A murder in Hawai’i

20 Nov

Last week, President Obama attended the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation – 21 nations “working together to advance regional economic integration and prosperity”) summit in Honolulu, Hawaii. The island of Oahu was being prepared for weeks in advance for this conference of international dignitaries, finance ministers, and heads of state. The business people of Hawaii had been promised a financial bonanza as a result of the conference. From East-West Center in 2009, after the 2011 meeting place was decided:

“The Hawai‘i meetings, scheduled for November 12-20, 2011 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, are expected to draw more than 10,000 people to Honolulu, a welcome boost for the state’s struggling tourism industry.

” ‘APEC 2011 will be a big economic boost and provide huge publicity benefits for Hawai‘i,’ Morrison said. ‘There are lots of preparations to be made over the next two years to maximize the benefits of this meeting, including its longer-term implications as a new business opportunity for Hawai‘i. The Singapore APEC meeting now going on shows that, with good planning, APEC can have many benefits without disrupting normal social and business activity.’ ”

Didn’t happen. As a matter of fact, you might want to read this article, “Business Owners to Sue Over APEC Losses”;

Conditions on the ground ended up being quite different from what was supposed to occur. Normal social and business activities were, in fact, so disrupted that local businesses had to close their doors for the week of the summit and residents stocked up on food so that they would not have to face the hours of sitting in their cars, waiting for their car to be searched, every time they wanted to leave or re-enter residential areas to go grocery shopping.

From a friend that corresponds to the Honolulu paper:

The organized grab of all public spaces is unprecedented in modern Hawaii. Not since 1893, when U.S. Marine flagships seized Hawaii’s ports and forced regime change by placing the Queen Lili’oukalani  under house arrest for the remaining 17 years of her life has such a military clamp-down been experienced in the state.  The Queen had just voluntarily written the Hawaiian Constitution, which was adopted by the country, to supersede the monarchy.  From the leeward (western) side of Oahu, north and south and all the way to Kaneohe – the gorgeous windward coast (fully dominated by the U.S. military), and all the way from Honolulu to Obama’s precious Disneyland where he held his meetings despite that the APEC conference was being held over an hour away in downtown Honolulu at the Convention Center, all the way east past the Diamondhead Crater, and all points in between, was a milieu of police, state department security, and military coordination. Air, land, and sea. And all completely closed off to the public: those that live there and those whose vacations or honeymoons had brought them there expecting to experience paradise. No better opportunity for movement of munitions or whatever hidden things they want to move, and collaboration amongst branches of the military, police, state department, and mercenary security services has ever occurred here. Tourists and locals found only antiseptic parks across the whole of Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, and from Kapi’olani from the Diamondhead Crater all the way to Ko’olina, an hour by car with only one freeway – closed for APEC, including all overpasses, underpasses, and connecting surface streets; with all traffic stopped and searched on entry. Gunboats, zodiacs with manned machine gun turrets at the fore and seriously heavy weaponry carried by the rest of the crew, made sure that no-one entered the waters of Waikiki. The Duke Kahanamoku statue lacked for any company except the metal and concrete barriers placed to end entry to the downtown and tourist districts, and determined looking uniformed or “under cover” black t-shirted men patrolled all corridors with guns displayed. Roads in and out were closed way beyond any published schedules; cul de sacs were established from normally open commuter paths and all automobiles and pedestrians were searched with the only “probable cause” being that they either worked or had intentioned to vacation in Honolulu. Not to be. Nor did the APEC VIP’s see anything of Hawaii. They viewed closed highways, closed roads, empty beaches, and more armed personnel than their fondest back-home memories. The promise of much money to be garnered by businesses catering to APEC was killed at the onset by the complete sweep and closure of the entire southern side of the city under the guise of stripping all homeless areas, nightclub districts, beaches, and all tourist gathering places of threats. And with their commerce, mobility, and homes taken from them, it was inevitable that some would show strain. Not all of the strained populace survived the armed men in their midst. Residents had been warned that the APEC folk (and the corporate CEO’s buying access at the ludicrously expensive meetings with Obama or various Asian Heads of State or Finance Ministers such as Geithner or Clinton, America’s Secretary of State); warned that they “came from societies that had different notions about sex trade” than us good American Hawaiians and which justified thereby the complete crackdown against anyone that didn’t suit their notions of the appearance of proprietary. And at the end of it, Obama didn’t even have them take the traditional picture in native garb – in this case the local artisans that had created leis and aloha shirts were completely stiffed. As were all businesses, tourists, and residents. These APEC men owned the town, closed down the town, and wore business suits looking more like IMF than if they’d appointed permanent rulers to enforce the austerity even after they finally left.

