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Michael Hastings – “Foul Play Or Not” – Do you have a plausible theory?

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posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 08:38 PM
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Facts in the case of the death of Michael Hastings
At approximately 4:20 a.m., on June 18, 2013, the 2013-model C-Class Mercedes (belonging to the 33 year old investigative journalist – Michael Hastings) was travelling in a southerly direction at a much higher rate of speed than is typical and practical for the surroundings, and crashed, head-on, into a palm tree situated in the median of North Highlands Avenue between Melrose Place and Clinton Street, entirely ejecting its engine and transmission, and, according to eye-witness accounts, erupting immediately into a raging fire.

The periphery
Due to the time-zone difference between southern California and where Staff Sgt. Biggs lives, and not knowing if the email’s time-stamp is associated with the Sendor or Recipient…I don’t know if the “subject message” was sent the morning of, or, shortly after noon on June 17th…but, we do know that an email was sent from his email account to said Sgt. Biggs and a few other associates, with Subject heading – “FBI investigation, re: NSA”, and a brief message stating “the Feds are interviewing my ‘close friends and associates’”…with instructions on what to do in case any recipients were contacted by “the authorities”…and ending with a quizzical line – “Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radat (sic) for a bit.
A WikiLeaks tweet went public at or around midnight of June 20th, stating that Michael Hastings had “…contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.
Copies of the email and tweet may be seen in this post by MindBodySpiritComplex, and/or be found (somewhere) in most of the threads related to the subject of Mr. Hastings’ demise.

Beginning the evening of June 18th, discussion on the news of his untimely death and the only known circumstances surrounding the same began in Journalist Michael Hastings dies in L.A. car crash (Single car crash?), started by GrantedBail.
Another thread was begun by Mekhanics on June 20th, regarding the WikiLeaks tweet about ‘Hastings contacting the WikiLeaks lawyer…
And then, another thread was started by GrantedBail upon the news release of the email sent to “close friends and associates” on June 21st.
Perhaps the most extensive discussion and exploration of the physical dynamics of the tragedy would be found in the thread began (again) by GrantedBail that began with regard to an investigation by Channel 6 (San Diego) should you desire to align yourself with some already proven-out facts.
These and more discussions, spun from a variety of news-worthy articles or videos addressing various aspects of the tragedy, are mostly-idling on the shelves of ATS, at this time, should you care to search them out.

From the start – news of this tragedy has been met with the kind of reactions we’ve come to expect, love & hate…on ATS…ranging from “drone strike” to “the irresponsible idiot got what he deserved!”.
While most people involved in these discussions appear to have chosen which side of the “Foul Play – No Foul Play” argument has their allegiance…what has been largely & conspicuously absent from most discussions, is that god-awful step of “putting your money where your mouth is”…
Without some otherwise “secret/privileged knowledge” that is unavailable to the rest of us, or more information yet to be released…it seems that both sides of the argument have hefty hurdles to clear, before passing the test of “plausible theory”.
Seeing that ATS unabashedly welcomes the discussion and vetting of such forays into the foggy bogs of conspiracy – and further noting that many brilliant minds (members & lurkers) frequent these boards – WHY are there (or - have there been) no substantive discussions of theories on both (all) sides of the fence going?
I’m guessing – “because it’s too much work!” – would be the #1 answer.
#2 might be – “my ego is too important to subject it to that kind of inspection and potential abuse”.
For anyone interested in exploring this labyrinth…I will attempt to get the/a ball rolling in these regards, with a brief preface that you will (hopefully) find reasonably acceptable.

Is this too big…for ATS? Or – right down our alley?
I don’t know… Guess we’ll see.

