Archive for August, 2015

Article on Lanakila coming to Mauna Kea

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Mary Alice Milham article  – About Lanakila coming to Mauna Kea

Pope Joins Battle Against GMOs

Thursday, August 13th, 2015
"Pope Francis Joins Battle Against Transgenic Crops" by Emilio Godoy.
IPS News, Aug 13, 2015

MEXICO CITY, Aug 11 2015 (IPS) - A few centuries ago, the
biotechnology industry would have been able to buy a papal bull to
expiate its sins and grant it redemption. But in his encyclical on the
environment, “Laudato Si”, Pope Francis condemns genetically modified
organisms (GMOs) without leaving room for a pardon.

In his second encyclical since he became pope on Mar. 13, 2013 – but
the first that is entirely his work – Jorge Mario Bergoglio criticises
the social, economic and agricultural impacts of GMOs and calls for a
broad scientific debate.

Laudato Si – “Praise be to you, my Lord” in medieval Italian – takes
its title from Saint Francis of Assisi’s 13th-century Canticle of the
Sun, one of whose verses is: “Be praised, my Lord, through our sister
Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits
with colored flowers and herbs.”

It is the first encyclical in history dedicated to the environment and
reflecting on “our common home” – planet earth.

The encyclical, which was published Jun. 18, acknowledges that “no
conclusive proof exists that GM cereals may be harmful to human
beings.” But it stresses that “there remain a number of significant
difficulties which should not be underestimated.”

“In many places, following the introduction of these crops, productive
land is concentrated in the hands of a few owners due to ‘the
progressive disappearance of small producers, who, as a consequence of
the loss of the exploited lands, are obliged to withdraw from direct
production’,” it adds.

As a result, says the first Latin American pope, farmers are driven to
become temporary labourers, many rural workers end up in urban slums,
ecosystems are destroyed, and “oligopolies” expand in the production
of cereals and inputs needed for their cultivation.

Francis calls for “A broad, responsible scientific and social
debate…one capable of considering all the available information and of
calling things by their name” because “It sometimes happens that
complete information is not put on the table; a selection is made on
the basis of particular interests, be they politico-economic or

Such a debate on GMOs is missing, and the biotech industry has refused
to open up its databases to verify whether or not transgenic crops are

According to the encyclical, “Discussions are needed in which all
those directly or indirectly affected (farmers, consumers, civil
authorities, scientists, seed producers, people living near fumigated
fields, and others) can make known their problems and concerns, and
have access to adequate and reliable information in order to make
decisions for the common good, present and future.”

Miguel Concha, a Catholic priest who heads the Fray Francisco de
Vitoria Human Rights Centre in Mexico, said this country “is already a
reference point in the fight for the right to a healthy environment,
due to the determined efforts of social organisations. This encyclical
reinforces our collective demand,” he told Tierramérica.

The priest said the encyclical warns of the social, economic, legal
and ethical implications of transgenic crops, just as
environmentalists in Mexico have done for years.

The document holds special importance for nations like Mexico, which
have been the scene of intense battles over transgenic crops – in this
country mainly maize, which has special cultural significance here,
besides being the basis of the local diet.

That is also true for Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and
Costa Rica, which together with southern Mexico form Mesoamérica, the
seat of the ancient Maya civilisation.

The pope is familiar with the impact of transgenic crops, because
according to experts his home country, Argentina, is the Latin
American nation where GMOs have done the most to alter traditional

Soy – 98 percent of which is transgenic – is Argentina’s leading crop,
covering 31 million hectares, up from just 4.8 million hectares in
1990, according to the soy industry association, ACSOJA.

The monoculture crop has displaced local producers, fuelled the
concentration of land, and created “a vicious circle that is highly
dangerous for the sustainability of our production systems,” Argentine
agronomist Carlos Toledo told Tierramérica.

Just 10 countries account for nearly all production of GMOs: the
United States, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, India, China, Paraguay,
South Africa, Pakistan and Uruguay, in that order. Most of the
production goes to the animal feed industry, but Mexico wants GM maize
to be used for human consumption.

In July 2013, 53 individuals and 20 civil society organisations
mounted a collective legal challenge against applications to
commercially plant transgenic maize, and in September of that year a
federal judge granted a precautionary ban on such authorisations.

Since March 2014, organisations of beekeepers and indigenous
communities have won two further provisional protection orders against
commercial transgenic soybean crops in the southeastern states of
Campeche and Yucatán.

