Three years into the disappearance of Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan, Michael Hastings — the journalist whose reporting cost General Stanley McChrystal his job — wrote a Rolling Stonestory on the missing soldier, a piece which the magazine called “the definitive first account of Bowe Bergdahl.”
Hastings, who died in a car accident in Los Angeles in June 2013, had unparalleled access for that story.
Early in the morning on June 18, a brand new Mercedes C250 coupe was driving through the Melrose intersection on Highland Avenue in Hollywood when suddenly, out of nowhere, it sped up. According to an eye-witness, the car accelerated rapidly, bounced several times then fishtailed out of control before it slammed into a palm tree and burst into flames, ejecting its engine some 200 feet away.
In fact, said Nael Issa, a Mercedes Benz dealer in Long Beach, “The car has a crumble zone, so when it crashes it goes in like an accordion. And in some cases the engine drops down, so it doesn’t go into you.”
The driver in the fatal crash was Michael Hastings, a 33-year-old crack investigative reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, whose June 2010 article, “The Runaway General,” exposed the behind-the-scenes failure of top U.S. General Stanley McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan—and, even more damagingly, revealed McChrystal’s mocking attitude toward the Obama administration, which ultimately led to the general’s resignation.
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.
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.
“I burst into tears,” Thigpen says. “I couldn’t believe it had happened again.”
Details uncovered by this reporter shed new light into the June 18 death of journalist Michael Hastings.
Hastings’ friend and confidant SSgt. Joe Biggs disclosed a macabre twist in the award-winning journalist’s death in a suspicious single-car accident. According to SSgt. Biggs, “Michael Hastings’ body was returned to Vermont in an urn.” He further alleged, “Family members did not want Michael’s body cremated.”
This revelation provides another wrinkle in the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) handling of a case they labeled “no foul play” only hours after the writer’s death.
In cases such as the highly suspicious and tragic car crash/explosion that killed celebrated investigative journalist Michael Hastings, I try to reserve commentary for a little bit to let facts emerge following the initial speculative flurry. Particularly when it involves a journalist with whom I am only slightly familiar. I think we can all agree at this point that based on what has come forward in the past several weeks it is more than likely Mr. Hastings was murdered. The following report from San Diego News 6 provides an excellent summary of what we know, and what we don’t know. The LAPD doesn’t seem to care much about the latter.
An eyewitness at the scene, Jose, employed at nearby business ALSCO Inc said, the car was traveling very fast and he heard a couple explosions shortly before the car crashed. In fact, the explosion was so intense that it took the LA County assistant corner, Ed Winter, two days to identify the burned-beyond recognition body of Hastings.
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 09:33:22 -0400
Subject: Free Barrett Brown Offers Condolences for Michael Hastings, Urges
From: Free Barrett Brown <press[at]freebarrettbrown.org>
Free Barrett Brown sends its condolences to the friends and family of Michael Hastings who died in a fiery car crash early Tuesday morning. Hastings 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 revelation last month that the Justice Department seized two months of telephone records from the Associated Press (AP) last year is only a small part of the story. The public admission is that the Holder Justice Department obtained only telephone records from three locations, something like 20 lines, and records of calls from the House press gallery for about two months. That’s one of the biggest lies ever told,” stated my source.
“The truth is that it was not limited to AP, and not limited to just number identification and call duration, but was an extensive and active wiretapping operation that included every reporter’s telephone conversations, landline and cell, text messages from their personal and business cellular telephones and other electronic devices. The primary focus is on the press gallery, where everything was monitored in real time.”
“Not only were the communications of reporters compromised, so were the private communications of congressmen and their aides. Listen to what I am saying,” he stressed, “the operation was much larger than anyone can imagine. Recordings, actual voice recordings, were turned over to the Obama administration, along with transcripts of texts, other communications and contacts.”
Imagine a new “E Class” Mercedes exploding in flames, burning to a cinder. 220 km/hr crashes on the Autobahn are often survived, certainly without a fire.
There is a reason to own a Mercedes, in normal circumstances the chances of dying in one are quite remote unless you are Lady Di or heir to the presidency of Syria or, just perhaps, wrote a scathing expose that dismembered part of one of the greatest drug empires of all time.
“Yes, you got Michael Hastings. We are warned. Lots of journalists are killed each year. Veterans Today loses its share, perhaps a bit more. ”
Michael Hastings, the journalist whose candid interviews of Gen. Stanley McChrystal led to the officer’s eventual removal from his post, has died in a car crash. The news was announced Tuesday by BuzzFeed, which employed Hastings, 33. He was reportedly killed in an accident this morning in Los Angeles.
“I’m not going to let you do to me what you did to Stanley McChrystal,” Emanuel said in an allusion to the Rolling Stones profile of McChrystal that Hastings wrote which led to the general’s resignation over disparaging comments made about President Obama.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel allegedly grabbed a reporter by the arm in order to communicate “a threat of physical violence” in the course of an interview that went south during the presidential campaign.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this in my career from an American public official,” Buzzfeed’s Michael Hastings, author of Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Barack Obama’s Final Campaign, said on Current TV.