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U.S. law firm to help negotiate Kwajalein missile range deal
High profile U.S. law firm to help negotiate Kwajalein missile range deal.
This following concerns the struggles of the Kwajelein Atoll landowners and their just compensation for US military use of the atoll. It has been nearly impossible for them to negotiate the eviction of US Kwajelein Base as that is too closely tied to Marshall Islands' Compact of Free Association with the United States. Arguably, this economic/military treaty has served to replicate/maintain ties similar to prior US Trusteeship (colonial) arrangements and effectively retards the process of transforming the cycles of economic dependency for this "former" Micronesian colony of America. In an attempt several years ago by the landowners to occupy their ancestral islands and atoll upon which the US Kwajelein Base sits, their movement was derailed by US military police squads who effectively squashed their occupation attempts!
What does this mean for disarmament in Marshall Islands? Not very hopeful. Which is why we in the Pacific argue ceaselessly for bringing about true decolonization of our nations as a step toward dealing with the militarization of our islands. For us, it all seems like we are waging an unwinnable struggle and that the best we can do is to negotiate "best deals" for the US military to continue to pollute our islands at attractive prices!
Some American visitors to the Marshall Islands describe a brutal system of apartheid where US military facilities occupy large portions of island lands (complete with golf courses!) while creating "island ghettos" where Marshall Islanders live in overcrowded conditions on Ebeye and nearby islands! Military Colonialism is a hard thing to resist! Any thoughts?
PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT
Monday, February 28, 2000
HIGH PROFILE U.S. LAW FIRM TO HELP NEGOTIATE KWAJALEIN MISSILE RANGE DEAL
MAJURO, Marshall Islands (February 25, 2000 - Radio Australia - The Marshall Islands government has hired a high_profile Mississippi law firm to negotiate a "better deal" with the U.S. Defense Department for continued use of Kwajalein as a missile test range.
The test range is central to Washington's plans for further development of an intercontinental missile defense system, but Washington has so far refused to discuss paying increased rent.
Senator Ataji Balos said Kwajalein landowners have hired the law firm of Richard F. Scruggs, which won a one billion dollar settlement from the U.S. tobacco industry in the mid_1990s.
He said the law firm will seek a better financial deal for Kwajalein's use during talks this year over renewal of some sections of the U.S.-Marshall Islands Compact of Free Association.
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