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The Rape of Paradise

The Second Century

Hawai'ians Grope Toward Sovereignty As The U.S. President Apologizes

Perceptions Magazine
March/April 1996, p. 18-25

by Johnny Liberty with Richard Neff Hubbard

Self-determination is the deciding by a people of a nation what form of government they shall have without reference to the wishes of any other nation ... the people have a range of choices from total assimilation within another nation, territory status, autonomy, statehood, free association, commonwealth, to total independence and sovereignty.

- Francis Anthony Boyle, consulting attorney for the State of Hawai'i

In August 1993, exactly a century after the Kingdom of Hawai'i was overthrown by the United States and annexed into "the Land of the Free," a Hawai'ian common-law court convened to hear citizens' formal charges against the de facto "State of Hawai'i" and the corporate U.S. government.

Meeting over a nine-day period on five of the main islands, the court concluded its hearing on the 34th anniversary of President Eisenhower's order to add a star to the U.S. flag (for the new State of Hawai'i, ignoring that this further trampled the kingdom's sovereignty).

Unlike some mainland common-law courts whose decisions have been brushed off by their statutory counterparts, this one, which called itself "The People's International Tribunal," made itself not only heard - but felt. In fact, it spurred the U.S. Congress to pass PL (Public Law) 103-150, which attorney Francis Boyle evaluated this way:

"The USA is admitting that the invasion, overthrow, occupation, annexation, starting in 1893, violated all the treaties, violated basic norms of international law, and the U.S. Constitution ... the overthrow of a lawful government .... Under international law when you have a violation of treaties of this magnitude, the World Court has ruled that the only appropriate remedy is restitution.

Now, the United States government, after 100 years, has finally and officially conceded, as a matter of United States law, that native Hawai'ian people have the right to restore the independent nation state that you had in 1893 when the United States government came and destroyed it. And also, as a matter of international law, the native Hawai'ian people have the right to go out now and certainly proclaim the restoration of that state ... this resolution clears up all these matters .... You don't need to petition Congress to do it. Congress has given you everything you need right here to do it, if that's what you want to do. The United Nations Charter provides the rest of the authority to do it.

Congress is effectively conceding now that the [Hawaiian statehood] vote is meaningless, as a matter of international law and United States domestic law. So you're not bound by it. Rather, I'm suggesting you're now free to determine your own fate pursuant to the principle of self-determination."

A Bevy of Kings and Queens

During the 100 years of occupation, the line of descent from King Kamehameha and Queen Lili'uokalani has become blurred and contested. There are likewise many factions within the Hawai'ian sovereignty movement: Some build kingdoms in the air and write constitutions in the clouds; some want U.N. recognition for the Nation of Hawai'i before laying the foundations for their own sovereignty; others want cultural sovereignty and reparations for the Hawai'ian people - yet wish to remain impaired U.S. citizens; still others want the "haoles" to go home.

Finally, there are those who claim divine right to the throne - and would establish too many kingdoms to count. Since recognition of personal sovereignty runs high here, and many recognize that we are all kings and queens, there is little popular support for restoring a monarchy. Besides, the islands were a constitutional republic before the overthrow, not a monarchy as many believe.

Pu'uhonua "Bumpy" Kanahele and the Nation of Hawai'i have claimed 64 acres on Oahu as nation land, and Bumpy spent four months in federal prison as a direct result of this claim, although the alleged offense was that he had harbored a tax protester. Previously a member of the Ohana Council, he claimed to be the sovereign for the Nation of Hawai'i but soon withdrew from that position in favor of a smaller role.

Web Editor's note: Kanahele was selected by a council of approximately 200 Hawaiian kupuna (elders) in March 1994 to serve as Head of State for transition of the Nation of Hawaii, and has retained this role ever since. Kanahele has never claimed to be "the sovereign" for Hawaii, and as the transition proceeds the position of Head of State is open for others to fill according to the will of the kupuna and the Constitution.

The Nation of Hawai'i wrote a preliminary constitution in 1994, presenting it to a mixed council of native Hawai'ians at Iolani Palace & White Sands Beach on January 22, 1995. This was a significant and historic time when the Hawai'ian people united and deepened their commitment to self-government. The draft of the constitution was inconsistent; seemed to have been written not on the bedrock of knowledge and experience, but in the clouds of good intentions; and was not based on the organic law of the Kingdom of Hawai'i, common law or the law of nations. Still, it marked the beginning of the true sovereignty movement in Hawai'i. The framers' intentions were good, and amendments can be considered during the constitutional convention.

Regarding the sham charges against Bumpy, so far the Nation of Hawai'i itself has failed to recognize that he remains an impaired U.S. citizen and that he entered an Article I court and asked for recognition of his sovereignty using a bar-licensed attorney. That's a winning formula for a losing court battle: impaired status, wrong venue for recognition of sovereign status and transferring one's power of attorney to a foreign agent of the established power structure.

On the other hand, Bumpy and the Nation of Hawai'i have inspired many others to found the Interim Provisional Government Council and begin restoring the constitutional Kingdom of Hawai'i. They deserve much honor and blessing for their contribution.

