“WHAT BURNS FASTER, MEMORIES OR FLAMES?


The Media Character Assassination of Michael Hastings & His Fiery Car Crash (Tragic Accident or Assassination?)
“Guy Montag” -- www.feralfirefighter.blogspot.com September 11, 2013 [DRAFT Version 1.5; Last Updated 11-21-13]

Kimberly Dvorak

Gene Maddaus, LA Weekly Profile: “A Dangerous Mind” “LA Weekly” Cover Story

“His car had crashed into a palm tree at 75 mph and exploded in a ball of fire … his death … res ulted in a was deteriorating. … after a long period of sobriety, he had recently begun smoking pot to treat his post- swarm of conspiracy theories … Hastings' family and the Los Angeles Police Department both have dismissed the conspiracies. … Hastings had long been both brilliant and troubled. … Hastings' mental health traumatic stress disorder … one of his brothers visited L.A. in an attempt to get Hastings into rehab … coroner's suggestion that Hastings was taking methamphetamine … ‘This is speculation. But he's going at high speed. It's as if he was gripped by fear and he was trying to outrun something…” -- Gene Maddaus, Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case, and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system. When they didn’t get it … they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. It’s so irresponsible.” [said Hastings’ family member] -- Russ Baker and David J. Krajicek (WhoWhatWhy, August 21, 2013) “In the wake of the L.A. County Coroner's report concluding … journalist Michael Hastings' death was an accident, his family is … doing its best to keep his legacy alive. … [Gene Maddaus’ “ Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind “] a lengthy “L.A. Weekly” story detailing his past drug use and struggles with addiction. "There are plenty of inaccuracies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn't change anything," [said his brother Jeff Hastings]. "Losing Mike is very painful; gossip and conspiracy theories are not." -- Sara Morrison (The Wrap, August 27, 2013 “Ruling out a priori the possibility of foul play would be as logically fallacious as asserting its presence. … what we really need in a case like this is a Mike Hastings. … knee-jerk speculation … sits quite at odds with Hastings’ legacy of thorough reporting and serious probing. … I t does little to honor his important journalistic legacy to apply any less skepticism than Hastings would have to a strange and tragic incident. But skepticism is a different game altogether from wild speculation.” -- Natasha Lennard, “Stop Speculating About Hastings’ Death”, Salon.com

“What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames”

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page #:

Introduction – “Fulfilling Promises to a Ghost” (& List of Updates) “What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames?”
   “What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames ?” “The Memories Never Go Away” “I Didn’t Think I Could Love Again”

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12 13 15

“Remembering Michael Hastings” 1980 -- 2013 RIP
          “Shit … Michael Hastings is Gone” “Fearless … A Dick To Those In Power” “Forever Remembered as a Truth-Teller” “A Virus in The Body of Their Little Club” “Definitely Not Some Military Hater” “The New York Times Will Attempt to Piss on That Career” “Conspiracy Theories Have Flowered on the Web” “Flew Too High and Came Down with a Crash” ”The Operators” … His Legacy Will Outlast Theirs “What Would Hastings Do?”

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“He Leaves Us All With Little More Than Questions …”
   WHY Was Michael Hasting’s Car Speeding & Running Red Lights at 4 AM? After Snowden Leaks, Was Hastings Targeted Because of His “Big Story” on the NSA? Or CIA? Or Barrett Brown & the NSA Contractor “Endgame”? Could “Car Hacking” Explain Hastings’ High-Speed Crash?

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TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)
Page #:

“Accident or Assassination?” -- Michael Hasting’s Fiery Car Crash Death
      
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Michael Hasting’s Fiery Car Crash: Accident or Assassination? Pizzeria Mozza Crash Video & LA Reporter Michael Krikorian’s Investigation LAPD Case Initial Report: “We Have Found No Evidence of Foul Play” ... Kimberly Dvorak’s Hastings’ Car Crash “Conspiracy Theories”: Myth: “Car Not Speeding, Only Going 35 MPH Before Hitting Palm Tree” Myth: “Mercedes Benz Among Safest Cars, Fatal Injuries Unlikely” Myth: “Explosion Ejected Engine 170 Feet BEFORE Crash Scene” Myth: “A Mercedes Is Not Going To Explo de Into Flames Without Assistance.” Myth: “Video Shows Three Explosions Before Car Crashes Into Palm Tree” Myth: “Body Cremated by LAPD Against Family Wishes”  "Whether It Turns Out To Be True Or Not, That's A Whole Other Issue” ...

66 71 74 76 84 89 90 92

  

LAPD’s Final Accident Report: "No One is Going to Have Access to that Anyway”

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"A Michael Hastings Non-Conspiracy Theory” “Crash & Burn” – The Media Character Assassination of Michael Hastings
   The LAPD & Media Character Assassination of Michael Hastings Myth: “LAPD Autopsy Shows Hastings Had Meth and THC in Body” Myth: LA Weekly’s “A Dangerous Mind” – Was Hastings Really a Crazy, Paranoid, Tortured Soul With PSTD Who Had Relapsed Into Drug Abuse?

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115 118 126

About the Author
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APPENDICES
Page #:

APPENDIX “A”: Links/Citations to Hastings Obituaries & Tribute Quotes APPENDIX “B”: June 18, 2013 LAPD Interview with Michael Hastings’ Brother

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APPENDIX “C”: Critique of Gene Maddaus’ LA Weekly profile: “Michael Hastings' 142
Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted ”

APPENDIX “D”: Did Marijuana Cause Paranoia & Hastings’ Fatal Car Crash? ... APPENDIX “E”: Notes from 11/04/13 Interview with Jonathan Hastings APPENDIX “F”: Guy Montag Q&A with Jonathan Hastings APPENDIX “G”: Notes from 11/10/13 New York Magazine profile

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INTRODUCTION
** DRAFT** On June 18, 2013, at about 4:20 AM, Michael Hastings left his house in Los Angeles, his car sped about 1.5 miles down Highland Ave, blew through three red lights, went off the road and crashed into a palm tree. Hastings was killed by the impact and his car burst into flames. Later that day, I was shocked and saddened to see the news about his death in a late-night fiery car crash. Like many others, I wondered if the crash was an accident or an assassination. Hasting’s had pissed off powerful people and died soon after Snowden’s disclosures of the NSA surveillance programs. Was he working on a related story someone wanted stopped? Within days of his death, Sgt Joe Biggs released an email about Hasting’s concerns about an FBI investigating him and said he “drove like a grandma.” With my twenty-two years of experience as a firefighter, several aspects of the crash puzzled me. After watching the LoudLab video taken after the crash (and a few minutes before the crash up the street), I was surprised to see that the car was already fully involved in flame just a few minutes after the crash (in my experience as a firefighter, I’d never seen a car go up in flames like that so soon after a crash). Was it possible explosives set off the gas tank? And, it looked like the car hit the tree almost perpendicular to the road which isn’t consistent with a high -speed impact. And, I’d never heard of an engine ejecting from a crash (and was puzzled to read reports that the engine had somehow been ejected behind the car before hitting the tree). Some conspiracy theorists believe Hastings’ car was blown up by some governmental or corporate entit y that was concerned by the “big story” he was working on about the NSA (or CIA?). However, I don’t think the available evidence supports that theory (see my detailed discussion later). Blogger Stacy McCain wrote that the key question remaining is “ why Michael Hastings was driving so fast at such an ungodly hour.” Perhaps a “conspiracy theory” explains the crash? Was Hastings was trying to outrun a real threat? Or, it appears technologically possible that his car may have been “hacked” (or old-fashioned physical tampered with) to control the braking, steering, and/or acceleration of his car. Or, perhaps a “non-conspiracy theory” explains the high-speed? Was Hastings intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs? Was he an adrenaline junkie who was recklessly speeding? Was he a haunted soul suffering from PTSD who was suicidal? Was he despondent on the anniversary of Andi’s (his deceased first fiancée who blown up in Iraq in 2007) birthday? Was he paranoid (from a bad trip on marijuana?) and “gripped by fear” & “trying to outrun something” imagined?

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At this point, I don’t know the truth of the matter. I’m agnostic as to whether the crash was an accident or an assassination. Ultimately, either option may be found to be true. But, so far, there’s no “smoking gun” that definitely rule s out either option. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear the LAPD seriously looked into the potential of “foul play” and investigated the crash as a potential homicide, the media did a “character assassination” pinning the blame on supposed meth use, and the Hastings family isn’t talking about the matter. We may never know the full truth of the “what” and “why” of the crash. **** need to revise above as executive summary ... I first heard of Michael Hastings when his Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal came out in June 2010. Coincidentally, I had just finished my latest post, "The Emperor's General", about President Obama’s role in the whitewash of McChrystal’s key role in the cover up of Pat Tillman’s 2004 friendly-fire death in Afghanistan. Afterwards, I admired Hasting’s feisty media appearances and his brand of no bullshit journalism. I read his 2008 book, “I Lost My Love in Baghdad” (the last pages brought tears to my eyes) and I thought his 2012 book “The Operators” (about his 2010 “road trip” with Gen. McChrystal & “Team America”) was one of the best (and certainly most entertaining) accounts of the Afghan War. In The Operators Hastings portrayed McChrystal as the “face” of the Afghan War and used McChrystal as the hook upon which to hang his larger narrative of the Afghan War. In my April 2012 post “Something to Die For” I portrayed McChrystal as the “face” of the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s friendly-fire death and used Hasting’s book as the hook upon which to hang my narrative of the “untold” Tillman story. In August 2012, Michael emailed to thank me for sending him a copy of my work. Just after Christmas 2012, I sent Michael a rough draft of my new post, “Never Shall I Fail My Comrades,” that documented McChrystal’s command of JSOC torture, etc. He emailed back, thanked me, and gave me his phone numbers. Five months later, on Memorial Day weekend, I finally finished my extensively revised & expanded version that thoroughly debunked McChrystal’s bullshit memoir (I had written it with Hastings as someone who might fully appreciate my work and/or do something with it). But, I put off emailing/calling Hastings until after I finished the post, got the time to read his new ebook (“Panic 2012”), and returned from vacation on June 15th. I regret I never called him when I had the chance.
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... ***** original rough draft preface below; need to revise **** In his book “The Operators”, Michael Hastings tells two stories that are interwoven together. First, he describes his April 2010 month-long “road trip” with Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff across Europe & Afghanistan. Second, Hastings describes the politics behind President Obama’s Afghan War “surge” and his experience as an embedded reporter on the ground in Afghanistan with US troops. Hastings portrayed McChrystal as the “face” of the Afghan War and used McChrystal as the hook upon which to hang his larger Afghan War narrative. Similarly, in my 2012 post “Something to Die For” I portrayed McChrystal as the “face” of the Tillman cover -up and used Hasting’s book as the hook upon which to hang my narrative of my “untold” Tillman story. What “a country such as this” when you find journalism with more integrity & honesty coming from “Rolling Stone” magazine reporters such as Matt Tabbi or Michael Hastings than from reporters from the big papers such as “The New York Times.” Perhaps, that’s simply to be expected from our corrupt system. In March 2012, after I finished reading “The Operators”, I kicked myself for not having thought of trying to contact Michael Hastings sometime during the past couple of years (I had forgotten he was writing a book) and wrote my post “Something to Die For.” Michael emailed back to thank me for my work in August 2012. Just after Christmas 2012, I sent Michael a rough draft of my post “Never Shall I Fail My Comrades” that documented McChrystal’s command of JSOC torture. He emailed back, thanking me for sending him a copy and gave me his phone numbers. On Memorial Day weekend, I finally finished my final version (largely written with him in mind as a reader) of my extensively revised post that thoroughly debunked McChrystal’s BS memoir. But, I put off emailing/calling Hastings until after I read his new e-book (“Panic 2012”) and returned from vacation on June 14th. After his death, I regret I never called him when I had the chance. ... I’ll miss Michael’s honest, no BS reporting that is sadly lacking among the stenographic mainstream press. A few days ago, “The American Conservative” reporter Kelly Vahlos ended her eulogy, “Michael Hastings, Truthteller, Dead at 33,” with: “Hastings was lambasted by the establishment hive for supposedly “breaking the rules,” which meant he did his job … I believe his book [“The Operators”] is one of the few “must reads” to come out of the war reportage in that it rankled the powerful while
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keeping faith with the people, and that’s real journalism. That is why he became a correspondent and why he will be forever remembered as a truth teller. To say he will be missed would be a gross understatement. We are losing so much.” Last year Kelly Vahlos ended her review (“Michael Hastings vs. Team America”) of ”The Operators” on a melancholy note: “The predominant feeling … is not outrage, nor gleeful satisfaction in seeing everything one suspects about this rotten war confirmed in tawdry black and white detail and in the rise and fall of one of the most celebrated generals in a generation. The overwhelming feeling is, well, sadness. … sadly familiar: a million film plots of mortal men who flew too high and came down with a crash. The rest … is just plain sad.” As is Michael Hasting’s untimely death in a fiery car crash. … as was the 2007 death of his first fiancée, Andi Parhamovich, who was killed when her car was set on fire in an ambush in Baghdad (see his 2008 book “I Lost My Love in Baghdad”). My condolences to his widow Elise Jordan, his family, friends, and colleagues. -- Guy Montag, June 22, 2013 ... Postscript Note 9/11/13: This post originated with an Appendix to the post “More Lies Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth” that was written in June 2013. After the LAPD coroner report came out in August, I greatly expanded that appendix. On September 11 th, I created a new post that just discussed the Hastings’ crash and “conspiracy theories.” More updates will follow every week or so.

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LIST OF UPDATES
Version 1.0 (September 11, 2013): This is a “new” post created by copying the chapters: “The Character Assassination of Michael Hastings” and “Michael Hasting’s Fiery Car Crash Death: Accident or Assassination?” from the post “More Lies Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth” (Version 3.2) and creating a new blog post ““What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames?” (along with the associated Appendices). Rearranged Table of Contents; added more to MH Tribute section; added new title pages & edited quotes; added material to draft of “The Character Assassination of Michael Hastings” and “Michael Hasting’s Fiery Car Crash Death: Accident or Assassination?”; added Appendix “H” & “I” on LAPD Detective Interview with Michael Hastings’ Brother and Notes from “Michael Hastings’ Dangerous Mind” ... Version 1.1 (October 6, 2013): Revised tribute quotes with section titles; added links to all tribute quotes; revised all title pages; finished Appendix “B”; finished draft of Appendix “C” analyzing & critiquing Gene Maddaus’s LA Weekly profile of Hastings. Version 1.2 (October 10, 2013): Added Kimberly Dvorak’s 10/06/13 piece, M ichael Krikorian’s “Final Report”, Added Appendix “D” with discussion on possible contribution of marijuana to crash (THC blood testing & paranoia). Version 1.3 (October 25, 2013): Re-arranged TOC; Finished summary of sections in “He Leaves Us All With Little More Than Questions”; added summary for 1st three sections of “Accident or Assassination; updated links and references; added draft Introduction. ... Version 1.4 (November 4, 2013): Updated all but last section of “Accident or Assassination?”; An interview was just posted with Jonathan Hastings at Reckless and Inspired: An Interview With Jonathan Hastings About His Brother, the Journalist Michael Hastings by Paleo Retiree -Uncouth Reflections Version 1.5 (November 21, 2013): Added Appendix “E” with notes from Jonathan Hastings interview, Added Appendix “F” with notes from the New York Magazine profile. I plan to update the rest of this post with this new information when I get the time. Busy with life. Version 1.6 (**, 2013): Redo page #s TO DO: Add summaries for each section with my own opinions, revise & expand "A Michael Hastings Non-Conspiracy Theory” with scenarios; Finish Appendix “C” and “D”; Add executive summary to Foreword.
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TO-DO LIST:
Read Panic 2012 Watch Young Turk interview 6/19 and 8/22 and one just before death. Watch FULL LoudLabs video of dashcam More research on marijuana, get book on testing Finish Appendix “C” & “D” Finish: Michael Hasting’s Fiery Car Crash Death: Accident or Assassination? Finish: MH Character Assassination Re-write Introduction Re-do page #’s, post scribd & FF blog Cherispeak “budtender” opinion? Michael Krikorian email? Questions? Matt twitter/email/EJ/Peter Goldman Email to LAPD toxicologist?

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“What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames?”

Andi Parhamovich (2006)

Michael Hastings (2012)

Elise Jordan (2011)

“I knew he’d done a tour in Iraq. I knew that his girlfriend, Andi, had got herself a job with an NGO and had followed him to Baghdad so they could be together . I knew they’d been planning their formal engagement when Iraqi insurgents blew up a car she’d been riding in, ending her [Andi Parhamovich’s] life—and Michael’s dreams—in a tangle of metal and flame. I knew he’d written a book about the war and its terrible cost to him.” --Peter Goldman (Newsweek Memories, “Remembering Michael Hastings”) “Andi’s death was a brutal lesson, and I understood war on a level I wish I didn’t. … There was no good excuse for me to be back in Afghanistan or Iraq, except I told myself it was my job… But maybe that wasn’t entirely honest. Was part of me looking to get killed, too? To even the scales, neatly tie up my love for her, to complete the narrative? Two lovers, both dead. How tragic. … Maybe there was some part of me that didn’t want to die just yet, wanting to say, ‘Fuck you war, you can’t destroy me. I’m going to win this, on my own terms.’ … The memories never go away. … The war left me with memories and grief and anger and a struggle to find hope, to find reasons to go on. … We lose our love, and it hurts to find it again. I think we can only ask ourselves, what else really matters?” -- Michael Hastings, from his June 17, 2009 Afterword to “ I Lost My Love In Baghdad” (2010) ... “… I didn’t think I could love again. I feel very blessed and fortunate that Elise [Jordan] would have me. The fact that she was able to get past that—I feel pretty lucky.” --- Michael Hastings, CNN Reliable Sources (2012)

"I was blessed to have the time with him that I had. So I feel very lucky for that, and [I am] taking it day by day. … my gut [feeling] here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm unlucky and the world was very unlucky." -- Elise Jordan, Piers Morgan Live (2012)

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“What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames?”

Michael Hasting’s fiancee Andi Parhamovich, June 16, 1978 – January 17, 2007 RIP

“A woman I loved [Andi Parhamovich] was killed in Baghdad in Januar y 2007 – al-Qaeda in Iraq took credit for it … The memorial service with me crying over an empty coffin.” -- Michael Hastings, “The Operators” (2012) ... “I find her personal writings and her diary… I find a note that says: ‘career, death card.’ Another, dated January 12, says that she and I will ‘take the journey home together.’” “The men cannot get the doors open. They cannot get into the car … The grenade doesn’t make a sound when it is dropped … The explosion. In less than a second, the gas tank will catch fire.” “She sees her life. It all comes at once.” “There is more noise; there is a loud noise. What is faster, sound or memories?” “The flames are hot. It is so hot now. What burns faster, memories or flames?” “She sees what happens. … Her father … holding a picture of her, inconsolable. She sees her mother shaking softly in church, looking at her face, framed in a picture. … She watches her fiancée writing with tears in his eyes.” “It is almost over now. “ “She sees the rest of her life. She sees the ring. She sees a pure white wedding dress and an aisle. She sees her parents and brothers and sisters and friends smiling proudly. She sees the children and the house. She sees the reunions in Ohio; she feels the warmth and hears the laughter and feels the love for her.” “The noise continues, but she is gone.” -- Michael Hastings, “I Lost My Love In Baghdad” (2008)
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“The Memories Never Go Away”

Peter Goldman, Newsweek editor 1962 to 2008

Michael Hastings in Afghanistan (2010?)

“He was just 27 when he and I first met in the summer of ’07 over a getting -to-know-you lunch near the old Newsweek offices on 57th Street. He’d been assigned to the reporting team for what turned out to be the last presidential election project. … I knew he’d done a tour in Iraq. I knew that his girlfriend, Andi, had got herself a job with an NGO and had followed him to Baghdad so they could be together. I knew they’d been planning their formal engagement when Iraqi insurgents blew up a car she’d been riding in, ending her [Andi Parhamovich’s] life—and Michael’s dreams—in a tangle of metal and flame. I knew he’d written a book about the war and its terrible cost to him.” “So I knew the back-story, but I didn’t know Michael until he’d slid into a seat across the table, and I first looked into his eyes. They were gray and red-rimmed; they were wary, they were intense, they were haunted, they were ineffably sad even when he laughed. … But those eyes told me he’d seen more pain, more blood, more madness in his 27 years than I had in my 74. I’d started on a glass of wine, and asked him if he’d like a drink. He said no. As he would tell me much later, he’d had a wild-child period in his late teens, culminating in a night in jail and an aborted five-day enlistment in the Marines. It was a place in his life he didn’t want to revisit, except perhaps to write about it one day, and he’d been sober ever since. And we began what would be a long-running conversation about our shared experience of loss. The particulars were as asymmetrical as our ages. My wife, Helen Dudar, was in her seventies when she died; Michael’s fiancée-to-be, Andi Parhamovich, was in her twenties. Helen and I had been together for 42 years; Andi and Michael were only just getting started. I’d had five years to tame the pain, to reduce it to a dull background ache that’s still with me; Michael had had maybe six months. I had begun healing; he was still walking wounded. But grief was our first real patch of common ground, a shared place in the half-century generation gap between us. … I asked him casually how he was doing. OK, he said, but his eyes flooded with tears.” -- Peter Goldman, Newsweek Memories

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“After the [2008] primaries I quit my job at Newsweek. … I had loved my time at Newsweek, for the most part. But after writing this book, I wanted to keep writing in my own voice. … I no longer cared as much about playing the career game, playing it safe, and climbing the corporate ladder. Life was too short to write things that I didn’t fully believe in.” “On June 16, 2007, Andi’s birthday, I traveled to Paris with her family and spread her ashes on the Seine. …The romanticism and excitement that had brought me to Baghdad were gone. Andi getting killed wasn’t in the script, and it’s never what the authors have in mind” “Andi’s death was a brutal lesson, and I understood war on a level I wish I didn’t. I’d spent most of the time since she was killed trying to make sense of it. Writing this book was a way for me to do that. … It was write or die. I needed to make sure that Andi would not be forgotten; that her death wouldn’t be an uptick in statistics, another number in the more than 150,000 Iraqis and 4,500 Americans dead.” “There was no good excuse for me to be back in Afghanistan or Iraq, except I told myself it was my job… But maybe that wasn’t entirely honest. Was part of me looking to get killed , too? To even the scales, neatly tie up my love for her, to complete the narrative? Two lovers, both dead. How tragic.” “Maybe there was some part of me that didn’t want to die just yet, wanting to say, ‘Fuck you war, you can’t destroy me. I’m going to win this, on my own terms.’ A delusion, of course, because war always wins.”1 “The war has affected my family in other ways. It left my younger brother, Jeff, with a bronze star. He served a full fifteen-month tour. Three of his close friends weren’t so fortunate. … The war left Andi’s family without a daughter and sister. … ‘You know,’ Andre [Andi’s father] told me, ‘you could have named the book We Lost Our Love in Baghdad.’” “By the time you read this [2010], Andi will have been dead three years. She’ll have lived with me as a memory twice as long as our relationship. The memories never go away. … The war left me with memories and grief and anger and a struggle to find hope, to find reasons to go on.” “We lose our love, and it hurts to find it again. I think we can only ask ourselves, what else really matters?” -- Michael Hastings, from his June 17, 20092 Afterword to “I Lost My Love In Baghdad” (2010)

1

See also his Huffington Post piece, “The Hurt Locker, and What it Means to be Addicted to War,” (March 4, 2010): “The Hurt Locker, on the other hand, doesn't take war addiction to its logical, unambiguous, conclusion. That is, death. Addictions destroy, junkies usually die, and the war always wins.”
2

Andi’s birthday was on June 16th. Hastings wrote his Afterword on June 17th. He died in a car crash on the night of June 17th (4:20 AM on June 18th). Connection or coincidence? …

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“I Didn’t Think I Could Love Again”

Michael & Elise Jordan were married on May 21, 2011

Michael & Jon Hastings at wedding

“… I didn’t think I could love again. I feel very blessed and fortunate that Elise [Jordan] would have me. The fact that she was able to get past that—I feel pretty lucky.” --- Michael Hastings, CNN Reliable Sources (2012) ... “He’d found a new love, Elise Jordan; just over two years ago, they were married . His future was bright and getting brighter. … When you get old, the bad -news phone calls are usually about your rough contemporaries … Calls like that hurt but rarely shock, or even surprise; their impact is cushioned by your understanding of their inevitability. … called that night with the bad news, and the bright future all of us pictured for Michael faded straight to black.” --Peter Goldman, Newsweek Memories “Hastings is survived by his widow, Elise Jordan, a former speechwriter for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Their unlikely romance … blossomed in the weeks that Hastings was writing his McChrystal piece from Afghanistan [Spring 2010]. Jordan was on assignment there too profiling female Marines for Marie Claire. They were engaged within six months. “ “‘I’m so glad we didn’t waste time,” she says. Jordan recalls Hastings at his happiness in their first year of marriage, holed up in their rented lake home in Milton and pulling near-all-nighters polishing the manuscript of The Operators.” --Tim Dickinson, “Rolling Stone” (August 1, 2013) ... "I was blessed to have the time with him that I had. So I feel very lucky for that, and [I am] taking it day by day. … Right now the LAPD still has an active investigation. I don’t have anything to add; my gut [feeling] here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm unlucky and the world was very unlucky." -- Elise Jordan, Piers Morgan Live (August 5, 2013)

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REMEMBERING MICHAEL HASTINGS 1980 – 2013 RIP

(cherispeak.wordpress.com)

“That's the kind of thing that people always say when a person dies, especially when they die before their time. They say, "He/she was the best of us," and you don't know whether to believe it. Believe it Michael Hastings was the best of us; that's why so many of the best of the rest are devastated today. ” -- Joe Macare, Truthout) “Michael Hastings was the type of national security reporter I didn't have the guts to be … A dick to those in power. Fearless. Someone who didn't care what others thought of him. … He was a rule-breaker. He didn't follow tradition, or customs, or habit. He was not deferential. … He found the relationship between war reporters and the generals and admirals they cover to be much too cozy…” -- Marc Ambinder, The Week “We've lost one of the great young journalists of our generation. … He was part I.F. Stone, part Hunter S. Thompson, with the bit of hardened war correspondent thrown in there … an epic shit -disturber … the antithesis of the caviar correspondent. He just loathed everything that establishment journalism stood for … They treated him like a virus in the body of their little club.” --Jeremy Scahill (from Micheal Caledrone, Huffington Post) “… if I had to choose how my colleagues might eulogize me, I would take what people said about Hastings over what they said about [Tim] Russert any day. Tim Russert was … widely known to be a great guy. … Important people sucked up to him because he had a TV show that other important people watched. … Michael Hastings was a great guy and a great reporter. He did not echo; he did not just speak truth to power, he shouted.” -- Ana Marie Cox, Washington City Paper “Michael was no stranger to trying to make sense of this kind of tragedy nor was he unfamiliar the emptiness felt in the wake of a senseless, random death. … he lit a bright lamp for those who wanted to follow his example.… exiting, he leaves us all with little more than questions and a blank sheet of paper. Maybe that's challenge to continue to use it to write the truth. I hope we can live up to that. He was a great friend and I will miss him terribly." -- Matt Farwell (from Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone) 16

“What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames”

“Shit” … “Michael Hastings is Gone”
“Shit.” -- Matt Farwell, Twitter June 18, 2013 “Just gutted. I was just with @mmhastings.[at June 12th LA premiere of “Dirty Wars”]. He was full of life and working on major stories. He will be so sorely missed.” --Jeremy Scahill (Twitter June 18, 2013) “Bastards, liars, and hypocrites everywhere rest a little easier tonight - my, our friend Michael Hastings is gone.” -- Lucian Read @lucianread 18 June ... “He was the archetypal rock star journalist in some ways - funny, irreverent, charismatic, likely to cause trouble - but he didn't act like he deserved to be treated as one. He was no saint, and I'm pretty sure there were times he made editors and colleagues tear their hair out, but he didn't play the big shot. … he was so much more approachable and humble than many writers who hav e achieved much less than he did.” “Michael the reporter was a thing to behold, and no less Michael the friend. … Young journalists flocked to him, and he talked freely with them. He cared about what even his most junior colleagues thought. … ‘Hastings was not just nice, he gave so freely of his time and advice and energy that you wondered how he did his own work’ … Michael's generosity wasn't limited to listening: he also talked. Boy, did he talk. A mile a minute … and he laughed and smiled as he pointed out the absurdity of his many detractors' arguments. … Anyone who ever held a conversation with Michael—or, hell, even those who just saw him on teevee—knew exactly why his pieces caught so many people's attention: he really knew how to tell a story. ” “Michael clearly loved entertaining, in every sense of the word. That's not surprising considering his abiding love for all things Hunter Thompson … who was known for both his hilarious Gonzo journalism and gatherings … The journalism industry, the country and the world are worse off for losing him. He was a model journalist just as he was a model friend —it's impossible to know which he was better at. He will be sorely missed. ” --Ali Gharib, The Daily Beast

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“Fearless … A Dick To Those In Power”
“In the early morning hours of June 18th, Rolling Stone contributing editor Michael Hastings was killed in fiery crash in Los Angeles, Ca. In an instant America lost one of its most talented and fearless reporters, one who was dedicated to telling the truth, regardless of where it led. .. Mike personified, in my view, what a journalist ought to be: challenging of authority when the facts don’t square with statements, holding officials accountable for their words and deeds, and showing a willingness to report the truth even when threatened with loss of access; in a word: fearless.” -- Col. Daniel L. Davis, The Daily Beast “Michael Hastings was really only interested in writing stories someone didn’t want him to write — often his subjects; occasionally his editor. While there is no template for a great reporter, he was one for reasons that were intrinsic to who he was: ambitious, skeptical of power and conventional wisdom, and incredibly brave. And he was warm and honest in a way that left him many unlikely friends among people you’d expect to hate him. … Writers of his courage and talent are so rare, and he was taken way too soon. There are few like him. We will miss him terribly.” -- Ben Smith, Buzzfeed

"Michael was angry. He was also loving, and thoughtful, and constructive, and brilliant, but he was angry about things that weren't right in the world, and with war, and with loss, and that drove his reporting and it made him fearless. A lot of people in the news business want to seem unafraid. Michael Hastings was actually unafraid." -- Rachel Maddow, MSNBC Michael Hastings was the type of national security reporter I didn't have the guts to be … A dick to those in power. Fearless. Someone who didn't care what others thought of him. … I do know that he was actively disliked by government higher-ups. He was a rule-breaker. He didn't follow tradition, or customs, or habit. He was not deferential. … He found the relationship between war reporters and the generals and admirals they cover to be much too cozy…” -- Marc Ambinder, The Week “’He was a pugnacious, ferocious shit -disturber’ … Hasting’s reveled in rattling the cages of the powerful. ‘He was the antithesis of the caviar -correspondent crowd in Washington … He was like a virus in the body of their little elite-club every time he came around them—not only on a political level but on a personal level. He didn’t give a fuck what they thought about him.’” --Jeremy Scahill (from Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone (August 1, 2013)

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“Forever Remembered as a Truthteller”
Leaving behind his wife Elise and family here in Vermont, Hastings’ death also leaves a profound vacuum in American journalism and reporting. A journalist-commentator, Hastings’ re-vitalized national reporting by consistently thumbing his nose at the traditionally unspoken rules of “access journalism” as he refused to play mass media lap -dog to the powerful figures often subjected to his attentions. Hastings believed in a journalism of honesty. Similar to Howard Zinn’s famous line of “when I see a cop kicking somebody on the ground I don’t have to ask myself whose side I’m on”, Hastings’ incendiary writing was borne out of a deep anger with authority and the devastation that such authority had wrought upon much of the world. Described as “important, t ruthful, and impactful”, Hastings’ short career leaves an indelible mark on the landscape of contemporary politics, media, and even journalism itself. His devotion lay not with the sources that gave him access, nor with his editors, or any potential stockholders of the publication for which he wrote. First and foremost, his devotion lay with the readers who continue to require the truthfulness, incisiveness, and unfailingly brutal honesty of his reports. Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks commented on Hast ings’ contributions shortly after his passing on June 18th “There aren’t very many legitimate reporters left in the country, Michael Hastings was one of the few.” -- Dylan Kelley, Vermont Commons “On the one hand, so many of us are deeply mourning the sudden loss of Michael Hastings, the journalist -- and I mean that in every sense of the word … Hastings cared zero percent about losing access to, or offending, the powerful and 100 percent about the truth. Contrast that with David Gregory and his ilk of overpaid, overfed Beltway big-shots. They live in a bubble where access to the powerful isn't everything, it's the only thing. … They are court couriers, relaying whispered information and placing an abiding trust in the all-powerful whisperers. There really needs to be a word in the English language that describes what they do. I know it is not "journalism." -- Will Bunch, Philly.com “Hastings was lambasted by the establishment hive for supposedly “breaking the rules,” which meant he did his job… I believe his book [“The Operators”] is one of the few “must reads” to come out of the war reportage in that it rankled the powerful while keeping faith with the people, and that’s real journalism. That is why he became a correspondent and To say he will be missed would be a gross understatement. We are losing so much.” -- Kelly Vahlos, The American Conservative

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“A Virus in the Body of Their Little Club”
"It's hard to process the fact Michael is gone. … He was a friend of mine but more importantly than that, he was one of the nation's really relentless journalists that who disregarded the rules of access journalism. … He was really about defying convention and getting to the truth about being adversarial to those in power … It's a tremendous loss to journalism." -- Glenn Greenwald, Piers Morgan Show “Michael was just a great old school journalist and he took on the power establishment, which I hope other reporters will do.” … “We’ve unfortunately lost that strain of journalism -- otherwise known as journalism” [most reporters and “98 percent of the people on TV have become total lapdogs" who are unwilling to hold the government accountable] … “You go to the White House Correspondents' Dinner: Everybody’s buddies. But they weren’t buddies with Michael Hastings. You’re supposed to make them uncomfortable. No one can argue that they weren’t made uncomfortable by Michael Hastings." -- Cenk Uygur (from Micheal Caledrone, Huffington Post) “Hastings' hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power. While other embedded reporters were charmed by McChrystal's bad-boy bravado… Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war. … there was no romance to America's misbegotten wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had felt the horror of war first-hand … He had little patience for fla cks and spinmeisters and will be remembered for his enthusiastic breaches of the conventions of access journalism. -- Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone “We've lost one of the great young journalists of our generation. … He was part I.F. Stone, part Hunter S. Thompson, with the bit of hardened war correspondent thrown in there … an epic shitdisturber … the antithesis of the caviar correspondent. He just loathed everything that establishment journalism stood for … that world of professional kvetchers. They treated him like a virus in the body of their little club.” --Jeremy Scahill (from Micheal Caledrone, Huffington Post) “… to write honestly about the watery atmosphere of ‘The Club’ would mean leaving it, and life in the aquarium is too good to leave. … It is that exchange of access for information that keeps the public in the dark about the more tawdry and legally suspect aspects of Washington culture. … [Mark] Leibovich concludes the chapter [on unofficial and official Washington's reaction to "The Runaway General"] with the announcement of Hastings' "lifetime banishment" from "The Club." His excommunication serves as tidy evidence of the access-for-self-censorship system.
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Far from being an object lesson in how bucking the rules ends a career, Hastings went on from the McChrystal dust-up to, you know, continue to have a career—a good one. I think even a good life! … He rebelled against the system and, until his untimely death in a car accident last month, thrived. … His success gives lie to the comfortable illusion that they are somehow trapped in the system, that they are fish. … if I had to choose how my colleagues might eulogize me, I would take what people said about Hastings over what they said about [Tim] Russert any day. Tim Russert was … widely known to be a great guy. … Important people sucked up to him because he had a TV show that other important people watched. A TV show whose part in the national conversation was that of an echo chamber. Michael Hastings was a great guy and a great reporter. He did not echo; he did not just speak truth to power, he shouted. In This Town, Leibovich whispers.” -- Ana Marie Cox, Washington City Paper

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“Definitely Not Some Military Hater”
“Most people I knew in the military believed Hastings to be a raging liberal who hated the military. … Within 10 minutes of meeting him my opinion had changed d ramatically. I found him to be a very rational, honest, and respectful guy. He also showed real interest in and concern for the regular combat troop and was definitely not some ‘military hater.’” -- Col. Daniel L. Davis, The Daily Beast “Michael was one of my heroes. He had a fuck you attitude to power. He didn’t play the “access” game that most Beltway reporters play i.e. toe the line and respect the Establishment in exchange for access to the President and key players. He went after the powerful, showing favour to no one. He was angry. His fiancee, Andi Parhamovich, was killed in Iraq in 2007. He knew the real cost of the war: the families left without sons, daughters, fathers, husbands and wives. ” -- Lyra McKee, muckraker.me “According to Lucian Read, the photographer who partnered with Hastings for much o f that time, the writer brought an unusual affinity for troops. His brother was in the Army, and Hastings was close in age to most of the soldiers. He tended to adopt a soldier's-eye view of authority. "His skepticism ran a lot deeper," Read says. "He was skeptical of the generals, the plans, the pronouncements, spokespeople — all the happy talk." “He pitched a story to GQ in which he would "embed" with a general — Stanley McChrystal. GQ turned it down, so he took the idea to Rolling Stone. … Yet he paid a high price for the story. The military canceled his embeds, making it much harder for him to report from war zones. And Hastings took tremendous flack from his fellow foreign correspondents, who accused him of bringing down McChrystal by breaking the unwritten rules of access.” -- Gene Maddaus, LA Weekly

“He called me from Paris one late night a couple of years later… he wanted to talk about General Stanley McChrystal… McChrystal and his crew had got indiscreetly mouthy about their nominal superiors in Obama’s Washington. Michael read me some highlights from his notes. The stuff was hot. Could he use it? I asked the obvious questions: Everybody there knew you were a reporter? Yeah. Did anyone say this gathering is off the record? No. Were you recording it? Taking notes? Both. You’re a journalist? Yeah. Then go with it. You have to. Do what the spirit say do.” “… the spirit that drove Michael was a rebel spirit, reckless of risk, careless of the etiquette of suit-and-tie mainstream journalism. Access to Important People was a one-off tactic for him, not a long-term aspiration; power was to be confronted, not courted. McChrystal and his crew doubtless assumed they would be rewarded for having granted Michael the pleasure of their company. They may even have thought they knew him.”

