Cheri Speak

Are you listening?

Michael Hastings: A Non-Conspiracy Theory


Image Source:

Evidence of one conspiracy does not prove another, yet — in today’s hyper-vigilant atmosphere, it is easy to jump to assumptions, especially when it’s related to a hot button issue.

Conspiracies happen all of the time and they happen all over the world. They are not unique to America or even the internet. The internet however, does allow the conspiracy seeds to grow at astronomical rates. In fact, to some, the mere writing of this piece is a conspiracy and I will be attacked for writing it.

Ironically, I often get attacked more relentlessly because I myself am a conspiracy theorist with deep opinions on things like 9/11, the FDA and more so the expectation of many is that I too will buy into another conspiracy.

But, They’re Real…


Image Source:

Although conspiracies are real — and those trying to expose them are often lambasted, [it has been my experience] the average conspiracy theorist spends little time investigating anything outside of the theory they believe and when they do, it is with confirmation biased eyes.

Of course this only narrows the view of the believer and little else can eek its way through.

To be fair, a turn of the mind after September 11th, 2001 and the previously unconstitutional legislative constriction on American’s rights has left many feeling [rightfully] suspicious of just about anything.

Michael Hastings


Image Source: Reader Donated

In the case of the unexpected and unusual death of award-winning journalist Michael Mahon Hastings (January 28, 1980 – June 18, 2013), there are enough red flags to warrant at least a serious and open-minded look; after all, it’s not like he was just some schmuck reporter no one knew.

Michael Hastings didn’t make waves, he made tsunamis and of those who have been caught in the deluge, instant enemies; enemies that included powerful people.

There should be a real, and thorough independent investigation and until there is, there are going to be questions and conspiracies.

And, just like those who do not believe in “crazy conspiracies” will not take the time to look at any evidence of one, it is unfortunately equally true that those perpetuating the conspiracies about Hastings’ death also give little credence to things that point away from their theory and corroborate a non-conspiracy.

Alone In LA


Image Source:

Michael had been living in LA [alone] for at least 6-months renting two apartments in the same building; one for living, one for writing. 

Michael and Elise Jordan had been married less than two-years at the time of his death.

In less than a year of marriage, Michael and Elise were technically physically separated for large amounts of time by this move and careers. Worth a glance, if you look at this video of the two of them from last summer [2012], you will notice they do not behave as a loving couple, let alone newlyweds in comparison to the reporter John Avalon and his wife. In fact, the bubbly-ness and warmth Elise usually exudes [in other media appearances] is completely lacking in this CNN piece.

When Elise finally did speak out after Michael’s death, she didn’t have much to say that would indicate she was in fact investigating the death of her husband as has been repeatedly reported, nor does she say she believes in any way that something nefarious had occurred instead saying, she believed it was just a, “tragic accident”.

The Influence Of Substances


Image Source:

Michael had an admitted [recent] history of Adderall abuse. Amphetamines were listed [however trace] as positive in the toxicology report. DMT — a hallucinogenic, was also reported to be positive along with pot.

Unlike some recent headlines that alluded Michael was using “meth” with all of it’s connotations of snorting speed, there is no indication this was the case and sadly it is an unfair rumor being circulated as fact.

There was obviously some amount of concern over Michael’s drug use on the part of his family because his brother had flown-in the day before Michael’s accident for intervention however, there were no public statements by the family prior to the tox report about any potential drug use.

In an earlier interview — while I was investigating reporter Kimberly Dvorak’s coverage of Michael’s death, KTLA news reporter, Carolyn Costello, said that when she was vetting information on SSG Joe Biggs — and the e-mail Michael had sent him and others, that Michael’s family left her feeling that there was something of a “more personal nature” going on with Michael prior to his death.

Amphetamines are known to cause sleeplessness, paranoia and agitation.

A Paranoid State


Image Source:

Michael was clearly agitated and paranoid; colleagues, family, friends and neighbors have reported Michael had been acting paranoid and was communicating “in code”.

To further establish this, in Michael’s own words [in the his cryptic e-mail sent approximately 18-hours before his death] he himself said he was being investigated and was going of the radar.

Was his paranoia brought on by Adderall abuse or had he been tipped off that something really was up?

Or both?

Or, as reported in LA Weekly, was there a genuine concern by Elise and Michael’s family that his mental health was deteriorating? Or as reported by WRAP, were the previous reports inaccurate and only fueling falsehoods?

Would others believe he was unstable simply because they would not/could not believe that his suspicions and accusations were true as is often the case when anyone discusses anything that sounds outlandish?

Information hasn’t exactly been forthcoming, which has only added to the continued flames of conspiracy over the fiery crash.