In advance of the summit, State Dept. Special Agents (Bureau of Diplomatic Security) were dispatched to Hawaii to set up security. One of these agents was Christopher Deedy.  On 5 Nov., the off-duty Deedy had an altercation in a nightclub with a 23-year-old Hawaiian resident, Kollin Elderts. (Accounts differ as to where the two first encountered each other. However, the latest news reports seem to all be in agreement that the two men had an argument in the bar, which Elderts left before Deedy did.)  Deedy followed Elderts to the Waikiki McDonalds, where he continued the argument and ended up shooting and killing Elderts.

Before I give any news summaries of the events, I want to point out how eerily similar this case is to the Raymond Allen Davis case; Davis was a private security firm employee on contract with the CIA who shot and killed 2 men in Pakistan on 27 Jan this year. You can review that case here:

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS or DSS) was set up in 1916. From the State Dept website, the job description of Special Agent is as follows:

Diplomatic Security special agents are federal law enforcement officers who serve worldwide. Overseas, our special agents advise ambassadors on all security issues and coordinate all of a mission’s security programs. In the United States, agents investigate passport and visa fraud and protect the Secretary of State and visiting foreign dignitaries.

Per wikipedia, these agents are issued the following weapons:

Standard issue:
SIG P228 in 9 mm (pistol)
SIG P229 R DA/SA in 9 mm (pistol)
Remington 870 (12 gauge shotgun)
Colt SMG (9 mm submachine gun)
Colt M4 (5.56 mm Carbine)
Additional issue:
M249 light machine gun (SAW)
M240 machine gun
M203 grenade launcher

These and other weapons systems may be employed by DSS Special Agents assigned to high-threat locations. The agents going to those locations attend additional thorough training in these weapons before they are deployed.

The State Dept is declining to give much information out about Christopher Deedy personally, however, it appears most of the Special Agents are on contract from three mercenary groups.

As per allgov:

As the second largest component of the US Department of State, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) is part law enforcement agency, part intelligence operation, responsible for protecting the personnel, information and property associated with America’s embassies and other diplomatic posts. The bureau also provides protection in the US for the Secretary of State, the US Ambassador to the United Nations and foreign dignitaries below the head-of-state level who visit the United States.
DS employs almost 500 special agents in over 150 countries, along with hundreds of private security guards through contracts with companies such as Blackwater USA. The use of private contractors created a huge controversy for DS in the fall of 2006 when Blackwater guards killed numerous civilians in Baghdad, Iraq as a result of an attack on a convoy carrying American diplomats.


In Aug, ’10, Blackwater (now Xe) paid a 42 million dollar fine for charges related to its Iraq operations and was allowed to resume its contracts with the State Dept.

The Obama administration awarded Xe Services a quarter of a billion dollar contract to work for the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan.

From the Washington Independent:

In 2005, the State Department issued a four-year contract, valued at $560 million per year, to provide on-the-ground security for its diplomats in dangerous areas around the world with three leading private security companies: Blackwater [now Xe], Triple Canopy and DynCorp. The U.S. military does not consider the provision of security for diplomats in war zones to be its job. The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which controls the WPPS contract, possesses a workforce of about 1450 special agents, leading it to rely on contractors for security, according to a 2007 investigation by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

The number given above (1450 special agents) was the number of the agents specifically designated as DSS agents in 2007.  The State Dept has used contractors in other sub-departments in higher numbers over the years; i.e., the number 1450 does not represent the total number of mercenaries contracted by the State Dept.  In Oct of this year, the Washington Post pointed out that the State Dept will be expanding its contractor forces to around 16,000 to be deployed in Iraq alone after US military troops are removed from that country.  Currently, the US military uses 50,000 defense contractors (mercenaries) in Iraq.  One could speculate that some of this number might simply switch from military to State Dept contracts.

