The School of Globalism

SUBHEAD: The Middle East / North Africa / Central Asia war zone is steadily combusting.

By James Kunstler on 6 April 2015 for

Image above: Fierce fighting and a Saudi-led bombing campaign against Houthi rebels that have killed many civilians. From (

"…we may be headed into a world where capital is abundant, deflationary pressures are substantial and demand could be in short supply for quite some time.”
—Lawrence Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury
Professor Summers must be reading Ben Bernanke’s new blog. Or maybe he’s writing it for walking-around money. At $250,000 a pop for making a speech, Mr. Bernanke can certainly afford to pay high-toned hacks to polish his spin-o-nomics.

Raillery aside, Mr. Summers’ utterance provokes some pretty fundamental questions: what exactly is this world we’re heading into, and what exactly does that capital consist of?

It is, first, a world of unraveling globalism. So many people who should know better — members of the supposed thinking class who have suspended their thinking — swallowed Tom Friedman’s dictum that globalism was here to stay, a permanent new feature of the human condition. File that idea in the dead letter office, along with Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History.

With the help of competitive central bank racketeering, desperate nations have propelled themselves from financial disorder to geopolitical turmoil and history marches on — lately to the ululations of gleeful beheaders. Friedman’s flat world was predicated on a dominant and sound American polity, and we’ll have neither in that world Mr. Summers says we’re moving into.

In fact the first condition was predicated on the second: that America would continue to dominate the global economy because its polity was sound. We have clearly blown that by rigging together a corrupt troika of banks, market swindlers, and captive eunuch officials who expanded the financial sector of the economy from 5 percent to more than 40 percent, largely by pillaging the middle class and destroying the basis of their income.

The USA set the tone for 21st century magical finance, in which “wealth” was “created” by digital accounting fraud. The effects at home are visible on our landscape of suburban hyperwaste and decrepitating older towns and cities.

One might say the main effect of the 50-year-long Friedman globalism orgy was the schooling of other nations in American-style financial fraud. Surely China has now surpassed the USA, considering the structural perversities of their banking and government relations.

They really don’t have to account to anybody, including themselves, and the numbers they publish must be even more fantastical than the junk statistics produced by the US BLS. Europe has been a star pupil and only a few months ago announced a Quantitative Easing (fake capital creation) program as ambitious as America’s have been. Japan, of course, is just marking time until it quietly slips away and goes medieval.

Global disintegration has advanced furthest, not surprisingly, in the fragile band of regions most strung out on the primary commodity: oil. The Middle East / North Africa / Central Asia war zone is steadily combusting, and there is no sign of resolution across the whole of it, only the promise that conflict will get worse.

Saudi Arabia was the cornerstone of that district, and the senile Saudi leadership finds itself in peril as its military pretends to support splintering Yemen. The other Arabian princes of other non-Saud clans must be watching the spectacle with wonder and nausea. When Arabia blows up, that will truly be the beginning of the end.

The foregoing leads to that other original question: what is that “capital” we’re counting on? I’d propose that it doesn’t exist. It is a figment engraved on the hard drives of the world, a ghost that haunts the people still in charge of that disintegrating global economy.

There is still wealth in the world, but a lot less than people such as Larry Summers say there is.


Japan struggles with Okinawa base

SUBHEAD: Katherine Muzak PHD (
SUBHEAD: Government and prefecture hold talks over relocation of U.S. Marine base in Okinawa.

By Staff on 5 April 2015 for Japan Times -

Image above: Chief Japan Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (left) and Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga (right) meet in a hotel in Nah, Okinawa, on Sunday. From original article.

[Source's note: It is very exciting, to see the Okinawan Governor, Onaga, supported by his long-oppressed people, at last confronting the Japanese government.  He, we, are supporting protection of the last coral reef ecosystem in Japan.]

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga failed to bridge their differences over the relocation plan for a contentious U.S. air base Sunday in Naha as the standoff between the central and Okinawa governments continued to roil the prefecture.

The talks are the first between Suga, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s right-hand man, and Onaga since he became governor in December with a pledge to block the plan to build a replacement facility for the base in a coastal area of Nago. The base is currently in the city of Ginowan.

At the meeting, which was partly open to reporters, Suga repeated the central government’s position that the relocation plan is the “only solution” when considering several factors, including Japan’s defense alliance with the United States and the need to alleviate the risk of accidents posed by the existing base.

But Onaga stuck to his guns, saying he was “convinced that the new base in Henoko can never be built.”

“You say we should shoulder (the burden of the base ) because (Futenma) is the most dangerous (one) in the world and its risks need to be removed, all the while causing the people of this prefecture great pain. Just saying that itself shows the decadence of politics in Japan.”

