First Publication of the Royal Commission of Inquiry

In response to the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States since 1893, and the commission of war crimes and human rights violations that continue to take place with impunity, the Royal Commission of Inquiry was established by the Council of Regency on April 17, 2019. The Council of Regency represented the Hawaiian Kingdom at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, PCA case no. 1999-01, from 1999-2001. The Royal Commission’s mandate is to “ensure a full and thorough investigation into the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom.”

Dr. David Keanu Sai was appointed as Head of the Royal Commission and he has commissioned recognized experts in various fields of international law who are the authors of chapters 3, 4 and 5 of this publication. These experts include Professor Matthew Craven, University of London, SOAS; Professor William Schabas, Middlesex University London; and Professor Federico Lenzerini, University of Siena.

Its first 378 page publication, Royal Commission of Inquiry: Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations in the Hawaiian Kingdom, provides information on the Royal Commission of Inquiry, Hawaiian Constitutional Governance, the United States Belligerent Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the Continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State, Elements of War Crimes committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom, and Human Rights violations and Self-determination. The Royal Commission will provide periodic reports of its investigation of war crimes committed by individual(s) that meet the constituent elements of mens rea and actus reus, and human rights violations.

There is no statute of limitation for war crimes but it is customary for individual(s) to be prosecuted for the commission of war crimes up to 80 years after the alleged war crime was committed given the life expectancy of individuals. As a matter of customary international law, States are under an obligation to prosecute individuals for the commission of war crimes committed outside of its territory or to extradite them for prosecution by other States or international courts should they enter their territory.

**The book is free of charge and authorization is given, in accordance with its copyright under Hawaiian law, to print in soft-cover or hard-cover so long as the content of the book is not altered or edited.

National Lawyers Guild Supports Council of Regency’s Strategic Plan

Posted on the National Lawyers Guild’s website on January 13, 2020.

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), the oldest and largest progressive bar association in the United States, calls upon the United States to immediately begin to comply with international humanitarian law in its prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 1893. As the longest running belligerent occupation of a foreign country in the history of international relations, the United States has been in violation of international law for over a century.

THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM AS A SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT STATE

On November 28, 1843, Great Britain and France jointly recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent State, which was followed by formal recognition by the United States on July 6, 1844. By 1893, the Hawaiian Kingdom maintained over 90 legations (embassies) and consulates throughout the world, to include a legation in Washington, D.C., and consulates in the cities of New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, San Diego, Boston, Portland, Port Townsend and Seattle. The United States also maintained a legation and consulate in Honolulu.

The Hawaiian Kingdom also held treaties with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Belgium, Bremen, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hamburg, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Samoa, Spain, Switzerland, the unified Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, and the United States. It was also a member of the Universal Postal Union.

As a constitutional monarchy, the kingdom provided universal healthcare for the aboriginal Hawaiian population since 1859 with the establishment of Queen’s Hospital, and it became the fifth country in the world to provide compulsory education for all youth in 1841. This predated compulsory education in the United States by seventy-seven years and its literacy rate was universal and second to Scotland. Also, between 1880 and 1887, a study abroad program was launched where 18 young Hawaiian subjects attended schools in the United States, Great Britain, which included Scotland, Italy, Japan and China where they studied engineering, law, foreign language, medicine, military science, engraving, sculpture, and music.

PRESIDENT GROVER CLEVELAND’S MESSAGE TO THE CONGRESS IN DECEMBER 18, 1893

After completing an investigation into the United States role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government on January 17, 1893, President Cleveland apprised the Congress of his findings and conclusions. In his message to the Congress, he stated, “And so it happened that on the 16th day of January, 1893, between four and five o’clock in the afternoon, a detachment of marines from the United States steamer Boston, with two pieces of artillery, landed at Honolulu. The men, upwards of 160 in all, were supplied with haversacks and canteens, and were accompanied by a hospital corps with stretchers and medical supplies. This military demonstration upon the soil of Honolulu was of itself an act of war.” He concluded, that “the military occupation of Honolulu by the United States on the day mentioned was wholly without justification, either as an occupation by consent or as an occupation necessitated by dangers threatening American life and property.”

