VIDEO: Former JGPO Fwd Director Believes Seeds for Buildup Pause Planted by 5 Guam Lawmakers

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Guam – Former Joint Guam Program Forward Director John Jackson believes that the seeds of the current pause in the military buildup were planted when a group of Guam lawmakers “harangued” visiting Senators Carl Levin and Jim Webb with their objections to the Guam military buildup.

PNC News contacted Jackson for his comments on the meeting and he provided them to us, and other media. His remarks can be read in full below.

The meeting Jackson refers to occurred on April 25th of  last year in the Speaker’s Conference room at the Legislature.

10 Guam lawmakers were present to meet with the 2 U.S. Senators. But Jackson names 5 in particular who he says “harangued Senators Levin and Webb about why the Department of Defense should pay for all the island’s woes, there should be no firing ranges on Guam, that the people were solidly against the Build-up, that the Environmental Impact Statement was flawed because the results were skewed towards the military, etc.”

Those 5 Guam Senators says Jackson were: Speaker Judi Won Pat, Senators Judi Guthertz, Rory Respicio, B.J. Cruz and Ben Pangelinan.

Jackson himself was not present during the meeting, but says he sat down with both Senators Webb and Levin afterwards to get their response to what they heard.

Jackson says that Senator Levin, the Chairman of the Senate’s Armed Service’s Committee, told him “based upon the views of the Legislature, the Build-up was not welcome on Guam … these people (the Legislature) are the elected representatives of the people. They were just re-elected last year, with their views known to the people. In a democracy, you have to assume that the people that get elected do so to represent the people. As an elected official, my views are known to my constituents and they either elect me or vote me out of office accordingly.”

Jackson concludes that “the two US Senators came to Guam to get a first-hand view of the situation, with some misgivings about the Build-up already in their minds and left Guam with the seed planted, that this build-up was in the wrong place, at the wrong time and the people did not want it.”

Jackson concludes: “There is plenty of blame to go around for the wheels coming off the cart, but Senators Won Pat, Cruz, Guthertz, Respicio, and Pangelinan, deserve much of the credit for leading the fight to bring the Build-up to a halt through their constant verbal and written assaults on any Federal official that visited the island and their opposition to the Build-up, voiced in any forum or media that was offered. The voices of the Legislature were heard in Washington; the result is history.”

READ former JGPO Director John Jackson’s response in FULL below:

Since leaving Government service almost a year ago, I have been asked many times for my thoughts about why political support in Washington has faded for the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam, also known as the “Build-up”.  It is my personal view that the turning point in political support in Washington DC, came after the visit to Guam by Senators Carl Levin and James Webb last Spring.

As many people may recall, the Senators met with the Guam Legislature for about two hours during their visit. During that meeting, ten Guam
Senators led by Senators Won Pat, Cruz, Guthertz, Respicio, and Pangelinan, harangued Senators Levin and Webb about why the Department
of Defense should pay for all the island’s woes, there should be no firing ranges on Guam, that the people were solidly against the Build-up, that the Environmental Impact Statement was flawed because the results were skewed towards the military, etc. You get the drift.

This was the same argument that has been presented to every Congressional delegation, every visitor from Washington and Japan, that had sat down with the members of the Legislature.

The number of Federal representatives allowed in the meeting was limited, so I did not sit in on the meeting. However, following the meeting, I sat down with both US Senators and asked each of them for their thoughts.

Senator Levin, who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, was reflective about what he had just heard. He reviewed what was said in
the meeting and mentioned that based upon the views of the Legislature, the Build-up was not welcome on Guam. I said that those views were not shared by the majority of the people of Guam. His response to that, which I will paraphrase, is the most telling part of our conversation.” I have heard that, but these people (the Legislature) are the elected representatives of the people. They were just re-elected last year, with their views known to the people. In a democracy, you have to assume that the people that get elected do so to represent the people. As an elected official, my views are known to my constituents and they either elect me or vote me out of office accordingly.” After that, the discussion was basically over, I certainly could not argue with his logic!

In short, the two US Senators came to Guam to get a first-hand view of the situation, with some misgivings about the Build-up already in their minds and left Guam with the seed planted, that this build-up was in the wrong place, at the wrong time and the people did not want it.

Certainly, there are quite a few other factors that weigh on the subject, such as the economic situation in Japan and the US; the Futenma Replacement Facility issue and its related Japanese internal and external politics; the indecision about which forces would move and when, which cascaded down to which contracts would be let and when; the Pagat issue; and finally the silence of the majority of the people of Guam to openly support the Build-up until after the damage was done by the ‘We Are Guahan” types who hijacked the Build-up for their own special purposes.

In my personal view, there is plenty of blame to go around for the wheels coming off the cart, but Senators Won Pat, Cruz, Guthertz, Respicio, and Pangelinan, deserve much of the credit for leading the fight to bring the Build-up to a halt through their constant verbal and written assaults on any Federal official that visited the island and their opposition to the Build-up, voiced in any forum or media that was offered. The voices of the Legislature were heard in Washington; the result is history.


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: John Jackson <ironman6jackson@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 4:59 AM
Subject: Re: Military Buildup on Guam (BJ Cruz Video) To:  unlisted but can provide if asked (several addressees)

In my view the turning point in political support in Washington DC
came after the visit to Guam by Senator Carl Levin last Spring. As
you may recall, Sen Levin, along with Sen Webb, met with the
Legislature for about two hours.

During that meeting, the “Fab Five”
and several other Guam legislators, harangued Senators Levin and Webb
about why the DOD should pay for all the island’s woes, there should
be no firing ranges on Guam, that the people were solidly against the
Build-Up, that the FEIS was flawed because the results were skewed
towards the military, etc. You get the drift.

Following the meeting, I sat down separately with both Sen Webb and
Sen Levin and asked each of them for their thoughts. Sen Webb was
pretty much closed mouth but said something to the effect, “Wow, I
really wasn’t expecting that. That was something.”. Sen Levin, whom
you recall heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, was more vocal
and at the same time more reflective. He said, and again I paraphrase
but this is pretty close to verbatim, ” That was interesting. I know
that you had mentioned that we would get a very biased viewpoint from
the Legislature, but now I just don’t know.” I said that those views
were not shared by the majority of the people of Guam. His response to
that is the most telling part. ” I have heard that but these people
are the elected representatives of the people. They were just
re-elected last year, with their views known to the people. In a
democracy, you have to assume that the people that get elected do so
to represent the people, as an elected official, my views are known to
my constituents and they either elect me or vote me out of office
accordingly.” After that the discussion wound up; you really can’t
argue with a master politician about politics!

The staffs of the two Senators shared similar views over the next
couple of days and following their return to DC.

In short, the two Senators left Guam with the seed planted, that this
build-up was in the wrong place at the wrong time and in a place where
the people did not want it.

Certainly, there are quite a few other factors that weigh on the
subject, Futenma Replacement Facility, the lackluster support by the
Marine Corps to move to Guam, the constant indecision about which
forces would move and when, which cascaded down to which contracts
would be let and when because nobody knew what to build to, the whole
Pagat issue and lack of resolve on the part of the Department of the
Navy to play hardball and finally, the silence of the majority of the
people of Guam to openly support the DOD effort until the damage was
done by the ‘We Are Guahan” types who hijacked the build-up for their
own special purposes, which leads full circle back to the Levin-Webb
visit.

Thus, there is plenty of blame to go around but Won Pat, BJ Cruz, Judy
Guthertz, Respicio, and Pangelinan, deserve much of the credit for
allowing the wheels to come off the cart.

I will now step down off of my soap box,

JJackson