Suga, who doubles as minister in charge of base burden issues in Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of U.S. forces in Japan, said he hopes to regain the trust of the Okinawa residents by working with the prefectural government, while reducing their hosting duties one step at a time.

In the meantime, Onaga again requested a meeting with Abe, who has snubbed the governor during his many visits to Tokyo since taking the post.

After the roughly one-hour meeting at a hotel in the prefectural capital, Suga tried to cast it in a positive light, telling reporters the occasion marked the “first step” in advancing consultations between the central and prefectural governments.

He also indicated his willingness to consider arranging a meeting between Abe and Onaga, saying he would proceed with the idea while listening to Okinawa’s views.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Fear and Hope in Oura Bay 1/27/15
The Oura Coral Reef Ecosystem is the last intact one in Japan! US military actions threaten it.

Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War on the Ocean 7/3/14
Impacts on Pacific Ocean by military activity focusing on Jeju Island, Okinawa and Hawaii.

Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa resists US Military 2/11/14
US ambassador visits Okinawa amid long-running row over US military bases there.

Ea O Ka Aina: US Okinawa base setback 1/20/14
Japanese voters re-elect mayor opposed to base complaining of pollution, crime and accidents.

Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa breathes easier 4/27/12
Japan pays to relocate 9,000 US marines off Okinawa to Guam, Australia and Hawaii.

Ea O Ka Aina: Pacific Resistance to U.S. Military 5/24/10
From Japan to Guam to Hawaii, activists resist expansion of US military presence in the Pacific.

Ea O Ka Aina: It's Universal 1/1/2009
How the US Marines live in Okinawa illustrate how crazy we are.

Pedal Power Farming

SUBHEAD: Two articles on the development of pedal power farm tractors by Farm Hack.
Second Prototype

By Staff on 15 November 2014 for No Tech Magazine -

Image above: Field test of second prototype of peddle powered farm tractor. From original article.

The Culticycle is a pedal powered tractor that can cultivate, seed, spray, or pull gear for most low horsepower tasks. We talked about the first prototype almost two years ago. A new version has now been released, built around a modular tractor frame. Tim Cooke explains us how it’s built and how it works: 
“The math behind the idea is nothing more than observing that a lot of the work a tractor does – shallow cultivation, seeding, flame weeding – requires very little of its available horsepower; and since these jobs are best done between 3 and 5 mph, a bike can be geared down low enough that a human can produce the necessary horsepower.

Take the cranks, seat, and handlebars from a bike and center them in a 4-wheel, lightweight, modular tractor frame: the obvious frame material is telestrut. For the front end use 20″ bike wheels and forks. You need about a foot of clearance but you want a low center of gravity and as much traction as possible: get 25 x 8 ATV tires for the rear, ideally with aluminum rims.”

“Assume you’ll pedal at 60 rpm and use a gear ratio of about 2.2 on the cranks to 3 on the differential. Now you have 25/12 x π for one revolution of the tire, x 22/30 gear ratio, x 60 rpm, x 60 minutes, divided by 5280 feet per mile = 3.3 mph. Pedal at 70 rpm and you’re at 3.8 mph. Meanwhile you’re not hunched and twisted and causing joint damage, you’re getting aerobic exercise.

And if your farm is bigger with tighter time constraints, have 2 or 3 of these machines set up specifically for those 2 or 3 row spacings that you use the most, and put the interns or volunteers on them. For instance one with a basket weeder, one with sweeps, one with finger weeders. Or fatten the front tires and throw a 12 foot aluminum ladder across the chassis and hang those big plastic harvest bins from each end, out over the beds, for lettuce harvesting: you could put 100 pounds on each end of the ladder.”

Video above: Field test of  second prototype of peddle powered farm tractor. From (

First Prototype

By Staff on 31 March 2015 for Greenhorns -

Video above: Field test of first prototype of peddle powered farm tractor. From (

“The Culticycle is a pedal powered tractor that can cultivate, seed, spray, or pull gear for most low horsepower tasks. Small tractors do many jobs very well and very fast, but also consume fuel, compact soil, cost a lot, and cause physical damage to the operator -– mainly spine and joint problems. Many of their jobs could be done, slower but better, by human pedal power.
This prototype consists of:
  • the front ends of 2 bikes welded together at 42” on center;
  • a lawn tractor differential mounted in a unistrut rectangle for a rear end , with 3/4″ round axles and 20” ATV tires;
  • a bike frame welded above the rear end with motorcycle sprocket and chain driving the differential (a springloaded idler tensions the chain);
  • a belly mount lift to hold cultivators, seeders, etc.;
  • a bike handlebar, separate from the bike frame and joined to the front end, steering the front wheels.
The materials are rebar, unistrut, landscape rake tines, and parts from bikes, an ATV, and a lawn tractor. It attempts to show that human pedal power can do some jobs of small tractors, albeit in twice the time, and that the design can be simple enough that no extra weight is needed for traction. The effort required is similar to climbing a 10 degree slope on a seventies Schwinn 3 speed. This prototype was built for testing: a more easily buildable version is in the works.”

