Posts Tagged Grover Cleveland

From fantasies to farces — How Keanu Sai’s Hawaiian history fantasies logically lead to his real-world farces


Disproving the alleged Liliuokalani Assignment, and the alleged Executive Agreement of Restoration

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

If pigs had wings, they could fly. Therefore pigs have aeronautical rights under international treaties. Porky Pua’a, the self-appointed President Pro-tem of the Porcine parliament, with help from his sweet-tempered Attorney General Dextrose Kapua’a, can file accusations of war crimes in the International Criminal Court against Hawaii judges who deny airport landing slots to pigs.

Of course pigs don’t really have wings. But when somebody with lots of time and money starts running around Hawaii and the world making absurd demands based on the claim that pigs have wings, it might be useful to inspect the pigs and show the world their winglessness.

Keanu Sai is an adventurer with a history of highly publicized scams that brought him fame and fortune, including:

☻ Perfect Title
☻ World Court
☻ New round of real estate title insurance claims based on bogus Lili’uokalani Assignment and Executive Agreement
☻ Lawsuit in U.S. federal court demanding fulfillment in 2010 of the alleged Executive Agreement of 1893
☻ Allegations of war crimes against Hawaii judges and prosecutors filed with International Criminal Court
☻ Application filed with International Court of Justice demanding that 45 nations comply with treaty obligations to the Kingdom of Hawaii and the normal ways nations interact in international commerce and law.

Like some other Hawaiian sovereignty activists, Sai has built a crowd of devoted followers who bask in the glow of his charismatic self-assurance. There is never a reality check, because nobody demands accountability or conducts cross-examination. He produces writings and lectures, including a Ph.D. dissertation and academic panel discussions, where nobody is allowed or has the courage to challenge his statements or to present opposing views.

In September, Keanu Sai proudly announced that he was scheduled to make a presentation to a group of retired Swiss diplomats in Zurich on November 11, 2013. Since those diplomats are well-educated and familiar with issues involving diplomatic recognition and treaties, I sent them an essay providing detailed explanations and proof for the following five points, and asking them to cross-examine Mr. Sai:

1. The Hawaiian revolution of January 17, 1893 overthrew the monarchy and replaced it with a revolutionary Provisional Government which was promptly given de facto recognition within a day or two by the local consuls of every nation which had local consuls available in Honolulu at that time. Hawaii continued as an independent nation. Nearly all government officials kept their jobs except the ex-queen and her cabinet ministers. No nations filed protests or removed their diplomats.

2. There was no “Lili’uokalani Assignment” of Hawaii governmental authority to the U.S., contrary to the assertions of Keanu Sai. The ex-queen’s representative delivered her letter of surrender, including her protest about the presence of U.S. peacekeeper troops, directly to the Provisional Government in the Government Building. The surrender/protest was not delivered to any U.S. representative, nor to any local consuls of foreign nations. Regardless if Lili’uokalani thought she was assigning her powers to the U.S., the U.S. never acknowledged nor accepted any such assignment. No other nation conducted business with the U.S. instead of directly with the Provisional Government. The letters of de facto recognition from the other nations were also delivered directly to the Provisional Government and neither to the U.S. nor to Lili’uokalani, indicating that the foreign consuls never heard of the “Lili’uokalani Assignment” or else they rejected it. The “Lili’uokalani Assignment” is a figment of Keanu Sai’s imagination.

3. Contrary to the assertion of Keanu Sai, there was never an “Executive Agreement of Restoration” between President Grover Cleveland and Queen Lili’uokalani whereby Cleveland promised to restore Lili’uokalani to the throne in return for her promise to give amnesty to the members of the Provisional Government. The Hawaiian revolution took place and Lili’uokalani was overthrown on January 17, but Grover Cleveland did not become U.S. President until March 4. They were never both head of state at the same time; thus there could not be any Executive Agreement between them that would be binding on both nations. U.S. Minister Willis made an offer to Lili’uokalani to serve as mediator between Lili’uokalani and President Dole of the Provisional Government, including the outlines of a possible settlement between Dole and Lili’uokalani. But Dole was never informed of the possible mediation, and the U.S. did not have any power or authority to actually force Dole to resign or to restore the monarchy. When Willis sent a letter to Dole essentially ordering Dole to step down, Dole replied with a letter vehemently rejecting that demand.

