On Thursday, June 20th, it was reported that a reporter had died in a fiery crash in Los Angeles. The reporter was Michael Hastings, one of the greatest investigative journalists of modern times.
According to news reports, Hastings was speeding down a side street, ran a red light, and crashed head-on into a tree. The late-model Mercedes he was driving exploded, according to witnesses who heard the blast, then came running outside to find the vehicle engulfed in a huge fireball.
There were no skid marks found at the accident scene.
That’s the news we got here in the USA, from all of the major networks and newspapers.
But that is not the story that is being told in other places around the globe. An intelligence report circulating in Moscow reportedly claims that the award-winning journalist was assassinated by a drone strike while he was desperately attempting to reach what he believed would be a safe haven at the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles. Eyewitness accounts report not one, but two speeding cars, leading to speculation that Hastings was being pursued by another vehicle.
Hastings was instrumental in destroying the careers of two of Americas top war leaders, Generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus, along with earning the ire of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose top aide, Philippe Reines, told Hastings last September to “Fuck off” and “Have a good life” after being questioned about Clinton’s role in what is referred to as the Benghazi Attack which killed 4 Americans in Libya including US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Hastings 2010 Rolling Stone article “The Runaway General” is credited with being the impetus behind the downfall of General McChrystal, and his 2012 BuzzFeed News Service article “The Sins Of General David Petraeus” likewise helped in the savaging of General Petraeus, whom Hastings said had “seduced America and should never have been trusted by the American people.”
The Russian report says that Hastings was pursued by the drone, and that a Russian satellite tracked the drone from the time it lifted off at Camp Pendleton. The report identifies the drone type as an unmanned Shadowhawk, manufactured by Vanguard for the US Navy.
Many residents of the neighborhood where the incident occurred were awakened by an explosion and have provided testimony which conflicts with the official story. Although the media reported that Hastings’ vehicle was destroyed after it slammed into a palm tree, eyewitnesses and photos taken at the scene clearly indicate otherwise.
Photographs of the crash scene reveal that the car Hastings was in did not experience a high-speed crash. There was no major impact damage to the front of the car. The damage was mostly confined to the rear of the vehicle. The engine was blown out through the front of the car, landing over 100 feet away, which indicates that some type of explosion originated from the rear of the vehicle.
The only possible internal source of such an explosion would have been the gas tank, but there are two problems with that theory: First, gasoline could not under any circumstances have generated an explosion powerful enough to propel the engine such a distance. Second, photos released of the scene clearly show the gas tank lying on the ground near the car, fully intact.
At the time of his death, Hastings was busy investigating the Obama administration’s use of the NSA to spy on Americans telephone and internet communications. He had reportedly been in contact with former CIA and NSA whistleblower analyst Edward Snowden, whom many consider the “most wanted man in America” for his releasing of top-secret documents detailing Obama’s growing police state and widespread use of warrantless wiretapping.
The significance of Hastings contact with Snowden lies in Obama’s being able to assassinate any American he so chooses without charges or trial, an authority which was in March confirmed by US Attorney General Eric Holder, who in a letter to the US Congress stated: “President Barack Obama has the legal authority to unleash deadly force – such as drone strikes – against Americans on U.S. soil without first putting them on trial.”
Only hours before his death, Hastings told attorney Jennifer Robinson that he was concerned that the FBI was investigating him and following him. After the crash, the Los Angeles FBI office released a statement claiming that Hastings had not been under investigation. This was quickly proven false when the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner announced that Hastings charred body had been identified using fingerprints supplied by the FBI. Why would the FBI have the fingerprints of a man with no criminal record, unless he was the subject of an investigation?
Given the NSA leaks and the widespread surveillance of FOX News and the Associated Press, it would be surprising if Hastings’ regular coverage of the sleaze and criminality that suffuses American politics had not brought him under investigation and subject to regular surveillance.
Beginning with his coverage of the 2008 presidential primaries, Hastings earned a reputation for stepping on powerful toes. His article on that campaign for GQ called former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani a “maniac” who would “casually invoke violence and warfare.” Similarly, McCain’s campaign was based on the belief “that they can lie to our faces and we’ll swallow it.” Hillary’s campaign meanwhile employed “cunning racism,” according to Hastings.
The piece that he was most famous for was his 2010 profile of General McChrystal, who was then commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan. The article revealed the derision among top military officers toward the Obama administration which provided a catalyst for the shift of top command, in which McChrystal was replaced by General David Petraeus. General Petraeus then oversaw the intensification and widespread expansion of drone bombings in Afghanistan.
Hastings reported receiving death threats on a number of occasions, specifically mentioning that a staffer of General McChrystal had told him “We will hunt you down and kill you if we don‘t like what you write” during the time he was working on that story.
In an April 2012 article in Rolling Stone “The Rise of the Killer Drones,” Hastings reviewed the use of drones as a tool of extrajudicial assassination. In the article he notes the casual destruction of evidence, and reports that the majority of strikes are not based on targeting “known terrorists” but simply bombing anonymous people engaged in “suspicious behavior.”
One of his most recent articles dealt with a former CIA station chief in Algeria. “The Spy Who Cracked Up in the Cold” described the career of Andrew Warren who joined the CIA in 1997 and became deeply involved in torture in various countries across the Middle East and North Africa. Despite suffering from significant alcohol and drug abuse problems, Warren was appointed station chief in Algeria. He was removed two years later, based on charges of sexual assault.
His last article on BuzzFeed, “Why Democrats Love to Spy On Americans,” published on June 7, noted that the revelations of Glenn Greenwald and NSA whistleblower Snowden had exposed the party as an unscrupulous “gang of civil liberty opportunists” operating without principle.
At the time of his death, Hastings was also working on a story about Jill Kelley’s lawsuit against the FBI and Department of Defense. Kelley claims that those organizations leaked her identity as part of General Petraeus’ resignation as director of the CIA last year.
Those who would have a motive for killing Michael Hastings are confined to the government of the United States. He had no other enemies. Within the government, he was hated and feared by Republicans and Democrats alike, because he exposed the truth, wherever it led him.
Thomas Jefferson once said; “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter.” Jefferson understood the role of the press in keeping our government honest. He knew that only a free press could prevent our government from eventually becoming abusive.
Michael Hastings was murdered while supporting that principle. Now that you know, that’s one more person they will have to kill someday in a similar fashion.