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Hastings’ death in fiery car crash is just the latest in a growing list of dead investigative journos

Story ImageRed Dirt Report – by Andrew W. Griffin

OKLAHOMA CITY – Talk to any journalist, particularly after they’ve had a few drinks at the bar, and ask them if they are ever nervous or concerned when going up against great power. At first they will probably say “nah, I’m a reporter. I’m just doing my job and they know that.” But if you really press them on the topic – particularly after that third or fourth drink – and they will begin to admit that, yeah, taking on the powerful is a bit stressful and, perhaps, dangerous.  

But most of news people know that, inevitably and given the appropriate beat, that we will end up writing stories that call for us to expose the powerful. That’s particularly true, of course, for investigative reporters.

And then think of the investigative reporters that you know who did cross the rich and powerful and ended up dead. Disappeared. Suicided. Murdered. Medical examiners get paid off or told to keep quiet. It happens all the time.

And of course the story is that they were depressed because their work wasn’t being taken seriously or they had some medical issue that was preventing them from doing their best work. Cover stories like that are thrown out there repeatedly.

Best known for dying under suspicious circumstances is former San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb, he of the explosive “Dark Alliance” series (and book) and a guy of such superhuman strength that he was able to shoot himself TWICE in the head in December 2004. Now that’s something.

Webb showed how CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras smuggled cocaine into the U.S., funneling it into the inner city of Los Angeles as crack cocaine. Webb said the Reagan administration allowed this to happen so as to fund the Contras in their battle against the leftist Sandinistas.

Webb, we now know, will be the subject of an upcoming Focus Features film titled Killing the Messenger starring Jeremy Renner as Webb. We just hope they get it right.

And back in ’91 – again in a motel room – this time in Martinsburg, West Virginia, investigative reporter Danny Casolaro was found dead – of self-inflicted wounds, of course. Suicided. Casolaro was looking into a vast, criminal conspiracy he called “The Octopus.” Seems as though Casolaro may have gone too far.

We hear there will be a film made next year based on the play Danny Casolaro Died For You. Again, we hope they get it right.

Remember J.H. Hatfield dying alone in that motel room in Springdale, Arkansas in 2001? Hatfield, as troubled as he was, exposed George W. Bush’s drug-addled past in Fortunate Son. As Hatfield says in the Horns and Halos documentary, “If anything happens to me, get it out to the press.”

And what of Hunter S. Thompson? The iconic Rolling Stone gonzo journalist who hated Nixon? He reportedly committed suicide back in 2005. But two years earlier, on the verge of the Iraq War, Thompson – a virulent critic of George W. Bush – made cryptic statements about his head getting cut off for refusing to shut up about various topics, particularly those related to his criticism of Bush.

Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart also was murdered, we are convinced. As we wrote in March 2012, as soon as we learned of his passing, Breitbart was on the verge of releasing “explosive tapes featuring Obama.”

And while Breitbart’s current team at doesn’t talk about it, at a recent blog convention in Dallas RDR attended, there was mention of Breitbart’s murder several times during the weekend. People know.

And now we have Michael Hastings, dead at 33. A “fiery car crash” we are told. The car “jackknifed.” Not sure how that happens. (Oh and it just so happens that Hastings’ car crash occurred the same day a story is released saying that “cyber-terrorists and hackers” can break into your vehicles’ electronics and take over, even while you are driving).

Yeah, it was Hastings’ terrific article on the real Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone in 2010 called “The Runaway General” that got a lot of people’s attention. The Operators went even further, giving readers an intimate look into how the military’s upper echelon really think. Ultimately, a disgraced McChrystal opted for “early retirement” due to Hastings’ work reporting on McChrystal’s activities in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Now, while we are awaiting the official “accident report,” I should note that in my March 2012 review of The Operators last year, I noted a particularly sinister exchange between Hastings and staffers of Gen. McChrystal.

From The Operators, Hastings writes that as they drank and sang, several McChrystal staff members make subtle threats, saying:

You’re not going to f*ck us, are you?” asks one staff member.

Hastings responds: “I’m going to write a story; some of the stuff you’ll like, some of the stuff you probably won’t like.

Another staffer then says: “We’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write.”

Not exactly subtle, in retrospect. Perhaps they followed through with their threat?

One has to imagine that Hastings was looking over his shoulder in the wake of “The Runaway General” piece and The Operators. I saw him on a cable-news program not too many months ago and he comes across as serious and professional.

