Friday, October 3, 2008


OVERKILL FOR THE UNDERDOG: Sometimes you’ve gotta wonder if people who attended a meeting were in the same room or on different planets.

And supposedly that’s why we have people who call themselves reporters. Their job is to figure out what the “news” is as it occurs, news being not the usual Dog Bites Man” but the unexpected “Man Bites Dog”.

But in this age of corporate newsrooms and busy if not jaded reporters, journalists often have their stories written- at least in their minds- before going in.

Many have apparently forgotten how to, or don’t have the time to, do the job and so often it falls to the alternative press- both professionals and every day citizens- to let us know what actually happened.

And yesterday’s coverage of the meeting of the Kaua`i Burial Council is a case study in how preconceptions can make reporters blind to the overarching “news”.

One could avoid taking their bedtime dose of Ambien by they reading the three mainstream press articles from the attending scribes.

Oh there was plenty of the perfunctory reporting of “five hours of testimony” and “emotion packed, anger-fueled blah-de-blah” and the like as well as tons of regurgitation of background info.

But we had to learn of the fact that the place was filled with armed state “conservation” cops from eyewitness bloggers Katy Rose and Joan Conrow.

Katy describes the scene that greeted her

When I arrived at the meeting at 9:45 a loud debate had broken out about the presence of armed DOCARE officers in the room. The outcry against having guns in the room was so intense that Mark Hubbard, the Burial Council chair, requested that the officers be asked to leave. Pua Aiu, the SHPD administrator, explained that the armed officers were called in because of "unruly meetings" in the past, but she did honor the request to remove them from the room.

As inappropriate as their presence was, it is an indication of the power of the people that the State felt so threatened by emotional testimony that it felt it necessary to call them in the first place.

Joan was even more outraged and provided a little more detail.

I’ll start with the words uttered by Pua Aiu, administrator of the State Historic Preservation Division, when several people asked why men with guns were in the room. She replied that she had requested DOCARE officers because of “unruly meetings in the past” and noted: “They come with guns. That’s how they come equipped.”

As Sharon Pomroy ironically observed, standing up and holding the traditional wood staff carried by Hale Mawae: “Guns are here because there’s a Hawaiian with a stick in the room.”

At the request of Chair Mark Hubbard, the three state enforcement officers did leave the Council Chambers and spent the rest of the day hanging out in the heat and humidity on the front steps of the Historic County Building. Some Kauai cops also showed up because people had called them to complain about the DOCARE officers. It was not only an utter waste of da guys with guns’ time and taxpayer money, but a tragic commentary on the climate of fear that seems to pervade the state when it comes to Hawaiians and their issues.

The last time I saw armed officers at a meeting was when Office of Hawaiian Affairs hit the road to explain to folks why its proposed settlement with the state was such a good deal. Strange, that the two state agencies that deal most closely with Hawaiian issues are so quick to call in the guns. Could it be because they know best how badly the kanaka are getting screwed?

As Tracey Schavone, who is not a kanaka, noted in her testimony to the Council: “It’s very disturbing to think, this is a Hawaiian issue, and oh my god, they think they need to have guns in the room.”

It’s hard to say what’s more appalling, the fact that lawbreakers like Grove Farm VP, Chair Hubbard (he also being the Chair of the unethical Kaua`i Ethics Board) along with dufusses like State Archeologist Nancy McMahon and her coconut overlord Aiu (who caused the whole mess in the first place by skirting the law) though they needed armed guards to protect them at the meeting, or the fact that it went unreported in the mainstream press.

We’ve probably been to well over a thousand meetings in that room, many regarding issues just as, if not more, contentious and have never seen armed guards.

Perhaps that’s what happens when you have a para-military force that isn’t subject to regulation by a citizen panel, only to Land and Natural Resources Chief Laura Thielen.

Her private “Conservation Enforcement” crew is comprised in large part of people who were too unstable to continue being real law enforcement officers... just the type of people we want holding guns at an emotion-packed meeting.. .

But perhaps it’s another chapter in the truly perplexing recent response of the thieves who stole these islands to challenges of their authority to rape the very land they stole.

In the 30 some-odd years since the native Hawaiian cultural and political renaissance the worst thing that the authorities might have physically suffered at the hands of kanaka maoli is a paper cuts from the documents the Hawaiians routinely waive under their arrogant noses.

This disproportionate response is even more bewildering when you look at the words of the common beneficiaries of the genocide who see the theft of Hawai`i as a fait accompli.

To hear them tell it in comment sections of newspapers and blogs throughout the state they don’t seem to be worried that their land deeds may be worthless and that they are illegal immigrants, according to the UN and international law.

They know that crooked Amerikan courts and the yield of bloated military budgets are standing in wait behind the curtain to support and carry out their nefarious piracy.

These worthless slugs laugh like the maniacal James Bond villains they are when someone dares to suggest that their morally bankrupt value system is being challenged by a bunch of peaceful lava-lave clad victims of their genocide.

And perhaps it’s because no matter how restless the natives are it isn’t like anyone can think of even one incident of armed insurrection in this or the last century in response to their “you and what army” challenges.

But obviously these western condo-conquerors either don’t know something their militaristic overlords do or the “authorities” are insanely overreacting to a threat that their minions on the other hand pooh-pooh.

In one way, like Joan and Katy say, it’s a complement to the Hawaiian sovereignty movement that the Amerikan powers that be think they need to arm themselves in response to kanaka demands for justice.

Lately it hasn’t been enough to have the cops and courts harass peaceful non violent protesters like those whose plight we’ve detailed or those in yesterday’s show trial for the handful of Maui denizens who were arraigned yesterday for their actions at Iolani Palace this summer, both in attempts to peacefully highlight injustices.

Now they are bringing armed guards to community meetings where both cultural and ethnic non-westerners might show up to challenge the very idea of their authority to desecrate, denigrate and commit genocide.

What’s next?- an naval armada to accompany a unwanted ferry boat and attack surfers and kayakers who are armed with only bathing suits and surfboards?.

Oh, wait...

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