Feb. 3, 2009 Press Release on Army Col before Hawaii County Council

Press Release: Feb. 3, 2009
Report on Army Col. Howard Killian at the Hawaii County Council and a following press conference at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel

Military Stonewalling on Radiation Contamination

     As expected, Army Col. Howard Killian of Ft. Shafter, Oahu, gave a slick Power Point presentation to the Hawaii County Council to give the appearance the military is exercising due diligence over the issue of military radiation contamination on Hawaii Island.  As one citizen testified, Col. Killian's appearance reminded him of Collin Powell's testimony at the UN leading up to the start of the Gulf war.  It was all shibai.
     It has not exactly been "four-score and seven years ago," but it has been seven months and one day to be exact, that the Hawaii County Council passed an historic resolution July 2, 2008 by a vote of 8-l with the only dissenting vote being retired Army Intelligence Col. Pete Hoffmann.  That resolution called for the following:

     l.  Order a complete halt to B-2 bombing missions and to all live firing exercises and other activities at the Pohakuloa Training Area that create dust until there is an assessment and clean up of the depleted uranium already present;
     2.  Establish a permanent, high-tech monitoring system with procedures to ensure air quality control;
     3.  Establish a citizen monitoring system to work closely with Military experts to assure transparency and community confidence;
     4.  Host quarterly meetings to update and inform the public;
     5.  Ensure permanent funds are available for the monitoring program;
     6.  Provide a liaison to the County of Hawaii to facilitate communication between the U.S. Military and the County of Hawaii;
     7.  Provide semi-annual reports to the Hawaii County Council summarizing depleted uranium monitoring, detection, and mitigation efforts; and
     8.  The U.S. Military shall conduct a search of all records for firing of Depleted Uranium at the Pohakuloa training Area and all other Hawaii State military sites and release pertinent information to the public...

     In addition to the above resolution the Council also passed an additional resolution naming Hawaii born, Dr. Lorrin Pang, MD, MPH, retired Army Medical Corps, and among "Who's Who of America's best doctors, as the county's representative to a citizen's monitoring committee (see point 3 above) to work with the military on the DU issue. The military rejected Dr. Pang and has yet to form a citizen's committee on the DU issue. Cory Harden of the Sierra Club was named to a military Citizens Advisory Council, but when she tried to raise concerns on DU she was basically told this was not part of the council's work.  That Citizens council appears to be more a PR tool for the military to go out to schools, etc.to shine its image.

     To date the military has done virtually nothing to meet any of the above eight points called for in the July 2008 County Reso. Bombing and other live-fire continues, no permanent high tech monitoring has been set up that citizens can access from their home computers, no citizen monitoring committe has been established, no public meetings have been held, no thorough search of records have been made, etc. Col. Killian's appearance, at the request of Council member Hoffmann,  before the Council was to provide an update on the issue.  The West Hawaii Today noted in a news article on l/3l/09 announcing Col. Killian's Council visit that "the military recently completed tests to determine whether any of the material poses a threat to army personnel at PTA or residents. Although the tests won't be made public until spring, military officials recently reported the tests determined no danger exists."

     At the Council meeting, several citizens from Hilo and Kona testified against the military's phony claims of "No Danger."  They said "SHOW US THE DATA."  Col. Killian offered no data to validate his claims of "NO DANGER."  In fact what he revealed exposed the fact that the military is NOT looking for anying but the old Davy Crockett DU spotting rounds fired in the l960s.  What was first said to be possibly 7l4 such rounds now maybe 2050 according to Col. Killian, most, if not all, pulverized to bits, and spread with the wind,  by decades of live-fire on top of them.They only found one relatively intact, and pieces of 2 others.  But the Army is clearly not looking for the possibly far more dangerous uranium oxide contamination from modern DU penetrating rounds that may have been fired at Hawaii ranges.  Killian revealed only 40 of the l34,000-acres of PTA have been ground surveyed for DU Davy Crockett spotting rounds by the Army.  900 total acres (less than l% of PTA) have been surveyed by air for the Davy Crockett which is not a very effective way of trying to confirm the presence of short alpha particles with equipment.  It's like a self-fulling prophecy.  If you are not looking outside the Davy Crockett ranges, you are not likely to find other DU weapons evidence.