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“They didn’t. He published the piece, leading with the rowdy stuff, following up with his own brilliant critique of America’s militar y adventure in Afghanistan. McChrystal got summoned to Washington and fired. Michael got a book contract and a Polk award. He was establishing what these days is called a “brand”—he was the Truth Teller, the no-fear reporter who would go anywhere, however dangerous, and take on anybody, however grand, to get the story.” --Peter Goldman, Newsweek Memories “Hastings' hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power. While other embedd ed reporters were charmed by McChrystal's bad-boy bravado… Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war. … there was no romance to America's misbegotten wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had felt the horror of war first-hand … He had little patience for flacks and spinmeisters and will be remembered for his enthusiastic breaches of the conventions of access journalism. -- Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

“I know a lot of people who love or hate Michael Hastings. There are some who blame him for a certain general’s troubles [McChrystal]. My experience was always that if you said or did something that got yourself in trouble, blaming Hastings for reporting it didn’t change the fact that you were the one that got yourself in trouble. I liked Hastings immensely as a person and feared him as a reporter. He was relentless and courageous in pursuing the truth. For all his toughness, there was a sweet human quality to Michael Hastings. I called Peter Goldman [Newsweek senior editor], our mutual mentor, when I learned of Michael’s death. Peter said, “Don’t call me his mentor—all I ever did was tell him he was good.” And he was. … a unique and gifted journalist who wrote stories only he could write.” -- Joe Trippi, The New Republic “You can tell what kind of reporter Michael Hastings was by the kind of reporter who hated him. … Hastings never forgot that journalists’ loyalties are supposed to be with the public and not to the government officials whose actions they cover –and that approach distinguished him not only from [NYT’s John] Burns but from most of his colleagues … one of his golden rules for reporting was, “What does everybody know who’s on the inside, but no one’s willing to say or write.” -- Jim Naureckas, FAIR “In part, I was motivated to take the risk of publishing my experiences [between what some of our senior military leaders were saying in public [about the Afghan War] and what I knew to be true behind the scenes] because of the courage I saw in Michael Hastings. … five days later Michael wrote a very supportive piece in Rolling Stone. ... At a time when I was near persona non grata at the Pentagon and a pariah among many of my colleagues, I was very grateful for that support. But Michael didn’t stop with a written piece. Perhaps better than
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most, he knew what I would be going through personally. … I grieve his passing on a personal level because he demonstrated with his actions he cared about me at a time when it benefited him nothing. But I also grieve for what America has lost. … Though I will forever regret I didn’t say this face to face when I had the chance: ‘thank you for your service to this nation, Michael Hastings. May you rest in peace.’” -- Col. Daniel L. Davis, The Daily Beast “Michael's untimely death at 33 deprives Washington journalists and national security professionals of one of their favorite people to sneer at, condescend to, and ignorantly deride. … Many journalists I have spoken to over the years have been surprised to hear Michael spent so much time in Iraq – often more time than they spent. I heard a lot about Hastings while in Afghanistan. Very little of it was from the soldiers and air force personnel I was with. Nearly all of it was from fellow journalists, and none of it was positive. … The amount of hate Michael received from his fellow journalists for that McChrystal piece remains shocking even years later. … Those haters will surely move on to the next object of knee-jerk scorn. But I have every confidence that Michael's work, his reach and his legacy will outlast theirs.” -- Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian

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“The New York Times Will … Piss on That Career”
“When a journalist dies, how can you tell if they've had a career that's upheld the proudest journalistic traditions of challenging the powerful and fearlessly exposing the truth? The New York Times will attempt to piss on that career in the journalist's obituary… Michael Hastings is in excellent company when his New York Times obituary (6/19/13) went out of its way to discredit the reporter's best-known story [Rolling Stone profile detailed in his book “The Operators”]. -- Jim Naureckas, FAIR “When the journalist Michael Hastings died … mainstream journalism did not afford his memory much respect. His widow, Elise Jordan, complained to The New York Times about the characterization of his life’s work in the paper’s short, to -the-point obituary. But the factors that made Hastings unlauded by the mainstream were what made him so good at his job. … He was resented and distrusted — even in death, it seems — because of the slashing, pitiless nature of his good and important work.” -- Rachel Maddow, from review of ‘Breach of Trust,’ by Andrew J. Bacevich,” New York Times “I was shocked and saddened to read a blatant mischaracterization of my late husband Michael Hastings’s Rolling Stone story… in his obituary… [which] questioned the accuracy… of the article … If a reporter at the Times actually would read and properly analyze the Pentagon report, they would find exactly the opposite. … I trust you’ll make these corrections … before you print tomorrow’s paper.” -- from Elise Jordan letter to NYT Editors ( Huffington Post, June 19, 2013) ... [Piers Morgan:] “The New York Times obituary cast a bit of doubt on Michael Hasting’s Rolling Stone article.” “It was absolutely ridiculous and totally classless. … If the obituary writer had bothered to go back and read the report, she would see what she put out there actually was factually inaccurate, I still feel very strongly that we should have a retraction, but clearly the New York Times management can’t step up to the plate and admit they made a mistake.” [Piers Morgan:] “You were right, and they were wrong.” -- Elise Jordan, Piers Morgan Live (August 5, 2013) ... Note: For more details, see the June 2013 post, “MORE LIES BORNE OUT BY FACTS, IF NOT THE TRUTH” -- The New York Time’s Disingenuous Obituary of Michael Hastings & Their Whitewash of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s Role in “Le’Affair Rolling Stan” & “The Pat Tillman Story”at the Feral Firefighter blog.
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“Conspiracy Theories Have Flowered on the Web”
"[I] had the opportunity to tell him how much I admired his brave investigative reporting. That's a real loss because there aren't that many investigative reporters and of course what the Obama administration is doing right now ... is trying to shut off their sources." -- Daniel Ellsberg, Piers Morgan Show “He came to believe his Mercedes was being tampered with. … One night in June, he came to [his neighbor Jordanna] Thigpen's apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. … "He was scared, and he wanted to leave town," she says. … The next day … Hastings had died early that morning. His car had crashed into a palm tree at 75 mph and exploded in a ball of fire.” -- Gene Maddaus, LA Weekly “Free Barrett Brown sends its condolences to the friends and family of Michael Hastings… [he] was a fearless journalist who questioned power. He was a friend of Barrett’s and an active member of Project PM, a crowd-sourced research effort to expose government intelligence contractors. We deeply mourn his passing…The loss of Michael Hastings is a tremendous blow to adversarial journalism, but the circumstances surrounding his death leave many questions unanswered. … Before his untimely death, Hastings was working on a story about Barrett [Brown], announcing mysteriously to his followers “Get ready for your mind to be blown.” -- Free Barrett Brown “Conspiracy theories have flowered on the Web in the wake of his death. I suppose a “Parallax” view of events comes all too easily to the citizens of a national-security state. What we know is that Michael was alone behind the wheel of a Mercedes Benz coupe, hurtling through the earlymorning darkness at pedal-to-the-metal speed. The car crossed a median divider, hit a tree, and burst into flames. Our trade lost a great reporter, Elise Jordan lost a husband, and I’d lost a young and valued friend. Michael used to call me his mentor, when all I ever did for him was believe in him at a time when that was all he needed.” --Peter Goldman, Newsweek Memories “Ruling out a priori the possibility of foul play would be as logically fallacious as asserting its presence. … what we really need in a case like this is a Mike Hastings. T he kind of reporter who would not jump wildly to conclusions, but who would follow up the incident by asking the right people the right questions, including difficult questions. … knee-jerk speculation … sits quite at odds with Hastings’ legacy of thorough reporting and serious probing. … It does little to honor his important journalistic legacy to apply any less skepticism than Hastings would have to a strange and tragic incident. But skepticism is a different game altogether from wild speculation. ” -- Natasha Lennard, “Stop Speculating About Hastings’ Death”, Salon.com

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“…Flew Too High and Came Down with a Crash”
“Hastings lived life at full throttle, raced his demons and, at times, took unnecessary risks. … In his memoir, Hastings identifies with those he called war junkies. “I know the pull, the intoxication, the life-affirming chemicals released after seeing the abyss and coming back from it, he writes. “I survived. I made it. I didn’t fuck up. Bliss.” “In the wake of Hasting’s death, the Internet has been rife with speculation that dark forces may have been behind his pre-dawn wreck. But those closest to him dismiss the rumors. Hasting’s younger brother, Jeff—who was awarded a Bronze Star as an infantry officer in Iraq… --says he accepts the obvious and, in some ways, more difficult explanation for his brother’s death: that Michael simply drove too fast and didn’t survive. ‘I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy … There’s no part of me that’s troubled by that.” Hastings is survived by his widow, Elise Jordan, a former speechwriter for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Their unlikely romance … blossomed in the weeks that Hastings was writing his McChrystal p iece from Afghanistan. … ‘He was really brave,” Jordan says. ‘He taught me never to take shit from anybody.” --Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone [print edition only] (August 1, 2013)

"I have no doubt that he was pursuing a hot story. He always had at least five hot stories going — that was Michael. Right now, the LAPD still has an active investigation. I don't really have anything to add. My gut [feeling] here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm very unlucky and the world is very unlucky." -- Elise Jordan, Piers Morgan Live (August 5, 2013) “LAPD still has an ongoing investigation, so until that’s wrapped up, I don’t really know what they say is the cause of death (pending now on death certificate). Clearly, it was a horrific car crash, and extremely tragic and awful. I hope there is more explanation and I can reach more peace about what happened, but I unfortunately think it was just one of life’s tragedies.” -- Elise Jordan, (Ron Paul Channel, August 17, 2013) In the wake of the L.A. County Coroner's report concluding that … journalis t Michael Hastings' death was an accident, his family is … doing its best to keep his legacy alive. … [“Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Wa s Loved, Feared and Haunted“] a lengthy “L.A. Weekly” story detailing his past drug use and struggles with addiction. "There are plenty of inaccuracies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn't change anything," [said his brother Jeff Hastings]. "Losing Mike is very painful; gossip and conspiracy theories are not." -- Sara Morrison (The Wrap, August 27, 2013
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“’The Operators’ … His Legacy Will Outlast Theirs”
“The reporter, I’ve forgotten his name [Michael Hastings]. Wrote a very good book [“The Operators”], by the way, that people didn’t pay enough attention to … quite amazing book, lot of good stuff in it. Hastings broke the rules… talked about the way they [Gen. Stanley McChrystal & Team America] talked making fun of the President … --- Seymour Hersh (Institute for Policy Studies, October 12, 2013) “The predominant feeling [after reading Hasting’s book “The Operators”] … is not outrage, nor gleeful satisfaction in seeing everything one suspects about this rotten war confirmed in tawdry black and white detail and in the rise and fall of one of the most celebrated generals in a generation. The o verwhelming feeling is, well, sadness. … sadly familiar: a million film plots of mortal men who flew too high and came down with a crash. The rest … is just plain sad.” -- Kelly Vahlos, “Michael Hastings vs. Team America” (Antiwar.com, January 2012) “The Operators,” it’s a really wonderful book. To me, I think it will be remembered as the best narrative non-fiction of the last decade of wars. It is the story of his embed with Gen. McChrystal, but it is much more than that. It is also about the infighting in Washington and the disconnect between guys on the ground fighting the war and the policymakers who are totally disconnected from it.” “He loved to always challenge co nventional wisdom. There was so much controversy surrounding the McChrystal [Rolling Stone] article. If people really read the article, it was less about the quotes here and there, than the narrative that he brought together, that was challenging the narrative that COIN was working in Afghanistan. With the publication of the article you can really see how the trajectory of the Afghan war changed. He had such a huge impact.” -- Elise Jordan, Piers Morgan Live “Michael's untimely death at 33 deprives Washington journalists and national security professionals of one of their favorite people to sneer at, condescend to, and ignorantly deride. … Many journalists I have spoken to over the years have been surprised to hear Michael spent so much time in Iraq – often more time than they spent. I heard a lot about Hastings while in Afghanistan. Very little of it was from the soldiers and air force personnel I was with. Nearly all of it was from fellow journalists, and none of it was positive. … The amount of hate Michael received from his fellow journalists for that McChrystal piece remains shocking even years later. … Those haters will surely move on to the next object of knee-jerk scorn. But I have every confidence that Michael's work, his reach and his legacy will outlast theirs.” -- Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian
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... BuzzFeed has chosen Gregory Johnsen [the author of The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia] to be the inaugural 2013 – 2014 Michael Hastings National Security Reporting Fellow. The Fellowship is a yearlong post focused on “national security and challenging institutions of power, the cornerstone of Michael’s work.” --- Betsy Rothstein, mediabistro.com (October 8, 2013) “Gregory Johnsen has already proven himself one of his generation’s wisest and most original voices on national security. He’s the right writer to carry on Michael’s legacy of fiercely intelligent and deeply compelling journalism about how America has shaped and been shaped by more than a decade of war,” said -- Ben Smith, Editor-in-Chief BuzzFeed “Michael Hastings was an incredibly tenacious journalist, someone who reported fearlessly and always strove to convey what he saw abroad to his readers at home. I’m honored and humbled to be named the inaugural Michael Hastings National Security Reporting Fellow for BuzzFeed.” -- Gregory Johnson, Inaugural Michael Hastings National Security Scholar “Michael believed in honest, courageous reporting on national security and power. He was proud to be a part of BuzzFeed, and I’m grateful they will continue Michael’s legacy through this fellowship. I look forward to outstanding investigative reporting from Gregory Johnsen, a top-notch writer and thinker with unparalleled expertise in many of the world’s most volatile conflicts” -- Elise Jordan, Buzzfeed ... Elise [Jordan], teared up as she accepted a journalism award [lifetime achievement award from the Norman Mailer Center] on behalf of her husband … She recalled that Hastings … felt a kinship with for the brilliant and troublesome Mailer. When the couple fought, she said, he would point out that in "comparison to Mailer he was a great husband," a reference to a notorious incident in which Mailer stabbed his wife. “Hastings was a "dissident, a cynical idealist and a breathtaking writer." -- Elise Jordan (Associated Press, October 18, 2013)

...

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“I read The Last Magazine [described as a fast, funny roman à clef about a young, eager magazine intern named Michael M. Hastings a novel based on his own life … will be released next summer] shortly after Michael’s death and found solace in the rush of his trademark candor and insight” -- Elise Jordan, “Novel by Michael Hastings to Be Published Posthumously” (NYT, Oct 3, 2013)

“Looking to the future following their Oscar contender “12 Years a Slave,” Pitt's label Plan B has laid out an ambitious slate of projects … including an adaptation of Michael Hastings' book ‘The Operators’ …” -- Charlie Schmidlin, Indiewire (October 3, 2013) ...

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“What Would Hastings Do?”
“He was so warm and effusive and excited … was giddy that someone from our tribe had made it on one of those shows [“Tonight Show”].’ … Scahill recalled Hastings talking excitedly last week about stories he was working on, including ones about the NSA. Hastings also spoke about the property he wanted to buy in Vermont. ‘Totally full of life,’ he said.” -- Jeremy Scahill, (Huffington Post, June 19, 2013) ‘I have no doubt that he was pursuing a hot story. He always had at least five hot stories going. That was Michael … He would have loved to have worked the NSA story. President Obama’s massive crackdown on journalists. Investigations on whistleblowers. Climate of fear. It motivated him to tell the truth and challenge authority. … Right now the LAPD still has an active investigation. I don’t have anything to add, my gut here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm unlucky and the world was very unlucky.’ -- Elise Jordan (“Piers Morgan Live”, August 5, 2013) ... “‘Usually [dissenting journalists] are on the outside of institutional power, and what this [$250 million new media ventura funded by Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar is really about is] being able to create a very well-funded, powerful, well-fortified institution that’s designed not to just tolerate that kind of journalism, but to enable it and protect it, strengthen it and empower it,’ Greenwald says. ‘The people who we’re going to select 3 [so far, Jeremy Scahill & Laura Poitras] are all going to be people who take the same view of adversarial journalism, that it’s about holding the most powerful factions accountable, fearlessly, without regard to threats from the government or corporate factions. I think it’s going to be a very formidable force in shaping how journalism is understood and how it’s practiced.’” -- Glenn Greenwald, Democracy Now (Oct 28, 2013) “He is on a double mission: to push back in the name of freedom against the post -9/11 ‘surveillance state’ with its dragnet data trawling, and to reinvigorate journalism through ‘an aggressive and adversarial position to political and corporate power’ … ‘Our style will be to encourage and empower combative journalism that can be a real force against powerful people,” he says. ‘We want our journalists to follow their passion.’ He continued: “The reason why journalism is important, why it is protected in the Constitution, is to be one of the institutional checks on abuse of power, and for that you have to keep those in power at arm’s length, hold them accountable.’ For Greenwald, American journalism has been defanged by the “patriotism compulsion” after 9/11 and by the culture of big media corporations. He alludes to David Halberstam’s speech at Columbia University in 2005: ‘Never, never, never let them intimidate you. … Don’t let them.’ -- Roger Cohen, “A Journalist With a Mission’ New York Times (Nov 1, 2013)
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If he was still alive, I’d bet that Michael Hastings would have also bee n invited to join this group.

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... My disbelief at his passing turns to anger. Anger at all the extant journalists who could but never will achieve what Hastings did in his unduly short career, the ones who won't do that because they do not seek to expose the truth about powerful people, instead preferring to actively shore up power, or write equivocal mush, or bash easy targets only. During times of grief, anger turns to bargaining. Here's the deal I'd like cut with any god who will listen, since I know we don't get him back: don't take any more young journalists from us, and we - as individuals and an industry - will do better. All the stooges going on TV to defend the NSA's mass surveillance program because Obama is a Good Guy who Knows Best, all the pundits currently working on their op-eds about how Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald are Not Good Guys and so we can't trust their message - they'll all take a moment to pause and think again. "What Would Hastings Do?" they'll ask themselves. (Here's the answer.)4 I know that won't really happen, but it's a nice thought. Real reporting is the poorer for Michael Hastings' passing, and it was in pretty rough shape already. We have to do better. We owe it to him. -- Joe Macare, “What We Owe Michael Hastings,” Truthout

Michael was no stranger to trying to make sense of this kind of tragedy nor was he unfamiliar the emptiness felt in the wake of a senseless, random death. After all, he'd already learned about it the only way he ever deemed acceptable for a non hack: first-hand. [death of his first fiancée Andi Parhamovich]” “As a journalist, he specialized in speaking truth to power and layin g it all out there. … He always sought out the hard stories, pushed for the truth, let it all hang out on the page. … he lit a bright lamp for those who wanted to follow his example. … exiting, he leaves us all with little more than questions and a blank sheet of paper. Maybe that's challenge to continue to use it to write the truth. I hope we can live up to that. He was a great friend and I will miss him terribly." -- Matt Farwell, Rolling Stone ... I Truly Respect … Writers who live their lives with integrity and without compromise. -- Michael Hastings, 2009 True/Slant blog profile

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I heartily agree with this statement RT @wilw #IStandWithEdwardSnowden because governments must be held accountable to their citizens. 32

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“He Leaves Us All With Little More Than Questions”

“The pizzeria video is compelling, but it fails to answer the key question: Why was Michael Hastings traveling so fast? … “None of this happens without the speed.” … I hope that someo ne will be able to explain why Hastings’s Mercedes was speeding like a silver bullet.” -- Michael Krikorian (“The Michael Hastings Crash”, July 16, 2013) “A Hastings/[Barrett] Brown interview almost certainly would have included questions about Brown's research on "black hat" private security firms that work with the official U.S. intelligence community. … Were individuals connected to Endgame … fearing possible exposure in government-sponsored wrongdoing -- involved in Michael Hastings' death? -- legalschnauzer.blogspot.com (July 1, 2013) “Richard Clarke made news when he told the Huffington Post that the circumstances of Hasting’s car chase were “consistent with a car cyber attack” … ‘There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers’ — including the United States — know how to remotely seize control of a car.” --- Andrew Leonard (Salon.com – “Hacking a car is way too easy”) “… despite a strong conspiracy outcry, the lead LAPD detective on the case said …’So far, all evidence leads to an accident.’ … said Det. Connie White, referring to the LAPD's announcement two days after the crash that there was "no foul play involved. … Regarding internet gossip about cyber -hacking into the Mercedes … Det. White said "There has been no evidence at all leading in that direction." -- Michael Krikorian (LAPD's Michael Hastings Crash Investigation Update (July 24, 2013) “Ruling out a priori the possibility of foul play would be as logically fallacious as asserting its presence. … what we really need in a case like this is a Mike Hastings. … knee-jerk speculation … sits quite at odds with Hastings’ legacy of thorough reporting and serious probing. … It does little to honor his important journalistic legacy to apply any less skepticism than Hastings would have to a strange and tragic incident. But skepticism is a different game altogether from wild speculation.” -- Natasha Lennard, “Stop Speculating About Hastings’ Death”, Salon.com 33

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Why Was Michael Hasting’s Car Speeding & Running Red Lights at 4 AM?
Shortly before 4:20 AM on June 18, 2013 Michael Hastings left his house, his car sped about 1.5 miles down Highland Ave, blew through three red lights, went off the road and crashed into a palm tree. Hastings was killed by the impact and his car burst into flames. Blogger Stacy McCain wrote that the key question remaining is “ why Michael Hastings was driving so fast at such an ungodly hour” (LA reporter Michael Krikorian wrote Hastings was on his way to Las Vegas even though his brother was in-town and another arriving that day). Some conspiracy theorists believe Hastings’ car was blown up by some governmental or corporate entity that was concerned by the “big story” he was working on about the NSA (or CIA?). However, I don’t think the available evidence supports that theory (see the following section). But, perhaps Hastings was trying to outrun a real threat. Or, it appears technologically possible that his car may have been “hacked” (or old-fashioned physical tampered with) to control the braking, steering, and/or acceleration of his car. Or, perhaps a “non-conspiracy theory” explains the high-speed? Was Hastings intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs? Was he an adrenaline junkie who was recklessly speeding? Was he a haunted soul suffering from PTSD who was suicidal? Was he despondent on the anniversary of Andi’s (his deceased first fiancée who blown up in Iraq in 2007) birthday? Was he paranoid (from PTSD and/or drug use) and “gripped by fear” & “trying to outrun something” imagined? I don’t know the truth of the matter. I’m agnostic as to whether the crash was an accident or an assassination. Ultimately, either option may be found to be true. Unfortunately, there’s no “smoking gun” that definitely rule out either optio n. It appears the LAPD “investigation” didn’t seriously look into the potential of “foul play” and his family isn’t talking about the matter. We may never know. The rest of my post explores the Hastings car crash and discusses some of the possible explanations behind the crash in more detail. At the end, I lay out my own thoughts on the matter and discuss the LAPD and media “character assassination” of Michael Hastings.
...

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From Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theories: Missing the Real Mystery of His Death: There is no reason to believe that the car accident was anything other than a car accident — insofar as a fatal crash is an “accident” when you’re driving a Mercedes-Benz sports coupe 100 mph down a city street at 4 o’clock in the morning. The real story — and I’ve said this from the get-go — is why Michael Hastings was driving so fast at such an ungodly hour.

From Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013): "In my [Detective Connie White] investigation, it appears to be that nothing else was going on other than this was a accident. We may never know exactly why he was speeding, but the speeding caused the crash. This was, like I have said, a tragic accident."

From The Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 16. 2013): The pizzeria video is compelling, but it fails to answer the key question: Why was Michael Hastings traveling so fast? … As [Scott E.] Anderson put it, “None of this happens without the speed.” … I hope that someone will be able to explain why Hastings’s Mercedes was speeding like a silver bullet . ... Santa Monica Blvd-The Witnesses: Scott Lane of Loudlabs was parked in a gas station at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Highland. His dash cam was still turned on from his last assignment. He was not looking up when the Mercedes rocketed by [thru a red light ]… Michael Carter had stopped for a red light at Santa Monica and Highland. … As I was running, a couple of workers from the service station at the corner of Melrose and Highland were also running over. In broken English, one of them and I traded stories of what we saw as we ran. From what I could understand, he saw the car come off the ground at some point —maybe when [it] crossed Melrose. Witness Jose Rubalcava: Jose was at the donut shop on the corner of Highland and Melrose … He was leaving when he was shocked to see Hastings’ car blast through the intersection of Highland and Melrose Blvd.

From Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013):

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A pedestrian was nearly hit by Hastings' Mercedes at the traffic light on Highland at Willoughby Avenue about halfway between Melrose and Santa Monica Boulevard, where the Benz ran a red light. ... From Exclusive: Who Killed Michael Hastings? Carl Gibson – Occupy.com, October 24, 2013: "His friends and family who know him, everyone says he drives like a grandma, so that right there doesn't seem like something that he would be doing,” said Hastings’s friend, the Staff Sgt. Joe Biggs, in an interview with Fox News's Megyn Kelly one week after the crash. “He had a lot of friends and family that cared about him. He had a good life to live. There's no way he would be acting erratic like that and acting that out of control.”

From “Hours before death, Hastings claimed the FBI was on his tail” (RT -- June 24, 2013 19:2): Appearing on Fox News on Monday, Ali Gharib, a journalist and friend of Hastings, said “I don’t think he was a reckless a person.” “That doesn’t mean he might not have been driving excessively fast,” added Gharib, who said it wouldn’t be “a wild situation” to imagine Hastings driving quickly through Los Angeles late last week.

From Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013): Hastings was on his way to Las Vegas that morning [driving or flying?]. Note: His brother was staying next door and his other brother coming in that morning. Told detectives (see Appendix “H”): “He had no idea where decedent may have been traveling to or from at the time of the collision, reporting decedent worked from home as he was a writer.” Why leaving town?

... From Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted (Gene Maddaus -- LA Weekly, Thursday, Aug 22 2013): [Robertson says, "This is speculation. But he's going at high speed. It's as if he was gripped by fear and he was trying to outrun something. And he floored it, trying to escape. He enacted a flight from something, real or imagined." As theories go, it's better than most.

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From Sorry Conspiracy Theorists, Toxicology Report Shows Michael Hastings Was on Amphetamines (Ben Cohen – The Daily Banter August 21, 2013): While the report … stated that neither substance was factor in the crash, it stands to reason that the drugs he took had a part to play in the speed he was traveling at. … Amphetamines can cause euphoria, hallucinations, aggression, and a state of grandiosity, – all states of mind that would lead a young man driving an expensive sports car (a 200 horse power Mercedes C250) to drive at high speed. Apparently Hastings had relapsed into drug use a month or so before the crash

From Michael Hastings was afraid his car was tampered with (RT -- August 22, 2013) The official report has since ruled out drugs or alcohol as the reason behind the crash, and perhaps no one will never know why Hastings’ automobile accelerated down a Hollywood strip that morning and into a tree. Coupled with the apparent attempts to warn his associate and WikiLeaks of a possible investigation, Thigpen’s admission isn’t making it any easier to close the case. Whether or not Hastings’ fear of driving his own car was justified by the work he was doing or other stressors at play will likely never be known. ...

LINKS: Why Was Michael Hasting’s Car Going So Fast & Running Red Lights?
Santa Monica Blvd-The Witnesses (adriaen22.wordpress, 7-11-13) Sorry Conspiracy Theorists, Toxicology Report Shows Michael Hastings Was on Amphetamines (Ben Cohen – The Daily Banter August 21, 2013) Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theories: Missing the Real Mystery of His Death (theothermccain.com -- August 16, 2013) Foul Play Thread: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread966108/pg1#pid16838980 LAPD Report Thread: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread962094/pg12 From Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted (Gene Maddaus -- LA Weekly, Thursday, Aug 22 2013): From “Hours before death, Hastings claimed the FBI was on his tail” (RT -- June 24, 2013 19:2):
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Was Hastings “Targeted” After Snowden Leaks Because of His “Big Story”on the NSA or CIA? (Is There a Barrett Brown or “Endgame” Connection?)
Michael Hastings death shortly after Snowden’s NSA leaks in early June 2013 certainly made me suspect possible “foul play” in his fiery car crash death. Did someone want to stop additional leaks to him? Or perhaps send him a warning (too successful) to back off? Shortly after his death, “[Jeremy] Scahill recalled Hastings talking excitedly … about stories he was working on, including ones about the NSA.” About 18 hours before Hastings died, he sent an email at 10 AM (PST) to several friends and colleagues with the subject heading: “FBI investigation, re: NSA”. He wrote, ‘Hey … the Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates. … Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radar for a bit.” And, Paul Joseph Watson claims in his Inforwars piece, “Feds Visited Michael Hastings’ House Day Before His Death” (8-06-13) that a “close friend of Hastings” told him that he “had his home visited by agents from an unnamed federal agency the day before his death…” (if not the FBI, perhaps someone claiming to be from them had spoken to Hastings?) That email got my attention (among others) and led to “conspiracy theory” speculation on the blogosphere. LA reporter Mike Krikorian wrote in h is piece, “Hastings Final Accident Report Not the LAPD's, KW's” (krikorianwrites.com, October 7, 2013), some of Hastings’ friends were convinced “dark forces” were responsible for his death: About six weeks [Aug 25?] or so ago, two of his friends, who asked me not to use their names used, told me, without a doubt, Michael Hastings was murdered by the CIA or some dark forces. But, as time went on, they weren't so sure. Maybe it was just an accident, they both said separately in mid September.” Three days after his death, the FBI denied Hastings was under investigation. “At no time was Michael Hastings under investigation by the FBI,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said . In his LA Weekly profile Gene Maddaus suggested that Hastings was paranoid, writing that “No friends or associates have stepped forward to say that they were interviewed [by the FBI]…”). Of course, it’s possible they hadn’t yet been contacted. Two months after his death, after a FOIA request, when asked about why it would take so long to compile records on a person who was never under investigation, an FBI spokesman told MSN News:
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"Our statement from way back in June is still the same," FBI spokesperson Paul Bresson said. "At no time did we have an investigation on Michael Hastings. Whether or not his name surfaced during another investigation, or his name is in our files for some reason, that's another question." On September 9, 2013, in response to the FOIA, the FBI finally released 3-pages about Hastings’ June 2012 Rolling Stone piece on Bowe Bergdahl, an Army soldier captured by the Taliban. Al Jazerra noted that the “title of the case file has been withheld under a FOIA exemption that claims that the information, if disclosed, could interfere with an ongoing law-enforcement investigation” and that they “located one ‘cross reference’ file pertaining to a pending criminal investigation [Barrett Brown?]. The FBI would not comment further about the nature of the probe.” FBI spokeswomen Laura Eimiller told Al Jazerra she stands by her original June comment: "Being referenced in an FBI file does not make one the subject of an FBI investigation," she added, referring to the pages the agency released Monday. In a letter accompanying the document and explaining the exemptions the FBI invoked, the agency said: "A search of the FBI Headquarters electronic surveillance indices has been conducted, and no responsive record which indicates that Michael Hastings has ever been the target of electronic surveillance was located." Hmm, sounds like there’s a bit of wiggle room there. How about non-electronic surveillance? Today (10-19-13), the FBI still denies they were investigating Hastings: “No FBI records indicate an investigative interest in Hastings.” ... After whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations of dragnet surveillance by NSA, Hastings wrote an article on June 7, 2013 that referenced imprisoned journalist Barrett Brown for the first time since April 2012. Titled “Why Democrats Love To Spy On Americans,” it lambasted supposedly liberal Democrats for their unrelenting war on those who seek to expose the operations of the surveillance state. His article ended with “Perhaps more information will
soon be forthcoming.

In his WhoWhatWhy piece, “Connections Between Michael Hastings, Edward Snowden And Barrett Brown—The War With The Security State” (August 7, 2013), Christian Stork speculated that Hastings “was researching a story [the “big story”?] that threatened to expose powerful entities and government-connected figures. That story intersected with the work of two controversial government critics—the hacker Barrett Brown and the on-the-run surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden.”

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At the time of his death in a fiery car crash Michael Hastings was working on a story about alleged Anonymous leader Barrett Brown. Currently under federal indictment on charges related to computer hacking, Brown is the journalist who first reported on a shadowy private security firm in Atlanta called Endgame. As I noted last year in my 2012 post, “Something to Die For” (see Appendices). Nate Fick left the Washington think-tank CNAS in late 2012 to become the CEO of Endgame. In his Wired piece, “The Secret War” (June 12, 2013), James Bamford discussed “Endgame”: One of the most secretive of these [NSA] contractors is Endgame Systems … “We’ve been very careful not to have a public face on our company” [CEO Nate Fick!] … Endgame is developing ways to break into Internet-connected devices through chinks in their antivirus armor. … these vulnerabilities are known as “zero-day exploits,” because it has been zero days since they have been uncovered and fixed. … Endgame also offers its intelligence clients … a unique map showing them exactly where their targets are located. In the piece, “Was The Fiery Death Of Journalist Michael Hastings Connected To Atlanta Security Firm Called Endgame?,” legalschnauzer.blogspot.com speculated on the possible connections between Endgame & Hasting’s death: “The Web site freebarrettbrown.org reports that Hastings was planning to interview Brown in late June and had announced to his followers, "Get ready for your mind to be blown." A Hastings/Brown interview almost certainly would have included questions about Brown's research on "black hat" private security firms that work with the official U.S. intelligence community. Primary among such firms is Endgame, which is based on the seventh floor of the former Biltmore Hotel building in Atlanta. Before the interview could take place, Hastings was killed when his car exploded, with the engine blown some sixty feet from the wreckage on a Los Angeles street. Were individuals connected to Endgame and the U.S.Chamber--fearing possible exposure in governmentsponsored wrongdoing--involved in Michael Hastings' death? (And more speculation can be found in the piece, Uncle Sam's hackers: A new theory of the death of Michael Hastings.) However, blogger Cheri Roberts doesn’t believe the (forthcoming?) Rolling Stone profile of former CIA director John Brennan nor the Barrett Brown story was the “big story” Hastings was working on before he died: From “Disorderly Conduct - Wacky Wednesday” Vince in the Bay [Internet Radio] -August 28, 2013 [Guests CheriSpeak, Joe Biggs; Guy Montag called-in]: 13:25 -- Cheri: Rolling Stone Brennan piece not BIG story. NOR about Barrett Brown. Spoke with his lawyer Kevin Gallagher, story on hold, scheduled to meet end of June or start of July. Project PM 14:10-- Cheri: Project PM “Endgame” big story?
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... Overall, I certainly believe it is possible that Hastings was targeted by some governmental or corporate entity. What would be their motive? Perhaps they were concerned about Hastings’ “big story” and/or more intelligence leaks shortly after Edward Snowden’s revelations just a couple of weeks before his death. Perhaps someone tampered with his car to try to scare him off the story (and inadvertently killed him). Or, maybe made an example out of him to dissuade other journalists from digging deeper. But, this is mostly speculation. Usually, in this country, the powers-that-be just “disappear” journalists by keeping them off the mainstream media outlets. And if a source was about to leak to him, perhaps it would have been easier to eliminate the source of the leak? ...

LINKS: Was Hastings “Targeted” Because of His Reporting on NSA/CIA, “Endgame,” and Barrett Brown?
FBI & Michael Hastings: Hours Before His Death Michael Hastings Contacted Wikileaks Attorney Said FBI Was Investigating Him (YouTube Young Turks -- Published on Jun 19, 2013 We’re Suing The FBI For Records On Journalist Michael Hasting (Jason Leopold, 7-29-13) Feds Visited Michael Hastings’ House Day Before His Death (infowars, 8-06-13): Rumor: FBI investigating Michael Hastings before death (Curtis Cartier -- MSN News, August 20, 2013) FBI continues to investigate Hastings for 'controversial reporting' Jason Leopold -- Al Jazeera, September 9, 2013 Why was the FBI looking into a Michael Hastings story about a missing soldier? Joe Kloc – The Daily Dot, September 13, 2013 Michael Hastings FBI Document: Redacted Freedom Of Information Act Release Christopher Zara (International Business Times, September 25, 2013) http://vault.fbi.gov/michael-hastings/michael-hastings-part-01-of-01/view Explanation of FOIA/PA Exemptions
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Possible CIA Connection: From “The CIA To Provide New Details Into Hastings Death” (Kimberly Dvorak – San Diego 6, October 6, 2013): This week the CIA responded to a written request by stating it will provide some information on Mr. Hastings, but declined to answer any questions regarding connections between Mr. Hastings, jailed jo urnalist Barrett Brown or Reddit’s deceased founder, Aaron Schwarz. Interestingly, the CIA asserted federal law, which prohibits it from spying on Americans as the reason for not responding to FOIAs on Brown and Schwarz, but failed to explain why it had a file on Hastings. Possible “Endgame” Connection: Was The Fiery Death Of Journalist Michael Hastings Connected To Atlanta Security Firm Called Endgame? (Legal Schnauzer, July 1, 2013) Uncle Sam's hackers: A new theory of the death of Michael Hastings Cannon Fire, July 22, 2013 Connections Between Michael Hastings, Edward Snowden And Barrett Brown—The War With The Security State (Christian Stork WhoWhatWhy -- August 7, 2013) The Secret War James Bamford – Wired, June 12, 2013 “Hastings Final Accident Report - Not the LAPD's, KW's” Michael Krikorian, krikorianwrites.com -- October 07, 2013

Possible Barrett Brown Connection: Connections Between Michael Hastings, Edward Snowden And Barrett Brown—The War With The Security State (Christian Stork, WhoWhatWhy -- August 7, 2013) Month before hacktivist Barrett Brown’s trial date in downtown Dallas, attorneys wrestle over delay, gag order (Robert Wilonsky, Dallas News – 8-09-13) Disorderly Conduct - Wacky Wednesday Vince in the Bay [Internet Radio] -- August 28, 2013 [Guests CheriSpeak, Joe Biggs; Guy Montag called-in] Probably not Barrett Brown Connection http://cherispeak.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/michael-hastings-death-is-buried-in-controversy/ (talked with Barrett Brown lawyer).
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The US Government Just Upheld Barrett Brown's Gag Order Fruzsina Eördögh – Vice, September 5, 2013 Here’s What Happened At Barrett Brown’s Gag Hearing Dell Cameron – Vice, September 6, 2013 Hacktivist Journo Barrett Brown And Lawyers Gagged Douglas Lucas and Christian Stork, WhoWhatWhy -- September 9, 2013 Barrett Brown Can't Talk About Why the Government Wants to Jail Him for a Century Steve Rendall – FAIR September 10, 2013

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Could “Car Hacking” or “Boston Brakes” Explain Hasting’s High-Speed Car Crash?
LA reporter Mike Krikorian wrote in his piece, “Hastings Final Accident Report - Not the LAPD's, KW's” (krikorianwrites.com, October 7, 2013), that two of his friends told him “without a doubt, Michael Hastings was murdered by the CIA or some dark forces.” (Although, Krikorian added “as time went on, they weren't so sure. Maybe it was just an accident, they both said separately in mid September”). Gene Maddaus wrote in his LA Weekly profile that just a few hours before his death, Michael Hastings “came to [his neighbor Jordanna] Thigpen's apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. … ‘He was scared, and he wanted to leave town’…” Why was he afraid to drive his car? Did he fear it had been tampered with? (but why then would he drive it just a few hours later?) Was he paranoid from too much THC? Or had his car been “hacked” or physically tampered with? In her first piece, “Details Of Reporter Hastings' Death Remain Elusive” (July 8, 2013), Kimberly Dvorak suggested “Boston Brakes” may explain the Hastings crash: “a former Marine Gordon Duff who refers to the “Boston Brakes” [from the novel “The Feathermen” & the movie “The Killer Elite”!] technique, in which “drive by wire” cars, specifically a Mercedes Benz, can be manipulated remotely to simulate an out-of-control accident, according to his Veterans Today story (The 2010 story is a must read). The story details are eerily similar to Hastings fiery accident scene as there were no skid marks. Adding credence to the possible car-hacking scenario is former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke. After news broke on the Hastings car accident, he confirmed the “drive by wire” concept. Clarke told The Huffington Post that a single-vehicle crash is “consistent with a car cyber attack. There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers -including the United States -- know how to remotely seize control of a car.” Jason Torchinsky, in his piece “AOL's Story About Terrorist Carhacking Is Fearmongering Bullshit ” (Jalaponk.com, June 19, 2013) was dismissive of pure wireless hacks, but wrote “normally, some manner of physical access to the car's systems is required, and if you have that access, there's easier ways to screw with a car.” My takeaway from reading his piece (and others) car hacking is technically feasible (if not easy) if someone can obtain physical access to the car.
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Jason Mick wrote in his piece, “Charlie Miller Releases Open Source "Car Sabotage Toolkit" (dailytech - September 5, 2013) how such hacking could be done: “Once (temporarily) installed on a target ECU these codes were capable of sudden braking, brake failure, or acceleration, via sending malicious signals to various other onboard ECUs. … Anyone with basic skills, physical access t o your car, and mischief or malice in their hearts can now attach a malicious device to your car -- or potentially even reprogram one of your onboard ECUs. When you start driving, the attacker's code will spring into effect, and if the author did their homework, it may erase any trace of itself after it accomplishes its objectives.” Even skeptics such as Mark Rothchild have been persuaded car hacking is a possibility: “I do find it unlikely that Hastings’ car was hacked into, but as I say elsewhere in the piece, unlikely does not mean impossible. Clearly, technology exists to be able to remotely take control of certain elements of a new car’s computer system, eithe r through a remote signal or an installed program. It’s not entirely implausible that a sophisticated organization could make use of it to engineer an assassination that, by its nature, would destroy the evidence that it occurred. However, I maintain that this technology is mostly unproven, with too many variables to be a foolproof method of killing someone. But, in his piece, “The Michael Hastings Crash,” LA reporter Michael Krikorian raised some objections to car hacking: Hastings ran at least two red lights, and possibly a third. Could a hacker have planned for no cross traffic, which might have derailed the mission? … If the flash before the dark frame [in the crash video] was indeed brakes, that would indicate the brake light was functional. If the car were hurtling along out of his control, wouldn’t Hastings have been plying the brake pedal all along, not merely in the last second before the crash? … And even if the brakes and accelerator were rigged, the steering must have been functional, according to a Los Angeles Police Department officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “For nearly a half a mile, that car must have been going straight” Note: Both Rothchild and Krikorian assumes that assassination was intended; perhaps any hacking was intended to send him a warning? Wouldn’t the brake light come on when the pedal was tapped even if the brakes weren’t functioning? I f the steering were functional, Hastings could have still crashed (in August my kid’s principal drove for about a mile or two with failed brakes and jumped out before his car went into a lake; he panicked and didn’t think of other ways to stop the truck). ... I believe some sort of “car hacking” (or old-fashioned tampering) is the only “conspiracy theory” that could possibly explain the Hastings’ car crash (the evidence just doesn’t point to a bomb; see my discussion in another chapter).

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But, LAPD Detective Connie White said, "In my investigation, it appears to be that nothing else was going on other than this was a accident” and quickly ruled out “foul play” such as “bomb or car-hacking” as a cause of the crash. But it doesn’t appear she ever seriously investigated the possibility of hacking or tampering or did a forensic analysis of the car systems to check for foul play (we may find out for sure if they ever release their final report). Mike Krikorian wrote that Det. White told him, “’If this were anything other than an accident, other departments would have been brought in to investigate,’ alluding to homicide, the bomb squad or a terrorism unit. (Though one might think “other departments” would have been needed in any case–simply to determine whether it was an accident or not.)” But, even if the car had been hacked and the LAPD had done due diligence in their investigation would such hacking/tampering even be possible to detect in this case, given damage to the car from the high-speed impact and the resulting fully-involved car fire? ... From Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted (Gene Maddaus -- LA Weekly, Thursday, Aug 22 2013): One night in June, he came to Thigpen's apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. She declined, telling him her car was having mechanical problems. "He was scared, and he wanted to leave town," she says. The next day, around 11:15 a.m., she got a call from her landlord, who told her Hastings had died early that morning. His car had crashed into a palm tree at 75 mph and exploded in a ball of fire. Michael Hastings was afraid his car was tampered with (RT -- August 22, 2013) The official report has since ruled out drugs or alcohol as the reason behind the crash, and perhaps no one will never know why Hastings’ automobile accelerated down a Hollywood strip that morning and into a tree. Coupled with the apparent attempts to warn his associate and WikiLeaks of a possible investigation, Thigpen’s admission isn’t making it any easier to close the case. Whether or not Hastings’ fear of driving his own car was justified by the work he was doing or other stressors at play will likely never be known. ... From The Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 16, 2013): Some theorize that the car was hacked—operated remotely (like a drone, for example) by someone who wished to harm Hastings. That may be technologically possible, but is it
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plausible? Hastings ran at least two red lights, and possibly a third. Could a hacker have planned for no cross traffic, which might have derailed the mission? If the flash before the dark frame was indeed brakes, that would indicate the brake light was functional. If the car were hurtling along out of his control, wouldn’t Hastings have been plying the brake pedal all along, not merely in the last second before the crash? And even if the brakes and accelerator were rigged, the steering must have been functional, according to a Los Angeles Police Department officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “For nearly a half a mile, that car must have been going straight,” the officer said. “That can’t be done at that speed for that long, even with the best alignment.” As far as a bomb or car-hacking, [Detective] White said, “At this point there is nothing that leads us in that direction.” When asked if any explosive materials had been discovered on the car or at the crash scene, White sounded like she chuckled. … But she returned to the phone and said, “No.” “If this were anything other than an accident, other departments would have been brought in to investigate,” alluding to homicide, the bomb squad or a terrorism unit. (Though one might think “other departments” would have been needed in any case–simply to determine whether it was an accident or not.)

From LAPD's Michael Hastings Crash Investigation Update (Michael Krikorian, July 24, 2013): Regarding internet gossip about cyber-hacking into the Mercedes, such a disabling the brakes and jamming the accelerator, Det. White said "There has been no evidence at all leading in that direction."

From Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013): But, White once again ruled out any idea a bomb was placed in the car or any other foul play. "In my investigation, it appears to be that nothing else was going on other than this was a accident.

From “Hastings Final Accident Report - Not the LAPD's, KW's” (Michael Krikorian, krikorianwrites.com -- October 07, 2013): A six weeks [Aug 25?] or so ago, two of his friends, who asked me not to use their names used, told me, without a doubt, Michael Hastings was murdered by the CIA or some dark forces. But, as time went on, they weren't so sure Maybe it was just an accident, they both said separately in mid September. … So, not that hardly anyone cares, here's what I
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think. Michael Hastings wasn't the victim of a high power evil operations to silence him and any upcoming investigation he was undertaking. He just crashed. … From Exclusive: Who Killed Michael Hastings? (Carl Gibson – Occupy.com, Oct. 24, 2013): According to Stefan Savage, a computer science professor at the University of California, San Diego, any modern vehicle’s computer system made by any manufacturer can be hacked. In a phone interview with Occupy.com, Savage described a series of experiments that he and his team conducted, in which they remotely hacked a car’s computer systems. “If you’re talking about where people have arbitrary control of a car, that takes a significant amount of time,” Savage said. “If you want to take it over and break it, that’s less complicated.” … We could listen to conversations in the car, and could take over everything in the drivetrain, like acceleration and brakes, through a cellular network.’” ...

