Questions Swirl After Maui's Fires
More signs of land grab, while Feds keep a lid on death toll
FBI’s top agent in Hawaii has terror experience, like former Vegas police chief
Both minimise death tolls, frustrating locals who count dozens of lost friends
Controlling information, rather than solving crimes, seems to be the modus
Hawaii governor says he will not allow rebuilding on Lahaina ocean front
Doubles down on Climate Change and ‘smart’ govenrment
Insult upon injury: Burned out residents offered portable homes beside busy road
Hawaii State Rep. Elle Cochran does not trust declining toll of dead and missing
She estimates that at least 1,000 people were killed
#MauiFires becomes a bigger story, not lesser, as it vanishes from legacy media
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(3,500 words or 17 moments of your company)
Sep 28, 2023
The FBI agent appointed to lead the Hawaii Field Office in 2021 — and on the scene after the Maui fires — was also present at the 2008 Mumbai hotel attacks that killed 175 people in 2008.
He arrived in Hawaii six months before Maui Police Chief John Pelletier, also a graduate of the FBI Academy, who was incident commander at the 2017 Las Vegas massacre. He brought his deputy from Nevada.
For more on Pelletier see What Exit Did Maui's Children Take - Home alone and roads blocked (Sep 16, 2023)
The Mumbai (formerly Bombay) attacks were blamed on militants from Pakistan, who hit simultaneously a hospital, railway station, three hotels and a prominent café. Although most of the casualties were locals, the targets were believed to be Americans, Britons, Australians and Israelis.
Special Agent Steven Merrill worked in Washington DC before FBI Director Christopher Wray tapped him for the Hawaii job. Merrill is a forensic specialist, and early in his career worked on the Unabomber case of Theodore Kaczynski who died in June this year. 
“I believe that every crime really is a financial crime to some extent,” he told Hawaii News Now, in June 2021.
It is 50 days since the Maui fires and they glow brighter with the passage of time. They illuminate the response of state and federal officials who push the narrative of Climate Change because it aligns with their response: who will rebuild and what; who will get to live and where; and who gets to decide.
To cut to the chase: the native community of Lahaina could be dispersed, bringing to a premature end their quest for the true toll, for answers about the rapid spread of flames, and the slow official response — and that means an accounting for what happened.
The people of Maui face dislocation and relocation. FEMA has set up camps for Lahaina residents on the other side of the island. People are not quite offered shipping containers but Continest is providing portable homes fro Lahaina residents, likely their CN10 Bed Stay unit.
These foldable cabins are off-grid, so it is strange that they are put next to a main road. It is almost as if the authorities do not want to provide comfort or for the residents to stay.
Federal officials repeatedly have suggested that speculating about the numbers killed would upset local people. That makes no sense: a loss is a loss. It does not go away if someone else hides it.
The people are not looking for closure, as Federal officials insist. They are looking to continue their lives among their ancestors and their land. That is not unique to their particular ethnography. It is something considered a universality not long ago: the land of my birth, or, if your relatives were wedded to one place, the land of my forebears.
What is happening is about much more than dollars and cents — though redevelopers are always circling — or environmental pressure groups in cahoots with crusading bureaucrats who have “seen the light” on climate.
Those actors are easy to spot. They state their case quite openly in the media and financial press — and, for many informed observers, that’s where the story ends.
What is being done in the name of the skies and the oceans, however, is changing the climate of life for humans everywhere: the conditions, expectations, amenities, and the ethos, spirit and mood.
#MauiFires becomes more of a story, not less, even though it has quickly disappeared from the headlines of the legacy media.
Lahaina is not a parochial story, of a far-off people on the North Pacific island of Maui. It is a soon-to-be shared experience. Maui is, perhaps, the future for us all.
It may not be a fire. Imagine a market crash. You can’t pay your mortgage. The bank offers you the bit you’ve paid off... 20 per cent, say. You go from owner to tenant. You’ll own nothing and commanded to be happy.
If you have experienced island life — the author has lived in the Caribbean, on Trinidad and Grenada — you might have an extra insight or two about the closeness of populations, the limits to transport, the different patterns of climate and rainfall.
Wherever you live, you care about the behaviour of officials and those who presume to order you about.
Bureaucrats and snobs
Hawaii’s governor went to New York for the United Nations Climate Week and nailed his pennant to the mast of global warming.
The UN says conflict, climate and Covid create many simultaneous crises. You don't need to argue the merits or validity of each crisis to spot the identical response.
The answer is always the same: the destruction of fundamental freedoms, the quarantine, lockdown or 15-minute cities.