     Now the military is going to contract for air sampling and the places Killian showed for military monitor locations are in my judgment the least likely areas to pick up evidence of uranium oxide particles blowing in the wind.  The monitoring sites are all on the north (Mauna Kea) side of the PTA impact range when the predominant winds would blow east to west, and in the afternoons/evenings often west to east. And it's not even clear if the air monitors are designed to detect uranium oxide particles.

     The most interesting part of the day with Col. Killian occurred after his council presentation, which by the way was picketed by l0 people outside the Council building with signs that said: "Stop the Bombing," "Radiation Cover Up," "Are we breathing radiation?" "Protect the aina" etc.  I received word that Col. Killian was holding a press conference at the Hilo Hawaii Hotel at lPM, so together with 2 other friends we decided to attend.  As a blogger I am a member of the media. But when I got to the hotel I was told by Army Public Affairs Officer from Oahu, Howard Sugai, that I was not invited and that if I stayed he was going to cancel the press conference.  I told him that I wrote for a blog on our website (malu-aina-org  see current news) and that if there was really "NO DANGER" as the military claimed then why the fear, why the stonewalling, why no community involvement, no transparency, etc.  Could it be the military has something to hide."  Shortly 2 other news people showed up, including Bret Yeager of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and were told the news conference was canceled.  Other news people arrived.  Rod Thompson of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin ripped into Howard Sugai saying "Pohakuloa is stonewalling the media."  Thompson went on to describe a PTA tour offered the media that only included military barracks and a hill at the main base camp.  The media was denied to go to firing points, etc. Then Col. Killian arrived and the "cancelled" press conference was suddenly on again.  Sugai had his local PR assistant call 2 of the media people who left to tell them to come back.

     Col. Killian stressed that uranium levels detected are well below EPA threshold levels and therefore "NO DANGER" even though air sampling studies have yet to be done.  It needs to be pointed out that as Dr. Lorrin Pang emphasizes, uranium oxide particles constitute a very different hazard and the health effects of Uranium oxide inhalation need a lot more study.  Just like for years the Army tried to deny any Gulf War Syndrome but now it is acknolwedged as real and to be affecting 300,000 or more Gulf war vets. The same with Agent orange from Vietnam.  Uranium oxide particles may be the military nightmare of the 2lst century.  The problem with DU is it has a half-life of 4.5 billion years so it will be around for a long, long time. The Army's Health Physicist, Mark Mellanson, from Walter Reed Hospital, brought to Hawaii Nov. l8, 2007 to speak at a Waimea meeting on DU told the audience that Gulf War Syndrome was just stress like after any war.  Well, he has been proved wrong on that so his credibility on DU is not very high either.  He reminded me of a bought and paid for tobaco company spokesperson in the l950s telling people there is no conclusive evidence linking smoking to lung cancer.

     Killian said Dr. Jim Morrow, a private consultant, who did dust monitoring for the Stryker EIS in the Keamoku area has been contracted by the Army to do the l year air monitoring study starting Feb. 9, 2009 at PTA.
What's clear is the military already has no plans to try and clean up any DU at PTA, except where it might be found where the military intends to build new buildings.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is coming to Oahu in March, but has no intention of even visiting Pohakuloa. The plan is simply to continue "Business As Usual"  at PTA.
So much for protecting the citizens of Hawaii Island.  It seems, instead of needing protection form "terrorist enemies" abroad,  we need protection from the U.S. military contaminating us with radiation, claiming to be defending "freedom & democracy."

     Back in the l960s around the time the Army was firing Davy Crockett DU spotting rounds at PTA, the Army got a State lease for land in the Waiakea Forest reserve, Hilo's watershed.  The Army told the State it wanted to do "weather" testing.  The truth is the Army was lying.  The Army was testing deadly nerve gas agents, one of them so toxic that l/50th of a drop would kill you.  Former U.S. Representative Patsy Mink helped disclose the secret nerve gas testing.  People stood up to protest.  The cry was: cancel the military lease.  Even the Mayor joined in the chorus and the State canceled the military lease in the Waiakea forest.  Today the military is leasing State land at PTA.  Of the l34,000-total acres at PTA, 24,000-acres were recently purchased from Parker Ranch. For the remaining l09,000-acres the Army is paying the State a grand total of ONE DOLLAR for 65 years.  Perhaps it's again time to raise the cry: CANCEL THE LEASE.  Now that would be freedom and democracy.

Jim Albertini

Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action

P.O.Box AB

Kurtistown, Hawai’i 96760

phone: 808-966-7622

email: JA@interpac.net

Visit us on the web at: www.malu-aina.org



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