Latest Info on Michael Hastings: He Thought “His Mercedes was Being Tampered With”

For those of us who remain fascinated by the extremely suspicious and bizarre circumstances surrounding the death of celebrated investigative journalist Michael Hastings, the following article from the LA Weekly is a must read. Amongst other things, we learn that he went to his neighbor’s apartment one night and asked to borrow her car because he suspected his was “being tampered with.” I’ll let the story speak for itself. From the LA Weekly:

In April, a man named Erin Walker Markland drove off a mountain road near Santa Cruz and was killed. The woman who had planned to marry him, Jordanna Thigpen, was devastated. 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.

The landlord they both rented from had encouraged her to meet him, saying he was a writer. In their initial conversations, he was unusually modest. It was only when she Googled his name — Michael Hastings — that she learned he was a famous war correspondent.

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. “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.

He was most famous for “The Runaway General,” the Rolling Stone piece that ended the career of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of theAfghanistan war. Hastings had built a reputation as a fearless disrupter of the cozy ways of Washington, gleefully calling bullshit on government hacks and colleagues alike. He was loved and admired, hated and feared.

The day before he died, he’d warned colleagues in an email that he was being investigated by the FBI. He also said he was onto a “big story,” and would be going off the radar. 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.

In the school paper, Hastings compared the principal to Jabba the Hut. He ran for class president on an anti-administration platform. (He won.) And he was suspended and removed from the student council when he used the word “shagadelic” in the morning announcements.

He did have his moments. Hastings got into an obscenity-laced email battle with Hillary Clinton’s spokesman over Benghazi, then published the exchange. He also got in trouble when he reported on an off-the-record drinks session between Obama and campaign reporters. Hastings argued that the reception was fair game and that only the president’s remarks were off the record. That’s not how the Obama campaign saw it, nor many in the press. The resulting furor came to be called, jokingly, “The Battle of Hastings.”

“Any leeway or sympathy I ever give to the Obama White House, I take back forever,” he said on Huffpost Live, on May 14.

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New Report: Drone Strikes 10x More Deadly to Civilians than Manned Aircraft

Conventional airpower or missiles are far less precise than drones, and likely to cause more civilian casualties and local outrage.

- Barrack Obama in a May, 23 2013 speech

I’ve never witnessed a bigger pathological liar in my entire life than U.S. President Barack Obama.  Not only has pretty much every word out of his mouth been a complete and total deception since he took office, I firmly believes he fundamentally loves the act of lying.  This post covers one of the biggest lies Obama has told the American public, and indeed the world, with regard to drone strikes.  This lie is particularly important since I would guess at least 90% of the public believes it to be true.

A recent study by a U.S. military advisor shows that not only are drone strikes more likely to harm civilians per incident, but they are 10x more likely to do so. This lie is right up there with Obama’s recent statement that he “won’t scramble jets to capture Edward Snowden.” Of course, that’s precisely what he did yesterday. Now, from The Guardian:

A study conducted by a US military adviser has found that drone strikes in Afghanistan during a year of the protracted conflict caused 10 times more civilian casualties than strikes by manned fighter aircraft.

The new study, referred to in an official US military journal, contradicts claims by US officials that the robotic planes are more precise than their manned counterparts.

It appears to undermine the claim made by President Obama in a May speech that “conventional airpower or missiles are far less precise than drones, and likely to cause more civilian casualties and local outrage”.

Drone strikes in Afghanistan, the study found, according to its unclassified executive summary, were “an order of magnitude more likely to result in civilian casualties per engagement.”

Larry Lewis, a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, a research group with close ties to the US military, studied air strikes in Afghanistan from mid-2010 to mid-2011, using classified military data on the strikes and the civilian casualties they caused. Lewis told the Guardian he found that the missile strikes conducted by remotely piloted aircraft, commonly known as drones, were 10 times more deadly to Afghan civilians than those performed by fighter jets.

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Ray McGovern: “Obama is Afraid of the C.I.A.”

Many people have speculated that Obama is a direct operator for the C.I.A., which explains the complete cronyism and deception in his every act as President.  This wouldn’t surprise me. Others speculate that he is just an empty-suit political hack who was informed about “how things work” by the shadow government after he was sworn in.  This wouldn’t surprise me either.  More importantly, what we can all agree on now is that it is certainly one or the other. Retired C.I.A. analyst Ray McGovern has come out and given his opinion in a recent interview.  His best line, and one that sums it up perfectly is:

I think he’s just afraid and he shouldn’t have run for president if he was going to be this much of a wuss. 

More from Mondoweiss:

Obama has abandoned progressive principles, such as stopping drone attacks and shutting down Guantanamo, because he is afraid of being assassinated, telling friends, “Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King Jr.?” retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern said today. 

McGovern spoke on WBAI’s show Law and Disorder this morning. He was talking about his recent article calling Obama “a wuss” and speculated that Obama had also placed John Brennan as head of the CIA out of fear that the CIA might turn on him, as it had on John Kennedy. 

