Sunday, November 6, 2011

Demilitarizing the Pacific

NATIVE VOICES #3: 11/9/11, 7pm, Halau O Haumea, Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guam Decolonization at the UN

Decolonization Commission testifies before UN
Posted: Oct 18, 2011 4:56 PM
Updated: Oct 18, 2011 7:10 PM
by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Island leaders are continuing the push for self-determination. Just recently a delegation from Guam appeared before the United Nations and over the next couple days meetings and seminars will be held to discuss the process of decolonization.

Before the United Nation's Committee of Four in New York, Commission on Decolonization executive director Ed Alvarez and Speaker Judi Won Pat presented testimony regarding Guam's quest for self-determination. From October 4-6, Alvarez says he let the committee know the time is now to strengthen Guam's relationship with the United States. "We let them know that we were serious about embarking on this question for political destiny," he said. "We let them know about the brief history of what's happened and that it's time, it's time to modernize the relation between Guam and the United States as far as political status."

Speaker Won Pat meanwhile appealed for the assistance of the UN. In the political evolution of Guam and suggested three steps for the consideration of the committee, including to rebuke administering powers that continued the practice of colonialism; dispatch a special mission to Guam to provide information to the people of Guam on the role of the United Nations in the process of self-determination; and recognize Guam and other non-self- governing- territories as member states of the United Nations.

It's been 30 years since the UN has dealt with decolonization with 16 colonies currently remaining, including Guam. "The other was to present a plan, a call for action by this committee because they have decided to make this the third decade and I've asked not to make this just a third decade, which is 30 years, but they pass a resolution to make this the final decade in which then they should be able to eradicate the colonies," said Won Pat.

Although it may be costly to send delegates to the UN, Won Pat adds the Guam Legislature will continue efforts for decolonization by spearheading a series of conferences regarding Guam's political self-determination. She adds a presence must be made to continue dialogue and educating them about Guam.

Moving forward, international advisor on governance and former minister for external affairs for the U.S. Virgin Islands Dr. Carlyle Corbin is on Guam to provide training on the UN process and a history of other countries who had gone through decolonization. He says other territories are in the same situation and there are various stages of political evolution and modernization that need to be addressed.

He said. "This is important to know because we're not all isolated in that respect and what we can do together and with the information we can exchange is always useful. It is also important to have to the highest degree possible common message and common information and moving forward so that the message coming from five or four is stronger than coming from one."

Corbin has served for more than a decade as a United Nations expert on self-determination and will discuss his experiences with relating issues in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the CNMI and the Virgin Islands as well. The seminar takes place on Thursday at Adelup from 2-5pm. Alvarez says the Commission will reconvene its meetings once the governor returns from off-island.

Meanwhile, Alvarez says he didn't get any specific feedback from the UN, but requested the committee send experts to Guam in order to reignite the discussion on self-determination. He also hoped that the next Regional Experts Seminar could be hosted in Guam, which would enable the international community to see the great potential of the people of Guam.

Meanwhile Dr. Corbin is scheduled to speak tomorrow at the University of Guam where a public forum explaining political decolonization is being held. Dr. Corbin will speak on the topic of the role of the United Nations in the self-determination process.

Also speaking is Attorney Julian Aguon from the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice. Aguon will talk on the topic of "Defrosting the Self-Determination Imagination: The Trajectory of Right Under International Law". The forum is being hosted by the Division of Social Work in partnership with the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice. It's scheduled for 5:30 to 8:30pm at the Class Lecture Hall.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Protest This Thursday

Mon., Oct. 10, 2011: 9:00 PM

The Taotaomona Native Rights, Island organizations, and interested persons will be holding a peaceful demonstration to protest the awfully loud and harmful noise pollution by the U.S. Marines' jet fighters training on Guam.

Wed. Oct. 12, 2011: 2:00 - 3:30 PM @ Legislature Building, Hagatna: The Senators need to stand up for the safety and protection of the people of Guam.

Wed. Oct. 12, 2011: 4:00 - 6:00 PM: @ Guam Delegate's Office, across & in front of the Delegate' Office, on Marine Corps Drive, Hagatna: The Guam Delegate needs to stand up for the safety and protection of the people of Guam.

Thurs. Oct. 13, 2011: 3:30 - 6:00 PM: Andersen Air Force Base, across front gate: The U.S. military, which includes the U.S. Marines, need to stop using Guam as their dumping ground; and, they need to treat the people of Guam with respectu.

Instead of holding their training in Japan, the U.S. military is transferring the U.S. Marines fighter jets training manuvers to Guam, in order to relief the Japanese people from the awfully loud and harmful effects of the noise pollution by the jet fighters in training. Some 400 personnel including those from the Marine Aircraft Group 12 will participate in air-to-air and air-to-ground jet fighters training manuvers.

Members are requested to attend. Persons interested and concerned about the noise pollution and safety are welcome and urged to attend. Please bring water bottles and umbrellas. If you are bringing signs, please focus the message on the purpose of the protest. Thank you. For additional info, contact Trini: 477-0638.

Si Yu'os ma'ase',
Trini Torres
Pilong Maga' Haga,
Taotaomona Native Rights

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

GYP Political Status Panel

Not a very diverse panel in terms of ideas.


Panel: Determining political status a lengthy process
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 01:02
by Geraldine Castillo
Marianas Variety News Staff

AN EDUCATIONAL roundtable discussion was held yesterday, exploring the various political status options for Guam and their respective effects on the island's economy, commerce and trade.

The symposium, “Guam’s Quest for Economic Stability: How Our Economy is Affected by Our Political Status,” was held at the Hyatt Regency Guam and organized by the Guam Young Professionals (GYP), a committee of the Guam Chamber of Commerce.

A four-man panel comprised of experts on political status and economy was led by moderator Jay Rojas, chairman of GYP.

Among the panelists were Neal Weare, Litigation and Policy Council for the Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington D.C.; Joseph Bradley, Chief Economist, Bank of Guam; Juan-Carlos Benitez, President, Washington Pacific Economic Development Group; and Joe Arnett, Partner in charge of tax services for Deloitte & Touche LLP.

The educational symposium provided different analyses of political status options and how they affect issues such as economy, tax, commerce, immigration and more.

“I think it's important when talking about the different statuses to really recognize that they each have equal dignity,”

Weare pointed out. “The opportunities they each present certainly are different. But in terms of what they offer for Guam, I think that they all offer [an] advantage over the status quo, primarily because they put Guam back in the driver's seat.”


Weare spoke about how Guam has been “content” in letting authority rest in Washington and how Guam hasn't had any say in decisions that would affect the island.

“Whether we pursue integration, where we have a meaningful voice in participation in that process, or we pursue a separate relationship where we're able to control our destiny and negotiate in an equal playing field in the federal government ... I think either of those options would put us far ahead where we are now.”

Each of the panelists agreed that serious discussions on yesterday’s topic pose a lengthy process before a decision could be made.

“As far as Congress is concerned, we are an unincorporated territory, we're part of the United States and they're the ones that have the ultimate decision,” said Benitez. “So, the idea of one plebiscite granted independence or statehood or anything in between is probably not gonna occur with Washington's blessing ... it's gonna be a step process.”

Meanwhile, Bradley pointed out that indeed, a process has to take place. In that regard, there must be a selection of status, and preceding that selection, there has to be an education campaign that identifies the different statuses. As soon as that status is selected, Bradley suggested, a constitution must be formulated in order to tell Congress what we want.

“Once that constitution is drafted, it becomes a matter of selling it to the Congress,” he said.

Lots of Work

When it came to discussing how to bring up what would be determined as Guam's political status, Benitez stated there is a lot of work to be done on Guam's behalf.

“Washington really wants to help the territories,” stressed Benitez. “It's not their number one priority. We need to do the legwork for them. Unless we come in and provide them with the answer on how to help us, they're not gonna do it on their own. ... We need to know what to ask for and what is doable.”

Arnett, on the other hand, added that the process of deciding Guam's political status needs to continue, though it is a timely process.