LINKS: Could Car Hacking or “Boston Brakes” Explain Crash?
Researchers Show How a Car’s Electronics Can Be Taken Over Remotely John Markoff – New York Times, March 9, 2011 How Easily Can a Moving Car Be Hacked? DJ Pangburn – Vice, June 19, 2013 AOL's Story About Terrorist Carhacking Is Fearmongering Bullshit Jason Torchinsky Jalaponk.com, June 19, 2013 Hacking a car is way too easy Andrew Leonard, Salon.com, June 25, 2013 Why It's Unlikely Someone Killed Michael Hastings By Hacking His Car Patrick George -- Jalopnik.com, June 26, 2013 Details Of Reporter Hastings' Death Remain Elusive Kimberly Dvorak – San Diego 6 News, July 8, 2013 $25 gadget lets hackers seize control of a car Paul Marks --New Scientist, July 17, 2013 Hackers Reveal Nasty New Car Attacks--With Me Behind The Wheel (Video) Michael Fahn –Forbes, July 24, 2013 Gordon Duff: Boston Brakes, No Skidmarks In The Sky
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Veterans Today, July 25, 2013 Was Car Tampered With Thread: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread966108/pg1#pid16838980 Michael Hastings was afraid his car was tampered with RT -- August 22, 2013 Report: Hastings Feared Tampering On Rented Mercedes David J. Krajicek WhoWhatWhy -- Aug 23, 2013 Why Michael Hastings Wasn’t Murdered Mike Rothschild – Skeptoid, August 26, 2013 Charlie Miller Releases Open Source "Car Sabotage Toolkit" Jason Mick—dailytech, September 5, 2013 9:09 AM From “Hastings Final Accident Report - Not the LAPD's, KW's” (Michael Krikorian, krikorianwrites.com -- October 07, 2013): Exclusive: Who Killed Michael Hastings? (Carl Gibson – Occupy.com, October 24, 2013)

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“ACCIDENT OR ASSASSINATION?”
Michael Hasting’s Fatal Fiery Car Crash

Kimberly Dvorak

Michael Hastings Car Crash

Almost inevitably, his death — in a fiery, single-car crash, at 4:20 a.m. on June 18 — resulted in a swarm of conspiracy theories.… There's a sign tacked to the tree where Hastings crashed that night, reading, "This was not an accident." … Kimberly Dvorak … now the leading reporter looking at "alternate" theories of the crash. She has not always been entirely reliable. … Hastings' family and the Los Angeles Police Department both have dismissed the conspiracies. … -- Gene Maddaus, “Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind”: “Matt Farwell … is furious with Dvorak, whom he called ‘a fucking disgrace—and that’s on the record.’ … “unless it’s good solid shoe leather journalism [like the piece from Michael Krikorian] —it’s not helping anyone. … There are enough truly troubling things about the Michael Hastin gs story not to have legitimate inquiries sidetracked by a red herring. As Matt Farwell pointed out, instead of advancing a real investigation, such shoddy “reporting” has the exact opposite effect.” -- Russ Baker (WhoWhatWhy, August 13, 2013) “… despite a strong conspiracy outcry, the lead LAPD detective on the case said …’So far, all evidence leads to an accident.’ … said Det. Connie White, referring to the LAPD's announcement two days after the crash that there was ‘no foul play involved.’” -- Michael Krikorian (LAPD's Michael Hastings Crash Investigation Update, July 24, 2013) "’I'm not even close to being done with the investigation’ … ‘In my investigation, it appears to be that nothing else was going on other than this was an accident. We may never know exactly why he was speeding, but the speeding caused the crash. This was, like I have said, a tragic accident." Detective Connie White (“Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over “ (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013) “’I haven't finished with Hastings' final report… But, then she added, ‘No one is going to have access to that anyway.’ I really wish she hadn't said that. Det. [Connie] White had to go and say that and bring back the ‘What are they hiding?’ suspicions.” -- Michael Krikorian, “Hastings Final Accident Report - Not the LAPD's, KW's” (October 7, 2013) 50

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MICHAEL HASTING’S FIERY CAR CRASH: ACCIDENT OR ASSASSINATION?
I first heard of Michael Hastings when his Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal came out in June 2010. Coincidentally, I had just finished my latest post, "The Emperor's General", about President Obama’s role in the whitewash of McChrystal’s key role in the cover up of Pat Tillman’s 2004 friendly-fire death in Afghanistan. Afterwards, I admired Hasting’s feisty media appearances and his brand of no bullshit journalism. I read his 2008 book, “I Lost My Love in Baghdad” (the last pages brought tears to my eyes) and I thought his 2012 book “The Operators” (about his 2010 “road trip” with Gen. McChrystal & “Team America”) was one of the best (and certainly most entertaining) accounts of the Afghan War. In The Operators Hastings portrayed McChrystal as the “face” of the Afghan War and used McChrystal as the hook upon which to hang his larger narrative of the Afghan War. In my April 2012 post “Something to Die For” I portrayed McChrystal as the “face” of the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s friendly-fire death and used Hasting’s book as the hook upon which to hang my narrative of the “untold” Tillman story. In August 2012, Michael emailed to thank me for sending him a copy of my work. Just after Christmas 2012, I sent Michael a rough draft of my new post, “Never Shall I Fail My Comrades,” that documented McChrystal’s command of JSOC torture, etc. He emailed back, thanked me, and gave me his phone numbers. Five months later, on Memorial Day weekend, I finally finished my extensively revised & expanded version that thoroughly debunked McChrystal’s bullshit memoir (I had written it with Hastings as someone who might fully appreciate my work and/or do something with it). But, I put off emailing/calling Hastings until after I finished the post, got the time to read his new ebook (“Panic 2012”), and returned from vacation on June 15th. I regret I never called him when I had the chance. On June 18, 2013, I was shocked and saddened to see the news about his death in a late-night fiery car crash. Like many others, I wondered if the crash was an accident or an assassination. Hasting’s had pissed off powerful people and died soon after Snowden’s disclosures of the NSA surveillance programs. Was he working on a related story someone wanted stopped? And, within days of his death, Sgt Biggs released an email about Hasting’s concerns about an FBI investigating him and said he “drove like a grandma.”

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With my 22-years experience as a firefighter, several aspects of the Hastings car crash puzzled me. After watching the LoudLab video taken shortly after the crash (and a few minutes before the crash up the street), I was surprised to see that the car was already fully involved in flame just a few minutes after the crash (in my experience as a firefighter, I’d never seen a car go up in flames like that so soon after a crash). Was it possible explosives set off the gas tank? And, it looked like the car hit the tree almost perpendicular to the road which isn’t consistent with a high-speed impact. And, I’d never heard of an engine ejecting from a crash (and was puzzled to read reports that the engine had somehow been ejected behind the car before hitting the tree). ... However, even just a few days after the crash, the evidence didn’t point to Hasting’s fiery car crash resulting from a bomb blowing out the engine and/or causing the gas tank to explode into flame. A key clue is found in the Loud Lab video showing water was gushing up from what appeared to be a fire hydrant that was hit by the car before hitting the tree and seeing that the engine came to rest 170 feet forward of the crash site. On June 21st, I commented on Dennis Romero’s piece ( Michael Hastings' Engine Flew, Boosting Conspiracies, But It Happens): I've been a firefighter for 22 years. On first look, this crash was a bit strange to me since the car was fully involved so fast and I've never seen an engine ejected (but I don't see why it couldn't happen). Something that few have commented on is that the car took off a fire hydrant before hitting the tree (it wasn't going like a geyser in the video because the shut off rod underground was still mostly in place). Perhaps the hydrant ripped open the gas tank, set off sparks, and/or loosened the engine? I think the car pivoted to the right after initially hitting the tree in line with the hydrant in the median strip. On July 8th, Kimberly Dvorak wrote her first report about the crash. But she got the location of the ejected engine wrong. I also pointed out her error, and briefly laid out my theory: It looks like Hasting's car was going fast, he lost control (after hitting bump at intersection) went into the median strip, took out the hydrant (could easily have ruptured the gas tank leading to the fire); hit the tree with the left front of the car which ejected engine (rare but it happens), and car pivoted to the right to rest at a 90 -degree angle from the road. I’m no expert, but I have been a firefighter for 22 years and that scenario is my best guess based on what I’ve seen so far. The remaining question in my mind is why Hasting’s car was going fast and lost control. Tired? Reckless? (but frie nd [SGt Biggs] said, “he drove like a grandma”?) Under the influence? (but wasn’t he still on the wagon?). After reading the car hacking posts, hacking does seem like a possibility; but it seems a very iffy way of trying to off someone. I've been skeptical of the conspiracy theories concerning the crash. Usually in this country, the powers-that-be simply ignore you to death if they don’t like your writing.
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You’re “disappeared” from the mainstream media. Unless Hastings was onto something really “so big” it threatened someone enough to take action. But, it's certainly a possibility, and I'm glad to see that Kimberly Dvorak is taking a closer look at the crash. ... Unfortunately, Dvorak is not the best at fact checking (Matt Farwell called her a “fucking disgrace”) and most of her ‘conspiracy theory” assertions about the Hastings crash can easily be debunked. The available evidence supports the theory that a high-speed crash into the palm tree killed Hastings on impact, ejected the engine, and caused the car to burst into flame. Over the past months, I’ve closely followed the “conspiracy theory” discussions in the blogosphere about the Hasting’s crash and have occasionally commented a bout it. I agree with Dennis Romero that all of the five conspiracy theories he mentioned are easily debunked (significantly, Romero failed to mention “car hacking” which appears to be a plausible theory as discussed in a previous section). But those conspiracy theories are just strawmen, easily cut down. Kim Dvorak and Alex Jones have just muddied the waters with their conspiracy theories unsupported by evidence and/or facts. In contrast, LA reporter Michael Krikorian (krikorianwrites.com) has done some solid investigative work. However, the key question still unanswered is WHY Hastings’ car was speeding so fast , so late that night. Maybe Hastings had reason to be scared (or maybe he was paranoid from high THC marijuana) and drove too fast, or he was an adrenaline junkie recklessly driving too fast and blowing stop lights, or maybe he was reckless/suicidal on the June 16/17th anniversary date of the death of Andi, or maybe his car steering/brakes/accelerator had been “hacked” or tampered with. I don’t know. At this point, there’s no smoking gun that rules out either an accident or assassination. And Hastings family isn’t talking about it, which le aves a lot to speculation. And, it appears the LAPD never tried to answer that key question (WHY speeding) or investigate the crash as a potential homicide. Within just a couple of days of the crash, the LAPD appears to have quickly ruled out “foul play” and doesn’t seem to have seriously explored the possibility of car hacking or tampering (or done much further investigation since June). Furthermore, on October 7, 2013 Michael Krikorian reported that “Det. Connie White said “’I haven't finished with Hastings' final report… But, then she added, ‘No one is going to have access to that anyway.’ I really wish she hadn't said that. Det. [Connie] White had to go and say that and bring back t he ‘What are they hiding?’ suspicions.” WTF! Why is the LAPD just sitting on the report? Are they never going to “close” the case?
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News & Video of Michael Hasting’s Fiery Car Crash:
Rolling Stone Journalist, Author Believed to be Dead in Hollywood Crash (NBC LA, 6-18-13) Friend of Michael Hastings: Things don't add up Freelance Video of BuzzFeed Reporter Michael Hastings’ Car In Flames Full LoudLab Dashcan 24 Min. Video

Surveillance Video of Car Crash Into Tree:
Michael Hastings Crash Caught On Surveillance Camera Michael Hastings: New Surveillance Video Shows Fiery Crash Michael Hastings Crash Michael Hastings death: New video of crash emerges (picture crash site & speed calc) Alleged Hastings Crash Video Is Evidence Against Assassination (skepolitical.com, August 7, 2013)

Hasting’s Car Crash “Conspiracy Theory” Discussions :
Michael Hastings’ Too Convenient Death (Rebecca Hamilton, 6-23-13 On the Strange Death of Michael Hastings: Was the Reporter Car-Hacked or Bombed? (Gar Smith – Berkley Daily Planet,8-08-13) Now I'm Convinced That Michael Hastings’ Car Was Bombed: Here's Why (Dewya Bellimi – Whitenoise, July 1, 2013) Episode 274 – Crashes of Convenience: Michael Hastings (The Corbett Report Video, 7-06-13) Merih Video News - URGENT: Investigate Michael Hastings’ Death (Merih Video, 7-12-13) Michael Hastings: 5 Conspiracy Theories That Didn't Pan Out (Dennis Romero – LA Weekly, August 26, 2013) Why Michael Hastings Wasn’t Murdered (Mike Rothschild – Skeptoid, August 26, 2013) Exclusive: Who Killed Michael Hastings?
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(Carl Gibson – Occupy.com, October 24, 2013)

Brother dismisses conspiracy theories of ‘Michael Hastings truthers’ Travis Gettys – Raw Story, November 6, 2013

Above Top Secret Forum:
“Foul Play Or Not”?: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread962094/pg13#pid16831529 “Car Tampered: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread966108/pg1#pid16838980 Michael Hastings Case - Update by Michael Krikorian - Oct 7, 2013 (WanDash – AboveTopSecret, October 7, 2013

Cheri Speaks:
SSG Biggs: Has Hastings’ Friend Turned Family Foe? On The Radio (CheriSpeaks interviewed by Cindy Sheehan; critical of Biggs & Jones) From Disorderly Conduct - Wacky Wednesday Vince in the Bay [Internet Radio] -- August 28, 2013 [Guests CheriSpeak, Joe Biggs; Guy Montag called-in]: Michael Hastings: A Non-Conspiracy Theory (CheriSpeak – August 31, 2013) Fulfilling Promises to a Ghost Cheri Speak – November 6, 2013

Russ Baker’s “WhoWhatWhy” Investigations:
The Michael Hastings Wreck–Video Evidence Only Deepens The Mystery (WhoWhatWhy, July 14, 2013) Connections Between Michael Hastings, Edward Snowden And Barrett Brown—The War With The Security State (Christian Stork WhoWhatWhy -- August 7, 2013) Exclusive— Hastings ‘Unauthorized Cremation’ Mega-Rumor False, Family Says (Russ Baker -- WhoWhatWhy, August 13, 2013)
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Consider The Source: Mojo Cites ‘Questionable’ Reporting On Hastings Wreck (David J. Krajicek -- WhoWhatWhy, Aug 19, 2013) Hastings Autopsy: Traces Of Meth Found In Body, But Crash Caused Death (Kathleen Kelleher, Russ Baker and David J. Krajicek—WhoWhatWhy, August 21, 2013 Report: Hastings Feared Tampering On Rented Mercedes (David J. Krajicek WhoWhatWhy -- Aug 23, 2013) Russ Baker – Hour 1 – Michael Hastings, Libya Repeating in Syria & JFK Red Ice Radio -- October 14, 2013

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Pizza Mozzeria Surveillance Tape & Michael Krikorian’s Crash Investigation:
On the morning of June 18, 2013, LA reporter Michael Krikorian stumbled upon the scene of Hastings car crash when he returned to get his car at his girlfriends’ restaurant Pizzeria Mozza. He told the LAPD about the restaurants’ surveillance tape which showed the crash. In the following day, Krikorian walked the scene, interviewed LAPD officers, and described the tape and wrote up his investigation for a WhoWhatWhy July 16, 2013 piece. The tape shows Hastings’ car whizzing by the restaurant at high-speed, swerving, jumping the curb into the median, striking a palm tree, and bursting into flame (unfortunately the U-Tube video doesn’t have the detail of the original tape). He pointed out that the car hit some water piping in the median before the tree which may have damaged the gas tank and/or fuel lines. Since returning from his European vacation in August, Krikorian has published periodic updates at his blog. In August, LAPD detective Connie White claims the front wheel was sheered off by impact with the curb, said that “speeding caused the crash” and “once again ruled out any idea a bomb was placed in the car or any other foul play. ” In October, Krikorian wrote that he “was gonna hold off “ on writing his own thoughts until the LAPD final report came out, but …. White told him “’I haven't finished with Hastings' final report… But, then she added, ‘No one is going to have access to that anyway.’ I really wish she hadn't said that. Det. [Connie] White had to go and say that and bring back the ‘What a re they hiding?’ suspicions.” At this point, Krikorians’ personal opinion is that Hastings “just crashed” that night. Krikorian wrote “part of me felt that in writing this piece, I had given up on Hastings. Part of me wanted to think it was not just an accident. But, in the end, that's what I think.” Shortly afterward, he commented, “if I hear anymore about Michael Hastings, I'll put it up” and “I'm going to still hound the detective for more, but … I haven't been able to break anything on it [Hastings case] and I really do feel that it was all about speeding. ” ... From The Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 16. 2013): Shortly before 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18, I was walking with my girlfriend, Nancy Silverton, to get my car, which I had left the night before at her restaurant, Pizzeria Mozza, at Highland and Melrose avenues. Walking west on Melrose, we noticed crime scene tape as we arrived at Highland. Just to the south, a wrecked and charred car was
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being pulled away from a palm tree in the median. … I told the officer that a security camera located outside the front door of the pizzeria probably captured the crash. Traveling at least twice as fast as the other cars on the tape, Hastings’s Mercedes C250 coupe suddenly whizzes by … I have heard and read a wide range of guessed speeds, up to as much as 130 mph. I think it’s safe to say the car was doing at least 80. About 100 feet after the car zooms by on the [Pizzeria Mozza] tape, it starts to swerve. At about 195 feet from the camera, the car jumps the curb of the center median, heading toward a palm tree 56 feet away. About halfway between the curb and the tree, the car hits a metal protrusion—perhaps 30 inches tall and 2 feet wide —that gives access to city water mains below. This is where the first small flash occurs. This pipe may have damaged the undercarriage of the car, perhaps rupturing a fuel line. … A second flash immediately follows the first. It might be the brake lights, but it’s hard to tell. The next frame is dark. Then comes the first explosion, followed immediately by a large fireball. I saw the car being towed away. It was absolutely mangled on the front, particularly the driver’s side. I’ve lived in Los Angeles most of my life and have seen the aftermath of many car crashes. This was one of the worst. There was no way a driver could have survived. I showed the [Pizzeria Mozza] video to Scott E. Anderson, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor with Digital Sandbox who has engineered explosions for many films. … “It comes down to physics. A bomb would have lifted the car and the engine up. Based on this video, the car doesn’t go up, and the engine goes forward, which makes sense since the car apparently did not hit the tree head on.” … The front of the car, particularly on the driver’s side, was badly damaged … I saw the car being towed away. It was abso lutely mangled on the front, particularly the driver’s side. He said the fireball may be enhanced by the recording device. … “This camera is set at night and anything that happens very quickly, be it a flash light or a big ball of fire, the camera won’t react fast enough, so the first flash of light is going to appear much bigger in the viewing. So the initial explosion would always look bigger than it is.” The pizzeria video is compelling, but it fails to answer the key question: Why was Michael Hastings traveling so fast? … As [Scott E.] Anderson put it, “None of this happens without the speed.” … I hope that someone will be able to explain why Hastings’s Mercedes was speeding like a silver bullet.

From Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013): The beginning of the end of the car's fatal path, though not seen on tape, is the slight rise and fall at the crossroads of Highland and Melrose. At the speed the Benz is traveling through that corner, conservatively estimated at 80 mph, the car rose up on its suspension, came down hard enough to leave marks on the street near the valet station of the Mozza restaurant triplex, and as the video picks up, swerves.
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[Detective] White confirmed that very first blip of light on the video is the brakes. The brakes most likely put the car into the swerve that sends it into the curb and ultimately crashing into the palm tree. The first obvious "flash", internet-gossiped to be a small explosion that caused the rise [of] the rear end of the car, was most likely caused by the front wheel being sheared off by the impact with the curb. The flash and the "rise" of the rear may have been the car rolling over that wheel. … "The front driver's side front wheel was completely sheared off in the crash," said [Detective] White. giving that first flash a possible origin. The wheel hits the curb at high speed, is probably torn off right there and the Mercedes Benz drives over it, causing not only the flash, but also the often-questioned raising of the car's rear end. Note: I’m not convinced that the wheel was “sheared off” by impact with the curb. The curb isn’t very big and I’ve never seen the whole wheel come off like that in a car crash. I’m still inclined to think that the wheel came off after hitting the tree. Are we talking about the tire or the tire/wheel here? See further discussion in next section about LAPD initial report. White said she understood the interest in the death of Hastings and the numerous conspiracy theories put out on the internet. But, White once again ruled out any idea a bomb was placed in the car or any other foul play. "In my investigation, it appears to be that nothing else was going on other than this was an accident. We may never know exactly why he was speeding, but the speeding caused the crash. This was, like I have said, a tragic accident."

From “Hastings Final Accident Report - Not the LAPD's, KW's” (Michael Krikorian, krikorianwrites.com -- October 07, 2013): I never wrote about what I thought happened. Then [Detective Connie] White comes up with that "no one's going to see the [final] report" line. As a reporter, the first thing that streaks through the mind when someone, anyone, says something like that, is "You're wrong. I'm going to see that report." But, first, here's my final report, I was gonna hold off. But I'm not going to wait for an final accident investigation report. I've got Watts to cover. I've got my own death investigations and funerals to attend. But, the thing that set me off to be done with this story was this. I was driving with a young friend at Highland and Melrose late one recent night. It wasn't four in the morning, but as I drove east along Melrose passing Highland I thought 'What if I had happened across this corner in the early morning hours of June 18th at 4:21 or what ever it was.' What if someone else had. Some family getting an early start to a trip to Yosemite or Big Bear or anywhere. And our supposedly fearless investigative reporter comes barreling through and kills not just himself, but everyone else.
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Anyway, what seems like half a year ago, I came across the scene of the crash that June morning as I walked to Mozza to get my car that I had left the night before in the restaurant complex's rear parking lot. (No, I wasn't too drunk to drive.) An automobile, as mangled as I have seen, was being dragged away from a palm tree and onto a flatbed tow truck. A LAPD officer, last name of Lee, told me the guy was dead and had crashed about four o'clock that morning My first thought? "Another L.A. drunk dies." I told Officer Lee the restaurant's security camera may have captured the crash. It had. They got the tape. A six weeks [Aug 25?] or so ago, two of his friends, who asked me not to use their names used, told me, without a doubt, Michael Hastings was murdered by the CIA or some dark forces. But, as time went on, they weren't so sure. Maybe it was just an accident, they both said separately in mid September. So, not that hardly anyone cares, here's what I think. Michael Hastings wasn't the victim of a high power evil operations to silence him and any upcoming investigation he was undertaking. He just crashed. He sped without regard through a red light at the intersection of Melrose and Highland where there is a slight rise and his car went up on its suspension - maybe even lifted off the pavement a bit. He may have realized right then - delusional or not - that he was going way too fast, that he had made a big mistake. Mere speculation here, but I doubt in that instant he thought it was a fatal mistake. But, he knew he fucked up. If he had any, the hairs on the back of his neck rose. A buzz coursed across his forehead to his shoulders. Then, as seen on the Mozza video, he swerved, tapped his brakes, hit the curb, a wheel came off, a spark ensued, the rear of his car rose slightly, he hit a water pipe thingamajig, and then he hit a tree and bam! A big explosion and Michael Hastings was dead. Michael Krikorian Comment – 1 Day Later: Dear DPS. Thank you for reading this and your comment. I actually thought about you and a few others that have followed the Hastings death … when I was writing this, thinking there would be some folks disappointed in this report. … I'm not sure why I'm telling you this, but I guess it's because you seem to care. Thanks again. In the early stages of this story, I was going back and forth between accident and elaborate murder. But, one thing was always consistent and that was my feeling that for this to go off as "planned", so much would have to go right that was not within the power of the "bad guys". … And part of me felt that in writing this piece, I had given up on Hastings. Part of me wanted to think it was not just an accident. But, in the end, that's what I think. There is a strange part of me that hopes I'm wrong. Meanwhile, life and death in Los Angeles goes on. … if I hear anymore about Michael Hastings, I'll put it up.

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Guy Montag about 4 days Later: Thanks for taking the time to dig into the Hastings case (I still check out your blog every day or so, and I'm looking forward to reading your first novel next month). By now, I had hoped to be finally be done with my own take on the subject … But, I'm still working on it … Hopefully, I'll finish it up next week and post my "final" version on the 20th. In the meantime, I thought I'd let you and your readers know it's out there if they would like to take a look at it. … Michael Krikorian Comment – 4 Days Later: Guy, Hi. I’ll check out the Feral Firefighter … I've read your posts in the past and I admire your tenacity. In a way I didn't want to write that last piece, but I didn't want to leave it hanging either. I'm going to still hound the detective for more, but since I have been devoting my time to the gang killings here on the Southside, I haven't been able to break anything on it and I really do feel that it was all about speeding. Thanks for the comment. Mike Krikorian. ...

LINKS: LA Reporter Mike Krikorians’ Video & Investigation of Crash:
The Michael Hastings Wreck–Video Evidence Only Deepens The Mystery (WhoWhatWhy, July 14, 2013) The Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 16. 2013) Michael Krikorian and his poison on Michael Hastings Michael Hastings-The Witnesses-But Wait…(adriaen22.wordpress, 7-24-13) Michael Hastings Surveillance Tape!!! (adriaen22.wordpress, 7-31-13) Hastings’ Crash-Anatomy of an Illusion (adriaen22.wordpress, 8-01-13) LAPD's Michael Hastings Crash Investigation Update (Michael Krikorian, July 24, 2013) Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 26. 2013) Michael Hastings Video Background (Michael Krikorian August 01, 2013)
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A Madness Called Meth (Michael Krikorian August 08, 2013) Hastings' Tox Report Due Within Two Weeks (Michael Krikorian, August, 9 2013) Hastings Update August 16 (Michael Krikorian, August 16, 2013) Hastings Family Tried to Get Him to Rehab (Michael Krikorian, August 20, 2013) Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (Michael Krikoiran – krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013) Hastings Final Accident Report - Not the LAPD's, KW's (and see comments) Michael Krikorian, krikorianwrites.com -- October 07, 2013

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LAPD Case Initial June 19th Report: “We Have Found No Evidence of Foul Play”
On June 19, 2013 (the day after the crash) the LAPD submitted their “initial case report” to the coroner’s office. The investigating officers wrote the “apparent mode” of death was an “accident” and their report based on an interview with Hastings’ brother suggested that drug use might have been a contributory factor to the crash (see Appendix H for discussion of the report). The LAPD description of the car crash agrees with the visual evidence in the Loud Lab video, the Pizzaria Mozza surveillance tape, and LA reporter Michael Krikorian’s investigation. ... From Case Report & Investigator Narrative: Initial Case Report [signed June 19, 2013] Detectives: LAPD West Traffic Division – Connie White & **** Johnson. Arrived on scene at 0535 hours, departing at 0725. Apparent Mode: Accident [vs. Natural, Suicide, Homicide, Could Not Be Determined] Evidence: None collected5 Photographs: 48 Scene Description: On the early morning of 06/18/13 at approximately 0420 hours, decedent had beentraveling southbound on Highland Ave at a high rate of speed … when he apparently lost control of his vehicle colliding with a tree head-on in a center grass median. The vehicle caught fire. … The incident was captured on video, possibly (2) different videos … Tire marks were observed in the #2 lane of southbound traffic, south of Melrose Ave, which trailed in a southeastern direction leading toward the grass center median were additional apparent tire marks were observed, which then trailed toward the involved tree.6
5

Kimberly Dvorak in her piece, “The CIA To Provide New Details Into Hastings Death” (San Diego 6, October 6, 2013) wrote: “A number of efforts to learn more details about the 2013 Mercedes has been met with roadblocks because LAPD Detective White has not closed the case. As a result the leased Mercedes is off limits and Mercedes spokespeople will not comment on the accident. This suggests LAPD still has possession of the car.”
6

How tire marks on both sides if the driver side front wheel had been “sheered off” by impact with curb? (see Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over -- krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013) Mark from rear tire? If front tire missing, wouldn’t rim leave marks in the ground? 63

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Decedent's vehicle came to rest in about the middle area between Melrose Ave and Clinton St … vehicle was observed partially resting atop the grass center median, facing in a southeastern direction. The front end area was slightly wrapped around the tree, with the rear tires hanging off the edge of the curb resting into the #1 lane of southbound traffic. Vehicular debris was observed in the surrounding area about both sides of the street, particularly south of the vehicle … with decedent's engine found near the next intersection south-- located on the sidewalk area near the northeast corner of Highland and Clinton St; one of his wheels was found in the grassy center median past Clinton St7 – measurements pending at this time. History includes polysubstance use, with report8 that decedent had been smoking marijuana the night prior. He was also believed as using DMT. Family had just arrived from New York the day prior, attempting to get decedent to go to rehab. ... The key question still unanswered by the LAPDs’ initial report is WHY Hastings’ car was speeding so fast that night. Their report seems to suggest drug use was a factor. However, two months later the coroner wrote in his report that the toxicology report indicated that drugs were not a contributory factor in the crash. Hastings neighbor claims he asked to borrow her car around midnight because he thought someone may have tampered with his car. Maybe Hastings had reasons to be scared (or maybe he was paranoid) and drove too fast, or maybe his car brakes/accelerator had been “hacked” or tampered with. Unfortunately, the LAPD never really tried to answer that question or investigate the crash as a potential homicide. It appears the traffic detectives merely assumed Hastings was drugged up and crashed. The next day they filed their brief 2-page report finding “no foul play” after spending only 2 hours on the scene, taking 48 photos, and talking to Hasting’s brother (she took no evidence).

7

What was the final location of that wheel? “past Clinton St” is a couple of hundred feet down the road. How did it end up there after impact with either the curb or the tree? A minor mystery.
8

See Appendix “H” for detective interview with Hastings’ brother about suspected drug use and arrival to get him into “detox.”

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Just a week after the crash, Michael Krikorian asked Detective White about the possibility of foul play. She replied, “If this were anything other than an accident, other departments would have been brought in to investigate,” alluding to homicide, the bomb squad 9 or a terrorism unit. And Krikorian wryly noted, “one might think “other departments” would have been needed in any case–simply to determine whether it was an accident or not.” And, in August 2013 after the LAPD coroners’ report came out, a Hastings family member told WhoWhatWhy, “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case … they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. … It’s so irresponsible and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in hi s system ….” Opps, nothing much found there! IF this crash was an assassination, we will never know since the LAPD failed to find any evidence of foul play since they never even looked for it by investigating it as a potential homicide.

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Kimberly Dvorak in her piece, “The CIA To Provide New Details Into Hastings Death” (San Diego 6, October 6, 2013) wrote: “The LAPD also responded to a FOIA request as to whether the ATF+E (explosive) was called to investigate the Hastings accident scene by referring SD6 to ATF+E. Earlier ATF's Chris Hoffman told San Diego 6 that he had no recollection of their dogs being sent to rule out foul play. 65

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Kim Dvorak’s Hasting’s Fatal Fiery Car Crash “Conspiracy Theories”
Kimberly Dvorak is a free-lance reporter who appeared on several San Diego 6 News broadcasts to present her “conspiracy theories” about Michael Hastings’ fiery car crash. When I firs t heard about her investigation, I was glad to see that someone in the media was taking a closer look into the crash. However, I was soon taken aback after I realized she had missed getting an obvious fact incorrect (e.g. claiming the engine ended up 170 feet before the crash site). The following diagram with its accompanying blog post, “Now I'm Convinced That Michael Hastings’ Car Was Bombed: Here's Why”(Dewya Bellimi – Whitenoise, July 1, 2013), illustrates Kimberly Dvorak (and others such as Alex Jones) Hastings car crash “conspiracy theories.”

Note: The LAPD initial report stated the driver side front wheel didn’t end up on the sidewalk, but was found in the median strip “past Clinton Street” more than 200 feet beyond the crash site.
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Kimberly Dvorak never actually put together a coherent car crash theory in her writing. So, here’s my own description of her “conspiracy theory” using quotes taken from her San Diego 6 and examiner.com pieces: “An eyewitness at the scene, Jose … said, the car was travelling very fast and he heard a couple explosions shortly before the car crashed. … The car's engine reportedly ended up about 200 feet away from the impact site” [ejected by an explosion] … minimal damage to the palm tree and the facts the rear tires rested against the curb” [“made a 60-degree turn into a palm tree”; impossible for crash to have ejected engine since tree directly in front and would have been thrown across the street instead of to the next corner] “A new surveillance video from a nearby business [Pizzaria Mozza]… The car then turns left [“made a 60-degree turn into a palm tree”] and the first horizontal explosion appears just after the 16-second mark … The second explosion engulfs the engine compartment at the 17-second mark. The third and largest explosion consumes the passenger compartment at the 17-18-second mark. … gasoline generally doesn’t burn that hot … suggests an accelerant may have been involved … the intensity of the fire resembles a “thermite” burn. … a Mercedes is not going to explode into flames without assistance. “Was speed a factor? … the car was traveling roughly 35 mph. … The pre-explosion and slower speed could also explain the minimal damage to the palm tree and the facts the rear tires rested against the curb. It also provides an explanation for the location of the engine and drive train at more than 100 feet from the tree impact area.” Unfortunately, as Russ Baker pointed out in his WhoWhatWhy piece, Dvorak’s work contained “unwarranted assumption[s] …which turns out to be incorrect.” And, Gavin Aronsen argued in his “Mother Jones” piece, “None of these theories, which often come from unnamed sources, are backed up by convincing evidence One can easily dismiss Dvorak’s theory that the engine was ejected before the crash and somehow ended up about 200 feet before the crash site. If you watch the Loud Lab video, you can see the engine actually ended up 170 feet beyond the crash site (for details, see the following section “Myth: “Explosion Ejected Engine 170 Feet BEFORE Crash Scene” ). Similarly, one can dismiss her claim “the car was traveling roughly 35 mph.” She made the incorrect assumption (among others) that all three “explosions” occurred before impact with t he tree (for details, see the following section “Myth: “Hasting’s Car Was Only Going 35 MPH Before Hitting Palm Tree”). The LAPD and Michael Krikorian’s description of the car crash appears to fit the available evidence much better than Kimberly Dvorak’s conspiracy theories (although, as previously discussed, car hacking still remains a possible explanation).
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LINKS: Kimberly Dvorak’s “Investigative” Reports into Crash
Now I'm Convinced That Michael Hastings’ Car Was Bombed: Here's Why (Dewya Bellimi – Whitenoise, July 1, 2013) ... Details Of Reporter Hastings' Death Remain Elusive (Kimberly Dvorak – San Diego 6 News, July 8, 2013) Investigation into Michael Hastings accident continues (Kimberly Dvorak – Examiner, July 15, 2013) Hastings Death Examined (Kimberly Dvorak -- San Diego 6, August 4, 2013) Cia Director Brennan Confirmed As Reporter Michael Hastings Next Target (Kimberly Dvorak -- San Diego 6, August 12, 2013) ... Exclusive— Hastings ‘Unauthorized Cremation’ Mega-Rumor False, Family Says (Russ Baker - WhoWhatWhy, 8-13-13) Meet the Journalist Spreading Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theories (Gavin Aronsen – Mother Jones, 8-16-13) MoJo Smacks Down Examiner Writer ‘Investigating’ Michael Hasting’s Death (Justin McLachlan Mediabistro 8-16-13) Consider The Source: Mojo Cites ‘Questionable’ Reporting On Hastings Wreck (David J. Krajicek -- WhoWhatWhy, Aug 19, 2013) ... The CIA To Provide New Details Into Hastings Death (Kimberly Dvorak – San Diego 6, October 6, 2013):

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LINKS: Alex Jones’ “Infowars” Crash Conspiracy Discussion
Is Journalist Michael Hastings a Victim of Obama’s Assassination Policy? (infowars, 6-19-13)

Evidence Indicates Michael Hastings Was Assassinated (infowars, 6-20-13) Authorities, Media Dismiss Michael Hastings Assassination Claims (infowars, 6-21-13) LA Times Reports Hastings Was Going Into Hiding Before His Death (infowars, 6-22-13) Friend: Michael Hastings Was Working on “Biggest Story Yet” About CIA (Inforwars, 6-25-13) Michael Hastings’ Wife Vows to “Take Down Whoever Did This” (6-26-13) Michael Hastings Told He Would Be Hunted Down and Killed over McChrystal Story (Infowars, 6-27-13) Police, Firefighters Ordered Not To Speak About Michael Hastings Crash (7-09-13) Report: Michael Hastings’ Body Cremated Against Family’s Wishes (Infowars, 7-17-13)\ Eye Witness to Michael Hastings Murder Says Body Not Charred Beyond Recognition Hastings Crash Witness Tells All (Infowars Video, 7-19-13) Michael Hastings death: New video of crash emerges (Infowars, 7-28-13) Feds Visited Michael Hastings’ House Day Before His Death (infowars, 8-06-13) Michael Hastings’ Wife Says Suspicious Crash Was “Tragic Accident” (infowars, 8-06-13) Most Powerful Mafia Kills Michael Hastings (infowars.com, 8-08-13) Report: Michael Hastings Was Investigating CIA Director John Brennan (Paul Joseph Watson Infowars.com, 8-13-13) FBI Admits It Has Documents On Michael Hastings (Infowars, 8-16-13)

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Release of Michael Hastings Autopsy Report Only Prompts More Questions (Paul Joseph Watson -- Infowars.com, 8-20-13) Corporate Media Portrays Michael Hastings as Meth User (Kurt Nimmo -- Infowars.com August 21, 2013) Michael Hastings Feared His Mercedes Had Been Tampered With (Paul Joseph Watson -Infowars.com, August 22, 2013) “Highly Redacted” Documents Confirm Michael Hastings Under FBI Investigation Julie Wilson -- Infowars.com, September 10, 2013

LINKS: SGT Joe Biggs & “Infowars” Interviews with Alex Jones
Friend of Michael Hastings: Things don't add up SSG Biggs Never Said Cremated Against Wishes The Alex Jones Show – TH July 16, 2013 Jul 16 TODAY ON THE ALEX JONES SHOW 8-06-13 (Biggs & Jones slamming Elise Jordan) Tuesday: The Alex Jones Show. SSG Joe Biggs On Life in the Military and the Suspicious Death of Michael Hastings… (Alex Jones Show, 08/13/2013) ... SSG Biggs: Has Hastings’ Friend Turned Family Foe? On The Radio (CheriSpeaks interviewed by Cindy Sheehan; critical of Biggs & Jones) More BS From Joe Biggs on Hastings (Scott Creighton, 8-01-13) From Disorderly Conduct - Wacky Wednesday Vince in the Bay [Internet Radio] -- August 28, 2013 [Guests CheriSpeak, Joe Biggs; Guy Montag called-in]: 34:00 Cheri: Believe Joe sincere (some think he’s a plant) No one else doing anything. Fulfilling Promises to a Ghost [has links to new SGT Biggs blog “You Can’t Handle the Truth“] Cheri Speak – November 6, 2013

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“Car Was Not Speeding, Only Going 35 MPH Before Hitting Palm Tree (Undamaged)”
In her piece, “CIA Director Brennan Confirmed As Reporter Michael Hastings Next Target ” (August 12, 2013), Kimberly Dvorak claimed Michael Hastings’ car was only traveling 35 mph (instead of the 70 to 120 mph others have estimated): Was speed a factor? … An SDSU professor Morteza M. Mehrabadi, Professor and Interim Chair Areas of Specialization: Mechanics of Materials told San Diego 6 News that calculating the speed of Hastings car follows a simple mathematic equation. By using the video and the distance traveled (195 feet) as well as the seconds that lapsed prior to the explosion – in his opinion, the car was traveling roughly 35 mph.

From The Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 16. 2013): Traveling at least twice as fast as the other cars on the tape, Hastings’s Mercedes C250 coupe suddenly whizzes by. (This is probably the “whoosh” that Gary, the Mozza employee, heard.) … I have heard and read a wide range of guessed speeds, up to as much as 130 mph. I think it’s safe to say the car was doing at least 80. ... What? Only 35 mph? When I watched the video, it appeared the time it took the car to travel 195 feet was between 1 and 2 seconds (probably closer to 2) until the car hit the tree. “Slamhead” did the math a few weeks ago and came up with a car speed of 80 to 160 mph: Google earth gives a distance of 235 feet from the camera to the impact site. Reviewing the video it looks as if he covered that distance in approximately 1 - 2 seconds. Rate x Time = Distance, X x 2sec = 235 feet, 235ft/2sec = 117.50 ft/sec, 117.50 x 3600 = 423,000 ft/hour, 423,000/ 5280 feet in a mile gives and estimated speed of 80.11 MPH. At one second his speed would be 160 MPH. Note: An easier method is to use CalculateMe; select convert from feet per sec and convert to mph. Just have to divide feet traveled by seconds to hit tree, etc. to get the mph. Doing the math with 195 feet (vs. 235) leads to a slower speed from 66 to 132 mph. However, 35 mph would mean the car took 3.8 seconds to travel from the camera until impact!! Dvorak & the professor are using the time the last “explosion” is seen instead of the “explosion” at the time of impact! Watch the video again (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gtRGIcUW_Q) and judge for yourself.

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Michael Krikoirian, who watched the original tape wrote (krikorianwrites.com): “I have heard and read a wide range of guessed speeds, up to as much as 130 mph. I think it’s safe to say the car was doing at least 80. Dvorak's 35 mph estimate assumes 3.8 sec until the car hit the tree (and she only used a distance of 195 feet). My best guess is 2 sec until first "explosion" after hitting tree. Others have come up with similar estimates. Perhaps it would be simpler to use the time and distance to the first "flash" when the car hit the curb or water piping? (about 195 to 220 feet. Using http://www.calculateme.com/Spe... and assuming a distance of 195 to 200 feet and 1.5 to 2 sec, I still get a speed of 66 to 100 mph. ... Dvorak claimed the palm tree was undamaged by the impact of the car, suggesting the car wasn’t traveling at high speed upon impact: “Inexplicably, the palm tree Hastings’ car hit has scorched bark and slightly wounded base --approximately 16"W x 4.5" H x 1"D-- seemingly minimal damage for a 3,538 pound car striking the tree at a reportedly 100 mph. Here’s a picture of Kim Dvorak standing by the “undamaged’ palm tree:

...

LINKS: “Hasting’s Car Traveling only 35 MPH Before Hit Tree” :
Michael Hastings Crash: Car Was Speeding, Engine Flew 100 Feet, Cops Say (Dennis Romero, LA Weekly 6-19-13) How Fast Was Michael Hastings Really Going? (Jack Baruth 8-14-13) Michael Hastings death: New video of crash emerges (picture crash site & speed calc in comments)
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http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread962094/pg10 (thread on crash theories)

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Myth: Mercedes Benz Cars Are Safe Cars, Unlikely to Suffer Fatal Injuries From a Frontal Impact Crash”
From The Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 16. 2013): “I saw the car being towed away. It was absolutely mangled on the front, particularly the driver’s side. I’ve lived in Los Angeles most of my life and have seen the aftermath of many car crashes. This was one of the worst. There was no way a driver could have survived. From Case Report & Investigator Narrative (p. 3; Signed 6/19/13): Decedent was observed seated inside his extremely damaged charred vehicle … He was slumped forward, leaning toward his left; as he was well wedged into the vehicle, he required LAFD extrication. … decedent had been a restrained driver. … He was charred, unidentifiable; the charring was observed primarily to his head, neck, upper chest and back, and to the left side of his body. … An obvious skull fracture was observed at the top skull region … Obvious open fractures were also observed to the right arm and both lower extremities. From the LAPD Coroner’s autopsy: (p.10) "The offıcıal cause of death was 'massıve blunt force trauma consıstant wıth a hıgh speed front -end ımpact to the sole of the right foot and to the front of the torso…" Note: Dr. James Ribe performed autopsy on June 20, 2013. He completed and signed the report on August 20, 2012 after reviewing the toxicology report. ... It's revealing to watch the frontal offset [not a full frontal] crash test of a MB C Class at only 40 mph. I think Hastings’ car was speeding at 70 to 130 mph. That's at least 4x the force of impact of the 40 crash test shown at http://www.iihs.org/ratings/rating.aspx?id=1680&seriesId=464): "The test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a car collides with …. an object like a tree or utility pole” Quite similar to Hastings’ impact with the palm tree. “Entrapment also was an issue with the Mercedes C-Class. The dummy's right foot ended up wedged beneath the brake pedal as the left front wheel was forced rearward during the crash.”The coroner noted injuries to the right leg that were transmitted upward through the body. “an airbag gray zone with gaps between what front airbags cover and what side airbags do ... Without airbag protection, people in real-world small overlap frontal crashes can sustain head injuries from direct contact with the A-pillar ... In several crash tests [included the MB], the dummy's head barely missed the intruding structure of the vehicle"
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You can see the crash dummy's head just miss the A pillar; the coroner noted that Hasting's suffered a fatal head injury consistent with striking the A pillar. Despite receiving high marks for other frontal crash tests, the Mercedes Benz received a “poor rating for this test (http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr081412.html) because it failed to protect the driver from injury.

