Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mayors Share Concerns with GAO reps

Mayors share concerns with GAO reps
by John Davis
Thursday, January 31, 2008

Earlier this morning General Accountability Office representatives Jamila Moon, Nelsie Alacusar and Mark Little met with village mayors. Many mayors want specifics and, more importantly, to be included in decisions being made that will affect all Guam residents. Many mayors echoed the same concerns of Mangilao mayor Nito Blas, who says information he's heard about the military buildup is always on a hearsay basis.

Blas confirmed that he's heard several times about development in his village, but nothing has been finalized. "Somebody was mentioning to me that they're going to cut the road from Route 4 coming from LeoPalace Route 4 into by GCC or the University of Guam area connecting to Route 15," said the municipal leader. "Somebody moving into a small road, small section of the village, building a 54 or 120 units in there because they say when the marines come, they're going to stay there."

Blas says he's concerned because according to information he's received, the military will construct their own housing on base. Other mayors, like Roke Blas of Sinajana, say they'd like to hear more information regarding how the U.S. Government is going to assist Guam when providing public services. He says right now, there is a major migration of our neighboring islanders coming into the island; although he says he welcomes all who wish to call Guam home, the community is not being given enough money to fund public services.

"Where does that put us as a local people? It pushes us back even further. Now, you know every so many months they come up with a 100 new clients that they could take care of, but maybe about 60 % of that is not from our local people," said the Sinajana mayor.

At the end of today's meeting, mayors said the best piece of information they could receive from the federal government is a military buildup master plan, showing exactly which buildup development projects are definite, so they can prepare island residents accordingly. But more importantly, they would like to see Guam included when it comes to decisions regarding the military buildup.

2008 Congressional Address

Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo
Congressional Address
January 31, 2008

Click the link to read the full text
"Building Partnerships"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Military Now More Responsible/Professional

U.S. military now more responsible and professional
Guam Editorials
Thursday January 31, 2008

The Marianas Variety editorial of 30 January, 2008, was correct insofar as it urged the community to become and remain vigilant regarding violence against women.

Who among us could remain unmoved by the testimony of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence? We need to bear in mind, though, that vast majority of the atrocities they reported date to a past era, and to a military which was far less concerned with professionalism and community perceptions.

Members of today's United States armed forces are relentlessly drilled regarding acceptable behavior on and off duty. Members who wish to remain members are acutely aware that personal actions which once would have been dismissed as "boys will be boys" will result in quick punishment, frequently to include dismissal from their respective services.

The old guard of crusty NCOs who condoned such actions has largely retired and been replaced by a new breed of highly engaged and professional men and women. They and their subordinates are regularly reinforced with training regarding bans on acts including drinking and driving, public intoxication, community violence, and use of prostitutes (which is now correctly viewed as a chief cause of international human trafficking).

In short, members of the modern U.S. military are drilled to be highly responsible community members. As in the community as a whole, the vast majority live their lives being just that.

This is not to dismiss the probability that there will be occasional problems with military members. Out of any group including 8,000 young people, some will publicly misbehave. A few will likely engage in criminal behavior, up to and including violence.

If they are military members, in the current context they will be dealt with swiftly and severely.

We can and must remain vigilant against criminality and violence against women, and against any of our citizens. We need to quickly punish those who refuse to live within socially acceptable standards, whether they are military guests or lifelong residents of our beautiful island.

I believe that as is now the case, the vast majority of such misdeeds will continue to be committed by a small fraction of undisciplined members of our own society, not by those young men and women sworn and trained to protect the rest of us.

Kelly J. Fitzpatrick
Ipan, Guam

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Social Impact of the Military Buildup

Editorial: The social impact of the build-up
The Marianas Variety
Guam Editorials
Wednesday January 30, 2008

First off, we believe that the U.S. military is a good organization as a whole and that it has, in general, acted properly in carrying out its duties overseas.

That being said, we should take note of the incidents related by the visiting activists during this week's UOG forum on women and human rights.

The activists came from Okinawa, the place where thousands of U.S. Marines and their dependents will be relocated to Guam.

Comparisons between Guam and Okinawa can be made because both are relatively small island communities that host a large number of U.S. military personnel.

Okinawa, which has been called an island of deep-seated resentment, accounts for only 0.6 percent of Japan's land area. Yet 75 percent of U.S. military installations in Japan are concentrated in the prefecture.

On Guam, the population will increase by almost 50,000 by the time the military's expansion is completed.

Suzuyo Takazato, co-founder and director for the Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, warned during the forum that there would likely be an increase in violence against local women when the Marines from Okinawa move to the island.

While activist rhetoric can sometimes lead to generalizations and oversimplification, the incidents related by Takazato were true. There were indeed crimes committed by the military during its stay in Okinawa and other places.

Thus, our leaders should take the revelations made during the forum as a cue that more needs to be done on the social aspects of the military's expansion on Guam.

The economic and infrastructure issues that will be affected by the coming of the Marines' have already gained the attention of GovGuam. And rightly so, because these are important and will have a big impact on the lives of the residents here.

However, the social impact is important too and should not be overlooked in the general excitement over the economic impact that the military build-up would have.

This early, Gov Guam and the private sector, especially the non-government organizations, should already be gearing up for the societal problems that the coming of the Marines will cause and take a pro-active approach.

For there will be problems, make no mistake. The military, just like any organization in the world, is comprised of human beings. And where there are humans, there will always be human foibles and shortcomings.

The military, too, should do its part. Over the years, military training has been improving to the point that atrocities common during the Vietnam era have more or less been already curtailed.

It is now up to the current military leadership to ensure that the military doesn't repeat the mistakes it made in Okinawa when it relocates the Marines to Guam.

Foreign Citizens

Contact: Charlie Keller 202-225-1002

Opposes Provisions that Give American Taxpayer Funds to Foreign Citizens and Keep Seniors Reliant on Social Security from Receiving Help

Washington, D.C., Jan 29 -

U.S. Representative Ginny Brown-Waite (FL-05) today reluctantly supported House passage of H.R. 5140, the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008.

“While almost every Member of this body supports an economic stimulus package, I really must question the legislation before us today. Missing from the bill is any attempt to help those senior citizens who rely solely on Social Security for their income; a group that includes thousands of my constituents. Many of my retired constituents face rising property taxes, astronomical homeowner’s insurance rates and cannot afford to keep their home without help from the federal government. While House passage today moves the legislation forward, I sincerely hope that the Senate will include measures to help our senior citizens with an economic stimulus of their own.