“I think the military buildup gives us more leverage ... more opportunity to put our thoughts together to express our needs to Washington,” he said.

“We're all pretty much on the same page as far as where we want to be,” said Rojas in concluding the symposium. “We do have the power to control our future, and a lot of what we want, we can actually take to the table – in the form of negotiation, so long as that plan is actually concrete and stable. ... We have that opportunity to become that catalyst for change.”

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Massive Layoffs Possible for GovGuam

"A Message to GovGuam Employees"
Governor Edward Baza Calvo
The Marianas Variety
August 12, 2011

Good afternoon my fellow GovGuam workers,

Twenty years ago in 1991, the government we work under started becoming more expensive to operate than the cash coming in to operate it. Over those past 20 years, government leaders did everything possible to keep the government afloat. It started with more applications for federal grants.

Some last 'til today. Some ran out of funding. Then, government startedpaying its vendors late so it could have cash for payroll. And when that was not enough, government started using the people's tax refunds to pay for
your paychecks.

That bill to the people is now $280 million.

The only reason this government hasn't collapsed is that it's used the tax refunds of 44,000 people to pay your paycheck. I know that's not your fault. Most of you work very hard, and you earned that paycheck every two weeks. It is your employer who has written you an empty promise. Your employer gave you a job, but never told you that at some time, because of his or her
actions, the money for your paycheck will run out. And your employer also never told you that the money being used to pay you was money that belonged to someone else.

Worse, there have been periods in the last 20 years, when your employer knew that the money was running out, that your employer decided it was okay to appropriate millions in unnecessary expenses, like subsidies, travel and pet projects. At one time, there were 700 employees at the Legislature.

There used to be over 200 employees at the Governor's Office. This government even paid for a medical referral office in Manila that allegedly turned out to be a night club. When the money started to run out, your employer didn't decide to save it so that there would be enough money in the future for your job. Your employer didn't even put away the money needed to pay people their tax refunds.

As a matter of fact, your employer took that money to pay you your salary.

My fellow GovGuam workers, I have the unfortunate duty and responsibility of being the first of your employers to tell you the hard truth. We cannot take from people's tax refunds any longer. Thousands of them are suffering because they can't get medical care. But, even more practical than that, it has come to a point where there's not only insufficient cash for refunds,
there's nearly not enough for payroll.

The writing's been on the wall for 20 years. Yet, your employer did nothing to make government more efficient and less costly. No substantial action was ever taken to reorganize government and streamline it. If this had been done small steps at a time over the last 20 years, then today I wouldn't have to make the decisions I am making.

Unfortunately, everything has come to a head. This government is more expensive to operate than the cash coming in. It is with deep regret that a reduction in force is necessary through layoffs. Now, to be clear, I have decided against a 32-hour workweek. For one, it does not solve the problem that government is too expensive to operate because at some time, we would revert back to a 40-hour workweek. Second, it is not right to apply these measures across the board. That would destabilize critical education, health
and safety services provided to this community.

On that note, I want to assure any of you who may feel that there are some bad apples in the government who are spoiling the bunch: I've given strict instructions to your director to ensure that employees who underperform or conduct themselves against the rules go through the adverse action process.

I also want you to know that my office is not exempt from this. As a matter of fact, we've already reduced the number of positions and people here at Adelup, and we will be terminating more. When we came to office, we knew we needed to set the example and make the sacrifices before anyone else. That is why we reduced the workforce at Adelup by 16 percent, from 95 employees
to 80. I am also terminating more positions at the Governor's Office.

There is also a misconception that Department of Education should not be cut. While I am not imposing a 10 percent cut on DOE, I've received plans from the Interim Superintendent and the Guam Education Board of cuts that are being considered to non-essential services. That is the key here. I am very clearly prioritizing the education, health and safety agencies - but I
fully expect those agencies to eliminate waste and redundancy so funds can be used to hire teachers, police officers and firefighters, doctors and nurses. This is one government. We must all do our part to promote more efficient services to the people, especially in the priority and critical areas.

By tomorrow, every government employee under my purview will receive a general notice of pending layoff. This does not mean you will be laid off. It merely informs you of the possibility of a layoff in your department. It provides you with options and alternatives you may wish to explore. Thirty days from then, individual layoff notices may be sent to those slated for layoff by the Department of Administration HR division. This will be based on the plans submitted by your director. Please keep in mind as well that the elimination of your position may not mean your job is eliminated.

Classified employees have bumping rights. Your performance and your seniority will be factored into the assessment. And you certainly have due process and priority placement rights.

I wish it were not this way, but it is. If there is anything calming I cansay to you, it would be this: First, we are not looking to layoff a large percentage of the workforce. We're not looking at a 25 percent cut, or even a 10 percent cut all at once. That would be devastating to the economy.

Wherever we can, we are exhausting all avenues to cut costs before laying off classified employees.

We also won't just drop laid off employees. Every effort will be made toward job placement in the private sector, small business development or getting laid off workers through college. This community desperately needs more professionals like teachers, law enforcement officers and nurses. We hope to reorganize and streamline government to a point where we can afford
to get these professionals to provide critical services.

This government, your employer, has been sick for 20 years. No one ever gave it medicine. Year after year, it got sicker and sicker. Government needs some bitter medicine to survive. It won't taste good at first, but at some point, it will be the sickness that goes away. Rightsizing this government will provide you the job security you so rightfully deserve... so that none of your future employers will ever have to make the decisions I am making now. I'm sorry that you've been misled all these years, but I can't take back the past and magically right its sins. I can only try to make things better now. And I will, because I will not suffer your children and
their children to a future bankrupted by the sins of the past.

I ask for God's blessings over every one of you. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Emerging Leadership in Guam

Arab Spring on display to the world presented images of young minds creating a new world and a new way of being. In its' early beginning around 2005 there was a group of young, creative, committed, fierce and visionary like-minds who hold a great love for the island, culture and people of this place we call Guåhan, who came together to discuss the concerns raised regarding initial releases and leaks of the military buildup on the island. Moreover, the alarming presumptions and intoxicated euphoria locked any conversation or reference to the buildup into such deceivingly radiant terms. In this group were students, graduate students, healthcare professionals, musicians, poets, educators, community organizers, and artists. The San Diego conference was emotional and inspiring. Prior to this, many of us had no one to talk to about our concerns.

Ninety percent of the group has since returned home to take part in the discussions, provide the needed and relevant information, standing firm, challenging instruments of the state, protecting and defending home. This is the leadership we want for our island ~ ~ ~ ~

Pacific Daily News
June 25, 2011

Guam Needs Leadership on Buildup

Given last week's Sunday Forum topic, which focused on whether or not people should express their support of the military buildup, we eagerly await a future Sunday Forum that will ask the obvious next question as to whether or not people opposed to the buildup should speak out as well.

Last Sunday's topic coincided with the recent appearance of a new pro-buildup group Para Hita Todu, which is seeking to carve a place for itself in the buildup conversation.The tone of the topic made it seem as if the pro-buildup side of the debate, such as the leaders of Para Hita Todu, have been cowed into silence and become marginalized in the process. In addition to the lack of any semblance of objectivity, it is laughable to think that such captains of industry and influence, with their thousands of employees, millions of dollars and obvious power, who have dominated the discussion of the buildup since it was announced, have somehow been silenced and need to be given a special space to make their case.

For years, the people of Guam were fed a steady stream of fantasies and wishful thinking about the buildup. Before people even knew what it was, while it was just numbers in press releases, people made promises of billions of dollars, better futures and jobs for everyone, without any specifics. But those days are over and the people of Guam have come to a point where we don't crave promises or platitudes about the buildup, but want answers and solutions to either the problem it represents in and of itself, or the problems that will arise because of it.

This is the sign of a maturing community; one which does not want to be lied to, but wants to be informed and wants to be able to make their own decisions.

