Op Ed on Pearl Harbor West Loch weapons storage

Op Ed by Jim Albertini on West Loch munitions to appear in Honolulu Star Advertiser tomorrow Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020

I urge at least a one-month extension (from Sept. 8 until Oct. 8) for public comments on the draft environmental assessment (EA) for the U.S. Army West Loch Ordnance Facilities at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Given COVID-19 restrictions and the fact there have been no public hearings or meetings to discuss this matter, there needs to be more time for the community to respond to this potentially dangerous munitions proposal.

For background: I trust many are unaware that in the late 1970s the Navy was planning to build a major nuclear weapons storage and maintenance facility at West Loch, and similar to today, was NOT planning to do a full environmental impact statement (EIS). Only an EA — and of course, the Navy “would neither confirm nor deny” the presence of nuclear weapons.

The Navy was planning to close the Waikele nuclear weapons storage depot in Central Oahu’s Kipapa Gulch due to encroaching urban development. I and others did a lot of research about security requirements for nuclear weapons storage areas — specific signage, double fencing, lighting, etc. We even photographed (from public accessible areas) nuclear weapons being transported via helicopter from Waikele to West Loch — the specific containers distinctive for nuclear weapons.

A lot of this info is in the book, “The Dark Side of Paradise — Hawaii in a Nuclear World,” I co-authored and is in Hawaii libraries. Long story short: Catholic Action of Hawaii, which I coordinated, filed a federal lawsuit to require an EIS. The case was dismissed at the federal court level, but we won at the 9th Circuit Appeals Court. The court ruled the military could do a hypothetical EIS about the possibilities of accidents, sabotage, terrorist attacks, air crashes into the storage site, etc., to get around the “neither confirm nor deny” policy. The military appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1983 that military national security nuclear weapons secrecy trumps all. No need to do even a hypothetical EIS about the dangers of nuclear weapons being stored in Hawaii.

The result: 48 nuclear weapons storage bunkers plus nuclear weapon maintenance buildings were built at West Loch.

Have times changed or remained the same? Do people have a right to know about the dangers of military weapons stored in our backyards?

We all need to be reminded of the second Pearl Harbor event, at West Loch in May of 1944 — Hawaii’s second-greatest disaster. An accidental explosion of munitions killed and wounded more than 500 at West Loch. Today the area around West Loch has seen major civilian growth and population build-up — Pearl City, Waipahu, Ewa, Ewa Beach, Kapolei, etc.

The munitions depot at West Loch has gone through multiple expansions since WWII. The power of the munitions has also increased tremendously. Today both the Army and Navy are planning munition depot expansion there: The Army is planning 35 storage magazines and a range of support structures covering over 50 acres; the Navy is planning 24 new box magazines for storage. Both say “no significant impact.” It’s one expansion after another, each with “no significant impact.”

I thought in a democracy that ultimate power rests with the people. A government of, by and for the people. Yet if citizens are kept in the dark about matters for their own defense, who is really wielding ultimate power? Are we really being defended or endangered by these weapons of war in our backyards? Don’t we have a right to be better informed on these matters, ask questions in public hearings, and have a voice in the decision making process? Shouldn’t a comprehensive EIS be done on all the West Loch munitions and how this might impact the lives of people who live in the surrounding area?

Jim Albertini

Say NO to Army PTA Lease Extension! Sept. 18, 2020 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet

Say NO to Army PTA Lease Extension!

STOP BOMBING POHAKULOA!

      The Army is beginning the process of studying the impacts of continuing to use state leased lands at Pohakuloa beyond 2029. All comments should be submitted by the deadline of Oct. 14, 2020. Comments can be emailed to: usarmy.hawaii.nepa@mail.mil or submitted on line or mailed by US mail.  Here is the Army homepage for the EIS. https://home.army.mil/hawaii/index.php/ptaeis/project-home There will also be an EIS Scoping Virtual Open House on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 from 4-9 p.m. During the EIS Scoping Virtual Open House, video presentations can be viewed online at https://home.army.mil/hawaii/index.php/PTAEIS and oral and written comments will be accepted. More information can be found at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/04/2020-19620/environmental-impact-statement-for-army-training-land-retention-at-phakuloa-training-area-in-hawaii

      Here are a few issues you might want to comment on: Unexploded ordinance (UXO) clean up, Depleted Uranium and other toxic contamination of air, land and ground water, invasive species, cultural sites and the cultural significance of Pohakuloa itself. The military controls nearly 133,000-acres at Pohakuloa. 23,000 acres of this is leased from the state for $1 total for 65 years –1964- 2029. These so called “ceded lands” are crown and government lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom before the U.S. overthrow in 1893. These lands are in the ahupua’a of Humu’ula (crown), Kaohe and Pu’uanahulu (government lands). Besides the 23,000 acres of leased lands at PTA, 758 acres were obtained by an executive order of Governor Samuel Wilder King in 1956 and 84,000 acres by a Presidential Executive Order of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. These lands by executive order were turned over to the US military without any compensation.More recently, in the early 2000s, an additional 23,000 acres of land near Waiki’i Ranch was purchased by the military from Parker Ranch.

