The following is one of the topics covered by Dr. Sai in his letter of July 9, 2019. Maui County Council member Tamara Paltin requested of Dr. Sai his insights into the proposed construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope. Dr. Sai’s letter is an attachment to Council member Paltin’s letter to University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner on July 12, 2019.
War Crime of Destruction of Property on the Summit of Mauna Kea
According to Article 55 of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, “The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the [occupied] State, and situated in the occupied territory. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.” As the title to Ka‘ohe remains vested in the Hawaiian government as public land there is a duty that anything done on public property must be in accordance with the rules of usufruct, which, by definition, is the “right of using and enjoying and receiving the profits of property that belongs to another.”
NOTE: The international laws of occupation apply to hostile States at war with each other or occupied States that have not engaged in the war but are neutral. Belligerent occupation is a term used to apply where the territory of a foreign country is occupied without the consent of the occupied State. Neutral States, such as the Hawaiian Kingdom, can be belligerently occupied and the laws of occupation still applies.
Article 147 of the Geneva Convention, IV, lists as a grave breach the “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.” This grave breach is expanded under Article 53, any “destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State [Hawaiian Kingdom], or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.” The Commentary to the Geneva Convention, IV, states:
In the very wide sense in which the Article must be understood, the prohibition covers the destruction of all property (real or personal), whether it is the private property of protected persons (owned individually or collectively), State property, that of the public authorities (districts, municipalities, provinces, etc.) or of co-operative organizations. The extension of protection to public property and to goods owned collectively, reinforces the rule already laid down in the Hague Regulations, Articles 46 and 56 according to which private property and the property of municipalities and of institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences must be respected.
Section 402 of the United States Army Field Manual 27-10 provides:
Real property of the [occupied] State which is essentially of a non-military nature, such as public buildings and offices, land, forests, parks, farms, and mines, may not be damaged or destroyed unless such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations … The occupant does not have the right of sale or unqualified use of such property. As administrator, usufructuary, he should not exercise his rights in such a wasteful and negligent manner as seriously to impair its value.
In international criminal law, the actus reus present on Mauna Kea are the acts of destruction of property belonging to the Hawaiian Kingdom as the Occupied State. The mens rea requires that the perpetrator act with intent to destroy the property and with knowledge that the owner of the property is the Hawaiian Kingdom government. The actus reus and mens rea are met as evidenced in the State of Hawai‘i Supreme Court decisions In the Matter of Contested Case Hearing Re Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) HA-3568 for the Thirty Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, Ka‘ohe Mauka, Hamakua, Hawai‘i, TMK (3) 404015:009.
On October 30, 2018, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court affirmed a decision of the Board of Land and Natural Resources which issued a conservation district use permit for TMT near the summit of Mauna Kea. In its decision, the majority of the court did not, because it could not, refute the claim that “the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ohe in the District of Hamakua are lands still held by the Hawaiian Kingdom.” Somewhat amazing was its open acknowledgement that eleven observatories built since 1970 on the summit of Mauna Kea did destroy the property.
The majority stated:
Construction of these observatories and roads has had significant cumulative adverse impacts on cultural, archaeological, and historic resources in the MKSR [Mauna Kea Science Reserve]. The observatories have also had significant cumulative adverse impacts on geology, soils, and slope stability in the MKSR because they significantly modified the preexisting terrain, the tops of certain pu‘u were flattened to accommodate observatory foundations, and some materials removed from the pu‘u were pushed over their sides, creating steeper slopes more susceptible to disturbance.
Associate Justice Michael Wilson dissented from the majority of the court and filed his dissent on November 9, 2018. At the heart of Justice Wilson’s dissent was the destruction of the summit of Mauna Kea. He acknowledged that
the party responsible for the substantial adverse impact to this protected resource is the State of Hawai‘i (State). It is uncontested that the State authorized previous construction within the Astronomy Precinct of the MKSR that created a substantial adverse impact. Thus, the party that caused the substantial adverse impact is empowered by the degradation principle to increase the damage. Now the most extensive construction project yet proposed for the Astronomy Precinct—a 180-foot building 600 feet below the summit ridge of Mauna Kea—is deemed to have no substantial adverse impact due to extensive degradation from prior development of telescopes in the summit area.
He concluded that the “substantial adverse impacts to cultural resources presently existing in the Astronomy Precinct of Mauna Kea combined with the impacts from TMT—a proposed land use that eclipses all other telescopes in magnitude—would constitute an impact on existing cultural resources that is substantial and adverse.”
 Black’s Law, p. 1544.
 Oscar M. Uhler, Henri Coursier, Frédéric Siordet, Claude Pilloud, Roger Boppe, René-Jean Wilhelm and Jean Pierre Schoenholzer, Commentary IV, Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva: International Committee of the Red Cross, 1958, p. 301.
 In Re Conservation District Use Application for TMT, SCOT-17-0000777, Opinion, State of Hawai‘i Supreme Court (Oct. 30, 2018), available at: http://www.courts.state.hi.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/SCOT-17-0000777.pdf.
 Id., p. 45.
 The University 2.2-meter Telescope (1970), the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (“UKIRT”)(1979)(now owned by the University), the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (operated by the University)(1979), the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope (1979); (5) the California Institute of Technology (“Caltech”) Submillimeter Observatory (“CSO”)(1986), the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (“JCMT”)(1986)(now owned by the University), the Very Long Baseline Array (1992), the W. M. Keck Observatory, first phase (1992) and second phase (1996), the Subaru Observatory (“Subaru”)(1999), the Gemini North Observatory (1999), and the Submillimeter Array (2002).
 In Re Conservation District Use Application for TMT, SCOT-17-0000777, Opinion, State of Hawai‘i Supreme Court (Oct. 30, 2018), p. 5-6.
 In Re Conservation District Use Application for TMT, SCOT-17-0000777, Dissenting Opinion, Wilson, J. (Nov. 9, 2018), p. 5, available at: http://www.courts.state.hi.us/…/11/SCOT-17-0000777dis.pdf.
 Id., p. 36.
WAILUKU, Hawaii – In an urgent plea, Maui County Council member Tamara Paltin announced that she has asked University of Hawaii President David Lassner to put a hold on moving forward with the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (“TMT”) planned for the summit of Mauna Kea.
Paltin issued a letter of inquiry to President Lassner on Friday, July 12th in response to Governor Ige’s news conference last week announcing that construction would begin next week on July 15th. In her letter Paltin expressed “grave concerns for the safety of Maui County’s residents and all individuals mobilizing to access and assemble atop Mauna Kea.”
It is anticipated that kupuna to keiki and all ages in betweenfrom all islands will be present to exercise traditional Native Hawaiian cultural and religious access, as well as protest the construction of the TMT. With emotions high, extreme weather conditions, law enforcement presence and talk of the potential deployment of LRAD (Long-Range Acoustic Hailing Devices) for crowd control, Councilmember Paltin fears for the safety and protection of all who will be present on the summit.