“Second, the bill sends hundreds of millions of dollars to people who do not pay federal income taxes, including residents of Puerto Rico and territories like Guam. I do not believe American taxpayer funds should be sent to foreign citizens who do not pay taxes. Americans want an economic stimulus for Dunnellon, Brooksville and Clermont, not for San Juan or Hagatna. As the legislation moves forward, it must be changed to ensure that only federal taxpaying American citizens receive rebate checks.

“This bill is also flawed for what it does not address; the failure of Democrats to pass a state sales tax exemption for Florida taxpayers during 2007. One easy way to put thousands of dollars back into taxpayers’ pockets would be to reinstitute the state sales tax exemption for states like Florida, Texas and Tennessee, states whose citizens are disadvantaged by the federal tax code since they do not pay state income taxes. Fairness dictates that the federal tax code should treat American citizens equally, and passing the state sales tax exemption will make Florida whole and put millions of dollars back into our economy. I am currently drafting a Florida delegation letter to Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel outlining the need for a renewal of the exemption and that such a renewal be added to the very next tax package that comes before the House.

“Our economic stimulus package should go to those struggling to keep their homes, whether it is the result of losing their job, or as it is in my district, having to pay the 500-700% increase in their homeowner’s insurance rates. Tax rebate checks should go to American taxpaying citizens, not foreign citizens and nationals who don’t pay into the federal treasury. As this bill goes forward, we must address the need for state sales tax deduction renewal and targeted relief for senior citizens who make too much to qualify for rebate checks under the current legislation. I call on the Senate to improve the stimulus package as I have outlined above, and look forward to it coming back to the House for final passage after my concerns have been addressed.”

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Guam's Young Steeped in History, Line Up to Enlist

Guam's Young, Steeped in History, Line Up to Enlist
U.S. Territory Pays High Cost in War Deaths
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, January 27, 2008; Page A15

BARRIGADA, Guam -- As a recruiter for the Guam Army National Guard, Staff Sgt. Gonzalo Fernandez has oodles of time for golf. In the past two years, he has taken 18 strokes off his handicap.

Slipping away to the links, however, has done nothing to dull his rising star at the office. Thanks to the eagerness of young Americans on this remote Pacific island to join the military, Fernandez is a two-time winner of the Guard's recruiter of the year award for a seven-state western region that includes Colorado, Utah and California.

"I'll win it again this year," said Fernandez, who also expects to have time for a lot more midweek golf. "I have a very relaxing life."

On the U.S. mainland, long-running wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made life miserable for military recruiters. The armed forces have repeatedly missed enlistment targets, and standards have been lowered in response. More recruits with criminal records and histories of drug abuse have been allowed to enlist. And recruiters, pressured to meet quotas, have increasingly been accused of unethical and criminal misconduct.

Nothing of the sort is happening here.

Part of the reason is economic. Poverty rates and unemployment on Guam -- a U.S. territory located more than 7,500 miles west of Los Angeles -- are historically much higher than on the mainland, and wages are low. Schools are poor, and technical training is hard to find. There is not much for young people to do.

But those are not the most important reasons, according to enlistees and recruiters, families of soldiers killed in action and veterans of the Iraq war.

The key factor, they agree, is the island's unique status in American history. People here grow up with war ringing in their ears -- as described by their grandparents.

Guam, a U.S. possession since it was taken in 1898 from the Spanish, is the only American soil with a sizable population to have been occupied by a foreign military power.

During World War II, the Japanese held the island for almost three years and brutalized nearly everyone on it. They created concentration camps, forcing the indigenous Chamorro people to provide slave labor and sex.

"If there is a group of Americans who understand the price of freedom, we do," said Michael W. Cruz, lieutenant governor of Guam and a colonel in the Army National Guard.

Cruz's grandmother told him awful stories: She was held in a concentration camp. She was forced to watch as Japanese soldiers chopped off the heads of her brother and her eldest son. Her eldest daughters were forced into prostitution.

Today, Guam is a haven for Japanese tourists, who account for most of the visitors to the island and whose spending powers much of the economy. But people haven't forgotten.

"We saw war in color -- the beaches were splattered with blood," said Cruz, referring to the 1944 liberation of Guam by U.S. forces, in which 3,000 Americans and 18,000 Japanese were killed.
"When our nation calls us to serve, it is for us to answer it," Cruz said.

So military recruiters on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, also administered by the United States, have an embarrassment of riches. Standards have not been lowered. Targets are routinely exceeded. At his Army National Guard office, Fernandez meets potential recruits only if they call ahead and make an appointment.

With a population of 173,000, Guam ranked No. 1 in 2007 for recruiting success in the Army National Guard's assessment of 54 states and territories. (Maryland ranked last, the District second to last, and Virginia was 30th.)

"I have got 12 people who want to join up this month," Fernandez said. "But I can only process three of them because of lack of doctors to give them physicals. We can afford to be picky."
Roshjun Aguon, 19, plans to join the Army when he finishes his agriculture studies at the University of Guam, where he is in ROTC.

Serving in the military, he said, is in his family's blood. His father, his two uncles and most of his cousins have joined. His cousin Richard Junior D. Naputi, 24, was killed two years ago in Iraq by an improvised explosive device.

"Of course the unpopularity of this war affects us," Aguon said. "Mothers and sisters do not want to see us go off to war. But it is a tradition for my family."

And for the entire population. Liberation Day, July 21, is far and away the most important of Guam's holidays -- and is celebrated for the better part of a month, with speeches, parades and wild parties.

During the Vietnam War, at least 70 servicemen from Guam were killed, a death rate nearly three times the national average. That war was not viewed on Guam as misguided or a failure, many residents here say.

In the current wars, Micronesia is absorbing an exceptionally high death toll -- 10 from Guam, 14 from the rest of Micronesia. On a per capita basis, various parts of Micronesia have killed-in-action rates up to five times as high as on the mainland.

But that has not hurt recruiting. In fact, commanders here limit the number of war-zone duty tours for which soldiers can volunteer -- so that other soldiers can get a chance to see action, according to Lt. Col. Marvin R. Manibusan, commander of the Guam Army National Guard's recruiting and retention division.

Poster-size pictures of the dead are displayed at the international airport.

One photograph is of Army Maj. Henry San Nicolas Ofeciar, who was killed in an ambush in Afghanistan in August. He was a 37-year-old career officer and had volunteered for duty in a combat zone.

His mother is Agnes Rillera.

