August 23, 2016 Press release on the Right of Peaceful Dissent
Below is a press release issued on Aug. 13, 2016 regarding Democratic Party Security acting to block peaceful dissent at the Aug. 12 Hilo Grand Rally. No candidate or official stood up to protect the right of dissent. (Photos below)
As a follow up to that, on Aug. 16th I sent out an email to Democratic Party officials and elected officials and others asking the question: Who gave the order to the security people at the Hilo Grand Rally to block the signs of dissent and why?
To date, only Hawaii County Democratic party chair, Phil Barnes, had the courtesy of responding. His response said “I have no idea Jim.” Neither Phil nor any of the other Party officials, elected government officials, former elected government officials, and candidates seeking office who were present at the August 12th Hilo Grand Rally stood up to protect the right of peaceful dissent and to intervene with Democratic Party Rally security to stop their blocking of signs.
Some of the officials present at the Grand Rally included: Gov. David Ige, former Gov. John Waihee, Senator Brian Schatz, Mayor Billy Kenoi, Mayoral candidates Harry Kim, Pete Hoffmann, several Big island State Representatives, State Senators, and County Council members, and numerous candidates for office. Many obviously saw what was going on.
My question to you: Have you no sense of shame? I thought you took an oath to defend the constitution and the bill of rights? Why did you remain silent and fail to intervene?
Press Release August 13, 2016
RE: Democratic Party Security tries to hide dissent at Hilo Grand Rally. No candidate or official stood up to protect the right of dissent. (Photos below)
The Grim Reaper made a special appearance at the Hilo Grand Rally of the Democratic Party Friday evening August 12, 2016, according to Jim Albertini of Malu ‘Aina. Albertini said : “on the Grim Reaper’s front side was a sign that read “TMT – YES! $ Over Sacred” On his back was a sign that read “I support bombing Hawaii.” A sign at his feet read “Executive Privilege.” Upon reaching the makai side of the stage area, the Grim Reaper was approached by several Democratic Party security personnel in distinctive security shirts who told him and two other people accompanying him that they had to leave. The Grim Reaper made it clear he had no intention to disrupt the rally nor attempt to stand on the stage. His intent was simply to stand on the side and present a message of peaceful dissent on the TMT issue and Pohakuloa. For background — The sign held by the Grim Reaper “TMT – YES! $ Over Sacred” was meant to challenge people who put concerns of money before respecting the deeply help Hawaiian belief that Mauna Kea is sacred. The Grim Reaper sign “I support Bombing Hawaii” was meant to challenge the politicians who support bombing at Pohakuloa which is poisoning/destroying the ‘aina in order to train troops for foreign interventions resulting in what the CIA calls “blowback” which is now called terrorism. The “Executive Privilege” sign was reference to the State Attorney General filing a motion in the Mauna Kea contested case proceedings to keep Governor Ige, DLNR Board Chair Suzanne Case and BLNR member Stanley Roerhig from testifying in the proceedings.
When the three refused to leave and asserted their democratic right to peaceful dissent, the security people stood in front of them to block their signs. When The Reaper and others moved to an open area, the security people again moved to stand in front of them and block their signs. Clearly the security people were acting like thugs to intimidate and hide the message of dissent. It should have been very clear to all the candidates and people present what was going on — an attempt by Democratic Party security at an open public rally to block messages of dissent from being seen by others. Albertini said, it was sad that NO candidate or Democratic Party official stood up to intervene and stop the security personnel attempting to block and hide the peaceful dissent taking place. They all were there, from Governor David Ige, former Governor John Waihee, Senator Brian Schatz, Mayoral candidates, etc. etc.”
Albertini said, “How public officials respond to dissent tell us who they really are.” It reminds me of the words of the late anti-war priest, Philip Berrigan who said: “The poor tell us who we are. The prophets tell us who we could be. So we hide the poor, and kill the prophets.”
Grim Reaper arriving at Democratic Party Hilo Grand Rally Aug. 12, 2016
photos by anti-war journalist, Chairman Danny H.C. Li
Grim Reaper standing at side of speaker stage before security arrived