Debunking the Latest Hawaiian Sovereignty Scam

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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





  1. Conklin is apparently a supporter of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom by acts of treason. What else would you call it if those revolutionaries he supports tried to oust Obama today? Where does he come up with these hare brained theories that Cleveland was Liliuokalani’s friend, ergo, she expected a favorable response based on friendship when she surrendered temporarily to the supposed pono of the U.S. government? Hogwash. Where is your documented evidence to support what the Queen was thinking? Oh, I see, you are a philosopher–that lends credibility to your proposition I suppose. Do your homework dude. Why did Clinton sign an apology for the U.S. in it’s role in the overthrow? Did he know Liliuokalani and was a friend of hers? Show me your palapala that makes you an authority on the Hawaiian Kingdom’s overthrow dude. Thirty three commentaries doesn’t meet the scholastic standard. Do you have peer reviewed publications? And, if you are a Ph.D. (seriously?) then you should know the protocol on how to keep critiques to a professional level. You do not call another scholar’s research scams–the professional challenge is to say flawed, or something similar, then present the contrary evidence. All you did was present commentary bordering on libel perhaps.

    David Heaukulani, Ph.D.
    Mamo Hawai’i
    Moku O Mamalahoa
    Royal Order of Kamehameha I

    • David Heaukulani: Most of what you wrote was merely personal attack, not to be taken seriously. But I’ll respond to a few of your more substantive issues.

      1. “Why did Clinton sign an apology for the U.S. in it’s role in the overthrow?”
      Hawaii has been a political football between Republican expansionists vs. Democrat isolationists in Washington for about 120 years. President Harrison, Republican, was President at the time of the Hawaiian revolution of 1893, and was happy to support the Hawaii Provisional Government’s offer of a treaty of annexation in January 1893. However, at that time it was already known that Grover Cleveland (Democrat isolationist) had won the election of November 1892. So when Cleveland became President at the beginning of March 1893 (that was inauguration day back then) he immediately withdrew the treaty from the Senate and sent his political hack James Blount to Hawaii to try to destabilize the PG and restore Liliuokalani. Throughout his 4 years as President, Cleveland refused to allow annexation. But then in the next election, William McKinley (Republican expansionist) won, so the Republic of Hawaii once again sent the treaty of annexation, which McKinley was happy to send to Congress. Fast forward to the mid 1980s when Republican Bush (the elder) became President and Congress had a Republican majority. Bush and Congress oversaw a 2-year Native Hawaiians Study Commission, which produced a major report, thoroughly documented, concluding that the U.S. did not have any guilt for the Hawaiian revolution and did not owe anything to ethnic Hawaiians as a group (except the same things the U.S. owes to all its citizens). At the end of that Bush administration, the Solicitor General of the Department of Interior issued an official Opinion (establishing government policy) saying that there was no federal “trust relationship” with Native Hawaiians. Then the Clinton administration came into power, and immediately issued a new Opinion saying yes there is a federal trust relationship. And to emphasize that, Clinton and the Democrat-controlled Congress passed the apology resolution as a way to undo the earlier Native Hawaiians Study Commission report. The Democrats love to treat people as members of groups, as opposed to Republicans who believe people should be treated as individuals. So the apology resolution said the U.S. owes “reconciliation” to Native Hawaiians (i.e., race-based government handouts). And at the end of the Clinton administration 2 officials from the Department of Justice and Department of Interior came to Hawaii and held “reconciliation hearings” at the Blaisdell, asking ethnic Hawaiians to tell the federal government what specific stuff they want from the feds to make up for the revolution. Meanwhile, Rice v. Cayetano was in the Supreme Court, and the decision was handed down (7-2) in February 2000 saying “Native Hawaiian” is a race, not a political entity or Indian tribe, so therefore it’s unconstitutional to have racially segregated elections for OHA trustees. The Democrat Clinton, and a Democrat Congress, immediately created the Akaka bill which came extremely close to passing but failed in the Senate at the very end of the 106th Congress in December 2000 thanks to Republicans blocking it. Bush Jr. was elected in November 2000, took office in January 2001, and served for 8 years while Republicans blocked the Akaka bill in Congress and Bush said he would to veto it if it ever had passed. Then Obama (Democrat) came into power January 2009, having publicly stated he would be delighted to sign the Akaka bill if it passed Congress. But the Republicans have continued to be successful in blocking it. Conclusion: The status of Hawaii, and the question whether the U.S. owes anything to ethnic Hawaiians as a racial group, has been a political football between Democrats and Republicans for about 120 years. So, once again, your question was “”Why did Clinton sign an apology for the U.S. in it’s role in the overthrow?” And my answer is (although I cannot read Clinton’s mind any more than I could read Grover Cleveland’s mind) A Democrat Congress, and Democrat President Clinton, created the apology resolution to undo what the Republicans had previously done, and to set the stage for racial entitlement programs which Democrats love.