Some Background

By Stall on 3 March 2015 for Green Horns -

An ace team of farmers, fabricators, engineers, and pedal-powered truckers gathered at Metro Pedal Power in Somerville, MA for a weekend build event. What project would bring such an intriguing group of individuals together? Only the culticycle, a pedal-powered cultivating tractor designed by Tim Cooke, that uses human brawn and bicycle brains to replace fossil fuel powered tractors for lightweight field cultivation. Culticycle video here!

First, a quick introduction of our weekend hosts. Metro Pedal Power is a pedal-powered hauling business in the Boston area, replacing box trucks with custom-built freight trikes to haul last-mile inter-city freight such as compost, recycling and CSA shares. They hope to reduce urban congestion and traffic, improve human wellbeing, and encourage others to see the appropriateness of pedal power in the urban environment.

Wenzday and Eric from MPP generously hosted the build event at their fully outfitted shop in Somerville, without which the event would have been wholly impossible and a lot less comfortable. Many thanks to them and the rest of their team for hosting, convening and offering their fabrication skills.

The goal of the pedal power hack was several fold. We wanted to showcase an already built culticycle for those who had never laid eyes on it before, and bring minds together to brainstorm improvements as Tim moves forward in his development of the tool.

Several attendees also were in the process of building their own culticycle, or had already done so, so we additionally hoped to build some replacement components and share knowledge of the build process that we could take home with us.

Additionally, we wanted to document the tool more thoroughly, specifically in CAD design format to be shared freely on the Farm Hack Tools platform. We also wanted to use this opportunity to shoot video and take photos to capture the Farm Hack collaborative design and build process as it was happening.

With those goals in mind, we set forth Saturday morning by working together to assemble a pre-built culticycle, so that everyone would have a chance to look over the design and get a sense of how the pieces fit together. We then split into several teams.

Team 1 started from scratch with steel stock, cutting and grinding the structural pieces of the chassis – using Tim’s documentation to guide their effort but also improving upon the design as they went.

Team 2 worked on “Culti 2,” a culticycle which was about halfway completed but still needed steering linkages and the parallel lift which raises and lowers the tools.

Team 3 began to rebuild the “belly mount,” or toolbar, which is attached underneath the culticycle and which the weed killing tools are clamped to. This new and improved belly mount will be delivered to Hawthorne Valley Farm and installed on their culticycle, replacing the older, less robust model which was a part of the earlier culticycle design iteration.

For a day and a half, the shop buzzed with activity as folks dropped in to observe the process or get their hands dirty cutting, grinding, and welding. Lu Yoder brought along his pedal powered grain grinder, grinding wheat and making bread on Saturday and grinding corn for his brother Chris’s CSA Sunday.

By midday Sunday, we had made significant progress on both the second and third culticycles, finished a pile of DIY, cheaply made star hoes, nearly completed the belly mount, and made many small modifications and improvements to the Culticycle.

Farm Hack supports an approach to tool design and innovation that is built on principles of resilience. Instead of the top-down approach to tool development put forward by corporate agribusiness, the event this weekend prioritized local manufacturing, easily repairable and modifiable tool design, and collaborative and iterative research and development. For the better part of the last decade, Tim Cook has spent countless hours in his basement shop designing, tinkering, and building this machine from scratch.

This is a familiar model: an isolated innovator who is the focused, driving force behind a revolutionary tool design. The community of support which showed up this weekend to pitch in, cut, weld, prototype, and offer their design feedback and support are a vital part of this process of resilient design.

As we concluded the weekend-long build sprint, the conversation turned to next steps for the Culticycle and for Farm Hack, both community-driven efforts to re–imagine the landscape of our collective farming future. Keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities to be involved with both, including another eastern Massachusetts culticycle build in the next weeks, a Farm Hack event at the Draft Animal Power Field Days in Cummington, MA this September, and a late Fall event at Lu Yoder’s place.

And if you’re inspired by this Massachusetts flurry of activity, keep in mind that Farm Hack is made up of the collective efforts and contributions of all of us. If you would like to organize an event in your community but you’re not quite sure how to do it, check out the helpful event organizing tool on the site.


Roaming the Rift

SUBHEAD: Studies show that indigenous sacred sites have higher rates of biodiversity than surrounding areas.