Xe Services is the largest of the State Dept’s 3 private security contractors. The primary training facility for Xe, called the “US Training Center”, is housed on 7000 acres in northeast North Carolina. They also opened a new 80-acre facility west of Chicago in ’07 known as “The Site”, which “serves law enforcement agencies throughout the midwest”.  200 Xe mercenaries were used during Hurricane Katrina under a contract with the DHS (Dept of Homeland Security) – “to protect government facilities” – at a cost to taxpayers of $240,000/day.

Because the State Dept will not answer questions about Christopher Deedy, we do not know if he is one of the “special agents” supplied by contract with Xe or any other contractor mercenary group.

A basic summary of the murder is offered from the Telegraph, 8 Nov.:

Christopher Deedy was tasked with “supporting protection of dignitaries” for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit which will be attended by President Barack Obama and a host of other leaders later this week.
Deedy, 27, is accused of fatally shooting Kollin Elderts, 23, who he did not know, at 3am in the tourist district of Waikiki. He has been charged with second degree murder and released on $250,000 bail. He was off duty at the time of the alleged shooting.
Michael Green, a lawyer for the victim’s family, said it followed an altercation in a Waikiki club. Later, at the McDonald’s, Mr Elderts was said to have told Deedy he looked “pretty serious” and jokingly asked him, “Hey, are you going to shoot me or something?” According to Mr Green the federal agent replied “How would you like to get shot tonight?” then pulled out a gun, knocked Mr Elderts to the floor and fired three times. The sequence of events was captured on security cameras, he said.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed Deedy had been in Honolulu to beef up security ahead of the APEC conference, and has now been put on paid administrative leave…

The 17 Nov. Washington Post claims that Deedy was “protecting himself and others” from someone who was “aggressing” on him.  “The federal agent charged with killing a man in a McDonald’s restaurant in Hawaii was protecting himself and others, his attorney said Thursday…
“He didn’t provide details but said Deedy was protecting himself and others from a man ‘who aggressed on him.’…”

Later, the WaPo adds, “They exchanged words, Green [att’y for Elderts family] said. At one point, the agent asked, ‘Do you want to get shot?’ Deedy then ‘karate-kicked’ Elderts in the chest, knocking him down, Green said. Elderts got up and ‘smacked the guy.’ The two began struggling with each other when Deedy fired three shots, Green said, adding Elderts was unarmed. Police said a knife was recovered at the scene.” []

A few new details in this article from kitv, 10 Nov.:

HONOLULU KITV4 News has uncovered new details about the events that happened before the fatal shooting of a Kailua man early Saturday morning in Waikiki…
There is surveillance video of the incident from inside the Kuhio Avenue McDonald’s in Waikiki, police sources said… Elderts’ family attorney said Deedy was drunk.”What the witnesses say is that at one point, the agent, who apparently appeared very intoxicated, asked my client if he’d like to get shot,” said Michael Green, who’s representing the Elderts family. Deedy refused to take a blood alcohol test, sources said…
Witnesses report seeing Deedy drinking at a bar near the Waikiki McDonald’s before the shooting, where sources said he paid for drinks with his credit card, potentially leaving a paper trail for investigators. The medical examiner’s office says Elderts’ blood alcohol content was 0.12 percent…
Deedy started performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, known as CPR, on Elderts before emergency crews arrived, a source said…

I have a lot of questions about this incident. Who is the State Dept hiring, exactly? Why are they allowed to go out (intoxicated or not) amongst the civilians, carrying weapons, while off duty? Why is Deedy charged with 2nd degree murder rather than 1st? Why is he out on bail; a bail that looks rather low for murder charges? Why is he on administrative leave with pay?  The knife “found at the scene” turned out to be Deedy’s.  He used it to cut open Elderts’ shirt so he could “perform CPR” on Elderts.  Because that is such a peculiar way to perform CPR, I wonder: what was his original intention when he pulled out the knife and cut open Elderts’ shirt?

Peter Van Buren, a former State dept foreign service officer and author of the book, “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People”, has questions about this incident as well. I will close with his list of questions.

