Haleakala Times September 11, 2007
Kauai shows courage in the face of political conspiracy
I applaud the people of Kaua'i whose courageous nonviolent resistance
temporarily halted the Hawaii Superferry. Like its invasive
cousins, the Stryker Brigade and the UARC, the Superferry is a
manifestation of the dangerous military industrial complex that
President Eisenhower gravely warned against.
Let's be clear about the persons and interests that are behind the
The Board of Directors of the Hawaii Superferry reads like a roster
of revolving door ex-military officials. Most notably, the Chair of
the Superferry is John F. Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy and
founder of the investment firm JF Lehman, a company that specializes
in investing in military industries with a controlling interest in
Lehman is associated with the Heritage Foundation, the notorious
Right Wing think tank, whose intellectual and political descendants
include the anti-Hawaiian Grassroots Institute, Pacific Legal
Foundation and Aloha for All. He is also associated with the
Project for a New American Century, the folks that cooked up the
illegal and catastrophic occupation of Iraq and a blueprint for U.S.
Empire (well, they euphemistically called it "Pax Americana").
Lehman proudly announced that the Hawaii Superferry would partner
with the military as a "Westpac Express" to shuttle Strykers and
other military personnel and equipment between islands and beyond.
The first Westpac Express was a contract between the U.S. military
and the Austal Corporation, makers of the Superferry, to move U.S.
military personnel and equipment around Australia and Southeast Asia.
According to testimony from Sean Connaughton, Maritime Administrator
of the U.S. Department of Transportation before the House
Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces of the Armed
Services Committee (March 15, 2007), U.S. taxpayers subsidized $140
million of the $180 million price tag for two Superferries through
Title XI loan guarantees.
While there is plenty of blame to go around for the Superferry
fiasco, the real source of the problem may lie in the mysterious
condition of this loan guarantee that there be no environmental
impact statement. Why would the federal government use such coercion
of the purse to prevent the state from following its own laws,
especially under a program that the Bush administration does not
Sean Connaughton, Administrator of MARAD testified before Congress
(March 15, 2007) that the agency had not requested Title XI loan
guarantees since 2001 because it viewed the program as a corporate
However through Congressional appropriations (i.e. earmarks) MARAD
funded a number of loan guarantees, the most recent of which was the
So let's follow the money. How were the funds for the Superferry
loan guarantee appropriated? And what strings were attached to the
money in that legislation? What promises or assurances were made to
ease its passage?
Could Connaughton's surprisingly alarmist declaration last week in
the Maui court that "the military readiness of the Nation could be
diminished if the ALAKAI is precluded from sustaining normal
commercial operations" be a clue to the deals made to clinch the
Connaughton said that "Although the Administration has not requested
funding for new loan guarantees since 2001, Congress has periodically
appropriated money for this purpose." He seemed to suggest that the
Superferry was another pork barrel earmark project.
Like the Strykers and the UARC, the Superferry is a conspiracy by
politicians, the military and corporations to impose their profit and
military driven agendas on Hawai'i over the opposition of affected
communities and regardless of the ultimate costs, consequences and
Kauai's powerful assertion of their right to protect their island
from invasive and destructive forces is a gift to Hawai'i and
demonstrates why Kaua'i was never conquered.