2013 Favs: Michael Hastings’ Too Convenient Death

Michael Hastings was a journalist who had a penchant for writing the stories no one else would touch.

His reporting shook things up, exemplified by his stories on General Petraeus and General McChrystal. His latest piece, “Why Democrats Love to Spy on Americans,” promised to be another important contribution to Americans’ growing understanding of how our government is destroying our civil liberties through the combined use of bad laws and technology.

If Michael Hastings had died without mystery, in his bed from a diagnosed illness, his journalistic fame, along with widespread public interest in him, would probably have died along with him. But Michael Hastings died in a way that ensures his life, work and death will be a matter of public interest for a long time to come.

This administration, along with most members of Congress in both parties, are clearly implicated in the worst spying and civil liberties violation scandal in the history of this Republic. They have been monitoring the private conversations and emails of millions upon millions of innocent American citizens who not only have committed no crime, they are not under any sort of suspicion of committing a crime.

The legal basis for this activity is the badly misnamed “Patriot” Act. The excuse given for this is that without spying on virtually the entire American populace, the dimwits in Washington would be unable “to keep Americans safe.” According to our leaders, the only way to “keep Americans safe” is to put the entire country under surveillance.

The official reaction to leaks that let the American people know that their civil liberties are being trampled  by their government is to crank up the media machine in attacks against Edward Snowden, the man who made this public. The government is going at Mr Snowden with everything they have. This isn’t about “keeping Americans safe.” It’s about protecting their own selves.

Their rage at being exposed stems from one fact. These things needed to stay secret because it would get  them in trouble if it didn’t. All this blab about “security agreements” and “national security” boils down to one thing: They didn’t want the American people to know they were spying on them; not because we needed to be in the dark to “keep Americans safe” but because members of Congress and overreaching bureaucrats needed our ignorance to keep themselves safe.

The reason I’m going through this background is to explain why the untimely death of a journalist named Michael Hastings is suddenly such big news.

Michael Hastings had his finger in the spying-on-the-American-people pot, and he was evidently stirring it a bit. Given his reportorial skills, it seems possible that he might well have been jangling a few official nerves that were already raw. Just as it is imperative for the government to make an example of Edward Snowden because he let us know they were spying on us, they need, for the sake of keeping their jobs, for the story to stop stirring.


As I said, if Michael Hastings had died in his bed of a diagnosed disease, things would be different. However, he did not.

He died in a car crash into a tree that caused the car to blow up, tossing what looks in the video below like the car’s transmission about a block down the road. A few moments before the crash, he was spotted and recorded on a news video going through an intersection at high speed.

An eyewitness to the whole thing has come forward to describe what happened.

The scene is familiar to all of us. We’ve seen similar car crashes in movies and they weren’t accidents. They were assassinations. We know our government has tortured people. We also know our government lies to us and that they do it a lot.

Did Michael Hastings die in an accidental car crash caused by too much speed on a city street? Or, was he murdered?

I don’t know the answer to that question. None of the commenters who are speaking with such certainty on one side of this story or the other knows, either. They are just taking the position which will most benefit the political party they push.

What is certain is that a significant number of Americans think it’s possible that he was assassinated because of what he was writing. No matter the facts of Michael Hasting’s death, that extraordinary level of distrust in our government is a serious matter, all by itself.

The question, What do we need to “keep us safe” from all those faceless people we’ve been told “want to kill us” must be juxtaposed with the question, What do we need to keep us safe from the loss of all our freedoms.

We have lived over two hundred years in freedom. It has become almost impossible for Americans to imagine any other way to live. But the price of freedom is, and always has been, eternal vigilance. We need to remember that at least some of this eternal vigilance needs to be focused on the excesses of our own government.

I do not know what happened to Michael Hastings beyond the fact that he died in a horrible car crash. But I do know that our government is spying on all of us and that the entire Congress took part in giving shadowy agencies a blank check to do this.

What I do know is reason enough for concern.

Here are two videos I found about Michael Hastings’ death.

The first is from the LoudLabs News who spotted him speeding and followed him. The second is an interview with an eye witness to the crash. They’re the best, unbiased information I could find.

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Edward Snowden, Michael Hastings’ Too-Convenient Death and British Tyranny — What is Happening Here?

It began with a young man who decided that the American people had the right to know that their government had them under surveillance.

Not, mind you, that the government had possible criminals under court-ordered surveillance by virtue of having produced evidence of probable cause. Our government has been sweeping all of our emails and cell phone convos into a big database and sifting through it looking for crimes, potential crimes, or anything it deems “suspicious.”

In the brave new world of Fourth-Amendment?-What-Fourth-Amendment?-Patriot-Act-land, we’re all potential criminals and we’re all under government surveillance.

The amount of data that our government has swept into its intelligence gathering maw has become so vast (remember these are electronic 1 and 0s, not piles of space-consuming paper) that the NSA is building a gi-normous file cabinet in the Utah desert to warehouse it all.

The minute that this young man stepped up and made this information available to the general public, the government smear machine and its trusty operatives in the press (perhaps I should say, it’s trusty operative, the press) swung into action, claiming and proclaiming that this young man, Edward Snowden is his name, was the worst American traitor since Benedict Arnold.

There were, of course, outliers in the press who didn’t buy it. MichaelHastings was one of this hardy band of actual journalists who didn’t write his stories straight from White House press releases.

