Archive for April, 2017

Picket line planned at Pohakuloa Earth Day, Thursday, April 20, 2017

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Press Release for immediate release Monday, April 17, 2017

Re: Picket line planned at Pohakuloa Earth Day, Thursday, April 20, 2017

further contact: Jim Albertini 966-7622 email

      There will be a picket line beginning at 8:30AM fronting the Pohakuloa Training Area  main gate on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

     “Can you believe it?  The military Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) where millions of live rounds are fired annually is having an “Earth Day” celebration on Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 9AM-3PM.  “Such hypocrisy is hard to top.  It is an insult of the highest caliber and the military fires a lot of high caliber rounds annually at PTA –over 14 million live-rounds annually at last report” said Jim Albertini of Malu ‘Aina. “And that’s on top of decades of bombing and shelling at the 133,000-acre base loaded with a thick stew of military toxins, including lead, Depleted Uranium (DU), etc.”  Albertini said,  “Who knows what’s blowing in the wind from Pohakuloa around our island home and making it’s way into our island’s water.”

     Albertini said,  “Our organization advises that pregnant women and young children should not set foot on Pohakuloa due to the risk of inhaling DU oxide dust.   According to Hawaii resident, Dr. Lorrin Pang, MD with 25 years in the Army Medical Corps and listed in who’s who best doctors, inhaled DU oxide is “the most deadly form of radiation.”  The fact is that proper air monitoring has not been done to determine the full extent of DU oxide contamination at Pohakuloa. 


Pohakuloa DU Threat


      The front page, Sunday, April 16, 2017 Hawaii Tribune-Herald headline about “No DU Threat” is a classic example of Fake News. The truth is that inhalation of Depleted Uranium (DU) oxide dust particles are “the most deadly form of radiation.” This is according to Hawaii resident, Dr. Lorrin Pang, MD, 25 years retired from the Army medical Corps and listed in the who’s who best doctors.

      Let’s be clear. DU metal on the ground at Pohakuloa does not pose a serious health threat. But if that metal has been hit with high explosives it burns and turns the metal into DU oxide dust particles which can be carried long distances in the wind. If anyone inhails DU oxide particles those particles can remain in your body for decades causing a wide range of problems including cancer, and genetic damage to future generations. 

      DU was first used by the military at Pohakuloa in the early 1960s fired into the 50,000 plus acre impact area. That impact area has been subjected to decades of high explosives firing ever since. The military disclosed in an Environmental study in the early 2000s that over 14 million live-rounds are fired annually at Pohakuloa. A current figure is not available. I suspect it is even higher now.

      There are dozens of various DU weapons in the US arsenal since the 1960s used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Modern DU weapons are known as “penetrators.” They are made of solid DU metal. When fired, the DU metal begins to burn and when it hits a hard target –tank, armored vehicle, etc. it slices right through the armor, like a hot knief through butter, and explodes at 3000degrees. There is no documentation that DU penetrators have been fired at Pohakuloa but for decades there was no documentation that Davy Crockett DU spotting rounds were used either. But given the fact that all sorts of weapons have been used at Pohakuloa, it seems reasonable to conclude that DU penetrators, along with other DU spotting rounds, etc may have been used. That’s why it is extremely important that independent comprehensive testing and monitoring be done to determine the full extent of DU contamination and what’s coming off PTA blowing in the wind. If the military has nothing to hide they would welcome such an independent study to assure the confidence of the community. But the military has been stonewalling efforts by the community.

      In the Sunday April 16, 2017 Hawaii Tribune-Herald lengthy article, there wasn’t a single mention of the threat posed by inhalation of DU oxide dust particles. How come? Is it to keep troops, residents, and the tourist industry in the dark? Don’t we all have a right to know?

Are we Inhaling DU Oxide Dust?

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    5. Seek peace through peaceful means and work for justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

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Sign petition please– Pursue diplomacy, not war, with North Korea!

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

I *just* signed this petition to Pursue diplomacy, not war, with North Korea!

Will you sign as well? Every signature helps, and if you sign *right now* it will really build momentum. Head here, then help me recruit more as well!