By Editor on 24 March 2015 for the Christensen Fund -

Image above: Intact traditional institutions can support sustainable land management practices. From original article.

The road leading to the settlement of Loiyangalani from South Horr is rough, hacked through a merciless landscape of crumbling volcanic rock, baking in the equatorial sun. There is scarcely a plant in sight as our pick-up truck jostles and squeaks over a rise and the enormous Lake Turkana comes into view, a turquoise gem of fresh water stretching into the horizon.

Then a herd of goats blocks our way. Impossibly, it seems, the animals are fat and healthy, enjoying a feast invisible to the untrained human eye, a nutritious buffet of roots, grasses and shrubs hiding between rocks and below ground. Navigating the rocky terrain as nimbly as his animals is a sure-footed Turkana herder. He regards our moaning, dusty vehicle with what seems like pity as we turn to descend toward the shore of the largest desert lake in the world.

When seen from above, the vast expanse of Northern Kenya appears as a painted mosaic of desert ecosystems from green to brown, hot to cool, moist to dry. This part of the African Rift Valley is home to dozens of pastoralist tribes including the Borana, Gabbra, Turkana, Wayu, Samburu, Rendille, El Molo and more.

Some who fly over this place, however, claim to see an under-populated territory ripe for large-scale energy and tourism developments, for fenced-off ranches and other projects that flout the fragile ecological economy of these rangelands.

“This place is so special to us because it is a vast land where we can graze our animals without any problems,” says Alice Lesepen, a Rendille woman and representative of the Merigo Cultural Group of Marsabit County. “They might say that most of our land has not been occupied. But according to the ecological nature of our pastoral lifestyle, we feel that we have been occupying the land.”

“We are here, and we are supposed to be involved in whatever is to be done on our lands.”

Image above: A view of an El Molo village on the shore of Lake Turkana.From original article.

The Irony of the Commons

East of Lake Turkana on the edge of the Chalbi desert, two large vultures cautiously hop across a dusty road to inspect a sun-dried cow carcass. It’s the kind of image that government and NGOs seize upon to support the narrative that pastoralism here is not sustainable; that drought and climate change are devastating the people and that what’s needed is a raft of externally-driven investment in alternative land use including irrigation, parks and conservation and the development of Las Vegas-style resort cities to promote a tourism-based cash economy.

“People have tried a lot of things here using a top-down way of thinking, disregarding what the people already know,” says Dr. Hassan Roba, the African Rift Valley Program Officer for The Christensen Fund. “The problem is that people with good intentions oversimplify the issues and reduce the complexity of the system. ‘The pastoralists need water’, they say, so they dig wells everywhere, but that doesn’t seem to work. ‘They need grass for their animals’, they say, so NGOs want to reseed the rangeland by planting grasses at an impossible scale, ignoring the rich seed bank in the rangeland soils.”

Dr. Roba tells the story of a well-meaning NGO that came to Northern Kenya and donated Toggenburg dairy goats to a pastoral village. The pastoralists became disappointed with their new goats, however, which they described as exceedingly lazy and unable to deal with the scorching desert sun, unlike their selectively-bred and highly-adapted Galla goats. Sadly, the introduction of the exotic goats will likely dilute the gene pool of the indigenous Galla, reducing the community’s resilience to drought and other shocks.

“Pastoralists normally don’t dig wells in the desert, they migrate to their good water points and maintain the grazing balance on their seasonal rangelands,” says Dr. Roba. “The people have accumulated over the years immense knowledge about the rangelands and about how they should be managed, and their indigenous animals are resilient and can thrive in the desert if their movements are not constrained.”

Droughts are normal and don’t devastate communities when the system is allowed to work, says Dr. Roba, who has collaborated for nearly a decade with pastoralist peoples to integrate their local knowledge systems with scientific approaches to landscape management. He talks about Garret Harding’s famous ‘Tragedy of the Commons’, a pillar of developmentalist philosophy, which Dr. Roba says is flat wrong in this part of Kenya when culture is strong.

“When the people are allowed to be pastoralists what we have is a successfully managed commons. When there are institutions, culture and traditional governance in place to determine when and where to graze and how to give incentives and to punish for misuse, then it is not tragic.”

But when the local institutions begin to break down and the fences go up, and the deep knowledge maintained in the beautiful songs about cattle grazing and sacred watering holes starts to erode, that’s when Harding’s tragedy starts to take hold, as a crowd of struggling people pounces on what’s left of their ancestral lands. That is why one of the best things that funders can do is support culture and traditional institutions, because by helping the culture to thrive we can bring integrity and resilience to the system. It’s about identity, and resource use is cultural and landscapes and animals are sacred which means that they are taken care of and if the people are culturally alive then they will respect the traditional law as the elders lay it down, and they will respect the elders.

