Why we can’t “share the Mauna”

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 5.53.33 PM.png
Photo from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, July 20, 2019

By Robert Kajiwara

In response to the outpouring of organic support in favor of protecting Mauna Kea and stopping the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the TMT project has recently begun airing a paid advertisement on both television and radio.

One of the biggest problems with the ad campaign is its attempt to convince the public that the Mauna is big enough for everybody to share.

Imagine for a moment that an armed thief broke into your home, held you and your family hostage, and insisted that he was going to occupy your house from now on. The thief says you and your family can stay in a small corner of the house, but that he and his gang are going to do with the house as they please. When you resist, the thief says that “the house is big enough for all of us to share.”

What would your response be? Would you agree with the thief, and say “yes, let’s share the house?”

Any sensible person would scoff at this scenario, for a thief has no right to “share” a house that he stole. Rather, the thief must return the house to its rightful owners, pay for damages, and then immediately vacate the premise. So too should the United States do with the Hawaiian Islands.

Contrary to popular belief, the United States does not have any legal claim to any part of Hawaii. In 1893 the U.S. participated in an armed invasion of the peaceful and friendly country known as the Hawaiian Kingdom, which began their long illegal occupation of the country that has lasted for the past 121 years. Under both international law, as well as the United States’ own law, territory can only be acquired by a treaty of annexation, of which there is none in the case of Hawaii.

Without a proper treaty of annexation, the United States has no rightful or legal claim to the Hawaiian Islands. This was acknowledged by many Americans at the time, including President Grover Cleveland, who insisted that the U.S. had committed an illegal and immoral crime against a friendly nation, and that the U.S. should immediately leave Hawaii. Unfortunately President Cleveland’s term in office expired, and the imperialist William McKinley took office, ignoring the legalities of the situation, and turning America down a path of overseas colonization and imperialism. This would cause the U.S. to be involved in many regime-change schemes and wars, from the Spanish-American War, to World War II, and lasting to the present day with the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the landmark Lance Paul Larsen vs. the Hawaiian Kingdom case in 2001 the Permanent Court of Arbitration indicated that the Hawaiian Kingdom still retains legal standing as the government of the Hawaiian Islands. In 2018 United Nations independent expert Dr. Alfred de Zayas stated that Hawaii is an independent country and should be recognized as such. The United States government itself confessed to its sins in the 1993 Apology Resolution, though it did not offer any remedies.

Thus the issue regarding Mauna Kea and the TMT has never been about room or space, though this does not change the fact that the TMT would have an enormous footprint on the sacred mountain. The issue is about jurisdiction. The United States does not have the lawful jurisdiction or the moral right to build anything in the Hawaiian Islands, and certainly not on highly sacred land such as Mauna Kea. Only the Hawaiian Kingdom, a constitutional monarchy with officials elected by and for it subjects, retains the lawful right to decide on behalf of Hawaiian nationals what gets built in Hawaii.

This information is not new – Hawaiian nationals have been saying these things since 1893. It just so happens that with all of the commotion surrounding Mauna Kea that these issues have been receiving more attention among the general public.

The United States should immediately return the entirety of the Hawaiian Islands to the Hawaiian Kingdom government, pay full reparations for the damages they have caused over the course of the long 126 year incursion and occupation, and vacate the Hawaiian Islands. This is the only way the U.S. can atone for its crimes and truly become a peaceful, democratic nation. How can America claim to be a land of the free and home of the brave, a country of liberty and democracy, if there remains a major ongoing crime against a peaceful and sovereign nation?

This is also the only way Hawaii can regain its proper place as a world-class nation, how Hawaiians can heal, and how all of the local people of Hawaii can prosper.

For more information about what an independent Hawaii would look like, please visit HawaiianKingdom.net.

