 12-year-old elementary school girl was raped by three U.S. servicemen, anger against the U.S. military led to large-scale movements calling for the closure or scaling-down of U.S. bases in the prefecture.

In 1996, the United States agreed to return the site of the sprawling U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan to Japan. The two countries also agreed to relocate the functions of the air station.

Asked about his first feelings after hearing the news of Hadnott's arrest, Nakaima said, "I felt that what must not take place took place again."

According to prefectural police, Hadnott joined the U.S. Marine Corps in September 1996. After work i ng at the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture, as well as other places, he was transferred to Okinawa Prefecture in October 2006. He is now serving at the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Courtney in the city of Uruma.

The U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement stipulates procedures on U.S. servicemen accused of committing crimes in Japan. According to the agreement, when the suspects are placed in the custody of the United States, the United States will continue to detain them until Japanese prosecutors indict them.

This time, however, Okinawa prefectural police arrested Hadnott, meaning that the suspect will remain in Japanese custody.

Akira Uehara, a senior official of the Okinawa prefectural government, and Morikazu Nakamura, who heads the office for the Okinawa prefectural board of education, visited the U.S. Consulate General in Urasoe on Monday afternoon and met Consul General Kevin Maher.

During the m eeting, the two asked Maher to make utmost efforts to prevent a recurrence and to urge U.S. military forces stationed in Okinawa Prefecture to announce measures to deal with the issue.

Uehara and Nakamura were also expected to meet the Okinawa Area Coordinator (OAC), the top officer of all the four branches of the U.S. military forces stationed in Okinawa Prefecture, on Tuesday afternoon.

In that meeting, they planned to make a protest and ask for measures to prevent recurrence.