State of Hawai‘i Government Official Requests from U.S. State Department Legal Opinion on the Current Status of Hawai‘i under International Law


MAY 09, 2014

OHA’s top executive makes formal request to U.S. Department of State for legal opinion on the current status of Hawai‘i under international law

Dr CrabbeWASHINGTON, D.C. (May 9, 2014) – The Office of Hawaiian Affairs top executive submitted a formal request with the U.S. Department of State requesting a legal opinion from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office of Legal Counsel addressing the legal status of the Hawai‘i under international law.

The Office of Legal Counsel drafts legal opinions of the U.S. Attorney General and also provides its own written opinions and oral advice in response to requests from the various agencies of the Executive Branch, which includes the Department of State.

Trustees and staff of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs are in Washington, D.C., at the invitation of the Department of State for a consultation with representatives of the federal government, federally recognized tribes and other indigenous peoples of the United States on May 9. The topic of the meeting is the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to be held at the United Nations, September 22-23, 2014. The meeting will take place at the U.S. Department of State, 23rd Street entrance, between C and D Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

John_KerryIn a letter addressed to Secretary of State John F. Kerry, OHA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kamana‘opono Crabbe, described his request as a very important question that needs to be answered from an agency that is not only qualified but authorized to answer, saying that it is addressing very grave concerns of OHA’s activities in its efforts toward nation building.

“As the chief executive officer and administrator for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, being a governmental agency of the State of Hawai‘i, the law places on me, as a fiduciary, strict standards of diligence, responsibility and honesty,” Crabbe said. “My executive staff, as public officials, carry out the policies and directives of the Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the service of the Native Hawaiian community. We are responsible to take care, through all lawful means, that we apply the best skills and diligence in the servicing of this community.”

Crabbe explained the action taken was prompted when one of his staff attended a presentation and panel discussion at the William S. Richardson School of Law on April 17, 2014 that featured former Hawai‘i Governor John Waihe‘e, III, Chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, senior Law Professor Williamson Chang, and Dr. Keanu Sai, a political scientist. Click here to view a video of the Law School presentation and panel discussion.

“The presentations of Professor Chang and Dr. Sai provided a legal analysis of the current status of Hawai‘i that appeared to undermine the legal basis of the Roll Commission, and, as alleged in the panel discussions, the possibility of criminal liability under international law. Both Professor Chang and Dr. Sai specifically stated that the Federal and State of Hawai‘i governments are illegal regimes that stem from an illegal and prolonged occupation by the United States as a result of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government.” Crabbe said. “As a government agency of the State of Hawai‘i this would include the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and by enactment of the State of Hawai‘i Legislature, it would also include the Roll Commission. Both Act 195 and U.S. Public Law 103-150, acknowledges the illegality of the overthrow.”

According to Crabbe, “These matters have raised grave concerns with regard to not only the Native Hawaiian community we serve, but also to the vicarious liability of myself, staff and Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and members of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. The community we serve, the Trustees, and many of my staff members, to include myself, and the members of the Roll Commission are Native Hawaiians, who are direct descendants of Hawaiian subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom.”

Crabbe said he wanted to seek an opinion on the veracity of these allegations from its in house counsel or from the State of Hawai‘i Attorney General, but felt he was prevented because there would appear to be a conflict of interest if these allegations were true.

In his letter, Crabbe said, “because the Department of State is the United States’ executive department responsible for international relations and who also housed diplomatic papers and agreements with the Hawaiian Kingdom, I am respectfully submitting a formal request to have the Department of State request an opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, addressing the following questions:

• First, does the Hawaiian Kingdom, as a sovereign independent State, continue to exist as a subject of international law?

• Second, if the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist, do the sole-executive agreements bind the United States today?

• Third, if the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist and the sole-executive agreements are binding on the United States, what effect would such a conclusion have on United States domestic legislation, such as the Hawai‘i Statehood Act, 73 Stat. 4, and Act 195?

• Fourth, if the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist and the sole-executive agreements are binding on the United States, have the members of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, Trustees and staff of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs incurred criminal liability under international law?”

A press conference is scheduled for Monday, May 12, at 10:00 a.m. when OHA’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Crabbe returns from Washington, D.C.

Click here to download the request letter.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Dr. Crabbe’s letter specifically states:

“For your consideration, I have enclosed Dr. Sai’s law journal article published in the Journal of Law and Social Challenges that compares federal recognition under the Akaka bill and the international laws of occupation. Act 195 is the State of Hawai‘i’s version of the Akaka bill. Dr. Sai argues that Native Hawaiians are not indigenous people of the United States, but rather nationals of an occupied State. In addition, I’m am also enclosing a brief authored by Dr. Sai and Professor Matthew Craven from the University of London, SOAS, Law School, titled “The Continuity of the Hawaiian State and the Legitimacy of the acting Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom;” a DVD packet with booklet of the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands (1999-2001); a Complaint filed with the President of the United Nations Security Council in 2001 (without exhibits); a Protest and Demand filed with the President of the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 (without exhibits); a Referral submitted with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at the Hague, Netherlands, in 2013, calling upon the Prosecutor for the investigation of war crimes alleged to have been committed in Hawai‘i (without exhibits); and a complaint for war crimes filed with the Philippine government under its universal jurisdiction alleging that one of our Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Ms. S. Haunani Apoliona, committed a war crime in her private capacity as a member of the Board of Directors for the Bank of Hawai‘i (without exhibits).”