What Guam needs now is leadership on the buildup issue, and this is something that as of yet Para Hita Todu is not offering. Their recently released study showing 60 percent buildup support in the community is a perfect example of this. They refuse to address the valid concerns of our community. Instead they have polarized the issue, making it just about who does or does not support the buildup, and not about why our community is apprehensive in the first place.

Proponents of the buildup have long attempted to substitute support for the buildup with a judgment that the buildup is good for Guam. Polls conducted over the years have always showed various high levels of "support" for the buildup, but this bears no relation to whether or not it is a good thing for the island.

The EIS gave the people of Guam answers about what the buildup might bring and much of it was bad. Thus, if Para Hita Todu wishes to blow the kulo' of buildup awesomeness, it must be able to tackle the legitimate concerns that people have about everything from Pågat, traffic, public institution overcrowding, environmental damage, a higher cost of living, and the list goes on.

From what we have seen so far, they are unwilling or unable to do so and have rebuffed these concerns with whimsical remarks of such things "being taken care of." The concerns of the people of Guam were kept at bay with such language for years and it did us little good.

Now that the military has revealed its plans and we know the potential impact, it does us even less good to ignore them. We need to continue to take a serious look at the buildup plans and address the valid concerns our community raised during the draft EIS commenting period, many of which are still being avoided by those orchestrating the buildup.

Para Hita Todu's inability to make a solid argument for the buildup is not truly their fault, but most likely tied to the inherent fact that the buildup has always been a potential boon for some and a possible burden for most. There are those who may reap incredible rewards from the buildup. They are the ones who are already at the top of Guam's society and have the means to leverage their already abundant resources into possibly much more resources.

For the majority of Guam's people, however, the opportunities are mixed, to say the least. The EIS said as much, by indicating that the quality of life on Guam may take a significant hit and the responses to these cautions from the pro-buildup side always boil down to vague promises of more money to take care of everything.

Yet when asked what kinds of jobs will be offered, what wages people will receive, who will get the big buildup contracts, how the government will pay for the necessary infrastructure and public service upgrades, how our island's middle- and lower-class families will be able to afford the increasing cost of living because of the buildup, those saying the economy will simply improve have no concrete answers.

While we agree that all voices must be heard in every discussion of our future, these voices must be informed by facts and not false promises. The people of Guam should always consider whether or not groups that claim they represent all of us truly do.

With Para Hita Todu's emphasis on "supporting" the buildup rather than understanding it or analyzing it, they are leading the island away from making concrete plans for all our people, and instead are supporting the interests of the select few who will profit and will not be disproportionately affected by the buildup's negative impacts.

Maolekña na mafana'an siha "Para Siha Todu."

Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Ph.D., and Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, M.F.A., both teach at the University of Guam.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beyond Pagat

Beyond Pagat
Michael Lujan Bevacqua
June 15, 2011
The Marianas Variety

OVER the past year, I have lost track of how many times I have visited the Pågat area in northeastern Guam. I have taken my students on several trips there. I took reporters from NHK in Japan, the Washington Post in the U.S., and even a crew from Guam’s own PNC News there. Earlier this year, I took a group of newly elected and re-elected senators down there. I’ve lead groups there twice through the Heritage Hikes I’ve organized for We Are Guåhan and will be leading people once again later this month.

Even though I can count visiting Pågat at least 15 times in the past year and a half, I have not gotten tired of traveling there. Even as I walk on limestone trails, which I swear I could hike with my eyes closed, I still know that there is more to see and more for me to discover.
One reason for this is because while most people think of Pågat as the trail which leads from the Back Road to a cave and then to some stunning cliffs, Pågat in my mind extends further north and further south from that point. That trail itself is a great way to spend an afternoon, since you get to tour through different ecosystems and see artifacts along the trails. For those who are afraid of heights, there is a dark freshwater cave to swim in; and for those afraid of the dark, there is a well-lit cliff to jump off of to swim in the ocean below. But Pågat is still so much more than this.

Earlier this year, there was a debate in the media and in the minds of the military and Guam’s people as to what exactly constitutes Pågat.

Many felt it was just the sliver of land that I mentioned above and nothing more. If this was the case, then the proposed firing ranges the military plans to put on the bluff above Pågat could be more palatable, since the cave and cliff area so many know would fall on the edge, rather than the center of the surface danger zones, or the areas where there is a chance a stray bullet may land.

In response to this assertion, I and members of the group Halomtåno’ explored the area north of the assumed location of Pågat to see what we could find. Further north we found more latte and more lusong, and other artifacts such as pottery. As we moved further up the coast, we found pieces of shell tools such as higam or adze heads and even an acho achuman, a very ingenious device that ancient Chamorros used to train fish, making them easier to be caught later.

At the furthest northern point of Pågat is an area aptly called Pågat Point, which is, in my mind, the most beautiful section of all in Pågat. In the jungle cliffs we found small caves with pottery shards. And when you reach the ocean cliffs at Pågat Point, you find a lamasa, a natural table-like walkway at the water’s edge. The lamasa extends for what seems like a mile, and is for the most part safe and flat, although it can be dangerous, as its low level can make it easy for a rogue wave to appear and sweep you down into the deep blue sea.

This is something we learned firsthand; so if you ever visit this area, please be careful when the lamasa narrows. Despite the danger, the view there is breathtaking. From the jagged limestone cliffs you can face north and the cliffs of Yigo will look particularly majestic.

If you would like to learn more about Pågat and the artifacts or cultural significance I’m describing, by all means, join us on our Heritage Hike on June 25. We’ll be meeting at the Pågat trailhead on the Back Road to Anderson at 9 a.m.

For more information, head to


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pågat 'Sweeteners' Discussed

Marianas Variety

Pågat 'Sweeteners' Discussed

Therese Hart
May 26, 2011

Local activists and many island residents continue to question the sincerity of military and federal officials who speak of the buildup, even after officials assured them that discussions and plans on the Pågat issue are aboveboard and transparent.

A September 2010 email correspondence obtained by Variety among former Joint Guam Program Office Executive Director David Bice, Joe Ludovici, who has since taken over Bice’s position, and Capt. John Scorby, executive assistant to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Energy Installations & Environment, gives a glimpse of the strategies and mindset of the military with regard to the Pågat issue.

Scorby emailed Ludovici on Sept. 27, requesting that Ludovici provide a brief of Pågat to include “sweeteners” the Undersecretary needed for a briefing.

“At the DON staff meeting today with the Under, he asked that JGPO develop a brief on possible ‘sweeteners’ to get us over the Pågat issue. He indicated that this was going to be briefed at the next GOC, currently scheduled for Oct. 21. I don’t have a due date, but he indicated he was looking for the brief ‘soon.’ I’ll get more fidelity on that one.”

Bice responded, stating he had a discussion with “Ms. P last week,” and believed a “successful Route 15 acquisition strategy will require elimination all impacts to Pågat historic village in the near term, and finding mutual accommodations with race trace until expiration of land use license; ‘book end’ COA.”

Bice further wrote, “We can get all of the land eventually, including an SDZ (surface danger zone) over Pågat; we have to be patient and build trust with the community first.

“Groups opposing Marine relocation are successfully seizing on Pågat as a means to gain legitimacy with the public – need to take the issue off the table to isolate them.

“Sweeteners will be needed to garner GovGuam/Legislature support to remove firing range restrictions on Rt. 15 properties and to obtain Legislature approval of Chamorro Land Trust lease of properties below the cliff-line. Some members of the Legislature will attempt to block all land acquisition until other issues with Fed Govt are resolved – need to give Legislature a deal they can’t refuse.”

Speaker’s reaction

When Variety shared the email with Speaker Judi Won Pat, her reaction was quick, pointed, heated and then, resigned:

“This shows how disingenuous they are, and it seems they are engaging in some type of covert activity. ... They say they are being honest and upfront with us, yet, here’s proof that they are conniving behind our backs.

“We respond to the DEIS and FEIS, because they asked us to. We play by their rules and this is what they do to us. It’s very hurtful. We’ve been very trusting. They tell us that they’re listening to us. Perhaps this is the problem. We’re so trusting, we’re so welcoming; and yet, this is what we get from them.”

