Students, faculty, community, native groups resist US military hegemony in the Pacific
Since 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 28, a coalition of Native Hawaiian groups, students, faculty, anti-war activists, environmentalists, and religious organizations have joined forces to occupy the University of Hawaii administration building, to demand the University cease all work on a secret Navy research project, UARC. This secret research is for the development of space-based laser systems, surveillance technologies, and sea-based mines. Live Webcam of the protest: http://stopuarc.ww.com/
Since September 11, 2001, the US military has embarked on its largest expansion onto Hawa'ian land, since World War II. The Army plans to take 28,000 acres of this precious land to station a Stryker Brigade.
Sunday, May 1 2005
Contact: Kyle Kajihiro 808-542-3668, Ikaika Hussey 808-221-2843
Coalition of students, faculty, community, native groups resist US military hegemony in the Pacific hemisphere
Hawaii has been forced to play an unfortunate role in US imperialist ambitions since the US military invasion of Honolulu in 1893. In 1898, Hawaii was dubiously annexed to secure a staging ground for the Spanish-American war in the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. The eight islands of this Pacific archipelago have been systematically Americanized and militarized, and is now the seat of the US Pacific Command, which maintains US 'sphere of influence' over more than half the globe, from the west coast of North America to the East Coast of Africa, and from Alaska to Antarctica. In the last Persian Gulf war, American warplanes were launched from our homeland to export their destructive capacities to the people of Iraq. Hawaii is currently [ab]used as a major training and staging ground for US aggressions in Iraq.
Today, Hawaii is the most militarized state of the union, with more than one-quarter of the urban island of Oahu controlled by the US military, and approximately 20% of all the islands. There is also a tradition of native resistance to American hegemony over Hawaii, including a long-standing independence and demilitarization movement.
Since September 11, 2001, the US military has embarked on its largest expansion in Hawaii since World War II. The Army plans to take 28,000 acres of precious land to station a Stryker Brigade on Oahu and Hawaii islands, as part of Donald Rumsfeld's 'transformation' of US forces. There are plans afoot to station an aircraft carrier in an Oahu harbor. And Hawaii is one of the sites of George W Bush's 'ballistic missile defense system,' which threatens to destabilize global nuclear politics. Many of Hawaii's most powerful business and political forces are promoters of militarism, including US senator Daniel Inouye, the local corporate media, and the missionary/colonial establishment.
In the last six months, a new wave of demilitarization activism has emerged to resist US military hegemony over these islands and the Pacific Rim. The Navy and the University of Hawaii have worked stealthily to marry militarism and academia together, to yield a naval weapons research center at the university (a University Affiliated Research Center [UARC]). The UARC would conduct research related to astronomy and oceanography, including space-based laser systems, surveillance technologies, and sea-based mines. A coalition of Native Hawaiian groups, students, faculty, anti-war activists, environmentalists, and religious organizations have joined forces to resist this latest manifestation of militarization in Hawai'i.
Since 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 28, members of this coalition (the 'Save UH/Stop UARC Coalition') have maintained a nonviolent civil occupation of the University of Hawaii administration building, with the demand that the university leadership must immediately cease all further negotiations and progress towards establishing the UARC military research center. The occupation is moving into its fourth day, and the 'demilitarizing' forces have received substantial support from individuals and groups throughout Hawaii, the US, and the global community. The group is prepared to sustain arrests.
Information about the occupation and UARC is available at a website maintained by the Save UH/Stop UARC coalition: http://www.stopuarc.info.
A prepared statement issued at the beginning of the occupation is included below.
28 April 2005
University of Hawaii at Manoa
To: The people of Hawaii
Cc: University of Hawaii Interim President David McClain
Aloha aina kakou:
We, the students, faculty, and community are the ohana of the University of Hawaii.
The health and security of our public institution of higher learning, and the community it serves, is our chief concern.
We are assembled here with a simple demand: that the highest authority of our University of Hawaii, Interim President David McClain, formally end the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) project, which threatens the soul of our university and endangers the health and welfare of our community with secret military weapons research.
Frustrated by the UH Manoa Chancellor's lack of transparency and honesty about the UARC, and concerned that the Administration is already determined to establish the UARC over the serious concerns and overwhelming opposition from all sectors of the campus and community, we are compelled to resort to nonviolent civil resistance to save our university. We remain steadfast in our opposition to the UARC project for the following reasons:
1. UARC would be involved in military weapons related research that is incompatible with the strategic plan, core values and educational mission of UH.
2. UARC compounds the historical injustices committed by US forces against Native Hawaiians and fuels military expansion and its negative impacts on the land and people of Hawai'i. The Kuali'i Council, the body representing the interests of Native Hawaiians on the UH Manoa campus, testified before the Board of Regents: "Since the American military has done more to damage our ancestral lands than any other entity, we cannot support the establishment of a UARC at the University of Hawaii."
3. Military secrecy subverts academic freedom and public accountability. Research programs need not be classified to be deemed "privileged", and thus secret. The tragic history of secret military research programs does not permit us to trust that the UARC will be safe or beneficial, as proponents argue.
4. UARC is bad business for UH; it diverts resources from other research opportunities, imposes restrictions on the types of research pursuable, and places constraints on publishing. UARC may be in violation of Federal Acquisition Regulations that require full and open competition for major federal contracts.
5. UARC is implicated in and tainted by the Navy criminal investigation of alleged mismanagement of classified research contracts. The military 'pork barrel,' coupled with secrecy and possibly dangerous technologies makes UH more susceptible to ethical lapses.
6. Recent audit reports indicate that the UH Administration is currently unable to adequately handle existing research contracts.
7. UARC would be a major shift in direction for UH and the beginning of UH's demise - a mark on UH's reputation forever.
8. UARC is substantially different from existing faculty driven research. UARC would be like a marriage between UH and the Navy to provide the Navy with research on demand: "problem solving" vs. true research that expands human knowledge.
9. The process has been flawed, with the UH Administration pursuing secretive discussions for more than two years and failing to inform or involve the public until after significant decisions had been made and provisional board approval had been given.
For these reasons, and for others which may exist in the consciences of the people, we resolve to remain in Bachman Hall until such time as Interim President David McClain declares an end to the UARC proposal. Such a declaration is essential to the survival and prosperity of our community's institution of higher learning. Until Mr. McClain makes that declaration, we will occupy and demilitarize Bachman Hall. We call out to all members of the UH community, the people of Hawai'i and people of the world to join us in demanding that UH President McClain stop the UARC now. Make education the priority, not war.
Save UH/Stop UARC Coalition
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