Councilmember Paltin sought out insight from Dr. Keanu Sai who has served as a resource for and provided training presentations to the Council’s Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee, of which Paltin chairs, concerning the proposed construction of the TMT on the summit of Mauna Kea, in light of the ahupua`a of Ka`ohe being so-called ceded lands.
Paltin’s letter reiterates Dr. Sai’s focus on three topics underlying the proposed TMT construction: the invalidity of General Lease No. S-4191 between the State of Hawai`i Board of Land and Natural Resources, as the lessor, and the University of Hawai`i, as the lessee; the war crime of destruction of property on the summit of Mauna Kea by the previous telescopes; and the third topic of native tenant rights within the ahupua`a of Ka`ohe, and describes Dr. Sai’s response as “quite illuminating to say the least.”
Councilmember Paltin requested that President Lassner have the University’s legal counsel review Dr. Sai’s assessment of the situation, and stated that, “this is not a political issue, but an issue of the rule of law, which is foundational, and for our communities throughout the islands to have confidence that the State of Hawai`i officials, to include the Counties, believe in and abide by.”
A full copy of Councilmember Tamara Paltin’s letter to UH President Lassner can be located at mauicounty.us/paltin/.
For more information, please contact Councilmember Paltin’s office.
On June 10th, Rick Daysog released a Hawai‘i News Now article titled “State alleges Hawaiian scholar with a troubled past bilked distressed homeowners.” The article claims that Dr. Keanu Sai is the subject of a current criminal investigation in which allegedly “Sai’s conduct constitutes a felony and Sai’s criminal wrongdoing has been referred to the proper criminal authorities for investigation,” according to Daysog’s source OCP attorney James Evers, who wrote the excerpt in a court pleading over a year ago. The most outstanding problem with Daysog’s article is that he should have written it 14 months ago, before the case against Dr. Sai was dismissed.
In all cases of consulting, Dr. Sai always had a contract with his clients who sought his assistance. In this case, the family entered into a contract with Dr. Sai in 2015 where it clearly stated “The client has had the opportunity to investigate and verify Dr. Sai’s credentials, and agrees that Dr. Sai is qualified to perform the services in this contract.”
The contract also states that the “tasks performed under this agreement, includes but not limited to analysis, calculations, conclusions, preparation of reports, letters of correspondence and pleadings, and necessary travel time.” The agreed upon service was to provide consulting regarding the court’s lack of jurisdiction, whether criminal or civil cases, within the rules of the court. Under these contracts, Dr. Sai was admitted by the judges in seven court cases, which included both civil and criminal cases, as an expert on the subject of the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom, international law, and constitutional law.
The contract did not involve any foreclosure or mortgage issue. It included only testimony on the issue of jurisdiction. OCP attorney Evers made his false allegations against Dr. Sai in his role as a jurisdiction witness. Evers falsely represented to the Court that Dr. Sai and the family had no written contract. Dr. Sai provided Evers a copy at the beginning of the proceedings. Lawyers have a duty to correct false statements made in Court. Evers never corrected his false statement but, instead, continued to make false allegations of felonious conduct.
Dr. Sai details the case as follows, “My attorney filed a motion to dismiss, because Evers failed to even file a complaint as required by the rules. A complaint initiates a case. When this was pointed out Judge Crabtree dismissed the case. Case over!”
The proceedings were dismissed a long time ago. Evers’s false allegations were made more than 14 months ago. It seems stale for the media to focus on it now. Hawai‘i News Now did not mention that the case was dismissed earlier this year.
State of Hawai‘i officials have spent much time manipulating the media because of his scholarly role in exposing the illegal U.S. military occupation of the Hawaiian Islands. Dr. Sai is only one of several scholars addressing this issue. In a February 25, 2018 memorandum from United Nations Independent Expert, Dr. Alfred deZayas, from Geneva, Switzerland, to members of the State of Hawai‘i judiciary, he wrote “the lawful political status of the Hawaiian Islands is that of a sovereign nation state in continuity, but a nation state that is under a strange form of occupation by the United States, resulting from an illegal military occupation and a fraudulent annexation.” Dr. Sai’s work in this matter was limited to this issue.
“the lawful political status of the Hawaiian Islands is that of a sovereign nation state in continuity, but a nation state that is under a strange form of occupation by the United States, resulting from an illegal military occupation and a fraudulent annexation”
The UN memorandum acknowledged Dr. Sai’s decades of work beginning in the 1990’s. Before Dr. Sai had a Ph.D on the isse, he had exposed the defects in land titles in Hawai‘i that were conveyed after the US invasion and illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government in 1893. The reason is, as Dr. Sai has simply pointed out, “there were no Hawaiian Kingdom notaries after 1893 and they are needed for the transaction.” The purpose of a notary is to validate the transfer of title. In reference to the US invasion and support of the 1893 insurgency, “if the notary was an insurgent, how do you know the person transferring the title doesn’t have a gun to his head.”
When Dr. Sai exposed this US occupation in the mid-90’s, while with a title search company “Perfect Title”, the office was raided by the White Collar Crime Unit of the Honolulu Police Department and he was arrested for theft, racketeering, and tax evasion. Matters unassociated with title reports or their effect on mortgages and title insurance. The sound bite accusation, then as now, was that he was telling elderly people not to pay their mortgages. Kau’i Sai-Dudoit, who worked as the office manager for Perfect Title, explains with a little laughter, “we were just doing title research.”
When Dr. Sai exposed this US occupation in the mid-90’s, while with a title search company “Perfect Title”, the office was raided by the White Collar Crime Unit of the Honolulu Police Department and he was arrested for theft, racketeering, and tax evasion. Matters unassociated with title reports or their effect on mortgages and title insurance.
Almost all of the charges were eventually dropped. The charge of theft was pursued. The prosecutor argued that Dr. Sai had tried to steal a house which he had never been in. The judge eventually realized that it was a “political” trial. She effectively apologized to Dr. Sai for the State’s actions at his sentencing. The minimum possible sentence of 5 years probation was imposed. It was while “on probation” that Dr. Sai began his doctoral research.
This Perfect Title matter was a manufactured charge of attempting to steal real property. Real property is “immovable.” Personal property, on the other hand, is “moveable”. Real property is not the subject of theft, only personal property is.
After sentencing, in March 2000, Dr. Sai, traveled to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, and led the legal team representing the Council of Regency of the Hawaiian Kingdom in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom. The Permanent Court of Arbitration accepted the case for dispute resolution under international law. In doing so, Permanent Court of Arbitration confirmed the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a nation State and the Council of Regency as its provisional government. Local news media in Hawai‘i has never reported on this landmark case or its international significance.
No witness, document, or legal argument has contested Dr. Sai opinions. This fact is that the Hawaiian Islands were never lawfully annexed or ceded to the United States under either US law or international law. They were simply taken. There is no treaty of annexation, and no ratified legal agreement between the two countries.