“While I await the opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel, I will be requesting approval from the Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs that we refrain from pursuing a Native Hawaiian governing entity until we can confirm that the Hawaiian Kingdom, as an independent sovereign State, does not continue to exist under international law and that we, as individuals, have not incurred any criminal liability in this pursuit.”

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Media Contact: Garett Kamemoto

Communications Manager


28 thoughts on “State of Hawai‘i Government Official Requests from U.S. State Department Legal Opinion on the Current Status of Hawai‘i under International Law

    • Indeed, interesting, but the opinion ought to be considered legally irrelevant, as it is asking the burglar to determine if he is a criminal or not, and whether he will return billions of dollars of stolen goods. After 115 years, what do you expect the criminal to say? And if he says “not guilty” in spite of the Apology Resolution, we are still stuck with trying to get the reluctant elephant out of the kitchen.

      • True I agree with you there. The U.S. department of state will probably reply with the number 1959 in there response somewhere, which to those of us who aren’t ignorant to Hawai’i’s history, knows its irrelevant. But on the bright side, this is a chance for one of its pawns (OHA) to work on the inside and use its “power” to address the occupier head on. After all who are they likely to answer; a sovereignty group, or a state of Hawai’i agency. Also this could gain huge media attention and capture the public’s attention.

  1. Wow! He’s basically asking if his organization is illegal, to their own detriment. This could put some pressure on the Obama administration to finally comply with the Executive Agreements, International Law, etc, if they answer truthfully. Time will tell…

  2. WELL! Welly, welly, well, twinkle toes! This is not only a first, but a good start as well! Finally the illegal regime’s agency, OHA, is doing something right for a change! Hahaha!!

    First of all, I’m glad Dr. Sai has finally got their attention! As a result, people are finally asking the right questions! (By the way, Dr. Crabbe, good start in asking the right questions!) Now lets see if this can grab the U.S. Department of State’s attention……

    To put it this way, its the year 2000 case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration all over again! This time, it came to THEM! (U.S. Department of State)

  3. Kamana’o,

    Aunty so proud of you for asking the hard questions. They no can ignore you because of your position.

    Na iwikupuna, your mentors, Aunty Abbie, Aunty Margaret folks have all got to be smiling. I am smiling too.

    I pray your request that OHA refrain from pursuing a Native Hawaiian governing entity until it is confirmed that the Hawaiian Kingdom, as an independent sovereign State, does not continue to exist under international law, etc. is granted.

    That is one step that has to take place so no more of our OHA trusts monies are spent for a hopeless State of Hawaii endeavor.

    The Hawaiian Kingdom is an independent sovereign State and Keanu will complete his kuleana in proving that it continues to exist under International Law.

    Aunty Melissa

    • Please give your nephew my mahalo and aloha! After watching the 10pm local news and seeing what the OHA trustees did, rescinding the request that he made, I immediately emailed OHA to tell them how I felt (although I’m sure it will fall on deaf ears). Not only is he doing the right thing for himself, to find out if he will be found personally liable should something happen, but he was also attempting to do something pono for all of Hawaii’s citizens. For the briefest moment, I thought that maybe OHA was finally doing right by its beneficiaries. But then reality kicked in and I saw Machado on TV. (lol) Kamanao’pono was very brave this week!

  4. Mahalo nui loa e Kamana’opono i kau mau ninau maika’i ia usa State Dept.
    Great news Nu oli! Mahalo keAkua ~ Aloha keAkua.

  5. Mahalo Ka Po’o Kamanaopono for exercising pono diligence in posing key questions of the US State Department. Most of us already know what the truth is regardless of how the US State Department chooses to respond. If the US State Department affirms that the fake state is a lawful entity, the US State Department will be responsible for any war crimes committed by the fake state and it’s agencies, including OHA..

    I assume that the fake state process of Kanaiolowalu will be shelved until the US State Department has responded. If it is not, then those ushering the process may be viewed as committing war crimes. As the old saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse…


  6. Intelligence is at work! I know that Aunty Malia Craver and others of her generation and older are in the balcony seats of Heaven smiling, proud of Kamana’opono. Mahalo Ke Akua for those three brave men who participated in the open forum so all could hear. All of the evidence is in, it doesn’t matter what they say. It will either be THE TRUTH OR A LIE. Mr. Kerry will be forever known by his answer and will live with it for all eternity. I pray that he will answer with HONOR and COURAGE for it will take that and more to speak the truth. AKUA BE WITH HIM. Mahalo Kamana’opono for asking all the proper questions. Liability is a bitch! Many organized sovereignty groups will have to ask themselves the same questions and have the same courage to make the honest responses and cease and desist pronto. It only takes a fraction of directional change for all of us to reach the same entrance way to freedom. ‘EA!!!!!!

