The Truth of Power
We are in the cyclone, our world spinning wildly; an all-consuming dervish, roiling about us, urgent, out of control. Lives caught in the updraft are dislodged and cast asunder, others knocked from their feet only to be hammered into the ground brutally, torn as rags, shredded. We seek to make sense of it, to understand, but soon realize that such things exist beyond sense, beyond reason; they occur because they are, because they must.
Because they can’t not.
The flood doesn’t hate us when it washes through our lives, cleansing us of all we know, burying us under the mud of the worlds upstream. The fire doesn’t disapprove of us or our opinions when it incinerates our homes and lives, consuming us in combustive fury. The virus doesn’t exact retribution for perceived slight nor envision us in adversarial light while poisoning us in its propagation. These are not personal assaults.
How then can the mad cyclone of human activity be seen as different from the natural catastrophes which beset us when they are equally unrelenting, unstoppable and impossible to reason with? The potential. A flood or tornado or fire is pointless to speak against as is virus or any other personal contaminant because no words can stay their devastation, no reason can be effectively broached. The whirlwind of humanity, we imagine, possesses the potential of reason.
This I postulate is our collective frustration – potential unrealized. On a personal level it is disheartening and debilitating – greatness languishing leads to mediocrity flourishing and thus progressive thinking necessarily submits to the mundane. On a cultural level it is war, each of us striving to show that, yes, we know this, we are in tune, we deserve to have a voice. War is humanity screaming at each other how important we are while hearing nothing but our own voices, the demand of the unhearing to be heard.
Thus the cyclone never abates, nor can it as we all add to its ferocity with the wind of our mouths, screaming our importance in a world of irrelevance, demanding primacy for our emptiness, obeisance to our dreams. Those who scream the loudest or most effectively develop a following. Those with enough followers become leaders. Those who lead imagine their voices as superior to those of others and they work to drown them out, obliterate them utterly.
The cyclone is the breath of a million voices screaming against a million more, a resonating rumble that manifests a roar. Our demise comes in our inability to compromise: demanding, invoking, commanding, provoking. The enshrinement of the idea. The intangible made actual in worship, fealty to the man or mind where it germinates as the idea becomes secondary or merely an enticement to conformity.
Power is the voice that is never silent, that has never been silent, that will not be silenced. It is the gale of hatred toward those voices that do not hear it, the looming storm always ready to unleash horrific wrath upon all who challenge its primacy, who ignore its threat. Power is the idea actualized, enforced and advanced with extreme prejudice with no consideration beyond dominance, control.
Social (anti-social) media promulgates this as we sit alone in our rooms and shout to the world, defending our conjunction of words as the only real choice. Existing in perpetual broadcast mode, we dictate our terms and denigrate all those that exist in opposition – social media is to tell, not to hear. It exists as the socially awkward promotional division of so many with nothing to promote.
“Speaking truth to power is empowering truth through speech.”
To speak truth to power is to operate with the understanding that power will manifest all of its resource to scream back; that it does not want to hear truth and especially that it will go to any measure to assure that those who regard it as power are not exposed to said truth. Power derived of the word will stifle any words which lead to the question of its authority. Every leader, regardless how benevolent, every nation no matter how free, invariably degrades into the oppression of censorship. Power broaches no opposition.
The reasons to kill the messenger are clear: the immediate stifling of dissent by eliminating the message and the reducing of such desire in others who prefer to maintain a pulse. Few would offer truths which lead to their demise, especially with the knowledge that such truth is easily overwhelmed by the relentless repetition of propaganda. Why die to be ignored anyway?
While the journalistic ideal is objectivity, the work of the journalist is necessarily subjective. The journalist decides what stories to pursue and with what fervor to pursue them. By its very nature, in the choice of the story, the journalist’s bias becomes clear. The story doesn’t tell the journalist, the journalist tells the story and to the point and degree that they choose.
The idea then that those who pay the ultimate price for their challenges are felled by their own demons and not power challenged is precisely the idea that power proffers. Power exists through conspiracy; it advances through deception and rules through physical and intellectual controls. Power readily destroys all and any who pose a threat, real or perceived. It knows no innocent bystanders, only militant collateral. It never apologizes, never owns its wrong. Power is the mastery of isolating external cause, affixing blame and culpability – the mistake of power is thinking power makes mistakes.
Thus power is always mistaken.
Michael Hastings spoke truth to power, offered challenge to its primacy. He reported hubris among our leaders causing them to recoil in horror at the reality they so gladly ignore: all men of power hold other men of power in contempt. The desire for power is as the desire for money – unquenchable. To those so inclined, no amount of power or money is enough and all that is perceived as an impediment to either is best disposed of.