This invasion coerced Queen Lili‘uokalani, executive monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom, to conditionally surrender to the superior power of the United States military, where she stated, “Now, to avoid any collision of armed forces and perhaps the loss of life, I do, under this protest, and impelled by said force, yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.” The President acknowledged, that by “an act of war…the Government of…friendly and confiding people has been overthrown.”

Through executive mediation between the Queen and the new U.S. Minister to the Hawaiian Islands, Albert Willis, that lasted from November 13, 1893 through December 18, 1893, an agreement of peace was reached. According to the executive agreement, by exchange of notes, the President committed to restoring the Queen as the constitutional sovereign, and the Queen agreed, after being restored, to grant a full pardon to the insurgents. Political wrangling in the Congress, however, blocked President Cleveland from carrying out his obligation of restoration of the Queen.

LIMITATION OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND LAWS

Five years later, at the height of the Spanish-American War, President Cleveland’s successor, William McKinley, signed a congressional joint resolution of annexation on July 7, 1898, unilaterally seizing the Hawaiian Islands for military purposes. In the Lotus case, the Permanent Court of International Justice stated that “the first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State is that…it may not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State.”

This rule of international law was acknowledged by the Supreme Court in United States v. Curtiss-Wright, Corp. (1936), when the court stated, “Neither the Constitution nor the laws passed in pursuance of it have any force in foreign territory unless in respect of our own citizens, and operations of the nation in such territory must be governed by treaties, international understandings and compacts, and the principles of international law.” In 1988, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded, it is “unclear which constitutional power Congress exercised when it acquired Hawaii by joint resolution.”

Under international law, “a disguised annexation aimed at destroying the independence of the occupied State, represents a clear violation of the rule preserving the continuity of the occupied State (Marek, Identity and Continuity of States in Public International Law, 2nd ed. 110 (1968)).”

Despite the limitations of United States legislation, the Congress went ahead and enacted the Territorial Act (1900) changing the name of the governmental infrastructure to the Territory of Hawai‘i. Fifty-nine years later, the Congress changed the name of the Territory of Hawai‘i to the State of Hawai‘i in 1959 under the Statehood Act. The governmental infrastructure of the Hawaiian Kingdom continued as the governmental infrastructure of the State of Hawai‘i.

According to Professor Matthew Craven in his 2002 legal opinion for the Hawaiian Council of Regency concluded, “That authority exercised by [the United States] over Hawai‘i is not one of sovereignty i.e. that the [United States] has no legally protected ‘right’ to exercise that control and that it has no original claim to the territory of Hawai‘i or right to obedience on the part of the Hawaiian population. Furthermore, the extension of [United States] laws to Hawai‘i, apart from those that may be justified by reference to the law of (belligerent) occupation would be contrary to the terms of international law.”

INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW OBLIGATES THE UNITED STATES TO ADMINISTER THE LAWS OF THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM

Despite over a century of occupation, international humanitarian law, otherwise known as the laws of war, obligates the United States to administer the laws of the occupied State. In 2018, United Nations Independent Expert, Dr. Alfred deZayas, sent a communication from Geneva to the State of Hawai‘i that read:

“As a professor of international law, the former Secretary of the UN Human Rights Committee, co-author of [the] book, The United Nations Human Rights Committee Case Law 1977-2008, and 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. 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).”

Violations of the provisions of the 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention are war crimes. Professor William Schabas, recognized expert in international criminal law, determined in a 2019 legal opinion for the Hawaiian Royal Commission of Inquiry, that war crimes have and continue to be committed in the Hawaiian Islands since January 17, 1893. He states, “In addition to crimes listed in applicable treaties, war crimes are also recognized under customary international law. Customary international law applies to States regardless of whether they have ratified relevant treaties. The customary law of war crimes is thus applicable to the situation in Hawai‘i. Many of the war crimes set out in the first Additional Protocol and in the Rome Statute codify customary international law and are therefore applicable to the United States despite its failure to ratify the treaties.” And according to Professor Lenzerini in his 2019 legal opinion for the Royal Commission of Inquiry, that violations of human rights in the Hawaiian Kingdom “would first of all need to be treated as war crimes, which are primarily to be considered under the lens of international criminal law.”