In 2008, Dr. Sai received his Ph.D. in political science specializing in international relations and public law from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. His doctoral research and publications focused on the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom under a prolonged and illegal occupation by the United States for over a century. Dr. Sai is a political scientist that teaches undergraduate courses in the Hawaiian Studies Department at Windward Community College. He also teaches a graduate course at the University of Hawai‘i College of Education titled “Introduction to the Hawaiian State.”
Hawai‘i’s situation, in terms of international and national law, is widely accepted and documented throughout academia. The National Education Association, the United States’ largest union of over 3 million members, published 3 articles on their website regarding the illegal occupation of Hawai‘i. Dr. Sai authored these articles.
The National Lawyers Guild, a large association of U.S. attorneys and legal workers, has acknowledged the occupation and created a Hawaiian Kingdom Subcommittee. The Subcommittee’s purpose is to provide “legal support to the movement demanding that the U.S., as the occupier, comply with international humanitarian and human rights law within Hawaiian Kingdom territory, the occupied.”
Many organizations have taken this issue very seriously and done their due diligence to come to the conclusion that the Hawaiian Kingdom is in fact an occupied nation State.
Dr. Sai continues his educational outreach. He is proving to be successful in enlightening individuals, both in Hawai‘i and around the world as to the occupation of Hawai‘i. Timing is important. It is only now, 14 months after a single unconfirmed allegation of a “referral” to an unnamed government office was made by a lawyer suing Dr. Sai, does Daysog preceded by Lind, but apparently working together, bring it up. So the public is presented with a reporter interviewing a blogger as if that is “real” news. This is the picture: One guy who doesn’t know anything is talking to another guy who doesn’t know anything but has read something.
So the public is presented with a reporter interviewing a blogger as if that is “real” news. This is the picture: One guy who doesn’t know anything is talking to another guy who doesn’t know anything but has read something.
On May 15th, the Maui County Council invited Dr. Sai to present on the status of Hawai‘i as an occupied nation State under international law. A few days prior, Ian Lind blogged regarding 1990’s Perfect Title case, as if it were “news”. Lind cited the same dismissed case that Rick Daysog recently ‘reported’ on.
Daysog’s article comes a few days after Dr. Sai presented to the Maui County Council for a second time on June 5th. Timing is important. The ‘articles’ come at a crucial time, when Dr. Sai is working with Maui County Council members. Both articles have printed unconfirmed assertions by a lawyer and have, in effect, misled their readership. The OCP initiated a legal proceeding against Dr. Sai in early 2018. It was dismissed as improperly filed in early 2019. No evidence was ever presented. It is now the middle of 2019 and Daysog and Lind are seemingly pursuing either their or another’s political agenda, as they only now raise the uncorroborated and unconfirmed “referral” to an unidentified “office”. The lack of confirmation or corroboration is astonishing. This is unserious “reporting”.
It is now the middle of 2019 and Daysog and Lind are seemingly pursuing either their or another’s political agenda, as they only now raise the uncorroborated and unconfirmed “referral” to an unidentified “office”. The lack of confirmation or corroboration is astonishing. This is unserious “reporting”.
In his follow up presentation to the Maui Council on June 5th, Dr. Sai explained a pathway for the Council to take in fixing the problem of being an unlawful government and an extension of the United States government. The legal issue for State and County governing bodies in Hawai‘i is that under the laws of occupation the occupying country is required to enforce the laws of the occupied State. The February 2018 UN memorandum explains, “international laws (the Hague and Geneva conventions) require that governance and legal matters within the occupied territory of the Hawaiian Islands must be administered by the application of the laws of the occupied state (in this case, the Hawaiian Kingdom), not the domestic laws of the occupier (the United States).”
This has presented an operational problem for State of Hawai‘i legislators and County lawmakers in Hawai‘i. The question and challenge becomes, “How to legislate without violating international laws and incurring criminal liability?” Daysog and Lind show neither an ability to, nor interest in, understanding the situation.
This question was first taken up by then-Hawai‘i County Council member Jennifer Ruggles. Ruggles was first informed at one of Dr. Sai’s presentations. She followed up by doing her due diligence and hired an attorney. In August of 2018, she refused to vote as a council member, requesting that her county attorney assure her that she would not be violating international law and incurring criminal liability on herself. Ruggles’ story has been the subject of a feature documentary called “Speaking Truth to Power.”
Dr. Sai’s second presentation to the Maui County Council informed Council members of a process that they could pursue which would bring them into compliance with international law, Hawaiian Kingdom law, and U.S. law (as the prolonged occupation of Hawai‘i also violates the U.S. constitution). Dr. Sai has dedicated much of his adult life to fixing the problems caused by the illegal US invasion, occupation, and overthrow of the legal Hawaiian Kingdom government. He has always been ready to work with State and County officials to provide a pathway that would bring them into compliance with international law. Asking for legal compliance is hardly a radical idea. It is a conservative and pragmatic approach to a complex problem caused by the US.
Dr. Sai has dedicated much of his adult life to fixing the problems caused by the illegal US invasion, occupation, and overthrow of the legal Hawaiian Kingdom government. He has always been ready to work with State and County officials to provide a pathway that would bring them into compliance with international law. Asking for legal compliance is hardly a radical idea. It is a conservative and pragmatic approach to a complex problem caused by the US.
Some media personnel such as Lind and Daysog, for example, misinform and distract the general public which needs to be informed about the legal status of the territory in which they live, and what their rights are under international law. This issue is not about Dr. Sai as a person; it is about the occupation as a fact. Information needs to be discussed in a comprehensive and responsible manner. These two individuals who wish the respect given to journalists continue to attack the messenger. Rather than understanding or focusing on the profound impact of the message itself, they do the general public a great disservice.
The issue will not go away by distraction. The crisis of Hawai‘i’s profound legal status as an occupied nation State is a truth that is now been imbedded in academia, public education, history books, doctoral dissertations, master’s theses, law journal articles, peer review articles, scholarly memorandums, international law institutions, etc. The legal status of Hawai’i will continue to become increasingly known to the general public with or without Dr. Sai.
Daysog and Lind are not the investigative reporters they claim to be. They have shown no evidence of comprehending these international law issues. If they had they would have presented these documented facts that we all have access to online and in the public records. This is what “fake news” looks like in Hawai’i. Hawai‘i News Now is either derelict in their duty to ensure accurate reporting or they are part of the misrepresentation and distraction campaign from the beginning. This doesn’t speak well for Hawai‘i News Now.
This is what “fake news” looks like in Hawai’i. Hawai‘i News Now is either derelict in their duty to ensure accurate reporting or they are part of the misrepresentation and distraction campaign from the beginning. This doesn’t speak well for Hawai‘i News Now.
Former Swiss Consul and a Professor at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa [next year will be his 50th year at UH], Dr. Niklaus Schweizer has said, “Keanu Sai is the premiere expert here” regarding this issue. Repeatedly attacking the premier expert with frivolous charges only makes journalists, institutions, and government officials look desperate in their attempt to hold onto the vestiges of a dying lie, an absurd fraud, and a stolen nation.