Myth: “Mercedes Benz Among Safest Cars, Couldn’t Have Fatal Injuries”:
Crash Test 2012 Mercedes Benz C Class 40mph small overlap test IIHS (video) New crash test aims to drive improvements in protecting people in frontal crashes (iihs.org, 8-14-12)

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Myth: Explosion Ejected Engine 170 Feet BEFORE Crash Scene”
In her piece, “Details Of Reporter Hastings' Death Remain Elusive’ (San Diego 6 News, July 8, 2013), Kimberly Dvorak claimed, “The car's engine reportedly ended up about 200 feet away from the impact site.” Note: At 2:00 in the video she said the car was going south and the engine was found BEHIND it [north of the crash]. She spoke to a couple of professors and they said “in an accident like this, the engine would go with the forward velocity. However, she didn’t include this claim in her text (or she later deleted it). Well, she was wrong. The engine did “go with the forward velocity” and was ejected in FRONT of the crash site about 170 feet. From Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013): One element of the crash "kinda astonished" White and her fellow investigators and that is the distance the ejected Mercedes Benz CL250 engine was catapulted away from the crashed car, about 170 feet. "He had to hit the tree at such speed and at just the right angle for the engine to go that far," said White, a 22-year LAPD veteran who has spent 18 years as a traffic investigator and has never seen anything like that. "It was amazing," White said. "I don't know any other way to say it besides "amazing". But, not amazing in a good way." ... Many people believe that since Hastings’ car came to rest against the tree almost perpendicular to the road, the car must have struck the tree at that same angle. They believe an explosion must have been necessary to eject the engine out of the car to its’ final position 170 feet beyond (or somehow before) the crash site. (Adriaen22 wrote in her blog:
“The prevailing theory is that the car exploded upon impact to the tree. If so, that would

mean that the engine/transmission would have had to have been ejected from here. Why would it have not gone into the tree? Why is there so much debris in the street in the north bound lane so far south of the car? … In the position that the car was in, I see no way that the transmission/engine could have landed where it did. The engine compartment must have been emptied before the car hit the tree. ” Commenter Trevor agreed and replied: “Another thing I noticed is that it looks to be very difficult for the car to hit that water pipe in relation to the tree where it ended, if one considers also the end position of the car. It certainly not ended in the logical north south line from the water pipe to the tree … it faces way more east west almost in its final position.
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This should dispel the notion that Hastings swerved off the street into the palm tree at some extraordinary rate of speed. It did not happen that way, nor could it have happened that way. The palm tree in question is 79″ in circumference. This means that there is a three and a half foot wall of palm tree at any angle and no engine/transmission could come flying out without embedding itself into that tree. However, from the Mozza video (and other evidence) it appears Hasting’s car jumped the median, hit some water piping, struck the tree almost parallel to the street, rotated counterclockwise a bit and ejected the engine (and other debris) southeast about 170 feet to the next corner. From The Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 16. 2013): I showed the video to Scott E. Anderson, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor with Digital Sandbox who has engineered explosions for many films. … “It comes down to physics. A bomb would have lifted the car and the engine up. Based on this video, the car doesn’t go up, and the engine goes forward, which makes sense since the car apparently did not hit the tree head on.” “About 100 feet after the car zooms by on the tape, it starts to swerve. At about 195 feet from the camera, the car jumps the curb of the center median, heading toward a palm tree 56 feet away. About halfway between the curb and the tree, the car hits a metal protrusion—perhaps 30 inches tall and 2 feet wide—that gives access to city water mains below. This is where the first small flash occurs. This pipe may have damaged the undercarriage of the car, perhaps rupturing a fuel line. … A second flash immediately follows the first. It might be the brake lights, but it’s hard to tell. The next frame is dark. Then comes the first explosion, followed immediately by a large fireball. ” ... On July 8th, Kimberly Dvorak wrote her first report about the crash. But she got the location of the ejected engine wrong. Mick West commented, “You say (in the video, at 2:00) the engine and drive train were behind the car. But in fact they were 200 [about 170’] feet to the south, on the corner of Highland and Clinton, IN FRONT of the car. See: http://metabunk.org/threads/debunked-michael-hastings-crash-engine-found-north-of-crashgoing-south.1964/ You should probably do a retraction of that part. ” [She never did, but it appears she removed that text from her piece]. I also pointed out her error, and briefly laid out my theory: It looks like Hasting's car was going fast, he lost control (after hitting bump at intersection) went into the median strip, took out the hydrant (could easily have ruptured the gas tank leading to the fire); hit the tree with the left front of the car which ejected

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engine (rare but it happens), and car pivoted to the right to rest at a 90 -degree angle from the road. However, I had wrongly assumed the water was coming from a fire hydrant (I’ve seen that before). However, a look at google.maps (crash site at 621 Highland Avenue Los Angeles) didn’t show a hydrant at that location. It only showed some rectangular metal covers. I was puzzled? Did an explosion rupture some underground pipes to produce the water spout? But, the google.maps images must be old [adriaen22 wrote “Google mapped/photographed that area in 2011. Not only was there no security cage in that spot, there was no water pipe there either.”] There were some above-ground water pipes (sprinkler valve?) at that location (similar pipes can be seen at other locations in the median strips). And, a commenter wrote: “Folks, there are no hydrants on that Highland median. Furthermore, Margaret from Michigan is incorrect about ruptured pipe below ground. Here is what the Highland medians DO have-U shaped, hard PLASTIC pipes with a valve on top to turn water on and off. The pipe near the tree where Hastings' car ended up was sheared off. It had to have been hit with extreme force because it traveled quite a distance into a front yard on the opposite side of Highland (the north bound side) and left a very deep gash near the base of a tree. It was not far from the engine/transmission which was close to the corner of Highland north and Clinton Ave.” Here’s a picture showing the bottom of the broken off piping & it’s location about 25’ in front of the tree:

Looking North West

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Broken water pipe

Looking South toward crash tree Looking North from crash tree

Adrieen22 says she spoke to a resident at the next corner who said a piece of the water piping was stuck in a tree in her front yard near the engine location about 200 feet beyond the crash site: “There was an above ground, U shaped water pipe located roughly ten feet north of the tree. The pipe had been sheared off on the night of the accident. Water was bubbling out at a rapid rate. … There are two stumps … the pipe is heavy plastic, not metal.” “The woman that I had interviewed at the scene motioned to a tree near the edge of her property. Her home is located near Clinton St. on the north bound side. The tree is near the south corner of her front yard. I was shocked to see a deep gash near the base of the tree. “What…”?, I began. She explained that the police had plucked the broken pipe from her garden. The deep gash had been made by the flying plastic pipe. ” In a following post, Adrieen22 wrote, “The pipe was surrounded by a cage. The cage, according to local residents, was found near the engine/transm ission at the corner of Clinton” … It has recently come to light that the plastic pipe was surrounded by a cage like structure pictured to the right. This information was provided by another late reporting witness, the watering man’s wife [during an infowars.com interview]:

...

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So, it’s clear the car hit the water piping (I don’t see how it’s possible an explosion could have broken off the pipe and hurled it down the street) before striking the tree. For the following discussion, it’s worthwhile to google.map the location (621 Highland Avenue Los Angeles) and/or to refer to the following diagram showing the location of the water spout, crash site, debris field, and ejected engine. Kimberly Dvorak (and others) assumes the car made a sharp turn to the left (or was tossed by an explosion) to crash into the tree at a perpendicular angle to the tree as shown in the following diagram. However, it appears the car went off into the median near the “double trees” north of the crash site, hit the water piping, then hit the tree (with the front left of the car), the car rotated slightly to the right as the front left side collapsed, the engine was ejected, then the car continued to rotate until it came to rest about perpendicular to the street. From The Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 16. 2013): “The front of the car, particularly on the driver’s sid e, was badly damaged … I saw the car being towed away. It was absolutely mangled on the front, particularly the driver’s side.”

My theory is supported by watching the frontal offset crash test of a MB C Class at only 40 mph ("The test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a car collides with …. an object like a tree or utility pole”). I think the car was speeding at 70 to 130 mph. That's at least 4x the force of impact of the 40 crash test shown at http://www.iihs.org/ratings/rating.aspx?id=1680&seriesId=464). Just like Hasting's car, the test car pivots counter-clockwise to end perpedicular to the direction of travel. WATCH THE CRASH TEST!! Note that the engine compartment debris is also ejected at a different angle than that of the initial impact. The engine was ejected forward 170 feet (being an off-set crash, the engine had room and missed the tree).

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http://metabunk.org/threads/debunked-michael-hastings-crash-engine-found-north-of-crashgoing-south.1964/

From Why Michael Hastings Wasn’t Murdered (Mike Rothschild – Skeptoid, August 26, 2013)

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Notice that the debris field location is also in line with the ejected engine’s loca tion (see the picture below). Note that the perspective makes distances appear shorter. The end of the block is 200 feet from the crash; the debris field extends to the end of the block.

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Note: The above diagram does not correctly show the actual path of the car. Hastings car first hit the “water spout” piping, then hit the tree. Note that the angle and distance of the ejected engine doesn’t show up correctly in this 45 degree view (must use aerial view: googlemaps 621 Highland Ave Los Angeles): Draw a line from the curb just past the “double trees,” continue through the water spout to the crash site tree, rotate a bit counter-clockwise to the right (as the car did in the crash test video and ejected debris at an angle to the impact), and you end pointing to the engine location by the manhole cover on the sidewalk at the next NE corner 170 feet in south of the crash. ... On August 12, 2013, Dvorak wrote: “The pre-explosion could possibly explain the flash of light on the video that preceded the appearance of the car in the video … It also provides an explanation for the location of the engine and drive train at more than 100 feet from t he tree impact area.” Despite clear evidence to the contrary, it appears Kim Dvorak still believes the engine was somehow exploded out of the car before it appeared on the surveillance video “explaining” why the car was supposedly only doing 35 mph before being somehow “blown into” its resting place at the tree! Amazing. ...

LINKS:

“Explosion Ejected E ngine 170 Feet BEFORE Crash Scene”:

Michael Hastings Crash: Car Was Speeding, Engine Flew 100 Feet, Cops Say (Dennis Romero, LA Weekly 6-19-13) Michael Hastings' Engine Flew, Boosting Conspiracies, But It Happens (Dennis Romero, LA Weekly 6-21-13) Debunked: Michael Hastings Crash Engine Found North of Crash going South? (metabunk, 708-13) Crash Test 2012 Mercedes Benz C Class 40mph small overlap test IIHS (video) http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread962094/pg10 (thread on crash theories) The Curious Death of Michael Hastings (adriaen22.wordpress, 7-04-13)
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MYTH: “A Mercedes Is Not Going To Explode Into Flames Without Assistance.”
Ralph Lopez wrote that “… only 3% of vehicle fires are the result of the impact from a crash. Instantaneous explosions of vehicles are almost unheard of. .., An explosion of the type witnessed in the newly unearthed surveillance video is almost unheard of in the automobile safety field, and even more so in a GLK class Mercedes.” True, fully involved vehicle fires immediately after impact are rare; I’ve been a city firefighter for 22 years and have never seen one. Kimberly Dvorak reported “there were seven 911 calls included in the FOIA from the LAPD to San Diego 6 News” about the Hastings’ fiery car crash. Three callers reported an “explosion” (“car exploded”, “car had blown up”, “giant explosion”), while three callers reported a fire (“car is burning,” “totally engulfed in flames,” “a large fire”) . However, witnesses might have reported as an “explosion” the sound of the impact (especially at high speed) and/or the large “WHOOSH” of fire (once the gas tank ruptured and bursts into flame; I’ve seen this happen). And, Kimberly Dvorak said in the video that “cars just don’t blow up.” And she had previously written that “gasoline generally doesn’t burn that hot … the intensity of the fire resembles a “thermite” burn. … suggests an accelerant may have been involved … a Mercedes is not going to explode into flames without assistance. But, gas tanks can explode and cars can burst into flames given the right conditions: From http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=425297: “I think if you really want to get an explosion, you have to get the gas tank ripped open in such a way that the gasoline splatters into the air. Once you get a nice mixture of gasoline and air, you've got all of the ingredients for a fuel-air bomb. All you need to do is add a spark and you've got your Hollywood style kaboom.” “Now, will a crashed car catch on fire and start burning briskly? It could happen. Could that fire spread really quickly? I could happen. Car crashes, fuel tank ruptures, gasoline catches on fire, pretty soon all flammable parts of the car are burning. But that's not an explosion unless you get vaporized gasoline mixed with air and ignited … Th is happens regularly on Hollywood movie lots, hardly ever in real car crashes. A fireman friend of mine said he has been to a hundred car fires. They lift up the hood and put them out. He says he has no fear of explosion.

From http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=196918:

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“A collision resulting in a fire could conceivably result in a gas tank exploding, if the fire was allowed to burn. A ruptured gas tank can yield quite a fire, but if it's ruptured there won't be an explosion. … Gasoline has a very narrow flammable range of about 0.8 to 6% gasoline vapor in air. In other words, the vapor-air mixture must be exactly as specified or the gas will not burn, let alone explode! … For a car to explode during impact the tank must catastrophically rupture and spew a fine mist of gasoline over a large area so it can vaporize and mix with air in exactly the right proportions. The mixture must then find a source of ignition. … So can a car explode? Sure they can, but the odds of it happening is real rare. …. To get a fuel tank explosion would require a punctured tank, a gas spill and an ignition source. That would give you an explosion, not just a fire ... Jason Torchinsky spoke to Dr. Stephen Granande about the Hastings’ crash who said: “From everything I've seen, it doesn't look like Hastings's car exploded, but that it burned intensely. … And while cars don't normally catch on fire when they crash, "normally" doesn't mean "won't ever". ... To have an explosion, you've got to produce a lot of hot gas in a confined space … The Hasting car fire could have started in any number of ways. A collision shoves hot pieces of metal into places they're not meant to go. Fuel lines get sheared, holes get poked in gas tanks, and sparks fly. I can imagine a scenario where a cut fuel line sprays fuel around enough to start the fire, or the seam between the fuel tank and the rest of the fuel system breaks, or metal jams through the fuel tank. … It's rare for this to happen in a collision, but it's not unheard of. … Just because something happens rarely doesn't mean it can't happen. In the Hastings’ crash, it appears the fuel line and/or gas tank of the car may have been damaged before hitting the tree. The car jumped the curb into the median, then hit some “water piping” and a metal cage about 25’ before hitting the tree. Michael Krikorian wrote: “About halfway between the curb and the tree, the car hits a metal protrusion—perhaps 30 inches tall and 2 feet wide—that gives access to city water mains below. This is where the first small flash occurs. This pipe may have damaged the undercarriage of the car, perhaps rupturing a fuel line.” Adriaen22 disagrees and claims that “it’s [Mercedes Benz] built like a tank. The odds of a leaking fuel line being the source of fire before the car hit the tree, if it hit the tree, are abysmally low.” In a later post, she added: “Many have speculated that the car ran over the pipe which must have then nicked a fuel line. The car was a sports car….the front end of this model is relatively close to the ground. Additionally, the undercarriage of the Mercedes is plated.” [though the plating doesn’t seem to cover the gas tank area at the rear]

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http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/legacy/vehicles/model?class=C&model=C250W But, it appears that the underside of the car might have been damaged by impact with the water piping and/or cage. Look at this picture from Michael Krikorian that shows one of the “underside plates” was knocked off during the crash (behind cab of tow truck):

How? I think it’s likely the car went airborne after striking the curb (I was at a car accident 20 years ago where a car struck a cub at high-speed, went airborne and hit the corner of a house about 40 feet away about 4 feet off the ground) with the underside exposed when it struck the piping which might have ruptured the fuel line and gas tank before impact. As noted above, a ruptured tank with fuel splashed about would dramatically increase the odds of the car instantly bursting into flame.
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Update: Besides hitting the water piping and cage, the LAPD detective Connie White claims the car run over its sheared off front drier side tire: From Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013): The first obvious "flash", internet-gossiped to be a small explosion that caused the rise the rear end of the car, was most likely caused by the front wheel being sheared off by the impact with the curb. The flash and the "rise" of the rear may have been the car rolling over that wheel. In the interview, [Detective] White presented a rational reason for what was the first major "flash" seen on the security tape that captured the crash. "The front driver's side front wheel was completely sheared off in the crash," said White, giving that first flash a possible origin. The wheel hits the curb at high speed, is probably torn off right there and the Mercedes Benz drives over it, causing not only the flash, but also the often-questioned raising of the car's rear end. [how tire get down the street if run over?] Note: I still think the car went airborne after hitting the curb. Perhaps the wheel was instead sheared off by impact with the tree? Where did the wheel end up and how did it get there? [see also the discussion in the previous section, “LAPD Case Initial June 19th Report: ‘We Have Found No Evidence of Foul Play’ section]

From The Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 16, 2013): As far as a bomb or car-hacking, [Detective] White said, “At this point there is nothing that leads us in that direction.” When asked if any explosive materials had been discovered on the car or at the crash scene, White sounded like she chuckled. … But she returned to the phone and said, “No.” … She added, “If this were anything other than an accident, other departments would have been brought in to investigate,” alluding to homicide, the bomb squad or a terrorism unit. (Though one might think “other departments” would have been needed in any case–simply to determine whether it was an accident or not.) ... Overall, it appears the crash itself (hitting water piping, ruptured gas tank, high-speed crash into tree) probably resulted in favorable conditions for the car to burst into flame without help from “foul play.” Sure, it’s possible a small explosive set off the gas tank. But, the LAPD found nothing obvious to indicate explosives (although, as noted above, it appears the LAPD apparently didn’t look very hard for such evidence).10
10

Kimberly Dvorak in her piece, “The CIA To Provide New Details Into Hastings Death” (San Diego 6, October 6, 2013) wrote: “The LAPD also responded to a FOIA request as to whether the ATF+E (explosive) was called to investigate the Hastings accident scene by referring SD6 to ATF+E. Earlier ATF's Chris Hoffman told San Diego 6 that he had no recollection of their dogs being sent to rule out foul play. 87

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LINKS: “A Mercedes Is Not Going To Explode Into Flames Without Assistance.”
Hastings Death Examined (Kimberly Dvorak -- San Diego 6, August 4, 2013) New video, statistics raise odds of foul play in Hastings death (Ralph Lopez -- Digital Journal, 7-30-13) Michael Hastings' Engine Flew, Boosting Conspiracies, But It Happens (Dennis Romero, LA Weekly, 6-21-13) Why Cars Explode Into Fireballs And Why They Usually Don't Michael Hastings Crash http://metabunk.org/threads/debunked-michael-hastings-crash-cars-just-dont-blow-up-kimdvorak.2148/ http://www.intuitor.com/moviephysics/ http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=196918 http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=425297 The Curious Death of Michael Hastings (adriaen22.wordpress, 7-04-13) Michael Hastings-Death by Mercedes? (adriaen22.wordpress, 7-18-13) Hastings Update August 16 (Michael Krikorian, 8-16-13) Michael Hastings-The Witnesses-But Wait…(adriaen22.wordpress, 7-24-13) Michael Hastings Surveillance Tape!!! (adriaen22.wordpress, 7-31-13)

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MYTH: “Video Shows Three Explosions Before Car Crashes Into Palm Tree”
In her piece, “Hastings Death Examined” (San Diego 6, August 4, 2013) Kimberly Dvorak claimed that the surveillance video “captures three distinct explosions” and “shows multiple explosions consuming his 2013 Mercedes Benz. … the first horizontal explosion appears just after the 16-second mark (it ejects the left front tire across northbound highland approximately 40-50 feet). The second explosion engulfs the engine compartment at the 17-second mark. The third and largest explosion consumes the passenger compartment at the 17-18-second mark.” ... But, Michael Krikorian noted in his piece (at his blog krikorianwrites.com or his piece http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/07/14/the-michael-hastings-wreck-video-evidence-offers-a-fewclues/) that the size of the “explosions” was exaggerated by the video camera: “I showed the video to Scott E. Anderson, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor with Digital Sandbox who has engineered explosions for many films. … He said the fireball may be enhanced by the recording device. “That type of surveillance camera has auto exposure so it can change what it sees based by the ambient exposure day or night,” Anderson explained. “This camera is set at night and anything that happens very quickly, be it a flash light or a big ball of fire, the camera won’t react fast enough, so the first flash of light is going to appear much bigger in the viewing. So the initial explosion would always look bigger than it is.” He suggested a simple demonstration using a cellphone video app: Strike a match in a dark room and it will flare up on camera much more than in reality. The LAPD detective Connie White believes the first “explosion” was the car driving over the driver-side front wheel after it was sheared off after hitting the curb. However, I think it may have been the car driving over the water piping in the median (see previous discussion and photos). Either or both events may have ruptured the gas tank. I think the “second explosion” was the front of the car bursting into flame (from a broken fuel line and/or fuel thrown forward by a ruptured gas tank). And the “third explosion,” I would speculate was not an actual explosion, but a loud WHOOSH as a large quantity of spilled fuel ignited. Perhaps it was an actual gas tank explosion if the air-fuel mix was right (see the previous discussion). ...

LINKS: “Video Shows Three Explosions Before Car Crashes Into Tree” :
Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, 7-26-13)
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MYTH: “Hastings’ Body Was Cremated by LAPD Without Permission of His Family”
Kimberley Dvorak claimed in her piece, “Investigation into Michael Hastings accident continues” (July 15, 2013): “According to SSgt. Biggs, “Michael Hastings’ body was ret urned to Vermont in an urn.” He further alleged, “Family members did not want Michael’s body cremated.” The clear implication was that this was proof of a cover-up – that “the authorities” had rushed to dispose of the body in a way that would make further inquiries, such as an independent autopsy, impossible. ... However, her claim appears to be incorrect. First, Cheri in her post, “SSG Biggs: Has Hastings’ Friend Turned Family Foe? (July 26, 2013), referenced a quote supposedly from a Hastings family member:

This claim was later confirmed by a SSG (“Rambo”) Biggs twitter denial, and in a piece by Russ Baker, “Exclusive— Hastings ‘Unauthorized Cremation’ Mega-Rumor False, Family Says,” who wrote: “According to a member of Michael Hastings’s family, a widely circulated stor y that the investigative journalist’s body was cremated by authorities without the family’s permission is flat-out untrue. … a family member told WhoWhatWhy, “It was our wish to have Michael’s remains cremated.” In fact, this family member said the cremation came about at the family’s specific request—and only after an autopsy and toxicology tests, whose results are pending.”
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LINKS: “Hastings’ Body Cremated by LAPD Without Family Permission”: SSG Biggs Never Said Cremated Against Wishes Car Crash that Killed Rolling Stone Reporter Michael Hastings Still Being Investigated” (Steven Rosenfield –Alternet, July 17, 2013) SSG Biggs: Has Hastings’ Friend Turned Family Foe? (Cherispeak.wordpress, July 26, 2013) On The Radio (Cheri interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, July 30. 2013) More BS From Joe Biggs on Hastings (Scott Creighton, 8-01-13) Exclusive— Hastings ‘Unauthorized Cremation’ Mega-Rumor False, Family Says (Russ Baker -- WhoWhatWhy, August 13, 2013) Consider The Source: Mojo Cites ‘Questionable’ Reporting On Hastings Wre ck (David J. Krajicek -- WhoWhatWhy, August 19, 2013)

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"Whether It Turns Out To Be True Or Not, That's A Whole Other Issue”
When the journalist Chris Hedges was asked if he believed foul play was involved in Michael Hastings’ fiery car crash, he replied, “I would have to go report the story myself and smell it out. I'm very wary of conspiracy theories that are not grounded in fact, and most conspiracy theories are not.” Similarly, Jeremy Scahill said, “There needs to be an investigation and see all the facts. I’m not inclined to engage in conspiracy theory about his death.” And, “Rolling Stone” reporter Matt Taibbi “dismissed suggestions of government foul play in relation to the death of Michael Hastings.” He wrote, “They are still convinced that conspiracies are … taking place behind some closed door somewhere,” Taibbi said. “I’m like, ‘They’re not hiding it. It’s right out in the open.’ I share the skepticism of Hedges, Scahill, and Taibbi toward conspiracy theories. But, to paraphrase President Obama, "I'm not against all conspiracy theories, just dumb conspiracy theories." For example, I’ve documented the true conspiracy theory of the bipartisan whitewash of Gen. Stanley McChrystal (among others) who covered-up the friendly-fire death of Pat Tillman. Or, on the subject of “9/11 Truth”, I believe it’s plausible that some members of the CIA “let it happen” (see Kevin Fenton’s book “Disconnecting the Dots”) or that elements of the Saudi royal family supported the 9/11 hijackers (see Russ Baker’s “Classic WHY: Suppressed Saudi 9/11 Story”). But many conspiracy theories simply don’t withstand scrutiny. For example, some have described a conspiracy theory that Pat Tillman was assassinated because he said the Iraq War “was so fucking illegal.” But those who have seriously rese arched the matter (Stan Goff, Jon Krakauer, Amir Bar-Lev, Guy Montag, and Mary Tillman) found the facts simply don’t support that theory. It was (in military parlance) a case of FUBAR “goat-fuck” friendly-fire. But, many people just keep repeating “facts” that just aren’t true, quoting rumors instead of primary sources. Unfortunately, many of the “facts” of the Hastings car crash that continue to echo around the blogosphere are pure conjecture or can easily be debunked (for details, see “Accident or Assassination?”). Kimberly Dvorak was the source of many of those theories. “Mother Jones” reporter Gavin Aronsen criticized her for what he thought was her lack of concern for the truth of the matter: "Whether it turns out to be true or not, that's a whole other issue .”

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And, Dvorak was criticized by journalist Russ Baker who was concerned that legitimate inquiries such as those concerning car hacking or connections to NSA contractors (e.g. Endgame) “would be “sidetracked by a red herring”: How do blatantly counter-factual rumors and untruths get traction in the cybersphere? … an unwarranted assumption by the reporter…which turns out to be incorrect. … It’s not at all clear Dvorak deserves the title of “journalist. … There are enough truly troubling things about the Michael Hastings story not to have legitimate inquiries sidetracked by a red herring. As Matt Farwell pointed out, instead of advancing a real investigation, such shoddy “reporting” has the exact opposite effect. Matt Farwell, who often worked with Hastings as his writing partner … is furious with Dvorak, whom he called “a fucking disgrace—and that’s on the record.… unless it’s good solid stuff … unless it’s good solid shoe leather journalism—it’s not helping anyone. …” Similarly, the authors of the book, “The Eleventh Day,” Anthony Summers & Robbyn Swan were concerned that the “spurious” 9/11 conspiracies "distracts people from the actual malfeasance, mistakes and misdeeds of the U.S. government and the intelligence community” and that the “legacy of the spurious doubts, though, has been that far too little attention has been given to the very real omissions and distortions in the official reporting.” Finally, I agree with the sentiments of Natasha Lennard who wrote a piece, “Stop Speculating About Hastings’ Death” (Salon.com, June 20, 2013): Ruling out a priori the possibility of foul play would be as logically fallacious as asserting its presence. … what we really need in a case like this is a Mike Hastings. The kind of reporter who would not jump wildly to conclusions, but who would follow up the incident by asking the right people the right questions, including difficult questions. … knee-jerk speculation … sits quite at odds with Hastings’ legacy of thorough reporting and serious probing. … It does little to honor his impo rtant journalistic legacy to apply any less skepticism than Hastings would have to a strange and tragic incident. But skepticism is a different game altogether from wild speculation. Unfortunately, the Hastings’ family and the LAPD have largely remained c lose-mouthed about the circumstances of the car crash. The resulting paucity of hard facts about the circumstances leading up to the crash has invariably led to speculation (much “wild’) to fill the gap. ... Note: My own speculations on the possibilities are discussed in the chapter “A Michael Hastings Non-Conspiracy Theory.

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How Political Conspiracy Theories Take Root (Randy Dotinga – Voice of San Diego, August 25, 2013) Conspiracy theories emerge where three things collide. The first is our natural tendency to find patterns and creative narratives … Second is a situation that we’re suspicious of and makes us fearful. And third is the fact that there are actual cases of people conspiring. There’s a reason why there’s a legal offense called conspiracy. It’s not like being afraid of some supernatural monster that people talk about but never shows up.

Chris Hedges Answers Questions from Viewers: “But question number five. Do you believe there may have been foul play involved in a mysterious car crash that resulted in the death of investigative journalist Michael Hastings? HEDGES: He was the Rolling Stone reporter who broke the story on McChrystal and all the insane people around McChrystal. And I've never met him but had great respect for him as a reporter. But I also say as a reporter that I would never make any statement like that, because it's purely conjecture. I would have to go report the story myself and smell it out. So I'm very wary of conspiracy theories that are not grounded in fact, and most conspiracy theories are not. JAY: But some are. HEDGES: Right. Well, then they're not conspiracy theories.

Dirty Wars and Reporters Under Attack with Jeremy Scahill (“Buzzsaw” interview with Jeremy Scahill, @23:35): Conspiracy? Friend of mine. Admiration for the work that he did. Financee blown up in Iraq. Doing some of the most hard-hitting unembedded journalism. RS reporting brought down SM4. Infuriated cavier correspondents, stenographers for powerful, he was virus in their elite club. With him just a few days [5 nights] before he died. There needs to be an investigation and see all the facts. I’m not inclined to engage in conspiracy theory about death, give support to family and remembering his name, but need a full explanation. Most danger for non-US journalists overseas. Anyone who does this type of reporting should be concerned. Those powerful people just don’t roll over, must be careful in communications.

From Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi proves real conspiracies and warns financial despotism is breaking America (Travis Lupick -- Straight.com, July 13, 2013):
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… Taibbi discussed the dysfunctions of democracies in which elections are up for sale. In addition, he described how the financial system is openly manipulated to favour the super-rich, and highlighted spying programs that violate the rights of millions. He also commented on the Obama administration's overseas assassination operations, and how the law has been contorted to allow for death squads to operate beyond it. Taibbi said that this level of government audacity is why he has a problem with conspiracy theorists, such as those who argue that the September 11 attacks were an inside job. (He also dismissed suggestions of government foul play in relation to the death of Michael Hastings, a fellow writer for Rolling Stone who covered national security issues before dying in an alleged car accident on June 18, 2013.) “They are still convinced that conspiracies are these things that take place with the Rothschilds and the Illuminati, and that it’s all taking place behind some closed door somewhere,” Taibbi said. “I’m like, ‘They’re not hiding it. It’s right out in the open.’ ... From Meet the Journalist Spreading Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theories (Gavin Aronsen – Mother Jones, 8-16-13): I'm going out on a limb reporting this," Dvorak tells Mother Jones when asked about her theories. "Journalists are becoming so irrelevant right now." As Dvorak sees it, the story of Hastings' crash must be told … she says she remains suspicious that Hastings may have "faked his death" or been assassinated. "Whether it turns out to be true or not, that's a whole other issue," she adds.

From Exclusive— Hastings ‘Unauthorized Cremation’ Mega-Rumor False, Family Says (Russ Baker - WhoWhatWhy, 8-13-13): How do blatantly counter-factual rumors and untruths get traction in the cybersphere? … an unwarranted assumption by the reporter…which turns out to be incorrect. … It’s not at all clear Dvorak deserves the title of “journalist.” … It’s hard to find real journalists— whose work can be trusted because they approach a story with an open mind, a commitment to digging out the facts, and a willingness to report whatever they find. There are enough truly troubling things about the Michael Hastings story not to have legitimate inquiries sidetracked by a red herring. As Matt Farwell pointed out, instead of advancing a real investigation, such shoddy “reporting” has the exact opposite effect. Matt Farwell, who often worked with Hastings as his writing partner … is furious with Dvorak, whom he called “a fucking disgrace—and that’s on the record.” … “It’s being looked at closely— and unless it’s good solid stuff like the video and [the WhoWhatWhy] piece from the guy whose girlfriend has the p izzeria; unless it’s good solid shoe leather journalism—it’s not helping anyone. It makes the LAPD and the feds go into closed-off mode and makes people not want to say anything.”
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From Natasha Lennard (“Stop Speculating About Hastings’ Death”– Salon.com, June 20, 2013): Ruling out a priori the possibility of foul play would be as logically fallacious as asserting its presence. … what we really need in a case like this is a Mike Hastings. The kind of reporter who would not jump wildly to conclusions, but who would follow up the incident by asking the right people the right questions, including difficult questions. Just days after Hastings’ death — when even the earliest accident reports have not been completed — suffice to say any assertions of foul play or assassination are ungrounded speculation. Indeed, applying Occam’s Razor, it is entirely feasible that Hastings feared FBI investigation, given his work, that he was correct in his fear, that he was correct in his speculation, and that early Tuesday morning he went for a fast drive and lost control of his car, which exploded on high impact. A number of the writer’s friends have expressed that Hastings was going through a stressful period. No extra premise of a planted government bomb is necessary to offer a plausible picture at all. … knee-jerk speculation … sits quite at odds with Hastings’ legacy of thorough reporting and serious probing. … It does little to honor his important journalistic legacy to apply any less skepticism than Hastings would have to a strange and tragic incident. But skepticism is a different game altogether from wild speculation. ...

LINKS: "Whether It Turns Out To Be True Or Not, That's A Whole Other Issue”
Dirty Wars and Reporters Under Attack with Jeremy Scahill 23:35 Thoughts on Michael Hastings. Chris Hedges Answers Questions from Viewers

How Political Conspiracy Theories Take Root (Randy Dotinga – Voice of San Diego, August 25, 2013) Meet the Journalist Spreading Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theories (Gavin Aronsen – Mother Jones, 8-16-13) Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi proves real conspiracies and warns financial despotism is breaking America (Travis Lupick -- Straight.com, July 13, 2013):
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The LAPD’s Final Accident Report -"No One is Going to Have Access to that Anyway”
On June 18, 2013, at about 4:20 AM, Michael Hastings left his house in Los Angeles, his car sped about 1.5 miles down Highland Ave, blew through three red lights, went off the road and crashed into a palm tree. Hastings was killed by the impact and his car burst into flames. Just a couple of days later, the LAPD announced there appeared to be no “foul play involved” in the fatal crash. A week later, LA reporter Michael Krikorian asked the lead investigator, Detective Connie White from the West Traffic Bureau, if foul play “had indeed been ruled out.” She t old him “nothing has been ruled out.” But, she added, “the investigation was nearly complete” and nothing led her in the direction of a bomb or car hacking. She continued, “If [!] this were anything other than an accident, other departments would have been brought in to investigate,” alluding to homicide, the bomb squad or a terrorism unit. In response, Krikorian wryly noted, “one might think ‘other departments’ would have been needed in any case–simply to determine whether it was an accident or not.” On July 17th, an LAPD press officer said ““According to our traffic investigators, there’s no fo ul play. That’s all speculation” and “We’re awaiting lab test results” from the autopsy [likely to reveal if Hastings might have been drinking or consuming any drugs that could have played a role in the crash]. On July 24th, Detective White told Krikorian, "There has not been any change to the findings of our initial investigation”… “So far, all evidence leads to an accident." On August 7th, White once again told Krikorian “there has been nothing to change the LAPD's initial view that Michael Hasting s’ death was due to an accident” and “it might be another month [about Sept 7th] for the case to be closed.” ... After getting labs, Aug released coroner’s final report. White Initial report dated 19th. Toxicology results. During an August 5th CNN interview with Piers Morgan, Elise Jordan (Hastings’ widow) said, "Right now, the LAPD still has an active investigation. I don't really have anything to add. My gut here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm very unlucky and the world is very unlucky."

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But During the past two months, it appears there was no further investigation (e.g. forensics of the car, talking to neighbors and friends, getting more CCTV video). A Hastings family member told WhoWhatWhy, “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case … they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. … It’s so irresponsible and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system ….” Opps, nothing much found there! IF this crash was an assassination, we will never know since the LAPD failed to find any evidence of foul play since they never even looked for it. ... On August 27th, a week after the coroner’s report was released, Detective White “once again ruled out any idea a bomb was placed in the car or any other foul play. ” Detective White told Krikorian, "In my investigation, it appears to be that nothing else was going on other than this was a accident. We may never know exactly why he was speeding, but the speeding caused the crash.” The key question still unanswered is WHY Hastings’ car was speeding so fa st that night. The night he died a neighbor claims he asked to borrow her car because he thought someone may have tampered with his car. Maybe Hastings had reasons to be scared (or maybe he was paranoid) and drove too fast, or maybe his car brakes/accelerator had been “hacked” or tampered with. Unfortunately, the LAPD never really tried to answer that question or investigate the crash as a potential homicide. It appears the traffic detective merely assumed Hastings was drugged up and crashed. The next day, on June 19, 2013, she filed a brief 2-page report after spending only 2 hours on the scene, taking 48 photos, and talking to Hasting’s brother ( she took no evidence). And, White also said the investigation is “far from over”: "I understand it is very important we do as thorough a job as we can do before the final report.” … "I'm not even close to being done with the investigation.” This was, like I have said, a tragic accident." What before almost done, two more months, etc. OCT 6 Dvorak’ Oct 7 Final Report what hiding And Krikorian also wrote that at the end of June, “White said the investigation was nearly complete, but she refused to give details.” I find it curious, after the coroner’s report finally came out, that Detective White now says that "I'm not even close to being done with the investigation …It was an accident. I understand it is very important we do as thorough a job as
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we can do before the final report." So, exactly what is she now investigating? Did she even do any forensics on the car?

But traffic detective final report in limbo. ... From The Michael Hastings Crash (Michael Krikorian, July 16. 2013): Two days after the crash [June 20, 2013], the LAPD announced that there appeared to be no “foul play” in the single-car fatal crash. … A week after that statement, the lead investigator on the case, Detective Connie White from LAPD’s West Traffic Bureau, contradicted that. When I asked her if “foul play” had indeed been ruled out, she replied, “No. Nothing has been ruled out.” As far as a bomb or car-hacking, White said, “At this point there is nothing that leads us in that direction.” When asked if any explosive materials had been discovered on the car or at the crash scene, White sounded like she chuckled. … But she returned to the phone and said, “No.” “If this were anything other than an accident, other departments would have been brought in to investigate,” alluding to homicide, the bomb squad 11 or a terrorism unit. (Though one might think “other departments” would have been needed in any case–simply to determine whether it was an accident or not.) White said the investigation was nearly complete, but she refused to give details. She said an official report, including toxicology results on Hastings’s remains, may be weeks away.

From “Car Crash that Killed Rolling Stone Reporter Michael Hastings Still Being Investigated ” (Steven Rosenfield –Alternet, July 17, 2013): “The latest is there is no foul play suspected—that’s all you would get from us,” a Los Angeles Police Department press officer said Wednesday. “According to our traffic investigators, there’s no foul play. That’s all speculation.” … “The LAPD did their own investigation of the cause of the crash, ” Kades said, distinguishing between the LAPD traffic accident investigation and the medical examiner’s investigation. “We’re awaiting
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Update 10-08-13: Kimberly Dvorak in her piece, “The CIA To Provide New Details Into Hastings Death” (San Diego 6, October 6, 2013) wrote: “The LAPD also responded to a FOIA request as to whether the ATF+E (explosive) was called to investigate the Hastings accident scene by referring SD6 to ATF+E. Earlier ATF's Chris Hoffman told San Diego 6 that he had no recollection of their dogs being sent to rule out foul play. 99

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lab test results” from the autopsy. “We can still do toxicology, detect internal injuries, thermal damage. That process has to run its course.” On Wednesday, Los Angeles Department of Coroner Captain John Kades said that his office has not closed its investigation because it is awaiting the results of a range of autopsy tests—which will take another four to six weeks to complete. … The autopsy tests are likely to reveal if Hastings might have been drinking or consuming any drugs that could have played a role in the crash.

From LAPD's Michael Hastings Crash Investigation Update (Michael Krikorian, July 24, 2013): Thirty seven days after Michael Hastings died … the investigation into his death continues. Yet, despite a strong conspiracy outcry, the lead LAPD detective on the case said Wednesday that "So far, all evidence leads to an accident." "There has not been any change to the findings of our initial investigation," said Det. Connie White, referring to the LAPD's announcement two days after the crash that there was "no foul play involved." Regarding internet gossip about cyber-hacking into the Mercedes, such a disabling the brakes and jamming the accelerator, Det. White said "There has been no evidence at all leading in that direction."

Michael Hastings’ Widow Speaks Out For The First Time To Piers Morgan, Piers Asks: Was His Death A Conspiracy? (mediaite, 8-05-13): "I have no doubt that he was pursuing a hot story. … Jordan said. "Right now, the LAPD still has an active investigation. I don't really have anything to add. My gut here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm very unlucky and the world is very unlucky."

From Hastings' Tox Report Due Within Two Weeks (Michael Krikorian, August 9, 2013): “We are continuing testing and want to make sure we don’t miss anything and no one can come back and say 'did you do this or that?’ said Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the coroner’s office. Winter said an examination like this can test for more than 800 medicines, drugs and prescription combinations. "It should be done within two weeks." The lead investigator in the case, LAPD Detective Connie White, said earlier this week she was “not at all upset with the release of the video,” and added, as she has stated before, “there has been nothing to change the LAPD's initial view that Michael Hastings’ death was due to an accident.” White said Wednesday it might be another month for the case to be closed [Sept 4th].

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From Case Report & Investigator Narrative (pp. 1-3): Detectives: LAPD West Traffic Division – Connie White & **** Johnson. Arrived on scene at 0535 hours, departing at 0725. Apparent Mode: Accident [vs. Natural, Suicide, Homicide, Could Not Be Determined] Evidence: None collected Photographs: 48 Scene Description: On the early morning of 06/18/13 at approximately 0420 hours, decedent had been-traveling southbound on Highland Ave at a high rate of speed … when he apparently lost control of his vehicle colliding with a tree head-on in a center grass median. The vehicle caught fire. … The incident was captured on video, possibly (2) different videos … Decedent's vehicle came to rest in about the middle area between Melrose Ave and Clinton St … vehicle was observed partially resting atop the grass center median, facing in a southeastern direction. The front end area was slightly wrapped around the tree, with the rear tires hanging off the edge of the curb resting into the #1 lane of southbound traffic. Tire marks were observed in the #2 lane of southbound traffic, south of Melrose Ave, which trailed in a southeastern direction leading toward the grass center median were additional apparent tire marks were observed, which then trailed toward the involved tree. Vehicular debris was observed in the surrounding area about both sides of the street, particularly south of the vehicle … with decedent's engine found near the next intersection south-- located on the sidewalk area near the northeast corner of Highland and Clinton St; one of his wheels was found in the grassy center median past Clinton St – measurements pending at this time. History includes polysubstance use, with report that decedent had been smoking marijuana the night prior. He was also believed as using DMT. Family had just arrived from New York the day prior, attempting to get decedent to go to rehab. Note: Initial Case Report was signed June 19, 2013 (the day after the crash). See Appendix “B” for the detectives interview with Hastings’ brother about shis uspected drug use. Add coroner report and toxicology here

...

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From Hastings Autopsy: Traces Of Meth Found In Body, But Crash Caused Death (Kathleen Kelleher, Russ Baker and David J. Krajicek—WhoWhatWhy, August 21, 2013 The coroner said small amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana were found in Hastings’s blood. But a Hastings family member had a surprising reaction when contacted by WhoWhatWhy, calling the coroner’s report “irresponsible.” “I can honestly say with absolute certainty that he wasn’t doing meth,” the family member, requesting anonymity, told WhoWhatWhy in an email. “‘Methamphetamine’ can be nasal spray, Sudafed, one of those upper drinks at the gas station, prescription amphetamines, etc.” The family member continued, “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case, and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system. When they didn’t get it in the toxicology lab results (science!), they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. It’s so irresponsible.”