The buzzwords are always inverted. Take “sustainability.” If there is to be less energy, food and water, one path to sustainable is to have fewer people. In other words, it is code for depopulation.
Sometimes they tell you: Smart Cities mean dictatorship. Professor Dennis Meadows, one of the authors of The Limits To Growth (1972), and a leading depopulationist, said the world’s population should be one or two billion.
The world could support eight or nine billion only in some sort of “smart dictatorship, but dictatorships are stupid. They are never smart.”
See Africa’s Rebellion, Hawaii’s Destruction And Smart Cities (Aug 31, 2023)
UN Terrifies Youth To Push 'Polycrisis' (Sep 24, 2023)
Back in Lahaini the community expressed disbelief at the official tally of dead and missing; and the mounting evidence that federal agencies were not helping but controlling a narrative.
As weeks pass since the fire the gulf widens between the lived experience of the people and the callous, high and mighty disregard of bureaucratic functionaries.
Officials keep their eyes on the future of a world transformed by Covid, Climate, Cascading Crises and the end of Cash — and their noses above the huddled masses — but the stench of corruption will not disperse.
Nearing two months after the fire, schools still have not accounted for their pupils. The latest official version of the death toll rose by six, including a third child, aged 11. Maui police and the FBI say the total fell to 97, down from 115 individuals.
Police say they can only count someone as dead if they are identified by DNA, and as missing if someone files a full police report.
Those unaccounted for have dropped to 31, down from 66 last week.
Police say they can only count someone as missing if someone files a full police report.
It looks like a reversal of the Covid toll, where many were counted as having died with Covid, when they had not died from Covid. In this case you are only dead if your DNA is identified; and you are only missing if your relative also survived, to file a box-ticking police report.
There seems to be no list of inhabitants from which to tick off those present or absent. The 2020 census estimated Lahaina’s permanent population as more than 12,000, and it attracted many tourists and part-time residents.
The police lists do not appear to include any list of survivors. Gov Green mentioned 7,500 survivors when estimates are that 15, 000 were living in the town at the time. Among the rescued and the victims, there is little mention of the thousands of vacationers who are not listed in any official records. Initial reports said that officials had helped many visitors leave the town - though that in itself raises questions.
Only those formally reported as missing, with a completed police report, are counted as missing. From Oct 8, the Police will stop accepting new reports of missing persons.
The suspicion is local institutions are suffering the full federal fist of the FBI, FEMA and Maui Police Chief, who wrapped up the response to the Las Vegas shootings in 2017 in record time; and managed the narrative of the Mumbai atrocity of 2008.
Hawaii State Rep. Elle Cochran does not believe the declining death toll in Maui. She cited the house of a neighbour where she knows that 10 people died. She also says several people have committed suicide since the fire.
She represents Lahaina and other towns in West Maui in Hawaii's State Legislature. More than 2,200 buildings were destroyed, most of them homes in old Lahaina, where multiple generations shared split-level homes.
Cochran has lived in Lahaina for 59 years and knew personally many people who are lost. She estimates that at least 1,000 people were killed. 
A Hawaii Army National Guardsman told U.S. independent investigator James O’Keefe: “Their bodies got cremated, so they’re dust. So it’s hard to get the DNA off them. That’s why we’re holding the scene. That way the dogs and come and try to get a scent, then they run the DNA.”
As of Sep 22, the main Lahainaluna High School posted: “We are focusing on identifying those in our community who have suffered loss and been relocated, and providing those students and their families with whatever resources we can.”
It gave no updated numbers. Clearly the school was still trying to locate an unknown number of pupils as of Sep 22. Lahainaluna HS had more than 1,000 pupils before the fire. 
A month ago Lahaina school authorities said 1,200 students had not re-enrolled. USA Today on Sep 6 said about 980 students had not transferred or applied for distance learning.
On Aug 30, authorities admit they may never know how many died in Lahaina fire.
Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen said on Aug 21 that 850 people were missing, while the same week officials said 1,000 to 1,100 people were unaccounted for and that number may rise if more reports come in. On Aug 20, Reuters news agency wrote:
“So far, however, only about 400 students from the burn area have enrolled in other public schools, while about 200 signed up for distance learning, according to the state. The four schools in Lahaina served more than 3,000 students. It is not yet clear how many children perished in the fire, or how many parents are waiting to decide where to send them to school. State education officials did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters.” 
Axios reported the same day: “Hawai'i braces for crushing wildfire death toll with over 1,000 missing”
The numbers do not compute.
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