That’s where Dr. Hussein Isack comes in, a Gabbra man with a deep love for the cultures of Northern Kenya and a passion for the rights of pastoralists.

Image above: Goat herd in the shade of a tree. From original article.

Kivulini and The Cultural Solution

On a cool desert morning at the humming oasis of Kalacha, not far from where the vultures eyeballed the dehydrated roadside cow, Dr. Hussein brings us to meet the Quri Tura family, who welcome us for hot tea in camel’s milk. It’s a nourishing brew with a sweet and smoky flavor. As the sun rises in the sky the women and kids are busy collecting milk from the goats while the men prepare to milk the camels. For Dr. Hussein it is a scene awash in the traditional wealth of his people: Camels and goats and open land, fresh water burbling out of the desert floor, traditional Gabbra houses and children and the stories and sacred knowledge that enable humans to thrive in a place that can appear as hostile to people not from here.

Dr. Hussein’s connection with the Gabbra – and with the many other cultures throughout Northern Kenya – is remarkable, and he is welcomed as a respected elder wherever we go. He is perhaps best known around here as the Director of Kivulini Trust, a key ally of The Christensen Fund, which is well described by a paragraph from their website:

“We draw on the wisdom inherent in our communities’ traditional cultural systems and practices, and believe in their power to shape their own destiny – in order to create sustainable livelihoods and inspire the protection and celebration of their rich cultural and natural heritage.”

Indeed, Dr. Hussein and his colleagues at Kivulini know how to celebrate. A stone’s throw from the Quri Tura clan’s houses are Kivulini’s regional offices and the site of the Kalacha Cultural Festival, a multi-day annual event that brings together tribes from around Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia to dance and sing and share food and knowledge. It’s a wild celebration that fosters cross-cultural understanding and respect; instills pride and injects energy into culture and reminds young men and women that they have a purpose, that they still have culture.

That is the core of Kivulini’s strategy: to strengthen cultural and community cohesion within and among the Indigenous Peoples of Northern Kenya so that they can identify and articulate choices; so that they can proudly stand together to face the economic and political forces that are gathering on their ancestral rangelands.

This requires celebrating and supporting language, music, dance, animals, food, crafts and tradition, for within these things lives the best option for a resilient human existence on this hot and dry part of the planet. So in addition to supporting festivals and cultural exchanges, Kivulini gives strategic small grants to community groups to back their efforts not just to survive, but to thrive.

Bouncing around in a beat-up Land Cruiser for days on end to bring affinity and support to the most remote communities in Kenya is what makes Dr. Hussein and Kivulini unique. Kenya may be the African poster child for foreign aid, but you won’t find many representatives of the BINGOs (big international NGOs) out on these lonely Northern roads.

Image above: Young men who are goat herders. From original article.

Cross-Border Biocultural Connections

The monotonous lava landscape of Northern Kenya is broken by desert towns like North Horr, a dusty oasis where people stroll from shadow to shadow, hiding from the sun in the shady shapes of one-story mud and wood structures, electricity poles and acacia trees. Horr, meaning water, is the main attraction of this place, a deeply important historical stopping point for generations of pastoralists passing through on their seasonal movements to green pastures and sacred sites. The surrounding rangelands consist of parched patches that suddenly flash green when the rain comes. But precipitation is highly variable – some places may not see rain for two or three years – and when rain finally comes it does not fall uniformly, so the mobility of pastoralists is paramount. To put livestock and people into areas bounded by borders and politics is to create a dangerous trap.

“This is not a static region and fodder and rain are not controllable,” says Dr. Hassan Roba. “It’s patchy, and the idea is to put pressure evenly on resources and to remain flexible within the system. Pastoralists know this and they are inherently flexible. But now they are dealing with people who want to control the system in a static way and make it mechanical, and then it breaks. That’s when you get catastrophe.”

That’s why the people have always moved. And during the dry season many Gabbra herders bring their animals north across what is now the border with Ethiopia to the trusty watering points near the sacred hills, and in the wet season the nutrient fluxes shift south, and the Borana pastoralists in Ethiopia cross the border to access the green grasses on the sprawling rangelands in Kenya. But these days disagreements and political rivalries make the pilgrimage to pastoral resources more difficult. Trust is eroding and getting herds to pasture has become risky business. Some pastoralists now carry guns.

Helping to keep the peace in the far North is AJEMA, the Arda Jilla Ecosystem Management Association, a pastoralist community group near Mount Forole that facilitates peaceful cross-border movements, connections and collaboration. Supported by Kivulini Trust, AJEMA works to demarcate sacred sites, convenes dialogue of cross-border stakeholder groups, enables tracking of wildlife and prevention of poaching, and promotes peaceful coexistence on both sides of the border.