"The pain of his death I will take to the grave," she said. "But I respect my son's decision to serve. You tell Washington that we support what he did."

When Ofeciar's remains were flown back to Guam, hundreds of people showed up at the airport to pay their respects -- even though the coffin arrived on a flight that landed in the middle of the night, Rillera said.

The governor and lieutenant governor of Guam have gone to the airport to receive the bodies of most of the fatalities.

When a hearse carrying the coffin of a war casualty leaves the airport and travels across the island, which is about three times the size of the District of Columbia, residents here often line the streets in silence, holding up candles.

The people of Guam are very much aware of the failings of U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Ofeciar's sister, Orlene Ofeciar Arriola.

"One thing about Guam, as compared to the mainland, we are not as fickle," she said. "Our loved ones made a commitment. We are not going to dishonor their service because the policy is not correct."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Letter on the Federalization of the CNMI

At present the Federalization bill is being snuck into the larger Omnibus bill, in hopes of avoiding any debate or problems with its passage. For those interested in conserving the sovereignty of the CNMI I am pasting below a letter through which you can help their cause. I should say before continuing that I am not endorsing the way alien workers have been treated in the CNMI. The issue at stake with this letter, if there is to be a restructuring of the relationship between the CNMI and the Feds in terms of immigration, it should not be done in the shadows or in secret, with hopes that no one will read or care about what it actually says or is doing. That is why the form letter below is addressed to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and requests that the Federalization bill be taken out of the Omnibus bill and treated as a distinct issue, requiring its own debate and vetting.

If you wish to download the PDF of the letter, please click this link.


Honorable Senator
United States Senate
Senator’s Address
Washington, D.C. 20510-3703
Sent by facsimile (202)
Dear Senator:

I am writing to you as a __________________, regarding H.R. 3079, the Immigration, Security and Labor Act that was passed in the House of Representatives in December 2007 and is being fast-tracked as part of the Omnibus bill. As members of the Senate, I urge that H.R. 3079 be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee to be closely reviewed as a stand-alone bill, paying particular attention to its discriminatory nature of the economic and human rights impacts on the people of the Mariana Islands.

 H.R. 3079 is discriminatory by directly targeting the people of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and creating greater economic hardships. H.R. 3079 will further the level of poverty by creating more barriers to the development of a local economy, which relies heavily on tourism and investors of tourism(1).

 H.R. 3079 infringes upon the sovereignty of the indigenous peoples of the CNMI, whose political status was negotiated upon the termination of the United Nations trusteeship. The political rights were determined to be governed by the solemn Covenant, which granted local control of labor and immigration and also in collaboration with the United States. H.R. 3079 would undermine the mutual trust and cooperation that has endured for decades.

 H.R. 3079 may violate the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. With reports of upwards to 50,000 workers during a 5 to 10 year period that H.R. 3079 may provide to companies seeking a quick means for cheap labor(2) for the intensified military buildup in the CNMI and the neighboring island of Guam, the question remains of the burden on the infrastructure(3),(4) and the resources that is not accounted for by Congressional Budget Office.(5)

 H.R. 3079 enables abuses of the human rights to self-determination of the Chamorro people of Guam by providing a means to expedite the military buildup that was decided without their consent and participation and against the legal and moral responsibility of the U.S.A, as a signatory of the United Nations Charter, to ensure the full exercise of these human rights.(6)

I urge you to review closely H.R. 3079 as single and separate matter from the Omnibus Bill, and to reconsider the facts put forth before you for the sake of peace and stability in these islands and for the human rights of self-determination to which we all are entitled.



1 Fitial, Benigno (2007, August). Speech before the U.S. House of Representatives on H.R. 3079
2 Dumat-ol Daleno, G. (2007, December 13). NMI Bill Passes in the House. Pacific Daily News
3 Environmental Protection Agency Civil Case 02-00035
4 Environmental Protection Agency Civil Case 02-00022
5 Congressional Budget Office (2007, December 3). Cost estimate prepared for H.R. 3079 Northern Mariana
Islands Immigration, Security, and Labor Act.
6United Nations (2001 March 22) Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism: Report of
the Secretary-General, A56/61

Task Force Outlook on Troop Expansion

Civilian/Military Task Force presents outlook on troop expansion
by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Friday, January 25, 2008

During the Civilian/Military Task Force's briefing for the 29th Guam Legislature today two major points were made clear: first that Guam needs money for the buildup of troops locally, and secondly that the island simply needs more information on the Pentagon's plans. It was made evident during the presentation that Guam must do its best to obtain the financial assistance necessary to prepare for the dramatic increase in population that will result from the military buildup.

Governor Felix Camacho says this is something he's been working on and something he will continue to push for. "We as a territory need to make our case," the chief executive announced. "We've already missed the opportunity for appropriations for Fiscal Year 2009, we need to target Fiscal Year 2010 if we're going to get any types of appropriations."

To help Guam get the money it needs the Task Force has been working on a needs assessment to be presented to the General Accountability Office (the investigative arm of Congress) that will be her by the 31st of the month. However, to properly produce an accurate needs assessment the Government of Guam needs to know more details about the military's plans, like how many people will end up here, where will they be housed at, and what kind of infrastructure the military will need to support them and their increased facilities.

J. Peter Roberto is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Health and Social Services and stated, "One of the things we've worked with the Joint Guam Program Office is we've tried to get information of their statistics of military personnel coming in, so we can factor that in."

And such was a recurring theme of today's presentations overall. More information is needed from the military so that Guam can properly asses its needs and can start making plans of its own. This need for more information was even reflected in a report written by the GAO on Guam's military buildup. All the subcommittees gave basic reports with limited information; one of the most detailed subcommittee reports was given by education chairman David Okada, in which he estimated that Guam will need 6-9 new schools. But even he admits that more information from the Department of Defense is needed.

Senator B.J. Cruz (D) was not satisfied with most of the reports, saying many of them contained more fluff than actual substance. Tony Lamorena advised lawmakers that today's presentations had to be shortened summaries because each subcommittee chair would need at least an hour to report their needs assessments.

Roberto also explained the difficulty in producing more specific presentations without more specific information, saying, "I think the subcommittee agrees...that the questions that we've asked the military for numbers so that we can do a projected plan. We are still not getting the information we want."

In the end it was clear that the CMTF has made a lot of headway in certain areas like establishing communications with various federal agencies but still have a long way to go in getting more information from the DoD.