At the International Committee weekend retreat in the Bay Area in March 2019, the IC launched a new subcommittee, the Hawaiian Kingdom Subcommittee. Read on to learn more about the subcommittee’s work. To reach out or join the subcommittee, contact co-chairs Martha Schmidt, Keanu Sai and Steve Laudig.
There is a common misconception that the Hawaiian Islands comprise United States territory as its political subdivision, the State of Hawai‘i. The Hawaiian Islands is the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom. In Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, the Permanent Court of Arbitration recognized “that in the nineteenth century the Hawaiian Kingdom existed as an independent State recognized as such by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and various other States (Award, para. 7.4).” By 1893, the Hawaiian Kingdom maintained over 90 embassies and consulates throughout the world and entered into treaty relations with other countries to include the United States.
The lack of any US congressional constitutional authority to annex a foreign country without a treaty was noted in a 1988 memorandum by the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, which questioned whether Congress was empowered to enact a domestic law annexing the Hawaiian State in 1898. Its author, Douglas Kmiec, cited constitutional scholar Westel Willoughby who had written: “The constitutionality of the annexation of Hawaii, by a simple legislative act, was strenuously contested at the time both in Congress and by the press. The right to annex by treaty was not denied, but it was denied that this might be done by a simple legislative act. … Only by means of treaties, it was asserted, can the relations between States be governed, for a legislative act is necessarily without extraterritorial force—confined in its operation to the territory of the State by whose legislature it is enacted.” Since 1898, the United States have been imposing American municipal laws over the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom in violation of international humanitarian law.
On February 25, 2018, Dr. Alfred M. deZayas, a United Nations Independent Expert, sent a communication to State of Hawai‘i judges stating: “I have come to understand that the lawful political status of the Hawaiian Islands is that of a sovereign nation-state in continuity; but a nation-state that is under a strange form of occupation by the United States resulting from an illegal military occupation and a fraudulent annexation. As such, international laws (the Hague and Geneva Conventions) require that governance and legal matters within the occupied territory of the Hawaiian Islands must be administered by the application of the laws of the occupied state (in this case, the Hawaiian Kingdom), not the domestic laws of the occupier (the United States).”
The Hawaiian Kingdom Subcommittee provides legal support to the movement demanding that the U.S., as the occupier, comply with international humanitarian and human rights law within Hawaiian Kingdom territory, the occupied. This support includes organizing delegations and working with the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and NGOs addressing U.S. violations of international law and the rights of Hawaiian nationals and other Protected Persons.
For a historical and legal overview of the Hawaiian Kingdom situation see: Dr. Keanu Sai’s three articles on the Hawaiian Kingdom published by the National Education Association; and, Professor Matthew Craven’s legal brief on Hawaiian Kingdom’s continuity as a State under international law cited by Judge James Crawford in his The Creation of States in International Law (2d ed.).
The National Lawyers Guild was established in 1937 as an association equal in standing to the American Bar Association.
Investigating the Illegal U.S. Military Occupation of the Hawaiian Islands
From Integrative Media Co-operative (IMC):
IMC would like to continue documenting up and coming events and actions regarding the U.S. military occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. IMC relies on public donations. To donate visit IMC’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign: Speaking Truth to Power – Documentary. Or contact IMC directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please subscribe to IMC’s YouTube channel, Integrative Media Co-operative, to stay updated on future projects. There are many short videos coming soon regarding this topic.
Most importantly, sharing this video with friends and family brings a greater awareness to this ongoing and evolving situation.
The seventeenth of January will mark 126 years of the United States’ belligerent occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. This outcome was initiated by “acts of war” committed by U.S. forces when the U.S. diplomat ordered an invasion on January 16, 1893, which led to the unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government on January 17th. President Grover Cleveland, in his manifesto to the Congress on December 18, 1893, acknowledged that a “substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair.”
Instead of restoring the Hawaiian government under Queen Lili‘uokalani and repairing the “rights of the injured people,” the United States embarked on a history of deception, lies, the establishment of 118 military installations, and international crimes committed against civilians within Hawaiian territory. These injustices led to the restoration of the Hawaiian government, in situ, in 1995, in similar fashion to the formation of governments in exile during World War II under the doctrine of necessity, and to the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitration, which sought to address the rights of one of those “injured people,” Lance Paul Larsen, a Hawaiian subject. Mr. Larsen was subjected to an unfair trial, unlawful confinement and pillaging by the State of Hawai‘i. These are violations of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, which are considered war crimes.
Lance Paul Larsen v. the Hawaiian Kingdom
The dispute centered on the allegation by Mr. Larsen that the Hawaiian government was liable for “allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws over [him] within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom.” What Mr. Larsen had to overcome was whether he could proceed to hold the Hawaiian government liable for the violation of his rights without the participation of the United States who was the entity that allegedly violated his rights.
On March 3, 2000, a meeting was held in Washington, D.C., with Mr. John Crook from the U.S. State Department, Dr. Sai as Agent for the Hawaiian government, and Ms. Ninia Parks, counsel for Mr. Larsen, where the United States was formally invited to join in the arbitration. A few weeks later, the United States notified the Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”) that it will not join in the proceedings but they asked permission from the Hawaiian government and Mr. Larsen if it could have access to all pleadings and records of the case. Permission was granted. For Mr. Larsen, this gave rise to the indispensable third-party rule and whether or not he could proceed against the Hawaiian government without the participation of the United States. Unlike national courts, international courts do not have subpoena powers.
The Larsen Tribunal eventually ruled that the United States was an indispensable third-party, and without its participation in the proceedings, the Tribunal could not determine what rights of Mr. Larsen were violated by the United States in order to hold the Hawaiian government accountable for the violation of those rights. The Tribunal, however, did state in its decision that the parties could pursue fact-finding through a commission of inquiry under the jurisdiction of the PCA whenever it may enter into an agreement to do so. Fact-finding is not affected by the indispensable third-party rule, which operates in similar fashion to a United States grand jury.
After the last day of the Larsen hearings were held at the PCA on December 11, 2000, the Council, was called to an urgent meeting by Dr. Jacques Bihozagara, Ambassador for the Republic of Rwanda assigned to Belgium. Ambassador Bihozagara had been attending a hearing before the International Court of Justice on December 8, 2000, (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium), where he became aware of the Hawaiian arbitration case at the PCA.
The following day, the Council, which included Dr. Sai, as Agent, and two Deputy Agents, Peter Umialiloa Sai, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mrs. Kau‘i P. Sai-Dudoit, formerly known as Kau‘i P. Goodhue, acting Minister of Finance, met with Ambassador Bihozagara in Brussels, Belgium. In that meeting, Ambassador Bihozagara explained, that since he accessed the pleadings and records of the Larsen case on December 8, he had been in communication with his government. This prompted the meeting where he conveyed to Dr. Sai, as Chairman of the Council and agent in the Larsen case, that his government was prepared to bring to the attention of the United Nations General Assembly the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States.