During his CIA career, Ray McGovern prepared daily briefings for the president and chaired the National Intelligence Estimates. He is now a leading antiwar activist.

Ratner then said, “I represent Guantanamo people. I thought the biggest lie in the speech was—’I have tried to close Guantanamo.’” There are half a dozen ways in which Obama “has actually sabotaged the closing of Guantanamo. Straight lie.”

McGovern goes on to state:

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McClatchy Study: Obama Administration Has No Idea Who They are Killing with Drones

McClatchy has released a very important study that demonstrates that not only is the Obama Administration being intentionally secretive about their entire drone program, but in reality they have no idea who they are killing or how many.  In many cases those killed are just classified as an “unknown extremist,” aka civilian.  We already know how insane the drone program is from many sources, including the confessions of drone operator Brandon Bryant, who quit after realizing his superiors told him the child he had incinerated was just a “dog.”  From McClatchy:

WASHINGTON — Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified “other” militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show.

The administration has said that strikes by the CIA’s missile-firing Predator and Reaper drones are authorized only against “specific senior operational leaders of al Qaida and associated forces” involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks who are plotting “imminent” violent attacks on Americans.

“It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative,” President Barack Obama said in a Sept. 6, 2012, interview with CNN. “It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States.” 

Copies of the top-secret U.S. intelligence reports reviewed by McClatchy, however, show that drone strikes in Pakistan over a four-year period didn’t adhere to those standards.

The intelligence reports list killings of alleged Afghan insurgents whose organization wasn’t on the U.S. list of terrorist groups at the time of the 9/11 strikes; of suspected members of a Pakistani extremist group that didn’t exist at the time of 9/11; and of unidentified individuals described as “other militants” and “foreign fighters.”

Micah Zenko, an expert with the Council on Foreign Relations, a bipartisan foreign policy think tank, who closely follows the target killing program, said McClatchy’s findings indicate that the administration is “misleading the public about the scope of who can legitimately be targeted.”

You don’t say.

The documents also show that drone operators weren’t always certain who they were killing despite the administration’s guarantees of the accuracy of the CIA’s targeting intelligence and its assertions that civilian casualties have been “exceedingly rare.”

McClatchy’s review is the first independent evaluation of internal U.S. intelligence accounting of drone attacks since the Bush administration launched America’s secret aerial warfare on Oct. 7, 2001, the day a missile-carrying Predator took off for Afghanistan from an airfield in Pakistan on the first operational flight of an armed U.S. drone.

At least 265 of up to 482 people who the U.S. intelligence reports estimated the CIA killed during a 12-month period ending in September 2011 were not senior al Qaida leaders but instead were “assessed” as Afghan, Pakistani and unknown extremists.  Drones killed only six top al Qaida leaders in those months, according to news media accounts.

“Unknown extremists,” just another euphemism for civilian.

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Rand Paul Filibuster Shockwaves Continue…Now the Democrats are at War

Dear Mr. President:

In response to partial release of the Department of Justice memos describing the underlying legal justifications for the targeted killings of American citizens and others in the course of counterterrorism operations, we are writing to emphasize Congress’ vital oversight role in these matters.  Every American has the right to know the underlying legal rationale that ensures due process.

Authorizing the killing of American citizens and others has profound implications for our Constitution, the core values of our nation, our national security and future international practice.  The executive branch’s claim of authority to deprive citizens of life, and to do so without explaining the legal basis for doing so, set a dangerous precedent and is a model of behavior the United States would not want other nations to emulate.

Therefore, we ask that you release, in an unclassified form, the full legal basis of executive branch claims in the areas which are the subject of this letter.  The Executive’s claims of authority need to be fully articulated to the whole of Congress and the American people.

- Excerpts from a letter by eight Democrat Representatives to Obama on March 11, 2013

Last Thursday, I took the time to write a lengthy article on the historic Rand Paul talking filibuster because I had a strong sense of its significance.  It was exactly the sort of event we needed as a nation to blow a hole right through the false “left-right” paradigm used by mainstream Democrats and Republicans to trick the public into thinking there is a difference between the two parties on the major issues.  The whole point of the article was that Rand had successfully united libertarian and progressive activists, and also sparked a long overdue civil war within the Republican party.  By forcing John McCain and Lindsey Graham to come out in defense of Obama’s assassinated killing program the day after dining with Obama (while Rand stood on his feet for 13 hours), he brilliantly exposed them for the dinosaur fraud RINOs that they are.

Well now the shockwaves have hit the Democratic Party, as eight members of the House of Representatives have sent Obama a letter demanding he release the details of his assassination program.  The biggest problem for the Obama Administration is that four of them are black, which essentially neutralizes his favorite defense, which is to just say that anyone that disagrees with him must be a racist.  Interesting times have finally come to American politics, and it’s long overdue.