From Michael Hastings wrestled with demons, but legacy remains intact (Robin Abcarian – LA Times, August 21, 2013): mondofxr at 11:03 PM August 21, 2013: … As the author of New York Times best selling nonfiction books on major crimes, I've learned first hand how important it is to question any "official" single medical examiner's report, which by its nature, can only accurately speak to cause of death. Manner of death in this particular report depends entirely on the undocumented conclusions of detectives and police officers on the scene and some interviews with unnamed relatives. More telling now would be the LAPD accident investigation unit report [appears to be just 2 pages]. There you should find quite a breakdown of the dynamics of the crash: Length of skid marks. Detailed impact mapping of the vehicle. A forensic examination of automobile systems such as brakes, lights, ignition systems and the like. This kind of breakdown is usually routine in fatals and will tell you a hell of a lot more than something typed out by a medical examiner at the morgue. That presumes this investigation was done. If it wasn't, then something really stinks in this case. mondofxr at 10:55 PM August 21, 2013: Back when I was a journalist for one of the country's leading, big city dailies, my editor would never let me get away with the straight out conclusion Ms. Abcarian states in her lede. Furthermore, she confidently writes off as paranoia Hasting's attempt to borrow his neighbor's car because he felt it had been "tampered with." And only hours later he's dead in a car crash in an out of control vehicle. The irony and disconnect of the two statements is stunning. What's that old line? Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't after you. ...
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From Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013): Despite the release last week of the coroner's report, the lead LAPD detective in the Michael Hastings' fatal car crash case said Tuesday the investigation is "far from over", but adamantly maintained the view that the investigative journalist's death was not caused by a criminal act. "I'm not even close to being done with the investigation," said Det. Connie White in a small interview room at LAPD's West Traffic Bureau Division. "It was an accident. I understand it is very important we do as thorough a job as we can do before the final report." But, White once again ruled out any idea a bomb was placed in the car or any other foul play. "In my investigation, it appears to be that nothing else was going on other than this was a accident. We may never know exactly why he was speeding, but the speeding caused the crash. This was, like I have said, a tragic accident." ... From “The CIA To Provide New Details Into Hastings Death” (Kimberly Dvorak – San Diego 6, October 6, 2013): The Los Angeles Police Department determined early in the investigation process that no foul play was suspected in Hastings’ single car accident, yet nearly four months later the LAPD refuses to release its investigative report. … In response to San Diego 6's FOIAs, LAPD asserted a federal investigation may be pending as a reason for not releasing public information. LAPD Detective White has not closed the case. As a result the leased Mercedes is off limits and Mercedes spokespeople will not comment on the accident. This suggests LAPD still has possession of the car. The LAPD also responded to a FOIA request as to whether the ATF+E (explosive) was called to investigate the Hastings accident scene by referring SD6 to ATF+E. Earlier ATF's Chris Hoffman told San Diego 6 that he had no recollection of their dogs being sent to rule out foul play.

From “Hastings Final Accident Report - Not the LAPD's, KW's” (Michael Krikorian, krikorianwrites.com -- October 07, 2013): The Los Angeles Police Department's final accident report regarding Michael Hastings is still not finished and the lead investigator on the case said Friday it could be another two months before it is completed. Det. Connie White of LAPD's West Bureau Traffic is
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reliable in her response whenever Krikorian Writes calls. "I'm on another death investigation. I am swamped. I haven't finished with Hastings' final report." But, then she added "No one is going to have access to that anyway." I really wish she hadn't said that. Just when I was going to finally write my own thoughts, after several reports of quoting other people's opinion, after only writing the facts of the case from authorities and sources as I had learned them, Det. White had to go and say that and bring back the "What are they hiding?" suspicions. … As a reporter, the first thing that streaks through the mind when someone, anyone, says something like that, is "You're wrong. I'm going to see that report." ...

LINKS: “LAPD Investigation Found No Evidence of Foul Play”:
Car Crash that Killed Rolling Stone Reporter Michael Hastings Still Being Investigated (alternet, 7-17-13) Michael Hastings Crash Michael Krikorian, 7-26-13) LAPD's Michael Hastings Crash Investigation Update (Michael Krikorian, 7-24-13) Michael Hastings Video Background (Michael Krikorian, 8-01-13) Michael Hastings’ Widow Speaks Out For The First Time To Piers Morgan, Piers Asks: Was His Death A Conspiracy? (mediaite, 8-05-13) Hastings' Tox Report Due Within Two Weeks (Michael Krikorian, 8-09-13) Initial LAPD Hastings Accident Report (& Autopsy & Toxicology) Michael Hastings wrestled with demons, but legacy remains intact (Robin Abcarian – LA Times, August 21, 2013) Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (Michael Krikoiran – krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013) ... “The CIA To Provide New Details Into Hastings Death” (Kimberly Dvorak – San Diego 6, October 6, 2013)

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"A Michael Hastings Non-Conspiracy Theory”

(from cherispeaks.com)

“Hastings lived life at full throttle, raced his demons and, at times, took unnecessary risks. … ‘I know the pull, the intoxication, the life-affirming chemicals released after seeing the abyss and coming back from it, he writes. … Hasting’s younger brother, Jeff … says he accepts the obvious and, in some ways, more difficult explanation for his brother’s death: that Michael simply drove too fast and didn’t survive. ‘I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy … There’s no part of me that’s troubled by that.” -- Tim Dickinson (“Rolling Stone,” August 1, 2013)

"Right now, the LAPD still has an active investigation. I don't really have anything to add. My gut here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm very unlucky and the world is very unlucky." --- his widow Elise Jordan (from interview Piers Morgan Live, August 5, 2013) "’… in a world of uncertainty, your mind races.’ In that situation, marijuana may only have compounded the problem. … ‘This is speculation. But he's going at high speed. It's as if he was gripped by fear and he was trying to outrun something. And he floored it, trying to escape. He enacted a flight from something, real or imagined.’" -- Philip Robertson (“Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind” -- LA Weekly, August 22, 2013 ) “… just like those who do not believe in “crazy conspiracies” will not take the time to look at any evidence of one, it is unfortunately equally true that those perpetuating the conspiracies about Hastings’ death also give little credence to things that point away from their theory and corroborate a nonconspiracy. … Michael’s family left her [KTLA news reporter Carolyn Costello] feeling that there was somethin g of a “more personal nature” going on with Michael prior to his death. … The birthday of Michael’s first fiance – Andrea [Andi] Parhamovich, who was violently killed in Iraq at the beginning of 2007, was June 16th, just two-days prior to Michael’s death. … Could this be what culminated in him driving like a madman that morning? -- Cheri Roberts (“Michael Hastings: A Non-Conspiracy Theory” -- CheriSpeak , August 31, 2013) 105

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"A Michael Hastings Non-Conspiracy Theory”
*** DRAFT *** Shortly before 4:20 AM on June 18, 2013 Michael Hastings left his house, his car sped about 1.5 miles down Highland Ave, blew through three red lights, went off the road and crashed into a palm tree. Hastings was killed by the impact and his car burst into flames. Blogger Stacy McCain wrote that the key question remaining is “ why Michael Hastings was driving so fast at such an ungodly hour” (LA reporter Michael Krikorian wrote Hastings was on his way to Las Vegas even though his brother was in-town and another arriving that day). Some conspiracy theorists believe Hastings’ car was b lown up by some governmental or corporate entity that was concerned by the “big story” he was working on about the NSA (or CIA?). However, I don’t think the available evidence supports that theory (see the detailed discussion above). But, perhaps Hastings was trying to outrun a real threat. Or, it appears technologically possible that his car may have been “hacked” (or old -fashioned physical tampered with) to control the braking, steering, and/or acceleration of his car. Or, perhaps a “non-conspiracy theory” explains the high-speed? Was Hastings intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs? Was he an adrenaline junkie who was recklessly speeding? Was he a haunted soul suffering from PTSD who was suicidal? Was he despondent on the anniversary of Andi’s (his deceased first fiancée who blown up in Iraq in 2007) birthday? Was he paranoid (from PTSD and/or to much THC) and “gripped by fear” & “trying to outrun something” imagined? I don’t know the truth of the matter. I’m agnostic as to whether the crash was an accident or an assassination. Ultimately, either option may be found to be true. Unfortunately, there’s no “smoking gun” that definitely rule out either option. It appears the LAPD “investigation” didn’t seriously look into the potential of “foul play” and his family isn’t talking about the matter. We may never know. ... ** Add discussion of different possible scenarios and revise previous material below Was Hastings’ car “hacked” (or old-fashioned physical tampered with) to control the braking, steering, and/or acceleration of his car? Was Hastings was trying to outrun a real threat?

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Was Hastings’ simply an adrenaline junkie who was just recklessly speeding?

Was Hasting’s suicidal and drove into a tree? On the 6th anniversary of Andi’s (his deceased first fiancée who was blown up in Iraq in 2007) birthday, was Hastings recklessly driving to “test death”?

Was Hastings intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs that impaired his driving and led to reckless driving?

Was Hastings’ a haunted soul suffering from PTSD (paranoid from poor sleep?) who drove recklessly?

Was Hastings a paranoid “meth-head” “gripped by fear” & “trying to outrun something” imagined?

Did Hastings smoke too much weed that night for his PTSD, suffered acute paranoia, was “gripped by fear” & “trying to outrun something” imagined

Was Hastings suffering from “manic” mental deterioration brought on by a recent relapse into drug use/abuse (e.g. Adderal? Ritalin?)

Some combination of the above? Manic from drug use, stressed by brother’s visit & anniversary, smoked more THC than usual, got paranoid, asked neighbor, took off AM after smoking more. See Appendix “D” for interview with Jonathan Hastings and Appendix “e” for New York Magazine profile. ... It’s just not clear what was going on. And thus far, the Hasting’s family isn’t talking about it. A few days ago, in The Wrap, his brother declined to discuss the inaccuracies further or address last week's L.A. Weekly story about Hastings' final days:
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“"There are plenty of inaccurac ies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn't change anything," Hastings' brother Jeff told TheWrap. "Losing Mike is very painful; gossip and conspiracy theories are not." I wouldn’t be surprised if a “non-conspiracy” explains what was going on. Jeff’s previous comment last month in “Rolling Stone” has weighed heavily in my own thinking on the matter: From Tim Dickinson’s wrote (Rolling Stone 8-01-13 print edition): “Hastings lived life at full throttle, raced his demons and, at times, took unnecessary risks. … In his memoir, Hastings identifies with those he called war junkies. “I know the pull, the intoxication, the life-affirming chemicals released after seeing the abyss and coming back from it, he writes. “I survived. I made it. I didn’t fuck up. Bliss.” “In the wake of Hasting’s death, the Internet has been rife with speculation that dark forces may have been behind his pre-dawn wreck. But those closest to him dismiss the rumors. Hasting’s younger brother, Jeff—who was awarded a Bronze Star as an infantry officer in Iraq…--says he accepts the obvious and, in some ways, more difficult explanation for his brother’s death: that Michael simply drove too fast and didn’t survive. ‘I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy … There’s no part of me that’s troubled by that.” Furthermore, his widow Elise Jordan told Piers Morgan, “…the LAPD still has an active investigation. I don't really have anything to add. My gut here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm very unlucky and the world is very unlucky." It sounds like she’s leaning toward an accidental explanation (although leaving some wiggle-room to see what the LAPD comes up with) or perhaps she doesn’t yet want to “add anything” until her own digging into the matter is complete. In her post, “Michael Hastings: A Non-Conspiracy Theory,” Cheri Roberts speculated that the date of Hastings’ death may have a connection to his death: KTLA news reporter, Carolyn Costello, said that when she was vetting information on SSG Joe Biggs … that Michael’s family left her feeling that there was something of a “more personal nature” going on with Michael prior to his death. … The birthday of Michael’s first fiance – Andrea [Andi] Parhamovich, who was violently killed in Iraq at the beginning of 2007, was June 16th, just two-days prior to Michael’s death. One can imagine, understand and acknowledge the emotional toll that would take on Michael, especially if he was abusing Adderall or any other mind-altering drug. Especially for one allegedly suffering from PTSD. Yeah, I thought the same thing about the June 16/17th date a few weeks ago. After finally reading Hast ings’ 2010 afterword to the paperback edition of “I Lost My Love In Baghdad.” I wrote this notation at the bottom of a previous section “The Memories Never Go Away”:
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“There was no good excuse for me to be back in Afghanistan or Iraq, except I told myself it was my job… But maybe that wasn’t entirely honest. Was part of me looking to get killed, too? To even the scales, neatly tie up my love for her, to complete the narrative? Two lovers, both dead. How tragic. … Maybe there was some part of me that didn’t want to die just yet, wanting to say, ‘Fuck you war, you can’t destroy me. I’m going to win this, on my own terms.’ A delusion, of course, because war always wins. … The memories never go away. … The war left me with memories and grief and anger a nd a struggle to find hope, to find reasons to go on.” -- Michael Hastings, from his June 17, 2009 Afterword to “I Lost My Love In Baghdad” Note: It’s worth noting that Andi’s birthday was on June 16th. Hastings wrote his Afterword on June 17th. He died in a car crash on the night of June 17th (4 AM on June 18th). Connection or coincidence? Hastings’ Afterword and the June 16/17th date was in my mind when I commented on August 21st that, “It sadly appears that war did “win” in the end.” ... Perhaps the conclusion (even if his details were too speculative and thinly sourced; right for the wrong reasons) of Gene Maddaus’s LA Weekly profile of Hastings’s was correct: “he's going at high speed. It's as if he was gripped by fear and he was trying to outrun something. And he floored it, trying to escape. He enacted a flight from something, real or imagined." Update 10-25-13: I now think Hastings may have crashed after an acute paranoid reaction to getting too stoned that night (see Appendix “C” & “D”). Or maybe Hastings’ was working on an NSA story that touched a nerve just after the Snowden leaks and “someone” (NSA, CIA, contracter such as “Endgame”?) were trying to scare him off or take him out of commission for a while. ... I’m surprised the Hastings family and Elise Jordan have declined to discuss Hasting’s final days. Without their story, the media and conspiracy theorists will just continue to try to fill in the blanks with speculation. It’s a shame the last impression many people no w have of Michael Hastings (after his media character assassination) is that he was a “meth head” who got himself killed driving with drugs in his body (“more lies borne out by facts, if not the truth”) . ... Michael Hastings’ Widow Speaks Out For The First Time To Piers Morgan, Piers Asks: Was His Death A Conspiracy? (mediaite, 8-05-13):

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[Piers Morgan]: "There have been, as there always are in these situations, wild conspiracy theories that he was chasing some hot story, maybe connected to that, his late night car crash in Los Angeles. Other theories, too. Do you subscribe to any of this?” "I have no doubt that he was pursuing a hot story. He always had at least five hot stories going — that was Michael," Jordan said. "Right now, the LAPD still has an active investigation. I don't really have anything to add. My gut here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm very unlucky and the world is very unlucky."

Elise Jordan Interview With Ron Paul (Ron Paul Channel -- August 19, 2013) 16:00 Investigation, what do you know, closed? LAPD still has an ongoing investigation, so until that’s wrapped up, I don’t really know what they say is cause of death, pending now on death certificate; clearly it was a horrific car crash, and extremely tragic and awful. I hope there is more explanation and I can reach more peace about what happened, but I unfortunately think it was just one of life’s tragedies.

Tim Dickinson’s 8-01-13 “Rolling Stone” tribute quotes Hasting’s brother saying, “I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy”: “Hastings lived life at full throttle, raced his demons and, at times, took unnecessary risks. … In his memoir, Hastings identifies with those he called war junkies. “I know the pull, the intoxication, the life-affirming chemicals released after seeing the abyss and coming back from it, he wr ites. “I survived. I made it. I didn’t fuck up. Bliss.” “In the wake of Hasting’s death, the Internet has been rife with speculation that dark forces may have been behind his pre-dawn wreck. But those closest to him dismiss the rumors. Hasting’s younger brother, Jeff—who was awarded a Bronze Star as an infantry officer in Iraq…--says he accepts the obvious and, in some ways, more difficult explanation for his brother’s death: that Michael simply drove too fast and didn’t survive. ‘I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy … There’s no part of me that’s troubled by that.”

From Michael Hastings' Family Chides Media for Inaccuracies, Guards His Legacy (Sara Morrison -- The Wrap, August 27, 2013): In the wake of the L.A. County Coroner's report concluding that BuzzFeed journalist Michael Hastings' death was an accident, his family is speaking out about inaccurate media reports surrounding the 33-year-old's demise and doing its best to keep his legacy
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alive. … [his] fatal car crash in June gave rise to conspiracy theories surrounding the circumstances of his death and a lengthy L.A. Weekly story detailing his past drug use and struggles with addiction. "There are plenty of inaccuracies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn't change anything," Hastings' brother Jeff told TheWrap. "Losing Mike is very painful; gossip and conspiracy theories are not." His brother declined to discuss the inaccuracies further or address last week's L.A. Weekly story about Hastings' final days. According to the report, Hastings' family was on his way to L.A. to conduct an intervention when he crashed. "Our family will remember him with love as our brother, son, grandson, cousin," his brother Jeff told TheWrap. "I hope others continue to read his books and articles and remember him as a journalist who didn't pick on the easy targets and worked, as best he could, in the interests of freedom and peace." Hastings' widow, Elise Jordan, recently told CNN she thought he died in "a really tragic accident." She lashed out at inaccurate media reports about her husband the day after his death, accusing the New York Times of "blatant mischaracterization" in Hastings' obituary. "Michael's family and I are of course pleased that his legacy will carry on in a fellowship," Jordan told TheWrap.

Dirty Wars and Reporters Under Attack with Jeremy Scahill (Buzzsaw interview with Jeremy Scahill) 23:35 Thoughts on Michael Hastings. Conspiracy? Friend of mine. Admiration for the work that he did. Financee blown up in Iraq. Doing some of the most hard-hitting unembedded journalism. RS reporting brought down SM4. Infuriated cavier correspondents, stenographers for powerful, he was virus in their elite club. With him just a few days [5 nights] before he died. There needs to be an investigation and see all the facts. I’m not inclined to engage in conspiracy theory about death, give support to family and remembering his name, but need a full explanation. Most danger for non-US journalists overseas. Anyone who does this type of reporting should be concerned. Those powerful people just don’t roll over, must be careful in communications. ... From Michael Hastings: A Non-Conspiracy Theory (CheriSpeak – August 31, 2013): KTLA news reporter, Carolyn Costello, said that when she was vetting information on SSG Joe Biggs … that Michael’s family left her feeling that there was something of a “mo re personal nature” going on with Michael prior to his death. …
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The birthday of Michael’s first fiance – Andrea [Andi] Parhamovich, who was violently killed in Iraq at the beginning of 2007, was June 16th, just two-days prior to Michael’s death. One can imagine, understand and acknowledge the emotional toll that would take on Michael, especially if he was abusing Adderall or any other mind-altering drug. Especially for one allegedly suffering from PTSD. ... From Hastings Update August 16 (Michael Krikorian, August 16, 2013): Michael Krikorian about 19 hours ago: Guy, Thank you for alerting me to this … I've got an old colleague at the Times who was with Hastings the night before the crash and close to getting him to open up and see if he can shine any new light on MIke. Good catch on my bad hit Michael Krikorian

From Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013): Hastings was on his way to Las Vegas that morning [driving or flying?]. Note: His brother was staying next door and his other brother coming in that morning. Told detectives (see Appendix “H”): “He had no idea where decedent may have been traveling to or from at the time of the collision, reporting decedent worked from home as he was a writer.” Why leaving town?

...

LINKS "A Michael Hastings Non-Conspiracy Theory”:
Elise Jordan on her late husband Michael Hastings: "He always had at least five hot stories going" (Piers Morgan Live, 8-05-13) Michael Hastings’ Widow Speaks Out For The First Time To Piers Morgan, Piers Asks: Was His Death A Conspiracy? (mediaite, 8-05-13) Tim Dickinson’s 8-01-13 “Rolling Stone” tribute quotes Hasting’s brother saying, “I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy”: RonPaulChannel - Elise Jordan: The Legacy Of War Journalist Michael Hastings (RonPaulChannel, 8-19-13) [need to watch]

Michael Hastings' Family Chides Media for Inaccuracies, Guards His Legacy
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(Sara Morrison -- The Wrap, August 27, 2013) ... Dirty Wars and Reporters Under Attack with Jeremy Scahill (Buzzsaw interview with Jeremy Scahill) Michael Hastings: A Non-Conspiracy Theory (CheriSpeak – August 31, 2013) ‘Michael Hastings Popped The Press Bubble, From The Campaign Trail To The Front Lines ” Michael Calderone (Huffington Post, June 19, 2013) From Exclusive: Who Killed Michael Hastings? Carl Gibson – Occupy.com, October 24, 2013:

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“CRASH & BURN”
The Media Character Assassination of Michael Hastings

His car had crashed into a palm tree at 75 mph and exploded in a ball of fire … his death … resulted in a swarm of conspiracy theories … There's a sign tacked to the tree where Hastings crashed that night, reading, "This was not an accident." … Hastings' family and the Los Angeles Police Department both have dismissed the conspiracies. Hastings had long been both brilliant and troubled. … Interviews with friends as well as the coroner's report suggest that Hastings' mental health was deteriorating. … after a long period of sobriety, he had recently begun smoking pot to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder … one of his brothers visited L.A. in an attempt to get Hastings into rehab … [LAPD] coroner's suggestion that Hastings was taking methamphetamine … ‘This is speculation. But he's going at high speed. It's as if he was gripped by fear and he was trying to outrun something. … He enacted a flight from something, real or imagined.’ [But] PTSD was not something he discussed even with his close friends . … friends say he continued to drink occasionally but not to excess. … not doing anything harder than pot. She [neighbor] strongly disputes the coroner's suggestion that Hastings was taking methamphetamine, saying it was much more likely the amphetamine found in his system came from Adderall. -- Gene Maddaus, “Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind”, LA Weekly, August 22, 1013

...
“I can honestly say with absolute certainty that he wasn’t doing meth’ … ‘Methamphetamine’ can be nasal spray, Sudafed, one of those upper drinks at the gas station, prescription amphetamines, etc.” The family member continued, ‘The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case, and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system. When they didn’t get it in the toxicol ogy lab results (science!), they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. It’s so irresponsible.” [said Hastings’ family member] -- Russ Baker and David J. Krajicek (WhoWhatWhy, August 21, 2013) In the wake of the L.A. County Coroner's report concluding that … journalist Michael Hastings' death was an accident, his family is … doing its best to keep his legacy alive. [“Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted “] lengthy “L.A. Weekly” story detailing his past drug use and struggles with addiction. "There are plenty of inaccuracies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn't change anything," [said Jeff Hastings] "Losing Mike is very painful; gossip and conspiracy theories are not." -- Sara Morrison (The Wrap, August 27, 2013) 114

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The Media Character Assassination of Michael Hastings
Two months after Michael Hastings’ tragic fiery car accident (or assassination?) the LAPD finally released their press release, initial accident report, toxicology report, and autopsy report. Their lab tested specifically for Meth & MDMA but found no trace of either (nor any other “hard drug” or alcohol), although trace amounts of weed and amphetamine (possibly from Adderall or Ritalin which he has previously used) were found that “were unlikely to have an intoxicative effect at the time of the accident.” The coroner speculated when he mentioned the “possibility” of meth (and the LAPD press release was incorrect to claim that meth was found). However, most newspaper published misleading headlines which suggested “drug use” was responsible for Hastings’ death and portrayed him as a relapsed meth head whose “tortured soul” suffered from paranoia and PTSD and whose family was trying to get into detox. The mainstream press coverage was a character assassination of Michael Hastings. The only thing we know for sure about his drug use is he smoked weed (possibly for PTSD). Hasting’s neighbor disagrees with Hasting’s brother about the extent of his drug use (he suspected DMT and coke vs. she said no meth, just weed) and another “family member” told “WhoWhatWhy” it was an “absolute certainty” he didn’t use meth. We need to hear more from the Hasting’s widow, family and friends before reaching conclusions about his mental state, PTSD, and drug use prior to his death.. The key question still unanswered is WHY Hastings’ car was speeding so fast that night. The night he died he asked his neighbor to borrow her car because he thought someone may have tampered with his car. Maybe Hastings had reasons to be scared (or maybe he was paranoid) and drove too fast, or maybe his car brakes/accelerator had been “hacked” or tampered with. Unfortunately, the LAPD didn’t try to answer that question. The detective merely assumed Hastings was drugged up and crashed. The next day she filed her brief 2-page report after spending only 2 hours on the scene, taking 48 photos, and talking to Hasting’s brother (he took no evidence). During the past two months, it appears there was no further investigation (e.g. forensics of the car, talking to neighbors and friends, getting more CCTV video). A Hastings family member told “WhoWhatWhy”, “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case … they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. … It’s so irresponsible and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system ….” Opps, nothing much found there! IF this crash was an assassination, we will never know since the LAPD failed to find any evidence of foul play since they never even looked for it.
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*** add stuff from LA Weekly profile her

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LINKS: The Character Assassination of Michael Hastings:
Coroner: Journalist Michael Hastings had traces of amphetamine, marijuana in blood after crash (Tami Abdollah – AP 8-20-123) Breaking: Michael Hastings' Coroner's Report Reveals Likely Meth, Marijuana Use (Dennis Romero – La Weekly 8-20-13) Coroner, Family link Michael Hastings to drug use at time of death (Andrew Blankstein – LA Times, August 20, 2013) Journalist Michael Hastings died instantly in crash, coroner says (Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein – LA Times, August 20, 2013) Coroner: Crash that killed journalist Michael Hastings was accident (Adam Silverman -Burlington Free :Press, Aug. 20, 2013) Corporate Media Portrays Michael Hastings as Meth User (Kurt Nimmo -- Infowars.com August 21, 2013) Misleading Headlines Dominate Michael Hastings’ Toxicology Reporting ~ The Young Turks (August 22, 2013 US Backed Iran Coup, Michael Hastings Drug Smear and Conspiracy News (Buzzsaw Video -- August 23, 2013

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Myth: “LAPD Autopsy Shows Hasting’s Had Meth & THC in Body At Time of Car Crash”
Two months after Michael Hastings’ tragic fiery car accident (o r assassination?) the LAPD finally released their report. The lab tested specifically for Meth & MDMA but found no trace of either (nor any other “hard drug” or alcohol), although trace amounts of weed and amphetamine (he’s previously used Adderal and Ritalin) were found that “were unlikely to have an intoxicative effect at the time of the accident.” The coroner speculated when he mentioned the “possibility” of meth (and the LAPD press release was incorrect to claim that meth was found). However, most newspaper headlines suggested “drug use” was responsible for Hastings’ death and suggested he was a relapsed meth head whose “tortured soul” suffered from paranoia and PTSD and whose family was trying to get into detox. This appears to have been a media character assassination (and/or poor journalism).. I’m surprised the Hastings family and Elise Jordan have declined to discuss Hasting’s final days. Without their story, the media and conspiracy theorists will just continue to try to fill in the blanks with speculation. It’s a shame the last impression many people now have of Michael Hastings is that he was a “meth head” who got himself killed driving with drugs in his body. The only thing we know for sure about his drug use is he smoked weed. Hasting’ s neighbor disagrees with Hasting’s brother about the extent of his drug use (he suspected DMT and coke vs. she said no meth, just weed) and another “family member” told “WhoWhatWhy” it was an “absolute certainty” he didn’t use meth. We need to hear more from the Hasting’s widow, family and friends before reaching conclusions about his mental state, PTSD, and drug use prior to his death. ... From Hastings Autopsy: Traces Of Meth Found In Body, But Crash Caused Death (Kathleen Kelleher, Russ Baker and David J. Krajicek—WhoWhatWhy, August 21, 2013 From the “Department of Coroner Press Release” (click link at bottom of article to see pdf): Toxicology: Unlikely contributory to death. A small amount of Methamphetamine*, and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was detected. Levels indicate prior, but not recent usage. Carbon Monoxide level was consistent with instantaneous death. *[Incorrect! “Meth” finding (intentionally?) overstates/contradicts coroner who actually wrote the autopsy report who only found trace of amphetamine, "consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine,"* in his blood.”
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Note*: see p.15 of report. Test for meth and MDMA was “ND” for “not detected.” Presence of amphetamine might be meth OR Sudafed, Adderal etc. Note: The initials at the bottom (crh) of press release appear to belong to Craig Harvey, FABMDI Chief, Operations/PIO

From the Autopsy Report (p 10-11): Note: Dr. James Ribe performed autopsy on June 20, 2013. He completed and signed the report on August 20, 2012 after reviewing the toxicology report. “A comprehensive screen is called for along with MDA [medical repor t also requested MDA and Ritalin testing]. “Toxicology shows a small amount of amphetamine in the blood, consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine many hours before death, unlikely to have an intoxicative effect at the time of the accident. Marijuana was present in the blood, but mostly in the form of its metabolite, indicating intake hours [?] earlier. All other drugs were negative.” From the Toxicology Report (p. 15-17): Reviewed by Dr. Daniel T. Anderson and received by Dr. Ribe on August 16, 2013. Bile: Methamphetamine-GC/MS Blood Chest: Methamphetainine-GCIMS Liver: Methamphetamine-GCIMS Blood, Chest: Marijuana-GCIMS Blood, Chest: Marijuana-GC/MS Blood, Chest: ELISA-immunoassay
12

Amphetamine Amphetamine Amphetamine

0.19 ug/mL 0.05 ug/mL 0.57 ug/g

Carboxy [COOH]-THC, Total 154 ng/mL Tetrahydroeannabinol (THC), Total l2 ng/mL.12 Methaphetamine & MDMA ND

See Appendix “D” for complete notes. See CA NORML Guide “Marijuana Drug Test Detection Times” for interpreting THC results (appears to be from whole blood?) Guide says “THC levels above 3.5 – 5 ng/ml in blood (or 7 - 10 ng/ml in serum) indicate likely impairment.” Wouldn’t 12 ng/ml indicate impairment? (Even if plasma, then 6 ng/ml). Why coroner not say that? “Plasma THC concentrations generally fall below 5 ng/mL [2.5 blood] less than 3 hours after smoking … Chronic users can have mean plasma levels of THC-COOH of 45 ng/mL [90 blood], 12 hours after use; corresponding THC levels are, however, less than 1 ng/mL. [nhtsa.gov] “Levels below 5 ng/ml [blood or plasma?] are attained in recreational marijuana users, on average, within 1 to 3 hours after cannabis consumption” (http://norml.org/component/zoo/item/blood-or-urine-fluid-matters) “Denver News’ medical marijuana reviewer (and medical marijuana patient), William Breathes, subjected himself to blood draws to test his THC levels. After a 15-hour period of abstinence, Mr. Breathes’ THC levels were still 13.5 ng/ml.’ [http://www.mpp.org/reports/marijuana-and-dui-laws-how.html]

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Blood, Chest: Outside Test

Dimethyltryptamine (DMT)

ND

Note: “ND” – “Not Detected”, ug/mL – “micrograms per Milliter”, ng/mL – “nanograms per Milliliter

Note: Initial Case Report signed June 19, 2013. See Appendix “H” for detective interview with Hastings’ brother about suspected drug use and arrival to get him into “detox.” From Hastings Autopsy: Traces Of Meth Found In Body, But Crash Caused Death (Kathleen Kelleher, Russ Baker and David J. Krajicek—WhoWhatWhy, August 21, 2013 Edited Comments by “Infectious Chris”: 4 days ago I emailed the Coroner's office late last night regarding the methamphetamine implication and received a reply early this morning. They confirmed the meth assertion is baseless, as only amphetamine was detected (indicative of Rx medication), and was made without consultation from the toxicologist. They're currently planning how to best resolve the matter. We'll see how it turns out... Below is reply I received to my inquiry: re: meth assertion when no traces of meth were found. Thank you Chris for the correspondence and I cannot agree with you more as the opinion was issued without direct consultation of a Toxicologist. The Department is currently determining the best course of action. Dan Anderson, MS, FTS-ABFT, D-ABC Supervising Criminalist II-Toxicology/Quality Assurance Coordinator Los Angeles County Department of Coroner 1104 N. Mission Road Los Angeles, CA 90033 323-343-0660 Direct 323-343-0530 Laboratory 323-222-5171 Fax SOFT President 2013 ... From “The CIA To Provide New Details Into Hastings Death” (Kimberly Dvorak – San Diego 6, October 6, 2013):

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Documents and emails obtained by SD6 from LA Supervising Criminalist Dan Anderson, clearly states the LA coroner reported drugs and alcohol were NOT factors in the accident despite widespread news reports to the contrary. NOTE: At 3:30 Dvorak incorrectly claimed the lab results "didn't really indicate that" trace amounts of marijuana were found in Hastings body. But the toxicology report DID find trace amounts of THC. The coroner wrote: "Marijuana was present in the blood, but mostly in the form of its metabolite, indicating intake hours earlier" [unlikely to have an intoxicative effect at the time of the accident]. ... From Exclusive: Who Killed Michael Hastings? Carl Gibson – Occupy.com, October 24, 2013: … the L.A. coroner released a report indicating the journalist had trace amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana in his system. Mainstream media jumped on the angle, eager to dismiss Hastings's complex backstory in favor of the simpler line: he was another young, talented, but out-of-control drug addict who had tragically ended his own life. Despite NBC Southern California plainly reporting that the drugs in Hastings’s body were ruled to have had nothing to do with the crash, it didn’t stop the media from smearing Hastings in its coverage.

Breaking: Michael Hastings' Coroner's Report Reveals Likely Meth, Marijuana Use (Dennis Romero – La Weekly 8-20-13): “The coroner's final report on journalist Michael Hastings, who died in a fiery one-car accident in June, revealed that he had marijuana and a trace of amphetamine, "consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine,"* in his blood.” *[Added at 1:53 p.m.]: A coroner's spokesman told the Weekly that the amphetamine in his system could have been a result of taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Adderall, which contains amphetamine. Hastings wrote that he had taken Adderall in the past.

Sorry Conspiracy Theorists, Toxicology Report Shows Michael Hastings Was on Amphetamines (Ben Cohen – The Daily Banter August 21, 2013) Broca's Area Rug: “I'm a bit surprised by your lack of analysis of the actual toxicology report, for someone scolding others about journalistic responsibility. If I'm reading that tox report right (it's a bit crappily scanned), the blood amphetamine levels from the chest were measured at .05 *micrograms* per mL, or 50 ng/mL, which is absurdly small. … And as far as I know, GC-MS testing distinguishes between meth and amphetamine, so it doesn't seem likely any of the "extended meth use craziness" you're suggesting is indicated by the facts, either. Chances are he just took a prescription Adderall tablet or few in the week prior. … please don't snark at others for their bending of facts to fit a narrative without bothering to do any math or research yourself.
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You really seem to be blithely conflating methamphetamine and amphetamine, which are very distinct in their chemistry and effects. There is no evidence whatsoever that meth or its "LONG TERM" abuse is involved; while amphetamine does not metabolize into meth, meth metabolizes only partially into amphetamine, leaving a parent drug trace distinguishable even in basic urine tests; the GC-MS listed on the tox report can certainly tell the difference and specified only amphetamine in the methamphetamine test. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration itself reports, after studying impaired drivers arrested for strictly methamphetamine intoxication: "Blood concentrations can generally be used to distinguish therapeutic use from abuse. Concentrations of 0.02-0.05 mg/L are typical for therapeutic use, and up to 0.2 mg/L have been documented. Concentrations greater than this represent abuse.

Hastings Autopsy: Traces Of Meth Found In Body, But Crash Caused Death (Kathleen Kelleher, Russ Baker and David J. Krajicek—WhoWhatWhy, August 21, 2013 The coroner said small amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana were found in Hastings’s blood. But a Hastings family member had a surprising reaction when contacted by WhoWhatWhy, calling the coroner’s report “irresponsible.” “I can honestly say with absolute certainty that he wasn’t doing meth,” the family member, requesting anonymity, told WhoWhatWhy in an email. “‘Methamphetamine’ can be nasal spray, Sudafed, one of those upper drinks at the gas station, prescription amphetamines, etc.” The family member continued, “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case, and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system. When they didn’t get it in the toxicology lab results (science!), they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. It’s so irresponsible.”

From Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted (Gene Maddaus -- LA Weekly, Thursday, Aug 22 2013): He also wrote about getting drunk and taking Adderall to get through the 2012 presidential campaign — what he called a "campaign-induced relapse." Thigpen argues that Hastings was not doing anything harder than pot. She strongly disputes the coroner's suggestion that Hastings was taking methamphetamine, saying it was much more likely the amphetamine found in his system came from Adderall. (A coroner's spokesman acknowledged that the amphetamine could have come from either Adderall or meth.)

From Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over (krikorianwrites, August 28, 2013):

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There is no strong evidence to support the claim, stated in the coroner's … that Hastings was using, or had ever even used the hallucinogenic drug known as DMT. Note: The toxicology report was “ND” – not detected for DMT, although a Hasting brother said he suspected its use. ...

From Michael Hastings' Family Chides Media for Inaccuracies, Guards His Legacy (Sara Morrison -- The Wrap, August 27, 2013): In the wake of the L.A. County Coroner's report concluding that BuzzFeed journalist Michael Hastings' death was an accident, his family is speaking out about inaccurate media reports surrounding the 33-year-old's demise and doing its best to keep his legacy alive. … [his] fatal car crash in June gave rise to conspiracy theories surrounding the circumstances of his death and a lengthy L.A. Weekly story detailing his past drug use and struggles with addiction. "There are plenty of inaccuracies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn't change anything," Hastings' brother Jeff told TheWrap. "Losing Mike is very painful; gossip and conspiracy theories are not." His brother declined to discuss the inaccuracies further or address last week's L.A. Weekly story about Hastings' final days. According to the report, Hastings' family was on his way to L.A. to conduct an intervention when he crashed.

From Coroner, Family link Michael Hastings to drug use at time of death (Andrew Blankstein – LA Times, August 20, 2013): ConnieHymer at 3:14 PM August 20, 2013 [NEED TO WATCH VIDEO FOR SELF] I think there could be credibility to this story. Hastings was on the Young Turks shortly before he died, and was raving like a lunatic. [? Need to watch] Every time they cut to his sattelite feed, you could see he was holding his sunglasses in one hand and his phone in the other, and was furiously checking his phone before he realized the camera was on him. Now this in itself means little, but when he spoke, he was literally screaming and the spit was flying out of his mouth. I had never seen him act so crazily before -- always a calm, level-headed dude. I even turned to my friend and said, "Damn, Hastings needs to lay off the speed!" as a joke, but this seems consistent with meth behavior. And if he was doing meth, that would also be consistent with his paranoia of being followed and investigated. Having a drug user in the family is embarrassing -especially if they are in the public sphere. Don't discount the idea that his family just may not have wanted to go public with his problem. Not everything is a conspiracy. ...
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From Seymour Hersh on the NSA, Obama, and Michael Hastings (YouTube @ 4:48): “Gen. Stanley McChrystal. All remember that poor fellow that just died, full of coke, I guess, so I hear, who knows? But why not, if you knew what he did? That Rolling Stone guy [Michael Hastings] who did the piece [June 2010 Rolling Stone profile of McChrystal]. … Note: Even an investigative journalist like Hersh, after reading the newspaper headlines, got the message that Hastings was “full of coke” when he crashed. Although, as noted above, no traces of cocaine was found in his body.

LINKS: “Hasting’s Had Meth & THC in System When Crashed”:
Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theories: Missing the Real Mystery of His Death (theothermccain.com -- August 16, 2013) ... Autopsy report: Michael Hastings (LA Times) Initial LAPD Hastings Accident Report (& Autopsy & Toxicology) (clearer than LA Times)

Link to LAPD PRESS RELEASE incorrectly saying that meth was found Coroner, Family link Michael Hastings to drug use at time of death (Andrew Blankstein – LA Times, August 20, 2013): Hastings Autopsy: Traces Of Meth Found In Body, But Crash Caused Death (Kathleen Kelleher, Russ Baker and David J. Krajicek—WhoWhatWhy, August 21, 2013 Michael Hastings Toxicology Report Controversy Ben Cohen -- The Daily Banter, August 22,2013 Sorry Conspiracy Theorists, Toxicology Report Shows Michael Hastings Was on Amphetamines (Ben Cohen – The Daily Banter August 21, 2013) Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted (Gene Maddaus -- LA Weekly, Thursday, Aug 22 2013) A MADNESS CALLED METH (Michael Krikorian August 08, 2013)
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread965830/pg1 http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread966108/pg1#pid16838980 124

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... Michael Hastings' Toxicology Reports Twisted Throughout Media (The Young Turks -- August 20, 2013) How Did Michael Hastings Really Die? Melissa Melton -- Activist Post, August 21, 2013 Misleading Headlines Dominate Michael Hastings’ Toxicology Reporting ~ The Young Turks (August 22, 2013 Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theories: Missing the Real Mystery of His Death (theothermccain.com -- August 16, 2013) Michael Hastings' Family Chides Media for Inaccuracies, Guards His Legacy (Sara Morrison -- The Wrap, August 27, 2013) ... “The CIA To Provide New Details Into Hastings Death” (Kimberly Dvorak – San Diego 6, October 6, 2013) Seymour Hersh on the NSA, Obama, and Michael Hastings (YouTube @ 4:48) Exclusive: Who Killed Michael Hastings? Carl Gibson – Occupy.com, October 24, 2013

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“A Dangerous Mind?”
Was Hastings a Paranoid, Tortured Soul Suffering Depression & PSTD Who Had Relapsed Into Drug Abuse?
On August 26, 2013, Dennis Romero wrote “as Gene Maddaus' excellent feature [“Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted ’] in the latest issue of LA Weekly demonstrates, the L.A.-based writer had people around him who were truly concerned about his state of mind and reported drug use.” Maddaus’ paints a picture of Hastings as a journalist who was “both brilliant and troubled,” who had relapsed into drug use and suffered from PTSD and paranoia. As a man struggling with his demons, with his mental health deteriorating in the weeks leading up to his death. For example, Maddaus wrote: “Interviews with friends as well as the coroner's report suggest that Ha stings' mental health was deteriorating. … Hastings hung out with The Nation's Jeremy Scahill when the reporter was in town promoting his documentary “Dirty Wars.” In May, Hastings was invited to a salon at director Oliver Stone's house … "He seemed a little stressed …" A certain level of lighthearted paranoia would be unremarkable in such company [Cenk] Uygur says, "We joked that night that, if Scahill was there, we would have definitely had a drone strike on the house." Maddaus’ piece is well-written, emotionally compelling and persuasive (and even had me convinced for about a day). However, after taking a closer look at the LAPD reports and his profile, I feel a bit suckered. I now think his portrait of Hastings as a “haunted soul” was too speculative, too thinly sourced, and “cherry-picked” quotes that supported his narrative (and omitted those that did not). In addition, it didn’t include interviews with his widow Elise Jordan, his brothers, other family members, or his closest friends and colleagues who would have the most accurate insight into his state of mind. I haven’t yet had time to analyze the piece in detail [see Appendix “I” for draft analysis]. But, today [8-26-13] I found what appears to be an egregious example of his omitting Jeremy Scahills’ impressions of Hastings shortly before his death because they didn’t fit into his narrative. From the chronology of the above quote, a reader would assume that Hastings hung out with Jeremy Scahill sometime before the May salon at Oliver Stones’ house. However, they got
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together after the Oliver Stone salon, on JUNE 12, 2013 (just five days before Hastings’ death). Hasting spent that evening attending Scahills’ LA film premiere, the Q & A session, and then they hung out watching Scahill’s appearance on “The Tonight Show.“ It was probably his last public appearance (and was the last time he tweeted). So, did Scahill’s recollection of that evening suggest that “Hastings' mental health was deteriorating”? No. In his June 19th Hastings’ eulogy, “Michael Hastings Popped The Press Bubble, From The Campaign Trail To The Front Lines,” Michael Caledrone wrote that Scahill described Hasting’s as “totally full of life” that night: “Nearly one week ago [June 12, 2013], Jeremy Scahill and several friends were hanging out in a Los Angeles hotel room to watch his taped appearance on the “The Tonight Show.” One of those friends was Michael Hastings … Scahill chatted with Jay Leno that night about “Dirty Wars,” his revealing new documentary … ‘He was so warm and effusive and excited, as if we'd just won the Super Bowl … was giddy that someone from our tribe had made it on one of those shows.’ … Scahill recalled Hastings talking excitedly last week about stories he was working on, including ones about the NSA. Hastings also spoke about the property he wanted to buy in Vermont. ‘Totally full of life,’ he said.”13 Just five nights later, Hasting’s died in a fiery car crash. Why did Maddaus merely mention and then quickly pass over Scahill’s night in LA? (and place his passing reference to it so the reader would get the impression it took place before May, long before his death). Was he unaware of Caledrones’ eulogy (although the use of the similar phrases “hung out” and “hanging out” suggests that he had read it)? Or, did he decide to omit Scahill’s “totally full of life” remarks since they didn’t fit into his narrative of a “haunted soul”? Either way, Scahill’s account calls into question Maddaus’ speculation that Hasting’s mental health was deteriorating in the weeks leading up to his death, and the accuracy of his profile. Ultimately, Maddaus’ the broad strokes of his “haunted” portrait might be found true (maybe right for the wrong reasons), but I'll need to read accounts by Hastings' close family, friends, colleagues, and Elise Jordan before reaching conclusions about his mental state in the days preceding his death. Note: See Appendix “I” for edited notes from “Michael Hastings’ Dangerous Mind” with annotations. ...