Thanks! Jim

April 16, 2017 article in Hawaii Tribune-Herald on DU at Pohakuloa

Sunday, April 16th, 2017
April 16, 2017 article in Hawaii Tribune-Herald on DU at Pohakuloa
My first take on reading the article is that it is a very pro military article.  Callis had lots of material he could have used to raise questions but did not include it, including our radiation monitor readings of several times background. And there is no mention of the main hazard –inhalation of DU oxide particles –what Dr. Lorrin Pang, MD  said is “the most deadly form of radiation.”
Jim Albertini

Tests find no DU threat: But critics file petitions challenging Pohakuloa Training Area radiation monitoring

Four Hawaii Island residents filed petitions challenging the radiation monitoring plan for Pohakuloa Training Area.

The plan is the result of the U.S. Army’s use of depleted uranium — a dense, weakly radioactive metal alloy — in spotting rounds fired 50 years ago at PTA, Schofield Barracks on Oahu and mainland installations. It requires sampling of an intermittent stream bed downslope of the impact area.

Studies and monitoring efforts done over the past decade haven’t shown a health risk to Hawaii Island residents as a result of depleted uranium use and ongoing training. But petitioners say they want to see more monitoring, including continued air sampling, a citizen advisory panel or cleanup of the impact area at PTA.

“I am deeply concerned by the potential contamination of our air, fresh water resources, and food sources,” Hawane Rios of Waikii Ranch said in her request for a hearing to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “… As a kanaka maoli and Kia‘i Mauna (mountain guardian), it is my responsibility and birthright to show up, stand up and speak up when my lands and ancestors are calling me to do so.”

The NRC issued the Army a license to possess depleted uranium in 2013 to cover its use of the spotting rounds for the Davy Crockett tripod-mounted gun in the 1960s. The metal was used to give the rounds sufficient weight to simulate the projectile’s trajectory. The monitoring plan is a requirement of the license.

“We’ve done our part in submitting our recommendations to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” PTA Commander Lt. Col. Christopher Marquez said in a statement. “The NRC decides whether the Army’s proposal is satisfactory or if something different is required. Our responsibility is to obey the law and comply with the NRC’s decision.”

PTA spokesman Eric Hamilton said high explosives are not used in the radiological control areas where spotting rounds were fired.

NRC spokeswoman Maureen Conley said the petitions filed by the four residents were referred to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.

“The ball is now in the panel’s court,” she said in an email. “Typically the process involves putting together a board comprised of administrative judges who will consider whether the petitioners have standing and have put forth admissible contentions.”

According to the Army, 140 kilograms of depleted uranium were confirmed to have been shipped to Hawaii. That would fit in a 10-inch by 10-inch by 20-inch box, according to Marquez.

Those shipments became known after tail assemblies of the rounds were found at Schofield in 2005 and subsequently at PTA, a 133,000-acre training area located off Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Since then, studies have been done by multiple agencies and the Waikii Ranch Homeowners Association. None have identified higher than normal radiation levels.

Waikii Ranch is the closest community to the training area.

“The level of DU in the dust sample is so low as to be statistically insignificant,” David Bigelow, Waikii association depleted uranium program manager, wrote to members in 2008. “… From this we conclude that we have not been exposed to DU.”

Depleted uranium is 40 percent less radioactive than uranium, which occurs naturally in the environment.

Jeff Eckerd, state Department of Health radiological branch manager, said the stream bed, which is dry except for periods of rainfall, is a more likely pathway for migration of depleted uranium since the heavy metal would likely only travel a couple hundred yards if aerosolized through use of high explosives in the impact area. Depleted uranium is 60 percent heavier than lead, he said.

Jim Albertini of Kurtistown, who has organized protests of PTA, said the monitoring plan and past surveys have been insufficient or faulty. He said the depleted uranium fragments should be cleaned up.

“How much DU was used we don’t know,” Albertini said in an email.

Hamilton said there is unexploded ordnance in the impact area, so it’s not safe to send people.

It’s not known how many spotting rounds were used at PTA versus Schofield.

A 2011 report commissioned by the Army Corps of Engineers looked at the possibility of depleted uranium becoming aerosolized due to use of high explosives in the training area. It stated that under the worst-case conditions, airborne concentrations at PTA boundaries would be well below health guidelines.

The report also notes 714 spotting rounds were confirmed to have been shipped to Hawaii but, 2,050 would have been needed to meet training requirements during the six-year program. The report said it modeled both scenarios and assumed all the rounds were used at PTA.