As reported here and everywhere, State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security “Special” Agent Chris Deedy is charged with second degree murder in Honolulu…
There is nothing to indicate that the victim was armed. Deedy asked “Do you want to get shot?,” then kicked the guy in the chest, before cranking off three rounds from his State Department-issued firearm. The bloody knife mentioned in some reports appears to have been Deedy’s. Deedy claims he pulled the knife to cut open the victim’s shirt before performing cardio pulmonary resuscitation on the victim after he was shot.
Special Agent Deedy remains in Hawaii, on “admin leave.” His arraignment is set for November 20.
So a couple of questions for you legally educated folks:
1) When I learned CPR it was not taught that we had to cut open a victim’s shirt. Anything changed with that?
2) Is it normal for a law enforcement guy to fire three shots in a crowded fast food restaurant against an unarmed man, even if that man was a bully, even in “self defense”? Deedy’s lawyer says the killing was self-defense. I thought self defense was supposed to meet some sort of proportional test, otherwise cops would just be free to blow away anyone messing with them.
3) Is it DS’ policy that its officers are allowed to carry their service weapons off hours even when drinking? Asked if Deedy was drinking beforehand, his lawyer said, “We’re investigating to see whether that is so, and if so, if drinking had any impact on Mr. Deedy’s behavior.” The victim’s lawyer said Deedy was drunk. It is usually bad news when your own lawyer won’t say clearly that you weren’t drinking.
4) Can’t the Hawaiian cops get a warrant to force a murder suspect to take an alcohol test? Cops can do this in alleged drunk driving cases. Why wasn’t Deedy tested? Some kind of cop courtesy thing?
5) According to Deedy’s lawyer, “The [State Department] want him to come back to work as soon as he’s able.” Does DS have no other criteria other than a stone-cold felony conviction? Can you kill a man in McDonald’s at 3am and just pop back into Rosslyn HQ a month later, no questions asked? Maybe like about judgement and suitability?
6) Does Deedy still carry a State Department badge, gun and ID card while on admin leave awaiting arraignment for murder? In some cases (er, mine), admin leave is accompanied by State physically taking away my ID card and barring me in writing from entering any State Department facility. For the record, I did not kill anyone, just wrote a book. Does DS apply the rules evenly, even with its own special agents?


Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Deedy, mercenaries, security state, State Dept/diplomacy


4 responses to “A murder in Hawai’i

  1. haole

    November 21, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Glad someone on the mainland is writing about this. What a country! What a diplomatic corps! and you are right to compare it to Ray Davis case -didn’t see anyone else make the connection.


    • Teri

      November 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Yes, the Raymond Davis case came to mind immediately. Thank you for reading.
      (By the way, this isn’t Bob, is it? You didn’t need to leave a comment; I am used to hanging out in this corner of the interwebs alone.)


  2. Teri

    November 22, 2011 at 5:23 am

    I answered your comment rather quickly yesterday and wanted to respond more fully. I try to stay abreast of events in Hawaii, which I think is treated differently than any other state. It seems to be considered as simply a place for the military to use at its whim, with native interests dismissed out of hand. Honolulu was totally shut down during the APEC summit – no-one left unsearched on the streets, no-one allowed on the Waikiki beach or in the water. The city was packed with quasi-military police forces and everything came to a halt. Imagine them stopping ALL civilian activity in Seattle during the WTO meeting!
    I read that the day after APEC ended, the Pentagon launched their new hypersonic weapon from Hawaii, sending it to the Marshall Islands.
    Mauna Kea, the most sacred site to the native Hawaiians, has largely been turned into an air base with Osprey and Chinook helicopters constantly zooming in and out, and a live firing range located on its flanks.
    I have several acquaintances in Hawaii and mistakenly thought you might be one of them. I am pleased to have you here and appreciate you leaving any information or remarks you would like.


  3. Coconut Guy

    March 2, 2012 at 1:00 am

    “I have a lot of questions about this incident. Who is Why are they allowed to go out (intoxicated or not) amongst the civilians, carrying weapons, while off duty?”

    Because ALL LEO are sworn to uphold the law both on and off duty 24/7.

    “Why is Deedy charged with 2nd degree murder rather than 1st?”

    Because they would never be able to prove that he went to McDonald’s with the intention of killing Eldert’s (he didn’t even know him)

    “Why is he out on bail; a bail that looks rather low for murder charges? Why is he on administrative leave with pay?”

    Because he is innocent until proven guilty like everyone else in this country. If it was convicted of the charges he would obviously lose his job. This is the normal procedure for all LEO once they are charged with any offense.




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