The Speaker said she was reminded of a past incident when We Are Guåhan member Cara Flores Mays was having lunch at a local restaurant and overheard a conversation between military personnel and Guam residents, one of them, Lee Webber.

“They treat us like we are the enemy and we’re not. We want this to work for our people too. Is that too much to ask. I’m very upset about this,” said Won Pat.

Won Pat was referring to a November 2010 conversation that Mays overheard, which included then-Joint Guam Program Office Director of Communications for Washington D.C. and Guam Paula Conhain, Lee Webber, a former Marine, and Lt. Col. Aisha Bakkar of the Marine Force Pacific Public Affairs Office. Conhain has since been removed from this position.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hurao Academy Day of Service


Day of Service at Hurao Academy
Sabrina Salas Mantanane
May 18, 2011

Guam - Dozens of employees and managers from various island companies took the day off to give back to the community. The Lina'la Hurao Sagan Kotturan Chamoru is a dream come true for Hurao Academy founder Ann Marie Arceo, who said, "We're moving we're going to accomplish it we're moving it we're doing it, Guam. Si yuus maase."

On nine acres of Chamorro Land Trust Commission property at Ypao Point close to 80 volunteers from Chugach, Home Depot, Behr Paints, Matson Imco, Pepsi, Baldyga International Group, Isla Paint and Coating, and Frontier Plumbing Supply participated in a day of service. "We're going to be painting, scraping digging anything that we need to get this going for the summer," Arceo noted.

That's the immediate goal: getting facilities ready for the Hurao Summer Camp, where students will apprentice here at least two to three times a week. The bigger picture, according to Hurao teacher and visual artist Rafael Unpingco is, "We plan on making it a cultural immersion center through the arts we have eight buildings and we want to break down the disciplines that way. Just to kind of get apprenticeship programs going do things fro the community and also teach the community the language and other cultural practices."

From painting, landscaping, fencing, water blasting cabinet work and other tasks. It's through Hurao and Linala's corporate partners that they're able to get the project off the ground and according to Home Depot general manager Rhett Garon and Chugach's Western Pacific regional manager Ray Llaneta they're happy to help. "I think its extremely important from a cultural standpoint as far as the perseveration with the move of the troops over to Guam we want to make sure that we help to establish a center where people can come and kind of learn the ways of the older Chamorro people as far as arts and the music and the language," Garon noted.

"This is about culture and this about the people of Guam," stated Llaneta. "We live here we're part of the community; the leaders in Chugach Alaska Corporation feel that its very important for us to give back to the community and I'm very proud and honored to be part of that."

If you'd like to help Hurao, according to Arceo they're always there on the weekends. Stop by if you'd like to volunteer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Demilitarization as Rehumanization

Demilitarization as Rehumanization
Left Turn: Notes from the Global Intifada
Clare Bayard
March 11, 2011

Demilitarization as Rehumanization

By: Clare Bayard

Date Published: March 11, 2011

The antiwar movement never died. The movement has shifted to the work of long-term, community-based organizing to mount a comprehensive challenge to US militarism. This work is growing inside grassroots movements led by veterans, immigrants, queers, and low-income communities of color. Everywhere domestic militarization burns to the bone, people are fighting for a different future. The mass street marches of 2003 sought to preemptively raise the political cost of the Iraq war. We always knew that beyond those marches we would have to confront the real human cost if the wars moved ahead.

•Outside Washington DC, CASA de Maryland fights the deportation of an undocumented woman who called the police to escape domestic violence and was turned over to ICE, Homeland Security's immigration wing.

•In Oakland, BAY-Peace's low-income youth of color win a two-year campaign developing a viral Youth Manifesto and passing the nation's toughest anti-recruitment resolution in their school district.

•Desert fatigues become paper for screenprints, or the canvas for their former wearer's Sharpied stories of trauma, where veterans' art-based transformational projects like Combat Paper and Fatigues Clothesline break isolation and culturally-enforced silences about the realities of war.

•In a grainy Wikileaked video, a soldier named Ethan McCord pulls children out of a massacre in Baghdad. Later, he and other veterans and allies write an Open Letter of Reconciliation and Responsibility to the Iraqi people and begin a reparations project.

•Oct 7th, the anniversary of the US war on Afghanistan: In New York, former Afghan Parliamentarian Malalai Joya, an Iraqi refugee organizer, a Latina youth organizer, a Muslim conscientious objector, an Imam from Harlem, and other speakers hold a press conference organized by the South Asia Solidarity Initiative, Iraq Veterans Against the War, War Resisters League, and other groups to connect the realities faced by Afghans with the realities of veterans and civilians in the US.

A few days later, in DC, One Nation Working Together marches for “Money for Jobs, Not for War” on the capitol. National efforts like the 25 Percent (reduction of the military budget) Campaign and Move the Money are gaining steam, demanding New Deal-style investment in social spending and de-funding the military.

These are snapshots along a continuum. People are organizing on every level, from federal legislation and military policy to survival programs that start with individuals and generate networks of grassroots resources and programs. Current work with the potential to drastically impact US militarism includes war economy and economic conversion campaigns, migrant justice, and GI resistance organizing.

There are many crucial questions about alternatives to military intervention, or the roles of armed struggle in peoples’ movements for self-determination. We take inspiration from people around the world confronting US militarism on their own territory, particularly in the anti-occupation and anti military base movements, currently finding their strongest expressions in North Africa, West Asia, Latin America and the Pacific. Here, I will touch on a few threads of domestic demilitarization, highlighting GI resistance.

Going deeper

The US is deeply shaped by militarism, from its origins as a settler nation taking its territory piecemeal and by force, to the uncloaked empire we live in today. Living in the US, particularly for those of us with citizenship, carries responsibility to end the spread of this empire, which we can’t dodge anymore than we can drop the struggles in our home communities. Nor is there always a clear separation between what we often refer to as “wars at home and abroad.” Attacks across the country on people read as Arab, Muslim, or South Asian, whether detentions by the state or street attacks, are entangled with the heightened level of militarism accepted by the US mainstream since post-9/11 policies of aggressive racism were implemented. Increased militarization of the US-Mexico border has led to horrific rates of rape of migrants on and around the border. Funds drop from anti-violence programs and are moved instead into the criminal justice system. Queer youth are bullied to death by peers who are taught militarized images of gender roles. These struggles for safety and health are part of resistance to domestic US militarism.

Anti-militarists build off analyses from women of color feminists about the need for community-based alternatives to dealing with violence. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence and sister organizations provide us with a clear analysis of how anti-violence movements’ use of the criminal justice system perpetuated racist systems of criminalization and control, and encourage us to look beyond state structures to community-based transformative justice approaches. Anti-militarist activists need substantive answers to the questions and fears that arise for many in response to the idea of demobilizing the military, just as abolitionists have to answer the question of what we would do without prisons.

Demilitarization means structuring our society with different values. We build institutions that reflect the values we want to strengthen and help us navigate what we are trying to transform. Prison abolition struggles and transformative justice experiments contribute to demilitarizing society by developing different ways to handle real conflict and violence. We need functional strategies that are driven by commitment to cooperation and to community health, instead of the profit driven motives and divide-and-control tactics we see from Afghanistan to Louisiana.

Immigrant & Indigenous Leadership

Migrant justice organizers have no choice but to deal with militarism at every turn. The post-9/11 folding of immigration enforcement into the Department of Homeland Security aggravated an already dangerous situation. Heavily recruited, with promises of citizenship for youth considering military service, immigrant communities of color across the country are taking on militarization of their neighborhoods and of the border region. They are resisting racist immigration and “enforcement” laws and pushing for alternatives to militarized schools and streets.