Shortly after giving this interview:

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Michael Hastings died in this car crash:

 

Michael Hastings Photo Crash Dead e1371661642849

The public was interested in Mr Hastings’ too convenient death until the same press that pushes the government line on us distracted the public with a trial about a shooting in Florida. This trial so transfixed the public that it completely forgot that Uncle Sam was watching its every move.

Unfortunately for the government, Mr Snowden decided to run rather than take his chances in a kangaroo court.

The president of the United States brought out all his big bully artillery and fired it off at every nation that might give Mr Snowden sanctuary. He huffed and he puffed and one by one the various nations put up the No Vacancy sign in front of Mr Snowden.

Russia finally took the wandering whistle-blower in, and President Obama promptly cancelled a scheduled G4 Summit talk with President Putin. I don’t know if President Putin cried himself to sleep that night or not. But I do know that the world is balanced on a razor’s edge. It might be nice if these two guys talked things over, even if President Putin is sheltering that dreadnought Snowden.

But then, that would presume that somebody involved in the government end of this mess actually cared about this country. It seems safe to say that they only care about covering their own backsides.

Meanwhile, our ally, the United Kingdom, decided to get into the act. Rather than huff and puff, they picked up their guns and clubs and went a-huntin’ and a-smashin’ in the offices of the British publication, The Guardian.

The Guardian had actually had the temerity to behave like a — I know this is hard to believe — member of the free press, and report Mr Snowden’s revelations about the work our governments were doing to put all of us on both sides of the Atlantic in the surveillance crosshairs.

The Brits, who are not troubled by niceties like First and Fourth Amendments, evidently took advantage of their government’s relative freedom to oppress its citizens and barged into The Guardian’s offices like Elliott Ness raiding a gin mill. They smashed computers and generally, as we say in these parts, tore up jack.

Of course, these tyrannical nitwits forgot (as tyrannical nitwits often do) the very essence of what they were dealing with. Evidently, nobody told them about backups.

I doubt that The Guardian lost a lot of data in this raid. But the British people lost a tremendous amount of freedom.

The question on this side of the Atlantic, not to even try to put it nicely, is did members of our government use the computer in Michael Hastings car to murder him because he was a danger to their careers?

It’s not even a question on the other side of the Atlantic. The answer is yes, the UK is in the bag for Obama and his spying on the populace of this country and probably theirs, as well. They don’t need a whistle blower to come forward and release evidence that their government has become a danger to the freedom of its citizens.

They went over to The Guardian’s offices and demonstrated that fact for all the world to see.

What is happening here?

Are we going to sit around and watch trashy televised trials and allow ourselves to be flim-flammed out of all our freedoms? Does anybody see how outrageous it is that the government has the entire American populace under surveillance?

I’ve run posts showing just how dishonest President Obama has been with the American people. Why, exactly, are they believing him now?

He’s got the whole world in his files.

That means you.

What happened in Britain isn’t a fluke. It’s a harbinger.

Michael Hastings’ Life and Death: Who Ya Gonna Believe?

Hastings crash

Michael Hastings sent this email at 1 pm, Monday, June 17:

Hey [redacted] the Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates.” Perhaps if the authorities arrive “BuzzFeed GQ,” er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.
Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radat for a bit.
All the best, and hope to see you all soon.
Michael

By 4:30 am, Tuesday, June 18, Michael Hastings was dead.

Staff Sgt Joseph Biggs, who knew Hastings in Afghanistan, said of the email, “It alarmed me very much. I just said, it doesn’t seem like him. I don’t know, I just had a gut feeling, and it really bothered me.”

The FBI issued this statement soon after Hastings’ death denying that they were investigating him:

“At no time was journalist Michael Hastings under investigation by the FBI,” agency public affairs specialist Laura Eimiller told CBSNews.com and other outlets, after the organization WikiLeaks suggested as much in a tweet.
This statement was a departure from the FBI’s policy of neither confirming or denying investigations, and earlier statements from FBI representatives, refusing to comment.

The video below contains a reaction from The Young Turks concerning Mr Hastings. The speaker gets worked up and both he and the commenters go off into the weeds. However, I think their points concerning Michael Hastings are well taken.

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Was Michael Hastings the Last American Journalist?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Bill of Rights, United States Constitution

Was Michael Hastings the last American journalist?

Given the all-in-for-the-government way the press has approached the “security breach” that allowed American citizens to know that their government had them — almost all of them — under surveillance, I think that is a fair question.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Our liberty depends on freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

A J Liebling said, “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.”

Has the corporate-owned press ceased to be free? Is it just a mouthpiece for various interests and ideologies? Why would the free press be so completely in support of putting millions of innocent Americans who have committed no crime and have not been accused of committing a crime under government surveillance?

Are they stupid? Do they not see the parallels between this kind of draconian government surveillance of its citizens and every police state nightmare of both history and fiction?

Why are they taking the government line like a bunch of trained chimps instead of asking questions and digging for facts like reporters? Do they ever leave their studios and go out and find the news, or do they just wait for the news to come to them and then “report” (read) it as it comes in? Getting together with a few, carefully selected, “experts” to comment on the latest press release that you just read on the air is not reporting.

The CSPAN interview below gives a glimpse of Michael Hastings and the kind of work he did. It makes no difference what conclusions you draw from the information Mr Hastings gave you. The point is that he gave you the information. That’s a journalist’s job. Deciding what to do with the information is your part of the free press equation.

All this leads me to ask again: Was Michael Hastings the last American journalist?

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