On Apr. 30, 2014, eight scientists from six countries sent an open
letter to Pope Francis about the negative environmental, economic,
agricultural, cultural and social impacts of GM seeds, especially in

In their letter, the experts stated: “…we believe that it would be of
momentous importance and great value to all if Your Holiness were to
express yourself critically on GM crops and in support of peasant
farming. This support would go a long way toward saving peoples and
the planet from the threat posed by the control of life wielded by
companies that monopolise seeds, which are the key to the entire food

Laudato Si indicates that the pope did listen to their plea.

“The encyclical is very encouraging, because it has expressed an
ecological position,” Argelia Arriaga, a professor at the University
Centre for Disaster Prevention of the Autonomous University of Puebla,
told Tierramérica. “It touches sensitive fibers; the situation is
terrible and merits papal intervention. This gives us moral support to
continue the struggle.”

But legal action has failed to curb the biotech industry’s ambitions in Mexico.

In 2014, the National Service for Agri-Food Health, Safety and Quality
(SENASICA) received four applications from the biotech industry and
public research centres for experimental planting of maize on nearly
10 hectares of land.

In addition, there were 30 requests for pilot projects involving
experimental and commercial planting of GM cotton on a total of 1.18
million hectares – as well as one application for beans, five for
wheat, three for lemons and one for soy – all experimental.

SENASICA is also processing five biotech industry requests for
planting more than 200,000 hectares of GM cotton and alfalfa for
commercial and experimental purposes.

“This is an economic and development model that ignores food
production,” said Concha, the priest who heads the Fray Francisco de
Vitoria Human Rights Centre.

The participants in the collective lawsuit against GMOs, having
successfully gotten federal courts to throw out 22 stays brought by
the government and companies against the legal decision to temporarily
suspend permits for planting, are now getting ready for a trial that
will decide the future of transgenic crops in the country.

Arriaga noted that the focus of the encyclical goes beyond GM crops,
and extends to other environmental struggles. “For people in local
communities, the pope’s message is important, because it tells them
they have to take care of nature and natural resources. It helps raise
awareness,” the professor said.

This story was originally published by Latin American newspapers that
are part of the Tierramérica network.

Edited by Estrella Gutiérrez/Translated by Stephanie Wildes

Testimony on Pohakuloa to State Land Board

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

testimony on  Item D.7 on the August 14, 2015, BLNR agenda
lawsuit Ching v. Case on Pohakuloa

Aloha DLNR Board Memebers,

* The military has caused too much damage to ceded lands – whether at Kaho`olawe, Mākua, Waikāne, or Pōhakuloa.
More than 10 years ago our organization put out a map of present and former military sites on Hawaii Island that we have been able to document.  We named 57 present and former military sites used for bombing, artillery, live-fire ranges, etc. There may be 157 sites but we have documented 57.  The total area, including Pohakuloa, is more than 400 square miles or 250,000 acres.  That’s 9 Kaho’olawes in size on this island that should be considered military hazard areas.  In addition to the land areas there are near shore waters that have unexploded ordnance including Hapuna beach, Hilo Bay, Leleiwi, South Point, Kapoho, etc. sites in virtually every district on the Big Island.
* The military has not been complying with its lease requirements to clean up military debris at Pōhakuloa.
By far the largest concentration of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and other military toxins including lead, exists at the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA).  Official Maps of PTA include the words “All of PTA should be considered a dud hazard area.” This statement reflects the fact that although the military has a designated “impact area” virtually the entire base, and even outside the base, should be considered a dud hazard area.  How much UXO exists is unknown.  However an EIS done in conjunction with the Stryker brigade said that up to14.8 million live rounds are fired annually at PTA.  Everything from small arms, artillery, to large bombs.  The total number of live rounds fired at Pohakuloa is unknown but it is possible it is in the hundreds of millions.  It’s been a live fire base for more than 50 years.


* The State should not extend the lease that expires in 2029.
Kaho’olawe is a case study. of a mess that still needs to be cleaned up.  More than $400 million has been spent and there is still a mess on land and the surrounding waters.   The BLNR should not renew the PTA lease and should require the military to secure funding NOW to clean up it’s mess.  The cost is likely to be in the tens of BILLIONS of DOLLARS

* Ceded lands should be returned and cared for – not given to the military to trash.
Furthermore the BLNR should move to revoke the presidential and Governor executive orders seizing over 80,000 acres at Pohakuloa. This land needs to be cleaned and returned to the Hawaiian people as well as leased lands.

