Archive for May, 2020

Important article on Kauai’s military role

Sunday, May 31st, 2020
An important article by Jon Letman in the Guardian looks at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai and its outsized role in geopolitics as well as how it contributes to increased tensions between the US, China, and Russia.

Join the Friday Hilo Peace Vigil

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

Join the Friday Hilo Peace Vigil 3:30-5PM at the downtown Hilo Post Office/Federal Building.  Come for all or a part of the vigil.  Whatever time you have will be appreciated.

Please wear a mask to show respect for others and practice social distancing staying at least 6 feet apart from others.

Wearing a mask is not only to protect yourself but to protect others in case you are infected but asymptomatic.  It’s been reported that up to 80% of people infected with Covid 19 may be asymptomatic.


Jim Albertini

Cancel RIMPAC! Masks NOT Missiles!

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020


De-militarize and De-occupy Hawaii!

      RIMPAC stands for Rim of the Pacific military exercises. These destructive war games have been taking place every two years in Hawaii, and waters surrounding Hawaii, since the early 1970s. The war games have expanded far beyond Pacific Rim countries. In 2018 RIMPAC brought 25 nations, over 200 aircraft, 46 ships, five submarines, and over 25,000 military personnel to Hawaii. Some of the countries that participated are far from the Pacific — countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Israel. RIMPAC 2020 has been scaled back somewhat from it’s usual time frame of late June until early August. It is now scheduled for Aug. 17-31 in Hawaii.

      Hawaii is one of the most militarized places on the planet with more than 110 military installation. Nearly 25% of Oahu is occupied by military bases, including the Indo-Pacific Nuclear War Command Center at Camp H.M. Smith above Aloha Stadium. Military covert special ops are carried out all over Oahu and neighbor islands – in civilian areas, on shorelines, and in near shore surrounding waters. Kauai has the Pacific Missile Range Facility testing new hypersonic missiles. Maui has military satellite tracking on Haleakala and the Military High Performance Computer Center in Kihei. The Big Island Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) is the largest live-fire training center outside the continental U.S. PTA is contaminated with a wide range of toxins, including Depleted Uranium (DU) radiation. All total Hawaii has 42,000 active duty military, nearly 10,000 Guard and Reserve, 20,000 civilian military workers, 60,000 military dependents, 18,000 military retirees, and 111,000 veterans.

      Hawaii and the entire world is undergoing tremendous trauma from the deadly Coronavirus. We do not need to add to the trauma by RIMPAC. If the military wants to truly protect the people of Hawaii and the world, cancel RIMPAC. Use the money that would have been spent on bombs, rockets and missiles for much needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care workers and Covid 19 testing for people in Hawaii, throughout the US and the world.

Wage Peace NOT War!     Masks NOT Missiles!

 cover up

                                                          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 peaceful means and work for justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action

P.O. Box 489 Ola’a (Kurtistown), Hawaii 96760 Phone (808) 966-7622 Email

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May 29, 2020 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet – week 974 – Fridays 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office

The return of the weekly Hilo Peace Vigil

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

Social Distance leafleting at Hilo’s May 22, 2020 Peace Vigil using a 10 foot fishing pole with a net full of leaflets (weekly leaflet 973) to hand out to passing cars. Wearing mask too.  Mahalo to Ron Fujiyoshi for the photo.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, car and outdoor

STOP RIMPAC and other Deadly War Games

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020


Despite the danger from COVID 19, the U.S. Military Continues War Practice in Europe and the Pacific and plans for more in 2021

By Ann Wright

 Graphic from Hawaii Peace and Justice

During the COVID 19 pandemic, not only will the U.S. military have the largest maritime military maneuvers in the world, with Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) coming to the waters off Hawaii August 17-31, 2020 bringing 26 nations, 25,000 military personnel, up to 50 ships and submarines and hundreds of aircraft in midst of a worldwide COVID 19 pandemic, but the U.S. Army is having a 6,000 person war game in June 2020 in Poland.  The State of Hawaii has the most stringent measures to combat the spread of the COVID19 virus, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all persons arriving in Hawaii—returning residents as well as visitors. This quarantine is required until at least June 30, 2020.

If these weren’t too many military operations during an epidemic in which personnel on 40 U.S. Navy ships have come down with the hyper-contagious COVID 19 and military personnel and their families have been told not to travel, plans are underway  for a U.S. Army division-sized exercise in the Indo-Pacific region  in less than a year-in 2021.  Known as Defender 2021, the U.S. Army has requested $364 million to conduct the war exercises throughout Asian and Pacific countries. 

The pivot to the Pacific, begun under the Obama administration, and now under the Trump administration, is reflected in a U.S. National Defense Strategy (NDS) that sees the world as “a great power competition rather than counterterrorism and has formulated its strategy to confront China as a long-term, strategic competitor.” 

The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN 757) transits Apra Harbor as part of regularly scheduled operations in the Indo-Pacific on May 5, 2020.

(U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Randall W. Ramaswamy)

This month, May 2020, the U.S. Navy in support of the Pentagon’s “free and open Indo-Pacific ” policy aimed at countering China’s expansionism in the South China Sea and as a as a show of force to counter ideas that the capabilities of U.S. Navy forces have been reduced by COVID-19, sent at least seven submarines, including all four Guam-based attack submarines, several Hawaii-based ships and the San Diego-based USS Alexandria to the Western Pacific in what the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force announced publicly that all of its forward-deployed subs were simultaneously conducting “contingency response operations.”