1.

13

jeremy scahill @jeremyscahill18 Jun: Just gutted. I was just with @mmhastings. He was full of life and working on major stories. He will be so sorely missed.

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From The Elephant in the Room (Lyra McKee August 25, 2013): I’ve just read a brilliant piece in LA Weekly about the last weeks and months of Michael Hastings life. … While the press coverage around his death has, at times, descended into conspiracy theories, the LA Weekly piece is well worth your time. It quotes many on the record sources and verifiable facts; it’s a solid piece of work … Swatting aside the conspiracies, it paints a picture of Hastings as a man struggling with his demons, with his mental health deteriorating in the weeks leading up to his death. Having done no reporting on the subject myself, I can’t say for certain whether this is true or not – although LA Weekly makes a very good case for it. ... Maddaus’ profile is a persuasive profile (I, too, was swayed by it for about a day until I took a second look at it) that complimented Hasting’s journalistic legacy. However, I think his claim that Hastings’ was a relaped meth head whose “tortured soul” suffered from paranoia and PTSD was too speculative and thinly sourced (LAPD report based on what detective wrote about what a brother said) and I suspect some remarks may have been cherry-picked. The only thing we know for sure about his drug use is he smoked weed. Hasting’s neighbor disagree with Hasting’s brother about the extent of his drug use (he suspected DMT and coke vs. she said no meth, just weed) and another “family member” told WhoWhatWhy it was an “absolute certainty” he didn’t use meth. We need to hear directly from the Hasting’s widow, family and friends before reaching conclusions about his mental state, PTSD, and drug use prior to his death. I’m surprised the Hastings family and Elise Jordan have declined to discuss Hasting’s final days. Without their story, the media and conspiracy theorists will just continue to try to fill in the blanks with speculation. It’s a shame the last impression many people now have of Michael Hastings is that he was a “meth head” who got himself killed driving with drugs in his body. ... LA Weekly profile “erratic”: speculative, cherry-picked quotes. Accurate? ADD NOTES Like Jon Krakauer afterword on Bourkreev: compliment as great guy, then stab in the back Check video on Young Turks (see latest video), Jeremy Scahill saw night or two before? How “erratic” was he really? LAPD & LA Weekly only based on brother’s interview in LAPD report. Accurate?

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Neighbor said no meth, hard drugs. No meth said family member. Brother said DMT coke. Conflicting accounts. Try to get into rehab for drugs? Need family and EJ to clarify what going on. What concerns? There appears to be some disagreement between Hasting’s brother and the next door neighbor about the extent of his drug use (and another “family member” in the WhoWhatWhy piece denied he was on meth). We need to hear more from the Hasting’s family. And, take a closer look again at the toxicology list results. They tested specifically for Meth & MDMA and found no trace of either. Nor any other “hard drug” or alcohol. The coroner was speculating when he mentioned the “possibility” of meth (and the LAPD press release was incorrect to claim that meth was found). ... From Michael Hastings wrestled with demons, but legacy remains intact (Robin Abcarian – LA Times, August 21, 2013): mondofxr at 10:55 PM August 21, 2013: Back when I was a journalist for one of the country's leading, big city dailies, my editor would never let me get away with the straight out conclusion Ms. Abcarian states in her lede. Furthermore, she confidently writes off as paranoia Hasting's attempt to borrow his neighbor's car because he felt it had been "tampered with." And only hours later he's dead in a car crash in an out of control vehicle. The irony and disconnect of the two statements is stunning. What's that old line? Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't after you.

From Missing Michael Hastings (Ben Smith – Buzzfeed, June 19, 2013): “He was obsessed with online animal culture and with the corgi, Bobby Sneakers, he shared with his wife, Elise Jordan. He was more obsessed, only, with Elise, whose thoughts, plans, and prospects he couldn’t stop talking about when I last saw him in New York two weeks ago [about June 5th].”

From The Stringer and the Snake-eater (David J. Morris – VQR, June 23rd, 2010): In the end it was a freelancer who didn’t give a damn about how many bridges got burned who brought the general down, a reporter who’d lost his fiancé in Baghdad in 2006 (she was a reporter, too) and who wrote an unloved memoir about it (the Times panned it) and who when I met him last year [2009!] exuded the sort of undiluted hypervigilence that I have always associated with people who have untreated PTSD.
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(Full Disclosure: I ran into Hastings at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony last July [2009] and did two rounds with him at a local Provincetown bar, the name of which I predictably cannot recall.) What Hastings wrote was a classic Rolling Stone burn piece—not unlike Evan Wright’s 2004 Ellie-winning series “Generation Kill”

From Report: Hastings Feared Tampering On Rented Mercedes (David J. Krajicek WhoWhatWhy -- Aug 23, 2013): The report’s narrative included several mentions of Hastings’s alleged use of various narcotics, apparently based largely upon comments from the brother who was attempting to intervene. But another Hastings family member told WhoWhatWhy that the coroner’s report was “irresponsible.” The family member said via email, “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case, and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system. When they didn’t get it in the toxicology lab results (science!), they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. It’s so irresponsible.”

From Michael Hastings' Family Chides Media for Inaccuracies, Guards His Legacy (Sara Morrison -- The Wrap, August 27, 2013): In the wake of the L.A. County Coroner's report concluding that BuzzFeed journalist Michael Hastings' death was an accident, his family is speaking out about inaccurate media reports surrounding the 33-year-old's demise and doing its best to keep his legacy alive. … [his] fatal car crash in June gave rise to conspiracy theories surrounding the circumstances of his death and a lengthy L.A. Weekly story detailing his past drug use and struggles with addiction. ‘There are plenty of inaccuracies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn't change anything," Hastings' brother Jeff told TheWrap. "Losing Mike is very painful; gossip and conspiracy theories are not.’ His brother declined to discuss the inaccuracies further or address last week's L.A. Weekly story about Hastings' final days. According to the report, Hastings' family was on his way to L.A. to conduct an intervention when he crashed. ...

LINKS: Was Hastings Really A Paranoid “Tortured Soul” Suffering From PTSD And A Relapsed Drug Abuser?
Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted (Gene Maddaus -- LA Weekly, Thursday, Aug 22 2013) Michael Hastings Death: Readers Respond to Our Cover Story (L.A. Weekly readers – LA Weekly, August 29, 2013) Michael Hastings: 5 Conspiracy Theories That Didn't Pan Out
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(Dennis Romero – LA Weekly, August 26, 2013) Michael Hastings considered himself 'invincible,' report says (Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein – LA Times, August 21, 2011) Michael Hastings wrestled with demons, but legacy remains intact (Robin Abcarian – LA Times, August 21, 2013) Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theories: Missing the Real Mystery of His Death (theothermccain.com -- August 16, 2013) Hastings Autopsy: Traces Of Meth Found In Body, But Crash Caused Death (Kathleen Kelleher, Russ Baker and David J. Krajicek—WhoWhatWhy, August 21, 2013 ... The Elephant in the Room (Lyra McKee August 25, 2013) Hastings Family Tried to Get Him to Rehab (Michael Krikorian, 8-20-13) Michael Hastings Toxicology Report Controversy Ben Cohen -- The Daily Banter, August 22, 2013 Michael Hastings and the culture of conspiracy: The crazy never die (Steve King -- Death and Taxes) ... Report: Hastings Feared Tampering On Rented Mercedes (David J. Krajicek WhoWhatWhy -- Aug 23, 2013) Michael Hastings Popped The Press Bubble, From The Campaign Trail To The Front Lines (Michael Calderone – HuffPost June 19, 2013) Missing Michael Hastings (Ben Smith – Buzzfeed, June 19. 2013) ... Coroner: PTSD, not drugs, may factor in journalist Michael Hastings' death (Kaitlin Funaro --Global Post, August 21, 2013) War correspondent Michael Hastings had PTSD (woundedtimes.com, August 21, 2013) Michael Hastings may have suffered PTSD from work as war journalist (Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein -- LA Times, August 20, 2013) What years of reporting violence does to journalists
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(Caitlin Kelly – Broadside Blog, August 28, 2012) The Stringer and the Snake-eater (David J. Morris – VQR, June 23rd, 2010) Medical marijuana sprouts in Israel (April M. Short – salon.com, September 16, 2013)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“Patience, Montag. Our civilization is flinging itself to pieces. Stand back from the centrifuge. Remember the firemen are rarely necessary. The public itself stopped reading of its own accord. You firemen provide a circus now and then at which buildings are set off and crowds gather for the pretty blaze, but it’s a small sideshow indeed, and hardly necessary to keep things in line. So few want to be rebels anymore.” -- Ray Bradbury, “Fahrenheit 451”

“Guy Montag”, M.F.L.F. Local #451

Fire gear with Tillman NFL #40 Helmet Sticker

After three years of JROTC, when he was a “young & dumb” seventeen year -old boy, “Guy Montag” enlisted with Co. “F” (Ranger) 425th Infantry [later redesignated “LRSU”]. He spent eight years with Co. “F” from 1983 to 1991, completed Airborne and Ranger School, and left as a SGT leading a LRRP patrol. He graduated from U of M with two engineering degrees and was a yuppie for a couple of years with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). He abandoned the life of a cubicle rat, and for the past 22 years he’s been a professional firefighter (only 10 more years to go ‘til retirement!). Since October 2005, “Montag” has closely followed the Pat Tillman story. Since 2009, he’s been an amateur “feral scholar” (hat tip to Stan Goff) of the “untold” Pat Tillman story. His extensive Tillman files are at http://www.feralfirefighter.blogspot.com When he’s not wasting spending time on the Tillman story, “Guy Montag” is an eclectic reader, works on his homestead, is a “soccer mom” for his son, helps (when she permits it) his bookworm daughter find new sci-fi to read, and generally neglects his long-suffering wife who is appalled at the amount of time her “husband” has spent on his blog over the past years. He’s doing his part to try to avert the worst of global warming (but “saving the world” is only his hobby.
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APPENDIX “A”:
Links/Citations to Michael Hasting Obituaries & Tributes,
News Reports/Obituaries of Michael Hasting’s Death:
“Michael Hastings” AP Burlington Free Press, June 18, 2013 “Michael Hastings, Polk Winner, Dies in Crash at 33 ” AP, June 18, 2013 “Michael Hastings, 33, Winner of Polk Award, Dies” Margalit Fox, New York Times – June 19, 2013 “Michael Hastings: Journalist Who Brought Down An American General” Marcus Williamson, The Independent – June 23, 2013 “Commentary: Reporter Created A Buzz” Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times – June 23, 2013

Tributes to Michael Hastings:
The Hastings Report “About Me” Profile Michael Hastings, True/Slant blog profile Michael Hastings, 'Rolling Stone' Contributor, Dead at 33 ” Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone -- June 18, 2013 “Journalist Michael Hastings, 33, Dies in Car Crash” Greg Mitchell, The Nation – June 18, 2013 “Michael Hastings, Remembered” Marc Ambinder, The Week – June 18, 2013 Piers Morgan on Michael Hastings: "He was a terrific, provocative journalist who will be really, really missed” Piers Morgan, June 18, 2013 Danger Man Kim Asch – Vermont Life, June 18, 2013 What We Owe Michael Hastings Joe Macare, Truthout, June 19, 2013
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“Missing Michael Hastings” Ben Smith, Buzzfeed – June 19, 2013 “Rachel Maddow's Moving Michael Hastings Tribute (VIDEO) ” Jack Mirkinson, The Huffington Post – June 19, 2013 “Michael Hastings, Truthteller, Dead at 33” Kelly Vlahos, June 19, 2013 “Michael Hastings, Reporter” Matt Tabbi, Rolling Stone – June 19, 2013 “Michael Hastings: My Friend And His Enemies” Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian – June 19, 2013 “Michael Hastings, Bridge-Burning Journalist (1980-2013)” Jim Naureckas, FAIR – June 19, 2013 “Free Barrett Brown Offers Condolences for Michael Hastings, Urges Immediate Investigation” Free Barrett Brown – June 20, 2013 Remembering Michael Hastings Ali Gharib – The Daily Beast, June 20, 2013 Stop Speculating About Hastings’ Death Natasha Lennard – Salon.com, June 20, 2013 “Truthdigger of the Week: Michael Hastings ” Alexander Reed Kelly, The Nation – June 22, 1013 “The One Question A Journalist Should Never Ask” Will Bunch, Philly.com – June 23, 2013 “In Baghdad With the Relentless Reporter ” Joe Trippi, The New Republic – June 24, 2013 Michael Hastings Leaves Indelible Mark on Journalism Dylan Kelley -- Vermont Commons, June 30, 2013 ... “Thank You For Your Service — Remembering Michael Hastings” Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, The Daily Beast – July 4, 2013 “Serving the Truth”
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Jim White, emptywheel.net – July 5, 2013 “Episode 274 – Crashes of Convenience: Michael Hastings” The Corbett Report – July 6, 2013 “Remembering Michael Hastings” Reliable Sources, CNN July 7, 2013 (2012 Interview with Michael Hastings & Elise Jordan) “CNN Airs Never Before Seen Michael Hastings Interview: ‘I Wish I’d Had A Few Thousand More Words’ “ Evan McMurry Mediaite – July 7, 2013 “Remembering Michael Hastings” Peter Goldman – Newsweek Memories, July 2013 Townies: Official Washington’s Latest Obsess ion Pulls Its Punches” Ana Marie Cox, Washington City Paper – July 24, 2013 “Dirty Wars and Reporters Under Attack with Jeremy Scahill” The Lip.TV – Buzzsaw Episode 33 ... “1980 – 2013 Michael Hastings” Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone (August 1, 2013 [print edition]) Overcommitted -- ‘Breach of Trust,’ by Andrew J. Bacevich Rachel Maddow, The New York Times, September 5, 2013

Seymour Hersh on the NSA, Obama, and Michael Hastings (YouTube @4:48) ... “Novel by Michael Hastings to Be Published Posthumously” Elise Jordan, The New York Times, October 3, 2013) BuzzFeed Picks Michael Hastings Fellow Betsy Rothstein, October 8, 2013 Maya Angelou accepts Mailer Center lifetime award Associated Press -- October 18, 2013 “David Fincher's 'Black Hole' Back On At Brad Pitt's Plan B, Slate Also Includes New Film From Taika Waititi” Charlie Schmidlin -- Indiewire, October 3, 2013

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Glenn Greenwald: Media Venture Will Empower Adversarial Journalism to Hold the Powerful Accountable (Democracy Now – October 28, 2013) A Journalist With a Mission (Roger Cohen, New York Times -- November 1, 2013)

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APPENDIX “B“: LAPD Detective Interview with Hastings’ Brother
Following are re-arranged notes from the LAPD Coroner Office Report (pp. 2-3) “Investigators Narrative,” along with my annotations and endnotes: Clearing from scene, Detective [Connie] White and I [Detective Johnson] responded to decedent's last known address … While at the residence, decedent's [brother]14 arrived at about 0830 hours … had been staying at a neighboring residence. [Brother] had just arrived from New York the day prior with another brother scheduled to arrive later this same morning, 6/18/13, as the family was attempting to get decedent to go to detox. 15 … [Brother] believing decedent had started to use drugs again the past month or so. 16 He said decedent had moved from NY to CA about a couple of months ago 17. Decedent was believed as "sober" for about the past 14 years18 … mention of a past traffic collision … Decedent collided into a pole several [14] years ago, believed as under the influence at the time, with report decedent had been misusing Ritalin at about this time; at one point, he was believed to have been bi-polar; however, it was later learned his behavior was actually stemming from the Ritalin misuse. He was ultimately institutionalized for rehabilitative care in 1999.
14

His younger brother Jeff (Iraq War vet) or his older brother Jon? Both are doctors.

15

Perhaps Hastings’ new-found enthusiasm for weed concerned his brothers (e.g. Michael Krikorian wrote, “Hastings had talked of opening a marijuana-themed resort in Vermont” [“Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over” krikorianwrites.com, 8-28-13]). ”? Perhaps they were concerned that weed might lead to problems like he had 14 years ago when he was 19 years old? Were his brothers paying him a visit or did they fly out to just to confront him about his drug use? Were the detectives’ correct to state that his brothers were trying to get Hastings to go to “rehab” or “detox
16

Past month or so? It may have been 4 months. LA Weekly reporter Gene Madddaus wrote, “When he got to L.A.[February 2013], she [Thigpen] says, he got a prescription for medical marijuana and smoked regularly “
17

Hastings actually moved to LA in February 2013, about 4 months before the crash.

18

But Hastings had drinks occasionally during the past 14 years. In “The Operators” Hastings wrote, “I could count the number of drinks I’ve had in the past 10 years on one hand” and about his getting drunk in Qatar in 2010. In “Panic 2012”, he wrote about a bender in Las Vegas in 2012 & using Adderall. LA Weekly reporter Greg Maddaus wrote, “Jordanna Thigpen says that Hastings "scared himself" that night [in Vegas], and vowed to stop drinking. … Other friends say he continued to drink occasionally but not to excess.” I’ve seen several references to Hastings drinking with friends. Spencer Ackerman wrote about drinking beer & eating pizza with him. David J. Morris wrote that he “did two rounds with him at a local Provincetown bar” in 2009. Perhaps he was just a social drinker with an occasional binge as he’s written about. It doesn’t sound like drinking had become a serious problem. I think it’s a bit simplistic to say Hastings “started to relapse in 2010”.

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Upon inquiry, believed decedent was currently using DMT 19 (hallucinogenic), confirming use of “medical marijuana” as well -- ID card found in decedent's wallet. … He added he would not be surprised if any stimulants were found within the residence, including cocaine.20 The medicinal marijuana was believed as prescribed for PTSD, as decedent was a war journalist, having had assignments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Baghdad a few years ago. Upon inquiry, decedent had been smoking marijuana the night prior21, with no known alcohol consumption at the time. Upon inquiry, decedent's history was not known to include any past suicide or ideation/s; however [brother] added decedent believed he was "invincible," believing he could jump from a balcony and would be okay. 22 Upon inquiry, said he had last seen decedent a few hours prior at decedent's residence sometime at about 0030 to 0100 hours23, at which time decedent reportedly "passed out."24 Hence, [brother] left to stay at a neighboring residence, until contacted by the property landlord that detectives trying to contact him. He had no idea where decedent may have been traveling to or from at the time of the collision25, reporting decedent worked from home as he was a writer.
19

Why did his brother believe he was using DMT? No traces of DMT were detected in Hastings’ body by toxicology tests (see the chapter “Myth: “LAPD Autopsy Shows Hastings Had Meth & THC in Body”) . And Michael Krikorian wrote, ”There is no strong evidence to support the claim, stated in the coroner's report … that Hastings was using, or had ever even used the hallucinogenic drug known as DMT.”
20

Toxicology found no traces of alcohol or other drugs in his body. His neighbor “argues that Hastings was not doing anything harder than pot. She strongly disputes the coroner's suggestion that Hastings was taking methamphetamine, saying it was much more likely the amphetamine found in his system came from Adderall. (A coroner's spokesman acknowledged that the amphetamine could have come from either Adderall or meth.)” [“A Dangerous Mind”, LA Weekly, 8-22 -13]
21

Only trace amounts of THC were found, indicating that he smoked many hours prior to crash and was not under the influence at the time of the crash.
22

When did Hastings say he was “invincible”? That night, or at some time in the past?

23

Gene Maddaus wrote, “That timeline may be slightly off, however, because Jordanna Thigpen says that at 12:30 a.m., Hastings came to her apartment and asked to borrow her car. He was scared, she says, and trying to get out of town.” [“A Dangerous Mind”, LA Weekly, 8-22 -13] What happened in the next 4 hours until the car crash?
24

“Passed out”? Or fell asleep?

25

The crash scene was about 2 miles [1.5 miles] south of Hastings' apartment. Michael Krikorian wrote, “Hastings was on his way to Las Vegas that morning.” Why was he leaving LA when his brother was in town and another brother was arriving later that morning? Wouldn’t he have told his brother? Was he planning on coming back later that day?

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... It’s unclear how accurate were some of the notes in the LAPD “Investigators Narrative” that focused on Hastings possible drug use. For example, was it true that the “family was attempting to get decedent to go to detox”? Further, it appears at least one member of Hastings family wasn’t happy with the LAPD’s narrative above and thought there was “speculation throughout” the report : A “Hastings family member” told WhoWhatWhy: “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case, and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system. When they didn’t get it in the toxicology lab results (science!), they ha d to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. It’s so irresponsible.” Note: In fairness to the LAPD, I don’t see how “speculation” was inserted in the narrative after the toxicology report came out showing he wasn’t intoxicated. The toxicology report was released August 20, 2013. The above narrative was signed June 19, 2013 (although it was LAPD speculation that the traces of some sort of amphetamine indicated “meth” usage). Unfortunately, Elise Jordan and his brother Jeff have declined to discuss Michael Hastings’ final days and any concerns they may have had with drug usage. Wiithout their side of the story, the LAPD, media and conspiracy theorists will just continue fill in the blanks with speculation. It’s a shame the last impression many people now have of Michael Hastings is he was a “meth head” who got himself killed speeding.

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APPENDIX “C“:
Critique of “The LA Weekly’s ‘Michael Hastings’ Dangerous Mind’ Profile
Sara Morrison wrote in her piece, “Michael Hastings' Family Chides Media for Inaccuracies, Guards His Legacy” (The Wrap, August 27, 2013), the “crusading journalist's fatal car crash in June gave rise to conspiracy theories surrounding the circumstances of his death and a lengthy L.A. Weekly story detailing his past drug use and struggles with addiction.” In that LA Weekly piece, “Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted” (August 22, 2013), Gene Maddaus wrote a compelling, persuasive profile of Michael Hastings that pays homage to Hasting’s journalistic legacy. I, too, was swayed by it for about a day until I took a second, closer look at it. Maddaus dismisses the notion of foul play despite his own revelation that Hastings told his neighbor that night he believed his car “had been tampered with.” And, I think his claim that Hastings’ was a “tortured soul” who suffered from paranoia/PTSD, whose “mental health was deteriorating” (from “Reefer Madness”?!), and was a relapsed drug abuser was far too speculative and thinly sourced. *** quote drs PTSD, war reporters. Summary of stuff below And, it appears he may have cherry-picked (or omitted) quotes to support the narrative (e.g. Jeremy Scahill’s “totally full of life” account of his evening with Hastings just five nights before his death). Maddaus appears to be presenting Roberton’s theory as his own. In brief, his argument appears to be that “Hastings' mental health was deteriorating” (from PTSD, manic depression, smoking weed, and an obsession with government surveillance) and his fearful paranoia pushed him toward his high-speed flight which ended in his “crash & burn” death. Maddaus dismissed Kim Dvorak’s conspiracy theories and noted “She has not always been entirely reliable.” However, I’ve questioned the reliability of his own theory which suffers from an excess of speculation, cherry-picking, thin sourcing, and a lack of solid facts to back up his own assertions. It’s important to read the profile keeping in mind it was written before the LAPD coroner report came out on 8/20/13. Maddaus slightly revised his piece to add information from the Coroner’s
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toxicology report, the LAPD narrative and Johanna Thigprens’ response. Without LAPD report, the piece is even more speculative and thinly sourced – “Reefer Madness,” PTSD, & paranoia drove Michael Hastings over the edge to “crash and burn.” When Sara Morrision asked Jeff Hastings to comment on the “conspiracy theories” and “a lengthy L.A. Weekly story detailing his past drug use and struggles with addiction” he replied, “There are plenty of inaccuracies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn't change anything." But, she noted that Jeff “declined to discuss the inaccuracies further or address last week's L.A. Weekly story about Hastings' final days.” Ultimately, some of the broad strokes of Maddaus’ “haunted” portrait might possibly be found true (maybe he was right for the wrong reasons and PTSD had something to do with his death), but instead of his speculation we’ll need to hear directly from Hastings' close family, friends, colleagues, and Elise Jordan before reaching conclusions about his mental state, PTSD, and drug use prior to his death. Update: I now believe that Hastings may have had an acute paranoid reaction from his weed smoking that night. See the discussion in this appendix and in Appendix “D”.

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Summary of “Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted” (Gene Maddaus -LA Weekly, 8-22-13):
Following are re-arranged quotes from the “LA Weeky” profile of Michael Hastings. The following sections have more detailed quotes, followed by my rebuttal comments: A: Hastings had long been both brilliant and troubled. But he also had a darker side, which he tended to keep hidden … PTSD was not something he discussed even with his close friends. … As a young man, he'd abused drugs and alcohol … possible diagnosis of manic depression. B: The [2007] death of Hastings' fiancée [Andi] clearly had a traumatic effect on him … suffered … depression … 29 percent [of war correspondents] developed PTSD after exposure to combat. Hastings had been politely turning down drinks for 10 years … But in 2010, he started to relapse … Now, after a long period of sobriety, he had recently begun smoking pot to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder — the product of years of covering combat. C: Hastings was intensely interested in government surveillance of journalists. … Hastings was convinced he was a target … Helicopters often circle over the hills, but Hastings believed there were more of them around whenever he was at home, keeping an eye on him. D: Interviews with friends as well as the coroner's report suggest that Hastings' mental health was deteriorating. … His behavior grew increasingly erratic. … his behavior had frightened his out-of-town family members … saying some disturbing things … Hastings' brother had come to visit that day from New York, hoping to persuade him to enter drug treatment. E: He came to believe his Mercedes was being tampered with. … he came to Thigpen's apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. … Almost inevitably, his death — in a fiery, single-car crash … resulted in a swarm of conspiracy theories … Hastings' family and the Los Angeles Police Department both h ave dismissed the conspiracies. F: In that situation [being of interest to the intelligence agencies], marijuana may only have compounded the problem. ‘It would not be wise to go expose yourself to combat and then smoke a ton of extremely potent pot’ G: Hastings wrote about … [PTSD] dreams. In one, insurgents chase him down in a pickup truck. … "This is speculation. But he's going at high speed. It's as if he was gripped by fear and he was trying to outrun something. And he floored it, trying to escape. He enacted a flight from something, real or imagined.” As theories go, it's better than most.

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A: “Hastings had long been both brilliant and troubled … he also had a darker side, which he tended to keep hidden. … PTSD was not something he discussed even with his close friends … As a young man, he'd abused drugs and alcohol [14 years ago] and received a possible diagnosis of manic depression …”
... 1.) “He was loved and admired, hated and feared. … But he also had a darker side, which he tended to keep hidden. … PTSD was not something he discussed even with his close friends … As he dug into the work of Hunter Thompson and the Beat writers, he nurtured an appetite for drugs. … The underlying reasons for Hastings' behavior aren't entirely clear.” But, Hastings didn’t keep his “darker side” hidden. He mentioned his adolescent drug abuse, the impact of war, and his struggles with loss in each of his books and in his blog.” (e.g. pp. ** of his book “I Lost My Love in Baghdad”, in his 2009 Afterword to that book, and in his April 28, 2009 blog entry “A Case of the Relapse For Young Addict/Author”). His writing is known for its brutal honesty in both the portrayal of others and himself. Although, Hastings did tell his mentor Peter Goldman “It was a place in his life [“a wild-child period in his late teens, culminating in a night in jail and an aborted five-day enlistment in the Marines”] he didn’t want to revisit, except perhaps to write about it one day, and he’d been sober ever since.”

2.) “As a young man, he'd abused drugs and alcohol [14 years ago] and received a possible diagnosis of manic depression.”… The underlying reasons for Hastings' behavior aren't entirely clear. His family told investigators that, at one point, he was thought to suffer from bipolar disorder, or manic depression [did not mention that]. However, they later concluded that his behavioral issues stemmed not from a mood disorder but from misuse of Ritalin. Where did the claim of “manic depression” come from? The LAPD narrative says his brother only mentioned “bipolar disorder.” Further, Maddaus later quoted from the LAPD report that his family “later concluded that his behavioral issues stemmed not from a mood disorder but from misuse of Ritalin.” The above passage was drawn from the LAPD report (see Appendix “B”) and added after he had written his profile. Maddaus tosses out the “depression” word, and then states that wasn’t the issue.

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3.) By 19, when he was a freshman at Connecticut College, he had a serious problem. … In various places, Hastings referred to a drunken car wreck, suspension from college, a few days in jail, a restraining order, an aborted enlistment in the Marines and, finally, rehab. … Chastened and clean, Hastings enrolled at NYU in 2000 and graduated in 2002. So point #1 is Hastings hide his “darker side,” yet here Maddaus notes Hastings mentioned his youthful troubles “in various places.” And it’s worth noting his drug abuse \was 14 years ago when he was a teenager.

4.) "[S]elf-destruction does haunt me," he wrote, on the road to Baghdad. "[T]here was a long time in my life where I thought the only thing to do with myself was to destroy it." The “self-destruction” quotes are from texts he sent to his fiancée in Iraq in 2005 [see p. 80, “I Lost My Love in Bagdad” (PB)]. How much relevance do they have to his state of mind in 2013? He seems to be referring to the drug & alcohol abuse of his teenage years.

5.) Hastings never identified himself in his writing as someone suffering from PTSD. … PTSD was not something he discussed even with his close friends. I don’t think he would talk about it to someone who hadn’t been there; they wouldn’t understand. And I suspect most vets don’t even talk about it with each other. No surprise there. And, I would argue he implicitly talked about having PTSD in his books. I certainly got that impression.

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B1: “In his 20s, Hastings stayed clean and channeled his manic energies into journalism. … Chris Hedges' “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” … famously equates war with a highly addictive drug — and Hastings felt himself getting sucked in. … The [2007] death of Hastings' fiancée [in Iraq] clearly had a traumatic effect on him”
... 1.) In his 20s, Hastings stayed clean and channeled his manic energies into journalism. … … Chris Hedges' “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” … famously equates war with a highly addictive drug — and Hastings felt himself getting sucked in. Maddaus tosses out the words “manic” and “drug” suggesting an addictive mindset. Hastings denied he was a “war junkie.” In his Huffington Post piece (“The Hurt Locker, and What it Means to be Addicted to War” (March 4, 2010), he wrote “I write this as someone who was recently accused, in conversation with a top newspaper editor, of being a war junkie. I denied it. But it's a question I ask myself each time I get my travel documents ready to head off to a deadly conflict…”

2.) … his relationship with Andi Parhamovich … She was killed when her convoy was ambushed in January 2007. … The death of Hastings' fiancée clearly had a traumatic effec t on him. … About six months after his fiancée was killed … Peter Goldman … [spoke] about meeting his eyes for the first time. "They were gray and red-rimmed; they were wary, they were intense, they were haunted, they were ineffably sad even when he laughed," Goldman wrote.” Yeah, losing your fiancée in an assa ssination would tend to make anyone a bit “haunted” and “sad” (see my quotes in the chapter “What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames?”). “Goldman wrote about meeting Hastings in 2007. But, how much relevance did that have to his state of mind six years later? And, I think it’s worth noting out that Maddaus only mentions-in-passing Hastings’s widow Elise Jordan. They met in 2010 and were married in 2011. His Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith wrote that, “He was more obsessed [than his Corgie Bobby Sneakers], only, with Elise, whose thoughts, plans, and prospects he couldn’t stop talking about when I last saw him in New York two weeks ago [about June 5th].” Did Maddaus omit mentioning that he was married because that would conflict with his narrative? Why didn’t he interview Jordan (or mention she refused to speak with him?).

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3.) “… Jordanna Thigpen, was devastated [after the April 2013 death of her fiancee in a car crash]. For comfort, she turned to a man who had taken up residence next door. He had been through something similar — years before, his fiancée had been killed. "He was the only person in my life who understood what I was going through," she says. … They talked about other things in the news, about stories she thought he should pursue, and about their shared sense of grief. "We both suffered the same thing, which was depression," she says. There’s that “depressio n” word thrown out again. But I would guess she was referring to her present depression and Michael’s grief/depression in the past after losing Andi in 2007. And, by all accounts, Hastings sounds like he was a fun guy to be around. Just five days before he died, Jeremy Scahill wrote, “He was so warm and effusive and excited … was giddy that someone from our tribe had made it on one of those shows.’ … Scahill recalled Hastings talking excitedly last week about stories he was working on, including ones about the NSA. Hastings also spoke about the property he wanted to buy in Vermont. ‘Totally full of life,’ he said.”

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B2: "At 25, he was one of the youngest foreign correspondents in Baghdad. He would spend much of the next five years in war zones …. He came to think of himself in the tradition of war correspondents hooked on the adrenaline of battle. … 29 percent [of war correspondents] developed ] PTSD after exposure to combat” ...
1.) [After 2007 death of Andi] "It was either write or die for me," he wrote. In April, he returned to Baghdad — and had to confront his reasons for doing so. "Was part of me looking to get killed, too?" … I was so screwed up when I wrote that book." He wrote “Was part of me looking to get killed, too” was written in June 2009. How relevant is his quote (and “so screwed up”) to his state of mind 4 years later after getting married to Elise Jordan? (Although, I’ve wondered about that myself in the chapter “What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames?”).

2.) "At 25, he was one of the youngest foreign correspondents in Baghdad. He would spend much of the next five years in war zones …. He came to think of himself in the tradition of war correspondents hooked on the adrenaline of battle. In recent years, psychiatrists have begun to examine the emotional toll of reporting on war, recasting its romantic aura with terms like "anxiety disorders" and "post-traumatic stress." In 2002, Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Feinstein surveyed war correspondents and found that 29 percent developed PTSD after exposure to combat — similar to rates among service members. Another 21 percent suffered from depression, and 14 percent reported substance abuse. "Lots of journalists are affected, both from being bystanders to grief and from being in harm's way," says Dr. Elana Newman, a psychologist at the University of Tulsa, who has studied the subject. "And the more you see, the worse it is." "Whatever was going on with Hastings," says Dr. Ginger Rhodes, a psychologist in San Francisco who works with trauma survivors, "it would be unusual if he wasn't psychologically impacted by his repeated experiences of covering these events." Maddaus quotes three doctors talking generally about PTSD & war reporters, but none of them actually knew Hastings. Sure, Hastings probably had some PTSD, but what is the hearsay of these doctors worth in assessing Hastings’ mental state and/or degree of PTSD? And the word “hooked” is thrown out there suggesting an addictive mindset.

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3.) War journalists have begun to try to raise awareness by speaking out about their own mental health. Perhaps the most high-profile example is Michael Ware, a CNN and Time correspondent who spent six straight years in Baghdad. … Michael Ware did not know Hastings in Baghdad but argues the effects of covering a war should not be underestimated. … "There's gonna be no one answer (to his death), but it would have to have been a massive contributing factor," Ware says. "That could have been me in that car crash at another part of my life." Phillip Robertson, a freelance correspondent who covered the war for Salon.com, also has spoken about the psychological toll. ... War draws fucked-up people to it, and it doesn't make them get better." … The psychological effects have proven difficult to shake. Long after he left Iraq, he explains via Skype, he had "PTSD dreams. ” Hastings wrote about having similar dreams. In 2009, Hastings attended the Norman Mailer Writers Colony, where he hung out with David J. Morris. A former Marine and a war journalist himself, Morris would later write that Hastings "exuded the sort of undiluted hypervigilance that I have always associated with people who have untreated PTSD."(Morris, who is now at work on a book about PTSD, said recently that Hastings may only have been nervous.) Maddaus quoted three war journalists here who speculated about the impact of PTSD on Hastings, but only Morris had even met Hastings once (4 years ago at a conference) and he now says Hastings “may only have been nervous’). Ware and Robertson never even met Hastings. They don’t know him and their comments such as “massive contributing factor” and “war draws fucked-up people to it” are just speculation. Sure, Hastings wrote about his PTSD dreams … in Jan/Feb 2006 when he was covering the war in Iraq! [p. 96 “I Lost My Love in Baghdad” (PB)]. How relevant is that today 7 years later!

4.) Hastings never identified himself in his writing as someone suffering from PTSD. The closest he came to such an admission was in May, when he retweeted an article about using pot to treat PTSD. Here’s the tweet: Mac McClelland @MacMcClelland 16 May In case you have PTSD and were looking for more evidence that you should maybe smoke pot: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-05/biomarker-could-diagnose-ptsd … Retweeted by Michael Hastings I discuss the subject of using pot to treat PTSD in a following section below.

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5.) PTSD was not something he discussed even with his close friends. Matt Farwell [Afghan War vet and colleague … Hastings did not open up on the subject, Farwell says. … As I said before, I don’t think Hastings would talk about it to someone who hadn’t been there; they wouldn’t understand. No surprise there. Perhaps his wife or brother could shed some light on the extent of Hastings’ PTSD? (But they’re not talking). Matt Farwell was an infantry Afghan war vet. His father wrote in a comment that “he is recovering from PTSD, if that is possible.” Wouldn’t think it would be pertinent to ask him his opinion on the extent of any PTSD, if any, he observed with Michael Hastings in 2012? And I suspect most vets don’t even talk about it much with each other. And, I would argue Hastings implicitly talked about having PTSD in his books. I certainly got that impression (e.g. repeatingly writing about the suicide bombing he witnessed in Afghanistan in 2008 and his getting drunk in preparation for returning to Afghanistan in 2010).. Update 10-24-13: After reading David Finkel’s fine book, “Thank You For Your Service,” it doesn’t appear to me that Hastings had a bad case of PTSD. Some of the Iraq “surge” vets in the book certainly do.

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B3: “Hastings had been politely turning down drinks for 10 years … But in 2010, he started to relapse” ...
1.) Hastings had been politely turning down drinks for 10 years — even refusing a shot before going on The Colbert Report. But in 2010, he started to relapse. In “The Operators”, he tells of getting drunk at the Dubai airport in April 2010 while awaiting a flight to Kabul. He also wrote about getting drunk and taking Adderall to get through the 2012 presidential campaign — what he called a "campaign-induced relapse." … For his part, Hastings missed covering the wars; he quipped that the campaign was "a kind of methadone, a weak substitute." While he was filing regularly, Hastings wrote, he also had "a few days of getting completely blitzed." He mentioned one particularly out-of-control evening in Las Vegas [2012], during which he insulted a Wall Street Journal reporter "in the most offensive terms possible, bringing shame to my family." “He started to relapse.” But Hastings had never been an absolute teetotaler. He never said he had turned down drinks for 10 years. He wrote in “The Operators” [p. 188] that “I could count the number of drinks I’ve had in the past 10 years on one hand.” So when exactly did he begin to relapse? However, Hastings did identify himself as being in recovery from his youthful drug abuse in his April 2009 blog post, “A Case of the Relapse For Young Addict/Author”: “I’m sure I’m breaking one of the Twelve Steps here, and I admit that my reaction probably has more to do with my own baggage as recovering drunk/ addict/screw-up … alcoholic-but-on-the-wagon … And perhaps Nic [Sheff] ’s ongoing public struggles with addiction actually give a more realistic picture than the standard “I’ve overcome my problem and stayed clean for X years” narrative. The reality is, addicts relapse all the time. It’s a day to to struggle. It’s what makes the disease so frustrating. … Personally, it took me years of sobriety before I had a clue of what actually happened while I was all messed up, and before I could truly empathize with my family for all the sh-t I put had them through. Only now, coming up on ten years out, have I been able to write and talk about it honestly. ” In his True/Slant blog profile he said his “Greatest Achievement” was “The book [“I Lost My Love in Baghdad”] and the [Andi Parhamovich] foundation. Also, not falling off the wagon. Thank you, O'Douls” (and “My Biggest Regret”. Not falling off the wagon).

2.) Jordanna Thigpen says that Hastings "scared himself" that night [in Vegas], and vowed to stop drinking. When he got to L.A., she says, he got a prescription for medical marijuana and smoked regularly. Other friends say he continued to drink occasionally but not to excess.
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I’ve seen several references to Hastings drinking with friends. Spencer Ackerman wrote about drinking beer & eating pizza with him. David J. Morris wrote that he “did two rounds with him at a local Provincetown bar” in 2009. Perhaps Hastings had become a social drinker with an occasional binge. It doesn’t sound like drinking had become a serious problem for him. I think it’s a bit simplistic to say Hastings “started to relapse in 2010” (especially since he occasionally had drinks before then). 10-24-13 Update: Last year in a Buzzfeed interview Hastings asked Oliver Stone about pot use: MH: Do you smoke pot and write? Does it hurt your productivity? OS: Oh, sure. No, listen, listen. I’ve used marijuana off and on for 40-plus years. Do I look like I’m in jail? Do I look I’m not paying my taxes? I got a house and I got some kids I put through school. I’ve been productive. I don’t know that marijuana is such a bad thing. OS: BuzzFeed. It sounds like buzz food, or buzzkill. OK. You know what a buzzkill is? MH: I have a general idea. OS: It’s when you smoke a J, and somebody comes in, and they kill your buzz. MH: I’m somewhat familiar with that experience.

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B4: “Now, after a long period of sobriety, he had recently begun smoking pot to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder — the product of years of covering combat …” ...
1.) Hastings never identified himself in his writing as someone suffering from PTSD. The closest he came to such an admission was in May, when he retweeted an article about using pot to treat PTSD. [From LAPD report: In fact, according to the coroner's report, that is exactly what he was doing.] Here’s the tweet again: Mac McClelland @MacMcClelland 16 May In case you have PTSD and were looking for more evidence that you should maybe smoke pot: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-05/biomarker-could-diagnose-ptsd … Retweeted by Michael Hastings Andrew Bacevich wrote a review of David Finkel’s book “Thank You For Your Service” (Truthdig, October 4, 2013): Nominally a sequel to “The Good Soldiers,” his 2009 account of an American infantry battalion at war in Iraq … Finkel examines the human detritus left in the wake of fraudulent promises and collapsed illusions. … attends to what he calls the “after war.” … Above all, he is concerned with wounds that may not be fully visible [PTSD, TBI, etc.] … Finkel checks in on some of the soldiers featured in his previous book. What he finds is anger, anxiety, shame, depression, guilt, sleeplessness, self-abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and suicidal tendencies, sometimes acted on, sometimes not. … but not much in the way of useful therapy. … Apart from an astonishing facility for prescribing medication—one of Finkel’s protagonists is “taking forty-three pills a day for pain, for anxiety, for depression, for nightmares”—the army has made little apparent headway in caring for this torrent of tormented souls. To judge from Finkel’s description, assistance rendered has been erratic, bureaucratic and ineffective, with soldiers not so much treated as processed.

