From Akaka Bill to Independence
By Leon Siu
There is a political storm brewing in Hawaii that has the potential to escalate into an international disgrace for America. It is a matter of which Americans would be well-advised to take heed.
According to commitments made by the leadership of the United States Senate, a cloture vote on a bill concerning Hawaii will take place immediately after the Senate reconvenes in September. Most Americans don’t know about this bill, and few in Congress understand its true implications and ramifications. The bill being voted on is S. 147, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005.
First, a little background...
The United States came to be in possession of the Hawaiian Islands through a series of unlawful actions, beginning with the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893, followed by the illegal annexation in 1898 and then the illegal enactment of statehood in 1959. Although the United States’ presence in Hawaii is a reality, it is not founded upon any lawful authority. It can be correctly concluded from both the facts of history and the direct, on-the-record admissions of the United States Congress and two American presidents, that the United States claim of sovereignty over Hawaii is clearly fraudulent.
Maintaining the charade of legitimacy...
Perhaps out of a sense of responsibility, perhaps to cover things up, since 1920, many entitlement programs were created by Congress ostensibly to address the needs of native Hawaiians who were adversely affected by the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893. It was Congress that instituted the matter of race into these programs and it is Congress that continues to maintain race as a factor.
In recent years, those native Hawaiian entitlements came under legal challenge by parties who believe that these are indeed race-based programs in violation of the discrimination laws of the United States. The rulings from the U.S. courts have favored the challengers, signaling the impending doom of these Hawaiian entitlement programs.
Enter the Akaka Bill…
Five years ago, in order to save these programs that are vital to native Hawaiians, Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) introduced a bill through which congress would authorize a process for the formation of a semi-autonomous Native Hawaiian Governing Entity similar to the formats created for American Indians and Alaskan Natives.
This "Akaka Bill," S. 147, has the endorsement of virtually every elected official in Hawaii, the beneficiaries of the Hawaiian entitlement programs, and the passive support of Hawaii’s general public.
There are also many who do not support the Akaka Bill. Basically these comprise two antithetical groups. One group consists of conservative Americans who strongly oppose the measure because they believe the Akaka Bill violates the U.S. Constitution. This group is vigorously engaged in the media and whatever public forum that can be used to defeat the bill.
The other group of non-supporters is not involved in the debate, maintaining the Akaka Bill is irrelevant because Hawaii is an independent nation and the U.S. Congress has no authority in Hawaii. To these independence proponents the very presence of the United States in the Hawaiian Kingdom is illegitimate and in violation of international law.
In the year 2000, while formulating this bill, Akaka ran into a buzz-saw of opposition from Hawaiians for independence. Since then, no public hearings regarding this bill have been held in Hawaii, and only certain guests (only those who support the bill) have been invited to give testimony on Capitol Hill.
Up until a few weeks ago, it looked like the Akaka Bill would steamroll through the U.S. Senate. But opposition voices from Hawaii, those raising the constitutionality issue, began to make inroads with some conservative senators and media groups. Over the past few weeks, stories in the Wall Street Journal and other national publications delivered some telling blows against the bill.
Akaka’s Misstep …
Then, Senator Akaka, in an interview on National Public Radio in mid-August inadvertently damaged the viability of his own bill by acceding to the interviewer’s insinuation that this bill could eventually lead to Hawaii’s complete independence from the United States. This created a howl of outrage from the bill’s opponents. Based on this slip-up, two former US senators, Hank Brown and Slade Gorton, authored a scathing attack on the bill in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. Rush Limbaugh denounced and ridiculed the bill over his nationally syndicated radio show, triggering a virtual avalanche throughout talk-radio.
This nationwide exposure caused the controversy to finally gain traction within the mainstream American media, triggering long-overdue public discourse here in Hawaii and across America.
Until now, the main question being debated in Congress and the press regarding the Akaka bill has been: Does this bill, intended to help native Hawaiians, meet constitutional muster? The opposing sides have been adamant in their positions. The irony is, it does not matter which of those two sides prevails.
The trump card…
There is an up-till-now overlooked key factor that trumps the whole lot, rendering null and void all debate over the Akaka Bill, along with every U.S. measure regarding Hawaii.
That trump factor is the growing realization that the sovereign, independent, lawful Hawaiian Kingdom is still extant. According to international laws, the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom was never extinguished, even though the United States tried to displace and suppress it. The awful truth is the United States has knowingly been illegally occupying the Hawaiian Islands and illegally ruling over the Hawaiian people for the past 107 years!
This is the place the U.S. authorities did not want to go. This is the terrible secret that both the Akaka Bill supporters and its detractors did not intend to be exposed. This is the real scandal that the U.S. and State of Hawaii have been keeping concealed at all costs. This is the travesty of justice perpetrated by those in government, in education and in the media.
The United States, the self-avowed champion of freedom and democracy around the world, is now at risk of being politically devastated by this exposure. The international fallout will be brutal.
Hawaiian Independence …
The Hawaiian independence issue will have profound international ramifications. How the United States fares in the eyes of the world depends on how it decides to resolve its illegal occupation of Hawaii. The United States can come out of this either completely humiliated and discredited or with some semblance of grace and dignity.
Regardless of what happens with the Akaka Bill, the issue of Hawaiian independence will continue to escalate. International scrutiny regarding the illegal U.S. occupation of Hawaii is likely to grow exponentially over the next few months. Sooner or later the U.S. will have to abandon its gambit of denial and face the truth. Depending on how the U.S. chooses to conduct itself, this matter will either end honorably or poorly for the U.S.
This is not an issue of how Congress can create a bullet-proof entitlement program. This is not even a matter for Congress. This is a matter of doing what is right. This is a matter of justice. This is a matter of returning a country to its people. This is squarely within the purview of the President and Commander in Chief of the United States to resolve.
Choose well, Mr. President. The reputation and honor of the United States is at stake. So is the life of our people and our nation.
Aloha ia mai oukou a e maluhia ho’i i ke Akua.
Leon Siu is an astute participant, analyst and strategist in the political arena and has received numerous awards and recognition for his work in affecting public policy. Mr. Siu is a native Hawaiian and Hawaiian national who presently serves as the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Hawaiian Kingdom.
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