Video from Democracy Now – Guam Residents Organize Against US Plans for $15B Military Buildup on Pacific Island Guam
The United States is planning an enormous $15 billion military buildup on the Pacific island of Guam. The project would turn the thirty-mile-long island into a major hub for US military operations in the Pacific in what has been described as the largest military buildup in recent history. We speak with Julian Aguon, a civil rights attorney from the Chamoru nation in Guam. [includes rush transcript]
JULIAN AGUON: OK. Well, Guam is one of the longest-colonized islands in the Pacific. We were colonized by Spain for almost 300 years and then by the United States. We got ceded to the United States under the 1898 Treaty of Paris, along with Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico, as you know. So, since 1898 until present, with the exception of a three-year—1941 to 1944, we were occupied by the Japanese imperial forces during World War II, which is a completely other story, which was also horrific. But we basically have been under US colonization since 1898 until the present. So we’re actually coming on 500 years of uninterrupted colonization.
And that’s sort of why being even on this program is so precious for us, because we never, ever get a word in edgewise. And basically, the US uses language all the time to disappear us. We’re often called “where America’s day begins,” a possession, even according to US court cases, “possession.” We’re essentially an instrumentality of the federal government. Or they use words like “unsinkable aircraft carrier” now or “tip of the spear.” All of this language is, you know, really—it’s really clever, and it just disappears us. And so, the outside world, including mainland United States, really they’re allowed to sort of forget that there are people there. There are only ghosts. So, that’s been our experience.
And the military buildup has been no different. We actually situate the current US military buildup as the latest in a very long line of covenant breaches on the part of the United States, because in 1946, the US placed Guam on the, you know, the UN list of non-self-governing territories and basically assumed a, quote, “sacred trust obligation” under international law, by virtue of Article 73 of the UN Charter, to guide Guam toward self-determination. And now, with the military buildup, which—it really seeks to pack the last punch. It will be decisive, because it is so large and it’s so enormous. And basically, the way I see it is, the needs of my people are buckling. We’re not going to be able to withstand so much more weight.