CONCEALING THE ILLEGAL OCCUPATION THROUGH AMERICANIZATION—DENATIONALIZATION

How could such a travesty have gone unnoticed until now? The answer is obliteration of Hawaiian national consciousness through a process of denationalization. Predating the policy of Germanization in the German occupied State of Serbia from 1915-1918, a formal policy of Americanization was initiated in 1906 that sought to obliterate the national consciousness of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the minds of school children throughout the islands. Classroom instruction was in English and if the children spoke Hawaiian they were severely punished. The Hawaiian Gazette reported, “It will be remembered that at the time of the celebration of the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, an agitation was begun looking to a better observance of these notable national days in the schools, as tending to inculcate patriotism in a school population that needed that kind of teaching, perhaps, more than the mainland children do.”

In 1907, a reporter from New York’s Harper’s Weekly visited Ka‘iulani public school in Honolulu and showcased the seeds of indoctrination. The reporter wrote:

“At the suggestion of Mr. Babbitt, the principal, Mrs. Fraser, gave an order, and within ten seconds all of the 614 pupils of the school began to march out upon the great green lawn which surrounds the building.… Out upon the lawn marched the children, two by two, just as precise and orderly as you find them at home. With the ease that comes of long practice the classes marched and counter-marched until all were drawn up in a compact array facing a large American flag that was dancing in the northeast trade-wind forty feet above their heads.… ‘Attention!’ Mrs. Fraser commanded. The little regiment stood fast, arms at side, shoulders back, chests out, heads up, and every eye fixed upon the red, white and blue emblem that waived protectingly over them. ‘Salute!’ was the principal’s next command. Every right hand was raised, forefinger extended, and the six hundred and fourteen fresh, childish voices chanted as one voice: ‘We give our heads and our hearts to God and our Country! One Country! One Language! One Flag!’”

The word “inculcate” imports force such as to convince, implant, or to indoctrinate. Brainwashing is its colloquial term. Within three generations, the national consciousness of the Hawaiian Kingdom was effectively obliterated from the minds of the Hawaiian people.

THE RISE OF NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM

The year 1993, which marked the 100th anniversary of the American invasion and occupation, began the resurgence of Hawaiian national consciousness. It was also the year that the Congress enacted a joint resolution apologizing for the United States role in illegally overthrowing the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Six years later on November 8, 1999, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague accepted a dispute between Lance Larsen, a Hawaiian subject, and the restored Hawaiian government—the Council of Regency (Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom). Larsen alleged the Council of Regency was legally liable for “allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws over the claimant’s person within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom.” The Regency’s position was that it was not liable and that the United States was responsible under international humanitarian law. Due to the United States decision not to participate in the arbitral proceedings after being invited by the Regency and Larsen’s counsel, Larsen was unable to maintain his suit against the Hawaiian government.

These proceedings, however, drew international attention to the American occupation which prompted the NLG’s International Committee to form the Hawaiian Kingdom Subcommittee in March of 2019. The 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.”

In December of 2019, the NLG’s membership voted and passed a resolution where “the National Lawyers Guild calls upon the United States of America immediately to begin to comply with international humanitarian law in its prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Islands.”

  • NLG strongly condemns the prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Islands.
  • NLG also condemns the unlawful presence and maintenance of the United States Indo-Pacific Command with its 118 military sites throughout the Hawaiian Islands, which has caused the islands to be targeted for nuclear strike by North Korea, China and Russia.
  • NLG calls for the United States to immediately comply with international humanitarian law and begin to administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom as the occupied State.
  • NLG calls on the legal and human rights community to view the United States presence in the Hawaiian Islands through the prism of international law and to roundly condemn it as an illegal occupation under international law.
  • NLG supports the Hawaiian Council of Regency, who represented the Hawaiian Kingdom at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in its efforts to seek resolution in accordance with international law as well as its strategy to have the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties comply with international humanitarian law as the administration of the Occupying State.
  • NLG calls on all United Nations member States and non-member States to not recognize as lawful a situation created by a serious violation of international law, and to not render aid or assistance in maintaining the unlawful situation. As an internationally wrongful act, all States shall cooperate to ensure the United States complies with international humanitarian law and consequently bring to an end the unlawful occupation of the Hawaiian Islands.