2.) Now, after a long period of sobriety, he had recently begun smoking pot to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder — the product of years of covering combat. … When he got to L.A.[in February 2012], she [Thigpen] says, he got a prescription for medical marijuana and smoked regularly The above twitter link is worth looking at. It sure looks as though PTSD can be treated effectively using pot. The book Smoke Signals discusses using pot to treat PTSD [pp.287 -293]. Or see The Atlantic Monthly 2012 piece “The Case for Treating PTSD in Veterans With Medical

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Marijuana.” Or take a look at CNN’s Sanjay Gupta’s piece “Why I Changed My Mind on Weed” and his recent “Weed” documentary. And, in her recent Salon.com piece, “Medical Marijuana Sprouts In Israel,” April M. Short discussed Israel’s promising research on using pot to treat PTSD: “the Israeli government is funding breakthrough research on the healing potential of the cannabis plant .. . has become a wo rld leader in cannabis research as a result of the U.S.’s continued blockade of cannabis research. … She [Mimi Peleg] helped write the abstract [PDF slide show] for a recent study conducted in Israel to assess the use of cannabis to treat chronic PTSD in 30 Israeli combat veterans, which turned out “promising” results. … Unfortunately, in the U.S. veterans are forbidden to use weed to treat their PTSD. In his book, “Smoke Signals”, Martin A. Lee wrote about “Veterans for Drug War Peace” [pp.287 -293]: “Thousands of U.S. soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan will spend the rest of their lives coping with severe head wounds, neurological pain, and PTSD. … When distressed troops sought help, military doctors prescribed the usual regime of synthetic opiates, antidepressants, and antipsychotic meds to blur the pain. Medicating with cannabis, however, was forbidden by VA higher-ups … VA docs were barred from even discussing with patients that marijuana might help them. Vets who acknowledged using cannabis risked losing their VA benefits.”

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C: “Hastings was intensely interested in government surveillance of journalists. … Hastings was convinced he was a target”… Helicopters often circle over the hills, but Hastings believed there were more of them around whenever he was at home, keeping an eye on him.
... 1.) In public appearances, Hastings said he had no information to suggest that he was being targeted. In private, he was convinced that he was … Helicopters often circle over the hills, but Hastings believed there were more of them around whenever he was at home, keeping an eye on him. "He felt that everything he was doing was being watched," [Cenk] Uygur says. … Gail Sistrunk McTiernan spoke with Hastings several times in May and June … "I know it was [Hastings'] belief that it was absolutely no problem for the FBI or anyone else" to listen to his calls, she says. "He assumed they were." What is the source for Maddaus statement that Hastings believing that helicopters were “keeping an eye on him”? He gives no attribution or context. Was Hastings serious, or just joking when he said something like that? (e.g. like Cenk Uygur’s quote in the next section about a possible drone strike?). To Maddaus’s credit, he did write that “Hastings likely had reason to be concerned about government surveillance … Hastings was working on a story about the CIA, and communicating with people abroad who were critical of the agency. It would not be a stretch to imagine that his calls really were being recorded.” And he also quoted journalists Philip Robertson and Michael Ware who shared Hastings’ concerns: "It's possible Michael was of interest to the intelligence agencies," [Philip] Robertson says. "If they were interested, they would own your communications. They could do that." … "I cannot count the number of times I've had my communications recorded, my computers 'read," Michael Ware says. "I've had transcripts read back to me of some of my conversations." … But that line of thinking can be "very dangerous," Robertson adds. … In that situation, marijuana may only have compounded the problem.

2.) “Hastings was intensely interested in government surveillance of journalists. … The Boston Marathon bombing in April brought new attention to government surveillance.… In mid-May, the Justice Department disclosed that it had obtained records of 20 phone lines belonging to Associated Press reporters as part of a leak investigation. … And on June 5, Edward Snowden's leaks unmasked the NSA's electronic dragnet. As these revelations tumbled out, one after the other, Hastings grew increasingly consumed by them. "Any leeway or sympathy I ever give to the Obama White House, I take back forever," he said on Huffpost Live, on May 14. The next week on The Young Turks, Hastings wore a green "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" T-shirt. Gesticulating for emphasis, he shouted, "I'm sick of this partisan, defend-Obama-on-everything. He's tapping your phones! The man is tapping your phones!"
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Isn’t using the words “consumed” and “gesticulating” and “shouting” a bit perjorative? After all, he was a national security journalist and Libertarian and had long been concerned/interested/ “consumed” by these civil liberty and national security issues. In 2009, Hastings wrote in his True/Slant blog profile: This Is Making Me Worry ... The NSA. If they're taking the time to tap my phones, I want a refund of my tax dollars. On the other hand, if they're not tapping my phone--it's a mobile with a 212 area code that has been used from Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Kurdistan, etc--then I want my money back, too. And, as Maddaus himself wrote, “In February he moved to Los Angeles, where he joined BuzzFeed's new bureau. … Though he was officially in town to cover Hollywood, he did relatively little of that. As ever, he remained focused on national security.” And, it’s worth readubg the last piece Hastings wrote for Buzzfeed on June 7th entitled “Why Democrats Love To Spy On Americans.”

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D1: “Interviews with friends [as well as the coroner's report] suggest that Hastings' mental health was deteriorating”
... 1.) Hastings hung out with The Nation's Jeremy Scahill [on June 12th] when the reporter was in town promoting his documentary Dirty Wars. In May, Hastings was invited to a salon at director Oliver Stone's house, along with a guest list of progressive stars like Sean Penn, Glenn Greenwald, writer David Sirota and economist Dean Baker. "He seemed a little stressed," Stone says by email, "but nothing out of the ordinary in our culture." A certain level of lighthearted paranoia would be unremarkable in such company. [Cenk]Uygur says, "We joked that night that, if Scahill was there, we would have definitely had a drone strike on the house." From the chronology of the above quote, a reader would assume that Hastings hung out with Jeremy Scahill sometime before the May salon at Oliver Stones’ house. However, they got together after the Oliver Stone salon, on JUNE 12, 2013 (just five days before Hast ings’ death). Hasting spent that evening attending Scahills’ LA film premiere, the Q & A session, and then they hung out watching Scahill’s appearance on “The Tonight Show.“ It was probably his last public appearance (and was the last time he tweeted). So, did Scahill’s recollection of that evening suggest that “Hastings' mental health was deteriorating”? No. In his June 19th Hastings’ eulogy, “Michael Hastings Popped The Press Bubble, From The Campaign Trail To The Front Lines,” Michael Caledrone wrote that Scahill described Hasting’s as “totally full of life” that night: “Nearly one week ago [June 12, 2013], Jeremy Scahill and several friends were hanging out in a Los Angeles hotel room to watch his taped appearance on the “The Tonight Show.” One of those friends was Michael Hastings … Scahill chatted with Jay Leno that night about “Dirty Wars,” his revealing new documentar y … ‘He was so warm and effusive and excited, as if we 'd just won the Super Bowl … was giddy that someone from our tribe had made it on one of those shows.’ … Scahill recalled Hastings talking excitedly last week about stories he was working on, including ones about the NSA. Hastings also spoke about the property he wanted to buy in Vermont. ‘Totally full of life,’ he said.” Just five nights later, Hasting’s died in a fiery car crash. Why did Maddaus merely mention and then quickly pass over Scahill’s night in LA? (and place his passing reference to it so the reader would get the impression it took place before May, long before his death). Was he unaware of Caledrones’ eulogy (although the use of the similar phrases “hung out” and “hanging out” suggests that he had read it)? Or, did he decide to omit Scahill’s “totally full of life” remarks since they didn’t fit into his narrative of a “haunted soul”? Either way, Scahill’s account calls into question Maddaus’ speculation that Hasting’s mental health was deteriorating in the weeks leading up to his death, and the accuracy of his profile.

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Similarly, in his tribute, “Remembering Michael Hastings” (Daily Beast, June 20, 2013), Ali Gharib wrote about “spending hours” talking with Hastings just over a week before his death: “Michael and Elise had skipped out early from the BuzzFeed party itself to set up appetizers, just like they did the weekend before last [June 8-9] … We spent hours on the patio, just talking.” He didn’t mention that Hastings “mental health was deteriorating.”

2.) In May, Hastings traveled to Washington and New York and visited his editors. As usual, he was full of ideas — maybe something on the underbelly of Hollywood. He also was interested in doing something on surveillance, maybe a book. "The NSA stuff ... really rocked him a bit," says Rosenthal, his [Blue Rider Press] editor. "I'm not a doctor, but he certainly was agitated in the last day or two of his life.” It’s not apparent that Rosenthal had personal knowledge of Hastings being “agitated in the last day or two of his life.” From the text, it appears that he last saw him in May. Did he speak to him on the phone, or was his comment just speculation?

3.) Mike McTernan, a staffer at Brave New Films, helped arrange a Skype interview for Hastings with some victims injured in a drone strike in Pakistan in early June. Hastings was thinking about including the material in a story he was doing for Rolling Stone on CIA director John Brennan. "He just seemed very freaked out," McTernan says. "The conversation, in general, was pretty out there. He seemed like he was on edge." “On edge”! If you’ve watched any video clips of Hastings, he’s always full of energy. Once again, Maddaus just throws out a bunch of loaded & speculative phrases throughout this section: “freaked out,” “pretty out there,” “agitated,” “rocked him a bit,” “stressed,” and “paranoia”.

4.) “Interviews with friends [as well as the coroner's report] suggest that Hastings' mental health was deteriorating.” As discussed above, it appears that Maddaus’s claim that “Hastings' mental health was deteriorating” was thinly sources and he appears to have cherry-picked some quotes (and omitted others) to support his narrative. *** broad claim, not backed up by facts. Further, it’s striking that Maddaus never interviewed members of Hastings family or his widow before writing his profile. Wouldn’t they have the closet insight into his mental state? Even if they refused to speak with him, you would think he would have mentioned that fact. Or how about the opinion of his neighbor Jordanna Thigpren? What was her assessment?

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And, I think it’s again worth noting out that Maddaus doesn’t mention that Hastings met Elise Jordan in 2010, and that they were married in 2011. His Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith wrote that, “He was more obsessed [than his Corgie Bobby Sneakers], only, with Elise, whose thoughts, plans, and prospects he couldn’t stop talking about when I last saw him in New York two weeks ago [about June 5th].”

5.) A certain level of lighthearted paranoia would be unremarkable in such company. [Cenk]Uygur says, "We joked that night that, if Scahill was there, we would have definitely had a drone strike on the house."… "He felt that everything he was doing was being watched," Uygur says. I’m surprised that Maddaus didn’t use another Cenk Uygur quote that actually would have supported his narrative much better: "He was incredibly tense and very worried and was concerned that the government was looking in on his material," said Hastings's friend and Current TV host Cenk Uygur. "I don't know what his state of mind was at 4:30 in the morning, but I do know what his state of mind was in general, and it was a nervous wreck."

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D2: His behavior grew increasingly erratic. Helicopters often circle over the hills, but Hastings believed there were more of them around whenever he was at home, keeping an eye on him. He came to believe his Mercedes was being tampered with.
... 1.) “His behavior grew increasingly erratic. Helicopters often circle over the hills, but Hastings believed there were more of them around whenever he was at home, keeping an eye on him.” “His behavior grew increasingly erratic.” This assertion doesn’t appear to be backed up by much in the way of fact. What is the source for Maddaus claim that Hastings believing that helicopters were “keeping an eye on him”? There is no attribution. Was Hastings serious, or just joking when he said something like that? (e.g. like Cenk Uygur’s quote in the next section about a possible drone strike?). And, even Maddaus wrote that “Hastings likely had reason to be concerned about government surveillance. I don’t understand how Hastings’ concerns about surveillance would be a sign of paranoia. With the ongoing Snowden revelations, those concerns appear to be well-founded.

2.) Hastings recently had lost weight and went clean-shaven. In March, he donned a hoodie for an appearance on Current TV. … "Any leeway or sympathy I ever give to the Obama White House, I take back forever," he said on Huffpost Live, on May 14. The next week on The Young Turks, Hastings wore a green "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" T-shirt. Gesticulating for emphasis, he shouted, "I'm sick of this partisan, defend-Obama-oneverything. He's tapping your phones! The man is tapping your phones!" Is Maddaus suggesting Hastings had “lost weight” because he was doing meth or some other drug? Is wearing a “hoodie” on TV now considered “erratic behavior”; it is a hip, young crowd that watches “The Young Turks.” Ditto for wearing the green T-shirt. And “gesticulating” and “shouting.”

3.) The day before Hastings died, he sent an email to his BuzzFeed bosses with the subject line "FBI investigation, re: NSA." The email informed them that "the Feds are interviewing 'my close friends and associates,'" and advised them to get a lawyer if they were contacted. (No friends or associates have stepped forward to say that they were interviewed, and the FBI has denied it was investigating Hastings.) "Also," Hastings wrote, "I'm onto a big story and need to go off the rada[r] for a bit."

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It appears Maddaus is suggesting this email shows Hastings was being paranoid. But, if Hastnigs had just been contacted that day, perhaps the FBI hadn’t yet talked to his associates. And although the FBI claims they were not investigating Hastings himself, but I’d bet they’ve been investigating his connections with Barrett Brown (but since his case is pending, they wouldn’t release any FOIA info on him) or checking to see if anyone was trying to leak to him.

4.) That afternoon, about two hours after Hastings announced he was going off the radar, he and his brother stopped into Peas & Carrots International, a clothing shop in West Hollywood. He stayed in the store about 15 minutes, buying two T-shirts, and seemed in high spirits, coowner Joshton Peas says. "He was really chatty," Peas says. "He seemed like a normal guy — he was a little more amped up, passionate." Why did Maddaus include this scene in his profile? Doesn’t sound like erratic behavior. Threw out the words “Amped up” and “passionate” suggesting he was agitated?

5.) He came to believe his Mercedes was being tampered with. "Nothing I could say could console him," Thigpen says. One night in June, he came to Thigpen's apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. She declined, telling him her car was having mechanical problems. "He was scared, and he wanted to leave town," she says. Paranoia? Perhaps, but his car did crash and burn just a few hours later … Perhaps Hastings had legitimate reason to be fearful and/or his car was tampered with. It appears Maddaus believes that Hastings being scared and believed that his car was tampered because of weed-induced paranoia before he spoke with Thigpren. We don’t know. The neuroscientist Carl Hart wrote about his own bad trip as a young man (pp. 207-209, “High Price” (2013): “I’d continued to smoke reefer occasionally. … I generally didn’t inhale much … I didn’t have much tolerance. I smoked far more reefer than I’d intended that night.” “Early that evening … passed around a joint … After about an hour or so, I started to become paranoid…. I became convinced that these two suspiciously beautiful women I had picked up were Rolex bandits like the ones I’d seen on Oprah. … Once the idea was planted in my head, I couldn’t get rid of it. … The paranoia become unbearable. … I h ad to do something. … even the next day … the paranoia was still with me.” My set and setting … weren’t especially conducive to a “good high.” … My reduced tolerance also increased the chances that I would experience paranoia from smoking more than I was used to handling. With THC … higher doses taken by inexperienced users increase the odds of negative side effects like paranoia and anxiety. … The night I got high ... I couldn’t sleep at all … prolonged sleep loss can cause deterioration of mental

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funct ioning. … severe sleep loss, even without drug use, can cause hallucinations and paranoia. As a result, even the next day … the paranoia was still with me.” One of the most consistent effects of stimulants [e.g. amphetamines] is the disruption of sleep, which means that repeated use can exacerbate problems related to sleep loss.

So, it appears that paranoia may sometimes persist hours after the high is gone. Perhaps Hastings smoked more weed than usual evening (or more potent weed) and got hit with paranoia which sent him next door to try to borrow Thigprens’ car around midnight. Perhaps the paranoia persisted past his high, he stayed up all night, until he finally took off like a bat out of hell after 4 AM? It’s possible.

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D3: By then, his behavior had frightened his out-of-town family members … saying some disturbing things … Hastings' brother had come to visit that day from New York, hoping to persuade him to enter drug treatment ...
1.) By then, his behavior had frightened his out-of-town family members … Hastings' brother had come to visit that day from New York, hoping to persuade him to enter drug treatment: What behavior? This is speculation from the LAPD report. Maddaus never spoke to members of the Hastings’ family or to his widow Elise Jordan. And, it’s important to note that Maddaus wrote his profile before the LAPD coroner report was released on 8/20/13. Maddaus slightly revised his piece to add Hastings’ brothers’ comments from the LAPD narrative and comments by his neighbor Jordanna Thigpren (see Appendix “B”). Especially without the LAPD report narrative, the piece is far too speculative and thinly sourced – weed/PTSD/paranoia drove him over the edge to “crash and burn.”

2.) His family told investigators that, at one point [14 years ago], he was thought to suffer from bipolar disorder, or manic depression. However, they later concluded that his behavioral issues stemmed not from a mood disorder but from misuse of Ritalin. Hastings' brother later would speculate to authorities that, in addition to marijuana, Hastings was taking the hallucinogen DMT — which [his neighbor Jordanna] Thigpen calls "ridiculous." Hastings' brother also told investigators that he would not be surprised to find cocaine or another stimulant in the apartment. The LAPD toxicology report did find trace amounts of THC and amphetamine in his body, indicating that he smoked many hours prior to crash and was not under the influence 26 at the time of the crash. However, Maddaus failed to mention Hastings was not intoxicated at the time of the crash and that the toxicology report they found no traces of alcohol or other drugs such as DMT or cocaine in Hastings body. To his credit, Maddaus did note that “Thigpen argues that Hast ings was not doing anything harder than pot. She strongly disputes the coroner's suggestion that Hastings was taking methamphetamine, saying it was much more likely the amphetamine found in his system came from Adderall. (A coroner's spokesman acknowledged that the amphetamine could have come from either Adderall or meth.)”

26

Update 10-11-13: See Appendix “D”: I now believe that Hastings might have been under the influence of weed when he crashed. It appears that more than “trace” amounts of THC were found.

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3.) In addition to his drug use, Hastings was saying some disturbing things. Hastings' brother told investigators that, although Hastings had never talked of suicide, he did think of himself as "invincible," believing he could jump off his balcony and be all right. When/Why did Hastings say he was “invincible”? It’s not clear if he said it that night or sometime in the past. The context is unclear. 3.) By then, his behavior had frightened his out-of-town family members … Hastings' brother had come to visit that day from New York, hoping to persuade him to enter drug treatment Exactly what “behavior” supposedly had frightened his family? Maddaus is speculating a bit again, since he never spoke to the family. Perhaps Hastings’ new-found enthusiasm for weed concerned his brothers (e.g. Michael Krikorian wrote, “Hastings had talked of opening a marijuana-themed resort in Vermont” [“Michael Hastings' Investigation Not Over ” krikorianwrites.com, 8-28-13]). Were his brothers just paying him a visit or did they fly out just to confront him about drug use? Was the detectives’ correct to state that his brothers were trying to get Hastings to go to “rehab” or “detox” or did they just want to talk to him? Was Hastings talking about weed and they were concerned that might lead to problems like he had 14 years ago when he was 19 years old?

4.) That night, his brother later told investigators, Hastings smoked marijuana and passed out around 12:30 or 1 a.m. His brother retired to the empty apartment underneath Thigpen's — the one Hastings used to write. That timeline may be slightly off, however, because Jordanna Thigpen says that at 12:30 a.m., Hastings came to her apartment and asked to borrow her car. He was scared, she says, and trying to get out of town. “Passed out”? Or fell asleep? What happened in the next 4 hours until the car crash ? The crash scene was about 2 miles [1.5 miles] south of Hastings' apartment. Michael Krikorian wrote, “Hastings was on his way to Las Vegas that morning. ” Why was he leaving LA when his brother was in town and another brother was arriving later that morning? Wouldn’t he have told his brother? Was he planning on coming back later that day?

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E1: “He came to believe his Mercedes was being tampered with. … he came to Thigpen's apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. … ‘He was scared, and he wanted to leave town’
... 1.) He came to believe his Mercedes was being tampered with. "Nothing I could say could console him," Thigpen says. One night in June, he came to Thigpen's apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. She declined, telling him her car was having mechanical problems. "He was scared, and he wanted to leave town," she says. It appears Maddaus believes that Hastings being scared and believing that his car was being tampered with was another sign of weed-induced paranoia. Perhaps, but he wasn’t intoxicated at the time of his crash and his car did crash and burn just a few hours later … Maddaus’s revelation that Hastings had expressed concern about his car being “tampered with” just hours before he crashed and burned should have been a bombshell in the media; evidence of potential foul play. However, it was largely ignored by the mainstream media. Or else dismissed as the drug-induced paranoia of a meth-head.

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E2: “The restaurant's surveillance video [Pizzeria Mozza about 2 miles south of Hastings' apartment] showed his Mercedes barreling down the road and exploding in a flash of light at 4:20 a.m. Hastings was killed instantly, his body charred and unrecognizable. Almost inevitably, his death — in a fiery, single-car crash, at 4:20 a.m. on June 18 — resulted in a swarm of conspiracy theories … Hastings' family and the Los Angeles Police Department both have dismissed the conspiracies. LAPD also has ruled out suicide
... 1.) Shaul Raigorodsky … In video of the crash scene, he c an be seen trying futilely to douse the fire with a garden hose. "I don't know what got in the guy's mind," he says. "I don't know his craziness." Once again, Maddaus throws out a suggestive word like “craziness.”

2.) Almost inevitably, his death — in a fiery, single-car crash, at 4:20 a.m. on June 18 — resulted in a swarm of conspiracy theories … Amateur forensic examinations have proliferated online. A common refrain is, "A car just doesn't blow up like that." Some argue that he was murdered by the CIA, or the NSA, or the Pentagon. … Kimberly Dvorak … She's now the leading reporter looking at "alternate" theories of the crash. … I share Maddaus’s skepticism of Kimberly Dvorak’s conspiracy theories about the crash (see my detailed debunking in the section “Accident or Assassination?”). But her theories (echoed by Alex Jones) are just straw men, easily cut down. Kim Dvorak and Alex Jones have just been muddying the waters with their unsupported theories. In contrast, LA reporter Michael Krikorian (krikorianwrites.com) has done some solid investigative work on the ground.

3.) Asked if she [Kimberly Dvorak] believes it is possible that the government had him killed, she says, "It's absolutely possible they could do something like that. … the Los Angeles Police Department … have dismissed the conspiracies. Yep. The LAPD sure “dismissed the conspiracies.” Just two days after the crash they declared “no foul play” was involved. But it appears the LAPD never seriously investigated the crash as a potential homicide. It appears the traffic detectives merely assumed Hastings was drugged up and crashed. The next day they filed their brief 2-page report after spending only 2 hours on the scene, taking 48 photos, and talking to Hasting’s brother (she took no evidence). Since then, it appears there was little further investigation (see the section “LAPD’s On-Going Investigation – ‘Not Even Close To Being Done ’").
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Two months after Michael Hastings’ tragic fiery car accident (or assassination?) the LAP D finally released their disingenuous press release, accident narrative, toxicology report, and autopsy report. Their lab tested specifically for Meth & MDMA (see p. 15 of the report) but found no trace of either (nor any other “hard drug” or alcohol), although trace amounts of weed and amphetamine (consistent with Adderal or Ritalin use) were found that “were unlikely to have an intoxicative effect at the time of the accident.”27 The coroner speculated when he mentioned the “possibility” of meth (and the LAPD press release (not the report) incorrectly claimed that meth was found). However, most news headlines suggested “drug use” was responsible for Hastings’ death and portrayed him as a relaped meth head. This was a media character assassination (and/or incompetence). A Hastings family member told WhoWhatWhy, “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case … they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. … It’s so irresponsible and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system ….” Opps, nothing much found there! IF this crash was an assassination, we will never know since the LAPD failed to find any evidence of foul play since they never even looked for it. The key question still unanswered is WHY Hastings’ car was speeding so fast that night. Maybe Hastings had reasons to be scared (or maybe he was paranoid) and drove too fast, or maybe his car brakes/accelerator had been “hacked” or tampered with. Unfor tunately, the LAPD never tried to answer that question or investigate the crash as a potential homicide.

4.) LAPD also has ruled out suicide. After speaking with Hastings’ brother, he LAPD investigators wrote, “Upon inquiry, decedent's history was not known to include any past suicide or ideation/s.” It doesn’t appear the LAPD did any further investigation into this possibility.

5.) Jonathan Kay, author of Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground, says the Hastings case is typical of conspiracies that can crop up around anyone who dies after being involved in controversial events. What theorists do not recognize, Kay says, is that "the U.S. government does not go around killing journalists who happen to be investigating it."

27

Update 10-10-13: It’s now unclear to me that only “traces” of THC were found and not under influence at the time of crash . See the discussion in Appendix “D” for more details.

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How exactly does Kay know that for sure? I share his skepticism that Hastings was offed by the government. Usually, they just ignore/blacklist those journalists they don’t like. But perhaps Hastings was an exception? Or maybe some private NSA contracter took some action.

6.) Hastings' family …. have dismissed the conspiracies. …"My gut is that this was really a tragic accident," his widow, Elise Jordan, told CNN. It’s compelling to me that Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson wrote (August 1, 2013) “those closest to him dismiss the rumors”: “In the wake of Hasting’s death, the Internet has been rife with speculation that dark forces may have been behind his pre-dawn wreck. But those closest to him dismiss the rumors. Hasting’s younger brother, Jeff—who was awarded a Bronze Star as an infantry officer in Iraq…--says he accepts the obvious and, in some ways, more difficult explanation for his brother’s death: that Michael simply drove too fast and didn’t survive. ‘I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy … There’s no part of me that’s troubled by that.” Note: Maddaus missed this quote in his research; perhaps since appears to be only available in the hard-copy print version and not on-line. And, his widow Elise Jordan did say, “the LAPD still has an active investigation. I don't really have anything to add. My gut [feeling] here is that it was just a really tragic accident and I'm very unlucky and the world is very unlucky." But, she didn’t rule out foul play. Note: I think it’s worth pointing out that Maddaus only mentions-in-passing Hastings’s widow Elise Jordan. They met in 2010 and were married in 2011. His Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith wrote that, “He was more obsessed [than his Corgie Bobby Sneakers], only, with Elise, whose thoughts, plans, and prospects he couldn’t stop talking about when I last saw him in New York two weeks ago [about June 5th].” Did Maddaus omit mentioning that he was married because that would conflict with his narrative? Why didn’t he interview Jordan (or mention she refused to speak with him?). Finally, as previously mentioned, a “Hastings family member” expressed his/her disappointment with the LAPD investigation: “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case … they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation.” It appears that they think there might be more to the crash. Elise Jordan and Hastings family have declined to discuss details of his final days. But, without their side of the story, the media and conspiracy theorists will just continue fill in the blanks with speculation. It’s a shame the last impression many people now have of Michael H astings is he was a “meth head” who got himself killed speeding.

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F: “In that situation [being of interest to the intelligence agencies], marijuana may only have compounded the problem. ‘It would not be wise to go expose yourself to combat and then smoke a ton of extremely potent pot’”
... 1.) … that line of thinking can be "very dangerous," [Philip] Robertson adds. "Being of interest to the intelligence agencies is like doing a bunch of really awful speed," he says. Maddaus, once again, is throwing out a suggestive phrase: “doing a bunch of really awful speed.”

2.) "Since you're in a world of uncertainty, your mind races." In that situation, marijuana may only have compounded the problem. "It would not be wise to go expose yourself to combat and then smoke a ton of extremely potent pot," Robertson says. "Certain things are not good to do." “Marijuana may have only compounded the problem’? Perhaps, IF Hastings had smoked some “potent” high THC pot, that could have caused paranoia for a few hours. But, where’s the evidence he had done that? His brother said he had “passed out” or fallen asleep around midnight after smoking weed. More importantly, the toxicology report showed only traces of THC when he crashed four hours later and the corner concluded he wasn’t under the influence.28 So, I don’t see how weed would have made him paranoid at the time of his highspeed crash. On the other hand, the neuroscientist Carl Hart wrote about getting paranoid after getting too stoned as a young man [pp. 207-209, “High Price”: “I’d continued to smoke reefer occasionally. … I generally didn’t inhale much … I didn’t have much tolerance. I smoked far more reefer than I’d intended that night.” “Early that evening … passed around a joint … After about an hour or so, I started to become paranoid…. I became convinced that these two suspiciously beautiful women I had picked up were Rolex bandits like the ones I’d seen on Oprah. … Once the idea was planted in my head, I couldn’t get rid of it. … The paranoia become unbearable. … I had to do something. … even the next day … the paranoia was still with me.” My set and setting … weren’t especially conducive to a “good high.” … My reduced tolerance also increased the chances that I would experience paranoia from smoking more than I was used to handling. With THC … higher doses taken by inexperienced users increase the odds of negative side effects like paranoia and anxiety. … The night I got high ... I couldn’t sleep at all … prolonged sleep loss can cause deterioration of mental
28

Postscript: Perhaps the LAPD got it wrong and Hastings was under the influence? See Appendix “D”

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functioning. … severe sleep loss, even without drug use, can cause hallucinations and paranoia. As a result, even the next da y … the paranoia was still with me.” One of the most consistent effects of stimulants [e.g. amphetamines] is the disruption of sleep, which means that repeated use can exacerbate problems related to sleep loss.

So, it appears that paranoia may sometimes persist hours after the high is gone. Perhaps Hastings smoked more weed than usual that evening (or more potent weed) and got hit with paranoia which sent him next door to try to borrow Thigprens’ car around midnight. Perhaps the paranoia persisted past his high, perhaps he smoked more weed after midnight, perhaps he stayed up all night, until he finally took off like a bat out of hell after 4 AM? It’s possible.

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G: “Hastings wrote about … [PTSD] dreams. In one, insurgents chase him down in a pickup truck. … "This is speculation. But he's going at high speed. It's as if he was gripped by fear and he was trying to outrun something. And he floored it, trying to escape. He enacted a flight from something, real or imagined.” As theories go, it's better than most.
... 1.) Hastings wrote about having similar [PTSD] dreams. In one, insurgents chase him down in a pickup truck. Sure, Hastings wrote about his PTSD dreams … in Jan/Feb 2006 when he was covering the war in Iraq! [p. 96 “I Lost My Love in Baghdad” (PB)]. How relevant is that to his state of mind 7 years later! We have no ideas what dreams Hastings had been having.

2.) After sitting with his thoughts for a moment, Robertson says, "This is speculation. But he's going at high speed. It's as if he was gripped by fear and he was trying to outrun something. And he floored it, trying to escape. He enacted a flight from something, real or imagined." The key question still unanswered is WHY Hast ings’ car was speeding so fast that night. Maybe Hastings had reasons to be scared (or maybe he was paranoid from smoking high-THC weed) and drove too fast, or maybe his car brakes/accelerator had been “hacked” or tampered with. Unfortunately, the LAPD never tried to answer that question or investigate the crash as a potential homicide. And Maddaus’s profile is just full of speculation and doesn’t answer the question of whether the flight was from something “real” or “imagined.”. And Maddaus missed a suggestive quote from Tim Dickinson who wrote (“Rolling Stone,” August 1, 2013): “Hastings lived life at full throttle, raced his demons and, at times, took unnecessary risks … “I know the pull, the intoxication, the life-affirming chemicals released after seeing the abyss and coming back from it, he writes. “I survived. I made it. I didn’t fuck up. Bliss.”

3.) As theories go, it's better than most. Maddaus appears to be presenting Roberton’s theory as his own. In brief, his argument appears to be that “Hastings' mental health was deteriorating” (from PTSD, manic depression, smoking weed, and an obsession with government surveillance) and his fearful paranoia pushed him over the edge into his high-speed flight which ended in his “crash & burn” death. Maddaus dismissed Kim Dvorak’s conspiracy theories and noted “She has not always been entirely reliable.” However, I’ve questioned the reliability of his own theory which suffers from
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an excess of speculation, cherry-picking, thin sourcing, and a lack of solid facts to back up his own assertions. It’s important to read the profile keeping in mind it was written before the LAPD coroner report came out on 8/20/13. Maddaus slightly revised his piece to add information from the Coroner’s toxicology report, the LAPD narrative and Johanna Thigprens’ response. Without LAPD report, the piece is even more speculative and thinly sourced – “Reefer Madness,” PTSD, & paranoia drove Michael Hastings over the edge to “crash and burn.” Even more important, the profile was written without the input of Hastings family and widow Elise Jordan. When Sara Morrision asked Jeff Hastings to comment on the “conspiracy theories” and “a lengthy L.A. Weekly story detailing his past drug use and struggles with addiction” he replied, “There are plenty of inaccuracies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn't change anything." But, she noted that Jeff “declined to discuss the inaccuracies further or address last week's L.A. Weekly story about Hastings' final days.” Ultimately, some of the broad strokes of Maddaus’ “haunted” portrait might possibly be found true (maybe he was right for the wrong reasons) and PTSD and/or drugs had something to do with his death29, but instead of his thinly-sourced speculation we’ll need to hear directly from Hastings' close family, friends, colleagues, and Elise Jordan before reaching conclusions about his mental state, PTSD, and drug use prior to his death.

29

See Appendix “D”: Perhaps Hastings got paranoid from too much THC that contributed to his crash?

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APPENDIX “D”
Did Marijuana Contribute to Hastings’ Fatal Crash?
In his profile “A Dangerous Mind,” Gene Maddaus wrote: "Being of interest to the intelligence agencies is like doing a bunch of really awful speed," he [Phil Robertson] says. Since you're in a world of uncertainty, your mind races." In that situation, marijuana may only have compounded the problem. "It would not be wise to go expose yourself to combat and then smoke a ton of extremely potent pot," [Philip] Robertson says. "Certain things are not good to do." ... “Marijuana may have only compounded the problem’? Perhaps, IF Hastings had smoked some “potent” high THC pot, that could have caused paranoia for a few hours. But, where’s the evidence he had done that? His brother said he had “passed out” or fallen asleep around midnight. More importantly, the toxicology report showed only traces of THC when he crashed four hours later and the corner concluded he wasn’t u nder the influence. So, I don’t see how weed would have made him paranoid at the time of his high-speed crash when smoking weed usually gives a high lasting about 2-3 hours. Update 10-10-13: It’s now unclear to me that only “traces” of THC were found . Perhaps Hastings had smoked weed after midnight and/or was still under the influence of THC at the time of crash and suffered acute paranoia from too much THC that night? ...

From Hastings Autopsy: Traces Of Meth Found In Body, But Crash Caused Death (Kathleen Kelleher, Russ Baker and David J. Krajicek—WhoWhatWhy, August 21, 2013 From the “Department of Coroner Press Release” (click link at bottom of article to see pdf): Toxicology: Unlikely contributory to death. A small amount of Methamphetamine*, and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was detected. Levels indicate prior, but not recent usage. Carbon Monoxide level was consistent with instantaneous death. *[Incorrect! “Meth” finding (intentionally?) overstates/contradicts coroner who actually wrote the autopsy report who only found trace of amphetamine, "consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine,"* in his blood.” Note*: see p.15 of report. Test for meth and MDMA was “ND” for “not detected.” Presence of amphetamine might be meth OR Sudafed, Adderal etc.

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From the Autopsy Report (p 10-11): Note: Dr. James Ribe performed autopsy on June 20, 2013. He completed and signed the report on August 20, 2012 after reviewing the toxicology report. “A comprehensive screen is called for along with MDA [medical report also requested MDA and Ritalin testing]. “Toxicology shows a small amount of amphetamine in the blood, consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine many hours before death, unlikely to have an intoxicative effect at the time of the accident. Marijuana was present in the blood, but mostly in the form of its metabolite, indicating intake hours [?] earlier. All other drugs were negative.” From the Toxicology Report (p. 15-17): Reviewed by Dr. Daniel T. Anderson and received by Dr. Ribe on August 16, 2013. Blood, Chest: Marijuana-GCIMS Carboxy [COOH metabolite]-THC, Total 154 ng/mL Blood, Chest: Marijuana-GC/MS Tetrahydroeannabinol (THC), Total l2 ng/mL. Note: “ND” – “Not Detected”, ug/mL – “micrograms per Milliter”, ng/mL – “nanograms per Milliliter ... First, note that Hastings THC level was 12 ng/mL [assuming blood vs. plasma serum measurement]. The LAPD press release said this level of THC was “unlik ely contributory to death” with “intake [of THC] hours earlier” and “not recent usage.” However, it appears to me that Hastings may have been under the influence at the time of the crash (smoking within 4 hours of crash). What exactly did the LAPD mean by “recent usage” and “intake hours earlier”? Did they somehow miss that Hastings was impaired. Or am I missing something? The CA NORML Guide “Marijuana Drug Test Detection Times” says “THC levels above 3.5 – 5 ng/ml in blood (or 7 - 10 ng/ml in serum) indicate likely impairment.” Wouldn’t 12 ng/ml indicate impairment? (Even if plasma, then 6 ng/ml). Why didn’t the coroner note that? Second, the coroner wrote, “Marijuana was present in the blood, but mostly in the form of its metabolite, indicating intake hours earlier.” However, it appears Hastings might have been smoking weed within 4 hours of his death and could have still been impaired/paranoid with a 12 ng/mL blood THC level (was his “regular” medical marijuana smoking enough to make him a “chronic user”?): The From [nhtsa.gov]: “Plasma THC concentrations generally fall below 5 ng/mL [2.5 ng/mLblood] less than 3 hours after smoking … Chronic users can have mean plasma levels of THC-COOH of 45 ng/mL [22 ng/mL blood], 12 hours after use; corresponding THC levels are, however, less than 1 ng/mL.
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From (http://norml.org/component/zoo/item/blood-or-urine-fluid-matters): “Levels below 5 ng/ml are attained in recreational marijuana users, on average, within 1 to 3 hours after cannabis consumption” But, THC levels can remain higher in chronic users such as those using medical marijuana: From [http://www.mpp.org/reports/marijuana-and-dui-laws-how.html]: “Denver News’ medical marijuana reviewer (and medical marijuana patient), William Breathes, subjected himself to blood draws to test his THC levels. After a 15-hour period of abstinence, Mr. Breathes’ THC levels were still 13.5 ng/ml. How often was Hastings smoking weed? Enough to be considered a “chronic user”? Was he smoking high-THC weed? Note: The CA NORML Guide “Marijuana Drug Test Detection Times” has the best discussion of THC blood testing I’ve found so far (with links to more info). ... Perhaps Hastings did get paranoid that night from smoking weed and sleep deprivation (did he sleep that night?). We don’t know. To make an informed judgment we would have to know his history of weed smoking (e.g. how often, how much, what strain, when was his last hit, etc.) But, an acute paranoid reaction appears to be a possibility. Note: Jordanna Thigpren or Hastings doctor or medical marijuana dispensary might be good sources of info. From Martin A. Lee’s book “Smoke Signals”: “The effects of cannabis … can be quite capricious, especially when high doses are consumed. … Whereas inhaling a few puffs of herb often produces a soft, dreamy, swimmy-headed high, eating hashish in sufficient quantities could precipitate a fullblown hallucinogenic experience … in some cases, intense anxiety and paranaoia [pp. 2829] “People often got too stoned from pure, orally administered THC, and panic attacks were not uncommon [p. 170] The neuroscientist Carl Hart wrote about getting paranoid after getting too stoned as a young man [pp. 207-209, “High Price”: “I’d continued to smoke reefer occasionally. … I generally didn’t inhale much … I didn’t have much tolerance. I smoked far more reefer t han I’d intended that night.”

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“Early that evening … passed around a joint … After about an hour or so, I started to become paranoid…. I became convinced that these two suspiciously beautiful women I had picked up were Rolex bandits like the ones I’d seen on Oprah. … Once the idea was planted in my head, I couldn’t get rid of it. … The paranoia become unbearable. … I had to do something. … even the next day … the paranoia was still with me.” My set and setting … weren’t especially conducive to a “good high.” … My reduced tolerance also increased the chances that I would experience paranoia from smoking more than I was used to handling. With THC … higher doses taken by inexperienced users increase the odds of negative side effects like paranoia and anxiety. … The night I got high ... I couldn’t sleep at all … prolonged sleep loss can cause deterioration of mental functioning. … severe sleep loss, even without drug use, can cause hallucinations and paranoia. As a result, even the next day … the paranoia was still with me.” One of the most consistent effects of stimulants [e.g. amphetamines] is the disruption of sleep, which means that repeated use can exacerbate problems related to sleep loss.

So, it appears that paranoia may sometimes persist even hours after the high is gone. Perhaps Hastings smoked more weed than usual that evening (or more potent weed) and got hit with paranoia which sent him next door to try to borrow Thigprens’ car around midnight. Perhaps the paranoia persisted past his high, perhaps he smoked more weed after midnight, perhaps he stayed up all night, until he finally took off like a bat out of hell after 4 AM? It’s possible. Although I would have thought Hastings would be an “experienced” user with some tolerance if he had been regularly smoking since February (about 4 months).

Weed & PTSD:
Last week, Andrew Bacevich wrote a review of David Finkel’s book “Thank You For Your Service” (Truthdig, October 4, 2013): Nominally a sequel to “The Good Soldiers,” his 2009 account of an American infantry battalion at war in Iraq … Finkel examines the human detritus left in the wake of fraudulent promises and collapsed illusions. … attends to what he calls the “after war.” … Above all, he is concerned with wounds that may not be fully visible [PTSD, TBI, etc.] … Finkel checks in on some of the soldiers featured in his previous book. What he finds is anger, anxiety, shame, depression, guilt, sleeplessness, self-abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and suicidal tendencies, sometimes acted on, sometimes not. … but not much in the way of useful therapy. … Apart from an astonishing facility for prescribing medication—one of Finkel’s protagonists is “taking forty-three pills a day for pain, for anxiety, for depression, for nightmares”—the army has made little apparent
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headway in caring for this torrent of tormented souls. To judge from Finkel’s description, assistance rendered has been erratic, bureaucratic and ineffective, with soldiers not so much treated as processed. In his LA Weekly profile “A Dangerous Mind”, Gene Maddaus quoted war journalist Philip Robertson as claiming that smoking weed was “not good to do” for combat veterans: “In that situation [world of uncertainty], marijuana may only have compounded the problem. "It would not be wise to go expose yourself to combat and then smoke a ton of extremely potent pot," [Philip] Robertson says. "Certain things are not good to do." Really? I would agree with Robertson that smoking high-THC weed could be troublesome. But, it does appears that PTSD can be treated effectively using pot. For example, here’s a tweet Hastings re-tweeted in May 2013: Mac McClelland @MacMcClelland 16 May In case you have PTSD and were looking for more evidence that you should maybe smoke pot: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-05/biomarker-could-diagnose-ptsd … Retweeted by Michael Hastings The above link is worth looking at. Or see The Atlantic Monthly 2012 piece “The Case for Treating PTSD in Veterans With Medical Marijuana.” Or take a look at CNN’s Sanjay Gupta’s piece “Why I Changed My Mind on Weed” and his recent “Weed” documentary. And, in her recent Salon.com piece, “Medical Marijuana Sprouts In Israel,” April M. Short discussed Israel’s promising research on using pot to treat PTSD: “the Israeli government is funding breakthrough research on the healing potential of the cannabis plant .. . has become a world leader in cannabis research as a result of the U.S.’s continued blockade of cannabis research. … She [Mimi Peleg] helped write the abstract [PDF slide show] for a recent study conducted in Israel to assess the use of cannabis to treat chronic PTSD in 30 Israeli combat veterans, which turned out “promising” results. … Unfortunately, in the U.S. veterans are forbidden to use weed to treat their PTSD. In his book, “Smoke Signals”, Martin A. Lee wrote about “Veterans for Drug War Peace” [pp.287 -293]: “Thousands of U.S. soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan will spend the rest of their lives coping with severe head wounds, neurological pain, and PTSD. … When distressed troops sought help, military doctors prescribed the usual regime of synthetic opiates, antidepressants, and antipsychotic meds to blur the pain. Medicating with cannabis, however, was forbidden by VA higher-ups … VA docs were barred from even discussing with patients that marijuana might help them. Vets who acknowledged using cannabis risked losing their VA benefits.”