DOD Breached Environmental Act

Mainland judge finds DoD breached environmental act
by Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM News
Friday, January 25, 2008

A part of the report prepared by the General Accountability Office included a key paragraph regarding the relocation of United States Marines to Guam and how it is dependent upon what's called the Futenma Replacement Facility. Essentially this facility would relocate a portion of the U.S. air base in Futenma to another location - in this case off the northeastern coast of Okinawa in Henoko Bay. The problem is that the waters are prime habitat for Japan's natural monument: the dugong.

Like the American bald eagle to the United States, dugongs are a national treasure to the people of Japan. Critically endangered and protected under the National Historic Preservation Act, it was the Department of Defense's plans to relocate parts of the air base in Futenma to the northeastern coast of Okinawa that sparked legal action to protect the dugongs in 2003. Over the last several years, several conservation and environmental groups both in Japan and the U.S., like EarthJustice have been fighting the Pentagon for failing to take any consideration the impact the FRF would have on the nearly extinct mammals.

The plans for the FRF would have it constructed in prime habitat for the dugongs by building a 1.5-mile long runway right over seagrass beds where the mammals live. The case can be considered a prime example of what can be done when a community pulls together to effectuate change.

These conservation and environmentalist groups, led by attorneys from EarthJustice, won a major victory in a federal court in California today. Judge Marilyn Hall Patel found, "The current record contains no evidence that a single official from the Department of Defense with responsibility for the Futenma Replacement Facility has conferred or assessed the available information on the dugong or the effects of the FRF."

The judge found the DoD violated the National Historic Preservation Act, under which the dugongs are protected. The NHPA requires agencies of the U.S. Government to consider the impacts on cultural and historic resources in other nations when undertaking activities outside the United States. This is the first time the Act has been applied overseas.

The DoD was ordered to submit within three months documents describing its plans to assess the project's effects on the dugong and develop ways to lessen its impact. The Futenma Replacement Facility as cited by the GAO is a critical component that must be completed or it could delay the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam. The estimated cost of the facility is pegged at being about $4-$5 billion.

Commenting on the today's decision, EarthJustice attorney Sarah Burt stated, "With this ruling, Judge Patel has made clear that the Department of Defense has an obligation to take a serious look at the impacts of its actions overseas to avoid causing irrevocable harm to the cultural heritage of another nation." It's something islanders should hold to heart as DoD ramps up efforts to increase military presence here at home.

According to Civilian Military Task Force member Tony Lamorena, it's the reason why a subcommittee has been formed specifically to protect Guam's natural resources. "We feel that for the magnitude for the construction that's going to be happening there are a lot of natural resources that we need to protect be albeit the plants, fauna and flora and so forth and wildlife. We also have to be aware of our historic sites...there are numerous historic sites up north that could be adversely affected with the construction on Guam. It is important to us," said Lamorena.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Progress at Urunao?

Progress at Urunao?
by Ronna Sweeney
January 23, 2008

The $13.6 million Urunao cleanup project undertaken by Andersen Air Force Base to right the wrongs of their past is just over halfway completed. But has if one makes the trek up north, has any headway really been made? It's been quite the transformation up at Urunao since KUAM News first began reporting about the site back in February 2007. At the time it was nestled amidst dense jungle, with the steep terrain was riddled with unexploded ordnance, tires and metallic waste from the World War II era. Today environmental flight chief Russell Littlejohn says crews are slightly more than halfway through the expansive cleanup process, noting the sheer number of munitions and explosives of concern has been surprising."So far we've found 30,000 pieces of MEC," Littlejohn confirmed. "Those MECs right now are being stored and then they're burned in burn pits. So we have alternating burn pits where we do about 150 in each pit; about 750 pieces of MEC per week." Returning the area to its once-pristine condition is challenging, from caterpillar and crane operators to screeners and project leads, Shaw Environmental, the contracted company in charge of the cleanup, employs around 50 people on a daily basis. And to make sure contaminants aren't being left behind, there are even employees brought in just to test the soil. "We have a grid set up right now, about 72 grids on site one and as we go through and look at each grid so we can concentrate our efforts on each grid and do verification soil testing there," he added.Besides disposing of MEC and making sure the soil is safe, plenty of old tires and metallic debris has also been hauled off the Cliffside. Most of which Littlejohn says will be recycled. He adds that besides being the most extensive cleanup undertaken on Guam by the Air Force, it's also the most unique. AAFB is actually leasing the piece of property from a member of the Artero family on a monthly basis until the project is completed. Said Littlejohn, "We're working it. It's going to be cleaned up and it's going to be a piece of property that in the end we're going to give back to Guam in a better condition than when we took it."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Guinifen i Mañainå-ta

January 22, 2008

MINAGAHET is a zine (hopefully) published bi monthly by the ChamorroInformation Activists. Please feel free forward this to friends, relatives or enemies and encourage them to subscribe. (If you wish to unsubscribe see information below)

THIS ISSUE - TULU'NGA'FULU'LIMA - January 18, 2008 -
"Guinifen i Mañainå-ta"

Welcome to the 35th issue of Minagahet, a sen popble yan gof taya'salape, educational and informational internet zine created, dedicated andsustained by commitments to the following things:

1. Promoting alternative ways and ideas of thinking about Guam's status, whether it be political, social, cultural, economic, etc.

2. Promoting the Chamorro way of life, its ideas and expressions, whether they be ancient, antigo or contemporary.

3. Educating and working towards the decolonization of Guam, and supporting whatever status the Chamorro people chose.

Pinagat Siha Put i Estao Pulitikat Guahan gi i United Nations gi 2007:

Histories of Apathy and Histories of Hope
Pinagat as Keith Lujan Camacho, University of California, Los Angeles

Remnants of Colonialism, Recommendations for the Future
Pinagat as Hope Cristobal Jr. Psychologist

Endangering Chamoru Self-Determination
Pinagat as Sabina Flores Perez, Economic and Environmental Activist

An Island for Sale
Pinagat as Victoria Leon Guerrero, The Guahån Coalition for Peace and Justice

Protecting Our Roots
Pinagat as Rima Miles, Guahån Indigenous Collective

From the Waiting Room of History
Pinagat Si Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Famoksaiyan


Call for Papers: Postcolonial Futures in a Not Yet Postcolonial World:Locating the Intersections of Ethnic, Indigenous and Postcolonial Studies.