The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

Attorneys for Mauna Kea Protectors Argue State of Hawai‘i is Engaging in “War Crimes”

This past Monday defense lawyers Dexter Kaiama and Stephen Laudig filed their response to the State of Hawai‘i Attorney General’s opposition to their clients’ motion to dismiss. They argued that the Attorney General “cannot be allowed to knowingly and with intent benefit from the ‘war crime’ of usurpation of sovereignty that consists in the ‘imposition of legislation or administrative measures by the occupying power,’ which, in effect, leads to the violation of international law by denying a Protected Person of the right to a fair and regular trial by a properly constituted court. The prohibition of ‘war crimes’ is a jus cogens norm under customary international law and neither the [Attorney General] nor this Court can derogate from these peremptory norms.”

Kaiama and Laudig represent Deena Oana-Hurwitz, Loretta and Walter Ritte, Pualani Kanakaole-Kanahele, Kaliko Kanaele, Gene P.K. Burke, Alika Desha and Desmon Haumea. Both attorneys are also members of the National Lawyers Guild that “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.”

After state law enforcement officers arrested 39 Kia‘i Mauna (protectors of the mountain) who were opposing the building of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea on July 17, 2019, the Attorney General filed charges of obstruction in the Hilo District Court. On behalf of the 8 defendants, Kaiama and Laudig filed their motions to dismiss on November 13, 2019, which provided clear and unequivocal evidence that because the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist under international law the District Court “is not a regularly constituted court” and therefore does not have lawful jurisdiction to preside over the case.

An opposition to the motion to dismiss was filed by the Attorney General on December 6, 2019. In its opposition, the Attorney General provided no counter evidence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s existence and that the Hawaiian Islands have never been lawfully a part of the United States. Instead, the Attorney General argues three points as to why Judge Kanani Lauback should deny defendants’ motion to dismiss. The first argument is that the political question doctrine prevents courts from adjudicating the legality of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the validity of the State of Hawai‘i. Second, the legal status of the State of Hawai‘i has been adjudicated. And, third, international law does not override acts of Congress.

On December 9, Kaiama and Laudig filed a reply that starts off by stating that the Attorney General’s “statement of relevant facts violates the principle of jus cogens and is not relevant to the Court’s consideration of the instant motion.” Jus cogens is a legal term that federal courts say “enjoy[s] the highest status within international law,” and as such cannot be denigrated. International crimes, which includes war crimes, are jus cogens norms.

In its reply, the defense pointed out that the unlawful imposition of United States laws and administrative policies constitute a war crime under customary international law. For their evidence, the defense cited a legal opinion written by Professor William Schabas, a leading expert in international criminal law and war crimes, titled Legal opinion on war crimes related to the United States occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 17 January 1893. The defense argues that all “three fit squarely within the provisions of United States internal law—being legislation and administrative rules, which customary international law precludes a State from invoking as justification for its failure to comply with Article 43 of the Hague Regulations.” Article 43 of the Hague Regulation is a ratified treaty by the United States that obligates an Occupying State to administer the laws of the Occupied State. In this case the Occupying State is the United States and the Occupied States is the Hawaiian Kingdom.

A hearing on the motion to dismiss is scheduled for 8:30am on Friday, December 13, 2019, at the Hilo District Court.

Hawaiian Royal Commission of Inquiry

In response to over a century of the United States’ violations of international humanitarian law and the commission of war crimes with impunity that have occurred within the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the acting Council of Regency established the Royal Commission of Inquiry (Commission), by proclamation, on April 17, 2019. The Commission was established by “virtue of the prerogative of the Crown provisionally vested in [the Council of Regency] in accordance with Article 33 of the 1864 Constitution, and to ensure a full and thorough investigation into the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom.”