Great job Representatives:  Barbara Lee, John Conyers, Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, Donna Edwards, Mike Honda, Rush Holt and James McGovern

In Liberty,
Mike

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The 1984 Playbook Has Arrived: U.S. Air Force Deletes Drone Strike Data

If you recall, Winston Smith’s job in George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 was to go into historical records and literally change history.  He would alter photographs and text in the archives so that history would always portray “The Party” in a positive light and as omniscient.  Well folks, this behavior has arrived in America and we better nip it in the bud fast before one of these drones is flying right over our heads.  From the Air Force Times:

As scrutiny and debate over the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the American military increased last month, the Air Force reversed a policy of sharing the number of airstrikes launched from RPAs in Afghanistan and quietly scrubbed those statistics from previous releases kept on their website.

Last October, Air Force Central Command started tallying weapons releases from RPAs, broken down into monthly updates. At the time, AFCENT spokeswoman Capt. Kim Bender said the numbers would be put out every month as part of a service effort to “provide more detailed information on RPA ops in Afghanistan.”

The Air Force maintained that policy for the statistics reports for November, December and January. But the February numbers, released March 7, contained empty space where the box of RPA statistics had previously been.

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#StandwithRand: The Filibuster that United Libertarian and Progressive Activists

“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court. That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is an abomination.” 

- Senator Rand Paul during his 13-hour talking filibuster yesterday

One of the biggest disappointments for me during 2012 was Ron Paul’s failure to run as a third party candidate for President.  Last January, I wrote a very popular post titled Why I Support Ron Paul in which I predicted that the Republican establishment would sabotage his attempted run and that he needed to break ranks and run on his own.  The reason I was so adamant on this point was not because I thought he would necessarily win (although I think he would’ve done much better than most people think), but because his being up there next to Romney and Obama would have exposed both political parties for the frauds that they are.  It would have exposed the fact that on the most important issues like the Federal Reserve, TBTF Wall Street criminal banks, aggressive and short-sighted foreign policy and civil liberties they are completely on the same page.  It would have brought certain issues to the fore that the establishment parties don’t want debated in public.  They’d much rather divide and conquer the nebbish with issues like abortion, gay marriage and gun rights.  Issues that while very important to many, are easily used to split people along geographic and cultural lines and do not represent existential issues core to the survival of the spirit of the nation itself. To paraphrase, I agree with the statement “to know who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”  Ron Paul would have criticized those people and institutions in a very public forum in a third party run and elevated the debate for all of us.  It didn’t happen and the public debate went back into the gutter.

Then Rand Paul stood up and talked for 13 hours.

Personally, I would have preferred the issue that united libertarian and progressive activists to have been the Federal Reserve, since it is the core cancer of this country and indeed the world. Without Federal Reserve funding, none of the awful things our government and multi-national corporations do at home and abroad would be possible, but you don’t always get what you want.  If civil liberties is the issue that does it, so be it.

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Eric Holder Responds: Claims Military Can Assassinate U.S. Citizens on U.S. Soil

Last week, I highlighted the fact that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul had still not received an answer to his question of whether the U.S. government believes it has the authority to assassinate a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.  Well we finally have an answer from Attorney General Eric Holder and it’s not good.  In a press release from Senator Paul we discover that:

Attorney General Holder stated in a letter to Sen. Paul dated March 4, 2013: “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”

There you have it folks.  Any questions?

Full press release here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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Rand Paul’s Third Letter to the CIA: Can You Kill with Drones in the USA?

This letter is a few days old, but is very important for every American to be aware of. Essentially, Rand Paul is threatening to filibuster Barack Obama’s nominee for the CIA, John Brennan, due to his refusal to answer a simple question:

Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial?

This should not be a complicated question to answer, yet it seems Obama, Brennan and pretty much every other little power consumed bureaucrat is incapable of doing so.  Below is Rand Paul’s letter reprinted in full (my emphasis added).

February 20, 2013

John O. Brennan

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. Brennan,

In consideration of your nomination to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), I have repeatedly requested that you provide answers to several questions clarifying your role in the approval of lethal force against terrorism suspects, particularly those who are U.S. citizens. Your past actions in this regard, as well as your view of the limitations to which you are subject, are of critical importance in assessing your qualifications to lead the CIA. If it is not clear that you will honor the limits placed upon the Executive Branch by the Constitution, then the Senate should not confirm you to lead the CIA.

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Cornel West: Obama is a “War Criminal”

It’s refreshing to know that at least some public figures still have the critical thinking capabilities and courage to speak the truth.  From Raw Story:

“I think, my dear brother, the chickens are coming home to roost,” West told Smiley. “We’ve been talking about this for a good while, the immorality of drones, dropping bombs on innocent people. It’s been over 200 children so far. These are war crimes.”

“I think we have to be very honest, let us not be deceived: Nixon, Bush, Obama, they’re war criminals,” West said. “They have killed innocent people in the name of the struggle for freedom, but they’re suspending the law, very much like Wall Street criminals. The law is suspended for them, but the law applies for the rest of us. You and I, brother Tavis, if we kill an innocent person we go to jail, and we’re going to be in there forever.” 

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