The Guardian 11 October, 2006
Chamoru people of Guam
demand justice at UN
A coalition of community leaders and educators from Guam and the Chamoru diaspora are petitioning the United Nations to hold the United States accountable for its moral and legal responsibilities to ensure basic human rights and the right to self-determination of the native Chamoru people. Guam remains a colony of the United States 46 years after the adoption of the UN Declaration on Decolonisation and half-way through the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.
At a meeting of the UNís Special Political and Decolonisation Committee on October 4 and 5 the coalition showed how an expected population increase of at least 35,000 people from a massive US military build-up hinders the right of Chamorus to decolonisation and violates the human rights of all people from Guam.
Earlier this year, the US Department of Defense (DOD) unveiled its plan to move 8000 Marines and their 9000 dependents from Okinawa and South Korea to Guam, and to increase the existing population of Navy and Air Force personnel on the island.
By 2014, according to its development plan, the military expects the current population of military personnel and dependents to increase from 14,190 to 40,380. This will have a significant impact on the islandís current population of 168,000 and on Guamís cultural, political, social and ecological environment.
The build-up will cost the governments of the US, Japan and Guam tens of billions of dollars.
The DOD currently occupies 30 percent of Guam, and invests so much of its military might into the island that Guam is often called "the tip of the spear".
Current plans are to establish a Global Strike Force on Guam, involving rotating 48 F-22 and F-15E fighter jets, six B-1, B-2, and B-52 bombers and adding as many as 6 nuclear submarines to the three Guam already houses. Sixty percent of the Navyís Pacific Fleet will be based on Guam.
The Chamoru people continue to be subjected to the existence of toxic elements left by the U.S. military as a result of the storage of chemical agents, PCB-contamination in the waters, and down-wind radiation, as well as radiation from the washing-down of airplanes and ships used in monitoring nuclear testing in the Pacific.
A solidarity message from the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (Puerto Rica) to the people of Guam says:
"There is absolutely no way that live bombing or military training activities in general can be reconciled with peaceful existence.
"The air you breathe, the water that sustains life, the flora and fauna that accompany you in your region of the Earth, will all be profoundly brutalized by Navy bombing practices.
"The social effects of thousands of military personnel are part of the history of Vieques, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Hawaii and other places where US militarism has a presence: alcohol, drugs, prostitution and violence principally against women, but also against the general population in contact with hoards of drunken soldiers/sailors.
"It saddens us to see the beginnings of what Vieques faced for more than 50 years.
"But we are happy to share with you the positive energies and potentially useful lessons from our struggle that stopped the bombing here; to stand in solidarity with you at this critical juncture is our duty as a community known for its commitment to peace."