Fw: [hawaii-nation] No peace in paradise: The military presence in the Hawaiian Islands

FYI Important article on military presence in Hawaii.
Jim Albertini
Malu `Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box AB
`Ola`a (Kurtistown), Hawaii 96760
Phone 808-966-7622
email ja@interpac.net

----- Original Message -----
From: "Hawaii Nation Info" <info@hawaii-nation.org>
To: <hawaii-nation@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007 12:43 PM
Subject: [hawaii-nation] No peace in paradise: The military presence in the
Hawaiian Islands


Haleakala Times
May 08, 2007

No peace in paradise

The military presence in the Hawaiian Islands

Kanaka Maoli activist Kaleikoa Kaeo described the
U.S. military in Hawai'i as a monstrous he'e
(octopus), its head represented by the Pacific
Command Headquarters, its eyes and ears the
mountaintop telescopes, radar facilities, and
underwater sensors, and its brain and nervous
system the supercomputers and fiber optic
networks that crisscross the islands. The
tentacles of the he'e stretch from the west coast
of North America to the east coast of Africa,
from Alaska to Antarctica.

Today the enormity of the U.S. military presence in Hawai'i is staggering:
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the
combined military branches in 2004 have 161
military installations in Hawai'i. The military
controls 236,303 acres in Hawai'i, or 5.7
percent of the total land area. On O'ahu, the
most densely populated island, the military
controls 85,718 acres out of 382,148 acres, or
22.4 percent of the island. The military also
controls vast stretches of ocean, including
Defensive Sea Areas in Kane'ohe Bay, from Pearl
Harbor to Koko Head, and off the west shore of
Kaua'i. The entire Hawaiian archipelago is
surrounded by 210,000 square miles of ocean
military operating areas and 58,599 square miles
of military special use airspace.

Combined with the 116,000 retired military
personnel living in Hawai'i, the
military-connected population totals 217,030, or
17 percent of Hawaii's total population. The 2000
U.S. Census found that Hawai'i has the largest
percentage of its population in the military
among the states.

Taking Land

The military land grab is a major source of
conflict in Hawai'i. In 1898, the U.S. seized
nearly 1.8 million acres of government and crown
lands of the Kingdom of Hawai'i. These so-called
"ceded lands" are held in a quasi-trust status by
the Federal government and the State. In 1959,
when the U.S. incorporated Hawai'i as a state,
the military retained control of approximately
180,000 acres of the "ceded lands", while the
rest reverted to the State as trustee.
Approximately 30,000 acres of the land returned
to the State were simultaneously leased back to
the military for 65 years. In most cases, the
rent paid by the military was a token one dollar
for the term of the lease. Today, more than
112,173 acres, or roughly 54 percent of
military-controlled land in Hawai'i consists of
the former government and crown lands of the
Hawaiian nation. During World War II other
private parcels of land were seized by the U.S.
to further its war aims.

Threats to Native Hawaiian Cultural Survival

The displacement of Kanaka Maoli from their
ancestral lands has resulted in the loss of
subsistence and cultural resources. The cultural
conflict over 'aina (land) goes much deeper than
a simple matter of property rights or land use.
There is a fundamental contradiction between
Kanaka Maoli and western world views about the
environment itself. In the Kanaka Maoli
cosmology, the 'aina is the ancestor of the
people, the physical manifestation of the union
between the gods Papahanaumoku (Papa who gives
birth to islands), the earth-mother, and Wakea,
the sky-father. As a living ancestor, the 'aina
could not be owned, sold or defiled. By severing
the genealogical ties between Kanaka Maoli and
their 'aina and by disrupting their ability to
practice and transmit their culture to future
generations, the military seizure of land
continues to have profound impacts on the
cultural survival of Kanaka Maoli. Military
destruction of land is a form of violence against
the people themselves.

Forced cultural assimilation of Kanaka Maoli has
contributed to cultural disintegration.
Statistics illustrate the legacy of this
occupation: Kanaka Maoli have the highest rates
of homelessness, poverty, disease and crime in
Hawai'i. They have the lowest educational
achievement and life expectancy in Hawai'i.
Kanaka Maoli make up 36.5 percent of persons
incarcerated for felony charges. In the century
since the U.S. occupation began, the flood of
settlers stripped Kanaka Maoli of their
self-determination. The scenario resembles the
population crises of other occupied nations like
Tibet, East Timor, and Palestine. A combination
of economic, cultural and political pressures has
pushed nearly one third of Kanaka Maoli into

By generating population transfer of U.S.
nationals to Hawai'i, the military has also had a
profound impact on Hawaii's culture and political
demographics. Between 1900 and 1950, migration to
the Hawaiian Islands from the continental U.S.
and its territories totaled 293,379.