After careful deliberation, the Council decided that it could not, in good conscience, accept this offer. The Council felt the timing was premature because Hawai‘i’s population remained ignorant of Hawai‘i’s profound legal position due to institutionalized denationalization—Americanization by the United States. Therefore, on behalf of the Council, Dr. Sai graciously thanked Ambassador Bihozagara for his government’s offer but stated that the Council first needed to address over a century of this denationalization. After an exchange of salutations, the meeting came to an end, and the Council returned that afternoon to The Hague.
Exposure of the Continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom through the medium of Education
The decision by the Council to forego Ambassador Bihozagara’s invitation was made in line with section 495—Remedies of Injured Belligerent, United States Army FM-27-10, which states, “In the event of violation of the law of war, the injured party may legally resort to remedial action of the following types: a. Publication of the facts, with a view to influencing public opinion against the offending belligerent.” Publication of the facts was the means the Council would focus its attention on to expose the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the circumstances of the Larsen case.
“When a well packaged web of lies has been sold to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous, and its speaker, a raving lunatic.” -Donald James Wheal
The belligerent occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States rests squarely within the regime of the law of occupation in international humanitarian law. The application of the regime of occupation law “does not depend on a decision taken by an international authority”, and “the existence of an armed conflict is an objective test and not a national ‘decision.’” According to Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, a State’s territory is considered occupied when it is “actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.”
Article 42 has three requisite elements: (1) the presence of a foreign State’s forces; (2) the exercise of authority over the occupied territories by the foreign State or its proxy; and (3) the non-consent by the occupied State. U.S. President Grover Cleveland’s aforementioned manifesto to the Congress, which is Annexure 1 in the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom Award, and the continued U.S. presence today without a treaty of peace firmly meets all three elements of Article 42. Hawai‘i’s people, however, have become denationalized and the history of the Hawaiian Kingdom has been, for all intents and purposes, obliterated since the United States’ takeover.
The Council needed to explain to Hawai‘i’s people that before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”) could facilitate the formation of the Larsen tribunal the PCA had to ensure that it possessed “institutional jurisdiction.” This jurisdiction required that the Hawaiian Kingdom be an existing “State.” This finding authorized the Hawaiian Kingdom’s access to the PCA pursuant to Article 47 of the 1907 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, as a non-Contracting Power to the convention.
The PCA accepted the Larsen case as a dispute between a “State” and “private entity” and, in its annual reports from 2001 to 2011, acknowledged the Hawaiian Kingdom as a non-Contracting Power under Article 47 of the 1907 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. For Hawai‘i’s people, this acknowledgement is significant on two levels, first, the Hawaiian Kingdom had to exist as a State under international law, otherwise the PCA would not have accepted the dispute to be settled through international arbitration, and, second, the PCA explicitly recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as a non-Contracting Power (State) to the 1907 Hague Convention, I. A non-Contracting Power is a State that is not a signatory to the Convention.
To accomplish this educational goal, it was decided by the Council that Dr. Sai enter the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa political science department and secure an M.A. degree specializing in international relations, and then a Ph.D. with focus on the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent and sovereign State that has been under a prolonged occupation. From the University of Hawai‘i political science department, Professor Neal Milner, Professor John Wilson, and Professor Katherina Hyer; from the University of Hawai‘i Hawaiian Studies department, Professor Jon Osorio; from the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law—Professor Aviam Soifer; and from the University of London, SOAS, Professor Matthew Craven, served as members of his doctoral committee.
The Council’s objective was to engage over a century of denationalization through the medium of academic research and publications, both peer review and law review. As a result, awareness of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s political status has grown exponentially with multiple master’s theses, doctoral dissertations, and publications being written on the subject. What the world knew, before the Larsen case was held from 1999-2001, was drastically transformed to now. This transformation was the result of academic research in spite of the continued American occupation. The “injured people” began to ask the right questions.
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” -Thomas Pynchon
This scholarship prompted a well-known historian in Hawai‘i, Tom Coffman, to change the subtitle of his book in 2009, which Duke University republished in 2016, from The Story of America’s Annexation of the Nation of Hawai‘i to The History of the American Occupation of Hawai‘i. Coffman explained:
I am compelled to add that the continued relevance of this book reflects a far-reaching political, moral and intellectual failure of the United States to recognize and deal with its takeover of Hawai‘i. In the book’s subtitle, the word Annexation has been replaced by the word Occupation, referring to America’s occupation of Hawai‘i. Where annexation connotes legality by mutual agreement, the act was not mutual and therefore not legal. Since by definition of international law there was no annexation, we are left with the word occupation.
In making this change, I have embraced the logical conclusion of my research into the events of 1893 to 1898 in Honolulu and Washington, D.C. I am prompted to take this step by a growing body of historical work by a new generation of Native Hawaiian scholars. Dr. Keanu Sai writes, ‘The challenge for…the fields of political science, history, and law is to distinguish between the rule of law and the politics of power.’ In the history of Hawai‘i, the might of the United States does not make it right.
In 2016, Japan’s Seijo University’s Center for Glocal Studies published an article by Dennis Riches titled This is not America: The Acting Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom Goes Global with Legal Challenges to End Occupation. At the center of this article was the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the Council of Regency, and the commission war crimes. Riches, who is Canadian, wrote:
[The history of the Baltic States] is a close analog of Hawai‘i because the occupation by a superpower lasted over several decades through much of the same period of history. The restoration of the Baltic States illustrates that one cannot say too much time has passed, too much has changed, or a nation is gone forever once a stronger nation annexes it. The passage of time doesn’t erase sovereignty, but it does extend the time which the occupying power has to neglect its duties and commit a growing list of war crimes.
Additionally, school teachers, throughout the Hawaiian Islands, have also been made aware of the American occupation through course work at the University of Hawai‘i and they are teaching this material in the middle schools and the high schools. This exposure led the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association (“HSTA”), which represents public school teachers throughout Hawai‘i, to introduce a resolution—New Business Item 37, on July 4, 2017, at the annual assembly of the National Education Association (“NEA”) in Boston, Massachusetts. The NEA represents 3.2 million public school teachers, administrators, and faculty and administrators of universities throughout the United States. The resolution stated:
The NEA will publish an article that documents the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy in 1893, the prolonged illegal occupation of the United States in the Hawaiian Kingdom, and the harmful effects that this occupation has had on the Hawaiian people and resources of the land.
When the HSTA delegates in attendance returned to Hawai‘i, they asked Dr. Sai to write three articles for the NEA to publish: first, The Illegal Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government (April 2, 2018); second, The U.S. Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom (October 1, 2018); and, third, The Impact of the U.S. Occupation on the Hawaiian People (October 13, 2018). Awareness of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s situation has reached countless classrooms across the United States. These publications by the NEA was the Council’s crowning jewel which stemmed from the Council’s decision to address denationalization after returning home from the PCA in 2000.