The Commission’s mandate “shall be to investigate the consequences of the United States’ belligerent occupation, including with regard to international law, humanitarian law and human rights, and the allegations of war crimes committed in that context”—Article 1(2).  To accomplish this mandate, Dr. David Keanu Sai”—Article 1(1), who currently serves as Minister of the Interior and Minister of Foreign Affairs ad interim, shall head the Commission and has been authorized to seek “recognized experts in various fields”—Article 3, whose opinions shall form the basis of the Commission’s reports.

The Commission shall first come out with a preliminary report that will provide the “geographical scope and time span of the investigation”—Article 1(2), and the identification of the specific war crimes to be investigated as well as a list of human rights recognized during belligerent occupations. The preliminary report will be followed by periodic reports that will identify the perpetrators of these war crimes and human rights violations. These periodic reports will have the evidential basis of mens rea and actus reus that have a direct nexus to the elements that constitute a particular war crime(s) as provided in the legal opinion of Professor William Schabas. War crimes have no statute of limitations, and, for those war crimes that are recognized under customary international law, States are obligated to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes under its universal jurisdiction. 

These reports “will be presented to the Council of Regency, the Contracting Powers of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, the Contracting Powers of the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the Contracting Powers of the 2002 Rome Statute, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the National Lawyers Guild”—Article 1(3).

The Commission has been convened with experts in international law in the fields of State continuity, humanitarian law, human rights law and self-determination of a people of an existing State under belligerent occupation. These experts authored legal opinions for the Commission, which include: Professor Matthew Craven, University of London SOAS, School of Law; Professor William Schabas, Middlesex University London, School of Law; and Professor Federico Lenzerini, University of Siena (Italy), Department of Political and International Sciences. Dr. Sai, who is also from the University of Hawai‘i, will also provide his expertise in the legal and political history of Hawai‘i.

Dr. David Keanu Sai, Memorandum—Hawaiian Constitutional Governance (2019).

Dr. David Keanu Sai, Memorandum—United States Belligerent Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom (2019).

Professor Matthew Craven, Legal Opinion—Continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom under international law (2002).

Professor William Schabas, Legal Opinion—War crimes related to the United States occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 17 January 1893 (2019).

Professor Federico Lenzerini, Legal Opinion—International Human Rights Law and Self-Determination of Peoples Related to the United States Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 17 January 1893 (2019)

Middlesex University London to Host Dr. Keanu Sai’s Presentation on Hawai‘i’s Occupation and War Crimes

The United States’ Prolonged Occupation of Hawai‘i: War Crimes and Human Rights Violations

Date and Time: Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:30-19:00 BST

Location: Middlesex University The College Building, 2nd Floor, C219-220 The Burroughs London NW4 4BT United Kingdom

Registration: The event is free and open to the public as well as faculty, staff and students of Middlesex University London. Click here to Register

About this Event: From a British Protectorate in 1794 to an Independent State in 1843, the Hawaiian Kingdom’s government was illegally overthrown by U.S. forces in 1893. U.S. President Cleveland, after conducting a presidential investigation into the overthrow, notified the Congress that the Hawaiian government was overthrown by an “act of war” and that the U.S. was responsible. Annexationists in the Congress thwarted Cleveland’s commitment, by exchange of notes with Queen Lili‘uokalani, to restore the Hawaiian government and Hawai‘i was unilaterally annexed in 1898 during the Spanish-American War after Cleveland left office in order to secure the islands as a military outpost. Today there are 118 U.S. military sites in the islands, headquarters for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Unified Military Command, and is currently targeted for nuclear strike by North Korea, China, and Russia.

This legal and political history of Hawai‘i has been kept from the international community until the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitral proceedings were initiated in 1999 at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands. At the core of the dispute were the unlawful imposition of U.S. laws, which led to grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention by the U.S. against Lance Larsen, a Hawaiian subject, and whether the Hawaiian Kingdom, by its Council of Regency, was liable for the unlawful imposition of U.S. laws in the territory of an occupied State.

