TRAVIS KELLY: The war on journalists |

TRAVIS KELLY: The war on journalists

9/11 launched our perpetual Global War on Terror, and an equally long, costly and debilitating campaign on the home front — the war on the Constitution. The 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Amendments have been steadily eroded down like Canyonland’s hoodoos in the last decade, and now it’s starting to get bloody.

On June 18, nationally renowned journalist Michael Hastings died in a fiery single-car accident in Los Angeles. Hastings had spent months covering the war in Afghanistan before breaking a story in 2010 about General Stanley McChrystal’s insubordination to civilian authority in Rolling Stone that ultimately resulted in the general’s resignation. Hastings was persona non grata to the military establishment after this. He also received numerous death threats.

Fifteen hours before the crash, Hastings sent an email to a friend stating that he was working on his “biggest story yet,” about the CIA, and that he was going “off the radar for a bit.” A few hours before his death, he had contacted staffers at Wikileaks complaining that he was under FBI surveillance. Other colleagues of Hastings have stated that he was a “nervous wreck” after the revelation of AP journalists having their phones tapped, and the NSA PRISM scandal.

A motorist who just happened to be at an intersection at 4:30 a.m. recorded, with his dash cam, Hasting’s 2013 Mercedes zooming through a red light at high speed. Moments later, it rammed into a tree and exploded. The engine and transmission from the Mercedes were found 150 feet BEHIND the burning car.

Now San Diego 6 journalist Kimberly Dvorak is reporting that she was unable to obtain the police report on the crash, that the L.A.P.D. has already ruled out “foul play,” and that a gag order has been placed on cops and firefighters involved in the case. “When you go to the LA police department and you go to the fire department,” says Dvorak, “they all said they couldn’t comment and some of them said they were told not to comment on this story.” Dvorak also noted that no skid marks were found on the road, that Mercedes has denied that their car could have exploded like that, and she speculated that “there was something on the car that allowed it to trigger and blow up.”

This is not at all far-fetched: Dvorak cited two studies by the University of Washington and University of California, San Diego detailing how modern computer-controlled autos can be cyber-hijacked and remote controlled using only an iPad. Additionally, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Program Manager Dr. Kathleen Fisher corroborated this techno-hijacking capability in an earlier videotaped speech now available on YouTube. And former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke has stated that the crash was “consistent with a car cyber attack.”

Given the known circumstances, there is no reason for the LAPD to presume that foul play was not involved. And there is no reason for it to suppress the official report and place a gag order on the investigating officers. Rather, even Barney Fife would presume the opposite — that Michael Hastings was very probably murdered.

Every journalist in this nation should be up in arms over this case, but already I know how it will probably play out: All it will take is one mind-controlled lapdog in the press (usually a CIA Mockingbird mole) to label such justifiable suspicions a “conspiracy theory,” and the “open minds” of America’s valiant Fourth Estate will snap shut like a spastic clamshell. And many of them, like “Meet the Press” host David Gregory and NY Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, have suggested that Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who published Edward Snowden’s revelations in the British Guardian, should be arrested and prosecuted. These are not journalists — they are shameless government shills who would be better off working for China’s state-controlled media.

So far, the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers with use of the Espionage Act than any other administration in history. And despite his promises of greater transparency when he took office, Obama has spent record amounts of money to classify documents, and allowed the NSA to continue and expand the warrantless surveillance of American citizens begun under the Bush Jr. administration.

The federal government now wants to know and record every detail of your private life, while increasingly keeping its unconstitutional operations secret. That is the very definition of a fascist police state, like the East German STASI, as current German Chancellor Angela Merkel has remarked. Another trait of oppressive police states: Inconvenient journalists doing their necessary jobs are surveilled, harassed and sometimes even murdered.

I find myself repeating the lyrics of an old Steppenwolf song: “There’s a monster on the loose; its got our heads into the noose.”

Travis Kelly is a web/graphic designer, writer and cartoonist in Grand Junction. See his work or contact him at

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