The Treason Question -- Would you help a foreign enemy of the United States by committing espionage or sabotage against the United States in return for that country recognizing Hawai'i as an independent nation and/or pressing the case for Hawaiian independence at the United Nations?

(c) Copyright 2004 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved

In April 2004 the treason question was posted on an internet bulletin board discussion forum called "Educate Hawai'i."

This very large discussion forum was created by a Hawaiian sovereignty independence activist, Preston Kealoha Yoshioka, using his considerable skills in computer programming and internet website construction. He created the forum in 2002 in cooperation with Kiope Raymond, a professor of Hawaiian Studies at Maui Community College. Professor Raymond, for at least several semesters, has required his students in the basic undergraduate course "Hawaiian Studies 107" to register as members of this bulletin board, where each section of the course has its own private area to post messages, announcements, essays, and perhaps to engage in chat sessions (the students’ area is password protected and off-limits to the public, so we can only speculate what goes on there). In addition students are encouraged (perhaps required) to read what is posted in the publicly accessible areas of the forum. Students might be required to write reaction papers to some items; and can meet course requirements or receive extra credit for posting their own thoughts either in the private areas reserved to the classes, or in the public forum. It is apparently considered an act of great bravery for one of these (college!) students to actually venture into the public area and post a few sentences of personal opinion -- hardly anyone ever does that.

The forum quickly became a propaganda vehicle for the independence viewpoint -- nearly all the messages were favorable to independence except for those posted by Ken Conklin. In addition, the unanimous opinion (except for Ken Conklin) is that ethnic Hawaiians, as the "indigenous" people of Hawai'i, are entitled to special rights and racially exclusionary government programs during this transitional period when Hawai'i is still under belligerent occupation by the United States.

One very obvious aspect of this forum is its virulent anti-military and anti-American attitude. That's understandable because of the nearly unanimous opinion that the U.S. colonized Hawai'i, suppressed Hawaiian language and culture, staged an armed invasion in 1893 to overthrow the monarchy, illegally annexed Hawai'i in 1898 despite a massive protest by ethnic Hawaiians, has continued a belligerent military occupation of Hawai'i for more than a century, and continues to burn and destroy the native homeland through its use of military bases and training activities. Wow! Of course anyone who feels this way would be anti-military and anti-American.

But does the anti-military, anti-American attitude of the independence activists go so far that they would engage in treason against the United States? (Actually, it wouldn’t be treason from their viewpoint because they believe the nation to which they owe allegiance is not the United States but Hawai’i.) Do they view themselves as freedom-fighters, like the American revolutionaries of 1776, or the French resistance activists of the early 1940s, or the Palestinians of current times?

There seems to be a unanimous opposition to engaging in acts of violence. But what about non-violent means of getting other nations to help "liberate" Hawai'i? What about engaging in espionage against U.S. military bases on behalf of a nation like North Korea or China or Russia, in return for a pledge from those nations to recognize the independence of a nation of Hawai'i and/or to introduce resolutions in the United Nations calling upon the United States to withdraw from Hawai'i?

In April 2004 the treason question was posted by Ken Conklin on the "Educate Hawai'i" discussion forum. It was asked in a way to encourage everyone participating in the forum to respond, including the students in HAWST 107. But immediately the forum's creator, Preston Kealoha Yoshioka, and its (by far) most active participant, Joseph Rodrigues (alias "Kanaka Nui", now "Kui") urged the students not to reply because replying could be dangerous to them and their future careers! The question was then pulled off the forum to prevent students from reading or responding to it.