Russian Government Admits Hawai‘i was Illegally Annexed
This exposure also prompted the Russian government, on October 4, 2018, to admit that Hawai‘i was illegally annexed by the United States. This acknowledgement occurred at a seminar entitled “Russian America: Hawaiian Pages 200 Years After” held at the PIR-CENTER, Institute of Contemporary International Studies, Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, in Moscow. The topic of the seminar was the restoration of Fort Elizabeth, a Russian fort built on the island of Kaua‘i in 1817.
Leading the seminar was Dr. Vladimir Orlov, director of the PIR-CENTER. Notable participants included Deputy Foreign Minister Sergej Ryabkov, Head of the Department of European Co-operation and specialist on nuclear and other disarmament negotiations, and Russian Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov. In his concluding remarks Dr. Orlov, who incidentally referred to the U.S. military installations at Barking Sands, mentioned as an aside and in a relatively low voice: “The annexation of Hawai‘i by the US was of course illegal and everyone knows it.”
United Nations Independent Expert on Hawai‘i’s Occupation
This educational exposure also prompted United Nations Independent Expert, Dr. Alfred M. deZayas, to send a communication, dated February 25, 2018, to members of the State of Hawai‘i Judiciary stating that the Hawaiian Kingdom is an occupied State and that the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, must be complied with. In that communication, Dr. deZayas stated:
I have come to understand that the lawful political status of the Hawaiian Islands is that of a sovereign nation-state in continuity; but a nation-state that is under a strange form of occupation by the United States resulting from an illegal military occupation and a fraudulent annexation. As such, international laws (the Hague and Geneva Conventions) require that governance and legal matters within the occupied territory of the Hawaiian Islands must be administered by the application of the laws of the occupied state (in this case, the Hawaiian Kingdom), not the domestic laws of the occupier (the United States).
This UN Independent Expert clearly stated the application of “the Hague and Geneva Conventions” requires the administration of Hawaiian Kingdom law, not United States law, in Hawaiian territory. This issue was at the center of the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitration case. His characterization of a “strange occupation” is not a diminishment of the law of occupation, but rather a consequence of not complying with the law of occupation. This noncompliance has created the façade of an incorporated territory of the United States called the State of Hawai‘i. The State of Hawai‘i is a de facto proxy for the United States and maintains effective control over Hawaiian territory. The War Report 2017 refers to such entities as an armed non-state actor (ANSA) “operating in another state when that support is so significant that the foreign state is deemed to have ‘overall control’ over the actions of the ANSA.”
Between the years of 1893 to 1898, the Hawaiian Kingdom was occupied by an American proxy of insurgents. There is no treaty of peace between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States except for the unilateral annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by a joint resolution of Congress. Whether by proxy or not, the United States is the occupying State and “as the right of an occupant in occupied territory is merely a right of administration, he may [not] annex it, while the war continues.” The ICRC Commentary on Article 47 also emphasize, “It will be well to note that the reference to annexation in this Article cannot be considered as implying recognition of this manner of acquiring sovereignty.”
The “Occupying Power cannot…annex the occupied territory, even if it occupies the whole of the territory concerned. A decision on that point can only be reached in a peace treaty. This is a universally-recognized rule and is endorsed by jurists and confirmed by numerous rulings of international and national courts.” Therefore, according to the ICRC, “an Occupying Power continues to be bound to apply the Convention as a whole even when, in disregard of the rules of international law, it claims to have annexed all or part of an occupied territory.” In other words, since there is no treaty of peace between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States, there was no annexation.
To understand what the UN Independent Expert called a “fraudulent annexation,” attention is drawn to the floor of the Senate on July 4, 1898, where U.S. Senator William Allen of Nebraska stated:
“The Constitution and the statutes are territorial in their operation; that is, they can not have any binding force or operation beyond the territorial limits of the government in which they are promulgated. In other words, the Constitution and statutes can not reach across the territorial boundaries of the United States into the territorial domain of another government and affect that government or persons or property therein.”
Two years later, on February 28, 1900, during a debate on senate bill no. 222 that proposed the establishment of a U.S. government to be called the Territory of Hawai‘i, Senator Allen reiterated, “I utterly repudiate the power of Congress to annex the Hawaiian Islands by a joint resolution such as passed the Senate. It is ipso facto null and void.” In response, Senator John Spooner of Wisconsin, a constitutional lawyer, dismissively remarked, “that is a political question, not subject to review by the courts.” Senator Spooner explained, “The Hawaiian Islands were annexed to the United States by a joint resolution passed by Congress. I reassert…that that was a political question and it will never be reviewed by the Supreme Court or any other judicial tribunal.”
Senator Spooner never argued that congressional laws have authority beyond United States territory. Instead, he said this issue would never see the light of day because United States courts would not review it due to the political question doctrine. What Senator Spooner meant was no matter how illegal the annexation was, the American courts will have to accept it because Congress did it. For an explanation of the evolution of the political question doctrine regarding Hawai‘i go to this link. This exchange between the two Senators is troubling, but it acknowledges the limitation of congressional laws and the political means by which to conceal an internationally wrongful act. The Territory of Hawai‘i is the predecessor of the State of Hawai‘i.
It would take another ninety years before the U.S. Department of Justice addressed this issue. In a 1988 legal opinion, the Office of Legal Counsel examined the purported annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by a congressional joint resolution. Douglas Kmiec, Acting Assistant Attorney General, authored this opinion for Abraham D. Sofaer, legal advisor to the U.S. Department of State. After covering the limitation of congressional authority, which, in effect, confirmed the statements made by Senator Allen, Assistant Attorney General Kmiec concluded:
Notwithstanding these constitutional objections, Congress approved the joint resolution and President McKinley signed the measure in 1898. Nevertheless, whether this action demonstrates the constitutional power of Congress to acquire territory is certainly questionable. … It is therefore unclear which constitutional power Congress exercised when it acquired Hawaii by joint resolution. Accordingly, it is doubtful that the acquisition of Hawaii can serve as an appropriate precedent for a congressional assertion of sovereignty over an extended territorial sea.
War Crimes—Violations of the Hague and Geneva Conventions
All this education and exposure has motivated an elected official for the State of Hawai‘i, while still in office, to take steps to conform to the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV. Her story was published by the British news outlet The Guardian, titled Hawai‘i politician stops voting, claiming islands are ‘occupied sovereign country.’ Other public officials of the State of Hawai‘i have also become aware of the American occupation and are taking steps to conform with international humanitarian law. They have reached out to Dr. Sai for consultation.
Moreover, on October 11, 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was sent a letter, from Jennifer Ruggles, the aforementioned State of Hawai‘i public official, reporting war crimes committed by the Queen’s Hospital, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2441 and §1091, and war crimes committed by thirty-two Circuit Judges of the State of Hawai‘i, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2441. Thereafter, Ms. Ruggles reported additional war crimes of pillaging committed by State of Hawai‘i tax collectors, in violation of §2441, the war crime of unlawful appropriation of property by the President of the United States and the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of §2441, and the war crime of destruction of property by the State of Hawai‘i on the summit of Mauna Kea, in violation of §2441.