(continued…next post)




posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 08:40 PM
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Some peripheral facts you might want to consider (that should probably be accounted for in any legitimate attempt at putting forth a theory), are as follows:

In a video interview with “air-date” of May 20, 2013, Hastings states on TV: "...government, 'we declare war on you'..."
According to SSgt Biggs, within the week or two preceding his demise, Michael Hastings contacted an attorney-other-than the WikiLeaks lawyer – Jennifer Robinson…
SSgt Biggs claims to have received an “anonymous email” from “an investigative group” in L.A., informing that the LAPD were out to Michael Hastings’ residence within the week (or so) prior to his death, and that he (Mr. Hastings) had been seen “looking under his car” during the same time frame.
According to the broadly publicized email, sent to “close friends and associates” on June 17th, Michael apparently informed said ‘close friends & associates’ that “the Feds” were investigating him…giving cautionary thoughts on what to do if they were contacted…and stated that he was on to a “big story”, and would be getting off the “radat” for a bit…
According to the well-publicized tweet from WikiLeaks, Mr. Hastings contacted the lawyer – Jennifer Robinson – “only hours before” the fatal crash.
While the email SSgt Biggs received from Michael Hastings’ account had a “time stamp” of “12:56 p.m.” on it – I don’t know if that would be LA time or, ‘Biggs time (which – I believe to be a 2-or-3 time zone difference)… So – IF Hastings sent the email – I am unable to conclude if it was sent at 9:56 a.m., 10:56 a.m. or 12:56 p.m. LA time.
Likewise – the WikiLeaks tweet does not give enough information to determine if Hastings contacted Jennifer Robinson during normal waking hours (on June 17th)…or in the wee-morning hours of June 18th.

As is likely evident from the LoudLabs video #1, Mr. Hastings’ Mercedes was travelling southbound on North Highland Avenue at well above the posted speed limit (which was 35 mph) when running the red light at Santa Monica Blvd. I have gauged the speed in said video footage at between 60 & 70 mph.
As the vehicle ran through the red light at Santa Monica, its tail lights were definitely ON
It further looks to me, as if the “white” brake lights are ON as well --- BUT, I cannot state that for certain.
According to “eye-witness” accounts, when “running through” said red light, the Mercedes avoided two vehicles that were waiting for the signal to turn green. (…as it passed them – one witness stated that it shook his car like a passing freight train…)
By the time the Mercedes arrived at the intersection of Melrose Place, its speed had apparently increased…
There is a “dip” in the roadway just prior to Melrose’ for pedestrian crossings; Melrose, itself, provides a significant “rise”, and then, on the other (south) side of Melrose’ is another pedestrian crossing (dip)…
According to eye-witness accounts (and other observations), the Mercedes left the ground, briefly, as a result of this series of dip-rise-dip elevations…even leaving “skid marks” in front of the Pizzeria Mozza, that were later measured by police investigators.
At this point, the last relatively few feet were captured on security footage from the North Highland Ave-facing camera situated in the front door of said Pizzeria Mozza.
While a “second-hand” version is available on YouTube…and thus, the kind/s of detail that are reported to have been derived by “close inspection & study” are not as discernible…we can still get a general drift of the last seconds and corroborate certain details that have been put forth by Michael Krikorian (whose girlfriend owns the restaurant).
According to Krikorian’s account of the video footage…about 100 feet after the car passed the restaurant camera, it swerved…
Then – about 195 feet past the camera, it jumped the curb onto the median (don’t know if this means – all 4 wheels, or only 2 wheels)…
About 25 (or so) feet after jumping onto the median, the car hit the metal utility cover for the fire hydrant…accompanied immediately by a “flash”.
Krikorian speculated that this flash could have been the fire hydrant doing damage to the undercarriage, and possibly, rupturing the fuel line.
The first flash was followed almost immediately by another flash…which Krikorian speculated “might have been brake lights”…but, might just as well have been something else…
The second flash was followed by a “dark” frame.
As others have noted in reviewing this footage… All of the lights on the vehicle were “out/off” at this point.
Then (in the next frame), the vehicle began to explode, as it hit the palm tree.
The explosion was followed immediately by a fireball…which entirely engulfed the car…and did not settle down…until extinguished by the Firemen many minutes later.

