This article originally appeared on WND.com
Catastrophic damage in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii from wildfires that raged Aug. 8, 2023 (Courtesy Nick Sortor / Twitter)
Guest by post by Joe Kovacs
‘Literally being arrested for visiting their own homes’
Nearly a month after catastrophic wildfires devastated the Hawaiian paradise of Maui, a disturbing mystery remains as hundreds of people, including an unknown number of children, are still missing, while a journalist on the island says local residents are being “royally screwed” by all governments, with some victims arrested for trying to visit their own homes.
At least 115 people were killed in the Aug. 8 blaze that razed the tourist town of Lahaina, making it the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century.
More than 3,000 individuals have reportedly been found safe after being previously unaccounted for, and the latest official figures indicate 385 names on this list are still missing.
While officials hope many on the missing list are fine and just haven’t checked in with emergency personnel, there’s a palpable fear many are not well.
“We’re releasing this list … because we know it will help the investigation,” said Maui Police Chief John Pelletier, in a video message posted online Thursday night. “We’re also balancing that because we know when this list comes out, it can and will cause pain for some folks.”
He continued: “This is not an easy thing to do, but we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make this investigation as complete and thorough as possible.”
“We’re very thankful for the people who have reached out by phone or email,” Steven Merrill, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Honolulu, said at a news conference.
“As we get someone off of a list, this has enabled us to devote more resources to those who are still on the list.”
But journalist Nick Sortor is now painting an unnerving picture of what’s happening on the island.
“Good morning again from Maui, where residents are being ROYALLY screwed by local, state, and federal governments,” he posted Sunday on X, formerly Twitter.
“There are COUNTLESS important issues to note, but here are just a handful:
“1. The town of Lahaina is being INCREASINGLY fortified, and there are police & military checkpoints at literally every corner
“2. Residents are starting to become literally impoverished due to all the shutdowns.
“3. The government has put TENS OF THOUSANDS of people out of work and countless people are about to be forced into bankruptcy.
“4. Federal aid is almost IMPOSSIBLE to get.
“5. THE GOVERNMENT STILL WON’T DISCLOSE THE AMOUNT OF CHILDREN MISSING OR DEAD.
“6. The ‘official’ number of people missing keeps changing and seems to be based on TOTAL LIES.
“7. RESIDENTS ARE LITERALLY BEING ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTING TO VISIT THEIR OWN HOMES.
Sortor concludes with: “MARK MY WORDS: We WILL get to the bottom of all this. I’m putting together a team of local residents & journalists to make it happen. WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT HIDING? WHY DO THEY KEEP LYING TO THE GREAT PEOPLE OF MAUI?”
Good morning again from Maui, where residents are being ROYALLY screwed by local, state, and federal governments.
There are COUNTLESS important issues to note, but here are just a handful:
1. The town of Lahaina is being INCREASINGLY fortified, and there are police & military… pic.twitter.com/7WpS9jY7H7
— Nick Sortor (@nicksortor) September 3, 2023
“I came back to Maui, because the situation is getting WORSE,” he continued in subsequent messages. “Corruption is potentially running rampant—including within the NGOs (potentially even within the government-funded Red Cross).”
He indicates residents are “getting TOTALLY fed up. Many are getting desperate, because they’re facing eviction due to losing their jobs (due to government shutdowns) and they’re receiving ZERO support.
“Several are now willing to speak on record for the first time. I’m working on that, but unfortunately I’m just one man. Might take me a day or two to post.
“This is my priority though—to get their message out.”
When a commenter suggested a giant GoFundMe account for the victims, Sortor noted he’s actually trying to get something like that active soon.
“Stay tuned! Without direct support from the people, these amazing people would end up homeless,” he said. “The government is USELESS. I’m working with the community to launch a fundraising campaign within the next 48 hours.”
As WND reported Aug. 28, miles of black curtains dubbed by some as “The Biden Curtain” were erected to prevent people from seeing what’s happening at the origin site of the wildfires.
Black fencing erected in Lahaina, Maui, in August 2023 to block the public’s view of ground zero of the Hawaiian fires (Video screenshot)
Geoff Cygnus, a citizen journalist, posted the video, with a caption reading: “Miles and miles of black fencing being put up in Lahaina. Ground Zero is now behind the Biden curtain.”
Miles and miles of black fencing being put up in Lahaina.
Ground Zero is now behind the Biden curtain. pic.twitter.com/krmxr4XcCr
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 28, 2023
“There seems to be a huge emphasis on ensuring that the media and anyone else can’t see what’s going on,” Cygnus reported.
“There are miles and miles of this black fence going up that was not here before that is obscuring ground zero and making sure no one can see what’s going on inside of there from the road, no one can get in there, no one can take any pictures.”
“I was almost immediately, after these 20 seconds, National Guard came and chased me off, yelled at me, told me to get back in my car and keep moving. So you cannot pull over. You can’t even stop you car anywhere near any of this anymore.”
In addition to the National Guard, Cygnus says there are “regular police, and what I have dubbed ‘special police,’ which are these police cars that are foreign made. The people that are driving them are not – they don’t look like any police I’ve ever seen in the United States. So kind of a bizarre situation, but they have a huge presence standing guard ensuring that nothing can be documented.”
Copyright 2023 WND News Center
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