The reason for removing the question is obvious. Anyone participating in this forum is probably zealous for Hawaiian independence, and would want to answer that they would do anything ... ANYTHING (short of violence) to push America out of Hawai'i. But the activists are also conspiracy theorists who think the FBI is monitoring their correspondence. Many ethnic Hawaiians receive substantial money or services through various racially exclusionary government programs. Some ethnic Hawaiians work for the federal government, perhaps in jobs that require a security clearance or FBI background check. Certainly some of the students in HAWST 107 might eventually want to pursue such a career. So the question poses a very difficult challenge. Either put up or shut up. If you are sincere about your political views opposing the U.S. military and the U.S. occupation of Hawai'i, then you should show how zealous you are by agreeing that you would engage in espionage or (nonviolent) sabotage against the U.S. if it would help liberate your homeland from a hated oppressor. But if you want government jobs and the government handouts given to ethnic Hawaiians, then you'd better keep quiet. So that's what happened. The forum's creator/moderator, with the approval of its most active participant (who is also the most aggressive about his anti-Americanism) pulled the question off the forum to spare anyone the embarrassment of not saying "yes" or the risk of saying "yes."

Perhaps the most interesting observation is that nobody ever said “no.” Anyone patriotic toward America would be very glad to say no. At the time this question was posted there were over 300 registered members of this forum. But nobody on this forum said no (although, to be fair, perhaps the question was pulled before most of them had a chance to see it).

Here is the way the treason question was posed, followed by some of the discussion leading to its removal. Note that the way the question is formulated includes a good explanation of history and political theory that makes the question reasonable. The students would have learned a lot of history and would have had some fascinating classroom discussions. But of course those discussions could have been dangerous -- after all, the FBI might have a hidden microphone under someone’s desk!


Survey: Would You Spy Against U.S. To Get Hawaii Independence?

I'd like to ask everyone who reads this to answer a survey question. Not just my usual fan club of Kawaha Nui and haolegirl who reply (attack) to every message I post, not just Kealoha and mamoahina who sometimes also reply -- I hope they all do reply, but I'm also hoping lots of other readers will also reply.

The question comes at the end of this explanation. You can answer with a simple "yes" or "no" or, if you prefer, you can (also) write an explanation. And those who are Hawaiian Studies students, I hope that besides answering my survey question here on this forum, you'll also discuss it in class with your professors and the other students.

Skip to the end if you have no time to read the explanations. But the explanations will make it easier to understand the question and why it is important and why it is not as far-fetched as you might think.

But first, with your patience, let me explain 4 elements of what it's all about.

(1) Some Hawaiian sovereignty activists (some ethnic Hawaiians and some not) say that in 1893 the U.S. staged an armed invasion of Hawai'i and helped overthrow Queen Lili'uokalani. Some say the overthrow could not have succeeded without U.S. help. Some say the Provisional Government, and Republic of Hawai'i, were illegal because of the illegal overthrow. Some say Annexation in 1898 was illegal, partly because the Republic was illegal and had no right to offer or agree to annexation. Some say Hawai'i has been under belligerant OCCUPATION by the U.S. for more than 100 years; that the U.S. is an OPPRESSOR that is depriving Hawaiians of their right to self-determination. Some say the Statehood plebiscite of 1959 was illegal for various reasons, including that the Republic, and Annexation, and the Territory were illegal; and also they say the Statehood vote was illegal because Hawai'i was an occupied nation with tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed here. So, in view of all that history, some activists are saying that that the U.S. needs to get out of Hawai'i, and Hawai'i is entitled to be independent. Those who feel strongly about these things would not hesitate to call the United States an enemy of the Hawaiian people. But even if they don't want to use the harsh-sounding "enemy" talk, they do feel very strongly that the U.S. should get out of Hawai'i and should never have "taken over" Hawai'i in the first place.

(2) Throughout world history, some activists in a country or territory being occupied by another country have gotten help from a third country that is an enemy of the occupier, to help defeat the occupier. For example, when American revolutionaries wanted to force England to give up America, the Americans sent Benjamin Franklin and other American patriots to France to get the French to help drive out the English from America. (and the French sent thousands of troops and dozens of ships and tons of weapons and ammunition over a period of several years). During the American revolution, many Americans spied for the French against the English, providing information to the French about the English military bases in America, how many soldiers were stationed there, where the ammunition was stored, when there were troop or ship movements, etc. Some Americans not only spied for the French and gave information to the French, but also engaged in sabotage against English forts or ammunition shipments. For another example, consider what happened in France during World War II when the Germans had invaded France and were occupying it. Some French patriots spied against the German military bases and also made "friends" with German soldiers to get military information from them; and then those French spies gave the information to England or to the U.S. which could use the information to plan military strategy against the Germans. But it doesn't always have to be military stuff. Spying and sabotage can also be non-violent "dirty tricks"; such as printing tons of counterfeit money and putting it into circulation to destabilize the economy; or circulating false rumors just before an election, to overturn a government.