An aside-note regarding the speed of the vehicle in those last seconds. ‘Krikorian guessed the speed at “80+ mph” to as much as “130 mph”… My calculations (based on an imprecise ballpark method) put the speed at or around 85 mph.
Should you care to see what happened to a similar C-Class Mercedes in a crash-test at 50 mph…where the front end met an immovable obstruction at or near the same spot (on the car) as Mr. Hastings’ Mercedes met the tree…you can watch it here… (Thanks to JBA2848 for finding this!)

Might as well give a last “peripheral facts” note…before jumping in…
There are “eye-witness” statements, both of the crash and aftermath, and even, the body being removed from the vehicle…that might be considered in any theory proffered.
A word of caution regarding such “statements” – it is always best to account for a/some degree of error in such accounts…and…if possible, weigh them against other substantive facts…if you desire to arrive at a “working solution”.
When putting a theory forth for consideration – if “witness testimony” seems at odds with “substantive fact”, it is likely one of the first aspects to be “attacked” (or – in more civilized forums – “questioned”).
So – in a case where you “choose” witness testimony over “substantive fact”, be prepared to answer “why” you made that choice.
As has been part of some lengthy discussions on this site, many other peripheral “facts” have been, and may be included…
In fact – without the “surrounding circumstances” there would be no story for us to consider, anyway.

Example: We do not know “where” the Mercedes was coming from…
Had he been on “the 101”?
Had he been on one of the many prominent boulevards between “the 101” and where we saw him enter the scene…or…otherwise?
Was he going somewhere in particular? (Reason for this question – Was he in control of the vehicle at all?)
Do we consider the family-friends-&-acquaintances comment – “he drove like a Grandma” – believable?
If so – how far can we take it? Driving like this was something he would NEVER do…? Driving like this is something he might have done under some Extreme circumstance…? ETC…?



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 08:51 PM
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I think he may have done this himself? Just a theory and opinion(so please dont show up with burning torches please), but why did he not jump out of the car? All newer vehicles allow the door to be opened from the inside, even if the doors are locked. Could he have been suffering from extreme paranoia possibly from some sort of drug use? Maybe he contacted these lawyers because he thought that he was being watched, and was in a some sort of drug induced frenzy at the time of the crash, perhaps it was intentional. Again, these are just theories, I do not know for sure, just an opinion.
ETA: Stars and flags for a well laid out thread, its nice to see good threads like this every once in a while
edit on 29-7-2013 by thesmokingman because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 08:53 PM
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reply to post by WanDash
 


Wan,

I think you know where I stand on this. You also have my "Plausible" Theory.

It looks like you have really delved into this thing. You have made allot of information available on this subject. Though at this point there is nothing really definitive from any direction. It is one of those "Your Guess Is As Good As Mine" situations.

I think it is still going to take some time to get any rock solid evidence. Then again, that time may never come. If we could just get the basic information like the police report, toxicology, and whatever MBRACE may have gotten in the way of data, that would be great.

I am going to be patient because I know that eventually some good data will be made available on this.



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:01 PM
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Originally posted by thesmokingman
I think he may have done this himself? Just a theory and opinion(so please dont show up with burning torches please), but why did he not jump out of the car? All newer vehicles allow the door to be opened from the inside, even if the doors are locked. Could he have been suffering from extreme paranoia possibly from some sort of drug use? Maybe he contacted these lawyers because he thought that he was being watched, and was in a some sort of drug induced frenzy at the time of the crash, perhaps it was intentional. Again, these are just theories, I do not know for sure, just an opinion.
ETA: Stars and flags for a well laid out thread, its nice to see good threads like this every once in a while
edit on 29-7-2013 by thesmokingman because: (no reason given)

Thanks for the poke.
Jumping out of a car with airbags that come at you from 5 directions at high speed...might be like the proverbial "perfectly good airplane".
Suicide (which is how I interpret your "motivation") is one of the primary "no foul play" suspects.
The major problem I have with "suicide as motivation" is...he, likewise, did not care about whom-else he might maim or kill in the process...given that he was speeding through at least two major thoroughfare intersections along the route.
So - question - If "suicide" - you must entirely discount the email to close friends and associates, and that he contacted the WikiLeaks lawyer "only hours before"...?
Not challenging you on the discount...just, calling attention to the fact...
Thanks again for the conversation!