Guerrero Azteca Peace Project, a Latino community-based peace and counter-recruitment effort formed by Fernando Suarez del Solar when his undocumented son Jesus Alberto was one of the first soldiers to die in Iraq, responded to Arizona's SB1070 racial harassment law in a letter signed by Latino military parents. The letter asks Obama to take action, and states: “Those on active duty supposedly are risking their lives for American ideals, but with this law they see clearly that if their families must face harassment, incarceration, and deportation these ideals are nothing but empty words.” The letter recalls Vietnam-era challenges by African Americans to racism and hypocrisy, summarized famously by Muhammed Ali: “No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.”

Indigenous nations are the first resisters of US militarism, and veterans and nonmilitary leaders still apply traditional knowledge and visions for the future to the damages of militarism. Eli Painted Crow of the Yaqui Nation, an Army veteran and cofounder of Servicewomen's Action Network, initiated Turtle Women Rising, an annual transformational ceremony led by indigenous women. Painted Crow echoed Suarez del Solar's words in describing her path as “the defining moment for me [in Iraq, 2004], when I knew I had to get out of Iraq and the military, was when I fully realized that I was participating in the very same thing that my people had suffered and are still suffering in the United States.”

Members of the Ohlone Nation—the Bay Area's original inhabitants, displaced to Southern California—journeyed to San Francisco to hold a joint healing ceremony with the local Veterans For Peace Chapter on Veterans' Day. The ceremony recognized a young person lost to suicide after returning from combat, and honored these two communities, beginning an explicit long-term partnership on healing the wounds of war.

Withdrawing consent

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) uses a people power strategy of leveraging their power as workers the wars depend on, and as veterans who can deny the wars’ legitimacy. IVAW, which formed in 2005 and numbers several thousand members, is uniquely positioned to provide the vision and leadership for growing a mass GI resistance movement. They are applying lessons from the civil rights movement and previous generations of GI and veteran resistance, as well as seeking organizing wisdom from grassroots organizations including Domestic Workers United, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers/Student-Farmworker Alliance, and United Workers.

In October, IVAW launched their first campaign, Operation Recovery: Stop the Deployment of Traumatized Troops (OpRec). The underlying strategy is IVAW's basic model: organizing GIs to withdraw their consent from wars. Its success in stopping deployment of troops with severe trauma would incapacitate the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq by knocking out 20 to 50 percent of the fighting force. It's a dilemma campaign. If we win, the wars are hamstrung. Or, if the military continues deploying wounded troops, this visible criminal negligence will hurt their legitimacy and ability to keep recruiting. Either way, we also improve our capacity to provide our own community-based care, which is needed far beyond just the veterans' community. An element of the campaign is developing survival programs, inspired by the Black Panthers, to address the needs of people whose ability to resist their command often depends on access to support.

Operation Recovery exposes the silenced crises of Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). IVAW, partnered with the Civilian-Soldier Alliance, has a strategy to win on multiple fronts. Demanding the right to heal is a point of leverage to challenge the institution, as well as a survival need within this community. OpRec has begun targeting base commanders who have the power to make immediate decisions preventing deployments. Here, even “damage control” means fewer lives destroyed.

Amplifying the voices of traumatized troops deepens awareness of the scope of disaster in these wars. After last fall's media exposure of Afghanistan “kill teams,” IVAW member Ethan McCord responded, “You're taking soldiers who are on psychotropic drugs for PTSD or TBI, and you're putting a weapon in their hand and sending them right back to where they were traumatized and telling them to go kill Afghans. What did you think was going to happen when you place these soldiers in that same situation?”

After the incident depicted in the Collateral Murder video, when McCord sought mental health care, his sergeant told him to “Get the sand out of your vagina.” “He told me I was being a homo and needed to suck it up,” McCord said. OpRec testimonies bring back to the US public the realities of what is happening on the ground in Afghan and Iraqi neighborhoods; how soldiers struggling to stay sane and follow their conscience are treated by their command; and what happens when traumatized troops return, bringing instability and violence home.

Operation Recovery is currently focused on establishing consistent outreach at base towns around the country. In the last week of January, IVAW organizers at Fort Hood, Texas, alone collected a couple hundred pledges of support for Operation Recovery from active duty troops. Community support and participation for outreach, media work, fundraising, research, and compiling resources for healing is needed for their goal of activating thousands of GIs.

Veteran organizing

Veteran activists experience frequent obstacles to working partnerships with nonmilitary peace activists. They often report being either tokenized/valorized in a dehumanizing way, or ostracized by antiwar civilians who feel uncomfortable or disdainful of “soldiers with bloody hands.” Pain and anger at the US military's violence against Iraqi and Afghan civilians is real and just. It is also real that the carefully designed race and class makeup of the military plays a role in the friction between GI resistance and majority white and class-privileged peace movements. Many veterans bring fierce hunger to this struggle, including deep personal commitment to justice for the people they hurt, which everyone in the US needs to be taking responsibility for.

GI organizing offers complicated questions of fighting for veterans' needs within the larger context of challenging wars. One common issue is the vital difference between centralizing this community as “the most impacted” by US wars, versus “one of the most.” Another is the tricky balance of fighting for veterans’ legal rights to healthcare and benefits, while at the same time challenging military privilege and demanding these human rights for everyone so they will not be dependent on enlistment (or honorable discharges, which are often not accessible to resisters, and are disproportionately denied to soldiers of color). Our job is to move away from competitive frameworks towards cooperative models. Operation Recovery seeks to improve community provider networks that help re-integrate veterans, which could grow to provide care for people who have lost healthcare, jobs, or housing as a result of the military budget eating up our social spending.

Veteran communities, like other communities that experience high levels of violence and are forced to prioritize survival issues, have a lot to offer social movements on the importance of weaving community-building and healing work into campaigns, actions, organization-building. Revolutionaries must also ask questions of what different scenarios can play out in moments of uprising, with different types of relationships with active duty military personnel. The complicated role of the Egyptian military during this winter's revolution is only the latest reminder of the significance of the choices made by military personnel when called on to repress domestic dissent as well as fight wars of conquest. IVAW has discussed organizing a tour of the US-Mexico border to talk to National Guard troops stationed there and encourage them to stand on conscience.

IVAW members have initiated several reparations projects. One, along with US Labor Against War, primarily works with Iraqi trade union leaders on policy issues. Another project, born from the open letter, partners with Iraqi Health Now on direct aid. Guidance has come from Iraqi-Americans and Vietnam-era Veterans For Peace, who built a joint Agent Orange reparations campaign with Vietnamese organizations. Broad support for these initiatives could be transformative, engaging the US public with our responsibilities, which do not rest solely on veterans.

Healing From Inside

Demilitarization means untangling layers, from which institutions shape our society and address our needs, and decolonizing our minds, bodies, and organizing practices. Demilitarization practices are healing and wholeness strategies for our communities and cultures. Affirming everyone’s humanity and centering the importance of healing capsizes the logic of militarism. While we campaign to withdraw troops, defund the military, involve the public in reparations, and make racist fear and warmongering unacceptable, we must also be practicing individual and community behaviors that support the values we seek to implement as a society.

“Healing justice is being used as a framework that seeks to lift up resiliency and wellness practices as a transformative response to generational violence and trauma in our communities.” This footnote to principles developed at last summer's US Social Forum, by Cara Page of Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective, explains the power of aligning different antimilitarist threads. We have no choice but to address the violence and trauma carried in so many of our bodies. We must reclaim traditions of wellness that use not the individual but relationships as the fundamental unit. This aligns us with values of community, right relation to the environment, and organizing as a process of building relationships that we set in motion to effect change. Demilitarization means hope for the future.