Within nearly two decades the Council has effectively changed the discourse of Hawai‘i politics and history from the façade of American colonization and the formation of the State of Hawai‘i to the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent State that has and continues to be under an illegal and prolonged occupation by the United States.
As we are entering over a century of non-compliance with the law of occupation and the commission of war crimes, accountability for these war crimes is just over the horizon. In her last chapter titled “Hawaiian Autonomy” of her 1898 autobiography, Hawai‘i’s Story by Hawai‘i’s Queen, Queen Lili‘uokalani warned:
Oh, honest Americans, as Christians, hear me for my down trodden people! Their form of government is as dear to them as yours is precious to you. Quite as warmly as you love your country, so they love theirs. With all your goodly possessions, covering a territory so immense that there yet remain parts unexplored, possessing islands that, although near at hand, had to be neutral ground in time of war, do not covet the little vineyard of Naboth’s so far from your shores, lest the punishment of Ahab fall upon you, if not in your day in that of your children, for “for be not deceived, God is not mocked.”
 “United States Basic Field Manual F.M. 27-10 (Rules of Land Warfare), though not a source of law like a statute, prerogative order or decision of a court, is a very authoritative publication.” Trial of Sergeant-Major Shigeru Ohashi and Six Others, 5 Law Reports of Trials of Law Criminals (United Nations War Crime Commission) 27 (1949).
 C. Ryngaert and R. Fransen, “EU extraterritorial obligations with respect to trade with occupied territories: Reflections after the case of Front Polisario before EU courts,”  2(1): 7. Europe and the World: A law review , p. 8. (online at https://www.scienceopen.com/document_file/e5cc1ac6-41ee-40de-bbe9-25c9df97ab1e/ScienceOpen/EWLR-2-7.pdf).
 Stuart Casey-Maslen (ed.), The War Report 2012 ix (2013).
 United Nations, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development: Dispute Settlement (United Nations New York and Geneva, 2003), at 15.
 Tom Coffman, Nation Within: The History of the American Occupation of Hawai‘i xvi (2016).
 The War Report 2017, 22.
 Oppenheim, International Law, vol. II, 6th ed., 237 (1921).
 International Committee of Red Cross, Commentary: IV Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War 276 (1958).
 Id., 275.
 Id., 276.
 31 Cong. Rec. 6635 (1898).
 33 Cong. Rec. 2391 (1900).
 12 Opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel 238, 252 (1988) (online at https://hawaiiankingdom.org/pdf/1988_Opinion_OLC.pdf).
 Letter from Jennifer Ruggles, Hawai‘i County Council member, State of Hawai‘i, to Sean Kaul, FBI Special Agent in Charge (11 Oct. 2018) (online at https://jenruggles.com/wp-content/uploads/Reporting_to_FBI_10.11.18.pdf).
 Letter from Jennifer Ruggles, Hawai‘i County Council member, State of Hawai‘i, to State of Hawai‘i officials regarding unlawful collection of taxes (15 Nov. 2018) (online at https://jenruggles.com/wp-content/uploads/Ltr-to-State-of-HI-re-Taxes.pdf).
 Letter from Jennifer Ruggles, Hawai‘i County Council member, State of Hawai‘i, to U.S. President Trump regarding unlawful appropriation of property (28 Nov. 2018) (online at https://jenruggles.com/wp-content/uploads/Ltr_to_President_Trump.pdf).
 Letter from Jennifer Ruggles, Hawai‘i County Council member, State of Hawai‘i, to State of Hawai‘i Governor Ige and Supreme Court Justices regarding unlawful destruction of property on the summit of Mauna Kea (3 Dec. 2018) (online at https://jenruggles.com/wp-content/uploads/Ltr-to-Gov.-and-Sup.-Ct.pdf).
Two days after celebrations of Hawaiian Independence Day took place throughout the Hawaiian Islands, the British Newspaper “The Guardian” published an article on Hawai‘i County Council Member Jennifer Ruggles titled Hawaii politician stops voting, claiming islands are ‘occupied.’
Important take aways from a good article.
- After the Guardian reporter reached out to the U.S. Department of State and State of Hawai‘i Governor for comment on Jennifer Ruggles’ position that war crimes are being committed throughout the Hawaiian Islands and on the memorandum of the United Nations Independent Expert to State of Hawai‘i Judges stating that the Hague and Geneva Conventions obligate the United States to administer Hawaiian Kingdom laws and not the domestic laws of the United States, both offices gave no comment. If Hawai‘i was not an occupied State, but rather legally a part of the United States, and that the Hague and Geneva Conventions don’t apply to Hawai‘i, the State Department and the Governor’s office would have surely stated that. Instead they gave no comment. When a government agency gives no comment it would imply that they cannot deny the facts of the story.
- Dr. deZayas statement that Hawai‘i is “formally” a part of the United States. Careful statement made because the word formally is defined as “pertaining to the outward aspect of something as distinguished from its substance or material.” Formally is not the same as legally.
- Spokesman from the United Nations Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights stated “They are [Dr. deZayas’] own views.” This is true because it was his view as United Nations Independent Expert before his term expired in April 2018.
- In his February 25, 2018 memorandum to the State of Hawai‘i, Dr. deZayas clearly stated, “currently serving as the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, I have come to understand that the lawful political status of the Hawaiian Islands is that of a sovereign nation-state in continuity; but a nation-state that is under a strange form of occupation by the United States resulting from an illegal military occupation and a fraudulent annexation.”
- The Guardian reported, “Keanu Sai, a political science lecturer at the University of Hawaii and member of the Hawaiian Kingdom provisional government, says the unilateral annexation of Hawaii by passing a law was tantamount to the US passing a law annexing the UK or any other country. Sai said: ‘You can’t pass a law annexing a foreign country.'”
When the United States Senate resumed its debate of senate bill no. 222 to provide a government for the Territory of Hawai‘i in 1900, there was an exchange between Senator William Allen of Nebraska and Senator John Spooner of Wisconsin that warrants special attention. Two years earlier, Senator Allen voted against the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by congressional legislation.
During the debate on July 4, 1898, Senator Allen said, “The Constitution and the statutes are territorial in their operation; that is, they can not have any binding force or operation beyond the territorial limits of the government in which they are promulgated. In other words, the Constitution and statutes can not reach across the territorial boundaries of the United States into the territorial domain of another government and affect that government or persons or property therein (31 Cong. Rec. 6635).”
He continued to clarify, that the “power of acquiring additional territory, rests exclusively in the President and the Senate, that it is an executive power which in its very nature can not be exercised by the House of Representatives, and that the only method of exercising it is by treaty and not by joint resolution or act of Congress; and the case of Texas, when rightly understood, forms no exception to this rule; therefore an attempt to annex or acquire territory by act or joint resolution of Congress is in violation of the letter, spirit, and policy of the Constitution (id.).”