Hastings was an impediment. His reporting caused one of the most powerful men in the nation to be publicly humiliated then fired under a cloud of disgrace. General Stanley McChrystal organized mass murder for a living. He sent men into foreign nations with the express intent that they murder people perceived as opposition. For a mass murderer to be forced from a position of power because he spoke injudiciously is an amazing insult, an unforgivable embarrassment.
His disregard for his Boss paled in comparison to his contempt for a lowly journalist who cost him his power. How could it not? The Boss had to fire him, he had no choice; the journalist chose to report his behaviors, he ratted out his confidant. In this Hastings made a powerful enemy among powerful enemies. The Pentagon, as all of our military agencies, understands the power of words. That is why since its inception, it has had a propaganda division.
CIA and FBI have operatives involved in every major media outlet in the USA. NSA monitors and records everything we electronically say to each other. These collectives view information as power, the means of control; they use it that way. They steal business secrets, manipulate desperate people into crime and control what the public at large understands about their behaviors. They control through media, meaning they control us through media.
People like Hastings challenge that control. That’s why when I read that he plowed his new Mercedes into an old palm tree in Hollywood and incinerated in a conflagration, I consider all of the variables, not just the ones made evident through a media fed by the above mentioned agencies. In Hollywood, so much is not as it seems.
Did Hastings’ fiery demise come as the result of his uncontrolled demons or owing to the controlling demons of those he reported on? Consider the ‘facts’ as they’ve been presented:
Hastings died in a single car collision with that palm tree, about 4:30 AM on June 18, 2013. The footage of the fire shows a car utterly engulfed in flame, from front bumper to back, a fire so intense that no sign of Hastings can be seen within the inferno. According to an un-named witness, he sped southbound on Highland at top speed, fishtailed and slammed into the tree. The engine was found over 100 feet from the collision.
LAPD stated there were no signs of foul play, that Hastings was positively IDed and that they would run a toxicology report on him to see if he was intoxicated when he crashed.
Also reported was an e-mail sent and copied to several people, one in particular Sgt. Joe Biggs, who Hastings worked with while embedded in our Middle Eastern adventures. In the e-mail, Hastings expressed concern that he was being investigated by the Feds. He also suggested he was working on a ‘big’ story and felt he needed to go off the radar for a while.
The first responders to the crash were a Jewish EMT group called Hatsala. Matter of fact, they were on the scene within minutes of the crash as were several neighbors, fully dressed, hosing the flaming car, controlling the activity. One neighbor said she was awoken by a thunderous explosion, while another indicated the car was on fire before it hit the tree.
Does it add up? In Hollywood movies, cars burst into flames because they are loaded with napalm or other accelerant. But this wasn’t a movie, although everything we know about it is on film (video) and presented in the media. With that in mind it is prudent to view everything dispassionately and with a skeptical eye.
The footage of the burning car is informative. I have extinguished fires on two burning cars, neither burning anything like Hastings’ car and found that beyond fuel, the flammable parts are hoses, filters and wiring under the hood – upholstery, seat belts, carpet and lining inside the car. As this was a Mercedes, the seats were black ARTICO man-made leather and likely had floor mats which would burn as well given sufficient heat.
The car was jammed against a large palm tree, the front end crushed in. Odd then that the engine, which one would expect to be jammed against the tree as well, as is usually the case, ended up sitting in the street over 100 feet away, completely severed of all its manifold connections to the rest of the car. The engine, to be effective, is mounted fairly rigidly. It is mounted to the frame, attached to the radiator and mounted to the transmission. It is not a free floating machine.
Hastings’ was. All the other parts of the car remained attached for their fiery conclusion but the engine fled the scene and watched from a safe distance up the street. No word whether the police have remanded it for questioning.
Which brings us to the LAPD. I have had more than a few encounters with them, many of them on working on films while others with them pointing guns at me, threatening my life. The cops I worked with on films, I got to know fairly well. I worked in Locations, so one of my responsibilities was hiring police officers for traffic control and the like. Making movies or TV shows or even commercials is a lot of standing around punctuated by bursts of industriousness.
During said standing around I found myself often in the company of the officers and disposed to converse with them. As I have certain conservative leanings, they find me easy to talk to in an unofficial capacity. I have talked to many and pretty much to a man found them to be amazingly open in their racism, intolerance of the public at large and not particularly deep in their thinking.
This is not to slam them. Most I have worked with I found pleasant enough (likely because I was getting them about $1,000.00 a day) and I got along fine with them. I’ve even got a ‘courtesy’ card, for those special moments when the club needs to supersede the law. Honestly, they are fairly simple men in unfairly complex situations. The unfairness comes with the authority. Otherwise they are just simple men.
The ones that didn’t get on with me are another story. They have set me up, pointed pistols at my face, thrown a corpse under my wheels to get me to hit her, handcuffed me naked and threatened to my life. I am biased. I admit this freely. Had these things happened to you, I suspect you’d be biased too. Just want to be clear as we proceed.