Clare Bayard has been involved in demilitarization organizing for over a decade, originally in immigrant justice work, and has been building the G.I. resistance movement since 2004. Clare has been working with IVAW and Civilian-Soldier Alliance in developing the Operation Recovery campaign, is an organizer with Catalyst Project and the War Resisters League, and is from a military family.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Powerful U.S. Senators Arrive in Guam; Guam Governor Calls on U.S. Senate to End Its Bipartisan Colonialism

Office of the Governor of Guam

Powerful U.S. Senators Arrive in Guam; Guam Governor Calls on U.S. Senate to End Its Bipartisan Colonialism

Immediate Release: April 18, 2011

(Hagatna, Guam) Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo, one of the 55 United States governors, found out this morning that fifteen percent of the U.S. Senate landed on Guam in secrecy today. The contingent includes the Senate Majority and Minority leaders and other powerful U.S. Senators. These U.S. Senators, both Democrat and Republican, have decided to thumb their noses at the island and its government. The Governor, who is a member of the National Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association, releases the following statement about how this snub can severely affect Guam colonial-federal relations as the U.S. government pushes a $15 billion realignment of Asian-Pacific forces on Guam:

“This morning, Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo asked whether I would be greeting the 15 U.S. Senators scheduled to arrive at Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base today. We were both surprised and extremely upset that no one in the federal establishment informed Guam of their visit. We called the Navy to verify this stopover and we were told that the U.S. Senators will not entertain any meeting or discussions with Guam leaders or the Guamanian people. Instead of landing at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam, they have decided to shield their visit in secrecy and land within the confines of Andersen Air Force Base.

“In the 100 years we have been a colony of the United States, the U.S. government hardly did anything to resolve our colonial status. What kind of democracy allows colonialism to flourish? I am livid the U.S. Senate, a body created by the will of the people of 13 colonies who wanted freedom and democracy, would turn its back on the Guamanian people. It is obvious we are not part of their constituency, and they do not consider us a valuable part of the American family. This only serves to inflame our long-held belief that we are an American colony of second-class citizens who matter only when our geopolitical position is needed by the U.S. government.

“This is a sad state of affairs. This is the third time in the last year that Congress has made it clear that we are of no importance to the nation. This snub follows Congress trying to sell our own resources to us at Fena and Congress taking away our Delegate’s voting power in House committees. These U.S. Senators are only hurting American interests abroad. Look at the great relationship we’ve built with the U.S. military. Congress’s actions only undermine that work. Why? If Guam was so important to U.S. strategic interests, then why would the nation’s leaders continue snubbing Guamanians?

“If the Senate wants to thumb its nose at Guamanians, then perhaps it is time for Guamanians to call in every injustice ever committed upon our people by the U.S. government. And we can start with the Insular Cases of the same U.S. Supreme Court of the 1900s that said people of color were separate but equal. How many times have Guamanians answered the call to serve? How many have died for a democracy that doesn’t even fully apply to us? How many more times must Guamanians accept colonial treatment before Congress ever recognizes that our voices count, too? How much more oppression can our people take before they get fed up and tell the Congress to take their buildup somewhere else?

“We can have the greatest relationship with the U.S. military and the Department of the Interior, but if Congress continues ignoring Guam like the colony it is, we will never truly enjoy the America that the Marines of 1944 fought and died to bring to Guam. What happened to the pledge of a “One Guam” policy? It’s clear these U.S. Senators have no intention of uniting our best interests. To them, there is an American inside a military fenceline, and an American colony outside of it. They want nothing to do with that colony. Here is yet another compelling reason the Guam Legislature, Lt. Governor Tenorio and I are working together to call for a vote of self determination. We cannot continue on as a colony of the United States. We should either be a part of the U.S., with voting membership in the House and Senate and the right to vote for President, or we should govern ourselves. This is a message we will share with U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Carl Levin when they visit with us next week. At least these gentlemen have the consideration and decency to meet with their fellow Americans in Guam.

“I want Guamanians living in the U.S. States where these U.S. Senators are from to remember what these U.S. Senators did to Guam in the next national elections.”

Guam is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States, a colonial status that has not changed. Its residents are called Guamanians and were granted U.S. citizenship by an act of Congress called the Organic Act of 1948. Only certain provisions of the Constitution's Bill of Rights apply to the residents of Guam, called Guamanians. Guamanians have among the highest enlistment rates in the U.S. military. There are 183,000 Guamanians living in Guam. An unknown number reside throughout the U.S. mainland, Hawaii and Alaska. A 2000 census of those who call themselves Chamorro (the ethnicity indigenous to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) or part-Chamorro says that 33,849 Chamorros alone live in California. This does not include the broader number of Guamanians of other ethnic backgrounds who live in California. According to the 2000 Census, nearly 100,000 Chamorros live in the 50 States and Puerto Rico.

Office of the Governor of Guam
Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor's Complex | Adelup, Guam 96910
Tel: (671) 472-8931/6 | Fax: (671) 477-4826 |

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Results of the Chamorro Language Competition

The winners of Tuesday's 8th annual Chamoru Language Competition at the University of Guam are:
March 08, 2011


Spelling – Kindergarten through Second Grade

1. Gold: Jeremiah Hofschneider, Tinian Elementary School, Tinian
2. Silver: Pedro Cruz, Mount Carmel Catholic School, Guam
3. Bronze: Alisa Gatharngeg, Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School, Saipan

Drawing – Kindergarten through Second Grade

1. Gold: Heidi N. Tang, Saint Anthony Catholic School, Guam
2. Silver: Janine F. Miller, Saint Anthony Catholic School, Guam
3. Bronze: Elijah J. Lizama, St. Anthony School, Guam

Children’s Choir – Kindergarten through Second Grade

1. Gold: Mount Carmel Catholic School, Guam
2. Silver: Inarajan Elementary School, Guam
3. Bronze: Saint Anthony Catholic School, Guam

Spelling – Third Grade through Fifth Grade

1. Gold: Thomas William DLC Benavente, Kagman Elementary School, Saipan
2. Silver: Darlene Ferrer, Maria A. Ulloa Elementary School, Guam
3. Bronze: Josiah Quitugua, BP Carbullido Elementary School, Guam

Drawing – Third Grade through Fifth Grade

1. Gold: Dana Dalmacio, Saint Anthony Catholic School, Guam
2. Silver: Mikaela Bumagat, Saint Anthony Catholic School, Guam
3. Bronze: Jennifer Muna, Saintt Anthony School, Guam

Storytelling – Third Grade through Fifth Grade

1. Gold: Keilani Barcinas, Sinapalo Elementary School, Rota
2. Silver: Breanna Camacho, Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School, Saipan
3. Bronze: Keith Gerard M. Villagomez, Kagman Elementary School, Saipan

Children’s Choir – Third Grade through Fifth Grade

1. Gold: BP Carbullido Elementary School, Guam
2. Silver: JQ San Miguel Elementary School, Guam
3. Bronze: Tinian Elementary School, Guam



1. Gold: Kimberly Camacho, Chacha Oceanview Junior High School, Saipan
2. Silver: Pamela Barcinas, Grace Christian Academy, Tinian
3. Bronze: Jezreelyn Bulaklak, Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School, Saipan

Poetry Recitation

1. Gold: Jeremiah Cruz, Tinian Elementary School, Tinian
2. Silver: Cecilia Fitial, Grace Christian Academy, Tinian
3. Bronze: Charita Quitaro, Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School, Saipan


1. Gold: Jezreelyn Bulaklak, Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School, Saipan
2. Silver: Robert Marmito, Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School, Saipan
3. Bronze: Cecilia Evangelista, Mount Carmel Catholic School, Guam

Choral Reading

1. Gold: Grace Christian Academy, Tinian
2. Silver: Tinian Elementary School, Tinian
3. Bronze: Mount Carmel Catholic School, Guam


1. Gold: Saint Francis Catholic School, Guam
2. Silver: Oceanview Middle School, Guam
3. Bronze: Mount Carmel Catholic School, Guam



1. Gold: Megan Cruz, Tinian High School, Tinian
2. Silver: Ramon Barcinas, John F. Kennedy High School, Guam
3. Bronze: Brandee Faith Mendiola, Rota High School, Rota


1. Gold: Ramon Barcinas, John F. Kennedy High School, Guam
2. Silver: Blaine Mesngon, Rota High School, Rota
3. Bronze: Realynn C. Palacios, Tinian High School, Tinian

Poetry Recitation

1. Gold: Maisie Mesngon, Rota High School, Rota
2. Silver: Brianna Torres, Southern High School, Guam
3. Bronze: Mary M. Hocog, Tinian High School

Male Singer

1. Gold: Christopher Cruz, Southern High School, Guam
2. Silver: Shiabe Pangelinan, Simon Sanchez High School, Guam
3. Bronze: Byron Mafnas, George Washington High School, Guam

Female Singer

1. Gold: Cloe Hofschneider, Tinian High School, Tinian
2. Silver: Javil Manglona, Rota High School, Rota
3. Bronze: Caroline Hidalgo, George Washington High School, Guam

Song With Dance

1. Tinian High School, Tinian
2. John F. Kennedy High School, Guam
3. Southern High School, Guam

Dramatic Cultural Interpretation

1. Gold: Tinian High School, Tinian

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hate in America

Hate comes to Orange County

(ANAHEIM, CA, 3/2/11) -- The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today released a video of a rally organized by anti-Muslim bigots to protest a February fundraising event held by an American Muslim relief group for relief work and charity in the U.S.