Similarly, Mililani Trask, Prime Minister, and her group, Ka Lahui Hawai'i, deny that any part of the de facto State of Hawai'i or its Office of Hawai'ian Affairs (OHA) is legal. Their focus has been on "cultural sovereignty," returning the land to the Hawai'ian people and "haole go home." Yet, when asked about her citizenship Trask claims to be an American, has retained her impaired U.S. citizenship and is a bar-licensed attorney. Like Bumpy, she must be sovereign unto herself before she can be sovereign for the Hawai'ians.

Ka Lahui Hawai'i, with more than 20,000 members, wants land and financial retribution for native Hawai'ians, much like the "nation within a nation" status of the indigenous North Americans, but is playing "democracy roulette" to get it. A democracy can only offer superficial sovereignty within the de facto international system; it is co-dependent with the very power structure that has committed crimes against the Hawai'ians for more than a century.

There are many other kings & queens besides Bumpy (Lorenzo, Kabuli, etc.) who have made claims to the monarchy. While these may be valid through bloodlines, the need to maintain order requires that Hawai'ians follow the de jure process established in the Constitution for the Kingdom of Hawai'i for naming a successor.

Of course, anyone willing to take political, economic and legal responsibility for one's own life can be (and is) a king or queen unto oneself. As inherent sovereign individuals, we can choose to repatriate into a republican form of government already established or create our own. Presuming to assert sovereignty over someone else, however, without a de jure process, would simply be one more overthrow of legitimate self-government.

Keeping Tabs on the Movement

In 1993, the Hawaiian Sovereignty Advisory Commission (HSAC) was created to advise the State of Hawai'i governor's office. HSAC submitted legislation to "acknowledge and recognize the unique status the indigenous Hawai'ian people bear to the State of Hawai'i and to facilitate the efforts of indigenous Hawai'ians to be governed by an indigenous sovereign nation of their own choosing." (If this sounds innocent, remember that the U.S. Congress admitted in PL 103-150 that the "State of Hawai'i" has no legality whatsoever.)

The legislature responded by converting HSAC into an "elections" commission and directed it to hold a plebiscite to see whether the indigenous people wish to restore a nation. Yet, sovereignty is not an issue to be determined by vote; one's decision about whether to repatriate does not hang on "majority rule." That would be the ultimate mockery, making sovereignty dependent on "democracy."

Since the plebiscite is not binding upon the State, it is nothing more than a straw vote, a poll to inform those in power which way the wind is blowing regarding the various sovereignty options. They consider this information crucial so they can maintain control and the status quo. Of course they made sure to run it through the legislature so the taxpayers could pick up the tab.

Although the vote will have no official impact on the direction of Hawai'ian sovereignty, it will generate much commotion and dissension among the groups. Several sovereignty groups believe that the "elections commission's" ties to the State of Hawai'i have tainted it and that it will interfere with sovereignty efforts.

The De Facto "State of Hawai'i" and the United States Government

Governments are instituted among men to secure the people's rights, not to take them away - at least de jure ones are. By contrast, the de facto State of Hawai'i must be understood to be nothing more than a political subdivision and administrative agent of the federal United States government.

The truth is, there never was nor ever could be a sovereign State of Hawai'i as part of the Union. First, this "State" was not created on equal footing with the Union states; instead it was given a "special grant" of Statehood.

Second, before it purportedly "entered" the Union, the federal government had declared bankruptcy and moved into a state of national emergency, suspending its constitution indefinitely. New states cannot be admitted into a constitutional republic which is in that condition.

Third, there is no common border between Hawai'i and the states of the Union, so all of its external commerce is international, not interstate. Since no admiralty/maritime law exists under "the law of the land" in the united states of America and only the federal government has admiralty jurisdiction on the high seas, Hawai'i would fall exclusively under federal law and admiralty/maritime jurisdiction like the other U.S. territories.

Fourth, Hawai'i was not lawfully annexed in 1898, merely placed under military occupation and rule by a Joint Resolution of Congress. This highly irregular "annexation" violated international law.

Fifth, the "Republic of Hawai'i" was a fraud imposed on the peaceful people of the kingdom by wealthy landowners who wanted to control commerce in the islands. The Republic of Hawai'i was created to prepare Hawai'ians for annexation and second-class citizenship. Many documented irregularities regarding Hawai'i are being brought to the attention of the sovereign people. The Kingdom of Hawai'i was usurped, not lawfully annexed as a U.S. territory nor admitted as a lawful, sovereign state.

Due to admitted acts of insurgency, rebellion and the overthrow of the constitutional Kingdom of Hawai'i, the de facto State government is under continued impairment and is properly considered irregular. The legislative and judicial branches of government, already well established prior to the invasion, were not overthrown. Only the executive branch was overthrown and replaced with a territorial government under the federal United States. Today, the de facto State of Hawai'i is a legal fiction and fabrication, null and void ab initio ["from the beginning"], as documented by the admissions and confessions of PL 103-150. The State of Hawai'i no longer exists.

