WikiLeaks says Michael Hastings contacted it just before his death. Are they implying he was murdered?
Michael Hastings certainly knew and met with Julian Assange
WikiLeaks just threw some gasoline onto the conspiracy fire. On Wednesday night, they Tweeted: “Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.”
What exactly are they trying to say?
Michael Hastings was a much admired freelance journalist who covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and helped to bring down General Stanley McChrystal. He was tragically killed this week in a car crash in Los Angeles, after his car hit a tree. Hastings is believed to have been alone in the vehicle.
Hastings has certainly been in contact with WikiLeaks before. In 2012 he wrote a profile of Julian Assange for Rolling Stone in which he asked tough questions – but the overall tone is sympathetic. Hastings appeared willing to accept that the US government might have targeted Assange in an effort to discredit him; the interview also highlights the failure of mainstream media outlets to expose mistakes made by the US military and generally permits Assange to push his side of the story. Hastings’ empathy for WikiLeaks ties together the deceased journalist, Julian Assange and (through Assange) the leaker Bradley Manning. You can throw Edward Snowden into that mix because he, too, is an admirer of WikiLeaks. And Hastings’ last article was about the evils of the NSA – which ended with the tantalising line, “Perhaps more information will soon be forthcoming.” Glenn Greenwald Tweeted a link to the piece after Hastings’ death. Of such connections are conspiracy theories made. In the minds of the highly imaginative, that is.
So what is WikiLeaks trying to say with this Tweet? Is it simply priming us for a revelation about why Hastings was being investigated? Or is it trying to imply that there’s some link between Hastings contacting Jennifer Robinson and the journalist’s death? If so, we might have – in the words of Michael Moynihan – a peg for yet another kind of truther.