Environmental Contamination

The U.S. military is arguably the largest
industrial polluter in Hawai'i. The 2004 Defense
Environmental Restoration Program report to
Congress listed 798 military contamination sites
at 108 installations in Hawai'i, 96 of which were
contaminated with unexploded ordnance. Seven of
the military contamination sites were considered
"Superfund" sites. According to the Navy, the
Pearl Harbor Naval Complex alone contains
approximately 749 contaminated sites and is
treated as a giant superfund site. numbers are
low because they do not include contaminated
sites that have not yet been listed for cleanup
responses. Military installations made up five of
the top ten polluters in Hawai'i responsible for
releasing persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic
(PBT) chemicals, which include lead, dioxins
mercury, and polycyclic aromatic compounds.
Military contamination hazards include unexploded
ordnance, various types of fuels and petroleum
products; organic solvents such as
perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene; dioxins
and PCB; explosives and propellants such as RDX,
TNT, HMX and Perchlorate; heavy metals such as
Lead and Mercury; napalm, chemical weapons, and
radioactive waste from nuclear powered ships.

Cobalt-60, a radioactive waste product from
nuclear-powered ships, has been found in sediment
at Pearl Harbor. Between 1964 and 1978, 4,843,000
gallons of low level radioactive waste were
discharged into Pearl Harbor. 2,189 steel drums
containing radioactive waste were dumped in an
ocean disposal area 55 miles from Hawai'i. The
military recently disclosed that from 1941 to
1972 it had dumped more than 8,000 tons of
chemical munitions, including blistering agents
mustard gas and lewisite, in the shallow seas off
O'ahu island.

Fishermen have been burned when they accidentally
raised this toxic catch. For many years, the
military denied ever using depleted uranium in
Hawai'i. However in January 2006, activists
forced the Army to admit the presence of depleted
uranium contamination on O'ahu. Military
contamination sites are concentrated in and pose
the greatest threat to Kanaka Maoli, immigrant
Asian and Pacific Islanders and other low income
communities. Many Asians and Pacific Islanders
subsist on fish and shellfish from Pearl Harbor's
contaminated waters. The Wai'anae district, where
a third of the land is occupied by military
installations, has the largest concentration of
Kanaka Maoli and some of the worst health,
economic and social statistics in Hawai'i. In the
late 1980s, powerful Navy radio transmitters in
Lualualei valley were suspected to be the cause
of a childhood leukemia cluster in the nearby
Hawaiian Homestead.


As with other military base towns, prostitution
in Hawai'i is fueled by the large military
presence. During World War II, the military
regulated prostitution in designated red-light
districts. In recent years, prostitution has
become more decentralized. A proliferation of
strip clubs, massage parlors, escort services,
hostess bars as well as street prostitution
caters to military, tourist and local customers.
One former prostitute estimated that in the
downtown area at least 60 percent of those
seeking prostitutes were from the military, and
in Wahiawa, near Schofield Barracks, she
estimated that the percentage jumped to 70 to 80
percent. She recounted how she was strangled by a
military client until she hit him and escaped.
According to an agency that helps prostitutes to
get out of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE),
Hawai'i is particularly susceptible to CSE and
the trafficking of women and children due to the
large tourism industry and military presence.

Threats to Native Ecosystems and Endangered Species

Hawai'i is considered the endangered species
capital of the world. Because of its geographic
isolation, unique species and ecosystems evolved
in Hawai'i over millions of years. More than
1,100 species, which represents around 82 percent
of all native species in Hawai'i, are endemic to
the islands. Military training activities
threaten native ecosystems with fires, erosion,
the alteration of habitats and the introduction
of alien species. Makua valley, for instance,
where the military has conducted live fire
training for more than 70 years, is home to over
40 endangered species. More than 270 military
fires over the last 10 years have destroyed most
of Makua's dryland forests except for the highest

