This post outlines a plausible scenario in which Michael Hastings might have been murdered by the government altering the software in his car and auto accelerating his vehicle to his death. For more info on his death and the car accident, please refer to link below…
Journalist who exposed American military killed in car crash
I’m a computer programmer, I’m no conspiracy theorist or anything, but I think no item should be left unturned when investigating Hastings suspicious death. If the investigators don’t think of potential hypothetical scenarios, they will not be able to investigate for it. Here is a scenario…
All modern cars now days run on code, the code or “software” in his car could have been altered to ensure that once over a particular speed, it auto accelerates at full speed (full throttle) while the brakes are disabled and the car ends up crashing at some point. If you pull the handbrake, you’ll end up going sideways and crashing, if you don’t do that, you’ll end up hitting something at very high speed. Notice how the car exploded? That is not normal, and only “normal” for it to happen in the movies. The new Mercedes that Hastings was driving would be full of gadgets and sensor information will be available to the central computer/application programming interface (API), making it easy to alter or hack.
They should look for signs of accessing the computer in the car (usually underneath the driver’s seat or behind the steering wheel assembly) either using forced entry, cutting bits and pieces out from underneath the car to access it, or by getting a new key from the car distributor (sales outlet where he brought his car). Since the government can print copies of passports without issue, and produce the necessary points of ID, it’s easy to get a copy of the key from the car dealer (criminals even do this, that’s how they steal new model cars now days). If they did this, it would leave a trace, if they used forced entry, that would also leave a trace.
Also, the computer program may still be on the cars computer, but could also have been auto deleted as soon as a crash was detected (since the car knows when it has entered a crash, it can trigger many things to occur before the car and its contents are destroyed, this information would be available to the central computer). Now, the investigator would need to check for deleted files as well as securely deleted files (files that are deleted in a way to prevent undeleting). If the investigator doesn’t know to check for these items, they will NEVER know or be able to isolate this possibility.
Governments used to kill people by triggering an explosion of a targets car during ignition, this is now old news, and I’m sure they have more effective ways of murdering people who are in their car, and making it look more accidental (and our scenario satisfies both these items). The fact that the car was going at an insidiously high rate of speed is what’s making me very suspicious. He seems like a responsible person (his friends say he drives like a grandma), and nobody thought he would choose to go at rates of speed above 100 m/h in suburban streets. The engine flew out of the car (as reported and visible in the news video/footage)! If our scenario is true, he would have tried to keep the car in control until he could figure out a way to reduce the speed, but of course, the cars speed would have just kept increasing until he inevitably lost control, since the top speed of his car is about 3 times that of typical highway speeds (if not more) – and imagine this on a suburban road where you have less room!
Remember, the government always has methods of killing people that it has not yet disclosed to the public, it is for this reason they can get away with it without it looking suspicious. To equalize the playing field, we have to think about these possibilities and ensure that they are not one step ahead of us. Otherwise, we’ll only know in 70 years or so when it’s too late and something, somewhere is declassified.
The last point I wanted to make was, they probably had access to his computer just like they had access to that female journalist’s computer at CNN (who came out to the world and told everyone just recently), where CNN confirmed deeply hidden unauthorized code undetectable by antivirus scanners actively controlling her computer. If they (the government) saw a potentially damaging story coming, or a story that he was working on or was about to break, then they may have killed him for that reason (to prevent it from coming out) or for many other possible reasons we’ve just yet been unable to imagine. There is a reason Glenn Greenwald lives in Brazil, to stay the hell away from US law enforcement and their ability to harm him in any way (well, that and because his partner lives there). I think we need to determine if he was working on a big story, but if they had access to his computer, it would have been irrecoverably deleted most likely (but may still be possible to retrieve if an investigator can access his computer).
Do I believe this happened? Unlikely, but even if there is a 1% possibility, it’s worth investigating for. What do you guys think?
I’m mainly worried that the investigator is not going to know to look for these types of things, because they probably know very little about computers. My aim in making this post is to get the word out and to ensure whoever is responsible for the investigation does a comprehensive job, and the only way I can see to ensure investigators are doing the necessary work is to put pressure on them through the force of the people and the media, to ensure this scenario and any other conceivable scenario is not overlooked and are accounted for.
To end, I wanted to include some complimentary information about how easy it is to overtake the software system of a car by quoting DARPA PM Kathleen Fisher, followed by a link to the video of the text.
From a lecture by Dr. Kathleen Fisher, DARPA Program Manager, High Assurance Systems:
“Modern vehicles consist of between 30 and 100 embedded control units which are essentially small computers connected via CAN bus. [ CAN bus (for controller area network) is a vehicle bus standard designed to allow microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other within a vehicle without a host computer. – donnafritz from Wikipedia] These cars were required by law to have a diagnostic port typically located under the steering wheel that allows mechanics to download diagnostic information and to perform software updates. In the first paper, the researchers from UCSD and the University of Washington showed that if they could touch the CAN bus to that diagnostic port, they could take over all of the functionality of the car that’s controlled by software. And in an modern automobile, that’s pretty much everything: the breaks are controlled by software because of anti-lock breaking,the acceleration is controlled by software because of cruise control, and those fancy cars that can park themselves, even the steering is under software control. The reaction to this first paper was somewhat muted, perhaps because the researchers had access to that diagnostic port, they were inside the car, and so already had physical access to the breaks, acceleration, and steering. They responded with a second paper, in which they showed a variety of ways of touching that CAN bus without physically touching the car. These attacks involved infecting the computers and repair shop, and then having that infection spread to the car through diagnostic port or hacking into the blue tooth system, or using the cell phone network to break into the telematics unit that’s normally used to provide roadside assistance. The most ingenious attack, though used the stereo system in the car. The researchers were able to craft an electronic version of a song that played just fine in your household stereo system or on your personal computer. But when you put that on a CD and played it in the car CD player, it took over total control of your automobile. Yeah right – pretty scary, huh? These vulnerabilities arise because the cyber components of the interface of these cars are built from the same kinds of buddy components that are in your personal computers, and the control systems that are actually running the car have no notion that there can be an attacker sitting on the CAN bus. […] “
Want more? Here is a 12 minute video of a hacker taking over a car and controlling its systems remotely aired on PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/tadayoshi-kohno.html
Thank you for reading. To ensure this issue gets the necessary investigative attention, please pass this on to some friends, tweet the link and up vote + like on reddit (http://redd.it/1grycy) and WordPress. Without additional coverage, this story will get buried and the details will go unknown – we need Hasting’s voice to be heard, especially after his passing.
Please feel free to leave your comments, ideas, suggestions or thoughts below in the comments section and/or in the reddit comments section (http://redd.it/1grycy).
UPDATE: This this post was written, new evidence has been uncovered, making the situation more worrying, visit second post here: Government destroys evidence of Hastings’ murder, Hastings body cremated to ashes against the will of his entire family.