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:02 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:03 PM
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Sadly the Video in the thread that was just 404'd
Was a good representation of the event in question.
Shows him braking well before the impact but the car is speeding up??
Also shows an explosion which in my view is a bomb as it is not consistant with a vehicle fire.

Deny ignorance People!!!!!



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:07 PM
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Originally posted by ShadellacZumbrum
reply to post by WanDash
 

...Wan,
...I think you know where I stand on this. You also have my "Plausible" Theory.
...It looks like you have really delved into this thing. You have made allot of information available on this subject. Though at this point there is nothing really definitive from any direction. It is one of those "Your Guess Is As Good As Mine" situations.
...I think it is still going to take some time to get any rock solid evidence. Then again, that time may never come. If we could just get the basic information like the police report, toxicology, and whatever MBRACE may have gotten in the way of data, that would be great.
...I am going to be patient because I know that eventually some good data will be made available on this.

Thanks Shadellac'...
I do know where you stand...and have no problem with you standing there...
As you say - there is nothing definitive...but...by presenting theories (on both sides of the fence) for vetting...the odds of achieving a plausible theory improve tremendously.
As to the MBRACE data... I was reading the MBRACE webpages...and saw that it is an optionable service.
Likewise - in the most recently released "security camera footage" that shows the last couple of seconds - it seems apparent that the vehicle lost all electrical power just prior to impacting the tree... So - even if the car was under an MBRACE plan...there may have been no electrical power to SEND the data...
Just a thought.
Appreciate your thoughts!



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:09 PM
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reply to post by Wewillrise77
 


Really?

Your kidding right?

Make note that the thread was 404'd because it was a duplicate from yesterday.

Also, How in the hell could you tell that the car was speeding up?

I am going to need to see something to back that up before I believe that crap.



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:12 PM
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reply to post by WanDash
 


Oh I dont mind if you disagree, it happens

I know about the emails and thats a great point, but in a paranoid, possibly suicidal state, there is no telling what one may do. As far as we know, he may have just snapped and started driving pedal to the proverbial metal, with no regard of human safety as he crossed through the intersections, perhaps



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:19 PM
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Originally posted by Wewillrise77
Sadly the Video in the thread that was just 404'd
Was a good representation of the event in question.
Shows him braking well before the impact but the car is speeding up??
Also shows an explosion which in my view is a bomb as it is not consistant with a vehicle fire.
...Deny ignorance People!!!!!

I don't know which thread you are talking about --
The Michael Hastings: New Surveillance Video Shows Fiery Crash is still "up" as of this comment.
I agree that it gives more insight into the tragedy. It does not give the quality insight of the original "video footage", but...it helps.
If you read through the first two posts in this thread, you'll see that I noted that it appeared his "brake lights" were on, as he was speeding through the red-light-intersection at Santa Monica Blvd. I also stated that I could not make that claim with certainty...but...the "white" light appeared to be ON, in addition to the normal "running tail lights".
I cannot make anything of the immediate explosion (yet). Have tried pursuing that question, but with unclear results. Michael Krikorian (whose girlfriend owned the restaurant that the security camera footage came from) stated that after painstaking review of the footage, it appeared that the first flash was a result of the car hitting the metal utility cover (for the fire hydrant), and the fire-hydrant pipe damaging the undercarriage, as well as, perhaps rupturing the fuel line. The "whys" were speculation...but the fact that the car hit the metal utility cover is verifiable.
Thanks.



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:20 PM
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reply to post by WanDash
 

Was that the new video that surfaced yesterday that you are talking about?

When I watched that video the surrounding area looks allot different. I tried to gain my bearings by comparing the landmarks and just couldn’t make it work. I can see where it looks like there is ignition before the impact, however, I think the impact occurred when the vehicle bottomed out.