This talk by Dr. Keanu Sai, who served as Agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom in the Larsen case, will provide a historical and legal context of the current situation in Hawai‘i and the mandate of the Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate war crimes and human rights violations taking place in Hawai‘i. Dr. Sai encourages attendees to view beforehand “The acting Council of Regency: Exposing the American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom” at:

War Crime: State of Hawai‘i Supreme Court Admits Mauna Kea Summit has been Destroyed

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.”[1]

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.[2]

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.[3] 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.”[4] Somewhat amazing was its open acknowledgement that eleven observatories built since 1970[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

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.”[8]


[1] Black’s Law, p. 1544.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] Id., p. 45.

[5] 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).

[6] In Re Conservation District Use Application for TMT, SCOT-17-0000777, Opinion, State of Hawai‘i Supreme Court (Oct. 30, 2018), p. 5-6.

[7] 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.

[8] Id., p. 36.

Maui County Council member Tamara Paltin Sought Dr. Keanu Sai’s Expertise and Calls upon UH President Lassner to halt TMT Construction Due to Invalidity of General Lease and War Crimes

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.

Press Release: Dr. Keanu Sai Being a Subject of Ad Hominem Attack by KGMB Unconfirmed “Fake News” Report

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!”

Back Story

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.

Video of Dr. Keanu Sai’s Presentation to the Maui County Council on the status of the Hawaiian Kingdom under International Law

Dr. Keanu Sai’s May 15, 2019 presentation to the State of Hawai‘i Maui County Council’s Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee, chaired by Council member Tamara Paltin.
Questions and answers by Maui County Council members of Dr. Sai’s presentation on the legal status of the Hawaiian Kingdom under international law.

National Lawyers Guild Acknowledges Hawai‘i is Illegally Occupied

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.

New Documentary: Speaking Truth to Power

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 integrative.media.coop@gmail.com.

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.

Addressing Americanization by the Hawaiian Council of Regency

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.[1] 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.”[2]

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.[3] 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.”[4] 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”,[5] and “the existence of an armed conflict is an objective test and not a national ‘decision.’”[6] 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.”[7] 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.[8]

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.”[9]

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.”[10] 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.”[11]

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.”[12] 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.”[13] 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.”[14]

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.”[15] In response, Senator John Spooner of Wisconsin, a constitutional lawyer, dismissively remarked, “that is a political question, not subject to review by the courts.”[16] 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.”[17]

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.[18]

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.[19] Thereafter, Ms. Ruggles reported additional war crimes of pillaging committed by State of Hawai‘i tax collectors, in violation of §2441,[20] the war crime of unlawful appropriation of property by the President of the United States and the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of §2441,[21] and the war crime of destruction of property by the State of Hawai‘i on the summit of Mauna Kea, in violation of §2441.[22]

Naboth’s Vineyard

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.”


[1] Award (Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom), Annexure 1, President Cleveland’s message to the Senate and House of Representatives dated 18 December 1893, 119 ILR (2001), 566, 608.

[2] Id.

[3] David Keanu Sai, A Slippery Path towards Hawaiian Indigeneity, 10 J. L. & Soc. Challenges 69, 130-131 (2008).

[4] “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).

[5] 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,” [2018] 2(1): 7. Europe and the World: A law review [20], p. 8. (online at https://www.scienceopen.com/document_file/e5cc1ac6-41ee-40de-bbe9-25c9df97ab1e/ScienceOpen/EWLR-2-7.pdf).

[6] Stuart Casey-Maslen (ed.), The War Report 2012 ix (2013).

[7] United Nations, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development: Dispute Settlement (United Nations New York and Geneva, 2003), at 15.

[8] Tom Coffman, Nation Within: The History of the American Occupation of Hawai‘i xvi (2016).

[9] The War Report 2017, 22.

[10] Oppenheim, International Law, vol. II, 6th ed., 237 (1921).

[11] International Committee of Red Cross, Commentary: IV Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War 276 (1958).

[12] Id., 275.

[13] Id., 276.

[14] 31 Cong. Rec. 6635 (1898).

[15] 33 Cong. Rec. 2391 (1900).

[16] Id.

[17] Id.

[18] 12 Opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel 238, 252 (1988) (online at https://hawaiiankingdom.org/pdf/1988_Opinion_OLC.pdf).

[19] 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).

[20] 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).

[21] 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).

[22] 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).