The picturesque waterfront main street of Lahaina before the devastating fire on August 10th.
Paradise no more. Lahaina on the west coast of Maui, before the fire.


IT IS hard not to have a suspicion of evil at play when an old town standing as a major obstacle in the way of bold new “smart city” plans is burnt to the ground.

Readers may not be surprised to know that the entire island of Maui is slated for conversion to an all-electric, digitalised “Smart city” island run by artificial intelligence.

Maui was also the scene of the horrific and deadly fire storm on August 10th that some are saying killed hundreds of people (officially 96) when it ripped through the historic town of Lahaina. Some 5500 people have been reported displaced and 2700 buildings destroyed.

Now a smoking ruin, Lahaina was a picturesque, old-style Hawaiian town with many timber buildings in a commercial centre right on the waterfront. According to local people posting on social media, those waterfront properties are worth billions of dollars, but redevelopment had long been resisted and the old buildings protected by law.

In January of this year a conference was held on the island, appropriately named JUMPSmart Maui. The conference name was taken from the six-year-long “smart city island” plan. This would supposedly help the cause of fighting climate change, which, according to the Democrat Governor of Hawaii, caused the Lahaina fire.

The more sinister scenario is that the big plans for Maui were “jump-started” by a fire at the most opportune moment. Lahaina is on the western side of the island of Maui and known as the dry side. It is also known for strong winds, which makes the likelihood of fire high – especially when the previous sugar cane fields which acted as a fire shield around the town are removed and grass is left to grow high and dry out, as happened recently.

We can’t rule out that it was just a very bad combination of weather events, but the official response raises suspicions, as does the harping on about climate change. Judging by comments from locals, it was as if the response was designed to maximize the impact and shock of the event.

There has been the usual post-disaster speculation about what caused the fire, with people suggesting a directed energy weapon (DEW) attack. This was fuelled by a report in the Popular Mechanics magazine about a Chinese “pollution monitoring” satellite shooting lasers into the sky above Hawaii in January. DEW attacks were also blamed by some for starting the Californian wildfires of 2017-18.

The long-exposed HAARP technology has also been suggested as a possible climate-altering technology to facilitate the recent spate of northern hemisphere wildfires and other disasters blamed on “climate change”.

But if the Chinese have such a satellite, why would they attack such a small, insignificant location? A better question might be who would benefit the most from such a fire. The answer would be the multi-billion-dollar developers who will now be able to swoop in on the devastated Lahaina town centre that now has nothing to preserve.

The JUMPSmartMaui plan had been in operation between 2011 and 2016. According to official documents it was called a “smart community project” with the objective of “effective utilization of renewable energy that had been penetrating on a larger scale and widespread deployment of electric vehicles (Evs)”. This so-called “smart community” was developed by Hawaiian and Japanese stakeholders, headed by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan.

Of course, anyone with a little understanding of how the world works these days knows that the “smart development” idea is global. It’s not just a neat little “community project” between some Hawaiian and Japanese businessmen. And who would have thought that an entire idyllic tropical island would have been targeted for “smart development”?

The lower-level bureaucrats who push this stuff, really do think it’s a great idea. “Smart community is a social system that integrates advanced environmental and energy technologies and provides citizens belonging to the community with sustainable, safe and secure society,” they write. Oh yeah, more like a sustainable, safe and secure “high-tech island prison”, is how Californian blogger Sasha Latypova describes it.

The JUMPSmartMaui project involved hundreds of volunteers using the Japanese technological expertise to run a complex, centralised energy supply system in which electric vehicles are used in the management of the whole electric power system by discharging into it or recharging from it.

This September Hawaii is hosting the Digital Government Summit, which will promote an artificial intelligence-based system of government for the islands. How appropriate for the brave new digital world, now that the town that symbolised Hawaii’s native and colonial past is now just a heap of smouldering ruins.