Call for Papers for a conference to take place March 5-7, 2008 at the University of California, San Diego, which will discuss the intersections of ethnic, indigenous and postcolonial studies, in particular places such as Guam and communities such as Guam, who find themselves trapped in a colonial existence in a world where colonialism is supposedly non-existent.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Letter from the Frontlines

From No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro:

This essay was written in my effort to express a local perspective into a war few in the media, and island understand. I sent it to Pacific Daily News, after making contact with a editor through email and was asked to write and send pictures. I did and found no response since. I could not find a contact in Marianas Variety so if any do please forward this, with the intention of remembering those from the Islands who have served and remain a ripple in the pond, have created change and are a part of a change regardless if seen as good or bad, honorable men and women who gave, or give the ultimate sacrifice, being gone for long periods of time from their families or to a higher place....................

First and for most, I would like to convey my families condolences to the to former senator Umpingco's family. All people from all parts of Guam, appreciate the sacrifice he, and his family gave to serve our Island.

I write to you not for fame or recognition, but to share a event that might bring the war closer to home, and sharing one of my experience's in Iraq. This is a example of the emotional rolacoster that we face everyday. I hope that those that read this (if published) understand my intentions for it's weight in my heart compelled me to write .......

I arrived In Balad, Iraq with high hopes of finding friends and family, like I did in 2006. A second tour for me, and a holiday free tour in the sand box. I met the Guam National Guards 909th, Gil Reyes of Yona, Craig, my second cousin from Malojojo and David Quimbao from Talofofo, a childhood friend and brother in arms. To my surprise and dismay, those days of comfort and taste of home no longer existed. I visited the former building of the 909th, and asked a officer I saw walking out if he knew where the the Chamoru's were and he looked at me with a no idea. I found it alittle disturbing considering the big cement mortar barrier with the 909th emblem and Guam seal to their backs, and they still had no idea of whom I speak.

As I drove away with mixed feelings about them being gone and me being alone, and reassuring my self of the better morning my comrades will have because they will wake up too their families in Guam, something struck me to the core. A man was standing along the fence line with a little girl in his arms courting with the other towards the little girl in his arms saying loud and clear " Gift, Gifts, Gift", as to gesture something from the impenetrable walls that divide us. To help clarify what a man was doing out side the fence, I must explain. Outside the wire, farmers tend to their sunflower patches, and other vegetables while still tending to the children and live stock. All my training did not prepare me for what I was seeing. I could respond to incoming mortar, and taking on enemy fire, but this hopefully innocent gesture by this farmer, did me in. All my thoughts of fighting and unhappiness from being away from home stopped. I did what every well trained sailor or soldier would do.....

I have flown in helicopters over homes made of clay and farms as green as the Talofofo valleys in the middle of a desert, I have seen many of things, nothing more troubling than the man outside the wire with that little girl. It brought to light questions of this war, and what that man, like those of his country think. With Guam always in my mind, and the image of that man and child staring in the fence, I immediately related with the thought of us Chamoru's looking in the fence on our own land, and saw me and my 2 girls (Ha'ani & Sinahi), looking at the already crowded island with base's extending the fence lines with the soon movement of Marines, and the island's economic hand being led into reliance on the federal government or foreign investors. Every day away from my family, and Guam, the more I ponder on our course as a people, just like those in Iraq hoping the effort put into this war, and it's restructuring is really for their benefit.

To those fellow Chamoru's who have served and sacrificed their lives, I remember you and your sacrifice, and use that fuel to keep my head up with the love from my wife and two kids.

If I could convey one message, to people in Guam, " Hita I man Taotao Tano! Hita I kutura, I linguahi, i biblia, I ire yan I Tano Chamoru!" Your pains are the pains of every people, no matter the shades of ones skin, we must work toward a common goal of affordability in our home land, and our acceptance of changes on our own terms.

Saina Ma'ase,
Sean R, "Aguon" Sanchez

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Southerns Gather At Landfill Meeting

Southerners to gather at landfill meeting
by Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM News
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tonight southern residents will have the opportunity to hear more about Guam Resource Recovery Partners' plans to build a landfill and an incinerator in Santa Rita. A village meeting will get underway at the village's community center beginning at 6:30pm. Residents of Agat, Santa Rita and Piti will finally have the opportunity to hear more about the proposed landfill including where exactly it will be located.

According to GRRP, it's in Guatali, but according to maps at the Chamorro Land Trust Commission, the property is actually referred to as "Atantano", or what's also called "Parcel B".

It seems even the chairman of the Legislative Committee on Natural Resources, Jim Espaldon (R), seems to be confused. Initially when the initial study was done, that whole area was Guatali and it was one piece. After that study then something happened where it got divided and part of it went to the federal government and the other half went to the Government of Guam," the freshman policymaker told KUAM News. "Whether they call it Atantano or Guatali, it's a matter of semantics, because at the start initially it was all Guatali."

Espaldon continued, "Is it a separate piece? I believe so again a lot of the studies were done as I understand on what is now the federal property so I believe that the private developer, GRRP in this case, do have to do their studies, due diligence in terms of making sure the environmental concerns are addressed again according to EPA standards."

Officials from GRRP are expected to conduct a presentation on the proposed landfill as well as their plans to construct a waste-to-energy facility during this evening's meeting. As well, representatives from the Department of Public Works and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency will be on-hand to answer questions.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sex Ring in Guam

Lounge owner held in prostitution case
By Lacee A.C. Martinez
Pacific Daily News

The owner of an Upper Tumon lounge remained behind bars yesterday in connection with running an alleged sex ring.

Police arrested Song Ja Cha, 66, yesterday along with two of her Blue House karaoke lounge employees. Cha faces charges of felonious restraint and several prostitution-related charges.

The case was prompted when another employee walked in to the Tamuning-Tumon precinct looking for help yesterday, police said.

"One of her employees had come in complaining that the owner of the lounge withheld her passport," Guam Police Department spokesman Officer Allan Guzman said.
When police officers went to investigate the complaint, they discovered other girls in the same situation. Police also noticed other alleged illegal activities occurring in the lounge, he said.

"While at the location, police discovered a naked male individual within the establishment, and through further investigation discovered what appeared to be an illegal sex parlor," Guzman said, but could not release additional details.

Two of Song's employees were also arrested on numerous charges, including prostitution. Freda Eseun and Saknin A. Weria were both arrested, booked and released, Guzman said.

"(Cha was) recruiting girls from off island to work at the establishment and when they got there, they were deceived and found out what the true intentions were," he said.

