Sleepwalking through destruction

SUBHEAD: Most of us had no clue the Navy was bombing two ships into oblivion this weekend right off Kauai.

By Joan Conrow on 16 July 2012 for Kauai Eclectic -  

Image above: The logo of XXIII RIMPAC 2012. From (

It's been a spectacular multi-act play that I've had the pleasure of witnessing for several mornings running now, this drama of a steadily waning moon cozying up with sparkling Venus and the glowing orb of Jupiter as Aldebaran, Betelgeuse and Pleiades look on.

Today the moon, not long risen, had whittled itself down to a golden sliver that was still bright enough to illuminate the whole of the sphere. Most people have been sleeping through the show, with no clue as to what's happening right outside their window, just as most of us had no clue the Navy and our supposed allies were bombing two ships into oblivion this weekend right off our coast.

The Star-Advertiser gives us an account of the carnage involved with Saturday afternoon's sinking of the helicopter carrier New Orleans, 70 miles northwest of Kauai, where another big ship was sunk in the 2010 RIMPAC:
[I]t was pummeled by at least seven Harpoon anti-ship missiles [at a cost of $1.2 million each], and then was finished by deck guns from a firing squad of ships from the U.S., Japan, Australia, Canada and France. In between, an Air Force B-52 bomber dropped a laser-guided 500-pound bomb onto the 603-foot amphibious ship.
The Navy, which doesn't like to talk about RIMPAC ship sinkings in environmentally sensitive Hawaii, said the New Orleans was deep-sixed in 15,000 feet of water.
So military reporter William Cole doesn't press and instead just regurgitates the Navy's shibai:
Aircraft spent 2 1/2 hours clearing the area. Surveys were conducted to ensure that a "minimum range area" was clear and that marine animals were not in the vicinity, officials said.
Right. I'm sorry, but I just don't believe you can unleash firepower like that without also destroying marine life. And since the Navy does everything to excess, the Niagara Falls was sunk in a similar live-fire bombardment earlier Saturday, about 63 miles off Kauai's southwest coast. This is just a preview of what's to come on a regular basis, folks, if the Navy proceeds with its plans to greatly ramp up training exercises in Hawaiian waters.

Conservationists, meanwhile, are suing the Environmental Protection Agency for its "ongoing failure to adequately regulate a federal ship sinking program that pollutes the sea with toxic chemicals."
There's something seriously wrong with a system that allows the Navy to poison the ocean, but convicts a man who tries to stop iwi kupuna from being dug up for a new shitter in a state park. But has been the story since the 1893 overthrow, since the Navy's got the guns....
I loved Jim Alalem's quote following his conviction, because it extends to those of us who are working on behalf of the environment:
“I am not sorry that I stood up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.”
Meanwhile, ABC News reports on the Navy's supposed “green tech innovation” for the 2012 RIMPAC (emphasis added):
Some of these efforts will be showcased on July 18, when the Navy tests a carrier strike force using alternative fuels... The ships and aircraft will be powered by either nuclear or advanced biofuel blends...
Are you starting to get the picture now? Especially since the Navy's Pacific Command accounts for 20 percent of the Islands' energy demand and Congress is squawking about the $26 per gallon price tag of those biofuels...

Image above: American navy fleet participating in RIMPAC 2012. From (

 In other news of Hawaii's polluting industries, Syngenta is displaying its paranoia by installing a new security system at its Kekaha GMO seed processing and production facility. The move was reportedly prompted by the publication of photos depicting restricted areas in “an anti-GMO blog.”
Kinda makes you wonder what they got to hide, yeah?
Prying eyes aren't Syngenta's only fear. The company told all its contractors they had to be off-site by 2:30 p.m. last Thursday to avoid conflict with anti-GMO protestors who were expected to stage a demonstration. Must be their mole got the info mixed up. The protest was held at the Syngmo facility on Oahu. But still, two KPD cars and two private security guards were there at Kekaha in anticipation.
Here's some good news, though: A GMO labeling initiative will be on the November ballot in California, where surveys show 90 percent of folks favor labeling. I'm sure the GMO companies will be spending millions trying to derail that initiative, because if a big state like Cali requires labeling, well, the food processors are just gonna have to go along....  

And finally, judging from the Facebook photos, county Prosecutor candidate Justin Kollar had a sizable turnout at his fundraiser yesterday, with well-connected folks like retired judge Alfred Laureta, Rep. Derek Kawakami and Jiro and Jenny Yukimura in attendance, along with Gary Hooser, Joel Guy, Lani Kawahara, Dickie Chang, a whole slew of attorneys and of course, the mayor and Gary Heu. 

Is it possible Justin just might win this election after all? I noticed the Chamber is hosting a forum for Council candidates tomorrow evening. Since the greater interest and action is with the prosecutor's race, it sure would be great to see a debate between Justin and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2012 war games 6/20/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2010 returning 5/2/10
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 uses destructive sonar 4/22/08
Island Breath: Judge restricts sonar off California 08/7/07
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar use feared 5/23/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar compromise 7/9/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2004 Strands whales in Hanlei 09/2/04



Jon Letman said...

it's so nice to see USMIL and RIMPAC organizers are helping Hawaii live up to its full potential as a theater for live-fire testing on land, air and sea, using Hawaiian waters as a toilet for spent munitions and decommissioned military vessels. could there be anything less PONO that to abuse Hawaii like this?

Anonymous said...

When we finish toasting the land, we will be turning to the ocean to support us. What will we find? It is a scarry and sad thought.

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