According to the late Michael Hastings, who appeared on The Young Turks television program, there is a war against journalism for which he (in all likelihood) paid for with his life. Along with the war against good, old fashion, muck-raking real journalism, there is also a war the US government is waging against whistle-blowers such as the infamous NSA analyst and Prism software leaker, Edward Snowden.
In the later case, despite having a $200,000 per year job with Booz Allan Hamilton as a project manager and contract analyst with the National Security Agency in Hawaii, Mr. Snowden was so appalled at the massive and horribly invasive practices that he was involved in that he was willing to walk away from it all and spend the rest his life either on the lam or in prison for making this information known to the public. He spoke with Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian while in Hong Kong about how it doesn’t really matter if you’ve done anything wrong or not, since you can and probably are having your phone calls, e-mails, texts, tweets, etc. recorded and stored.
Prior to Ed Snowden, we had been warned about this fascist Frankenstein monster that the NSA was becoming (or rather already was) by whistle-blowers such as former NSA employees William Binney and Thomas Drake and authors like James Bamford. However, I doubt that most Americans really know the significance of their every movement, transaction, phone call, association, e-mail, etc. being recorded and stored by massive databases using “key word” algorithms to target you, and create the potential for what Snowden describes as “turn key fascism”. And yet, that is exactly where we are now with all the cellular telecommunication companies, ISPs, banks, police fusion centers, and even our automobiles tied into this Orwellian electronic surveillance grid.
On this later point, Dr. Kathleen Fisher, DARPA systems manager, gave a presentation about how our cars, that have anywhere from 30-100 computers inside them, can be hacked into from multiple ports of entry and practically every function taken over. Could this have been the means by which reporter, Michael Hastings, was murdered? Even former counter-terrorism expert and presidential adviser, Richard Clarke, has gone on the record with the Huffington Post to say that Michael Hastings’ 2013 Mercedes C250 coupe ramming into a palm tree in LA and exploding into flames was “consistent with a cyber attack” on his car, and the capabilities of the intelligence community to accelerate a car, apply the brakes, deploy the airbag all against the driver’s wishes does exist and is relatively easy to do.
Shortly before he was killed at age 33, he wrote an e-mail message to an old friend from his days embedded with an army unit in Afghanistan, where he described how he was being followed by the Feds and that they might want to get legal council before talking to anyone at BuzzFeed (another media office where he worked). He ended the e-mail by writing that he was onto a “really big story” and that he needed to “get off the radar” for a while . Fifteen hours later, he was killed in a fiery car crash, having sped through a Hollywood neighborhood at over 100 mph into a tree with some people reporting how they had heard a large explosion. Naturally, the LAPD claims that it was just an accident and suspects no foul play, and the FBI has denied that he was under investigation. But, like Michael himself, I never take these so-called official authorities at their word, since it’s very often a lie and/or coverup.
Unlike the vast majority of journalists in the mainstream media, who cow tow to the Washington consensus, Hastings believed in telling the public the truth about what was really going on and refused to be intimidated into playing their game of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. So, for that reason alone, he most certainly would have been the target of FBI, CIA, and/or NSA surveillance and harassment. Furthermore, right before he died he had gotten in contact with Wiki-Leaks’ attorney, and this certainly would have put him on the intelligence apparatus’ radar and in their cross-hairs.
The question as to whether he was murdered is certainly a very tricky one to answer, but I think that it must be foremost on the minds of any true investigator into this case, albeit one where the evidence is likely to be held as a police state secret. I believe that there is at least circumstantial evidence that he was murdered (by a remote cyber hack of his car and possible implanted bomb in his Mercedes) for the threat that he posed to certain people in positions of power as he had already proved, when his 2010 Rolling Stone article led to General Stanley McChrystal being forced to resign. We are prisoners, it seems once again, to our own debilitating and paranoid bureaucratic secrecy and the compartmentalized mechanisms that they employ against us from learning the truth about the government that proclaims transparency, while upholding strict Stalinist secrecy.