Fire is often used to conceal bad behaviors. People will burn the records of dodgy transactions, their businesses drowning in red ink, things they don’t want revealed. When a body is burned the major part of the body (water 70ish%) is burned up. Fluids in conflagration vaporize as smoke and afterwards you are left with ash.
The fire engulfing Hastings’ car was all consuming. If there was a body in there at the beginning, there wasn’t one at the end. That car was a crematorium. Which then indicates to me that ID of the victim would be very difficult. And blood alcohol tests? Blood is water and alcohol burns. The idea of such a test is ludicrous as is the almost immediate ID of a cinder. I think of Chris Dorner who the LAPD burned to death yet who had the courtesy to remove his wallet and ID before he incinerated. Did Hastings have an asbestos ID?
In his e-mail, Hastings suggested he was concerned he was being investigated and he specifically said, “need to go off the radat [radar] for a bit.” Less than 24 hours later, he was all over the radar. It seems reasonable to assume that a person desirous of drawing less attention to himself wouldn’t do so by driving down Highland Blvd at 100 + MPH at 4:30 in the AM. Yet that is what we are told he did. Not sure how being arrested by LAPD would protect him from FBI interrogation. It would merely add an interrogation.
So this raises compelling questions: Why would he drive in a manner inconsistent with his prior driving and stated objective? Was he actually driving? Was he alive before the car hit the tree? Was he even in the car?
One would imagine being pursued in a mad driving gun battle could lead one to such injudicious driving, but there was no indication of that. Perhaps he was completely hammered and mistook Highland for the 101 and thought the palm tree was his exit. But this isn’t consistent with Hastings, described as driving like an old lady by one colleague and reason demands that we consider other options.
A study by the University of Washington determined that modern cars with anti-lock brakes can be hacked and controlled remotely. This was discussed by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, who gave us the internet) as well as confirmed by Richard Clarke, Terrorism czar during 9/11 who penned Against All Enemies… describing governmental failures on that sad day. Computerized cars are as anything else computerized, accessible to outside interference.
Clarke pointed out that in such a case, foul play would be impossible to tell. Clarke is a bit of an enigma. A full blown member of the system, advocate of intelligence and all the alphabetters and aiders which monitor us, he occasionally engages in Slipspeak and things get past. The title of his 9/11 book comes from the oath of office: “I swear to preserve, protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” The fact of the domestic is the question of 9/11.
Is it more plausible that a rogue journalist, concerned for his well-being, would deliberately jeopardize that well-being by engaging in suicidal behaviors, or that people who kill people for a living have merely killed another one? Let us not kid ourselves: the Pentagon is not about defense, it is about attack. On 9/11, the most expensive, militarized, photographed, armed and defended building on Earth couldn’t stay an assault by an unarmed civilian airliner with an hour’s notice.
Policemen kill suspects every day. The Pentagon kills people suspected of anti-American leanings every day. It is the USA’s murder-for-hire. To perceive an act such as this beyond them is to live in an imagination of a dream. They are a dangerous friend and a deadly enemy. And they are never a friend.
Which leaves us another option, rarely discussed. What if Hastings wasn’t even in the car? Short of killing them, the most effective way to stop someone determined to kill you is to die. Barring that, convincing them you are dead. Difficult, but still preferable to death in many cases. To facilitate going off the radar, could Hastings have faked his own death? And more importantly, am I fucking it up for him by raising such a question?
He seemed an intelligent man (his spelling of radar notwithstanding), likely had some fairly knowledgeable associations and, given the fact he was driving a new Mercedes, appears to have had some money. These elements would be invaluable to fake one’s death.
Massive all-consuming flames, indeed. As to the second, if I’m able to construct such a scenario from nothing but the released information, Hastings’ enemies certainly would be able to with all their resource.
Of course there is a more ominous possibility and one I consider at least as likely as any of the others and certainly more so than the official accounts: Hastings was someplace else entirely when the collision happened. In the custody of his adversaries, he is at the mercy of the merciless in a culture of torture. The monsters he revealed have taken him to exact their poisoned retribution beyond public scrutiny – with him dead in the public perception, they own him.
These people have free reign over us, and the fact that we allow abduction and torture in the name of personal security brings this reality closer to us every day. I cannot say what actually befell Michael Hastings that night; as I was not involved, I do not know.
What I do know is that the authorities lie, the LAPD lies, the FBI lies, our purported benefactors lie. They do it in constancy, as a matter of course, and as long as we perceive some personal advantage in it, we’ll turn a deaf ear to those lies to keep cashing in. And those who expose them will continue to be swept away in the turmoil of voices screaming to be heard over the cyclone.
Michael Hastings RIP