4. The revolutionary Provisional Government held a Constitutional Convention, which wrote a Constitution for a permanent Republic of Hawaii (incidentally, there are at least 5 native Hawaiian names on the list of con-con delegates, and native Hawaiian John Kaulukou, formerly a supporter of the monarchy, was elected as Speaker of the House for the Republic of Hawaii). During the Fall of 1894, letters were received granting de jure recognition to the Republic, personally signed by Emperors, Kings, Queens, and Presidents of at least 19 nations on 4 continents in 11 languages. One of those letters was signed by the Swiss federal counsel [Attorney General] on behalf of the President of the Swiss Confederation, and also countersigned by the Chancellor of the Swiss Confederation (photo provided). Switzerland (and the other nations) thereby formally recognized the Republic as the rightful government of Hawaii. No foreign nation filed any protest or removed its diplomats. As the internationally recognized de jure government of Hawaii from 1894 to 1898, standing on its own despite initial U.S. efforts to destabilize it, the Republic had full authority to offer and ratify the Treaty of Annexation.

5. In 1897 diplomats for the Republic of Hawaii and the United States met in Washington D.C. and negotiated a Treaty of Annexation which was signed and sealed by the Secretaries of State of both nations. The Senate of the Republic of Hawaii unanimously passed a resolution later that year ratifying the Treaty. In 1898 the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution of the House and Senate ratifying the Treaty, which was signed by President McKinley. Article III, paragraph 2 of the Treaty of Annexation makes clear that all treaties between the nation of Hawaii and other nations were thereby extinguished; and of course that includes the 1864 treaty between Hawaii and Switzerland. None of the nations that had treaties with Hawaii objected; all of them condoned annexation by their continuing relationship with the U.S, thereby continuously acknowledging U.S. sovereignty in Hawaii and condoning the extinguishment of previous international treaties with the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Please see a webpage containing my entire letter to the Swiss diplomat group in Zurich, including detailed explanations and proofs for the points mentioned above:

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“Pacific Gibraltar” — important new book on Hawaiian history

In 2011 a major book was published by a highly respected historian who analyzed the Hawaiian revolution and annexation.

William M. Morgan Ph.D., PACIFIC GIBRALTAR: U.S. – JAPANESE RIVALRY OVER THE ANNEXATION OF HAWAII, 1885-1898 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2011). It is available at “Bookends” in Kailua, and Sixteen copies are scattered around various branches of the Hawaii Public Library. A detailed book review, with many lengthy quotes from each chapter, is at

Most Hawaii readers will be surprised by details about Grover Cleveland’s attempt to overthrow President Dole and restore the Hawaiian monarchy through a combination of diplomatic and military intimidation in mid to late 1893; and by the fact that Congress considered it perfectly proper to use joint resolution in 1898 as the method of ratifying Hawaii’s five-year-long eager request for annexation.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the book is the seriousness of Japan’s diplomatic maneuvering — and deployment of multiple warships in Honolulu as a show of force — to block annexation and to demand voting rights for Japanese living in Hawaii. The U.S., Hawaii, and Britain were worried Japan could gain political control of Hawaii through demographic conquest, and/or an imminent Japanese military occupation of Hawaii. The U.S. and Britain counteracted Japan’s multiple warships by their own deployments of warships in Honolulu harbor.

The author, William Michael Morgan (no relation to Senator James T. Morgan of the 1894 Morgan Report), has a Ph.D. in History from Claremont Graduate University. According to information about his book at, Dr. Morgan was a Foreign Service officer in the Department of State for more than 30 years, and lived in Japan for 13 years, first as a Marine lieutenant in 1971-72 and then three assignments in the Foreign Service. His State Department domestic jobs included Director of the Japan-Korea desk of the old U.S. Information Agency, Acting Director of the International Visitor Leadership Program, and Director of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. During 2007-09, he taught U.S.-Japan relations and National Security and Public Diplomacy at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service while on “detail” from the State Department.

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Debunking Keanu Sai’s new “Executive Agreements” scam

David Keanu Sai has produced three major scams in Hawaii during a period of about 20 years. Each one provided fuel to feed the next. Each one was founded on a comprehensive but badly twisted view of Hawaiian history. Each one gave the appearance of intellectual insight and rigor, which dazzled hundreds of gullible people into spending thousands of dollars apiece on bogus legal documents and donations to “the cause” of Hawaiian sovereignty. Some people relied on Sai’s theories to stop paying the mortgages on their homes, and eventually lost them. Innocent homeowners found that they were unable to sell their homes or refinance them because bogus documents had been filed at the Bureau of Conveyances which specifically targeted their property and placed a “cloud” on their titles.

The first scam became known as “Perfect Title” because it was based on Sai’s claim that his historical research and his authority as self-proclaimed Acting Regent of the Kingdom of Hawaii could bring to perfection a property deed that would otherwise lack validity. According to Sai, transfers of land title after the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy were not valid because the overthrow was illegal and there were no lawfully constituted government authorities to certify such transfers throughout all the years from then to now.