Kivulini works with many groups like AJEMA, Indigenous Peoples who are learning how to assert their culture and are working to normalize the pastoralist way within the modern state. A key player in this fight further south is Waso Trustland Project, a scrappy association based in Isiolo County where outsiders are coming in to ‘buy’ grazing land from sellers with often fraudulent claims to the land.

Led by community organizer Liban Golicha, a peoples’ diplomat with the trust of elders and politicians alike, Waso Trustland works to protect pastoralists’ land rights and ensure fair resource distribution. With drought and land grabs sparking more cattle rustling and conflict in the region, there is a lot of work to be done.

“The big changes are coming,” says the Merigo Cultural Group’s Alice Lesepen, whose resolve is as solid as the new tarmac road being laid mere meters from her family’s compound. “So it is good for us to maintain our culture for our young ones to know and understand better where they are from.”

Video above: Sights and Sounds of Northern Kenya. From (


US court RIMPAC Impact decision

SUBHEAD: Federal judge rules Navy training in Pacific violates laws meant to protect marine life.

By Tom Hasslinger on 3 April 2015 for the Garden Island -

Image above: During RIMPAC 2014 a Super Stallion flies ahead of the USS Peleliu near Hawaiian coast as smoke drifts across the sea near unidentified Hawaiian shore. The Peleiu is a large amphibious warship the resembles a small aircraft carrier that supports vertical and tilt wing aircraft. The 35 year old Peleliu was decommissioned last week. From (

The Navy has underestimated the threat maritime exercises and the use sonar poses on marine life around Hawaii and California, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway in Hawaii concluded that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated environmental laws when it decided that the Navy’s training would have a “negligible impact” on whales, turtles, dolphins and other mammals.

The 66-page ruling said the Navy didn’t explore all possible safeguards to better protect mammals in the ocean, especially given the vast mileage of water that the military used to train.

“The court is saying that the Navy’s categorical and sweeping statements, which allow for no compromise at all as to space, time, species, or condition, do not constitute the ‘hard look’ required by NEPA,” Mollway wrote regarding the Navy’s stance that restrictions would hinder military practices. “The Navy never explains why, if it can accommodate restrictions for humpback whales, it cannot accommodate restrictions for any other species.”

The ruling was praised by environmentalists.

“We’re not trying to stop all training and testing,” said David Henkin, the Earthjustice attorney representing several groups that filed the lawsuit. “But at the same time, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect all marine life.”

Earthjustice is representing Conservation Council for Hawaii, the Animal Welfare Institute, Center for Biological Diversity and Ocean Mammal Institute challenging NMFS’s approval of a 5-year plan by the U.S. Navy for testing and training activities off Hawaii and Southern California. The groups have maintained that mammals are being unnecessarily harmed, in part, because the Navy doesn’t avoid “biologically sensitive areas.”

The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to consider a range of alternatives, including ones that could be pursued with less environmental harm, when embarking on operations.

Henkin said the Navy has access to 3.5 million square miles of the waters sweeping from California to Hawaii. Some select areas are particularly sensitive for sea life, such as whales. For example, around 50,000 square miles off Hawaiian waters could be classified as sensitive grounds for marine life, and that size can be avoided while leaving plenty of sea for military operations.

“The court’s ruling recognizes that, to defend our country, the Navy doesn’t need to train in every square inch of a swath of ocean larger than all 50 United States combined,” Henkin said.

“If we can limit or prevent training in these small areas we can limit or prevent these deaths that occur,” he added. “It’s completely avoidable ... It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.”

The Navy said it would evaluate the ruling before determining its next move and couldn’t comment on specifics.

“If the Navy cannot realistically train at sea, sailor’s lives and our national security will be at risk,” U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nick Sherrouse wrote in response to the ruling. “It is essential sailors have realistic training that fully prepares them to fight tonight, if necessary, and have equipment that has been thoroughly tested before they go into harm’s way,”

What happens next is still to be determined. Exercises could be moved or stricter permitting regulations could be agreed to.

In the meantime, Henkin said he will seek a court order to ensure adequate protections are put in place while it settles out.

“We would invite the government to come to an agreement without a need for more (litigation),” he said. “One way or the other, we are going to do whatever we can to make sure there is adequate protection.”

Held every two years and hosted by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, is the world’s largest international maritime war exercise. In total, 22 nations, 49 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in last year’s event from June 26 to Aug. 1. It included live fire target practice, explosives, sonar and the sinking of the decommissioned USS Tuscaloosa 57 nautical miles northwest of Kauai.

The Navy says training will kill 155 whales over five years, but environmentalists say the numbers would be much higher. Some Kauai residents expressed concern when the training was here.