A few hundred protesters showed up to the rally, which was sponsored by groups such as: "We Surround Them OC 912" (a local Tea Party group), Rabbi David Eliezrie of Chabad - Yorba Linda, North Orange County Conservative Coalition, ACT! for America, and Pamela Geller (whose group "Stop the Islamization of America" has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center).

Elected officials Congressmen Ed Royce and Gary Miller, and Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly also attended and spoke at the protest rally.

The event -- held at Yorba Linda Community Center, a facility that has been frequented by Muslim families and businesses over the years -- first became a target of anti-Muslim bigots over two of the fundraiser's speakers, who were to speak on the importance of charity in Islam. Initial attempts of some groups to have the Yorba Linda Community Center and the Yorba Linda City Council cancel the fundraising event failed, followed by the protest.

In a statement, CAIR-LA said:

"We support the First Amendment right of protest\eors anywhere in America to voice their concerns, dissent, and even hatred. However, when our nation's foundational values of inclusiveness, pluralism and equality are attacked by some in favor of calls for advocating hate and violence, then all Americans have a responsibility to challenge and expose such bigotry and those who enable it.

"As the video shows, the rhetoric of the protesters became increasingly venomous toward the families and children who came to attend the ICNA Relief fundraising dinner. Protesters shouted invective statements such as "Go home terrorist," "Muhammad is a pervert, Muhammad is a child molester," "Go home and beat your wife, she needs a good beating" at the event-goers.

"Even more disturbing was the participation and encouragement of elected officials in promoting the hateful protest rally. Villa Park Councilwoman, Deborah Pauly, while addressing the crowd at the rally, appeared to threaten Muslim event-goers. Congressman Ed Royce (R-40), in a troubling trend of disparaging Islam and its followers, added fuel to the fire by encouraging protesters to continue on with their hate-mongering. The attendance of Congressman Gary Miller (R-42) was a clear surprise, since he previously has engaged with all constituents, including Muslims, toward a better America.

"We strongly urge all elected officials in attendance to distance themselves from such an exhibition of hate and bigotry. We further ask residents and elected officials of Yorba Linda, Orange County and other parts of our nation to speak out against such hateful rhetoric and the continued Islamophobia that plagues our nation."

Council on American Islamic Relations-Los Angeles (CAIR-LA), Phone: 714-776-1847, Email:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Free Rapa Nui Day


OCNC (Oceania Coalition of Northern California); a Pacific Islander social justice organization based in the Bay Area, California, is a multi-generational organization comprised of Pacific Islander community leaders, community activists and community members representing Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia.
We invite you to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Rapa Nui and join us for the "Free Rapa Nui Day of Action." The program for the day will include a rally and demonstration against the Chilean government’s illegal occupation and evictions of the indigenous peoples of Rapa Nui from their ancestral homelands. Furthermore, we are also standing up against the Chilean government’s heinous use of violence and human rights violations against unarmed families and communities in Rapa Nui. We hope to raise awareness on these issues and we petition the Chilean government to come to a peaceful resolution.


DATE: Weds March 16, 2011
TIME: 9:00am - 12:00am
Chilean Consulate General
870 Market Street, Suite 1062
San Francisco, CA 94102
Contact info:
Dallas Te'o (

For more info, please visit our “Free Rapa Nui Day of Action” FB page
Save-Rapanui USA.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beyond the Fence

The weekly radio show Beyond the Fence on KPRG 89.3 is a great source of information on Guam's current military buildup, but also Guam's history of militarization and the struggles which are taking place to decolonize the island.

If you want to listen to the show live, it is aired every Friday at noon, right after Democracy Now! Each episode is archived and can be downloaded for free at this link.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Indigenous Fishing Rights Update

*Press Release *
*For Immediate Release -- 6 January 2011*


Or (808) 522-5341 or (808) 383-1069

*Indigenous Guam Fishermen Risk of Drowning More Than Doubled afte Enforcement of MPAs *
HONOLULU (6 January 2011) For fishermen on Guam who have traditionally fished inshore, a major concern is the loss of accessible fishing grounds caused in part by the establishment of five marine preserve areas (MPAs) in 1997. Fishermen have reported that the MPAs have displaced them from traditional fishing grounds, prevent them from teaching fishing techniques in a safe environment to the younger generation and impact the future of their local culture. Now a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), provides concrete evidence on how dangerous fishing has become for the indigenous Chamorro fishermen since fishing restrictions in the MPAs at Tumon Bay, Piti Bomb Holes, Sasa Bay, Achang Reef Flat and Pati Point have been enforced.

"The major finding of the study was that, for Chamorro fishermen, the risk of drowning more than doubled after MPAs were enforced in 2001," note authors Devin L. Lucas, and Jennifer M. Lincoln, PhD. On the other hand, non-Chamorro fishermen experienced a sharp decrease in the risk of drowning after MPAs were established.

The NIOSH report "The Impact of Marine Preserve Areas on the Safety of Fishermen on Guam" also found that the proportion of drowning deaths to Chamorro fishermen that occurred on the East Coast (in more hazardous waters) increased from 20 percent during 1986-2000 to 63 percent during 2001-2009.
The report concludes: "Before the MPAs were established, Guam residents fished primarily in the protected areas of the Western (leeward side) and Southern Coasts. Non-Chamorro fishermen were predominately recreational users, while Chamorro fishermen were more likely to subsist on the resource. As MPAs were established and enforced, the traditional and popular fishing grounds on the West Coast and Southern tip of the island were restricted. Non-Chamorro recreational fishermen most likely scaled back their fishing activities since few accessible, safe areas remained open. At the same time, Chamorro subsistence fishermen began fishing more heavily on the East Coast (windward side of the island)....That increased exposure to more hazardous conditions resulted in higher risk of drowning."

For a copy of the report, which was prepared by the NIOSH for the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, please go to For more on Guam's MPAs, go to

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council was created by Congress in 1976 and is authorized by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to manage fisheries in federal waters surrounding Guam, Hawaii, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Pacific remote island areas.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chamorro Language Reading Room

Ginnen Si Sinot Pedro Onedera, Profesot Fino' Chamoru giya i Unibetsedat Guahan:

Ma agågangi hao

Your presence is requested
Para un atendi i
to attend the

Siremoñan Initot Leston
para i
Kuåtton Rifirensian Fino’ CHamoru

CHamoru Language Reference Room
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

gi Sabalu, diha 15 gi Ineru 2011
on Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gi alas 3 gi despues di talo’åni

3:00 p.m.
gi iya Unibetsedåt Guåhan
held at the University of Guam
Sentan Inilao Lugåt Maikrunisia
Micronesia Area Research Center
Prinisenta nu i:
Presented to you by:
Klas Inentalo’ 2010 CHamoru Ilimentåriu II
2010 Elementary CHamoru II Intercession Class


Students enrolled in the Fall Intercession class of CM102 Elementary Chamorro II class at the University of Guam have established a Chamorro Language Documents Reference Room at the Micronesian Area Research Center.