It is still unknown [at least to the general public] what some of the things in the message meant, including what exactly was his “big story” and whether or not there is anything to the “GQ/HQ” mention.

Emotions, PTSD, and Drugs


Image Source:

The birthday of Michael’s first fiance — Andrea [Andi] Parhamovich, who was violently killed in Iraq at the beginning of 2007, was June 16th, just two-days prior to Michael’s death.

One can imagine, understand and acknowledge the emotional toll that would take on Michael, especially if he was abusing Adderall or any other mind-altering drug. Especially for one allegedly suffering from PTSD.

Could this be what culminated in him driving like a mad-man that morning?

Could the “accident” truly have been “just a tragic accident”? If so, what will it take for everyone to accept that as Truth?

Every journalist and responsible citizen has an obligation to stay objective and practice due diligence in their reporting or sharing of information.

Another Chapter For The Conspiracy Books


Image Source:

Just as the assassination of JFK, the tragedy of 9/11, and the curious deaths of Paul Wellstone and Andrew Breitbart, the tragic death of Michael Hastings will always have the taste of conspiracy in the mouths of many.

Nothing I write in this article proves there was no conspiracy, but it does go to show that logic and Truth should go hand in hand.

Whether the conspiracies turn out to be true or false, the fact we live in such an era of corruption and cover-up that we have to be so situationally aware is a bane on the notion of Freedom; both in the Press and in the streets and valleys of this country we call home.

13 comments on “Michael Hastings: A Non-Conspiracy Theory

  1. Pingback: Michael Hastings’ Death Buried in Controversy | Cheri Speak

  2. Pingback: SSG Biggs: Has Hastings’ Friend Turned Family Foe? | Cheri Speak

  3. Guy Montag
    August 31, 2013

    “DMT — a hallucinogenic, was also reported to be positive … ”

    Incorrect. DMT was “ND” – “not detected”. See pp. 15-17 of the LAPD pdf. I recall seeing this was reported somewhere (maybe LA Times, LA Weekly, or WhoWhatWhy?)


  4. Guy Montag
    August 31, 2013

    “The birthday of Michael’s first fiance – Andrea [Andi] Parhamovich, who was violently killed in Iraq at the beginning of 2007, was June 16th … Could this be what culminated in him driving like a mad-man that morning?”

    Yeah, I thought the same thing a few weeks ago after reading the afterword to the paperback edition of “I Lost My Love In Baghdad.” See my notation at the bottom of “The Memories Never Go Away” on p. 14 of my post “More Lies Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth” at the Feral Firefighter blog.


  5. Guy Montag
    August 31, 2013

    “There was obviously some amount of concern over Michael’s drug use on the part of his family because his brother had flown-in the day before Michael’s accident for intervention however, there were no public statements by the family prior to the tox report about any potential drug use. … Carolyn Costello, said that when she was vetting information … that Michael’s family left her feeling that there was something of a ‘more personal nature’ going on with Michael prior to his death.”

    Yeah, it’s just not clear what is going on. And thus far, the Hasting’s family isn’t talking about it. A few days ago, in The Wrap, his brother declined to discuss the inaccuracies further or address last week’s L.A. Weekly story about Hastings’ final days. Jeff also said: “”There are plenty of inaccuracies and falsehoods that have been claimed, but it doesn’t change anything,” Hastings’ brother Jeff told TheWrap. “Losing Mike is very painful; gossip and conspiracy theories are not.”
    I wouldn’t be surprised if a “non-conspiracy” explains what was going on. Jeff’s comments have weighed heavily in my own thinking on the matter: Tim Dickinson’s wrote (Rolling Stone 8-01-13 print edition):

    “Hastings lived life at full throttle, raced his demons and, at times, took unnecessary risks. … In his memoir, Hastings identifies with those he called war junkies. “I know the pull, the intoxication, the life-affirming chemicals released after seeing the abyss and coming back from it, he writes. “I survived. I made it. I didn’t fuck up. Bliss.”

    “In the wake of Hasting’s death, the Internet has been rife with speculation that dark forces may have been behind his pre-dawn wreck. But those closest to him dismiss the rumors. Hasting’s younger brother, Jeff—who was awarded a Bronze Star as an infantry officer in Iraq…–says he accepts the obvious and, in some ways, more difficult explanation for his brother’s death: that Michael simply drove too fast and didn’t survive. ‘I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy … There’s no part of me that’s troubled by that.”


  6. Guy Montag
    August 31, 2013

    “Michael and Elise were technically physically separated for large amounts of time by this move and careers. Worth a glance, if you look at this video of the two of them from last summer [2012], you will notice they do not behave as a loving couple.”

    Come on! This passage strikes me as unsupported (and tasteless) speculation! Where’s your evidence?

