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Pohakuloa Training Area protested due to closed door meeting


On Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 more than 30 Big Island residents set up a picket line outside the Pohakuloa training Area (PTA) to protest a closed door meeting between military, county, state, federal officials, and special interests. The secret list of invitees was not released upon request. What ever happened to openness in government? Transparency? The consent of the governed? We the people…

Retired Army Colonel, Ann Wright, requested to attend the meeting to represent the interests of Malu Aina peace organization but was denied entry. Col. Wright then joined the picket. Among the attendees seen entering PTA were Mayor Billy Kenoi and State Representative Faye Hanohano.

On Feb. 21, 2010, a letter from Malu Aina (on the web at was sent to the commanding officer at PTA and to all county and state elected officials. The letter states: “We do not believe in ‘Democracy by invitation only.'” The letter said that “we are angry that the military continues to conduct bombing missions and live-fire without a complete independent assessment of the Depleted Uranium (DU) radiation present at PTA and without cleaning up as called for in Hawaii County Council resolution 639-08. The military has been stonewalling the community’s concerns about health and safety for years. The Davy Crockett DU weapons may just be the tip of far more widespread DU contamination.”

The letter listed eight questions and asked the elected officials to ask the questions of the military and to “Please Get Answers.” Some of the questions asked included: Why hasn’t the Army stopped all live-fire and bombing missions ? Are there more forgotten hazards? Why is there plenty of money for new military projects, but little to clean up… When will all of the 50-plus present and former military sites, totaling more than 250,000-acres on Hawaii Island, be cleared of unexploded ordnance, toxins, and other hazards? Why won’t the military participate in public forums on community concerns about health and safety over depleted uranium and other military toxins? What’s the Army afraid of? How much Hawai’i Island land is the military planning to take? Where and when?”

The letter concluded with the following statement: ” If the U.S. stopped spending several $billion/per day on imperial wars there would be more money for county and state budget needs, jobs, and funding human needs. We urgently request that you–as public officials–speak up on these critical issues of War, Militarism and the Health of our island citizens.” With gratitude and aloha.

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