By: Derrick Broze
In the memory of Michael Hastings, Danny Casolaro, Saleem Shahzad and all the journalists who have lost their lives in the pursuit of the truth, the Anti-Media would like to invite you to join our efforts to REVIVE JOURNALISM
Please join this newly created facebook page to connect with other independent journalists, activists and researchers. If we pool our resources we could unravel these mysteries and open the eyes to millions of people regarding the true power structures that influence and shape society.
For as long as there has been a battle between good and evil, dark and light forces, there has also been those who choose to dedicate their time, energy, finances, and, sometimes their life to reporting on the inner workings of governments. When a free, open and honest press is allowed to flourish the people are informed, free, and more likely to push back against changes that limit their freedom.
The State is fully aware of the threat of an awakened mind to their plans for control. History has shown that the many bureaucracies of the State waste no time monitoring influential activists, musicians, other world leaders, and journalists. A free mind returning from the edge to tell the tribes what the power structure is planning is a valuable tool, a friend of freedom and a threat to a power hungry corporate-military-media complex.
When a journalist is close to breaking a potentially earth shattering story they stay out of sight, make copies of documents, and make preparations for any unfortunate circumstances. Often journalists report being followed, watched or threatened when working on big stories. There also seems to be a trend for dying in mysterious accidents or killing oneself for no good reason.
Michael Hastings’ Final Investigation
Most recently the death of journalist Michael Hastings has raised some important questions about the safety of journalists. Hastings was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and reporter for Buzzfeed who received acclaim for his story on General Stanley McChrystal, “The Runaway General”. The article by Hastings set off controversy that resulted in General McChrystal resigning. Hastings began to focus his work on the growing surveillance state, becoming a major thorn in the Obama administrations side. According to recently released FBI documents a file was even created “to memorialize controversial reporting” by Hastings.
In the early morning of June 8, 2013 Hastings burned to death when his Mercedes C250 Coupé crashed into a tree in Los Angeles. After the coroner declared Hastings death was not the result of foul play many questions remained. Witnesses wondered why the engine was thrown more than a hundred feet from the car, and why a nearly new vehicle would simply burst into flames upon crashing. When it was later revealed that Michael Hastings had contacted WikiLeaks attorney Jennifer Robinson, told friends he was working on a big story and going under the radar, and told a neighbor he believed his car had been tampered with, even more questions arose.
As the details of the crash were released the fires of conspiracy were stoked, causing some to ask if the Obama administration was making use of it’s controversial kill list, also known as the disposition matrix. The Disposition Matrix is a database that catalogs biographies, locations, associates of suspects, as well as strategies for finding, capturing and either killing or torturing them. It was first revealed in October 2012 in a three-part series by the Washington Post. According to the New York Times the “principle coordinator” of the American kill list was CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan also happened to be the subject of an investigation Hastings was working on at the time of his death. Brennan was the architect of George W. Bush’s enhanced interrogation, or torture program. According to leaked documents from the intelligence firm Stratfor, the CIA Director was also behind the government’s crackdown on journalists which began last year with the revelation the Obama administration obtained phone records from Associated Press journalists offices.
Is it possible that Michael Hastings was targeted for his work and future headaches he may have created for the Obama Administration and Director Brennan? These are important questions to ask, especially when noting that Hastings is not the first journalist to suffer a nasty fate while investigating a major story.
Enter Danny Casolaro and The Octopus
On August 10, 1991 freelance journalist Danny Casolaro was found dead in a hotel, his death quickly ruled a suicide. Danny had been working on an investigation into the 1980’s PROMIS software scandal. The Prosecutor’s Management Information System software was created by William A. Hamilton while employed by U.S. Department of Justice. Hamilton later claimed his software was stolen while the Justice Department claimed ownership since it had been created while Hamilton was employed with the government.
Casolaro had a contact named Michael Riconosciuto who claimed in a sworn affidavit in court that the U.S. government had not only stolen Hamilton’s work but installed backdoors so that any international clients sold the software could easily be hacked using PROMIS. The more Danny Casolaro dug into the software scandal he became consumed by the many tentacles of what he called “The Octopus”. His investigation lead him from software monitoring, to the Iran-Contra scandal, The October Surprise, as well as banking crimes.