Consistent with his position in 1898, Senator Allen asserted on February 28, 1900, “I utterly repudiate the power of Congress to annex the Hawaiian Islands by a joint resolution such as passed the Senate. It is ipso facto null and void (33 Cong. Rec. 2391).” If the annexation was null and void, then there would be no need to debate senate bill no. 222 that would establish an American government on Hawaiian territory. Senator Spooner response to Senator Allen was “that is a political question, not subject to review by the courts (id.).” He then reiterated, “The Hawaiian Islands were annexed to the United States by a joint resolution passed by Congress. I reassert…that that was a political question and it will never be reviewed by the Supreme Court or any other judicial tribunal (id.).”
What did Senator Spooner mean that “it will never be reviewed by the Supreme Court or any other judicial tribunal.” He was referring to the “political question” doctrine. William Howard Taft acknowledged that Senator Spooner was “a great constitutional lawyer,” which is why he knew precisely what the political question doctrine was when he said it. Under this doctrine that was in use by American courts at the time, to include the United States Supreme Court, political questions were considered by the courts as factual determinations made by the executive and legislative branches. As such, these determinations, even if they were considered by the courts as unconstitutional, would bind the courts to accept them as conclusive. What Senator Spooner meant was no matter how illegal the annexation was, the American courts will have to accept it because Congress did it.
As an example, the U.S. Supreme Court in Williams v. Suffolk Ins. Co., 38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 415, 420 (1839) treated as binding on the court the executive’s determination that a given country was in control of foreign territory “whether the executive be right or wrong.” According to Nelson “an important branch of [the political question] doctrine operated to identify factual questions on which courts would accept the political branches’ determinations as binding.” See Caleb Nelson, Adjudication in the Political Branches, 107 Colum. L. Rev. 559, 592-93 (2007). Under this doctrine courts at the time did not question whether it had jurisdiction to resolve a political question “but rather enforced and applied the political branches’ determinations.” See Tara Leigh Grove, The Lost History of the Political Question Doctrine, 90 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1908, 1963 (Dec. 2015).
Senator Spooner’s statement is not only telling but malicious. The federal government knew that the illegal annexation of Hawai‘i would be locked within the American political system under the political question doctrine and never see the light of day. This shows an intent on the part of the United States government to conceal the fact that the annexation of Hawai‘i by a joint resolution, as Senator Allen stated, was “ipso facto null and void.” The political question doctrine, however, would later be revamped by the United States Supreme Court in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962) that would ironically unlock the door in exposing the prolonged occupation of Hawai‘i and the violations of international law.
Moving away from the courts accepting the factual determinations of the political branches as binding, the Supreme Court would now assert a revised doctrine where the courts would deny it has jurisdiction to address a political question because that decision has to be addressed by either of the two political branches—the executive or legislative, not the judicial branch. The issue would no longer be the acceptance of the factual determinations made by the executive or legislative branches, but whether or not the courts have jurisdiction to hear the case. It would now become a question of whether a case was justiciable or non-justiciable. In other words, under the traditional doctrine where the courts did not dismiss as non-justiciable but rather enforced the political branches determinations whether they were “right or wrong,” the courts under the modern doctrine would dismiss as non-justiciable because there exists a political question.
Today the invoking of the political question doctrine in cases that have been filed in federal courts come by way of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or done by the court’s own volition called sua sponte. Rule 12(b)(1) addresses subject matter jurisdiction, which is whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the case before it. Where a motion to dismiss on subject matter jurisdiction grounds would be filed is in a situation where a prosecutor is attempting to prosecute someone for murder in traffic court. A traffic court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to prosecute a murder case, another type of court does. Applying the modern political question doctrine, the American courts would say the proper jurisdiction is either with executive or legislative branches of government and not the courts.
Therefore, the court’s dismissal of the case because of a political question only addresses the jurisdictional question of whether the court can preside over the case and not the merits of the case. In fact, under the modern doctrine, when a court dismisses a case as a political question under Rule 12(b)(1), the court accepts as true the factual allegations in the complaint.
In 2008, the federal district court in Washington, D.C., dismissed a case concerning Taiwan as a political question under Rule 12(b)(1) in Lin v. United States, 539 F. Supp. 2d 173 (D.D.S. 2008). The federal court in its order stated that it “must accept as true all factual allegations contained in the complaint when reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1).” When this case went on appeal, the D.C. Appellate Court underlined the modern doctrine of the political question, “We do not disagree with Appellants’ assertion that we could resolve this case through treaty analysis and statutory construction; we merely decline to do so as this case presents a political question which strips us of jurisdiction to undertake that otherwise familiar task.” See Lin v. United States, 561 F.3d 506 (2009).
In 2018, federal judge Tanya S. Chutkan presided over Sai v. Trump—Petition for Writ of Mandamus, which sought an order from the federal court to compel President Trump to comply with the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, by administering the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an occupied State. The case was filed on June 25, 2018 with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and assigned civil case no. 1:18-cv-01500.
The factual allegations of the complaint were stated in paragraphs 79 through 205 under the headings From a State of Peace to a State of War, The Duty of Neutrality by Third States, Obligation of the United States to Administer Hawaiian Kingdom laws, Denationalization through Americanization, The State of Hawai‘i is a Private Armed Force, The Restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, Recognition De Facto of the Restored Hawaiian Government, War Crimes: 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and War Crimes: 1949 Geneva Convention, IV.
On September 11, 2018, Judge Chutkan, on her own accord (sua sponte), issued an order dismissing the case as a political question. On the very same day the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia filed a “Motion for Extension of Time to Answer in light of the order dismissing this action,” but it was denied by minute order. Judge Chutkan stated, “Because Sai’s claims involve a political question, this court is without jurisdiction to review his claims and the court will therefore DISMISS the Petition.” By dismissing the complaint, the Court accepted “as true all factual allegations contained in the complaint.”
Under the traditional political question doctrine, the Federal Court would have accepted as true the annexation of Hawai‘i even though it wasn’t, but under the modern doctrine it accepted as true the “illegality” of the annexation as well as the violations of international law since the American invasion of the Hawaiian Kingdom on January 16, 1893.
For the first time since President Grover Cleveland, in his message to the Congress on December 18, 1893, presented the facts of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government, the United States government, through its federal court in Washington, D.C., accepted “as true” the facts of the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the commission of war crimes.
The proper venue for resolving the violations of international law is not with the executive or legislative branches of the United States government, but rather international bodies, which will include the International Commission of Inquiry in Incidents of War Crimes in the Hawaiian Islands—The Larsen Case (Hawaiian Kingdom – Lance Paul Larsen) under the jurisdiction of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. These proceedings stemmed from the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitration.
The United States has admitted to the violations of international law. Drawing from the Miranda warning, “Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.”