Hands Across the Sand Westside
SUBHEAD: US military intelligence come out in numbers to witness prayer for Gulf Coast Oil Disaster. Image above: Early stages of Salt Pond Beach "Hands across the Sands" vigil. All photos by Juan Wilson. By Juan Wilson on 27 June 2010 - Yesterday, June 26th, marked a worldwide prayer vigil in observance of the ongoing Gulf of Mexico BP oil disaster. When the event was planned, those interested in participating on Kauai had the option of joining hands at Hanalei Beach or Lydgate State Park. My wife, Linda Pascatore, and I decided a few days before the event not to go because it would have meant driving at least halfway around the island and burning a couple of gallons of gas, to attend a prayer to save the planet from runaway petroleum. We were going to spend our morning gardening instead. At the last minute we got a message from Diana Labedz that she had found a volunteer to add Salt Pond Beach Park, in Hanapepe on Kauai's westside, to the list of participating locations. This was on the day before the event. We live in Hanapepe and decided to change plans and join the prayer for the planet. The event was scheduled from 11am-12pm. We arrived on time and as we entered the beach parking lot we noticed a Kauai County Police car parked facing the approaching road (an unusual occurrence). It was eleven and, being Kauai time, it seemed nobody had showed up yet. We walked around looking for who might be 'da kine' for planetary prayer... in other words we were looking for old hippie types. Linda spotted a few likely participants near the water's edge at about 11:30 and went over to see who they were. Image above: Sovereignty flag in foreground and 'demonstrators' right-back-ground. Soon another one of our tribe showed up. He began setting up a rainbow striped Hawaiian sovereignty flag and some signs to mark our gathering place. His signs read: "Take pride in your aina. Show it to the World. Hawaii is not America and it never will be." Within minutes two jumbo luxury SUV's, gunmetal and mauve, pulled into the parking places right behind the flag. There were four young men in each. The rolled down the windows with the engines running. They pulled out cameras and other devices and began recoding and documenting the events. It seemed funny that they would even know we'd be there. Hardly anyone did. Image above: Young military professionals in gunmetal SUV at Salt Pond Beach. Note cameras concealed in lap and cup holder. I immediately grabbed my camera and approached the vehicles. As I shot a few pictures they began packing up their equipment. They seemed upset to be photographed. So much for undercover intelligence? I leaned in on the gunmetal SUV. The boys inside looked to be in their mid to late twenties. All wore jeans; most wore dark tees. I asked: "US military?". I got a one word answer from the back seat: "Yes". Another voice in the back. "Hey, no pictures!". Even though the eight of them outnumbered the participants on the beach, they seemed to get nervous and defensive after that. Within 20 seconds they made a decision to decamp. They stowed their recording gear. Windows were raised and both vehicles backed out and were quickly gone. They weren't there at 12:30 when out numbers crested at about twenty. Image above: The 'local' interpreter-scout zips up recording equipment sitting in mauve Lincoln Navigator. I suppose the upcoming RIMPAC 2010 (operated out of the PMRF here on Kauai) is a good reason to have lots of young professional military on island guarding American interests and gathering intel. But do they need to burn a couple of gallons of gas in a couple of air-conditioned jumbo SUVs to check out a prayer vigil to save the Gulf of Mexico from petroleum? This was a gathering of peaceful people holding hands to pray and meditate at the beach. Why is our military conducting such domestic surveillance of US citizens? As the biggest consumer of fossil fuels in the world, and the biggest customer of BP, and the biggest user of offshore gulf oil, they are just protecting their interests... and not ours. Image above: Military team heads out of Salt Pond Park in Lincoln Navigator license plate KZW-794. See also: Ea O Ka Aina: Police Block Public Access 7/8/10 .