From Napoleon to James Dean, some of the most high-profile deaths in history have attracted conspiracy theories which may, or may not, contain a ring of truth. This year has had its share; the 2013 deaths of former South African President Nelson Mandela, actor Paul Walker, author Tom Clancy and journalist Michael Hastings have each been the subject of some discussion. In the case of Mandela, it was the timing of the announcement of his death that was suspicious; in the other three cases, it was the circumstances.
The hero of the Anti-apartheid movement in South Africa was hospitalized on June 8 to receive emergency treatment for a recurring lung infection. He had not been seen in public since 2010 and was, clearly, not a well man; the last photos of him showed him frail and – at times – seemingly not completely aware of his surroundings. Although his death was officially announced on December 5th, he died in June and the South African government, along with the Mandela family, had been colluding to keep news of his passing under wraps. The Las Vegas Guardian Express was the only major news organization to have reported on the cover-up.
The 40-year-old actor, who died in high-speed car accident on November 30, was best known his leading role in the highly successful movie franchise The Fast and the Furious. He was lesser known for his generosity and good works off-screen. Walker was in the passenger seat of Porsche Carrera GT – a high performance sports car known as being difficult to handle – when driver Roger Rodas apparently lost control and slammed into a tree.
Within days of the actor’s tragic demise, numerous conspiracy theories were circulating the Internet. They include the involvement of the shadowy Illuminati – due to Walker’s uncovering of a plot to effectively wipe out the population of the Philippines with a birth control drug – to assassination by a Central American drug cartel. Walker was a patron of Reach Out Worldwide, an organization that was providing aid to the Philippines in the wake of a devastating typhoon; Rodas had been involved in charity work in Central America. One theory has been that the two men were killed by a drone-strike.
Former reality TV star Tila Tequila claimed, in a Facebook post, that Walker was the victim of a ritualistic murder.
Prolific and best-selling author Clancy died in a Baltimore hospital at the age of 66. The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear; his publicist remained silent and it was reported that an autopsy was not carried out for several days. The Baltimore Sun reported that he passed away after a “brief illness”.
It has been claimed that Clancy was poisoned on the order of someone within the US administration because the novelist has uncovered information regarding the infiltration of the White House by Muslim extremists – something that is not actually unknown. It is understood that Clancy was working on a new novel at the time of his death; the fate of the manuscript is unknown.
Investigative journalist and Rolling Stone contributor Michael Hastings was killed in June in circumstances somewhat similar to Paul Walker’s death; his Mercedes allegedly hit a tree at high speed. Somewhat mysteriously, however, the car was immediately consumed in a ball of flame and eyewitnesses claimed that it appeared to explode.
Hastings was a fearless reporter who had made enemies in high places. He is credited with ending the career of General Stanley McChrystal, following a bruising profile published in Rolling Stone which, among other things, revealed that the General had expressed contempt for his civilian commanders.
Hastings had also angered an aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with his questioning of events surrounding the planned terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, during which Clinton took no action to attempt a rescue of four Americans who were subsequently killed by the Islamist attackers. The US administration has continued to cover up the details surrounding the attack.
Despite the alleged conspiracies surrounding each of these four high profile deaths, none have been proven, other than the cover-up of Nelson Mandela’s June passing. Paul Walker may have merely been the victim of a terrible car accident, like Michael Hastings; Tom Clancy may have fallen victim to a rare but lethal illness. In each of these three cases, however, the more sinister theories have yet to be completely and definitively exposed as false.
Editorial by Graham J Noble