Militarization of Youth

Hawai'i has historically had a high rate of
military recruitment. In 2006, Hawai'i ranked
13th among states in the number of Army recruits
per 1,000 youth. Military recruiters have
targeted low income communities of color who lack
educational and career opportunities and are
especially vulnerable to the economic enticements
offered by recruiters. Military recruiters now
have unprecedented access to students through the
military recruiter access provisions and student
personal information disclosure requirements of
the No Child Left Behind Act. Furthermore, the
Pentagon has hired private data mining companies
to compile a database on students. In Hawai'i,
the militarization of youth through reserve
officer training corps (ROTC) programs, the
proliferation of military imagery in popular
culture and aggressive recruitment practices have
also functioned to accelerate the assimilation
and Americanization of local populations. In the
1920s, Commanding General Summerall of the Army
Hawaiian Department created Hawai'i's second
Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) unit at
McKinley High School, which was nicknamed "Little
Tokyo" for its predominantly Japanese student
body. Summerall wrote, "There is no better way of
securing the loyalty of such people than to
incorporate them in our military forces."

Economic Dependency

Hawai'i's extreme economic dependency on military
spending has distorted the social, environmental
and cultural priorities of policy makers, a
condition some have likened to an addiction.
Since September 11, 2001, U.S. military spending
in Hawai'i has increased. As a result, in 2003,
military expenditures, the second largest
"industry" in Hawai'i behind tourism reached $4.5
billion, a 13 percent increase over 2002. "In
2003, Hawaii ranked second in the United States,
with $2,566 in per-capita defense spendingS.
behind only one other state, Virginia, home of
the Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department
of Defense." The high rate of federal spending
in Hawai'i has boosted industries like
construction which have been detrimental to the
preservation of cultural sites and natural
resources. Housing subsidies for military
personnel are indexed to market values, which
tends to inflate the cost of housing,
exacerbating homelessness in recent years.
Military personnel in Hawai'i do not pay state
income taxes. So the costs of public services are
subsidized by local residents. This adds
particular strains on the public school system
which depends on state general funds. Federal
Impact Aid that is supposed to offset the cost of
providing services for military families, only
makes up one tenth of the actual cost of
educating military children.

Past Resistance to Militarization in Hawai'i


Kaho'olawe measures approximately 128,800 acres
and is the smallest of the eight major islands in
the Hawaiian archipelago. The island is sacred to
Kanaka Maoli as an embodiment of the sea god
Kanaloa. Kaho'olawe was also key to Polynesian
navigation and settlement of Hawai'i. Kaho'olawe
contains some of the richest cultural sites in
Hawai'i. Originally part of the government lands
of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the Navy seized the
entire island for target practice on December 8,
1941. In 1976, the Protect Kaho'olawe 'Ohana
launched the first of several rescue landings on
Kaho'olawe to protest the bombing. After years of
direct action, demonstrations and lawsuits,
President George H.W. Bush stopped the bombing in
1990. $400 million was appropriated for the clean
up unexploded ordnance and restoration of the
cultural sites and native ecosystems of the
island, but the Navy failed to clean up the
island to its stated goals. Instead only one
tenth of the island is now safe for human use.
The movement to protect Kaho'olawe was seminal to
the Hawaiian cultural renaissance, the emergence
of the contemporary Hawaiian sovereignty
movement, and other demilitarization struggles.

Makua Valley

The Kaho'olawe movement helped to inspire
resistance to the Army in Makua valley on the
west end of O'ahu. The name "Makua" means
"parents." It is believed to be one of the places
where Papa and Wakea came together to create life
on Earth. Makua has been used as a military
training area since 1929. In 1942, the remaining
residents of Makua were forcibly evicted by the
military. Their homes and a church were used as
targets. All types of munitions have been fired
and disposed of in Makua. As a result the valley
is littered with unexploded ordnance and toxic
chemicals. The rich cultural sites and native
forest have been destroyed or seriously damaged.
Since the 1970s Kanaka Maoli have fought for the
clean up and return of Makua valley. The struggle
continues today as the Army pushes for expanded
training in Makua.