(3) The U.S. has some enemies among other nations. Some enemies might actively try to harm the U.S. through a military or terrorist attack; other enemies think the U.S. is an evil nation that is threatening them or harming them and so they would like to weaken the U.S. to make the U.S. pay attention to itself and leave them alone. For 50 years during the cold war the biggest enemy was the Soviet Union. Today the enemies probably include China, North Korea, Cuba, Iraquis loyal to Saddam, Iran, Al Qaida, and maybe Saudi Arabia. These enemies might not militarily attack the U.S. but they would certainly like to weaken and destabilize the U.S. government. Remember, for example, that in 1962 the Soviet Union persuaded its client nation Cuba to install nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles from the United States; and there was a very dangerous political/military standoff between President Kennedy and President Khrushchev which came very close to all-out nuclear war.

(4) One way to weaken or destabilize the U.S. government is to use diplomatic pressure to raise doubts about the unity of the U.S. Maybe the U.S. could be forced to give up its territories in Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa. Maybe the U.S. could even be forced to give up it's far-away State of Hawai'i (where U.S. military bases are used to threaten or launch attacks against the enemies of the U.S.). It might not even be necessary to actually push the U.S. out of Hawai'i -- just raise lots of doubts about it. Make the U.S. spend time and resources responding to other nations who challenge the U.S. presence in Hawai'i. Cause diplomatic trouble for the U.S. in the United Nations or in bilateral relations with other countries. Maybe if China would threaten to embarrass the U.S. in the United Nations over the "issue" of U.S. military occupation of Hawai'i, then China could blackmail a secret agreement with the U.S. that the U.S. will stop interfering with China's control of Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, in return for China stopping its interference with U.S. control of Hawai'i. Many such scenarios are possible with many enemy nations.

QUESTION: Would you spy for a foreign nation against the United States, in return for that foreign nation's help in "liberating" Hawai'i through diplomatic means? Suppose a foreign nation (or its local representatives) promised you that it would give diplomatic recognition to whatever "government" of a "nation of Hawai'i" you choose, and would then go to the United Nations and demand that the U.S. "set Hawai'i free." And they will do that for you, if you will gather information and give it to them, about U.S. military bases in Hawai'i, troop movements, etc; and make friends with government or business leaders and get insider information; and if you will "plant" information in the media (TV, radio, newspapers) that is favorable to that nation and unfavorable to the United States. You don't have to shoot anybody, or blow up Pearl Harbor. All you have to do is spy on the U.S. and deliver valuable information to an enemy nation of the U.S., in return for that nation diplomatically recognizing a "nation of Hawai'i" and pressing the Hawai'i case for independence in the United Nations. Would you be willing to make a deal like that?


Here is some of the discussion leading to the question being pulled off the forum:

[by Kanaka Nui, now known as Kui]

Post subject: Dont Answer

I urge all of you NOT to answer Ken's question. I can see how he would use this as propaganda against us in the future. There are already 20 plus Nations in the Royal Order of the Crown of Hawaii, so no need to spy. Thing's are going on Ken in the Hawaiian Independance movement that even you DONT KNOW. The International community will play a part, but not like you are suggesting.


[Ken’s response]

And I urge all of you TO REPLY. This is your chance to show your patriotism -- either your patriotism toward the U.S., or your patriotism toward an independent Hawai'i. Or, you can do what Kawaha Nui has done, and be a wimp. He's cowering in the corner like Kanaka Iki, afraid to speak up. He kanaka makawiwo 'oia. Either sing the song of sovereignty (like Kamakawiwo'ole) or else kwitcherbellyakin.


