I’m wondering how long it will take the mainstream media to acknowledge the widely available information linking the operator of the boat involved in a fatal accident off Kailua Beach to a well-known cult, and its association with Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
It’s obviously a politically sensitive issue, and everybody is being as careful as possible as they report on the incident.
There were a couple of important news stories yesterday, KHON reported that the accident case had finally been turned over to city prosecutors by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The report questioned the delay, and asked whether DLNR staff are trained to handle this kind of criminal investigation. The story also questioned whether the boat involved in the incident had been impounded or evidence gathered from it after the incident.
Other online accounts have reported the boat was not impounded and has been spotted and photographed in Kailua.
KHON identified the boat’s operator and registered owner, Sai Hansen, but did not pursue the link to the Science of Identity Foundation, which is the legal entity behind the cult headed by Chris Butler, known as Jagad Guru.
Hawaii News Now reported prosecutors are considering negligent homicide charges against Hansen.
HNN also reported that Hansen has a history of complaints regarding dangerous operations of the boat in the same area.
“I’ve received reports, several reports, of the activities of an individual down there with an orange zodiac racing up and down the waters,” said Heen.
“The people in Kailua that I have heard from are crying out for something to be done to curb the activities of this one individual.”
Heen’s surfacing in the case could become significant. Heen is a former federal judge and former chair of the Democratic Party in Hawaii.
Last year, Civil Beat did a good job of running down the “rumors” of Gabbard’s ties to the Butler cult (“Tulsi Gabbard Still Dogged By Krishna Cult Rumors“). It’s a good summary of what’s publicly known.
At that time, Gabbard dodged questions about her ties to the Butler group.
The handling of the case against Sai Hansen shifts the focus from simply whether or not Congresswoman Gabbard was ever a member of the cult, to whether her ties to the group resulted in special treatment by authorities.
Hawaii News Now quoted Walter Heen:
“I am relieved that the prosecutor is taking it over. There has been some rumors, there have been some rumors for years that the DLNR has gone easy on regulating activities down there in general,” said former state appellate court judge Walter Heen, who is Shim’s uncle.
Whether he’s referring to DLNR going light on activities associated with the cult, or to commercial activities on Kailua Beach, isn’t clear.
But it’s sounding more like the questions need to be asked.