Saturday, August 3, 2013

Michael Hastings: Continuing Coverage

The investigation into the death of journalist Michael Hastings, whose reporting helped bring down General Stanley McChrystal and expose the Department of Homeland Security's targeting of Occupy Wall Street, has gone largely unreported in the mainstream media.  Few if any mainstream media outlets are still reporting the Hastings case.  San Diego 6 reporter Kimberly Dvorak is one of the few reporters chasing down the details of Hastings's death, and she reports that the LAPD is ignoring her FOIA and CRPA requests for the police report, 9/11 call, autopsy, bomb squad and toxicology reports, or make the Mercedes available for inspection.  Dvorak also uncovered the failure of police to contact Mercedes after the accident; this is significant because Hastings's Mercedes was equipped with the MBRACE emergency call system, which transmits information in the event of an accident.

New footage from a pizza parlor, Pizzeria Mozza, shows Hastings's car traveling at a high rate of speed right before it crashes. The footage shows the explosion from a distance, and was provided to the police by Pizzeria Mozza's owner Nancy Silverton.



A Timeline of Michael Hastings Final Days:  

June 7, 2012-Hastings wrote a piece about the NSA chronicling the Democratic Party's abandonment of civil liberties under President Obama. It was his last article. 
June 12, 2012-Hastings stopped posting on his Twitter feed. 
June 17, 2012, 12:56 p.m.-Hastings emailed friends, and claimed he was on a big story and needed to go off the radar. 
June 18, 2012, a few hours before his death-Hastings contacted Wikileaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson, and claimed the FBI was investigating him and talking to his associates. 
June 18, 2012, around 4 a.m.-Michael Hastings died in a fiery car crash on Highland Avenue, leaving no skid marks as his car careened into a tree.  

Aftermath

In the aftermath of his death, many news outlets reported that Hastings was working on a story involving Florida socialite Jill Kelley, whose receipt of threatening emails from Paula Broadwell, combined with Petraeus's own emails to Broadwell via a Gmail account, later led to General David Petraeus's resignation as CIA director.  Kelley later sued the government, claiming that officials leaked false and defamatory information about her and her husband. Kelley, whose email contacts with General George Allen, commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, led to another Pentagon investigation into Allen, and Allen later resigned his post, citing his wife's autoimmune disorder as the reason. Hastings's wife, Elise Jordan, denied that Hastings was working on a story involving Kelley.   

It's now August 2013, and we have no police reports, no toxicology reports, no autopsy reports, no bomb squad reports, and no independent examination of Hastings's Mercedes.  In the span of time since Hastings died, actors James Gandolfini and Cory Monteith also died.  Monteith died on Saturday, July 13, 2013 and a cause of death was released on July 16, 2013, detailing "mixed drug toxicity" as a cause of death.  Gandolfini died on June 19th, and by June 21st his cause of death was identified as a heart attack.  

We know that Hastings's body was cremated by the Los Angeles coroner, even though his family did not request a cremation.  We know that Hastings was working on what he considered to be a big story, and that Hastings operated under the impression that the FBI was surveilling him and interviewing his friends and associates.  Those friends and associates have yet to come forward. We know that the circumstances of Hastings's death were unusual: he drove at a high rate of speed through a residential neighborhood, down a straightaway, and for whatever reason veered sharply to the left and hit a tree. His car exploded.  

We do not know what the nature of Hastings's final story was, and we do not know what the results of his autopsy or toxicology reports are.  We have no accident reports, no bomb squad reports, no documentation whatsoever from the Los Angeles Police Department almost a month and a half after Hastings died.  The FBI has denied ever investigating Hastings, yet it has ignored a request for records and refused to clarify whether or not it has a file on Hastings, which has resulted in a lawsuit by Jason Leopold and Ryan Shapiro in concert with the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

We also know that no mainstream media outlet is reporting on the continuing investigation in Hastings's death.  The story is dead by all accounts, unless you count alternative news sites.  The unusually lengthy time frame for Hastings's autopsy results and toxicology report isn't being questioned, even though James Gandolfini and Corey Monteith's causes of death were conclusively identified within mere days.  

There is an information blackout on the Hastings case, for all intents and purposes, and the death of an American journalist whose work brought down a senior American military official has been obscured behind false reporting as it relates to the story he was working on in his final days.  Continuing coverage doesn't seem to be an option for the mainstream media when it comes to the death of Michael Hastings, and the media also seems disinterested in the story he was working during his final days.