[reply by Kealoha]

If you are trying to say that spying=patriotism you are wrong. Syping = Treason, no matter what country you claim nationality to. I know where you are trying to go with this, and it's not working Ken, this question has nothing to do with patriotism and more about recognizing who is in power and who could kill you if you were to do this. Stupid questions like this get people into serious trouble.

If anyone out there holds a security clearance, do not even bother to answer this question. It will get you in trouble.

Hawaiian's have no need to "spy" because legally we have already been shown we have the right to self-determination. Apology Bill Ken. Once again. What you are talking about will hurt innocent lives! Innocent Lives Ken! I don't understand your thinking Ken, its pretty saddistic to try to trick people into this thinking. Have people thought about this before? I'm sure they have. I can't believe you would even say such things to get Hawaiians to choose a fence like that. We are talking about family, friends who call this place home. At this point regardless of who is occupying, humanity comes above all else. Isn't UH's motto, "ABOVE ALL NATIONS HUMANITY!"

What Kanaka said is smart, this can get people in some serious trouble with the present government. I am seriously thinking about removing this thread. As Kanaka Nui said there are already people in the Royal Order, I don't think this questions does anything for anyone. At present time we are under United States rule, we get that Ken, we are not going to do anything to hurt anyone, that is not OUR HAWAIIAN way. Have you noticed that we have been peaceful in our resistance at the order of the Queen? Hawaiians are more smart than you think, we would never do anything as stupid as you suggest. We already have a legal basis for such recognition.


[next message, again by Kealoha]

Question has been pulled, I'm sorry but that was borderline of me possibly getting my site taken down. If you would like Ken, please post that on your site. I have said I would keep this site open, but that question might have taken it too far. I will leave the comments up but not the question.


[Ken’s response]

Very interesting indeed. The radical independence activists afraid to say flat-out that they would actually DO anything disloyal with a foreign government to undermine U.S. sovereignty in Hawai'i, for fear of losing a security clearance that allows them to keep a job working for the government they despise and consider an illegal occupier.

The anti-American rhetoric on this forum is very strong and very visible. I hate the thought that someone like Kawaha Nui or Kealoha could possibly have a security clearance, or any kind of job at all with the federal government. If that's your concern, then you'd better crash this whole forum, because there's plenty there already to yank your security clearance.

Federal empoyees take an oath "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States." Some of the oaths also add "against all enemies foreign and domestic." As far as I'm concerned, there are some of those domestic enemies right here, but they prefer to operate like snipers shooting from ambush instead of engaging directly. These guys are not patriotic Americans who disagree over American foreign policy or who criticize the government out of love for it and a desire to see it improve. These guys are enemies of the U.S., plain and simple, trying to tear it down at every opportunity, trying to persuade young, impressionable students that the U.S. is their enemy and deserves contempt rather than loyalty.

The signers of the American Declaration of Independence pledged "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." The first person to sign it, John Hancock, wrote his signature extremely large, saying he did so "so that King George can see my signature even without his spectacles." Those patriots did not cower or hide in the shadows like an octopus slithering into its hole while squirting a cloud of ink to hide his retreat.


[Kealoha’s response]

Don't have a security clearance. And besides what would you know of it? Anyway, you miss the point. I wrote that because there are people here you just might. You never know. Radical independance activists? Funny. I prefer justice activists, that's all I want. Justice. If you want to say that material on here is anti-American that is your choice, however I think there are worse sites out there than this. I would say this site is open and some participants, like myself, are anti-abuse of power. Don't judge a site by its participants, we are all individuals. We all have the right to make comments and opinions.

Like I said before Ken, if you do not like this site, you are not obligated to stay. I love Hawaii! I love my human right (not American) to say what I feel.


THE TURNCOATS ON NI’IHAU ISLAND [World War 2] by Michelle Malkin

Here is an absolutely fascinating bit of Hawai’i history -- an excerpt from Michelle Malkin's new book "In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror".