I also wanted to ask .. . The "Skid Marks" you speak of, are those from the tires or from where the vehicle bottomed out? If they are actually scrape marks from where metal hit the ground, then that may garner a little more credibility that the explosion was caused by bursting the gas tank on impact with the undercarriage onto the ground.

From the video it looks like a small flash occurred around that time and the larger flash happened on impact with the tree. The small flash could be explained by the initial ignition from the tank being ruptured on the bottoming out.

I am a little more open minded now but, still trying to stay away from the "He Was Murdered" aspect.



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:21 PM
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Originally posted by thesmokingman
reply to post by WanDash
 

...Oh I dont mind if you disagree, it happens

I know about the emails and thats a great point, but in a paranoid, possibly suicidal state, there is no telling what one may do. As far as we know, he may have just snapped and started driving pedal to the proverbial metal, with no regard of human safety as he crossed through the intersections, perhaps

I agree... And - it is one of the only (imo) plausible theories for "no foul play" on the market.
There are a couple others I have proposed in another thread...but, will not go there, unless or until they might fit.



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:33 PM
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Originally posted by ShadellacZumbrum
reply to post by WanDash
 

Was that the new video that surfaced yesterday that you are talking about?
...When I watched that video the surrounding area looks allot different. I tried to gain my bearings by comparing the landmarks and just couldn’t make it work. I can see where it looks like there is ignition before the impact, however, I think the impact occurred when the vehicle bottomed out.
...I also wanted to ask .. . The "Skid Marks" you speak of, are those from the tires or from where the vehicle bottomed out? If they are actually scrape marks from where metal hit the ground, then that may garner a little more credibility that the explosion was caused by bursting the gas tank on impact with the undercarriage onto the ground.
...From the video it looks like a small flash occurred around that time and the larger flash happened on impact with the tree. The small flash could be explained by the initial ignition from the tank being ruptured on the bottoming out.
...I am a little more open minded now but, still trying to stay away from the "He Was Murdered" aspect.

The video is from the security camera situated in the front door (street-facing door) of Pizzeria Mozza...which, faces North Highland Ave -- The camera, itself, seems pointed in a "southerly" direction.
Krikorian said that the skid marks were "tire" marks...and, likewise, said that the police measured them.
Krikorian's take was that the first "flash"...was the result of - once the metal utility cover had been hit, and the remaining fire hydrant was then struck...the remaining "pipe" protruding above ground level contended with the car's undercarriage...damaging it to the point that it got through to the fuel line...and ruptured the same.
I have not swallowed this "take" entirely, as...this would likely mean that the protruding water pipe maintained its strength and resistance long enough to do serious damage to the undercarriage...and fuel line...but...didn't have enough strength & resistance to remain in place, once the car passed --- as --- it does not appear to be present in the debris between the burning car and the gushing water fountain in the LoudLabs 5+ minute video.
By the way - on "frame by frame review" of that security camera video - they determined that there was (1) an initial flash, at the utility cover, (2) a second flash, immediately following the same, (3) total darkness in the next frame, and then (4) the explosion, as the car hit the tree.



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:38 PM
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Originally posted by ShadellacZumbrum
reply to post by Wewillrise77
 


Really?

Your kidding right?

Make note that the thread was 404'd because it was a duplicate from yesterday.

Also, How in the hell could you tell that the car was speeding up?

I am going to need to see something to back that up before I believe that crap.




The video is there for all to see and clearly shows the brake lights on and the car not slowing down. After further scrutiny of the video and working out the time over distance, the car was in fact speeding up.
It's amazing what information you can work out by knowing the distance between objects...

Isn't it something we all learned at school????

By the way, It's not my fault you weren't able to work that out yourself.. I would have thought someone who constantly calls out others would've at least been able to look at the video and piece that together...

Well Played Sir, Well Played...



