Created: Sun, 04 Aug 2013 10:26:00 PST
Updated: Mon, 05 Aug 2013 07:32:49 PST
Hastings’ 911 callers and new video confirm large explosions
By Kimberly Dvorak
It's been nearly two months since journalist Michael Hastings died in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles. A new surveillance video from a nearby business obtained by San Diego 6 News and posted by LA Weekly graphically shows multiple explosions consuming his 2013 Mercedes Benz.
The surveillance video captures the final moments of Hastings life and provides intriguing details of the "crash.” The video shows a flash of light appearing at the 13-14 second mark, the headlights are on at 14 seconds, but all lights are extinguished at the 16-second mark. The car then turns left and the first horizontal explosion appears just after the 16-second mark (it ejects the left front tire across northbound highland approximately 40-50 feet). The second explosion engulfs the engine compartment at the 17-second mark. The third and largest explosion consumes the passenger compartment at the 17-18-second mark.
Inexplicably, the palm tree Hastings’ car hit has scorched bark and slightly wounded base --approximately 16"W x 4.5" H x 1"D-- seemingly minimal damage for a 3,538 pound car striking the tree at a reportedly 100 mph. Also pictures taken by San Diego 6 News show the curb has a small scratch, but no major chipping or fractures and the rear tires resting against the curb.
The new video also captures three distinct explosions, but the intensity of the fire suggests an accelerant may have been involved since gasoline only burns at 530 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
Just prior to airtime, San Diego 6 News received the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) response to its FOIA request for transcripts of the 911 calls made by witnesses describing the sounds of explosions that woke them and took the life of the award-winning journalist in the early hours of June 18.
There were seven 911 calls included in the FOIA from the LAPD to San Diego 6 News:
Call one; “Caller reported an accident, the car exploded. Caller was transferred to the Los Angeles City Fire Department.”
Call two; “Caller reported a huge accident, and the car had blown up. Caller was transferred to the Los Angeles City Fire Department.”
Call three; “Caller reported a car accident occurred in front of his house, and the car is burning.”
Call four; “Caller reported a traffic collision, he is not involved, there is a possible fatality because there was a giant explosion that occurred in the median, unknown if anyone got out of the vehicle.”
Call five; “Caller reported a car is totally engulfed in flames.”
Call six; “Caller reported a large fire on the divider of the road, he is not sure if there is a car involved.”
And call seven; “Caller reported huge auto accident.”
Prophetically, just hours before his death Hastings sent the following email to close friends: “Subject: FBI Investigation, re: NSA -Hey (redacted names) — the Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates.” Perhaps if the authorities arrive “BuzzFeed GQ,” er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news gathering practices or related journalism issues. Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the rada[r] for a bit.
But, the FBI Los Angeles-based spokesperson, Laura Eimiller, atypically emailed media emphatically denying the agency was looking into Mr. Hastings background.
As an investigative journalist, Hastings saw his fair share of threats. One particular passage in his book, “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan,” revealed that a former McChrystal staff member made a death threat. “We'll hunt you down and kill you if we don't like what you write,” the unnamed staffer said. Hastings coolly retorted: “Well, I get death threats like that about once a year, so no worries.”
A friend of Michael Hastings, who met him after the story on General McChrystal said “Michael was fearless, but he was obviously scared by something (referencing the email).”
Stonewalling and obfuscatory tactics seem to be indicative of the “new normal” response from government agencies when trying to avoid a finding of “foul play” and Michael Hastings' "accident" is no exception.
The newly released 911 calls and LAPD's failure to produce the police report only postulate additional questions. No amount of personal threats or stonewalling from government officials will curtail the truth from eventually coming out. And despite the LAPD push back, San Diego 6 News will continue to seek the truth with the assistance of Judicial Watch, a Washington DC based foundation.
One puzzling aspect of the LAPD's objection to the release of the police report is the inference in the FOIA/CPRA response to San Diego 6 News that a federal investigation may be in progress, which only adds further questions as to what agency is investigating since the FBI said it is not investigating. This turn of events reaffirms this reporter's contention and the tens of thousands of individuals who have responded to this story that it IS in the public interest … Hastings was a national figure.
To find-out who is investigating and why, this week Judicial Watch will serve additional FOIAs against the DOJ (AKA Eric Holders’ war on journalists), Department of Homeland Security’s HSI, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Secretary of the Department of the Army (due to unchallenged threats made directly to Mr. Hastings).
Despite official stonewalling and personal threats, the investigation continues. Stay tuned for further news from this reporter.
Email Kimberly: Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org
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