    From Missing Michael Hastings (Ben Smith – Buzzfeed, June 19, 2013): “He was obsessed with online animal culture and with the corgi, Bobby Sneakers, he shared with his wife, Elise Jordan. He was more obsessed, only, with Elise, whose thoughts, plans, and prospects he couldn’t stop talking about when I last saw him in New York two weeks ago [about June 5th].” Similarly, just 5 nights before his death, “[Jeremy] Scahill recalled Hastings talking excitedly last week about stories he was working on, including ones about the NSA. Hastings also spoke about the property he wanted to buy in Vermont. ‘Totally full of life,’ he said.”


    • Cheri
      August 31, 2013

      It stood out greatly to me in the video.


  7. Guy Montag
    August 31, 2013

    “Michael was clearly agitated and paranoid; colleagues, family, friends and neighbors have reported Michael had been acting paranoid”

    Really? Maddaus’ paints a picture of Hastings as a journalist who was “both brilliant and troubled,” who had relapsed into drug use and suffered from PTSD and paranoia. As a man struggling with his demons, with his mental health deteriorating in the weeks leading up to his death. For example, Maddaus wrote:

    “Interviews with friends as well as the coroner’s report suggest that Hastings’ mental health was deteriorating. … Hastings hung out with The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill when the reporter was in town promoting his documentary “Dirty Wars.” In May, Hastings was invited to a salon at director Oliver Stone’s house … “He seemed a little stressed …” A certain level of lighthearted paranoia would be unremarkable in such company [Cenk] Uygur says, “We joked that night that, if Scahill was there, we would have definitely had a drone strike on the house.”

    Maddaus’ piece is well-written, emotionally compelling and persuasive (and even had me convinced for about a day). However, after taking a closer look at the LAPD reports and his profile, I feel a bit suckered. I now think his portrait of Hastings as a “haunted soul” was too speculative, too thinly sourced, and “cherry-picked” quotes that supported his narrative (and omitted those that did not).

    I haven’t yet had time to analyze the piece in detail. But, today [8-26-13] I found what appears to be an egregious example of his omitting Jeremy Scahills’ impressions of Hastings shortly before his death because they didn’t fit into his narrative.

    From the chronology of the above quote, a reader would assume that Hastings hung out with Jeremy Scahill sometime before the May salon at Oliver Stones’ house. However, they got together after the Oliver Stone salon, on JUNE 12, 2013 (just five days before Hastings’ death). Hasting spent that evening attending Scahills’ LA film premiere, the Q & A session, and then they hung out watching Scahill’s appearance on “The Tonight Show.“ It was probably his last public appearance (and was the last time he tweeted).

    So, did Scahill’s recollection of that evening suggest that “Hastings’ mental health was deteriorating”? No. In his June 19th Hastings’ eulogy, “Michael Hastings Popped The Press Bubble, From The Campaign Trail To The Front Lines,” Michael Caledrone wrote that Scahill described Hasting’s as “totally full of life” that night:

    “Nearly one week ago [June 12, 2013], Jeremy Scahill and several friends were hanging out in a Los Angeles hotel room to watch his taped appearance on the “The Tonight Show.” One of those friends was Michael Hastings … Scahill chatted with Jay Leno that night about “Dirty Wars,” his revealing new documentary … ‘He was so warm and effusive and excited, as if we’d just won the Super Bowl … was giddy that someone from our tribe had made it on one of those shows.’ … Scahill recalled Hastings talking excitedly last week about stories he was working on, including ones about the NSA. Hastings also spoke about the property he wanted to buy in Vermont. ‘Totally full of life,’ he said.”

    Just five nights later, Hasting’s died in a fiery car crash. Why did Maddaus merely mention and then quickly pass over Scahill’s night in LA? (and place his passing reference to it so the reader would get the impression it took place before May, long before his death). Was he unaware of Caledrones’ eulogy (although the use of the similar phrases “hung out” and “hanging out” suggests that he had read it)? Or, did he decide to omit Scahill’s “totally full of life” remarks since they didn’t fit into his narrative of a “haunted soul”?

    Either way, Scahill’s account calls into question Maddaus’ speculation that Hasting’s mental health was deteriorating in the weeks leading up to his death, and the accuracy of his profile. Ultimately, Maddaus’ “haunted” portrait might be found to be accurate, but I’ll need to read accounts by Hastings’ close family, friends, colleagues, and Elise Jordan before reaching conclusions about his mental state in the days preceding his death.


    • Cheri
      August 31, 2013

      It’s posed as a question, along with many other questions 😉


      • Guy Montag
        August 31, 2013

        You’re right. I focused on that statement and passed over your questioning of paranoia in the following sentences. My apologies.


