Act of Decolonization #9: Read the Marianas Variety
These are some of the clearest and most direct examples I've seen in mainstream print so far, of what the relationship between the US military and Guam is. Not one based on love, loyalty or even the boundaries of citizenship. Its one based on military strategy and geographic location. These are excellent articles and I'm glad that they were covered in the Variety, because if they had been in the PDN, no doubt whoever was writing about it would probably try to use this memo to show how much things have changed, instead of tracing for readers, how very little has changed other than rhetoric.
It is crucial that those interested in truth and justice on Guam, support an opening up and a grassroots growing of the media in Guam, and contesting the control that the PDN has over public opinion and information. This could mean simply supporting its competitor such as The Marianas Variety, by advertising there, buying it, and having your family's announcements placed there. Or it could mean starting up your own media, at whatever scale you can afford. Whether it be blogs, websites, flyers, radio stations or programs or even newspapers.
In the meantime however, print this out on American Flag paper and then share them with EVERYONE!
1945 secret memo reveals US real intention for Guam
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff
June 19, 2007
IF THE U.S. government is making military decisions based on its post-war policy for Guam, then the civilian population might not expect too much help from the federal government when 8,000 Marines arrive from Okinawa because the island’s economic development was the least of its concern.
In a secret memo issued on Nov. 21, 1945, Vice Adm. G.D. Murray, then commander of the Marianas Navy Force, stated that “the economic development and administration of relatively few native inhabitants should be subordinate to the real purpose for which those islands are held.”
“Military control of these islands is essential as their military value far outweighs their economic value,” Murray stated in the three-page memo that recommended the Navy’s control of Guam and other western Pacific islands, including American Samoa.
While recognizing Guam’s strategic importance, Murray said the island’s commercial or industrial value and its resources were “of little or no relative importance to the welfare of the United States.”
“From the military stand point,” Murray said, “a contented healthy and loyal native population contributes a strong link in the strength of those lands as bases.”
Murray described the island natives as “simple people, requiring few of our modern luxuries for their welfare and happiness.”
“The characteristics and nature of the majority of inhabitants on these islands are such that the artificial or forced raising of their standard of living to one approaching that of the United States would be detrimental to their best interest and would contribute little to the safety and welfare of the United States,” Murray said.
The U.S. military government on Guam began on June 21, 1898, with the surrender of Spanish troops. By virtue of the Treaty of Peace signed in Paris on Dec. 10, 1898, Spain ceded Guam, along with the Philippines and Puerto Rico, to the U.S.
Guam was invaded by Japan in 1941, and recaptured by the U.S. on July 21, 1944, which is yearly celebrated on island as “Liberation Day.”
Guam’s strategic location, long recognized by the military, remains to be valuable to the U.S. defense system, hence the unabated military expansion on island.
The business sector welcomes the military buildup, which is touted to generate a construction boom, spur business activities and generate thousands of jobs.
With limited infrastructure on Guam, however, local leaders acknowledge that the island is not prepared to accommodate the influx of population that will be transferred from Okinawa.
Local leaders have not received assurance of federal assistance to aid the civilian population with the need for infrastructure developments and increased supply of water and power.
The 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act passed by the House of Representatives last week appropriates $345 million only for military construction projects that would accommodate the needs of military personnel stationed on Guam.
The 2008 construction budget only covers projects within the Navy base such as the Kilo Wharf extension, the improvement of security of electrical systems, housing and fitness for Navy personnel, upgrade of the Naval Base Guam wastewater treatment plant, and infrastructure development at Northwest Field.
But just the same, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo expects the military construction activities to “go a long way in stimulating our economy and new tax revenues from these federal projects will be a significant help to our island once the projects are undertaken.”
Unpingco: US hasn't changed attitude toward Chamorros
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff
June 20. 2007
SENATOR Tony Unpingco, R-Santa Rita, believing that the United States hasn't changed its post-war attitude toward Chamorros, urges the people of Guam to "stand up for our rights."
"Right after the war, there were 250,000 military personnel on island. The landscape and the mood may be totally different now, but the American attitude toward us seems to remain the same," said Unpingco, chairman of the military and veterans affairs committee.
Unpingco said the secret memo that has been kept in confidential file since 1945 "opens up a lot of bad memories."
He was referring to the memo issued on Nov. 21, 1945 by Vice Adm. G.D. Murray, then commander of the Marianas Navy Force, which revealed the United States' apparent condescension toward the island's residents.
Murray stated that "the economic development and administration of relatively few native inhabitants should be subordinate to the real purpose for which those islands are held."
The island's commercial or industrial value and its resources were "of little or no relative importance to the welfare of the United States," he added.
"We're not a piece of property," Unpingco said.
He said the U.S.'s condescending attitude has been evident in the way federal officials ignore Guam's demand for war reparation and the veterans' claims.
"I would like to think that the U.S. policy has changed but the attitude still exists. Most of the Americans in mainland don't know who we are. They don't recognize that we are a part of the United States. They need to be educated about Guam," Unpingco said.
"It irritates you and gets you fired up because of these stupid people. We need to stand up and let them know who we are," he added.
Debbie Quinata, maga'haga of Nasion Chamoru, said the secret memo was consistent with the way the U.S. military is currently making decisions for Guam.
"That's how they see us ― a convenient possession to serve their war. Their only intention is to turn Guam into one big military base," Quinata said.
She described the military officials' scoping meeting on Guam as a farcical "PR job" that is only meant to follow a procedure.
"They pretend to be interested in how the community feels about the military buildup. They pretend to take our inputs when, in fact, whatever we tell them doesn't matter because they have already made the decision," Quinata said.
"They're only holding these meetings to comply with the requirement and complete the paper work. This is almost a comedy," she added.
Quinata also lambasted elected leaders for not showing up at the scoping meetings with military officials. "We elected them to represent us, but where are they?" she asked.
At Monday's scoping meeting at the Hilton Hotel, Quinata said only members of Nasion Chamoru showed up to represent the civilian population.