Halawa Valley / H- Freeway

The H-3 Freeway project was conceived in 1963 as
a defense highway to connect the Marine Corps
Base in Kane'ohe with Pearl Harbor. Although
activists successfully asserted cultural and
historic preservation laws to block the freeway
from passing through Moanalua Valley, the project
was realigned to Halawa Valley instead. Despite
initial successes at challenging the new route,
activists were trumped by Senator Daniel Inouye
who passed legislation that exempted the H-3
project from applicable environmental laws. The
Halawa Coalition, which was led by Kanaka Maoli
women, occupied the Hale-o-Papa heiau - a women's
temple in the path of the freeway from April 1992
until their arrest in August of that year.
Hale-o-Papa was saved but other sacred sites were
destroyed. After a 37-year struggle, the H-3 was
completed at a cost of $1.3 billion, or $80
million-a-mile, the most expensive roadway ever

Nohili / Pacific Missile Range Facility

In the early 1990s, a coalition of Native
Hawaiian and environmental organizations
mobilized to block the Army Strategic Target
System (STARS) missile launches at the Pacific
Missile Range Facility (PMRF). At issue were
Kanaka Maoli burial sites in the sand dunes of
Nohili, endangered species and contamination and
accidents from the missiles. Thirty-five
protesters were arrested for civil disobedience
during the first two missile launches. Although
the STARS program was de-funded by President
Clinton in 1996, new threats emerged as PMRF's
capabilities were expanded and as work on missile
defense programs later accelerated under George
W. Bush. Post-September 11 security measures have
blocked cultural, subsistence and recreational
access to beaches at Nohili and have sparked new
activism. The Navy is expanding ocean training
maneuvers and intensifying its use of sonar,
which would be extremely dangerous to marine

Waikane Valley

Waikane in windward O'ahu contains many Kanaka
Maoli sacred sites and traditional agricultural
production. During World War II, the military
leased 1,061 acres in Waikane and adjoining
Wai'ahole for maneuver and live fire training
until 1976. The Kamaka family, which owned 187
acres of the most heavily impacted areas, asked
the Marines to clean up the unexploded ordnance
as stipulated in the original lease. Instead, the
Marine Corps condemned the parcel over the
objections of the Kamaka family. In 2003, the
Marine Corps announced plans to conduct "jungle
warfare" training in Waikane as part of its war
on terrorism in the southern Philippines. This
triggered strong protest from the community. In a
public meeting held in March 2003, the community
demanded that the Marine Corps cleanup and return
the Kamaka family lands in Waikane. Another
important development was the solidarity from
Filipinos/Kanaka Maoli youth protest against a
Marine Corps amphibious landing at Bellows Air
Force Base in Waimanalo. Many of those living in
Hawai'i challenged U.S. intervention in the
Philippines as well as the training in Waikane.
The Marines eventually cancelled their plans for
training in Waikane citing safety concerns, but
they have not cleaned up the unexploded ordnance.


Pohakuloa on the island of Hawai'i is a vast
plain of lava fields and native dryland forest
located on the "saddle" between three sacred
mountains - Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Hualalai.
Established in 1956, the Pohakuloa Training Area
(PTA) encompasses 116,341 acres, of which 84,815
acres are "ceded lands."

PTA is the largest U.S. military training area in
Hawai'i and the largest outside of the
continental United States. Although the range is
used for all types of live fire training,
thousands of cultural sites have been identified
within the PTA. It is the home to 21 endangered
species of plants and animals. With Army
proposals to expand the training area by 23,000
acres, Pohakuloa has again become a focus of

Current Military Expansion Threats

The U.S. strategic rivalry with China, its
hostility toward North Korea, the "second front"
war on terrorism in Southeast Asia and the
realignment of U.S. military forces and bases in
East Asia has created added pressures to
militarize Hawai'i.

Stryker Brigade

The Army is proceeding with plans to station a
Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) in Hawai'i
that would bring 328 Stryker vehicles, 800
additional soldiers plus their dependents, and 28
construction projects to upgrade training,
maintenance and housing facilities. One reporter
called it "the biggest Army construction project
in Hawai'i since World War II."

Strykers are 20-ton light armored combat vehicles
designed for rapid deployment and suppression of
urban unrest. They will be stationed along with a
new squadron of C-17 cargo aircraft and new high
speed attack ships to provide transport for the

The Army plans to seize an additional 25,000
acres of land - 1,400 acres in Central and
Northern O'ahu and 23,000 acres adjacent to the
Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawai'i Island. The
extent of the Strykers' impacts would stretch the
entire length of the North Shore of O'ahu. On
Hawai'i Island, the Stryker trail would go from
the port at Kawaihae on the western flank of
Mauna Kea to the Pohakuloa Training Area.

Despite the discovery of numerous hazardous
chemicals from live fire training, proposed
munitions use in Hawai'i would increase by 25
percent. The Army's own studies concluded that
cultural sites will be destroyed and that there
will be serious impacts due to fire, erosion and
other environmental damage. Navy University
Affiliated Research Center (UARC) The University
of Hawai'i (UH) administration wants to establish
a Navy University Affiliated Research Center
(UARC) at UH.