As police continue the investigation, more arrests are expected, and other possible charges may be filed against those arrested, Guzman said.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Big Navy Wharf Expanded

Big Navy wharf expanded greatly
by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Friday, January 11, 2008

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held this morning commemorating the completion of upgrades to Bravo Wharf on Naval Base Guam. The completed project increases the base's capability and flexibility to host a broader range of naval vessels to include the U.S.S. Ohio. Construction work at alpha work is expected to be completed this summer.

The entire project for both wharfs totals nearly $51 million.

Submarine Visits Guam

New powerful submarine makes port visit today
Pacific Daily News

A state-of-the-art U.S. Navy submarine arrived on Guam today for maintenance and a port visit, according to a Navy press release. The USS Ohio is the first of four Trident-missile submarines that have been converted to carry guided missiles and Special Operations Forces to improve the Navy’s ability to fight the Global War on Terrorism, the release said. “The new class of submarines provides a powerful, non-provocative forward presence that can respond quickly to emergent needs. The converted platform combines the speed, stealth, range, and flexibility of a nuclear-powered submarine with the unprecedented under sea payload,” the release said. The USS Ohio was converted in December of 2005. It can carry more than 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles and more than 60 special forces members. Additional information about the submarine, its crew, and the boat’s conversion can be found at .

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mohawks Support Lakota


By Kahentinetha Horn
Mohawk Nation News

Dec. 25, 2007. The times, they are a changin'. Go to the website. There you'll see Canupa Gluha Mani of the Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Lakota Nation cutting up his colonial driver's license. He's doing this because on December 17th 2007
the Lakota delivered their "Declaration of Continuing Independence," just in time for the Winter Solstice.

The history of Lakota with the U.S. is long, complex and tragic. They knew something had to change. After the Wounded Knee Occupation of 1973, the International Indian Treaty Council was established. From June 8 to 16 1974 the Council called for a "Western Hemisphere"Conference at Standing Rock Sioux. Over 5000 delegates of 97Indigenous Peoples from the Americas gathered. The "manifesto"that was created on that occasion supports the
rights of all Indigenous Peoples to live free and take whatever actions are necessary to uphold our sovereignty.

It is rumored that President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, a powerful world leader, said today that he is considering recognizing the Lakota as an independent nation. Withdrawing from the treaties is entirely legal. It is within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and putinto effect by the U.S. and the rest of the international community in 1980.

The Lakota never relinquished their lands and have always refused to accept payment estimated close to $1 billion to give up their sovereignty and nationhood. Offering to buy us out means they are acknowledging our sovereignty.

They declared the obvious. The lands belong to the various Indigenous peoples and are clearly defined by the treaties. Where there are no treaties, the U.S. and Canada are squatters. Plain and simple! The indigenous people have the same rights under international law as anyone
else, whether a country chooses to acknowledge it or not,as in South Africa. Our vast tracts of land, which have been cared for by our ancestors, continue to be ours despite the delusional fraudulent claims of the colonizing states. Treaties concluded through bribery and with colonial
puppets,instead of with valid representatives of our people, are not legal.

It should be borne in mind that most, not all, of the treaties ever made with the colonizers granted them only very limited rights that fall far short of the greedy advantages they imagined. They had no intention of ever living up to any treaty. They were hellbent on stealing everything.

The U.S. and Canada came as profiteers and fraudulently tried to steal all our assets.

Such documents were concocted in clear violation of international law then and now. This requires the informed consent of the people concerned. No state can incorporate another unless a clear majority of the people has expressed consent through fairly conducted democratic processes based on a clear question.

The Six Nations Confederacy and the Algonquins are the titleholders of most of the eastern half of what is known as the colonies of Canada and northeastern U.S. Our Indigenous laws prohibit alienation of our lands. We hold them as trustees for the coming unborn generations. We refuse to surrender our lands. The implementation of the Indian Act and federal Indian law is genocidal.According to article VI of the U.S. Constitution, treaties represent the Supreme Law of the Land binding each party to an inviolable international relationship. Those without treaties with the colonists hold their lands independent and free. The only legal authority is Indigenous. Article II sets out the primary nation-to-nation relationship.

In Canada Section 109 of the British North America Act 1867 respects the primary authority of the Indigenous peoples.The U.S. and Canada have violated the independent Indigenous Peoples by "clerical" action, edicts and pronouncements violating our international treaty rights and

The Lakota declaration of withdrawal from the Treaty of Laramie 1868 is vested in the power of the Lakota people and the children. One individual does not represent the nation. The nation represents the individual. The withdrawal is for the people, elders, mothers, father sand children including the unborn faces beneath the ground.

The Treaty of Laramie was never honored. It's been a colonial catastrophe, which was not its intent on our part. Indigenous children are still being taken away putting them out of balance from learning the traditional life ways. The true way is to be free and left to govern and look after our own with the teachings of the animal nations. This is about the Lakota Nation
and the Animal People who are no longer here. "We are the Lakota Nation of Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota,Wyoming and Montana". We are alerting the Family of Nations of our action with the backing of Indigenous, international and U.S. law.

Should all Indigenous nations of Onowaregeh, Turtle Island, assert our freedom and independence, what would happen? The action of the"Lakota" is going to have repercussions far and wide.The colonists would go out of business, especially the oligarchs. They would have to work out agreements with all the Indigenous people on whose land they are squatting.

Indigenous "liens" on buildings,development, resource extraction and all activities on our land will have to be governed and executed by us. Each Indigenous nation will assert our power over our lands, assets and resources. The colonies of U.S.and Canada will just have to become law
abiding. They will have to learn to respect indigenous and international law. This will not bring catastrophe for the ordinary people living on our land. They just have to come to terms with the reality that they are living within our jurisdiction,that they are visitors on our land and that
they are required to follow our law.The pointlessness of their former reliance on their handpicked "Indian"puppets set up by the colonial Indian Act band councils and federal Indian law tribal councils will become obvious. These sell-outs will have to live amongst their relatives without colonial power and support. Whisky, money and guns will lose their mystical

The Lakota call upon the world to support this struggle for sovereignty and treaty rights. They pledge their assistance to all sovereign people who seek their independence.The Lakota have invited those living on their lands to join them. Lakota will issue permits to them, passports, driver's licenses and other documents. Living there would be tax free providing the
residents renounce their U.S. citizenship.

The Lakotah are to open negotiations with the State Department of the U.S. government to establish diplomatic relations. They are setting up offices in Washington and New York City.Are we going to see the other nations of Turtle Island asserting sovereignty? Don't let those "dirty rotten lawyers" meddle or intervene.They're not the ones who decide what the law is. The law belongs to the people. As our ancestors told us, "One nation will take the issue so far.Then another will take it further. Until we all regain everything that is ours". So who's next?

