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Polynesian Political Prisoner or Dennis the Menace to Society?

Voices of Change
December 1995

By Ed Rampell

Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele was kidnapped by federal authorities atHonolulu International Airport on August 2. From that time until his releaseon November 14, the Head of State of the Nation of Hawai'i (NOH) was heldwithout bail for three full months, and 12 days. This, despite the factthat on October 31, Judge Helen "Hang 'em high" Gillmor declareda hung jury and a mistrial in Mr. Kanahele's court case, wherein he wascharged with harboring a fugitive, Native Hawaiian tax protester NathanBrown, and obstructing justice in the attempted arrest of Mr. Brown. Mr.Kanahele reportedly could have faced up to 11 years in prison.

In other words, Mr. Kanahele was imprisoned, despite the fact that he hasnot been convicted of any crime as of late. This flies in the face of thetraditional American judicial standard that in the United States, one isconsidered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a juryof one's peers. However, keeping a dark-skinned person who has not beenfound guilty of a crime behind bars is in keeping with another old Americantradition called slavery. And the plight of brown political prisoners, likeRobert Wilcox and Queen Lili'uokalani, is a century-old repressive traditionin Hawai'i.

The prosecution, of course, contended that Mr. Kanahele is Dennis the Menaceto society, and they pointed to previous convictions on other offenses asevidence that the Sovereignty activist is a threat to mom, apple, pie, andcivilization as we know it, not to mention the community-at-large. Mr. Kanaheleis the first to admit that he is an ex-con who, in his wayward youth, committedcriminal offenses that he was convicted of.

Although NOH contends that it pursues non-violent methods, somewhat similarto Ghandi and King, in its struggle for independence from the U.S.A., itdoes seem that the NOH poses a threat to the U.S.'s ruling class.

And that is the core of the matter. Dennis Kanahele appears to be a reformedex-con. Nobody in Waimanalo has to be afraid of Mr. Kanahele swiping theirvehicles or busting into their homes. But in another, very real sense, asfar as the federal/state powers-that-be are concerned, he is Dennis theMenace to society.

Mr. Kanahele has stated that during the 1987 Native land occupation at Makapuu,Oahu, he armed himself and that a shootout with SWAT team was narrowly avertedwhen he saw keikis and wahines in the line of fire. Mr. Kanahele droppedhis gun and surrendered. He was reportedly convicted of terroristic threatening,although he was released from prison early due to good behavior and wasnot subsequently charged with violating the conditions of his parole.

"Bumpy" Kanahele is a 300 lb. (well, before he lost so much weightin prison) unafraid brown man who is now armed with the UN charter, andU.S. Public Law 103-150, detailing the guilt and complicity of the the illegal overthrow of an independent Hawai'i which the NOH is seekingto restore.

In the unstable era of widespread discontent in the U.S. (don't forget,the biggest unrest and worst domestic terrorism this century has taken placein just the last few years), as militias sprout up across the Continent,the authorities view the Nation of Hawai'i as another militia-like challengeto the federal and state government.

Indeed, at the August 4 hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Les "Wizardof" Osborne brought out a deputy "dawg" U.S. marshal's allegationsagainst NOH that it had links to the "Independent Patriots" groupand was stockpiling weapons at its Waimanalo site, setting the stage fora Waco or Ruby Ridge-style confrontation and siege. This was denied by NOH,and federal magistrate Barry Kurren said he wouldn't consider the unsubstantiatedcharges while considering Mr. Kanahele's bail (which was denied anyway).

If the Nation of Hawai'i is the 50th State's equivalent of a continentalmilitia, it is certainly a militia with a difference. NOH is certainly notcomposed of angry middle-aged white males, but of brown people who weredispossessed by illegal U.S. covert actions and military invasion that helpedmaintain an illegal white, elitist government in the aftermath of the 1893coup. Furthermore, while the Michigan militia, among other militias, hystericallyoppose the United Nations and its supposed goal of imposing "one worldgovernment" that would take away U.S. sovereignty, the NOH sees theU.N. as a source in the decolonization process that could help restore Hawaiiansovereignty.

The NOH's contention that the federal and state government has no authorityover it and other Hawaiians is a more legitimate claims with compared tothe Continental militias'. But similar to those militias, NOH has organizeda uniformed "peace" or "security" force. The state,in particular, is terrified that Hawaiian militancy, even the guerrillawarfare that was predicted in Kiana Davenport's novel, "Shark Dialogues",would destroy the tourist industry. NOH's "security" force delivered"warrants" against politicians and judges (including MagistrateKurren), warning them that they would be held accountable for "warcrimes" and "genocide" against Kanaka Maoli. In this context,it is interesting to note that Mr. Kanahele's co-defendant (solely on themisdemeanor charge of interfering with federal authorities in their attemptto arrest Mr. Brown) is Gordon Kaaihue, who is head of NOH's uniformed "peace"force and played a personal rule in issuing the "warrants."

During the trial, the defense fought back with one hand tied behind itsback by the feds. It's clear that these charges stemming from incidentsalmost two years old against someone publicly known who could have beenarrested innumerable times over the past many months are politically motivated.Lawyers Hayden Aluli and Syd Quintal were forbidden by Judge Gillmor frommaking courtroom arguments regarding sovereignty. Furthermore, Judge Gillmorconsistently sided with the offense when it objected to the defense, sustainingtheir objections and regularly overruling the defense's objections to theprosecution.

Upon his November 14 release, without having to pay bail, Mr. Kanahele isrequired to follow conditions set down by the state as a part of restrictinghis movements: In what apparently is a forced exile, Mr. Kanahele has tostay at the Miller Halfway House in Makiki, and is not allowed to set footon any site in Waimanalo as well as being forbidden to visit the NOH.

In conclusion, kanes and wahines of the court of public opinion: Not onlymust these restrictions against Dennis Kanahele be lifted, but all chargesagainst him must be officially dropped. Hayden Aluli's double jeopardy motionshould be upheld. If not, the defense should look into charges of persecutorialmisconduct, and overzealous and malicious prosecution, against "Bumpy"Kanahele's persecutors. Remember, "If you don't convict, you must acquit."

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