The Road to Sovereignty

Quoting further from Francis Boyle's legal opinion on PL 103-150:

The State of Hawai'i, the federal government, are ... the civilian arms of the military occupation authority, and ... do not have sovereign powers. The sovereignty resides in the people. ... An independent sovereign nation state is one way a people who are threatened with extermination by means of genocide can attempt to protect themselves ... What is the best way to protect the existence of your people? ... to proclaim your own state, [to restore the inherent sovereignty of the people] and then ultimately seek international recognition and finally United Nations membership...

Boyle's comments are correct until the very last phrase; unfortunately he is too close to the U.N. for Hawai'ians' comfort. This kingdom does not need the U.N.'s seal of approval on its sovereignty.

Indigenous Sovereigns Around the World

The laws and principles of sovereignty are universal; they arise from Natural Law as expressed in the Law of Nations. These can be further developed to meet the challenges of the modern colonial world which is still on a collision course with traditional cultures. The indigenous peoples are beginning to organize effectively and fight back against this continuing encroachment.

The colonial powers have systematically bankrupted themselves - politically, economically, and morally - so the time is ripe for the sovereign nations of the world to gain the upper hand. If they will form strategic alliances and diplomatic relationships, they can bring forth quite another "world order" from the remains of the old, dying system.

Johnny Liberty operates the Cascadian Resource Center in Eugene, Oregon. In ceremonies at the Iolani Palace on November 23, 1995 (the Second Anniversary of Public Law 103-150), he was appointed General Advocate Liaison and Ambassador from the Kingdom of Hawai'i to the united states of America.


1. The tribunal met from August 12-21, 1993, on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Moloka'i and Hawai'i. Executive Order 10834 was issued August 21, 1959.

2. 107 Stat. 1510.

3. The State of Hawai'i paid international attorney, professor and author Francis Anthony Boyle for his legal opinion on the ramifications of U.S. Public Law 103-150. His credentials include a Ph.D. from Harvard University and having assisted the Palestinian people in declaring and developing their independent nation state. He is currently defending Bosnia-Herzegovina in the International Court of Justice. He provided his interpretation of PL 103-150 on December 28, 1993.

4. Actually, it was not destroyed but has been suppressed for the last 103 years.

5. So do the Law of Nations, the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution for the Kingdom of Hawai'i and the unwritten law preceding it. Neither the Hawai'ian people nor any other sovereigns need to ask the United Nations for any "rights" or "authority."

6. See review of A Call for Hawaiian Sovereignty on p. 58.

7. One of many Hawai'ian sovereignty groups, it drafted its own constitution in 1995.

8. Compare "clouded title" and "incomplete sovereignty," i.e. still bound by adhesion contracts.

9. Hawai'ian insult for whites: "those who have no soul."

10. A council of tribal leaders and kahunas (spiritual leaders) having a spiritual emphasis.

11. Article III of the U.S. Constitution defines and establishes the court system. In recent times, however, courts have instead tended to act as extensions of the legislature, which was established by Article I, collapsing the two branches into one and erasing important checks and balances between them. The term "Article I court" is thus derogatory.

12. Another sovereignty group, this one has a pro-cultural focus.

13. As defined by the U.S. War (now "Defense") Department in 1928, a democracy is "a government of the masses ... negates property rights through a communistic attitude ... results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent and anarchy." By comparison, a republic is based on "respect for property, laws and individuals' rights ... a sensible economic procedure ... avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy." (Defines by Adjutant General Lutz Wahl and Chief of Staff C.P. Summerall in Training Manual No. 2000-25, p. 118-121.)

14. Like Bumpy, Lorenzo was imprisoned by U.S. officials for seeking sovereignty for his people. See "A King's Battle for Recognition," Perceptions Vol. 1 Issue 7, (1994), 12.

15. Lawful. Compare "de facto": existing in fact, but not lawful.

16. It was the HSAC that paid Francis Boyle $20,000 (sic) for his legal opinion regarding the effect of PL 103-150 on the State of Hawai'i. See also Act 200, Section 14, H.B. #3630.

Web Editor's note: Prof. Boyle was paid an honorarium of $200 plus travel expenses, not $20,000

17. See admissions Act, Section 5 (a-c), PL 86-3, 73 Stat. 4, March 18, 1959.

18. Since the United States government is a corporation that declared bankruptcy in 1933 and has been directed ever since by its creditors, presently the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it no longer has the legal power to direct its own affairs. Congress was appointed trustee of the constructive trust established on behalf of the creditors. In essence, bankrupt governments have surrendered their sovereignty to their creditors. Thus, the "State of Hawai'i" is actually an administrative agent for the creditors of the bankrupt federal United States government, performing collections for the IMF. (Regarding the U.S. bankruptcy, see also "Those The IRS Never Touches" on p. 12.)

19. Hawai'i's status from 1894 to 1898, after the provisional government (1893-94) and before it became a U.S. territory.

20. Article 17 of the State of Hawai'i constitution is modeled on the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (See note 1, p.16.)

21. That is, the Hawai'ians themselves are the inherent sovereign.

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