Apparently (the only three) ethnic Japanese on Ni'ihau in 1941, including a native-born American, were loyal to their Japanese ethnicity rather than to their American nation. They fought against ethnic Hawaiian American loyalists on behalf of a Japanese (national) pilot who crash-landed on Ni'ihau after his plane was shot while participating in the attack on Pearl Harbor. This incident, according to Malkin, strengthened the fear of President Roosevelt that other ethnic Japanese in America, including U.S. citizens, would betray America in favor of Japan if it ever appeared that such betrayal might have a chance of turning the tide of the war or of a local battle in Hawai'i or California.

This is not necessarily an argument in favor of racial profiling, or wholesale kidnapping of innocent people identified by race as was done in the internment of ethnic Japanese; but it is certainly an explanation of the hysteria going on that led to the internment. It is also related to the "treason question" regarding whether Hawaiian sovereignty activists would commit espionage or sabotage against U.S. military bases in Hawai'i as part of a deal with a foreign enemy of the U.S. who would agree to grant diplomatic recognition to an independent Hawai'i and press the case for Hawaiian independence in the United Nations.

August 10, 2004

The following is an exclusive excerpt from Michelle Malkin’s new book, In Defense of Internment: The Case for “Racial Profiling” in World War II and the War on Terror (Regnery).

The Turncoats on Niihau Island

“Are you a Japanese?”

Those were the first English words spoken by downed Japanese fighter pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi on tiny Niihau Island, located about one hundred miles northwest of Honolulu. It was December 7, 1941. Nishikaichi had had a busy, bloody morning at Pearl Harbor. Now, with the aid and comfort of a Japanese-American couple, Nishikaichi was about to make the lives of the Niihau residents a living hell.

Around 7:00 a.m., Nishikaichi boarded his Zero single-seat fighter plane and took off from the carrier Hiryu in the Pacific. An hour and a half later, the young Japanese pilot strafed planes, trucks, and personnel on Oahu. Headed back to his carrier, Nishikaichi and some fellow pilots encountered a group of American P36 fighter planes. During the air battle, Nishikaichi’s plane took several hits. One punctured the Zero’s gas tank. Nishikaichi steered the crippled plane toward the westernmost Hawaiian island: Niihau. Fewer than 200 Hawaiians plus three laborers of Japanese descent called Niihau home. Japan planned to use the island as a submarine pickup point for stranded pilots.

Nishikaichi crash-landed the plane in a field near one of the ranch homes. The first to reach him was Hawila “Howard” Kaleohano, a burly Hawaiian. The island had no telephones. On that tranquil, late Sunday morning, none of the inhabitants was yet aware of the death and destruction that had just rained down on Pearl Harbor.

Nonetheless, Kaleohano wisely confiscated the dazed Nishikaichi’s gun and papers. Kaleohano, perhaps the most educated Hawaiian on Niihau, had been keeping tabs on world affairs through newspapers supplied by ranch owner Aylmer Robinson (who paid weekly visits to the island and lived twenty miles away on Kauai). Wary but warm, Kaleohano brought the enemy pilot to his home. Along the way, Nishikaichi asked Kaleohano if he was “a Japanese.” The answer was an emphatic “No.”

After sharing a meal and cigarettes, Nishikaichi demanded that Kaleohano return his papers, which included maps, radio codes, and Pearl Harbor attack plans. Kaleohano refused. To make their communication easier, Kaleohano asked his neighbors to summon one of the island’s three residents of Japanese descent to translate for Nishikaichi. They first brought a Japanese-born immigrant, Ishimatsu Shintani, to the house. He reluctantly exchanged a few words with the pilot in Japanese, but left in a hurry—apparently sensing trouble.

The islanders then turned to Yoshio Harada and his wife Irene, both U.S. citizens, born in Hawaii to Japanese immigrants. Harada had moved from Kauai to California as a young man and lived there for seven years before relocating to Niihau with his wife in 1939. Instantly at ease with the Japanese-American couple, Nishikaichi dropped the bombshell news about the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Haradas did not inform their neighbors.

