Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
HOW I WISH I FELT:
HOW I ACTUALLY FEEL:
We sit and talk quietly,
with long lapses of silence,
and I am aware of the stream
that has no language, coursing
beneath the quiet heaven of
which has no speech;
—William Carlos Williams, from Paterson: Revised Edition (New Directions, 1992)
you are here when it rains
Michael Hasting’s car was speeding 60 miles and hour running a red light seconds before blowing up in flames. Conspiracy theorists have noted that Hastings covered the CIA and other high-powered officials, helping to even remove Generals from office.
Hastings was worried for his life and told his friends and fellow reporters he was going to “lay low” for a while since, as he claimed, he was on to “something big.”
Wikileaks reported that investigative reporter Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died in a fiery car “crash,” saying that the FBI was investigating him.
The mainstream media portrayed this as a high speed car crash, with the explosion and flames an inevitable result, however I do not believe this.
Take a look at one of the better post-fire, daylight images I’ve found online.
You should observe a few things:
- There is no impact damage to this car. The only damage there is is BLOWN OUT, not smashed in.
- He was driving a Mercedes, not a Pinto, which means it did not burst into flames on its own.
- One (seldom quoted) eyewitness said the car “exploded”.
But where I find the whole scenario to be particularly damning is in the perfect timing of the video and reporters on the scene.
Take a look at the door in this screenshot from a LAnewsLOUDLABS. The paint is near-perfect and yet the entire car is ablaze. This means that whoever photographed this was was on scene with a camera ready to film this in the wee hours of the morning, and nail it before the fire scorched the paint on the door. You can still see the reflections of street lights on that door.
Contrary to the mainstream and even eyewitness reports, it is unlikely that the car impacted this tree at full speed. Look at where the car stopped. See much damage there? The front only touched the tree as the car rolled to a stop. Here is a picture of the tree now:
I do not know what could have caused a car to ignite like that, perhaps a bomb in its gas tank, but I also do not believe that Hastings, as competent as he has shown himself to be time and again, was merely speeding and lost control of his vehicle. According to a prominent security analyst, technology exists that could’ve allowed someone to hack his car. Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke told The Huffington Post that what is known about the single-vehicle crash is “consistent with a car cyber attack.”
A man as intelligent as Hastings doesn’t just “get wild” one night and drive his car so irresponsibly that he forgets where the brake pedal is. This accident was not what we think.
Here in America, action movies have conditioned us to believe that when a car hits something at very high speeds, an explosion is to be expected; the reality is that this is not the case. Gasoline doesn’t explode unless it’s mixed with about 93% air. Gas-induced car explosions were discovered on film relatively recently (you don’t see them in the old black-and-white movies), and now audiences just take them for granted.
"But, Evan, I’ve seen dozens of videos on YouTube of exploding cars! It’s totally common. Just look at any NASCAR event!" In racing where vehicles are designed to be pushed to their limits, drivers are using the highest octane gas they can access; these cars are going at a pace (these days) which pretty much is at the limit of what is possible and yes, explosions are common.
In regular, real life, it is unlikely that an explosion would occur instantly because the stress Hastings’ car would be experience are much less strenuous. Personal vehicles are geared towards safety over performance, whereas racing cars are designed with performance, speed, and endurance first and safety second.
Yet none of this explains the location of the engine considering it would have needed to been around for long enough to help trigger the events leading to the explosion, when in the photos it is long behind the car off to the right (indicating it was propelled out right away, which is not a traditional feature of the types of explosions you’d see in normal cars which originate traditionally at the back where most gas tanks are located).
Hastings last emails to other journalists all said that “he was onto something big and needed to get off the radar for a while, I’ll have something in a few days.” It may be possible that Hastings faked his own death, considering his remains were never tested and all his family got back were his ashes.
I first met Michael Hastings in the summer of 2007, in a coffee shop in lower Manhattan. He looked terrible. He was trying very hard to finish writing a very difficult book, and so part of it was just the look of a deadline-haunted writer—anxious and sleep-deprived and subsisting a bit too much on coffee and cigarettes. But the subject of the book was what was really haunting him. It was about the year and a half he’d spent reporting for Newsweek in Baghdad, during a time when the country had gone completely insane with violence—and more specifically, about the car bombing that killed his fiancee, Andi Parhamovich, in January 2007.
We sat in the coffee shop and talked for several hours. Mike was looking for someone to help edit the book, which I was happy to do, but I think he was also looking for someone to tell him that it was okay to be lost, that he couldn’t possibly have perspective yet on the thing that he was writing about. A publishing machine was already in motion—he’d been paid a lot of money to deliver the book on time (much of that money went to setting up the Andi Foundation, which provides scholarships and financial assistance to women pursuing their professional dreams)—but he was still very much ruled by anger and grief, and so the only book that he could write, if he had to write one then, would be an enactment of that anger and grief.
It’s a flawed book. There were things about his relationship with Andi that Mike simply couldn’t get enough distance on at the time. I don’t think anyone could have. To open himself up to those feelings and write about them honestly would have been too much for him—at least that was my sense of where he was at the time. But it’s also, much more often, an incandescent book—raw and honest and full of rage and tenderness and despair. In the immediacy and frankness of its emotions, in the way that the trauma of war lives right there on the page, I Lost My Love in Baghdad is unlike any other book of war reporting that I know. I felt extremely proud to have been able to work with him on it.
The book came out to many spectacular reviews and to some deeply critical ones. That would be the way of Mike’s work. He wasn’t a reporter interested in politeness, and he wasn’t worried about making enemies if what he was writing was in the service of a plainly (if sometimes aggressively) stated truth. His opinions—especially his opinions about the war and the arrogance of the men who prosecuted it—were forged in the most cruel way. But eventually that made him see more clearly, and it drove him to report and write with true fearlessness. One of the mistakes people sometimes make when talking about Mike’s work is to confuse his often aggressive tone with a lack of thoughtfulness. It’s completely wrong. He read voraciously; his perspective was shaped not just by that searing personal experience but by a deep knowledge of history and philosophy and political science. He was confident and sometimes brash because he knew a lot and believed he’d earned the right to those opinions, and he was writing, in his best pieces of journalism, not just for the moment but for something larger.
The two stories he published in GQ (in addition to an excerpt from his book) are perfect examples of that. One, “Hack,” is about the hypocrisy of political journalism. It’s funny and offensive and self-excoriating, and as several political reporters have said to me in the years since the piece was published, it states exactly what they’ve often felt themselves but were too afraid to admit. The other story, “Obama’s War,” was Mike’s first return to war reporting after he’d left Baghdad in the days after Andi’s death. He went to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border and brought back a story that illustrated, in harsh relief, what would become clearer and clearer, and said by more and more people, in the months and years to come—that “counterinsurgency” could not be applied in Afghanistan, that the notion that it could was a lie that was costing billions of dollars and thousands of lives. There weren’t a whole lot of people saying that at the time this story came out.
The fact of that lie—and of lies that are told every day at someone else’s terrible expense—energized and infuriated him, and resulted in a body of work, truly significant and memorable work, that seems impossible for someone so young. Mike was a remarkably gifted and ambitious journalist. He was an even more thoughtful and generous friend. We’re proud to have published this kind of journalism, and very lucky to have known him.
Remembering celebrated reporter Michael Hastings, who was killed in a car accident on June 18, with wisdom from his Reddit AMA – a bittersweet addition to our ongoing archive of timeless advice on writing.explore-blog)
(Source: , via explore-blog)