  7. Interesting timing with Crimea. One would think a news agency would want to at least discuss it with that going on.

  8. Ysup. The burden of proof is in the US State Dept hands. We will see how
    they slither out of this one. Kamana, this is a good start. Let’s see how OHA progresses, if they can stay on course.

        • …Good job kamana’o. Let’s see if OHA will truly serve their “beneficiaries” as they should and assist with the factual education of Hawai’i’s true history as well as to expose the USA of its illegal occupation of Hawa’i’i nei


  9. U.S. Not Part of International Criminal Court Is ‘a Great Regret,’ Clinton Says

    Friday, August 7, 2009
    NAIROBI, Aug. 6 — At a spirited town hall meeting at the University of Nairobi on Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called it “a great regret” that the United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court, an institution that has long been treated warily by the Pentagon.

    In Somalia, a Twist on ‘Handshake Diplomacy’
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    Clinton Regrets U.S. Not Part of Court
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    A student asked the secretary how the United States could support having the court intervene in Kenya’s problems when the U.S. government has not subjected itself to its procedures.

    Clinton said it is “a great regret, but it is a fact” that the U.S. government is not a member of the court. “But we have supported the court and continue to do so,” she added.

    “I think we could have worked out some of the challenges that are raised concerning our membership by our own government, but that has not yet come to pass,” she said.

    In December 2000, Clinton’s husband, then-President Bill Clinton, signed the treaty that set up the International Criminal Court, despite what he called “concerns about significant flaws.” But he did not submit it to Congress for ratification. Months later, the Bush administration in effect withdrew that signature. The Obama administration has not made any move to join the court.

    The Pentagon has long worried that the international war crimes court could unfairly target U.S. military personnel around the world. Some legal experts, however, say the U.S. government had won important concessions to ensure protection of American service members.

    The Kenyan government and opposition have agreed to allow the court to prosecute people accused of participating in violence after a disputed election in December 2007, although the cases could also be referred to a special Kenyan tribunal.

    — Mary Beth Sheridan

  10. Oha and Crabbe have hit the wall and Maika`i mahalo to all of the Maoli and Aupuni that are stepping out still citing history which is well known. They all know and they all know that they all know…this isn’t required even in the echo’s of Clinton’s voice. We know and have known since the start. One question will be will this make things right? Relying upon u.s. honestly is an expectation which always results in a resentment. If you put all of the behavioral facts and data together on all levels the u.s. is a mercenary nation or group of people who do not have our principles. Their character is of subversion and it is documented in their history and their dna. They do not know what Aloha means or how to act it out…ka aupuni o` Hawaii is ka hale aloha. Just saying….all the time.

  11. I emailed them some time back and suggested they would be more credible and successful if they would repatriate first. I would love to see them do this in spite of waiting for the u.s./Kerry’s response.

    • That is an interesting premise Kepo`o…sad thought and didn’t even occur in my mind…trusting Akua on this one completely.

  12. According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser OHA has rescinded the letter and the newspaper reported “Trustee chairwoman Colette Machado said trustees were surprised and taken aback when they read the letter this morning. She said it was written without their knowledge and the content of the letter does not reflect the position of OHA or the trustees.” “We were totally caught off-guard,” she said.”

    But how can the board rescind an official communication from the CEO without quorum and having the rescind decision on the agenda? People should ask this question to OHA.

    • Mahalo Kiele. I immediately wrote OHA after the 10pm news to tell them that it should take more than a couple hours of consideration to rescind, but your perspective is much better. I’ll will use your words, exact, if you don’t mind! : )

  13. Kiele, you bring up some good points but what the trustees did was damage control to give the U.S. State Dept. a way out of answering those questions. Now if the points you brought up become an issue they will deal with them after the fact. Remember they are part of an illegal regime and they will use their power and resources to promote their agenda at all costs. They will probably try to get rid of Kamana’o but he has a good chance to withstand the attack since he was within the scope of his duties as a CEO. They might try to use some other reason or incident unrelated to this one so let us keep Kamana’o in our prayers as he stands against such corruption.
    The hopes that Hawaii’s occupation will be in the War Report will have a great impact on this illegal regime. Those questions that Kamana’o asked will already have been answered and it’s not dependant on what the U.S. has to say but now a supporting power can monitor and report if the U.S. is in compliance with the Geneva conventions, laws of occupation and humanitarian laws. This will also have a direct impact on OHA and it’s trustees.

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