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:45 PM
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reply to post by WanDash
 


I am trying to match that up in my head with the witness who watch it happen.

He said there were sparks when it bottomed out as it crossed over Melrose. I actually think that it might have ruptured the tank then. He also indicated that he saw flames start before impact while he was on the street.

I have also considered that it hit the hydrant box before impact, BUT, that is like only 10-15 feet away from the tree and realistically the witness would have never seen any flames if that was the case. From the time it hit the hydrant to the tree was probably less than a second.

From the witness’s point of view, the flames lasted much longer than a second. Even if it was only 2-3 seconds. The point is it was burning before it hit the hydrant.



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:50 PM
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reply to post by Wewillrise77
 


Apparently you never seen the thread I did. I even calculated the details of the engine ejecting from the vehicle.

Michale Hasting Car Crash Facts

That is the thread if you think you have the capicity to understand it.



ETA:

I also wanted to add that the video from the pizzaria shows the car for all of about 2 seconds. If you think you did any calculation to extrapolate your conclusion I have to call Bull S[SNIP]T.
edit on 29-7-2013 by ShadellacZumbrum because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 09:54 PM
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Here is the under side of a Mercedes. I can't see much that can be damaged from bottoming out. The exhaust came off but was still directly behind the car when it hit the tree.

That is what is laying behind the car in this picture.




But with all the photo edited trees in the picture who knows right.

But the exhaust was also in the video of the scene so ignore all those extra trees.

It seems the only thing that was effected under the car was the tail pipe. And it managed to hold on till the last second it appears. But some how the gas tank that is behind a shielded cover was damaged between the tail pipes so bad the fire burned super hot? And I have heard some one say well maybe he had Nitros on the car to make it burn so hot. Well where is the Nitros? We have a pretty good picture of the motor when it landed a couple hundred feet down the road with no Nitros lines on it.




posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 10:03 PM
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Looking at the pictures above the drive shaft sits right above the exhaust pipes so when the motor decided to become super man and take the transmission and the drive shaft with it for a 200 foot fly through the air that could be why the exhaust fell off. Besides not having a engine to be connected to any longer. So bottoming out and damaging the gas take really is not some thing I see causing the fire. It probably was never damaged. The Exhaust had many other reasons to fall to the ground.



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 10:08 PM
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Originally posted by ShadellacZumbrum
reply to post by WanDash
 

...I am trying to match that up in my head with the witness who watch it happen.
...He said there were sparks when it bottomed out as it crossed over Melrose. I actually think that it might have ruptured the tank then. He also indicated that he saw flames start before impact while he was on the street.
...I have also considered that it hit the hydrant box before impact, BUT, that is like only 10-15 feet away from the tree and realistically the witness would have never seen any flames if that was the case. From the time it hit the hydrant to the tree was probably less than a second.
...From the witness’s point of view, the flames lasted much longer than a second. Even if it was only 2-3 seconds. The point is it was burning before it hit the hydrant.

I know what you mean.
I have come to "question" said witnesses' testimony. I recall in one piece of one interview...he said he saw it happen... In another piece - he said someone told him the car crashed, and he ran over to see the fire... He said he saw the vehicle "swerve" (by making physical motions), then turn "hard left" into the tree... Apparently, the original video (and other physical evidence) was capable of being studied well enough to determine that the car was on the median for the last 56 feet... Someone-else measured the distance from the hydrant to the tree at 27 feet (+/-)...
I don't think Jose was "lying"...but rather, piecing what he did see and didn't see together with what he heard, and the results...
I have told a tale in another thread...where two cars zipped right in front of me...racing... Immediately after they passed me, one of them hit the curb...and...all I could make sense of (until trying to piece it together later) was - dirt, turf and smoke flying off the road...and...the next visual I actually recall, was the car that had gone flying off the road, was sitting in the middle of the highway, facing the me.
Just saying - we are usually not mentally prepared to "log" and "catalog" unexpected (odd & speedy) events happening unexpectedly...and usually have to piece them together in our minds, to make sense of them.






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