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Federalization Expected to Pass the Senate

US Senate to pass NMI federalization bill next month
By Zaldy Dandan
Variety Editor

THE U.S. House bill that will federalize local immigration is expected to be passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in the first week of February and eventually signed by President Bush, according to the CNMI’s resident representative to Washington, D.C.

Pete A. Tenorio, in an e-mail interview, said the House bill, H.R. 3079, has been included in S. 2483, a combination of 60 bills already passed by the House.

“S. 2483 has been cleared for unanimous consent in the Senate,” Tenorio said. “However the leadership has agreed to allow five amendments from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Ok, none of which are related to H.R. 3079, thus his amendments will have no bearing on H.R. 3079.”

According to Tenorio, “once the Senate returns to work on the 22nd of January, it will be first taking up S. 2248, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It is anticipated that the bills…cleared for unanimous consent, which includes S. 2483, will then be taken up and voted on in the first week of February. If any of the Coburn’s amendment passed, then S. 2483 will be referred to the House for concurrence. And when both houses agree to any Senate amendments, it will then go to the president for his action. We anticipate that the president will sign the bill into law.”

The U.S. House federalization bill no longer includes the controversial provision granting non-immigrant status to qualified CNMI guest workers who have legally worked here for at least five years. But the measure will create a nonvoting congressional delegate seat for the CNMI.

Asked to comment about Gov. Benigno R. Fitial’s statement that the CNMI opposes federalization of local immigration, Tenorio said the administration’s claim is “difficult to validate.”

But, he added, “based on my own observations, after talking to the majority members of our Legislature and so many of our people about the issue, it is my impression that the governor’s claim is not supported by evidence of a popular support of the general public of his view. Surely there are vocal members of our business community that oppose it, and certainly many of his political supporters also support him for obvious reasons. But an outright claim that the majority of our people oppose it borders on unreasonableness and hearsay.”

Tenorio said “the debate of whether or not the people of the CNMI support or oppose immigration federalization has been a moot issue since 1975 when our people voted with an overwhelming 78.8 percent to endorse the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States. Simply stated, Section 503(a) of the Covenant is clear and unambiguous about the right of Congress to exercise its right, a right that our people voluntarily granted as part of our Covenant agreement. And we should honor that agreement for it is the right thing to do.”

Tenorio believes that “immigration is a federal responsibility and having it taken over by the federal government will not destroy our economy as some misguided people seem to believe. It is too late to re-invent the Covenant as some people want to dream about. As a former Covenant negotiator, I know it to be an excellent document that does not need re-inventing. Reneging on our Covenant agreement will only result in a progressive deterioration of our political relationship with the federal government and Congress. What our minority government should have done is work with Congress to develop a unique immigration framework which accommodates most, if not all, of the policies on immigration and labor that we presently have, instead of being arrogant and confrontational.”

Tenorio said he “continues to believe in a middle ground approach to the issue of immigration federalization as I sincerely believe that it is the only rational way to successfully incorporate special provisions unique to the CNMI which otherwise will not be incorporated if a purely federal framework is developed in the end without our participation.”

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Okinawa Factor

Love-hate ties bind Okinawans, U.S. military
Islanders forge enduring relationships with American personnel but are angered by crimes
The Japan Times

Sixth in an occasional series Staff writer OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa Pref. -- Many former American soldiers who once stayed at the Diego Hotel near the U.S. Kadena Air Base here regard the hotel's manager with a reverence usually reserved for their own mothers.

Yet they are probably unaware of some of the bitter memories harbored by the 71-year-old Takako Miyagi.

Miyagi said she just received another call from a former American guest who stayed at the hotel about 25 years ago and still refers to her as "Mama-san."

She said she remembers the homesick soldier sobbing on the stairs of the hotel after the Vietnam War.

He has called her almost every year since he returned to the U.S., although Miyagi said she does not understand his English very well.

Despite the bloody confrontation with U.S. forces, Okinawa's postwar occupation and problems involving U.S. military personnel even after its reversion to Japan, many residents of Okinawa have built warm friendships with U.S. soldiers over the past half century.

Some outsiders are puzzled therefore when this apparent affability is offset by the islanders' explicit anger toward members of the U.S. military over various crimes and misdemeanors.

Okinawans say, however, that these two faces constitute no contradiction given the history of the prefecture, which has always been forced to pander to the whims of Tokyo and Washington.

Miyagi has never forgotten April 2, 1945 -- the day after the U.S. forces landed on the main island.

Before dawn, Miyagi, then 14 and staying in an underground shelter, was told a shocking piece of news by her aunt.

While trying to lay their hands on some food, her mother and grandfather had been shot by American soldiers who had occupied their home.

Miyagi immediately set out from the shelter with her grandmother on a rescue mission.

"I was too young to be scared," she said. "And I was taught that the Japanese army was strong and Japan always wins."

She later learned that the Imperial Japanese Army had already retreated in the face of the U.S. landing.

As the pair approached the house, Miyagi's grandmother was shot dead.

Fortunately, Miyagi managed to hide under a bush and was not spotted by U.S. troops. She spent the whole day under the bush, holding her breath.

After darkness fell, Miyagi ran back to the shelter, bullets whizzing past her head.

When she finally reached the dugout where her young brother and relatives were waiting, she burst into tears.

Miyagi could not recover the bodies of her mother and grandparents. She instead retrieved pebbles from the ground where they were killed and placed them in their graves instead of ashes.

During the final throes of World War II, Okinawans were forced to sacrifice themselves to defend the Japanese mainland. Okinawa eventually lost about a quarter of its population in the ensuing battles.

"That is how the citizens of Okinawa fought," wrote Rear Adm. Minoru Ota of the Imperial Japanese Navy in his final telegram to Tokyo before his suicide. "(I hope they) are granted special consideration in the future."

During the postwar U.S. rule of Okinawa, Miyagi, like many Okinawans in the central part of the island, initially had no choice but to work on a U.S. base.

That was until she opened the Diego Hotel in 1958 with her late husband.

And yet, she said, she did not mind serving members of the U.S. military.

"Individual soldiers were not responsible (for the death of my family)," she said, adding that she does not know why she feels this way.

"We were tamed by them as they gave us food when we had nothing."