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APPENDIX “E”
NOTES FROM “UNCOUTH REFLECTIONS’ INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN HASTINGS
From “Reckless and Inspired: An Interview With Jonathan Hastings About His Brother, the Journalist Michael Hastings” (Paleo Retiree -- Uncouth Reflections, November 4, 2013): Paleo Retiree -- Uncouth Reflections, November 4, 2013

YOUTHFUL DRUG TROUBLES 14 YEARS BEFORE FATAL CRASH:
He went to Connecticut College for a year, and I got the impression he partied a lot. And that led to him leaving school and the beginnings of his mental health issues. The summer after his first year he had a really bad manic/delusional/paranoid episode. It was probably brought on by drug use, but by the time he was in the middle of it, it was going on its own power. He ended up in detox/rehab for most of the summer, and he didn’t go back to Connecticut College. He was definitely a worry even before his college breakdown. He partied in high school, and I guess everyone does. But he had come close to being expelled and getting into serious trouble a few times. There was some relief from my parents when he went off to college. But that environment turned out to be really bad for him. He started using all sorts of drugs and it triggered a kind of manic episode. When he went home for summer after his first year of college, he wasn’t in good shape and ended up crashing a car, getting arrested, and going to detox/rehab. At that point I tried to help him through the initial stages of his recovery, spending time with him, inviting him to live with me in NYC when I went to grad school so he could finish his degree at NYU, and then talking to him a lot about his professional concerns when he was first starting out. With Mike there was less necessity for swooping in to help, and more for having his back and offering support. On the one hand, he was open about it, referred to it in his writing, and he even wrote a memoir all about it. He wasn’t afraid of people knowing — he wanted people to know, but, of course, he wanted people to know on his terms and from his POV. … later he told it as a kind of gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson-style adventure, it was a really traumatic experience for him and my family.
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LONG-TIME FRIENDS/FAMILY CONCERNED FOR MONTHS:
Jon Hastings says: November 7, 2013 at 9:38 am I don’t know Jeremy Scahill, and only barely know Ali Gharib. I’m not sure how long they knew Mike or what they knew about his history. People who had known Mike for a long time had been concerned for at least a few months (though until that last weekend, it didn’t seem like it would turn into a crisis). However, I think Scahill is probably right that Mike seemed full of life. He was in the early phases of a manic episode — “full of life” doesn’t contradict that at all. Note: Jonathan didn’t say anything about Michaels’ widow Elise Jordan take on the subject. I had spoken with Mike on the phone about two weeks beforehand. He was calling me to talk about the work he was doing on John McTiernan’s story, and we really stuck to talking about “just business”. (We also talked about Barrett Brown’s case at that time).

Jon Hastings says: November 7, 2013 at 9:32 am I did speak with her [Jordanna Thigpen] (before she did the interview). I believe she was worried about Mike, though I don’t think she realized he was having a manic episode.

SUSPECTING “MANIC EPISODE” JONATHAN FLEW OUT TO LA:
As I told the police out in L.A., a few days before he died, Mike called me and I got the impression that he was having a manic episode, similar to one he had had 15 years ago which he had referred to in his writing. At that time, drugs had been involved, and I suspected that might be the case again. I immediately booked a flight to L.A. for the next day, with the thought that maybe I could convince him to come back to Vermont to dry out or (less likely) get him to go to detox/rehab there in L.A. When I got to L.A. and saw him, I immediately realized that he was not going to go willingly. I started to make arrangements with our other brother to fly out and help me possibly force Mike into checking himself into a hospital or detox center. I’d thought that I had at least convinced Mike to just stay in his apartment and chill out for the next few days, but he snuck out on me when I was sleeping. He crashed his car before anyone could do anything to help him. I ended up telling this all to the police on Tuesday morning, as I was one of the last people to see him alive and I was one of the few people who could really put his behavior on that day in context.
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Jon Hastings says: November 6, 2013 at 9:26 pm I think it can be tough to understand for people who aren’t familiar with these kinds of episodes just how big an effect they can have on behavior, to the extent that in the most extreme cases, those suffering from them end up seeming like completely different people. So, when people say “It doesn’t make sense that Mike did this or that,” all I can say is, “Yes, it doesn’t make sense, but people behaving erratically in that way DON’T do things that make sense.” I mean, that’s really the definition of “behaving erratically” to begin with.

By 2013, I figured Mike had dodged all the major bullets. He was back from overseas and couldn’t do the same kind of war reporting he used to do. The McChrystal story had made that too difficult for him logistically. And who expects someone to survive Afghanistan and get taken down by Hollywood? Well, now that I mention it …

MICHAEL’S KNOWN DRUG USE WAS WEED & ADDERALL:
Jon Hastings says: November 7, 2013 at 9:27 am Apart from the weed and the Adderall, I was never able to confirm for sure that he had been taking anything else. I still wouldn’t be surprised to discover that there had been other things in the mix in the weeks beforehand, but based on what had happened 15 years ago, the weed and the Adderall would have been enough to trigger the mania.

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DOESN’T THINK MICHAEL HAD A “DEATH WISH”:
[I both sometimes think that Mike had a bit of a death wish, as many daredevil types do. Fair?] No worries — I’ve certainly thought and speculated along those lines. … I’ve been thinking about whether he really had a death wish, though, and I don’t think he did. But he was always looking for risks: even after he sobered up and got his life on track and had his career underway he still wanted to push the envelope, such as having himself assigned to Newsweek’s Iraq bureau. In a Human Development class I took recently, they talked about how teenagers don’t underestimate risk so much as they vastly overestimate rewards. It reminded me of Mike. … From my POV it wasn’t that Mike had a death wish and more that he thought being t he next Hunter S. Thompson would be so great that it was worth going to Iraq and risking getting blown up. … Mike was definitely some kind of junkie — he wrote about being a “war junkie.” He needed some kind of high, otherwise I don’t think he found life r eally worth it. I’m somewhat worried that I might be coming off as trying to take him down a peg, and that’s not true. I do feel that I want to puncture the whole myth of the bad-ass, lone wolf, heroic writer that I think he tried to cultivate, because ( a) it was really quite a bit of bullshit and (b) I think it’s a dangerous myth to believe in. If I were being melodramatic I’d say that “it killed him,” and, while that isn’t strictly true, I don’t think it helped — and I’m not sure that having a bunch o f people around him who believed it about him helped either. I think he was definitely troubled — that he felt uncomfortable in his own skin a lot of the time and that led to a fair amount of prickliness. Which is really, really sad to me, because even when he was alive I don’t think he ever really got the chance to enjoy what he had accomplished in an uncomplicated way. That’s really what breaks my heart.

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JONATHAN RULES OUT “FOUL PLAY ENTIRELY”:
Jon Hastings says: November 7, 2013 at 9:23 am He had been investigating some sensitive topics, but most of the details he gave me seemed to be a byproduct of the mania. I really rule out foul play entirely. I might have been suspicious if I hadn’t been with him the day before he died. After all, he definitely was investigating and writing about a lot of sensitive subjects. But based on being with him and talking to people who were worried about him in the weeks leading up to his death, and being around him when he had had similar problems when he was younger, I was pretty much convinced that he wasn’t in danger from any outside agency. I think the explosion and everything else can be accounted for by the fact that his car was going really, really fast . That’s a lot of kinetic energy and a lot of fuel involved when you’re going full throttle like that. Nothing was done [Mike’s cremation] against anyone’s wishes. A reporter took a statement from one of Mike’s friends out -of-context and ran with it. A very clear example of irresponsible journalism.

“I'M NOT DISMISSIVE OF "CONSPIRACY THEORIES" IN GENERAL”:
From “Brother dismisses conspiracy theories of ‘Michael Hastings truthers’” (Travis Gettys – Raw Story, November 6, 2013): Jonathan Hastings: FWIW, I'm not dismissive of "conspiracy theories" in general. Powerful people in the government and private industry often do collude, secretly, to advance their own interests at the expense of the public. It's just that, in the specific instance of my brother's death, the preponderance of evidence suggests to me that there was no foul play involved.

I kind of pay attention [to the conspiracy rumors] because I’m interested in what people are saying, and the fringe stuff really doesn’t upset me. … They’ve [the rest of the Hastings family] managed to mostly ignore the rumors, I think. I don’t think anyone is bitter about them. I think it’s kind of strange that there are now “Michael Hastings Truthers” out there , but that just seems to be a side-effect of how the internet works these days. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that there are so many people who are really invested in the idea that he was murdered by the government, but I still think it’s a weird thing for people who didn’t know him to get hung up on.
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A lot of them seem not to have been familiar with his work before he died, so it isn’t simply a result of grieving fans, or something. … I think people who just met him or really got to know him in the last two years or so, since the big Rolling Stone article, have a very different take on him. They only saw him when he was on top. The government is out of control in a lot of ways, so I sympathize with people who want to turn Mike’s death into some kind of s ymbol. I just think that his death happens to be a bad foundation to build that case on. I’d much rather see people celebrating the work he actually did. I think that would be more effective politically in the long run, too.

BARRETT BROWN WAS “VICTIM OF CONSPIRACY:
One other thing is that by casting Mike’s death as a kind of Robert Ludlum-style conspiracy, people miss out on how the government actually silences and suppresses reporters: through the threat of legal action, or, as in the case of Mike’s friend Barrett Brown, taking actual legal action. I’d like to see a lot of the people upset over a “Michael Hastings coverup” to turn their efforts towards keeping Barrett out of prison. From “Brother dismisses conspiracy theories of ‘Michael Hastings truthers’” (Travis Gettys – Raw Story, November 6, 2013): Jonathan Hastings Barrett Brown, on the other hand, does seem to have been the victim of a conspiracy, with private security firms colluding with the justice department to undermine Project PM. But the government pursued and jailed Barrett in the cold light of day. That's the reality facing dissenting voices and whistle-blowers in the U.S. today. The government doesn't need to sneak around or resort to Robert Ludlum-like plots to ruin lives. Here's the thing -- my problem with Conspiracy Theories is that they undermine our responsibility to try to change things for the better. If there is an All-Powerful Conspiracy out there that has bought everyone off or has changed reality to suit its purposes at every turn, then there is nothing we can do really. But if "conspiracy theories" are bureaucrats and managers abusing their power (which I believe is the case with the people who went after Barrett), then we can call them on it: we can try to bring more attention to their actions and we can work to make sure other dissenting voices are protected.

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FEELS LAPD INVESTIGATION WAS “PRETTY THOROUGH”:
I feel that the investigation was pretty thorough. The LAPD was very easy to work with, and I think they did a good job. I certainly have no real complaints about them or the coroner’s office , and I think everyone in my family is satisfied with the report . For the most part, it didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know or strongly suspect. … I think there’s a larger context that it leaves out, but a lot of that stuff seems to me to be out of the scope of a report about a traffic accident. Jon Hastings says: November 7, 2013 at 9:40 am I have no problems with the LAPD and their investigation. I don’t know who “in the family” could have made those statements, but no one has expressed any of those kinds of concerns to me. [Note: Russ Baker wrote in his August 21st “WhoWhatWhy” piece that, “A “Hastings family member” told “WhoWhatWhy”: “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case, and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system. When they didn’t get it in the toxicology lab results (science!), they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. It’s so irresponsible.” Jon Hastings says: November 7, 2013 at 9:27 am Apart from the weed and the Adderall, I was never able to confirm for sure that he had been taking anything else. I still wouldn’t be surprised to discover that there had been other things in the mix in the weeks beforehand, but based on what had happened 15 years ago, the weed and the Adderall would have been enough to trigger the mania.

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THINKS PRESS TOOK REPORT “OUT OF CONTEXT”, BUT DOESN’T HAVE ANY “BIG PROBLEMS” WITH THE LA WEEKLY PROFILE:
If I have any problems it’s with how the report was written about in the press . There were a lot of journalists-in-quotes who didn’t seem to have read it very carefully or were, irresponsibly I think, taking things out of context. I guess that’s understandable — I mean, of course the press is going to sensationalize things and play up the juicy stuff. But just because it was understandable didn’t mean I liked it. Jon Hastings says: November 7, 2013 at 9:45 am I don’t agree with everything in that LA Weekly profile, and I think it leaves out some important context, but I don’t have any big problems with it. I haven’t read it since it came out, so I’m not sure I can speak about it with too much detail. I did like that it brought up the issue of PTSD, which was likely a contributing factor in all of this. I don’t think the author tried to contact me, but I may have missed his call. Note: See Matt Farwell opposite opinion about PTSD in NY Magazine profile.

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“ACTUALLY LIKED MCCHRYSTAL” & SUPPORTED RON PAUL:
He was a self-proclaimed war junkie. He loved reading about war — as I said earlier, that was one of his major interests as a kid. … He was just really into the military. The idea of him being in the military for real wasn’t something we thought of, simply because he didn’t like authority. But he was definitely into warrior culture and badass soldier types. So it made sense that once the Iraq War started, he wanted to go see what it looked like up close. He liked macho, powerful guys regardless of the politics. Going into his famous McChrystal piece, for instance, he actually liked McChrystal. He thought McChrystal was a badass warrior, and Mike admired badasses. That was also why he liked Obama too. He thought Obama was just a naturally great politician, someone who commanded respect and attention when you were around him. Mike had been in Afghanistan when the McChrystal piece was published, so I hadn’t been in touch with him in a few months. However, when he got back, his career really started to take off, and we definitely started to slide out of touch. We never really got back to our regular pattern of phone calls and discussions, although it wasn’t until a few months after that that he really stopped returning my e-mails, etc. … we drifted apart when his career really took off. I think he got very, very busy. His success led to a lot of opportunities for him, and he wanted to take advantage of as many as possible, I think. He was always a workaholic and always needed to have several projects or potential projects going on at once. ... I’ve sometimes thought that his only politics was anti-authority. That’s mostly true, but not quite. After Andi died he really did become passionately anti-war, whereas before he had been much more ambivalent about the Iraq War. He’d kept open the possibility that it was a good idea, just one that had been badly executed. In general, though, I don’t think he was especially political. Such as they were, his po litics were very libertarian. The only politician whose ideas he supported was Ron Paul, though he was very against Rand Paul, whom he seemed to feel made too many compromises with mainstream Republican/conservative politics.

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“HE WANTED HIS VOICE TO BE HEARD”:
I think what he liked about guys like Thompson or Dick or Norman Mailer was that their writing was really about their voice: it was about them having a very distinctive voice that came through regardless of what they were talking about. … He liked that they were action-oriented guys themselves. Mike thought it was a writer’s job to go out and have experiences and then tell people about them. Fame was definitely one of the things he was looking for. He wanted his voice to be heard. I think he had that drive that many writers have to make their mark. … I think he was more driven by the idea that he could become a great writer, a la Mailer or Thompson, than he was by any specific political agenda. And I don’t think he would have really denied it too much himself: he had read “Advertisements for Myself” too many times. One of his big complaints — which he was pretty vocal about — was that he knew a number of people in the media who he believed had been publicly pro-Iraq War, even though they were privately skeptical or even anti-war but who had, according to Mike, gone along with the prowar sentiment for the sake of their careers. That became a big sticking point with him later on. I think it was really an influential experience for him — an important negative example — in terms of how he decided to approach the role of a journalist.

ON THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM:
But he did think journalism was a special calling, even if he thought the business of it was sinking. He could be very romantic about the duties and responsibilities of journalists, which contradicted his Norman Mailer, it’s-all-for-me ideas. … I think he often behaved selfcenteredly, but he was also sweet and generous. And in terms of the political and social importance of his work, I think he was definitely on the side of the good guys. So I don’t think he thought of it all as entertainment, though he did think he’d have to go to Hollywood if he wanted to get the kind of money he wanted for his writing. … Mike thought that when it all shook out, there’d be the New York Times, AP, and Reuters doing the actual grunt work of journalism, and the only other way to be a real journalist would be to write long form non-fiction of the kind he wrote for GQ or Rolling Stone, or the stuff you see in the New Yorker. He was very concerned with keeping a bunch of projects going — more journalism, working on screenplays, more books — because I think he felt that was the only way to really make a living as a writer nowadays.

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I think he would have been happier if he was less driven in those ways, but he never really got to a point where he felt he could settle. Part of it, though, was that he thought the only way to make it in journalism, which he saw as a dying field, was to BE a star. He didn’t see much future for himself as a worker-among-workers in the media biz, because he felt that the days where you could make a living doing that were over. Seeing how Mike lived, how hard he had to work, how precariously his career seemed to be at times, how much — even with all the hard work he did — luck played a role in getting him ahead … All of this helped reassure me that I hadn’t made some huge mistake by not pursuing a writing career, or a career in media in general. [What did you see Mike’s near future looking like?] I thought that he’d work in Hollywood for a year or two, get frustrated being there, and then head back to do his journalism thing on the east coast. Maybe he’d keep writing, and maybe even start teaching — he liked being around young people who looked up to him.

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APPENDIX “F”
GUY MONTAG’S Q&A WITH JONATHAN HASTINGS:
From the Comment section of the post, “Reckless and Inspired: An Interview With Jonathan Hastings About His Brother, the Journalist Michael Hastings” (Paleo Retiree -- Uncouth Reflections, November 4, 2013):

Many thanks to Jon Hastings. Jon tells me that he’ll be stopping by the blog, so if you want to ask a question or share any thoughts, please do so in the comments and Jon will respond. ... 1.) Jon Hastings says November 6, 2013 at 9:26 pm: I believe the police report because it makes the most sense based on everything that I knew was going on with Mike. And I think I did give details on why I think he crashed that way: he was having a manic episode and was behaving erratically. I think it can be tough to understand for people who aren’t familiar with these kinds of episodes just how big an effect they can have on behavior, to the extent that in the most extreme cases, those suffering from them end up seeming like completely different people. So, when people say “It doesn’t make sense that Mike did this or that,” all I can say is, “Yes, it doesn’t make sense, but people behaving erratically in that way DON’T do things that make sense.” I mean, that’s really the definition of “behaving erratically” to begin with.

2.) Jerry Hirsch says November 7, 2013 at 4:20 am: Jonathan, Thanks for shedding more light on the tragic death of your brother. Did Michael mention any details of why the “Feds” were investigating him and his close associates, or was that a byproduct of the Mannic/Paranoid episode he was suffering from? ... Jon Hastings says November 7, 2013 at 9:23 am: He had been investigating some sensitive topics, but most of the details he gave me seemed to be a byproduct of the mania.

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3.) Guy Montag says November 7, 2013 at 5:55 am: Question #1: “As I told the police out in L.A. … Mike called me and I got the impression that he was having a manic episode, similar to one he had had 15 years ago … At that time, drugs had been involved, and I suspected that might be the case again.” The LAPD report s states you told them “his behavior [15 years ago] was actually stemming from the Ritalin misuse,” that you believed Michael had “started to use drugs again the past month or so,” that he was “currently using DMT” and had “been smoking marijuana the night prior,” and that you “would not be surprised if any stimulants were found within the residence, including cocaine.” The LAPD toxicology report found traces of both amphetamine and marijuana (“not contributory to the accident” and “were unlikely to have an intoxicative effect at the time of the accident”), but no alcohol or any other drugs in his system. Russ Baker wrote in his August 21, 2013 “WhoWhatWhy” piece, “Hastings Autopsy: Traces Of Meth Found In Body, But Crash Caused Death”, that a “Hastings family member” said, “I can honestly say with absolute certainty that he wasn’t doing meth…” And, Michael’s neighbor, Jordanna Thigpen, told the LA Weekly that “Hastings was not doing anything harder than pot. She strongly disputes the coroner’s suggestion that Hastings was taking methamphetamine, saying it was much more likely the amphetamine found in his system came from Adderall. (A coroner’s spokesman acknowledged that the amphetamine could have come from either Adderall or meth).” She also said the idea that Michael was taking DMT was “ridiculous.” Did you ever find out what drugs Michael had actually been taking? How long had he been taking them? Do you think Adderall use might have led to a manic episode? Or too much weed that night might have caused acute paranoia? ... Jon Hastings says November 7, 2013 at 9:27 am: Apart from the weed and the Adderall, I was never able to confirm for sure that he had been taking anything else. I still wouldn’t be surprised to discover that there had been other things in the mix in the weeks beforehand, but based on what had happened 15 years ago, the weed and the Adderall would have been enough to trigger the mania.

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4.) Guy Montag says: November 7, 2013 at 6:28 am Question #2: “I’d thought that I had at least convinced Mike to just stay in his apartment and chill out for the next few days, but he snuck out on me when I was sleeping. … I was one of the last people to see him alive and I was one of the few people who could really put his behavior on that day in context.” The next morning you told the LAPD you “had no idea where decedent may have been traveling to or from at the time of the collision.” LA crime reporter Michael Krikorian (his first novel, “Southside,” was just released yesterday) wrote in his August 27th post at krikorianwrites.com that “Hastings was on his way to Las Vegas that morning.” It appears that Michael’s neighbor, Jordanna Thigpen, was the last person to see him. Gene Maddaus wrote in his LA Weekly profile that “he came to Thigpen’s apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. … ‘He was scared, and he wanted to leave town’” Have you ever spoken with Jordanna Thigpen about her encounter that night with Michael? Do you know what were her impressions of Michael’s mental state & behavior in the days preceding his crash? ... Jon Hastings says November 7, 2013 at 9:32 am: I did speak with her (before she did the interview). I believe she was worried about Mike, though I don’t think she realized he was having a manic episode.

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5.) Guy Montag says: November 7, 2013 at 6:30 am Question #3: “… based on being with him and talking to people who were worried about him in the weeks leading up to his death, and being around him when he had had similar problems when he was younger, I was pretty much convinced that he wasn’t in danger from any outside agency.” However, two of Michael’s friends, Jeremy Scahill & Ali Gharib, didn’t appear to have been “worried about him” only about a week before you flew out to see him: “Nearly one week ago [June 12, 2013; 5 days before crash], Jeremy Scahill and several friends were hanging out in a Los Angeles hotel room to watch his taped appearance on the “The Tonight Show.” One of those friends was Michael Hastings … Scahill chatted with Jay Leno that night about “Dirty Wars,” his revealing new documentary … ‘He was so warm and effusive and excited, as if we’d just won the Super Bowl … was giddy that someone from our tribe had made it on one of those shows.’ … Scahill recalled Hastings talking excitedly last week about stories he was working on, including ones about the NSA. Hastings also spoke about the property he wanted to buy in Vermont. ‘Totally full of life,’ he said.” Similarly, in his tribute, “Remembering Michael Hastings” (Daily Beast, June 20, 2013), Ali Gharib wrote about “spending hours” talking with Hastings just over a week before his death: “Michael and Elise had skipped out early from the BuzzFeed [X -mas?] party itself to set up appetizers, just like they did the weekend before last [June 8-9] … We spent hours on the patio, just talking.” Speaking of Elise, what about Elise Jordan (Michael’s widow) impressions of his mental state and behavior in the days leading up to his crash? I was surprised to find she wasn’t mentioned in your interview. And, when was the last time you saw and/or spoke with Michael before his phone call which prompted you to fly out to LA? ... Jon Hastings says November 7, 2013 at 9:38 am: I don’t know Jeremy Scahill, and only barely know Ali Gharib. I’m not sure how long they knew Mike or what they knew about his history. People who had known Mike for a long time had been concerned for at least a few months (though until that last weekend, it didn’t seem like it would turn into a crisis). However, I think Scahill is probably right that Mike seemed full of life. He was in the early phases of a manic episode — “full of life” doesn’t contradict that at all. I had spoken with Mike on the phone about two weeks beforehand. He was calling me to talk about the work he was doing on John McTiernan’s story, and we really stuck to talking about “just business”. (We also talked about Barrett Brown’s case at that time). Note: He said nothing about Elise Jordan
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6) Guy Montag says: November 7, 2013 at 6:32 am Question #4: “I feel that the investigation was pretty thorough. The LAPD was very easy to work with, and I think they did a good job. … I think everyone in my family is satisfied with the report.” But, it appears at least one member of your family wasn’t happy with the LAPD’s investigation. Russ Baker wrote in his August 21st “WhoWhatWhy” piece that, “A “Hastings family member” told “WhoWhatWhy”: “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case, and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system. Whe n they didn’t get it in the toxicology lab results (science!), they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. It’s so irresponsible.” And, it’s puzzling that, five months after the crash, the LAPD still hasn’t released their final accident report. Michael Krikorian reported in his Oct 7th krikorianwrites.com post that Det. Connie White says she hasn’t finished the report (“swamped” with work) and “it could be another two months before it is completed.” But, then she added, “No one is going to have access to that anyway.” Really? Krikorian wrote “Det. White had to go and say that and bring back the “What are they hiding?” suspicions.” What has the LAPD told you concerning the status of their investigation? ... Jon Hastings says November 7, 2013 at 9:40 am: I have no problems with the LAPD and their investigation. I don’t know who “in the family” could have made those statements, but no one has expressed any of those kinds of concerns to me.

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7.) Question #5: “If I have any problems it’s with how the [LAPD coroner’s] report was written about in the press. There were a lot of journalists-in-quotes who didn’t seem to have read it very carefully or were, irresponsibly I think, taking things out of context. … the press is going to sensationalize things and play up the juic y stuff.” Shortly after the coroner’s report was released, the “LA Weekly” published Gene Maddaus’s profile of Michael Hastings, “Michael Hastings’ Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted” (Aug 22, 2013). When questioned by “The Wrap” on Aug 27th, your younger brother Jeff told them: “There are plenty of inaccuracies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn’t change anything … Losing Mike is very painful; gossip and conspiracy theories are not.” His brother declined to discuss the inaccuracies further or address last week’s L.A. Weekly story about Hastings’ final days.” My take on the profile (with extensive annotations) is found in Appendix “C” of my Feral Firefighter post “What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames?” I think the profile was too speculative, with broad assertions not backed up by solid evidence. However, I believe the profile may have been (somewhat) right, but for the wrong reasons . What is your take on the LA Weekly profile? What did they get right? What did they get wrong? Did the author try to contact you before publishing the piece? ... Jon Hastings says November 7, 2013 at 9:45 am: I don’t agree with everything in that LA Weekly profile, and I think it leaves out some important context, but I don’t have any big problems with it. I haven’t read it since it came out, so I’m not sure I can speak about it with too much detail. I did like that it brought up the issue of PTSD, which was likely a contributing factor in all of this. I don’t think the author tried to contact me, but I may have missed his call. Guy Montag’s Final Comment: I recently read David Finkel’s book “Thank You For Your Service” which followed several 2007 Iraq “surge” veterans who have struggled with PTSD and TBI for whom which conventional meds/ and therapy didn’t always prove helpful. Some have argued that weed might be helpful for treating PTSD (see Appendix “C” & “D”) … but perhaps maybe not so much in Michael’s particular case (or perhaps other drugs exacerbated his mental state).

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I found re-reading the LA Weekly profile to be informative; as just mentioned, I critiqued it in detail in Appendix “C”. Once again, thanks for your interview (and to Paleo Retiree) and for answering my questions. I’ll revise/update my blog post (probably not until Monday) to incorporate your comments and make corrections.

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APPENDIX “G”
NOTES FROM “NEW YORK MAGAZINE” PROFILE “WHO KILLED MICHAEL HASTINGS?”
(From Benjamin Wallace’s profile, “Who Killed Michael Hastings?”, “New York Magazine”, November 10, 2013):

Answer to My Question about Mystery Women in “The Operators”:
When he turned in the manuscript for The Operators, it included long passages graphically detailing a multiday, bicontinental sexual dalliance in Berlin and Dubai with a pseudonymous bombshell Hastings claimed to be either a spy, escort, or kept woman.

“Le’Affair Rolling Stan”:
… Hastings was with McChrystal and his entourage in Paris as they loosened their epaulets and got hammered at Kitty O’Shea’s Irish Pub. He captured a McChrystal adviser referring to Joe Biden as “Bite Me” and McChrystal expressing disdain for diplomats like Richard Holbrooke and Karl Eikenberry. The story, titled “The Runaway General,” marshaled the McC hrystal crew’s trash talk to argue that the military leadership was running a rogue operation whose counterinsurgency strategy had turned the Afghan War into a quagmire. Note: Trash talk NOT at bar! At the office. “I bet people don’t believe he didn’t expect McChrystal to get fired,” Cullen says, “but I know it’s true, ’cause he told me many times. He’d blurt it out; it would never occur to him to bullshit about that.”

“More Lies Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth’:
Right away, though, the article came in for reproach from other journalists, who seemed skeptical that this glossy-magazine interloper could have elicited scenes of such impolitic candor from an American military leader. CNN.com ran an opinion piece: “ ‘Runaway general,’ or runaway reporter?” The Washington Post quoted anonymous “officials close to McChrystal”
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claiming Hastings had broken agreed-upon ground rules and used “clearly off the record” material. CBS News’s Lara Logan, appearing on CNN’s Reliable Sources, said, “Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has.” The government undertook two investigations into the episode, ostensibly to assess its own officials’ misconduct. The first, by the Army, blamed a single McChrystal aide for many of the comments but didn’t question Hastings’s reporting. The second, by the Pentagon’s inspecto r general, determined that “not all of the events at issue occurred as reported in the article,” though this seemed an overstatement of the findings, which were simply that no one remembered certain things described by Hastings. The New York Times uncritically repeated the Pentagon’s conclusions in an article headlined “Pentagon Inquiry Into Article Clears McChrystal and Aides.” Even after Hastings’s death, the suggestion would linger that something hadn’t been quite right with his big scoop. The Times obituary prompted an unusual rebuke from public editor Margaret Sullivan, who found it to have overweighted the Pentagon inspector general’s report in such a way that “the obituary seems to diminish his work’s legitimacy.”

Marriage to Elise Jordan:
His style notwithstanding, Hastings was more of an insider than he liked to admit. … Hastings got married in 2011 to Elise Jordan, a Yale graduate and former speechwriter for Condoleezza Rice. At the rehearsal dinner, Barbara and Jenna Bush both gave toasts. While friends say Hastings and Jordan made a great couple, Hastings “wasn’t Husband of the Year,” as a friend puts it. When he moved to L.A., his wife stayed behind in New York. “Elise was hurt by that,” another friend says. “Mike was in a mode of doing th ings, being really regretful, asking for forgiveness—this cycle of fucking up and straightening out.”

Tributes for MH:
After his death, there was an outpouring of grief. For all his abrasiveness, and sometimes because of it, he had endeared himself to a lot of people, and the posthumous adoration of Hastings’s colleagues was striking…. As a journalist, he impressed colleagues with his hard work, his idealism, and his courage, and he took that work very seriously—“I want to be the greatest investigative reporter of my generation,” he admitted to his friend and fellow writer Dave Cullen.
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Burlington Police Dept. Records of Youthful Drug Use & Arrests in 1999:
In high school, his drug use had been conventionally experimental, but at Connecticut College, Hastings seemed to take literally the Bret Easton Ellis and Hunter S. Thompson books he’d become enamored of. There was booze, pot, Adderall, cocaine, crack. Asked to leave the school before the year was over, Hastings moved home to Burlington, to his parents’ basement, and took a job at a coffee counter in a supermarket. “Getting kicked out, and leaving after your first year, is pretty tough,” Jeff Hastings recalls. “You think you’re a high-flier with high ambitions— then coming back to live with your parents, it is not obviously the best thing.” Without ever going into much detail, Hastings would seed his writing over the years with elliptical references to that period, such as the time he “ended up in a county jail with only boxers on, a navy-blue blazer, a pair of Nike sneakers, and a restraining order against me.” Elsewhere, he mentioned “rehab,” and told Peter Goldman, who oversaw him on a project at Newsweek, that he’d enlisted in the Marines for five days. The story told by Burlington Police Department records is less high-spirited than sad. Close to 3 a.m. one night in June, after his father told him to turn down his stereo, Hastings fled the house in a white Buick and drove it into a pole. When police showed up at his house, his father, a doctor, told them Hastings “suffered from mental illness.” When they interviewed him on the porch, he smelled of alcohol but denied that he’d been drinking. “While speaking with him he would make rambling statements, would laugh, become angry, was verbally abusive to his father and constantly move around the porch,” one officer reported. After he failed a dexterity test and blew a .138 on the Breathalyzer, Hastings was arrested. “All the way to the station he chanted, sang, hollered and made remarks.” Less than a month later, at 3:46 a.m., Burlington police responded to a call about a drunk person who refused to leave the apartment of some acquaintances. The officer who arrived eventually sprayed Hastings with pepper mace, but not before Hastings “told me to shoot him” and “reached aggressively within his shirt.” On the way to the police station, Hastings “continued to threaten to shoot me, talked of making bomb threats, and being shot himself.” That August, Hastings was arrested a third time, for stealing a turntable from a store on Main Street. Hastings’s father told police that his son “has not been well mentally for the past several months”; he “has an ‘unofficial’ evaluation indicating M. Hastings had a Manic Depressive Disorder (Bipolar)” and “was a risk in harming himself, being harmed by his actions or harming family members.” [actually Adderal induced according to LAPD report]

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On the Wagon for 10 Years, But Fell Off In 2010 & 2012:
Everyone around Hastings knew that he had quit drinking when he was 19, and even ten years on, when he was with McChrystal’s team in Paris, he repeatedly turned down proffered beers; he told a McChrystal aide he hadn’t been drunk in more than a decade. Just a month later, he was no longer able to say that. His three-day sexcapade in Room 1725 of Atlantis, the Palm in Dubai was booze soaked, in Hastings’s telling. Though he would later resume the stance of teetotaler—on The Colbert Report, he declined the whiskey shot the host pushed toward him—he fell off the wagon again during his Obama-campaign travel. … Hastings, who also took Adderall during the campaign, would later describe himself as having been “caught in the full destructive force of a campaign-induced relapse.” Hastings also engaged in a three-act contretemps with a pregnant Wall Street Journal reporter named Laura Meckler that seared him into campaign-press lore. … Weeks later, at a hotel bar in Vegas, according to several people present, a very drunk Hastings loudly called Meckler a “cunt” and had to be physically pulled away. Hastings later apologized, but the détente didn’t last. … Meckler said something to the effect of, “What would you know about ‘off the record’?” Hastings replied, “Well, at least I don’t work for Rupert fucking Murdoch.” Things escalated, and finally Hastings shouted, for much of the plane to hear, “I officially retract my apology. You are a cunt.” The night after the election, Hastings called Ruby Cramer at 11 p.m. to game out his campaign ebook, which he was about to start writing. “We’re talking, and twenty minutes into the conversation, I hear him talking to someone,” Cramer remembers. “I ask who, and he says it’s the bartender at his hotel. And I realize, further into this two-hour conversation, he’s doing tequila shots. I’d hear him say: ‘One more.’ Then I hear him asking the bartender for weed. I say, ‘Michael, you’re going upstairs.’ ” With the campaign over, the pressures of the road subsided, and Hastings apparently sobered up. But he remained a chronic pot smoker (in L.A. he obtained a medical-marijuana card for PTSD), [and Adderall?]

Moved to LA & “Deeply Troubled” by NSA Surveillance Revelations:
When he moved to L.A., his wife stayed behind in New York. “Elise was hurt by that,” another friend says. “Mike was in a mode of doing things, being really regretful, asking for forgiveness—this cycle of fucking up and straightening out.”
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Hastings moved to Los Angeles in February. … Hastings took to the L.A. lifestyle, getting into skateboarding and boxing and leasing the Mercedes, but he was also busy to the point of being spread thin. In addition to his BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone gigs, he’d become a paid contributor to The Young Turks. And he was brimming with thoughts about the future. At the end of his life, Michael Hastings, like many of the progressive journalists he counted among his friends, felt besieged by an overreaching government. … at a Beverly Hills theater in April, he took part in a panel discussion about the documentary War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State. Interviewed in May on The Young Turks, a talk show on Current TV, Hastings railed against the Obama administration, which “has clearly declared war on the press”; the only recourse, he said, was for the press to respond: “We declare war on you.” On May 31, he dashed off an urgent tweet: “first they came for manning. Then Assange. The n fox. Then the ap.drake and the other whistle-blowers. Any nyt reporters too.” He attended screenings [June 12th] of his friend Jeremy Scahill’s film Dirty Wars, which seeks to expose “the hidden truth behind America’s expanding covert wars,” and when le aks about the NSA began appearing in The Guardian, and Edward Snowden was charged with espionage, Hastings was deeply troubled by the revelations and the Justice Department’s response. On June 7, his last post for BuzzFeed, where he was a staff writer, focused on “Why Democrats Love to Spy on Americans,” and at the time of his death, Hastings was working on a profile of CIA director John Brennan for Rolling Stone.

Some Friends Think He Showed “Unusual Agitation” in Before His Death”:
By the middle of June, though, Hastings, then 33, had become openly afraid. Helicopters are a common sight in the Hollywood Hills, but he had told Jordanna Thigpen, a neighbor he’d become close to, that there were more of them in the sky than usual, and he was certain they were tracking him. … some friends think he showed traces of unusual agitation in the weeks before his death. … “He was deeply agitated,” says The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur. …“ He seemed a little stressed,” [Oliver] Stone told me in an e-mail, “but nothing out of the ordinary in our culture.”

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… he looked hollow-cheeked and seemed wired. … His weight fluctuated, and when Cullen saw him a week before his death, “he looked so fucking emaciated.” [amphetimines?]… he told Cullen he was close to a deal to write a big book about Hollywood.

“The Final Days Of Hastings’s Life Were Beset By Worry.”
That weekend, Cullen asked whether Hastings could relate to a point Scahill made in his film [June 12th] about returning to Brooklyn and feeling like life back home was mundane. “Oh, yeah,” Hastings said with a laugh. “I totally miss it. That’s why I re -created the sense of that here by getting involved in NSA stuff. That’s why I create the similar drama and stress and war zone over here.” The final days of Hastings’s life were beset by worry. Beyond the e -mails [on the 17th] to BuzzFeed and WikiLeaks, he told people the LAPD had knocked on his door [Infowars?]. He changed his phone number. On Saturday the 15th, he called Matt Farwell, his writing partner, and said Farwell might be interviewed by the FBI. Farwell was unsettled. “He was being really cagey over the phone, which was odd, very odd,” Farwell says. … Since Hastings didn’t want to say anything more over e-mail or the phone, Farwell, who lived in Virginia, set up a lunch for him the following Thursday [June 20th] with a trusted friend of Farwell’s, also in L.A., so that she could pass along whatever Hastings had to tell him on her forthcoming trip East. To his family, who remembered the apparently Adderall-induced mania of his 19th year, Hastings’s behavior [Jonathan talked on phone on Sunday] suggested a drug relapse, and his elder brother, Jon, flew to L.A. that Monday as part of an effort to get him back into rehab. Mike picked him up at the airport. [see interview with Jonathan Hastings] He had told his neighbor Thigpen that he thought his car had been tampered with [infowars?], and back at the apartment, he asked his brother to look under it with him [ask to confirm?]. On the 17th [Tuesday], Hastings e-mailed colleagues at BuzzFeed to warn them that “the Feds are interviewing my ‘close friends and associates’  ”; he was “onto a big story” and needed to go “off the rada[r] for a bit … hope to see you all soon.” He’d just finished a screenplay treatment … and his co-writer, Justin Kremer, spoke to him at eight o’clock the evening [17th?] before he died. “He’d heard from his agent and was ready to go, and he was excited about portraying that world as he’d seen it onscreen,” Kremer says.

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Left Apartment Just After 4 AM, Died in Fiery Car Crash:
That night, shortly after midnight, he asked Thigpen if he could borrow her Volvo; he needed to “get away.” She’d been having her own mechanical problems and declined. Shortly after 4 a.m., as Jon slept in a writing space his brother used in Thigpen’s building, Michael left his apartment. Around three hours later, police arrived at the building with terrible news. At 4:15 a.m. on a recent Tuesday, I drove the route Hastings took on his last night. I started a block from his apartment in the Hollywood Heights neighborhood, heading south on Highland. Almost immediately, I hit a red light at Franklin Avenue. I hit another at Sunset Boulevard at 4:17, and another at Fountain Avenue at 4:18. I accelerated briefly to 50 mph, but hit another red at Santa Monica Boulevard at 4:19. This is the red light Hastings’s car is seen blowing through in the YouTube video. Even at this hour, there were three cars in front of me. It’s a fluke that Hastings didn’t blindside any cross traffic or get blindsided . When the light turned green, I got back up to 50, and when I crossed Melrose Avenue, the median strip widened and the street narrowed from three lanes to two. The block was darker, too; this is the start of a residential neighborhood. I passed the tree where Michael Hastings died, steps away from Mario Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza, almost exactly at 4:20 a.m.

“Michael’s Last Story”:
… if he wanted to go, he couldn’t have planned it better: the sudden, violent elimination of a Man Who Knew Too Much, trailing a plume of mystery and questions about whether Powerful People got to him, with intimations of a Karen Silkwood –style conspiracy. “A sick part of me thinks this is Michael’s last story, in a way,” says Ruby Cramer, a BuzzFeed reporter who started out interning for him. Most interesting was the viral fascination of strangers who, at a time when journalists rank lower than chiropractors in public opinion, saw Hastings as a valiant exception. What he stood for, to these people, was so important and rare that surely his death must hold more meaning than a senseless random event. The Internet, by and large, was certain that it wasn’t. The crash had occurred on a dead -straight section of road. Mercedes cars “don’t explode.” The engine block was found more than 30 yards away from the car, a distance explicable to chat-room denizens only by some sort of “car bomb.” … in the febrile swamps of websites like InfoWars and Prison Planet, there was heated squabbling about “the official narrative” and false-flag operations and staged accident scenes
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Coroner’s Report & “Conflicting Police Statements Didn’t Help”:
Conflicting police statements didn’t help: An LAPD spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times that there was “no evidence of foul play,” but then the investigating detective said nothing had been ruled out. When the coroner’s report was released, it included statements from Hastings’s elder brother that he’d been using dimethyltryptamine, the psychoactive core of the hallucinogenic drug ayahuasca, and had thought he was invincible, claiming to be able to jump off his balcony and survive. A toxicology screen for DMT came up negative, though it found trace amounts of pot and amphetamine. Conspiracy theories being closed systems indifferent to probability and immune to evidence, the report did nothing to curtail speculation about the cause of Hastings’s death. Online comments in the next few weeks included: “What about the engine trajectory? That is the Building Seven in this case.” “I believe he was targeted by a black ops government agency.” “… they are saying he’s a drug addict and insane, out of his mind? It’s a government smear campaign.”

None of the Stories He Was Working On “Sound Assassination-Worthy”:
Did he think someone was following him? Someone connected to the “big story” he’d mentioned? For a possible BuzzFeed piece, he’d been nosing around the gossip site TMZ. For Rolling Stone, he was working on the profile of CIA director Brennan, but he hadn’t unearthed anything shocking, according to Farwell. Another friend suggested Hastings could have been onto a story about WikiLeaks’ possibly brokering asylum for Snowden in Denmark. None of these sound assassination-worthy. [Farwell meeting? Barrett Brown?]

“He Did Not Commit Suicide”:
… When Jeff Hastings, who served in infantry units in Iraq and Afghanistan, later read his brother’s account of the trip [to Herat w/o bodyguard], he was alarmed. “That’s extreme. That could have been partially because of his experience with Andi dying. I’m sure he had tons of guilt. When Andi died, my thought was: Mike or I should have died; she shouldn’t have died.” … though many of those closest to him reject the idea that Hastings was trying to kill himself.

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“I’ve deliberately rammed my truck into a stationary object to seek some quietus,” says Farwell, who’s written about his own post -Afghanistan struggles with PTSD, “and I know the emotional state he was in, and he was not in that state. ” Jeff Hastings agrees: “One thing I will say with as much certainty as one person can have: He did not commit suicide. Mike wasn’t planning on dying.” But Jeff also said something echoed nearly verbatim by several other friends I spoke to: Hastings wasn’t the least likely person they knew to die the way he’d died. I thought, then, of a story Cullen had told me. Right after The Operators came out, Hastings was driving his BMW to Vermont, along with his wife and Cullen. As they were driving, Jordan was e-mailed a review of the book. Hastings asked his wife to read it aloud. “… As his wife read on, the car moved faster and faster on the expressway. Finally, Cullen, in the front seat, said, “Mike, do you know we’re going 90?” Hastings, oblivious, slowed down. The squall had passed. “We could have died in a car crash that day,” Cullen says.

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