The proposed Navy UARC would conduct Navy weapons
related research, including development and
testing of various components of the "star wars"
missile defense program and other advanced
military research programs. This would have
harmful impacts to Mauna Kea and Haleakala where
astronomy and astrophysics research is conducted,
and the sand dunes of Nohili and the oceans off
the north shore of Kaua'i, where missile launches
and undersea warfare and sonar experiments are
conducted. A coalition of students, faculty and
community launched a series of actions to protest
the UARC that culminated in a week-long
occupation of the UH President's office demanding
cancellation of the UARC. The UH Administration
has continued to pursue the UARC, but contract
negotiations have been delayed due to the
continued protests.

"Star Wars" Missile Defense

Hawai'i used to test a number of missile defense
programs including the Groundbased Midcourse
Defense, the Aegis Missile Defense, and Theater
High Altitude Area Defense programs. U.S.
officials have continuously demonized North Korea
as an "axis of evil" country that poses a threat
to Hawai'i in order to generate fear and justify
the expansion of these missile defense programs.

The 'star wars' facilities span the island chain:
Pacific Missile Range Facility in Nohili, radar
tracking stations at Koke'e, Makaha Ridge, and
Ka'ena Point, the Air Force Optical Tracking
Station on Haleakala mountain, and the
supercomputer at Kihei, Maui. Lasers are tested
on Haleakala. Target missiles are launched from

Aircraft Carrier Strike Group

One of the largest militarization threats facing
Hawai'i is the proposal to homeport an aircraft
carrier strike group in Hawai'i or Guam. A
carrier strike group would include a nuclear
powered aircraft carrier, a cruiser, two
destroyers, an attack submarine and a fast combat
support ship and aircraft. In addition to the
3,000 officers and crew of the carrier, the air
wing would bring 2,600 persons. Overall, the
carrier strike group could increase the
population by as many as 20,000 military
personnel and their family members. Because Pearl
Harbor is not large enough to homeport an
aircraft carrier, major dredging and construction
would be required, causing adverse environmental
impacts. Due to the insufficient air base
facilities to house the fighter air wing,
politicians have offered to turn over the
recently closed and transferred Barber's Point
Naval Air Station back to the military. The final
decision will be determined in the near future.

Ku'e: Current Resistance to Militarization

DMZ-Hawai'i / Aloha 'Aina is a network of
organizations and individuals working to
demilitarize and reverse the negative impacts of
the enormous military presence in Hawai'i. The
network was conceived at the Rethinking
Militarism in Hawai'i Conference in 2000,
organized by American Friends Service Committee
that brought together activists representing
various movements and communities in Hawai'i as
well as international resource people. The
DMZ-Hawai'i / Aloha 'Aina network united
environmental, peace, anti-nuclear, womens',
religious and Kanaka Maoli sovereignty and
independence groups for the common purpose of

The term "DMZ" stands for Demilitarized Zone, a
term reclaimed from its usual military context.
"Aloha 'Aina" expresses the core Kanaka Maoli
value of "love for the land" and places Hawaiian
cultural and political struggle at the center of
this diverse grouping.

The main campaigns of DMZ-Hawai'i / Aloha 'Aina
are: opposing the Stryker Brigade, opposing the
Navy UARC at the University of Hawai'i, and
supporting the struggle for clean up and return
of Makua valley. Actions have included pickets,
marches, civil disobedience, lawsuits and Kanaka
Maoli cultural forms of resistance.

Kyle Kajihiro


Note: the content of forwarded messages reflects the opinion of
the authors, not necessarily that of the list maintainers.
This list is provided as a free service. Donations may be made to:
Aloha First, PO Box 701, Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795
Hawai`i - Independent & Sovereign


"The cause of Hawaii and independence is larger and dearer than
the life of any man connected with it. Love of country is deep-
seated in the breast of every Hawaiian, whatever his station."
- Queen Lili`uokalani
Post message: mailto:hawaii-nation@yahoogroups.com
Subscribe: mailto:hawaii-nation-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Unsubscribe: mailto:hawaii-nation-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
List owner: mailto:hawaii-nation-owner@yahoogroups.com

Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:


<*> Your email settings:
Individual Email | Traditional

<*> To change settings online go to:


(Yahoo! ID required)

<*> To change settings via email:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:



Post a Comment

<< Home