      Today, we need a broad based citizen movement to Stop the Bombing of Pohakuloa, like the movement that stopped the bombing of Kaho’olawe. All the lands at Pohakuloa should be cleaned up by the US military and returned to the Hawaiian people. An important step in this process of de-militarizing Pohakuloa and Hawaii is to stop the PTA lease extension. Please speak up and get your ohana and friends involved. Your voice is important. We are stronger when we stand together for aloha aina.

The Military Needs to Malama Aina – clean up it’s mess!

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 ja@malu-aina.org

For more information and to receive our posts go to www.malu-aina.org

Sept. 18, 2020 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet – week 990 – Fridays 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office

Please sign and circulate this Petition on line

Aloha friends,

I just signed the petition "Mayor Harry Kim: A COVID-19 Appeal: Jail & prison action 
needed to help save lives & protect public health" and wanted to see if you could 
help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and 
sign the petition here:

http://chng.it/wsBPFGQDXc

Mahalo.
Jim Albertini

A COVID-19 Appeal: Jail and prison action needed now to help save lives and protect public health.

A COVID-19 Appeal:  Jail and prison action needed now to help save lives and protect public health.

Mayor Harry Kim, Hawaii County Council members, Hawaii State Legislature COVID-19 Committee members, Hawaii State Legislators (especially those representing Hawaii Island), and Hawaii Congressional Representatives:

You may not all have jurisdiction over the Hawaii Community Correctional Center (HCCC), the private CoreCivic’s Saguaro prison in Eloy, Arizona housing Hawaii prisoners.  But you do have leverage, influence and the ability to bring stakeholders from agencies together to prevent what happened at OCCC in HCCC and at Saguaro and all Hawaii correctional facilities.  HCCC is grossly overcrowded.  Waiting until an incarcerated person or staff is positive for COVID-19  and the numbers quickly multiply like at OCCC is a recipe for disaster.  The number of COVID-19 cases in Hawaii county is growing rapidly and at jails and prisons throughout the U.S.  Time is of the essence.  We need strong leadership and action now!

Release all people serving sentences for nonviolent crimes, or those charged with nonviolent offenses who cannot make cash bail.  Release all prisoners not deemed a danger to the community and those over the age of 65.  Statistics show elderly prisoners have an extremely low, virtually zero, recidivism rate.  Provide necessary support for the released prisoner’s reentry into the community.  This potential for release in the face of this COVID-19 pandemic should apply, not only to the hundreds of prisoners at HCCC, but to the more than 1100 Hawaii prisoners presently confined at the CoreCivic-run Saguaro prison in Eloy, Arizona.

Mahalo,

Jim Albertini

(Add your name, cut and paste from the email list below, and send it out. Mahalo!)

Mayor Harry Kim: harry.kim@hawaiicounty.gov

Councilmember Aaron Chung: aaron.chung@hawaiicounty.gov

            “          Valerie Poindexter: valierie.poindexter@hawaiicounty.gov

            “          Susan Lee Loy: sue.leeloy@hawaiicounty.gov

            “          Ashley Kierkiewicz: ashley.kierkiewisz@hawaiicounty.gov

            “          Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder: matt.kanealii-kleinfelder@hawaiicounty.gov

            “          Maile David: maile.david@hawaiicounty.gov

            “          Rebecca Villegas: Rebecca.villegas@hawaiicounty.gov

            “          Karen Eoff: karen.eoff@hawaiicounty.gov

            “          Herbert Tim Richards III: tim.richards@hawaiicounty.gov

US Senator: Brian Schatz:

US Senator Mazie Hirono: Hirono.outgoing.mail@hirono.senate.gov

US Representative Tulsi Gabbard: TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov

US Representative Ed Case: edcase@mail.house.gov

House CDOVID-19 Special Committee

Representative Scott Saiki: repsaiki@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Senate COVID -19 Special Committee

Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, chair: sendelacruz@capitol.hawaii.gov

Public Defender: Jacquie Esser: esserjt@gmail.com

Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission: lisa.m.itomura@hawaii.gov

Chair: Mark Patterson

Members: Theodore Sakai, Martha Torney, Hon. Ronald Ibarra, Hon. Michael Town ce

Chair, Senate Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs Committee:

Senator Clarence Nishihara: sennishihara@capitol.hawaii.gov

Dan Foley:

Robert Bob Merce: mercer001@hawaii.rr.com,

Edmund “Fred” Hyun: fhyun01@gmail.com,

Lt Governor Josh Green:

Senator Kai Kahele:

Photo from Sept. 11, 2020 Hilo Peace Vigil

 
Photo from Sept. 11, 2020 Hilo Peace Vigil in Hilo.
 
See this week’s Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet here https://malu-aina.org/?p=6885
 
Help Prevent the Ultimate Terrorist Attack on Planet Earth!
 
It will take a Global People’s Movement to Save the Planet from Nuclear War & Climate Disaster!
Remember that Hawaii is a US Military Command, Training, and Staging Area for Nuclear War! Pohakuloa on Hawaii Island is a training area for nuclear war!