The U.S. military force structure in the Pacific will be changed to meet the National Defense Strategy’s perceived threat from China, beginning with the U.S. Marine Corps creating new infantry battalions that will be smaller to support naval expeditionary warfare and designed to support a fighting concept known as Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations.  U.S. Marine forces will be decentralized and distributed across the Pacific on islands or floating barge bases. As the Marine Corps eliminates much of its traditional equipment and  units, the Marines plan to invest in long-range precision fires, reconnaissance and unmanned systems, doubling the number of unmanned squadrons. To effect this change in strategy, marine infantry battalions will go down to 21 from 24, artillery batteries will go to five down from 2, amphibious vehicle companies will be reduced from six four and F-35B and F-35C Lightning II fighter squadrons will have fewer aircraft per unit, from 16 aircraft down to 10. The Marine Corps will eliminate its law enforcement battalions, units that build bridges and reduce the service personnel by 12,000 in 10 years.

The Hawaii-based unit called a Marine Littoral Regiment   is expected to have 1,800 to 2,000 Marines carved out mainly one of three infantry battalions based at Kaneohe Marine Base.  Most of the companies and firing batteries that will make up a littoral anti-air battalion will come from units not currently stationed in Hawaii.

The III Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Okinawa, Japan, the main Marine unit in the Pacific region, will be changed to have three Marine littoral regiments that are trained and equipped to operate within contested maritime areas. The region will also have three Marine expeditionary units that are globally deployable. The other two Marine expeditionary force units will provide forces to the III MEF.


The U.S. military war games in Europe, Defender Europe 2020 is already underway with troops and equipment arriving at European ports and will cost about $340 million, which is roughly in line with what the U.S. Army is requesting in FY21 for the Pacific version of the Defender series of war maneuvers.  Defender 2020 will be in Poland June 5-19 and will take place at Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in northwestern Poland with a Polish airborne operation and a U.S.-Polish division-size river crossing.

More than 6,000 U.S. and Polish soldiers will participate the exercise, named Allied Spirit.  It was originally scheduled for May, and is linked with Defender-Europe 2020, the Army’s largest exercise in Europe in decades. Defender-Europe was largely canceled because of the pandemic.

U.S. Army Europe is planning additional exercises over the coming months focusing on training objectives originally outlined for Defender-Europe, including working with equipment from pre-positioned stocks in Europe and conducting airborne operations in the Balkans and Black Sea region.

In FY20, the Army will conduct a smaller version of Defender Pacific while Defender Europe will get more investment and focus. But then attention and dollars will swing over to the Pacific in FY21.  Defender Europe will be scaled back in FY21. The Army is requesting just $150 million to conduct the exercise in Europe, according to the Army.


In the Pacific, the U.S. military has 85,000 troops permanently stationed in the Indo-Pacific region and is expanding its longstanding series of exercises called  Pacific Pathways with extending the time Army units are in countries in Asia and the Pacific, including in the Philippines, Thailand,  Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.  A division headquarters and several brigades would have a South China Sea scenario where they will be around the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the course of a 30- to 45-day period. 

In 2019, under the Pacific Pathways exercises,  US  Army units were in Thailand for three months and four months in the Philippines. The U.S. Army  is discussing with the Indian government about expanding military exercises from roughly just a few hundred personnel up to 2,500 for a duration of up to six months — which “gives us a presence in the region longer as well without being permanently there,” according to the US Army of the Pacific commanding general.  Breaking from the larger exercise, smaller US Army units will deploy to countries such as Palau and Fiji to participate in exercises or other training events.

In May, 2020, the Australian government announced that a delayed six-month rotation of 2500 US Marines to a military base in Australia’s northern city of Darwin will go ahead based on strict adherence to Covid-19 measures including a 14 day quarantine. The Marines had been scheduled to arrive in April but their arrival was postponed in March because of COVID 19.  The remote Northern Territory, which had recorded just 30 Covid-19 cases, closed its borders to international and interstate visitors in March, and any arrivals must now undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days.  U.S. Marine deployments to Australia began in 2012 with 250 personnel and have grown to 2,500.    

The Joint US Defense facility Pine Gap, the U.S. Department of Defense and CIA surveillance facility that pinpoints airstrikes around the world and targets nuclear weapons, among other military and intelligence tasks, was also adapting its policy and procedures to comply with Australian government COVID restrictions.

 Photo by EJ Hersom, US Sports Network

As the U.S. military expands its presence in Asia and the Pacific, one place it will NOT be returning to is Wuhan, China.  In October, 2019, the Pentagon sent 17 teams with more than 280 athletes and other staff members to the Military World Games in Wuhan, China. Over 100 nations sent a total of 10,000 military personnel to Wuhan in October, 2019. The presence of a large U.S. military contingent in Wuhan just months before the outbreak of the COVID19 in Wuhan in December 2019, fueled a theory by some Chinese officials that the U.S. military was somehow involved in the outbreak which now has been used by the Trump administration and its allies in the Congress and the media that the Chinese deliberately used the virus to infect the world and adding justification for the U.S. military build-up in the Pacific region.


About the Author:  Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.  She resigned from the U.S. government in March 2003 in opposition to the U.S. war on Iraq. She is a member of Veterans for Peace, Hawaii Peace and Justice, CODEPINK: Women for Peace and the Gaza Freedom Flotilla coalition.