 


 

Robert Kajiwara is a Ryukyuan (Okinawan), Nahua Hawaiian singer-songwriter, writer, and baseball player. He has been featured in over 60 news and media publications in more than 15 countries, including The Associated PressBBC WorldThe South China Morning PostJapan Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and many others. He is president of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition and a Special Envoy of Ke Aupuni O Hawaii (the Hawaiian Kingdom) to the Lewchew Islands (Ryukyu) and China. Kajiwara has spoken at numerous venues, including the United Nations, the United States Capitol Hill, the Japan Diet, Yale University, Okinawa International University, University of the Ryukyus, and many more. For more information, please see his website, RobKajiwara.com.

Education:
Ph.D. in History – Liberty University (in progress, 2022 expected graduation date)
M.A. in History – University of Nebraska at Kearney (2019)
B.A. in History – University of Hawaii at Manoa (2015)
A.A. in Teaching – Leeward Community College (2014)

Published Writings:
Occupied Okinawa: The United States of America and Japan’s Desecration of Okinawa’s Democracy and Environment (2019)
Ryukyu – Okinawa Impressionism (2018)

Robert Kajiwara asks UN to investigate human rights violations in Okinawa

 

 

 

Transcript:

 

Robert Hernandez Kajiwara

The Peace For Okinawa Coalition

c/o International Committee for the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas

#443 94-245 Leoku St.

Waipahu, Hawaii 96797

contact@PeaceForOkinawa.org

www.PeaceForOkinawa.org

The 41st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
The 41st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

June 25, 2019

Thank you Mr. President. We noticed in the oral report by the High Commissioner that there was no mention of self-determination, which is crucial to the peaceful settlement of disputes regarding territorial sovereignty. A complaint on this matter was filed to the Human Rights Council on February 16, and on June 4 we received a request for further information.

Since time immemorial Okinawa was an independent nation known as Ryukyu. In 1879 Japan illegally annexed Ryukyu against the will of Ryukyuans. Japan shortly after did the same to many other countries, such as Korea, China, and the Philippines. After World War II all of those nations were given back their independence – except Ryukyu.

During World War II Japan used the Battle of Okinawa as a cover to commit genocide against Ryukyuans, during which Japanese soldiers purposely murdered thousands of Ryukyu civilians, and forced thousands others to commit suicide. Overall at least 140,000 Ryukyuans were killed during a timespan of just a few months, amounting to between one-fourth to one-third of the population.

Today Japan is once again preparing to sacrifice Ryukyuans by placing an inordinate amount of military forces in Ryukyu, which comprises less than 1% of Japan’s total territory, yet contains 70% of its military. In the event of another attack from one of Japan’s enemies, Ryukyu will again be annihilated.

Ryukyuans have long been peacefully protesting and trying to reverse this inordinate amount of military build up in our home islands. We urge the Human Rights Council to support Ryukyu in this matter; hence, it will be sending a message to the world that peaceful actions are the Council’s priority and violence is not the only action that gets the Council’s attention. The very foundation of the UN must not be undermined and rendered obsolete. Therefore, we strongly urge the Human Rights Council to assist Ryukyu and to ascertain the fact that Ryukyuans have suffered from prejudice, discrimination, and genocide. Your time and consideration are much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Robert Kajiwara

President

The Peace For Okinawa Coalition

Circulation: 200,000

c/o International Committee for the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas

Hawaii’s Police Should Follow Okinawa’s Example

Police at Mauna Kea TMT
Police at Mauna Kea Photo from of Hawaii News Now

As the issues surrounding Mauna Kea rage on, Hawaii’s police have been put in a difficult position. Many of them feel it is wrong for them to forcefully remove and arrest Hawaiian protectors of the Mauna, especially the kupuna. Yet they also have families to provide for and can’t risk losing their job.

So what should Hawaii’s police do?

They might want to look at Okinawa as an example.

In Okinawa, which is experiencing something very similar surrounding the construction of a military base at Henoko, the Okinawan police were put in almost the exact same situation. They were ordered to forcefully remove, harass, and arrest Okinawa’s peace and environmental protectors, the majority of whom are elderly.

How did they respond?

The Okinawan police ended up siding with Okinawa’s protectors, refusing to lay a hand on them. Because the Okinawan police force did this as a whole, none of them (to the best of my knowledge) lost their jobs or were punished.