The second scam became known as “World Court” because Sai and his zealous followers claimed that Keanu Sai and Lance Larsen had taken a case to the World Court at the Hague, which resulted in that Court confirming the continued existence of the Kingdom of Hawaii as an independent nation under a century-long belligerent military occupation by the United States.

The most recent, third scam, is becoming known as “Executive Agreements” because it is based on Sai’s claim that there were a pair of executive agreements between Queen Liliuokalani and President Grover Cleveland whereby Liliuokalani turned over her governing authority temporarily to President Cleveland, and then a few months later Cleveland promised to put her back on the throne in return for her promise to give amnesty to the revolutionaries who had overthrown her. According to Sai, an executive agreement between two heads of state has the same force and effect as a treaty, and remains binding on all successors of those heads of state. Thus President Obama is obligated to fulfill President Cleveland’s end of the bargain with Liliuokalani by restoring the Kingdom of Hawaii to the powers it has always had, and continues to have, as an independent nation. Sai filed a lawsuit in federal court as a publicity stunt, comparable to the way he and Lance Larsen went to the “World Court.”

Sai is now making a publicity lecture tour pushing his new book hyping the “executive agreements”, and is working in a close business relationship with a real estate firm which takes large fees from clients who file paperwork in court based on Sai’s theories.

An analysis debunking the Executive Agreements theory can be found at

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HCR107 — A secessionist resolution in the Hawaii legislature that is both ridiculous and dangerous.

House Concurrent Resolution 107 (HCR107) in the Hawaii legislature would establish “a joint legislative investigating committee to investigate the status of two executive agreements entered into in 1893 between United States President Grover Cleveland and Queen Liliuokalani of the Hawaiian Kingdom, called the Liliuokalani assignment and the agreement of restoration.”

The investigating committee would be empowered to “Issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of the witnesses and subpoenas duces tecum requiring the production of books, documents, records, papers, or other evidence in any matter pending before the joint investigating
committee; … Administer oaths and affirmations to witnesses at hearings of the joint investigating committee; Report or certify instances of contempt as
provided in section 21—14, Hawaii Revised Statutes …”

This resolution is both ridiculous and dangerous. My own testimony explains why, and is on a webpage at

The purpose of such an investigation is not merely to do academic research on an obscure historical question from 118 years ago. The purposes are to claim that the U.S. had an obligation to restore Liliuokalani to the throne; and to claim that the obligation of the President of the United States continues to this day to restore the Kingdom of Hawaii to its former status as an independent nation.

Three of the many harms that would result by passing HCR107 are briefly identified here and discussed in detail in the testimony.

1. A resolution such as HCR107 brings ridicule and disrespect upon those who support it, and upon the legislature as a whole — as shown by recalling what happened in connection with another Hawaiian sovereignty resolution passed in 2007. Many current members of the legislature, including members of this committee, participated in that debacle. The 2007 resolution established a permanent annual Hawaiian Restoration Day holiday for April 30. Reverend Kaleo Patterson knowingly used a fake Grover Cleveland proclamation from 1894, cited it as fact, and used it as the basis for a media blitz in 2006 in Hawaii and on the mainland calling for a national day of prayer for restoration of Native Hawaiians and repentance for the overthrow of the monarchy. He repeated his local and mainland propaganda campaign in 2007 and pushed a resolution HCR82 through the Hawaii legislature citing the joke proclamation as real and “proclaiming April 30 of every year as Hawaiian Restoration Day.” A 4-page flyer pokes fun at the legislature for passing that ridiculous resolution despite testimony proving the Cleveland proclamation was a joke.

2. Such a resolution as HCR107 provides a platform whereby certain perpetrators of historical malpractice bring fame and fortune to themselves while spreading false information far and wide, using the legislature as an accomplice. Keanu Sai is the man behind this resolution. He is now revving up his third big scam based on twisted historical allegations which the resolution describes as fact. His convoluted lawsuit against U.S. government officials including President Obama, based on the allegations in HCR107, was dismissed on summary judgment in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on March 9.

3. HCR107 contains numerous false or misleading statements, some of which are refuted in my testimony. For example: There was no “executive agreement” between President Grover Cleveland and ex-queen Liliuokalani. One reason is that Liliuokalani was overthrown by the Hawaiian revolution on January 17, 1893 and no longer held executive authority after that, but Grover Cleveland was not installed as President until March. Also, President Cleveland had no power or authority to put Liliuokalani back on the throne, which is what Keanu Sai’s theory says is the core of the “executive agreement.”

For my entire testimony, see

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