That night, the hospitable Niihau residents learned about the Pearl Harbor attack on the radio. They decided to confine the pilot in the Haradas’ home until help arrived.

Exploiting their common ethnic ties and urging loyalty to the emperor, Nishikaichi won over the Haradas. They enlisted the other resident of Japanese descent—the skittish Shintani—in a conspiracy to retrieve Nishikaichi’s papers from Kaleohano. On the afternoon of December 12, a reluctant Shintani visited Kaleohano and asked for the enemy pilot’s papers. He offered his neighbor a wad of cash. Kaleohano refused. Shintani desperately told him to burn the papers. It was a matter of life and death, Shintani pleaded with Kaleohano. Kaleohano again refused.

An hour later, Nishikaichi and the Haradas launched a campaign of terror against the islanders. They overtook the guard on duty and locked him in a warehouse. Mrs. Harada cranked up a phonograph to drown out the commotion. Yoshio Harada and Nishikaichi retrieved a shotgun from the warehouse and headed to Kaleohano’s home. Kaleohano, who was in the outhouse, saw them coming and hid while Nishikaichi and his collaborators unsuccessfully searched for the pilot’s papers. They recovered Nishikaichi’s pistol and headed toward his grounded plane. Harada watched as the enemy pilot tried in vain to call for help on his radio.

Meanwhile, Kaleohano fled from the outhouse and ran to the main village to warn his neighbors of Nishikaichi’s escape. He returned to his house to retrieve the papers, hid them in a relative’s home, and set out with a strong team of islanders in a lifeboat toward Kauai to get help. That night, Harada and Nishikaichi set both the plane and Kaleohano’s home on fire. They fired off their guns in a lunatic rage and threatened to kill every man, woman, and child in the village. After gathering for a prayer meeting, many residents escaped to a mountaintop with kerosene lamps and reflectors in an attempt to signal Kauai.

On the morning of December 13, Harada and Nishikaichi captured islander Ben Kanahele and his wife. Kanahele was ordered to find Kaleohano. In their own “Let’s Roll” moment of heroism, the gutsy Kanaheles refused to cooperate. When Nishikaichi threatened to shoot Kanahele’s wife, fifty-one-year-old Ben lunged for the enemy’s shotgun. The young Japanese fighter pilot pulled his pistol from his boot and shot Kanahele three times in the chest, hip, and groin. Mrs. Kanahele pounced at Nishikaichi; her once-peaceful neighbor Harada tore her away.

Angered, the wounded Kanahele summoned the strength to pick up Nishikaichi and hurl him against a stone wall, knocking him unconscious. Quick-thinking Mrs. Kanahele grabbed a rock and pummeled the pilot’s head. For good measure, Ben Kanahele took out a hunting knife and slit Nishikaichi’s throat. A desperate Harada turned the shotgun on himself and committed suicide.

The Kanaheles’ harrowing battle against a Japanese invader and his surprising collaborator was over.

The significance of the Haradas’ stunning act of disloyalty and Shintani’s meek complicity in collaboration with Nishikaichi was not lost on the Roosevelt administration. The facts of the case “indicate a strong possibility that other Japanese residents of the Territory of Hawaii, and Americans of Japanese descent . . . may give valuable aid to Japanese invaders in cases where the tide of battle is in favor of Japan and where it appears to residents that control of the district may shift from the United States to Japan,” wrote Lieutenant C. B. Baldwin after a naval intelligence investigation.

The Haradas were neither radical nationalists nor professional spies. They were ordinary Japanese-Americans who betrayed America by putting their ethnic roots first. How many other Japanese-Americans—especially on the vulnerable West Coast—might be swayed by enemy appeals such as Nishikaichi’s? How many more might be torn between allegiance for their country of birth and kinship with Imperial invaders? These were the daunting questions that faced the nation’s top military and political leaders as enemy forces loomed on our shores.

Michelle Malkin is a syndicated columnist and maintains her weblog at


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