Instead, Prime Minister of Japan sent in Japanese police, who have brutally mistreated the Okinawan protectors.

But that’s besides the point.

The point is, Okinawa’s police refused to harm the Okinawan peace protectors. They did the right thing, and it forced the Government of Japan to further demonstrate their human rights violations, prejudice, and discrimination against indigenous Okinawans. And the Okinawan police were even able to keep their jobs.

Now Hawaii’s police have a choice to make. If they make their choice in unison not to harm Hawaii’s protectors, they may be able to keep perform their kuleana for Hawaii and their kupuna, while also keeping their jobs safe.

Ronald Barnes – Native Alaskan representative to the UN, speaks about human rights in Hawaii

Ronald Barnes, a Native Alaskan representative to the United Nations, spoke about human rights violations occurring in Hawaii, specifically about Bradley Pai, a Hawaiian Kingdom subject who is being wrongfully detained without charges due to his nationality. Recorded on June 25, 2019, at the Palais de Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the 41st Human Rights Council.

 

Why the Military Base at Henoko, Okinawa is Bad For Everyone

Why the Military Base at Henoko, Okinawa is Bad For Everyone

 

Why the Military Base at Henoko, Okinawa is Bad For Everyone

1. Necessity – The base is considered strategically unnecessary by many, including members of the U.S. government and military, since the marines would not be used in the event of a conflict in Asia.
2. Cost – The base is running billions of dollars over budget.
3. Environmental Destruction – The location of the base would destroy a coral reef filled with hundreds of rare and endangered species, including the Okinawa dugong. It is the second-most biodiverse reef in the world, only behind the Great Barrier Reef.
4. Water Poisoning – Studies have shown dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals (PFOS / PFAS) have been detected in the water near U.S. military bases in Okinawa, as well as elsewhere around the world. This has led to a rise in a number of serious health problems including thyroid disease and risks to pregnant women.
5. Feasibility – The base is considered to be unfeasible from an engineering stand point due to the poor soil conditions at the construction site, as well as due to the location occurring directly over a major earthquake fault.
6. Safety – Due to the engineering concerns of the location, the base would needlessly endanger the lives of U.S. soldiers.
7. Human Rights Violations – The indigenous Okinawan people are strongly opposed to the base, and have peacefully and democratically expressed their opposition. To ignore this is to send the message that peace and democracy do not work.
8. Diplomacy – If the U.S. wants to maintain amicable relations with Okinawa, it needs to work with Okinawans and protect their well-being.
9. Peace and Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific – The base would unnecessarily heighten tensions with both China and North Korea, harming peace and trade talks with both.
10. Economy – Military bases are a heavy burden on Okinawa’s economy. The military contributes just around 5% to Okinawa’s economy, while taking up over 15% of Okinawa’s land, including around 30% of its arable lands.
11. Tourism – The extremely scenic and biodiverse coral reef at Henoko is a good location for eco-tourism. Destroying the reef would remove this eco-friendly tourism opportunity.

Peace For Okinawa Coalition Requests Representative Tulsi Gabbard Stop Okinawa Military Base

 

June 10, 2019 For immediate release

MEDIA ALERT: Peace For Okinawa Coalition Requests Representative Tulsi Gabbard Stop Okinawa Military Base

The Peace For Okinawa Coalition has made a formal request to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D – Hawaii) to take measures to cease the construction of the military base at Henoko, Okinawa.

Gabbard is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Readiness subcommittee. She is currently running for President and has been outspoken against regime change and unnecessary wars.

The formal request, made on June 4, comes after months of dialogue between the Peace For Okinawa Coalition and dozens of members of Congress, as well as members of the United Nations and numerous non-governmental organizations.

“This provides Congresswoman Gabbard the opportunity to backup her claims of pursuing peace, diplomacy, environmental protection, cutting unnecessary government spending, looking out for the best interests of troops, and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples,” said Robert Kajiwara, president of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition.

Kajiwara’s petition to stop the base at Henoko has over 211,000 signatures on it, including from celebrities such as Dr. Brian May of the rock band Queen. The U.S. and Japan governments are nevertheless pushing ahead with the construction.