* Specific hazards and costly clean up of Depleted Uranium (DU)
Besides UXO of a wide variety of weapons, lead, various chemicals, and the toxic unlined burn pit at PTA where all sorts of munitions, etc. were burned needs to be addressed.  In addition, perhaps one of the biggest hazards if that of Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions confirmed used at PTA.  Testimony presented by Army Col. Howard Killian in 2008 before the Hawaii County Council indicated that upwards of 2000 DU Davy Crockett spotting rounds may have been used at PTA.  With the exception of a few small fragments, all that DU is unaccounted for and is MIA ( Missing in Action).  One can presume it has been pulverized by continued bombing and shelling and spread across the landscape on and off base at PTA.  Davy Crockett is just one of possibly dozens of DU spotting rounds or DU munitions that may have been used at PTA.  The Army says that DU was only prohibited from being used in training in 1996.  Since it was first confirmed used at PTA in 1964 that’s over 30 years of possible use.   The major health hazard of DU is from inhalation of small airborne particles that can lodge in the lungs or enter the lymph system and cause a wide variety of health problems including cancer. The BLNR should require thorough independent testing and monitoring for DU on leased lands at PTA and require thorough clean up of DU and other military toxins at PTA.

Mahalo for your consideration.
Jim Albertini
Aug. 11, 2015

Jim Albertini Malu ‘Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box 489 Ola’a (Kurtistown) Hawai’i 96760 Phone 808-966-7622 Email

Pohakuloa lease issues on BLRN agenda

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Item D.7 on the August 14, 2015, BLNR agenda

Dear Land Board,

This is a supplement to my previous testimony in support of the lawsuit by Ku Ching and Maxine Kahaulelio.  Attached are copies of the map (2 pages) of 57 known military sites on Hawaii Island that should be considered military hazard areas and in need of clean up.  The last thing we need is for the BLNR to extend the lease at Pohakuloa to the military. Don’t extend the military lease at Pohakuloa.  Cancel the existing lease and make the military clean up its rubbish, not do a partial job like on Kaho’olawe and all their other sites.  Make the military clean up not only Pohakuloa, but all other crown and government lands held in trust that they have trashed including the site in the Waiakea Forest reserve (Hilo’s water shed) where the military tested some of the most toxic chemical and biological agents in the US arsenal including deadly Sarin nerve gas –1/50 of a drop kills you.  There are reports from hunters that even after 50 years there are areas where nothing grows as a result of military testing. And there are reports of rusting barrels of the chemical agents left in the area. The military has never been held accountable by the BLNR that leased those public trust lands to the military.  No clean up. No damages, etc. Now even spreading Depleted Uranium radiation around Pohakuloa.  No accountability.  Auwe!

Jim Albertini

military site map.jpg

military site map list.jpg

Ban the Bomb! Save the Planet!

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Support Iran Nuke Agreement!

Iran bomb

The U.S., five other world powers (China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany), and Iran, have reached a nuclear agreement which will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The agreement has been approved by the UN. Now the U.S. Congress will vote on whether to approve or derail this historic agreement in September.

War hawks (some of the same ones who brought us the war in Iraq) are planning to spend as much as $40 million on fear-mongering ads, lobbying, and other campaign tactics to bully Congress into sabotaging diplomacy. Don’t buy the baloney!

“Big money and ads clash over Iran nuclear deal,” USA Today, July 22, 2015

      A congressional rejection of the Iran Nuclear Agreement could provoke a dangerous confrontation with Russia and China and inflame relations with U.S. allies in Europe and Asia, and possibly worse – WWIII.

US press blacks out Israeli defense minister’s citation of ‘Nagasaki and Hiroshima’ as model for dealing with Iran – See more at:

The U.S., which is the world’s leading military power, and the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons in war, must take the lead toward the elimination of all nuclear weapons and a redirection of military expenditures toward addressing unmet human needs.

Support Diplomacy, Not War!

Ban the Bomb!  Save the Planet!

  1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties.
    4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
    5. Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world. Contact:
    Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box 489 Kurtistown, Hawai`i 96760.
    (808) 966-7622.
Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (Aug. 14, 2015 – 725th week) – Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office