One of those citizens is Hanalei resident and marine biologist Terry Lilley. He copied U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on dozens of emails and photos over the last year documenting what he says shows the serious damage being caused to Kauai’s nearshore marine environment, including green sea turtles, sharks, reefs and coral, by the Navy’s activities.

Gabbard, in turn, wrote a letter in October to Adm. Harry Harris Jr. of the United States Pacific Fleet inquiring about monitoring the effects of military operations on marine life.

“I am very pleased to see that the federal court looked at all of the data about the destruction of our reefs caused by the U.S. Navy war games and made the decision they did,” he wrote in an email to The Garden Island. “We now need to get the destructive activities stopped so we can start working on a massive study and coral reef restoration project.”

Sherrouse said the Navy has been training in the Hawaii and Southern California ranges for more than 60 years.

Image above: Multinational Marine forces exit a CH-53 Sikorsky during the air assault portion of RIMPAC 2014 at Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai's westside. From original TGI article.

“This training and testing remains critical to the defense of the nation,” he said. “We are committed to meeting our national security mission and protecting marine life by using protective measures, working with regulatory agencies, and better understanding marine mammals through research.”

But the judge’s ruling stated the Navy doesn’t need all of the waters to still conduct its missions successfully.

She also noted the “stunning number of marine mammals” the Navy’s activities threaten with harm. The judge also found the Fisheries Service violated its legal duties to ensure Navy training would not push endangered whales and turtles to extinction.

“No restriction of any kind is even hypothesized,” Mollway wrote of the Navy’s stance. “Again, the breathtaking assertions allow for no limitation at all, but this makes no sense given the size of the ocean area involved.”

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2014 - another whale dead 7/27/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2014 in Full March 7/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: 21st Century Energy Wars 7/10/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War on the Ocean 7/3/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Voila - World War Three 7/1/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Pacific Pivot 6/28/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC IMPACT 6/8/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC Then and Now 5/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Earthday TPP Fukushima RIMPAC 4/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Asian Pivot - An ugly dance 12/5/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Help save Mariana Islands 11/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: End RimPac destruction of Pacific 11/1/13 
Ea O Ka Aina: Moana Nui Confereence 11/1/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to conquer Marianas again  9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Pagan Island beauty threatened 10/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Sleepwalking through destruction 7/16/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa breathes easier 4/27/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy Next-War-Itis 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: America bullies Koreans 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Despoiling Jeju island coast begins 3/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Jeju Islanders protests Navy Base 2/29/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii - Start of American Empire 2/26/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Korean Island of Peace 2/26/12   
Ea O Ka Aina: Military schmoozes Guam & Hawaii 3/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: In Search of Real Security - One 8/31/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Peace for the Blue Continent 8/10/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Shift in Pacific Power Balance 8/5/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RimPac to expand activities 6/29/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War Games here in July 6/20/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Pacific Resistance to U.S. Military 5/24/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam Land Grab 11/30/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam as a modern Bikini Atoll 12/25/09
Ea O Ka Aina: GUAM - Another Strategic Island 11/8/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Diego Garcia - Another stolen island 11/6/09
Ea O Ka Aina: DARPA & Super-Cavitation on Kauai 3/24/09
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 - Navy fired up in Hawaii 7/2/08
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 uses destructive sonar 4/22/08
Island Breath: Navy Plans for the Pacific 9/3/07
Island Breath: Judge restricts sonar off California 08/07/07
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar compromise 7/9/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 - Impact on Ocean 5/23/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2004 - Whale strandings on Kauai 9/2/04
Island Breath: PMRF Land Grab 3/15/04


Mauna Kea telescope protest

SOURCE: Felicia Alongi Cowden (
SUBHEAD: Update on Mauna Kea protest by kanaka maoli warriors protecting sacred mountain from desecration. 

By Kamahana Kealoha on 31 MArch 2015 for Sacred Mauna Kea-

Image above: March 30, 2015, protesters form a road block outside the Mauna Kea visitors center in Hilo, Hawaii. Protesters are preventing construction of a giant telescope near the summit of a mountain held sacred by Native Hawaiians. From (

Today marked the sixth day and sixth night since a group of Kanaka Maoli warriors representing several islands in the Hawaiian Islands and a multi-ethnic group of supporters formed a blockade at 9,000 feet above sea level at Mauna Kea also known as Mauna A Wakea on Hawaiʻi Island.

They are protesting the construction of a 30-meter telescope (TMT), which they say is a desecration of the most sacred place in the Hawaiian Islands. The peaceful protest has been ongoing for several years but in the past several months has gathered more momentum and support from Hawaiians and other non-Hawaiians around the world.

