BY KENNETH R. CONKLIN, PH.D. — The Hawaiian sovereignty history twisters are doing it again. Keanu Sai, a convicted felon known for his “Perfect Title” and “World Court” scams, is now pushing his third one. Three strikes and you’re out? Time will tell.
The “Executive Agreements” scam begins with an assertion about what happened in 1893 between Hawaii ex-queen Liliuokalani and the new U.S. President Grover Cleveland. According to his 2008 Ph.D. dissertation and newly published book, David Keanu Sai says there were two executive agreements between those heads of state.
(1) The “Liliuokalani Assignment” consists of her letter of January 17, 1893 protesting the overthrow of the monarchy. In that letter she says she is surrendering temporarily to the U.S. until such time as the U.S. reverses the revolution and restores her to the throne. Sai claims this created an executive agreement whereby the U.S. promised to govern Hawaii in accord with Hawaiian Kingdom law during the temporary period until Liliuokalani was back in power.
But there are many difficulties with this theory. Liliuokalani’s protest — her “assignment” of authority to the U.S. — was delivered to the office of the revolutionary Provisional Government President Sanford B. Dole, not to the office of U.S. Minister Plenipotentiary John L. Stevens. It’s not clear how long it took before the U.S. found out that it had supposedly entered into an agreement with the ex-queen — indeed, the U.S. never accepted this “assignment.” There was no executive agreement.
Everyone knew that Grover Cleveland had been elected President on November 8, 1892, but would not take office until March (as was normal back then). Cleveland was the ex-queen’s personal friend. So Liliuokalani was engaging in a crass political ploy of claiming to surrender to a faraway friend who was likely to help her, instead of surrendering to the closeup enemy who had actually defeated her and would never undo the revolution. Also, after January 17 Liliuokalani no longer had any executive authority because the revolution had ousted her. And Cleveland did not become President until 6 weeks later. So even if the two of them had made an agreement, it was not an agreement by two heads of state which would carry the force of a treaty and would impose upon their successors an obligation to carry it out.
(2) The “Agreement of Restoration” is Keanu Sai’s assertion that in November and December of 1893 U.S. Minister Plenipotentiary Albert Willis, acting on orders from President Cleveland through Secretary of State Gresham, promised Liliuokalani to restore her to the throne if she would promise to grant amnesty to the revolutionaries. After Liliuokalani twice refused to grant amnesty and insisted she would behead the revolutionaries, she finally wrote a letter agreeing to grant amnesty. Sai says this consummated an executive agreement obligating the U.S. to put Liliuokalani back on the throne, and the obligation is binding on all subsequent Presidents. Although Liliuokalani is long dead, Barack Obama must restore sovereign authority to the Kingdom of Hawaii as an independent nation, because of the “agreement” President Cleveland made to restore the ex-queen.
But of course Liliuokalani had no executive authority after January 17, so it was not possible for any agreement she made 10 or 11 months later to be regarded as tantamount to a treaty. In any case, no U.S. official ever promised to put Liliuokalani back on the throne. The U.S. did not own Hawaii, and had no right or authority to do such a thing. The Provisional government and President Dole were not a U.S. puppet regime, and there were zero U.S. peacekeepers remaining in Hawaii after April 1. The only promise made to Liliuokalani by U.S. officials was to serve as a mediator between Liliuokalani and Dole, and to ask Dole to step down, if Liliuokalani would guarantee to grant amnesty. When Liliuokalani finally did agree to amnesty, U.S. Minister Willis sent President Dole a strongly worded letter essentially ordering him to step down (that was the first time Dole had heard of this preposterous idea); but Dole replied on December 23 with an even more strongly worded letter refusing. There was never an executive agreement whereby the U.S. promised to restore the Queen. The U.S. could not make such a promise, any more than Ken Conklin could promise to give Haleiwa Bridge to a taxi driver who might take him there.
Keanu Sai’s “Executive Agreements” scam is a continuation of his previous Perfect Title and World Court scams. And as in those previous scams, large sums of money are being paid by gullible people, mostly ethnic Hawaiians, who rely upon Sai’s theories to file nonsensical title search documents in court whereby they hope to avoid mortgage foreclosure. This latest scam is not only historical malpractice but is also causing real hurt to many people. The state House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs (including some Republicans) passed a resolution with no dissenting votes, trumpeting Sai’s Executive Agreements theories and calling for a joint House-Senate committee to hold hearings on how to implement them. Shame on that insane committee and every one of its members.
For details, see a new webpage at