Hilo Stryker meeting report

Rec'd via email:

From: "Jim Albertini" <ja@interpac.net>
Subject: Report on Hilo Stryker Scoping meeting
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 23:20:07 -1000

Hilo Stryker meeting report by Jim Albertini

The community took over the Hilo Stryker Scoping meeting (2/2/07) from the military using its own sound system and conducted a three hour public hearing on plans for a Stryker Brigade in Hawaii. Not one person in the three hour hearing spoke in favor of Stryker. The meeting was attended by well over 100 people and included powerful testimony by several Kanaka Maoli, including Kupuna Samuel Kaleleiki -- a retired Sgt. Major in the Marine Corps, Abel Simeona of Ka`u, former OHA trustee Moanikeala Akaka, and Kale Gumapac of the Kanaka Council.

The military's planned format was a non-hearing with people only being allowed to make personal statements to stenographers or a video camera in private and talk with military and civilian bureaucrats stationed at information tables. In short, the military wanted to dictate how we, the community, express ourselves, without letting us hear our collective concerns. We told the military this was insulting and demeaning, that is was the old "divide and conquer" tactic and we were not going to allow it to happen. We are not military pawns. We need to hear one another's concerns. Such sharing has tremendous value for everyone. Those who did not have the time to stay and listen, or who did not wish to speak publicly, were certainly welcome to make personal statements to the military's video camera or stenographer for the record.

The vast majority of people stayed for 3 hours, standing the entire time with few exceptions, since no chairs were provided by the military. Several of the speakers asked --where were our elected officials? People spoke on a wide range of concerns how Stryker would be a disaster for Hawaii: from land, air, and water being contaminated, cultural and historic sites and endangered species habitat destroyed, more unexploded ordnance littering the land, and people being exposed to a stew of military toxic chemicals with known health hazards.

People spoke to the entire fradulent nature of the Stryker Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. The fact that Sen. Daniel Inouye was quoted as saying on June 18, 2003, months before the the EIS public hearings and comment period even began that he was assured "Hawaii will get its Stryker Brigade." The press need to ask --who was it that assured Inouye of an Hawaii Stryker Brigade?

All in all,  the testimony was clear. Enough is enough.  The military desecretion, destruction, and occupation of Kanka Maoli sovereign lands used by the U.S. to desecrate, destroy and occupy other sovereign lands must stop. We need to Malama Ka `Aina (take care of the land) so the land will take care of us. Stop Stryker.

I hope the military got the message.

We began and ended the meeting with a circle of people joining hands.  We began with a pule (prayer) lead by Kupuna Sam Kaleleiki, and closed with the singing of Hawaii Aloha. Even our military sisters and brothers joined hands in the closing.

Jim Albertini
Malu `Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box AB
`Ola`a (Kurtistown), Hawaii 96760
Phone 808-966-7622
email ja@interpac.net

Update 2/4: Advertiser covers the hearing: "The Army received strong and angry opposition to its plans to base a Stryker brigade in Hawaii during its fifth and final public meeting of the week."

Posted: Sat - February 3, 2007 at 06:31 AM    
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Published On: Feb 04, 2007 07:06 AM
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