For decades, emphasis has been on the acquisition of Spanish language documents that have been housed at the center says assistant professor of Chamorro language, Peter R. Onedera

Little effort has been done to collect documents too that have been written in the Chamorro language and it is timely that the same consideration be given to archive many works that have gone unnoticed and uncollected through the years.

One chief aim for the project is to make available these written works to researchers who will devote time to the linguistic value of the indigenous language.

Additional areas that can benefit are orthography, semantics, word origins, antecedents, grammar, lexicons, and other language areas vital to the survival of Chamorro as a member of the Austronesian family of languages. Onedera says this has largely been lacking in the field of academia and the collection of written works in the Chamorro language will prove valuable as many researchers, particularly the Chamorro Linguistics International Network that was established with Dr. Robert A. Underwood, Rosa Salas Palomo and Onedera as original founding members.

The organization is based at the University of Bremen in Germany and includes members from many countries spanning Europe to the Caribbean, the United States and Asia.

Individuals, organizations, government agencies, private owners and collectors of Chamorro language memorabilia, as well as those now living in the mainland United States are invited and encouraged to provide copies that range from personal letters, journals, diaries, essays, compositions, books, poetry, lyrics, music, chants, proverbs, booklets, brochures, annual reports, manuscripts, political pamphlets, posters, project proposals, recipes, medicinal and herbal treatment, historical anecdotes, advertisements, legends, myths, stories, public events, organizational charts, ceremonies, religious activities, family tree information, novena books, bibles, guidebooks and other literary materials that are written in Chamorro and can be housed in the reference room at MARC.

This appeal is also extended to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas and those living around the globe says Onedera.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the project may email Onedera at or His office phone number is 1-671-735-2808.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Solidarity Actions to Protest US Military Expansion in Takae, Okinawa

Thank you to Kyle Kajihiro of DMZ Hawai'i for posting in support of Norimatso Satoko's Peace Philosophy Centre blog:

January 3, 2011 by kyle

U.S. military helicopters buzzed the peace encampment near the Yambaru forest in Takae, at the northern end of Okinawa. Construction of the jungle warfare training area has begun. This is another site of community resistance to U.S. military base expansion in Okinawa, but it has gotten far less media attention than Futenma and Henoko. Groups in Japan are mobilizing to protest the U.S. expansion of training in the rainforest of Yambaru. They requested international groups to send messages of solidarity:

Email your message/request to:

Please include in your email the following information:

*** Name (for an individual) or name of your organization
*** Your message/request (length is up to you)

Both Japanese and English messages will be accepted.

Deadline: January 8 (Sat.), 2011
Remember that Japan is a day ahead of continental US

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Reposting from Satoko Norimatsu of Peace Philosophy Centre:

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Please Join Action for Takae at US Embassy!

See a YouTube video of the Okinawan media reports on the December 23 incident of a US helicopter hovering above the Takae protest tent, which caused damage to the tent and some items in the tent.

Please Join Us in Our Action for Preserving the Pristine Yanbaru Forest and People of Takae, Okinawa!

We invite you to join us in our protest at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo over the restart of the U.S. helipads construction in Takae, Higashi Village of Okinawa, and the destruction of the sit-in tent by a U.S. helicopter, either by sending us your message/request to the US Embassy by email by January 8, or physically joining our action on January 10 in Tokyo (see instruction at the bottom).

The Yambaru Forest is a habitat for endangered species such as Yambaru Kuina (Okinawan Rail) and Noguchi Gera (Okinawan Woodpecker). It is known internationally as a region rich in biodiversity. Takae, situated in Yambaru, is a small village of about 160 residents, including many who moved here for its pristine nature.

However, the U.S. Marine Corps has been using the Yambaru Forest for combat training. In 1957, th US military started using the area as “Northern Training Area” (Jungle Warfare Training Center), and currently there are 15 U.S. helicopter takeoff and landing zones (helipads) in Higashi Village. Residents of Takae have constantly suffered from the noise and the risk of helicopter crashes. To make matters worse, the Japanese and US governments decided to build 6 new helipads, surrounding the residential neighborhood of Takae.

Construction of new helipads will not only further endanger the livelihood and lives themselves of Takae residents, but also further destroy the precious environment with its wealth of species, forest and rivers. New military facilities also pave the way to the possibility of a new war.

Residents of Takae have protested against the helipads construction for the above reasons. In 2006, we passed a resolution against the new helipads, and demanded of the relevant authorities that they review the construction plan. Takae residents and their supporters from across Japan and from around the world have continued to sit-in, monitoring the site and trying to persuade the government against the construction.

The Japanese and US governments, however, have not listened to the voices of opposition by the residents, and have not provided sincere explanation or proper opportunities for public hearing. The Japanese government even decided, all of a sudden, to prosecute some of the local protesters for obstructing traffic.

Just before dawn on December 22, 2010, at 6:30 AM, some 100 members of the Okinawa Defense Bureau, ignoring the ongoing court proceedings, barged into the site without warning to restart the helipad construction. On the next night, December 23rd, a US helicopter hovered only 15 meters above the sit-in tent, causing the tent to blow down. Such military exercise over a public road threatens the safety of local residents. The Japanese and US governments are harming the people of Takae by forcing through the construction work without sufficient explanation or consent by local residents. Such an approach by the two governments is unacceptable.

Residents of the Henoko district in Nago City, where the Japanese and US governments plan to build a replacement base for MCAS Futenma, have also been sitting-in for over 2,400 days, in order to preserve their life and the beautiful ocean. We urge you also to say “NO” to the new base plan in Henoko.

Following our protest to the Ministry of Defense on December 22 and the December 26 demonstration in Shinjuku, “Save Takae/Okinawa – an urgent appeal and demonstration against construction of helipads,” we will go to the US Embassy in Tokyo and the Japanese Ministry of Defense on January 10 (Mon.), 2011, to protest. We would like to collect as many requests/demands as possible and deliver them to the US government. We accept both individual and organizational messages. Just one sentence message, such as “We do not need US helipads in the pristine forest” will suffice, or a longer message is welcome too. The Takae and Henoko issues are not just about war and military bases, but they are also about environmental preservation, biological diversity, and an alternative, “slow-life” lifestyle.

Please express your message in your own words.

Please follow the below instruction and send your message by January 8, 2011.

With our voices and with our actions, let us stop the helipad construction in Takae, and the base construction in Henoko. Let us bring a peaceful and fulfilling life to Takae and Henoko!

(The original document in Japanese is at: Translated by Norimatsu Satoko and Gavan McCormack)

★ Email your message/request to:

Please include in your email the following information:

*** Name (for an individual) or name of your organization
*** Your message/request (length is up to you)

Both Japanese and English messages will be accepted.

Deadline: January 8 (Sat.), 2011

If you can physically join our action:

US Embassy -meet in front of Toranomon JT building
3:00 PM
January 10, 2011

(Take Exit 3 of Subway Ginza Line “Toranomon” station. Walk four minutes straight on Sotobori Street, towards Tameike Sanno)

We particularly appreciate participation of people from US!

Address: Toranomon JT Building, 2-1, 2 chome, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo – see MAP here. Address in Japanese: 2011年1月10日(月・休)15時 虎ノ門JTビル前集合(地下鉄銀座線「虎ノ門駅」3番出口より、外堀通りを溜池山王方面へ直進、徒歩4分)

Organizer: Okinawa o fuminijiruna (Do not trample on Okinawa!) Urgent Action Committee; Yuntaku Takae; Okinawa One-tsubo Anti-war Landowners Association Kanto Bloc (URLs below)



沖縄・一坪反戦地主会 関東ブロック

There will be another action on the same day:

Ministry of Defense - meet in front of the MoD
6:30 PM
January 10, 2011

The organizer of this action is “Committee for Not Allowing Base Construction in Henoko.”

See Map of MoD here:
In Japaneese, 1月10日18時半 防衛省前集合

For the background information in English about the Takae issue, go to:

Voices of Takae (English version)

Postcard…from Takae, by Jon Mitchell