The plan doesn’t involve additional air monitoring, a point noted by petitioners.

“The current proposed 1 site sediment sample miles northwest of the impact area, taken every several months, weather permitting, is completely unsatisfactory,” Albertini said in his petition.

Albertini said the whole training area should be surveyed, and PTA, which includes federal and some state land, should be returned to the “Hawaiian people, and the restored nation of Hawaii.”

Past air sampling was done by a consultant for the Army at three locations along Saddle Road and the state health department in Waikoloa Village.

Samples taken near Saddle Road in 2009 and 2010 were well below health guidelines, according to the reports. That included periods where live-fire training occurred.

Air sampling in Waikoloa from February 2009 to May 2009 found normal background levels of natural uranium, according to the Health Department.

Eckerd said he doesn’t think additional air sampling would find anything based on the past samples.

“I haven’t seen anything in any of our surveys that would indicate anything other than naturally occurring radiation,” he said. “… The question becomes: How much is enough?”

Other reports include a consultation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That agency said no adverse effects for the public were expected.

Other petitioners are Cory Harden and Ruth Aloua.

Harden said in her petition that the radiation monitoring plan assumes depleted uranium fragments are only within the radiological control areas, which consist of firing ranges the Army says were used for the spotting rounds.

“It does not take into account fire tornadoes, dust storms, and other high-wind events that may carry dust long distances,” she wrote.

The Health Department continues radiation surveys outside PTA on a periodic basis, even though readings have not found elevated radiation levels, Eckerd said. Those involve use of hand-held detectors, rather than collecting air samples.

“What we’re really looking for in the ambient surveys if there’s any dispersal on the ground,” he said. “If something came off site and is there now.”

“Everything has been within ambient, what we would deem to be normal radiation levels,” Eckerd said.

Since depleted uranium is weakly radioactive, the main health concerns comes from its toxicity, he said. The risk is generally the same for ingesting naturally occurring uranium, also weakly radioactive, Eckerd said.

“It’s more of a chemical hazard (through ingestion) than a radiation hazard,” he said. “Heavy metal poisoning would be more of an issue before you had long-term chronic health effects from the radiation. I would be more concerned with it as a heavy metal toxin or poison.”

Eckerd said he hasn’t seen evidence of depleted uranium migrating offsite from PTA. He said residents shouldn’t be concerned with driving on Saddle Road.

Email Tom Callis at


Jim Albertini

We have lost a great activist –Moanikeala Akaka

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

We have lost a great activist –Moanikeala Akaka

     I just saw a post from Melissa Leina’ala Haa Moniz that Moanikeala Akaka died this morning  Sat. April 15, 2017 at 1:46 AM after a several month battle with cancer. We have lost a great activist and champion for justice, peace and the earth.  My sympathy goes out to her partner Tomas and family.  I last saw Moani only a couple weeks ago.  Her spirit was very strong but physically she was weak.  I had just come from a protest at Pohakuloa.  Moani was glad to hear about it and that the movement to protect both Mauna Kea and Pohakuloa continued to gain strength.  I was honored to be arrested with Moani and others on April 2, 2015 Protecting Mauna Kea.   We road the same paddy wagon to the Hilo jail after blocking TMT construction equipment from proceeding up the Mauna to desecrate the Sacred temple.  I first met Moani in 1970-71 in the Kalama Valley land struggle on Oahu.  Her vision and spirit for justice was a gift we all need to carry on.  Solidarity forever Moani.  You will be with us always.  Mahalo nui loa.

Jim Albertini

Petition for Pu’uhonua NOT more prisons

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Please sign petition and share widely.  Mahalo.


Subject: Invest in Pu`uhonua; stop building more prisons


Since 2000 we have been looking for an alternative to prison. Prisons are based on punishment; what is needed today is healing. Pu`uhonua is a Hawaiian alternative for prison. Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money down the black hole of building more prisons, invest in Pu`uhonua

That’s why I created a petition to Governor David Ige, which says:

“Pu`uhonua are: decentralized Wellness Centers where the traditional ho’opono’pono process of making right will be used to help heal individuals, families, and communities.  Pu’uhonua centers are for the good of all Hawai’i’s people and can provide real hope in saving money, reducing recidivism, crime prevention, and long-term positive change.”

Will you sign this petition? Click here:



Jim Albertini