      • Cheri
        August 31, 2013

        Thank you 🙂


  8. Pingback: Be + Cause = Because You Can | Cheri Speak

  9. D. Paul Sparks (@D9Paul9S)
    October 18, 2013

    Thanks for the treatment, Cheri.
    I’ve read it a few times, and wanted to let you know that someone appreciated the effort you put into attempting to keep the conversation sane.
    I hope you take no offense at the following…and, likewise, hope it may be of assistance in your efforts (should you remain concerned with the case).

    — We certainly don’t know, since he’s not here to answer…but, I think it was simply the distinction between “General Quarters” and “HeadQuarters”…being – the FBI might be approaching BuzzFeed (HQ), formally, or those he rubbed elbows with in the trenches (GQ)…to try and get information on him (as well as, perhaps, on the practices & sources of BuzzFeed).

    You really need to come to terms with whether he had enough “amphetamine” in his system to have inspired/caused such a turnabout that morning. Otherwise, you may sound “reasonable” and “even-keeled”, but will get no closer to the truth of what happened.

    If you do any reading, or talking with others who have “taken” DMT…the consensus is – He would not, in addition to ‘could not’ have taken the substance…and then climbed into his car…and started driving.
    The ONLY way DMT could have been involved (to the point of causing the unbelievable trip down North Highland Avenue), would be IF he was already driving…somehow took a hit (smoking), or drank some tea that was already prepared…or, less likely than both of those – injected himself while driving (in which case, I don’t see how he made it to Santa Monica’…much less, all the way to Melrose…and then, was able to “correct” the vehicle after losing control).

    If the coroner’s conclusion (that is corroborated by others in the profession across the Internet) – that there was not enough amphetamine (or marijuana) evident in his blood to have contributed to the crash and/or the events leading thereto – and, we can pretty confidently conclude that DMT did not factor-in, either…we’re back to – the same old question —- “Why was he driving so fast…where he was driving so fast…when he was driving so fast…?”

    LAPD let a tidbit slip to Michael Krikorian at or about the time of the publication of the Coroner’s report…saying – Michael Hastings was actually going somewhere, that morning… And, that “somewhere”, was…Las Vegas.

    We know what we’ve been told to know…which is – one of Michael Hastings brothers was already in L.A., and another was scheduled to arrive later, the day of the crash…
    With one brother in town (from the Northeast, presumably), and another flying in (from the Northeast, presumably)…and, with their ‘later-reported’ intent being…to coax him into rehab — — — why was he leaving town…?
    And…why…at such an hour?
    Running away from them? Running away from rehab?
    How did LAPD know? Did they find evidence of a flight booked? Did someone-else tell them? Was his cellphone (iPhone, Android, etc…) among the debris at the crash site…or…did they collect it at his apartment…?
    Ron Brynaert’s theory (at least, early-on), was that Michael Hastings was “spooked by a bogus source”.
    I think the probabilities are better (if the Las Vegas info is correct) that a source (or – a bogus source) could have lured him to Vegas…such that he would have to take the earliest flight out of LAX…which would solve some of the major issues/problems with any conspiracy theory that asks – “how could they know he would be out and about at that time of the morning…on that morning?”.
    I have checked the flight schedules out of LAX…to ‘Vegas…and, it would appear that the first flight available was due to depart at/around 6:25 a.m..
    It is “possible” to get to LAX by travelling south on North Highland Ave… But..definitely not a good choice. And — most certainly not a good choice…if one was in a hurry (meaning – one needed to speed to get there on time). If speed was of the essence – accessing the 101 was easy, simple and fast(er).
    The only explanation I consider possible (that fits within the framework of “it was just a tragic accident”), is if he needed to pick something up at BuzzFeed’s offices (reportedly located at 7323 Beverly Blvd – which is another mile south, and a mile + west of the accident location).
    He WOULD NOT have been unfamiliar with this stretch of road… Would not have been surprised by the Melrose Ave. highrise (bump), or the crosswalk dips on either side of the intersection. He would have known this stretch of road somewhat intimately. So – I place no stock, whatsoever, in those who have claimed that the sudden constriction of lanes after Melrose’ took him by surprise.

    Could it have been “just a tragic accident”?
    That remains as likely an explanation as…he was assassinated…with the information we have in hand.

    “What would it take for everyone to accept that as Truth?”
    It would surely require “more information”.

    Thanks again for your efforts.
    Good Luck.


Now it's my turn to listen...

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Tool

Sign Up Today!


You do not need to be a WordPress member to subscribe. Just enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Thank you very much for following! :)

Join 1,421 other followers


Get the Cheri Speak Badge

%d bloggers like this: