Feds link man accused of threatening Hawaii leaders to paramilitary sovereignty group
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Federal authorities are taking a close look at a paramilitary group after a man linked to it allegedly made social media threats against Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, Lt. Gov. Josh Green and the Waianae harbor master, sources told Hawaii News Now.
However, the group ― which calls itself Occupied Forces Hawaii Army ― says it’s nonviolent and had nothing to do with the threats.
“We’re not combatants,” said group leader Sam Lilikoi, who has given himself the title of “colonel.”
He added, in a recent Facebook post, “We’re lawful combatants but we’re not what they call a combat command. We’re civil affairs, military government.”
Federal authorities said alleged mob associate Lindsey Kinney claimed to be a member of the group.
Lindsey was charged last month with issuing threats to kill the Waianae harbor master after he got into a confrontation with Lilikoi.
Blangiardi and Green allegedly received similar threats from Kinney.
The group acknowledged that Kinney filled out an application to join the group, but they said he hasn’t completed the process towards membership.
“Mr. Kinney by his own liberty and with no instruction to do so by (Occupied Forces Hawaii) Army, made social media posts regarding the incident,” said Napua Hueu, who is a “captain” with the group.
“The feds, by way of hearsay, are insinuating that Mr. Kinney made threats in retaliation for what happened to Col. Lilikoi ... although that is not true.”
Occupied Forces Hawaii Army describes itself as a group of “lawful civil combatants for the country of Hawaii,” which they say has been under illegal occupation since the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in 1893.
Members have to renounce their ties to the American government. They are often seen in military uniforms at protests, which are often loud, confrontational and theatrical.
Lilikoi said those tactics are necessary.
“You gotta be in uniform and you gotta be belligerent. All the people on the Mauna were not belligerent and it wasn’t a protest, it was a demonstration,” said Lilikoi, in a recent social media post.
The group points to its community work but investigative reporter and blogger Ian Lind worries about their militaristic rhetoric.
“Groups like this are very similar to right wing groups on the mainland, militia groups, and so called sovereign citizen’s groups,” said Lind. “And that’s just not something you discount as they’re just nut jobs because they could be dangerous nut jobs.”
Former Honolulu Deputy Police Chief John McCarthy is also concerned about the background of the leader member called Col. Lilikoi.
“That’s scary. He’s a convicted felon,” said McCarthy.
Court records indicate that Lilikoi’s birth name is Eric C. A. Nelson.
Law enforcement sources said Nelson was the notorious “bicycle bandit” who robbed several grocery stores at gunpoint during the early 1990s. He was convicted and served 20 years in prison.
Lilikoi’s videos don’t advocate violence. He skipped out on an interview with Hawaii News Now and the group did not respond to questions about Lilikoi’s criminal past.
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