Around August 6th, 1991 Danny told his housekeeper, Olga, he was going to meet with a source in Martinsburg, West Virginia that would fill in a missing puzzle of the Octopus investigation. Olga reported that she had answered several threatening phone calls at Casolaro’s house that day. She would not see him alive again. On August 10th the hotel housekeeping staff found his body naked in the bathtub, his wrists slashed. Blood was reportedly scattered on the walls and the floor causing one of the housekeepers to faint.(Ridgeway, James and Vaughan, Doug. “The Last Days of Danny Casolaro,” The Village Voice, October 15, 1991, p. 34 ff.)
After Danny’s death his family spoke out stating that he had a fear of blood tests and was squeamish, leading them to believe he would not kill himself. Since the death of Casolaro several books have been written extensively documenting the mysteries surrounding the journalists death. A movie is even supposed to begin production this year, yet we are no closer to knowing who makes up the Octopus and what Danny Casolaro knew. A briefcase full of files was missing when his body was found, however we do know that Danny was beginning to recognize a massive power structure that seemed to exist between governments, the illegal drug trade, and banks around the world. He believed this group of shadowy figures were the ones truly in control and he paid with his life in an attempt to prove it.
Saleem Shazhad and the Pakistani ISI
Syed Saleem Shazhad was an investigative journalist who worked for leading European and Asian media publications. Shazhad covered Pakistan’s armed forces, security issues, Islamic movements, and frequently interviewed Al-Qaeda fighters. In 2010 Shazhad was investigating the attack on the Mehran naval base that was originally believed to have been carried out by the Taliban. Shazhad found evidence that the attacks were actually carried out by Al-Qaeda, who in turn were being guided by documents, and blueprints provided by sailors who had gone rogue.
Shazhad told friends that he had been warned three different times by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency after his reports exposed the infiltration of the military. In October 2010 he was called into ISI headquarters for questioning. Shazhad also wrote to Human Rights Watch saying that he believed sooner or later he would be detained by the ISI, and wanted to get out of Pakistan.
The ISI is known for intimidation, and Pakistan doesn’t have the greatest track record for safe journalism. The Committee to Protect Journalists found 74 journalists murdered in Pakistan during 2012. So when Shazhad’s body was found in a river canal with signs of torture the ISI was automatically a suspect. In a statement the agency said, “Baseless accusations against the country’s sensitive agencies for their alleged involvement in Shahzad’s murder are totally unfounded.”
Pakistani Prime Minister initiated an investigation that placed no specific blame for the murder. In Summer 2011 the New York Times reported that the Obama Administration had evidence of ISI involvement in the murder. The ISI adamantly denies any involvement in the murder.
Moving Forward, Taking Action
Whether these men were murdered by elements of their own government or other actors who benefit from the suppression of truth, we are faced with these cases and many more that go unfinished. The investigations sit on bookshelves or in boxes, locked away, waiting to be rediscovered. Journalists from around the world put their lives at risk in order to provide society with a better understanding of the world around them and an opportunity to make educated decisions.
When these brave warriors commit suicide, disappear or are outright murdered the information they sought to free becomes an endangered species. The powers that wish they were would love nothing more than for the working class to remain distracted and forget about crazy conspiracy theories that threaten the status quo. With the expansion of the internet and growth of global online activism the opportunity to resurrect investigations into some of the worlds most dangerous criminal syndicates is great.
Everyone of us have the ability to pick up a pen, a pad, a camera, and hit the streets looking for information that is being ignored, misrepresented or outright lied about. The evolution of hearts and minds is about empowering the individual to recognize our potential and ability to work with others as they realize their full potential. Replacing the unsustainable structures of the past with community driven, open source, and honest ideas will help propel us on our journey beyond this fear based, ego driven mode of living. Becoming the media is a huge step towards this and one everyone should participate in.
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist, community activist, gardener and promoter from Houston, Texas. He is the co-founder of The Houston Free Thinkers, and co-host of Free Thinker Radio. Broze also hosts and produces a weekly podcast under the name the Conscious Resistance Live. His writing can be found on TheConsciousResistance.com, The Liberty Beat, the Anti-Media, Intellihub, Activist Post, and other independent media sources.