During the Vietnam War, she shined U.S. soldiers' muddy shoes when they returned from the battlefields on leave.

The young soldiers looked sad when they were sent back to Vietnam.

"I was sad because they looked so sad," she said.

"I like them personally" was a common answer uttered by many Okinawans when asked for their views on U.S. soldiers.

Many Okinawans viewed the American soldiers as being frank, easygoing and family-loving -- traits generally shared by Okinawans themselves.

Discontent over human rights infringements suffered under U.S. military rule was smoldering, however, among the local populace.

Instead of the "special consideration" specified by Adm. Ota, Tokyo approved U.S. rule of Okinawa under the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty.

A 1947 letter sent by Emperor Showa to the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces also shows that he hoped the United States would continue its military occupation of Okinawa to defend both Japan and the U.S. from the threat posed by the Soviet Union.

During 27 years of U.S. military rule, private property was confiscated and used for military facilities, while residents suffered violence and fatal accidents at the hands of U.S. service personnel.

Local police officers were powerless to counter the latter.

In December 1970, a minor car accident involving members of the U.S. military and a local man in Koza -- known today as Okinawa City -- led to an unprecedented riot.

A throng of local people surrounded the American driver, his passengers and military police who tried to clear the scene, accusing them of trying to evade charges.

Incidents of vandalism were triggered by warning shots fired by the MPs, with locals burning some 80 vehicles owned by Americans throughout the night.

This flash point came a week after a military court had acquitted an American service member of fatally running over a local woman in his car while drinking and breaking the speed limit.

The victim had eight children and had long looked after her sick husband.

In addition to the thousands of traffic accidents caused by U.S. service personnel, local police in 1970 were thwarted by the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement when they tried to arrest a U.S. soldier who brutally raped and stabbed a local high school girl.

Ko Yoshioka, a photographer who witnessed the vandalism in Koza, said it was "a struggle for Okinawans to retrieve their pride as humans."

Many people here still talk about the riot with pride.

This is partly because the frenzied rioters somehow retained some semblance of discipline, only burning vehicles carrying yellow license plates that identified them as being owned by U.S. service personnel.

Author Chihiro Isa, who depicted the riot scenes in his award-winning book "Enjo" ("Burning,") described the riot as a "one-night feast."

This was because the rioters vanished before dawn and returned to the world of U.S. rule the next day.

Okinawa's reversion to Japanese rule came about shortly after the riot. In contrast to the expectations of Okinawans, however, most of the U.S. bases remained and their green lawns still stretch through the central part of the prefecture even today.

The number of brutal crimes and tragic accidents involving military personnel gradually decreased after the 1972 reversion, but Japanese authorities are still bound by the SOFA treaty.

About a decade after the reversion, Isa remembers that an editor employed by a major Tokyo publisher asked him why Okinawans could not understand that Japan's prosperity -- including that of Okinawa -- is founded on the Japan-U.S. security alliance.

"Why don't you say it at a bar in Naha?" he responded.

"Whom do you think you owe for what you call economic prosperity? Isn't it the people on the mainland who rest on the sacrifice of Okinawa citizens?"

The anger and frustrations of Okinawans exploded again in 1995, when a 12-year-old girl was kidnapped and raped by three American soldiers.

The U.S. military refused at that time to hand over suspects to Japanese authorities before indictment under SOFA.

Tokyo has repeatedly shrugged off pleas by Okinawa for revisions to the bilateral agreement.

"Please give us back the quiet Okinawa, the island without military, and without tragedy," said Sugako Nakamura, then a senior at Ginowan High School near Futenma Air Station, to nearly 80,000 residents who gathered at the city's beach park in 1995 to protest the rape.

Nakamura said that she was chosen to represent Okinawa high school students at the rally accidentally.

She also appears in the documentary "Guntai no Nai Kuni" ("A Country Without Military,"), centering on Costa Rica, which has abandoned its own military since 1949. The film is now touring independent cinemas across the nation.

"I was just curious if the 'country without military' is really possible," she said, citing the reason behind her decision to accept the offer to appear in the film.

Nakamura used to live near the air station.

"Your television cannot be heard on full volume" while helicopters fly in formation, she said.

People on the mainland say the U.S. bases are there to bolster the "bilateral alliance" and "peace in the region," but Nakamura feels such views are phony.

"There are all kinds of opinions among the people of Okinawa, too," she said. "But at least there is no one who feels that they are protected by U.S. bases."

In fact, she added, many people on the mainland have canceled their trips to Okinawa, fearing terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Though Nakamura personally feels a distance between herself and activists who shake their fists and shout loud antimilitary slogans, she understands why people must adopt such confrontational positions to get their voices heard.

"We have no choice but to obey what the Japanese government and people on the mainland decide," she said.

"There are a lot of grandpas and grandmas in Okinawa still suffering pain from their experiences in the war. I wish we could bring back the islands of peace while they are alive."

The Japan Times: Thursday, May 16, 2002

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Japanese Concessions on the Futenma Base Relocation

Govt to make concession on Futenma base relocation
The Yomiuri Shimbun

The government intends to make a concession on a stalled relocation plan of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture by allowing alternative facilities to be built on reclaimed land about 90 meters further from the current shoreline than previously planned.

The Okinawa prefectural government and the Nago municipal government, which is to host the relocated facilities, have indicated they may be willing to accept the government's new plan, according to sources.

The government's initiative may break through the impasse over the planned relocation of the Futenma facilities currently situated in Ginowan to a coastal area of Camp Schwab in Nago. The planned relocation has been up in the air for nearly 12 years since Japan and the United States agreed in 1996 that the Futenma facilities be returned to Japan.

In April 2006, the then Defense Agency and the Nago municipal government reached a basic agreement that two runways would be built in a V-shaped formation on a waterfront area of Camp Schwab. The municipal government then requested that the runways be built on reclaimed land 300 meters or more closer to the water than the initial planned location. Although the prefectural government supported the plan, the government did not. Since then the difference of opinion has remained, and only procedures on environment assessment have gone ahead. The government plans to submit an application for landfill work for the surrounding water areas to the prefectural government in August 2009 and complete the construction of the alternative facilities in 2014.

The local governments sought to move the facilities further from the current shoreline, saying that noise and risks from crashing aircraft would be mitigated. The government, on the other hand, opposed the idea as it would mean renegotiating with the U.S. government. But the government made a concession at the initiative of Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura since it has to obtain the governor's approval on landfill work in surrounding sea areas, the sources said.

(Jan. 1, 2008)