      2. “Show me your palapala that makes you an authority on the Hawaiian Kingdom’s overthrow dude.” Well dude, you gotta read my website. Especially see “Hawaii Statehood — straightening out the history-twisters. A historical narrative defending the legitimacy of the revolution of 1893, the annexation of 1898, and the statehood vote of 1959. FULL VERSION” at
      You’ll find lots of heavy documentation, including the Constitution of the Republic of Hawaii, photographs of letters personally signed by Kings, Queens, Emperors, and Presidents of 20 major nations granting full diplomatic recognition de jure to the Republic of Hawaii in Fall 1894. And many other things which your hero Keanu Sai refuses to deal with. I have a webpage solely on the topic of the “overthrow”, including lots of details you might not know, at

      3. “Do you have peer reviewed publications?” Yes, about 45 of them published in scholarly journals. But not on the topic we are now discussing. They were all written before Al Gore invented the internet *LOL but you’ll find about a dozen of them on my website at

      4. “And, if you are a Ph.D. (seriously?)” You’re trying to discredit me by claiming I do not have a Ph.D. Hawaiian sovereignty zealots love to make totally false personal attacks against their opponents in an effort to discredit them. The same smear you’re trying was also tried eight years ago by the now-disgraced President of the University of Hawaii, Evan Dobelle, who said publicly that Conklin’s Ph.D. was bogus. But independent reporter Bob Rees verified that the degree is real, and that the proof of its legitimacy was on file at Windward Community College in the form of Conklin’s official transcripts from the University of Illinois, required before Conklin could be given a teaching position at Windward. Those records would have been easily available to the President of the University if he had bothered to check. Rees also took note that Dobelle and other UH officials were still dodging any discussion about or admission of the flagrant violation of academic freedom when UH gave zero support to Conklin a year previously when intimidation and threats of violence were directed against Conklin’s pro-bono short-course on Hawaiian sovereignty. See “VERITAS AT THE UH” — article by reporter Bob Rees published in The Honolulu Weekly newspaper for October 15-21, 2003 and copied, with the Weekly’s cartoon now missing from the Weekly’s archives, at:
      Further proof of my Ph.D., and background as a professor, can be found in approximately 45 scholarly articles I published in refereed academic journals focusing on the three areas of expertise I had before coming to Hawaii: philosophy, educational theory, and mathematics. Unfortunately that was before Al Gore invented the internet. But 14 of those articles have been scanned and are now on the internet. Several of those publications include a footnote where the journal’s editor includes the Ph.D. with my name, and the name of the university where I was teaching at that time. The collection of 14 articles is at
      Finally, you should know that people who have a Ph.D., especially in Philosophy, often branch out to acquire expertise in other subjects through research, analysis, and writing. For example, at the UH Center for Hawaiian Studies (now Hawai’inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge), very few professors have a Ph.D. in Hawaiian Studies or “Hawaiian Knowledge” — their degrees are typically in Political Science, History, Sociology, Anthropology, or even Women’s Studies. I don’t know what your own (alleged) Ph.D. is in, so maybe you lack expertise to be speaking and writing about history, and the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and international law, etc.? That’s according to your own logic.

      5. “You do not call another scholar’s research scams–the professional challenge is to say flawed, or something similar, then present the contrary evidence.” Regarding my use of the word “scam” to describe “Perfect Title” and also “World Court”: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin ran a long series of articles over a period of years tracking the Perfect Title scam, which you’ll find gathered on my webpage at
      and regarding the World Court scam, see

      6. “All you did was present commentary bordering on libel perhaps.” No, I did not merely present commentary. I presented loads of details, and logical arguments. Remember that Hawaii Reporter has limits on how lengthy or boring an essay can be. You apparently failed to read the detailed, heavily documented version of that article, which is on my webpage at
      And when you look there, you’ll find a link to Keanu Sai’s so-called “rebuttal” to my article in which he totally ignored the substantive arguments I had made, and instead he wrote an angry and bitter polemic filled with personal attacks and libel against me. Now, I hereby assign you the task of reading what he wrote, and comparing it against what I wrote, to see who wrote the more scholarly and temperately worded essay. By the way, be careful with that word “libel.” a. Saying something which is true is not libelous. b. Stating an opinion, or reporting an opinion which someone else stated is not libelous (as in the case of Perfect Title where a jury of 12 citizens agreed unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt that Sai’s theories were bogus and he was guilty of a felony, and where the newspapers reported in detail about how hundreds of people were scammed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars). c. Keanu Sai is a public figure who has gone way out of his way to appear in numerous public lectures, including many on TV, over many years; so he’s a public figure like any politician, and anyone is allowed to say far worse things against him than I have said. Do not try to muzzle my freedom of speech.

      Well, I’ve given you a lot to read and think about. Don’t immediately write back with more nonsense, because I’ll ignore you. Take seriously what I’ve written, read the references, and get back to me in about a year after you’ve finished it.

      Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
      Mamo Honua Nei
      Moku O O’ahu
      President and Executive Director
      Center for Hawaiian Sovereignty Studies

      • Was away promoting the name. FYI. This little scam found its way to monthly “Government Meeting” held on the first thursday each month by the Realtor’s Association of Maui (RAM). A realtor at the meeting claimed the World Court had recognized the sovereign Hawaiian Nation and America’s annexation is illegal. I’m aware of the W. C.’s decision (non) in this case. I believe the activists determined just having the Court have this issue on its docket gave them ‘standing’ in the eyes of the world, and confirmed their sovereignty. Amazing how a house of cards can permeate throughout society in a manner that is this disruptive.

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