The base at Henoko has long been derided for a number of reasons, including lack of necessity, high costs, structural infeasibility, environmental degradation, danger to U.S. troops, and human rights violations. The indigenous Okinawan people are strongly opposed to the base. In the U.S., opposition to the base has come from both democrats and republicans. The late Senator John McCain referred to it as unnecessary, unworkable, and unaffordable.

“If Congresswoman Gabbard sponsors this bill, it will likely garner her the support of hundreds of thousands of our followers, as well as followers in the many other non-profit organizations that we collaborate with,” said Kajiwara. “Likewise, if she refuses, it will likely garner criticism and even attacks from many who are counting on her to pursue peace, the environment, and indigenous rights.”

Jan R. Weinberg, the Peace For Okinawa Coalition’s Special Advisor on Demilitarization points out:

There are scant references in American media related to the consequences of the United States, through a succession of administrations (Obama and Trump), support for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s desire to “reinterpret” Article 9 (against the will of the people) of the Japanese Constitution, which had previously served to deter Japan from engaging in offensive military preparedness and engagement. The undue burdened placed on the Okinawan people, who are unnecessarily placed in harms way, is just one result among many, of this nefarious collaboration.”

The letter to Congresswoman Gabbard is attached in full. The Peace For Okinawa Coalition encourages members of the press and the public to contact Congresswoman Gabbard’s office for comment.

 

 


 

Representative Tulsi Gabbard
c/o Dave Chun, Guido Weiss, Jonathan Spangler
1433 Longworth House Office Building

Washington D.C. 20515

June 3, 2019

Dear Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard,

Due to the fact that you are on the Readiness sub-committee of the House Armed Forces Committee, the Peace For Okinawa Coalition requests that you sponsor a bill to stop the construction of the military base at Henoko, Okinawa. We believe that you are the best person to sponsor this bill due to your outspokenness against regime change and unnecessary wars, as well as due to your ability to work on bipartisan issues such as this.

The military base at Henoko is strategically unnecessary since the marines would not be used in the event of a conflict in Asia. This base is catastrophically damaging to the environment, a drain on taxpayer dollars, further exacerbates hostilities with China and North Korea, and most importantly, against the will of the indigenous Okinawan people.

The issues surrounding the Henoko military base are increasing anti-U.S. sentiment in Okinawa, and may very well result in Okinawans demanding a complete removal of U.S. military forces if nothing is done to protect the well-being of the Okinawan people.

Our petition to stop the base has over 211,000 signatures from people who are angry that the U.S. government has so far ignored our calls to stop the construction. The longer the construction continues, the more damage will be done to Okinawa’s environment, as well as to U.S.-Okinawa relations.

The Peace For Okinawa Coalition has received widespread media coverage both nationally and internationally, and if you sponsor a bill to stop the construction of the Henoko military base, it would draw a lot of positive publicity for your presidential campaign, especially since it would back up your claims to pursue peace and diplomacy, cut wasteful government spending, protect the environment, and protect the rights of indigenous peoples. This would ensure most of our 211,000+ signees will support your campaign, and will likely inspire many other peace organizations to do the same, many of whom we are working with.

The base at Henoko would be dangerous for U.S. soldiers due to its poor soil conditions, as well as to its location directly over a major earthquake fault. Supporting this bill to stop the base would also demonstrate your sincerity in looking out for the best interests of the U.S. troops.

We hope you will take this seriously. Please let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

The Peace For Okinawa Coalition

Leadership Team

Circulation: 200,000

Robert Kajiwara

President

Nelson Del Pino

Acting Director / Special Advisor on Public Relations

H.E. Leon Siu

Special Advisor on Human Rights, International Relations, and Indigenous Politics

Jan R. Weinberg

Special Advisor on Demilitarization

Catherine Jane Fisher

Special Advisor on the Rights of Men, Women, and Children

Teiko Yonaha Tursi

New York Area Liaison / Survivor of the Battle of Okinawa

 

 

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