And now we hear that Hastings’ car “crossed the median, slammed into a tree and bust into flames.” Hastings was found dead at the scene, a’la whistleblower Karen Silkwood in 1974, here in Oklahoma. Will we get the truth of how Hastings’ car went out of control? Granted, a lot of investigative journalists are known to love “living on the edge.”

And while journalism is viewed as one of the worst professions in America, journalists are desperately needed to keep the powerful honest. They need to be the watchdogs. We are so sorry to hear about the death of Michael Hastings. He was a brave and honest reporter.

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6 Responses to Hastings’ death in fiery car crash is just the latest in a growing list of dead investigative journos

  1. It is I only says:

    Are you some kind of a nut conspiracy believer?
    M Hasting has committed suicide. He was “depressed” lately!
    Trust me! I am a “respected” mainstream media spokesman!
    Would I tell you porkies?
    Signed: Respected Journalist!

  2. Angry Grandparent says:

    Add to the list the journalists that were being targetted by the US military in Iraq, add too, the mutineers from Minot air base, now go dig up all the SDI scientists who committed suicide in some very bizarre fashion and there was all them biochemists who just suicided in numbers as well.

    The last one is of interest as there was a correlation with them and the H1N1 gathering and deployment as well as some were involved with the outed secret facility in Indonesia that the Indonesian government stated were using local Asians as guinea pigs for bio weapons.

    The SDI pattern saw about 10-20 British scientists alone kill themselves in very bizarre form, one such was a man who in his cars small garage managed to squeeze under his very low MGB as well as close the garage AND turn the car on, the police query on that one was curious as there was about two inches gap between car end and door when closed.

    But what of Minot? Will we ever know what went on there, where USAAF personnel defied Cheney? Very few survived that day, even the ones not involved seemed to have slowly disappeared, this is one of those things that really needs to be pursued as it would highlight the suspected illegal actions of a VP out of control intent on pre-emptively nuking Tehran as that is what the hills are saying so to speak.

    They or “they” would like you to think it is the Chinese or the Russians but quid pro quo, who stands to gain? I think a lot of this is like the fabled King who didn’t want other countries to have such a building as he did so beheaded his architects so their secrets stayed safe.

    As for me I am dying anyway so my demise is expected, I have been dying slowly since British social workers stole my grandchildren and put me through a mind searing hell for over 16 years, heart is packing up and I have PVD, severe mental distress and chronic agitated PTSD, I cry inside at the world I have given my children and grandchildren, that my inaction with my fellow man has driven us to the edge of the abyss and what world will the next generation inherit that is driven by secret police and corporation and the very thoughts in your head are now public knowledge to government and corporation alike.

    • Millard says:

      Hey AngryGrandparent, I remember Paul Wellstone, a Senator from Minnesota who defied Cheney when he voted against the Iraq war. Words similar to, “there will be severe ramifications for you and the state of Minnesota if you vote against the Iraqi invasion.” Two days later, Wellstone’s plane went down under what can only be described as bizarre circumstances. These people are pure evil. I am a grandparent as well and I will not give up trying to do anything to improve the world that my grandchildren will face. I will not stand by and watch our bill of rights be “flushed down the toilet” so the government can “keep us safe”. Everything that spills onto the front pages seems as if it were in a dream and I lay there waiting for a sharp, wake up, slap in the face. F@#K these Zionist sons of bitches. F@#k ’em all.

  3. Greg Bacon says:

    But our government would never kill a reporter, would they?

    At least 150 journalists and 54 media support workers were killed in Iraq from the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 to the declared end of the war in December 2011, according to CPJ research.

    In Syria, and to a lesser extent Afghanistan, combat-related crossfire has accounted for a large proportion of deaths. But in Iraq, at least 92 journalists, or nearly two out of every three killed, did not die in airstrikes, checkpoint shootings, suicide bombings, sniper fire, or the detonation of improvised explosive devices. They were instead murdered in targeted assassinations in direct reprisal for their reporting. Many were targeted because of their affiliations with U.S. or Western news organizations, or their connections to news outlets seen as having sectarian connections.

  4. Here is a more likely scenario:


    This post outlines a plausible scenario in which Michael Hastings might have been murdered by the government altering the software in his car and auto accelerating his vehicle to his death (corroborated by computer scientists, hackers and a DARPA Program Manager).

    Reddit Link: (when at reddit, please up vote there to help spread the word, otherwise this story will never reach the necessary people).

    Please share & up vote on reddit. Also, please tweet & facebook this clipping (copy/paste) otherwise this story will get buried!

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