Today also marked the first day that TMT workers showed up since the protest began six days
and six nights ago.

“I have confirmed that the multi-ethnic group of protestors succeeded in stopping workers from passing through despite the large police presence all day,” says;
“The police arrived at around 8 a.m. today intent on infiltrating the line and breaking the protestors apart.”
The protestors are being led by Lanakila Mangauil, a prominent cultural practitioner from Hawaii Island. Mangauil, who had an enormous amount of help from hundreds of people who facilitated the success of the first protest, was able to stop the TMT ground breaking on October 7, 2014.

Today’s protesters have been inspired by the success of the October events and are continuing to hold steadfast to their plan not to allow any TMT workers into the area. They have vowed to block them all. The protesters are holding checkpoints, such as a roadblocks on the Mauna Kea access road to do this and, in particular, at the 9,000-foot level at the Visitors Center.

“There have been no arrests, no violence and no one hurt,” notes Kealoha. “We are always respectful of this sacred area despite challenges from non-protestors at times, including the police and TMT workers.”

The organizers have also harnessed the power of social media to attract an international audience to their cause. “We keep hearing, almost hourly, about simultaneous protests being organized in other parts of the Hawaiian Islands and, indeed, on the continental U.S. and other countries,” says Kealoha.
“This is an international show of support for our Mauna—our Mother— which resonates with all people concerned with the future of our planet.”

Some of the other activities that are being planned in coming days include:

The University of Hawaii/Manoa and “Mana” hui, working with the U.H./Hilo student body and others, will host an event that protest organizers Kealoha and Kaiulani Mahuka and other friends of the Mauna will attend. Kealoha and Mahuka will offer remarks. The event begins tonight—Tuesday, March 31, and will continue until Wednesday, April 1st, 2015.

Wednesday, April 1 on ahu: Organizers Kealoha and Mahuka will stage a protest at the “Capitol” beginning at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, April 4 on O’ahu: Kahu Brad Lum and Kailana Kahawaluokalani Kepelino Moa-Eli will protest again at the “Capitol.”

Alapaki Heanu and Noelani Maka of Maui will organize an event at U.H./Maui. Date and
time TBD. Protests on other islands are currently being planned and details will be available soon.

“This telescope is an atrocity the size of Aloha Stadium,” says Kealoha. “It’s 19 stories tall, which is like building a sky-scraper on top of the mountain, a place that is being violated in many ways culturally, environmentally and spiritually.”

“However, this struggle is about so much more,” notes Kealoha. “We are fighting against our erasure and ethnocide as well as the threat for all to our main water aquifer and endangered species  conservation district.”

“We humbly ask the world and all those who hold the Mauna sacred to aid us in this struggle,
which is for all of us and our future generations,” says Kealoha.“

Please get to the Mauna and support the brave warriors who are protesting indefinitely at the 9000 foot level.”

The group is requesting donations for flights to and from Hawaiʻi between the other Hawaiian
islands as well as much-needed accommodations, including food, ground transportation and Those interested in donating may click on the Sacred Mauna Kea Fund link: ( or contact Kealoha at

For more information and updates, visit ( Photos can be downloaded at (

Kamahana Kealoha
(808) 853-8062 (mobile)

Protesters Block Mauna Kea Construction

By Staff on 1 April 2015 for the Associated Press -

Protesters blocked a road this week as part of a push to prevent construction of a giant telescope near the top of a mountain held sacred by Native Hawaiians.

More than 50 protesters formed a roadblock Monday that stopped about 15 vehicles carrying workers up Mauna Kea on the Big Island, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald newspaper in Hilo reported ( ). Some see the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope project as desecrating the peak.

The protesters marched back and forth across the road outside the Mauna Kea visitor center as contemporary and traditional Hawaiian music played.

Telescope Project Manager Gary Sanders said workers waited for more than eight hours at the roadblock before heading back down the mountain.

"Our access via a public road has been blocked by protesters, and we have patiently waited for law enforcement to allow our workers the access to which they are entitled," he said in a statement.

Police looked on, but took no action against the demonstrators. Hawaii County police Capt. Richard Sherlock said the department's focus was ensuring safety.

"Our stance is not against the science," said Lanakila Mangauil, 27, of Honokaa. "It's not against the (telescope) itself. It's against their choice of place."

Astronomers say Mauna Kea is the ideal location for observing the most distant and difficult to understand mysteries of the universe.

The telescope is expected to create 300 full-time construction jobs and 120 to 140 permanent jobs. Opponents say the jobs don't justify more development on Mauna Kea.

Protesters said they have maintained a nearly round-the-clock presence outside the visitor center since last week after construction equipment arrived.

They also disrupted a groundbreaking ceremony at the site in October.