Lara Logan and Trevor Fitzgibbon
Around the same time that Ed Butowsky and Rod Wheeler were meeting with Spicer at the White House, Lara Logan, a former correspondent for CBS, reached out to PR specialist, Trevor Fitzgibbon, about the Seth Rich situation:
Lara Logan’s DM’s illustrate the role Lara’s “fixer,” @EdButowsky has played previously in her career and in this specific DM the role he played in helping Lara “red-pill” Trevor FitzGibbon after the closure of his firm. Re: Ed, Lara told FitzGibbon, “Do not underestimate him.” pic.twitter.com/r5IZQZ3iPe— The Sparrow Project (@sparrowmedia) February 21, 2019
According to Reuters, Ed Butowsky is a “close friend and confidant” of Logan and unless the above text messages have been altered or completely manufactured, she’s also an associate of Fitzgibbon’s. According to InfluenceWatch.org, Fitzgibbon used to run a “high-powered left-of-center PR firm working for major clients” like Planned Parenthood and MoveOn.org, a liberal organization that receives funding from George and Jonathan Soros and DEMOS which itself is funded by the Tides Foundation, Rockefeller Family Fund, and Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation also funds MoveOn.org and is rumored to be tied to the CIA.
InfluenceWatch.org also reports that Fitzgibbon originally landed MoveOn.org as a client while working for Fenton Communications, a “liberal public relations firm,” with offices spread across the United States. He became Obama’s New Mexico communications director during the 2008 Presidential campaign, and by 2015, he had opened up his own PR firm with offices in London, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. However, by the end of the year, he shuttered the firm under mounting allegations of sexual abuse and harassment.
According to huffpost.com, after Sierra Pedraja had been put in touch with Fitzgibbon with regards to a job opportunity, she later divulged to other employees at his firm, FitzGibbon Media, that he had allegedly remarked on how beautiful she was, invited her to his hotel room, asked if she wanted to have “fun while he was in town,” and solicited risqué photos from her. Pedraja’s story prompted other employees to come forward with similar allegations:
“Multiple women at the firm said FitzGibbon often became uncomfortably physical — sometimes asking for hugs — and requested pictures of them and invited them to his hotel room.”
“’I couldn’t speak up because I was afraid of retaliation — that I would get fired if I spoke up,’ one female staffer told The Huffington Post, explaining why she never revealed what had happened to her.”
“Women have a hard time proving their claims even within their own companies. Last week was not the first time FitzGibbon was hit with allegations. When he worked at his previous job at Fenton Communications, multiple female colleagues accused him of sexual harassment, according to the Huffington Post’s reporting. While Fenton has said it immediately investigated the claims and even disciplined him, he wasn’t fired, only monitored. And then he left to launch his own firm.”
One of the women who came forward after Pedraja was Jesselyn Radack, a well-known and established whistleblower attorney who is currently part of the defense team for Joshua Schulte, the NSA worker who allegedly leaked the Vault 7 documents to WikiLeaks.
Fitzgibbon has never been charged or prosecuted for the three complaints filed against him with D.C. police which included allegations of sexual abuse, likely because of “insufficient evidence to go forward,” stated a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office. Regardless, 72 liberal organizations pledged not to work with him after he shut down his firm, including ClimateTruth.org and Greenpeace USA.
As for Lara Logan, she’s currently married to Joseph Burkett, a “mystery man” and reportedly a defense contractor with a military background. According to Newsweek:
“He was an employee of the Lincoln Group, a now-shuttered ‘strategic communications and public relations firm’ hired by the Department of Defense in 2005 to plant positive stories written by American soldiers in Baghdad newspapers during the Iraq War,” the website Gawker reported.”
For those of you keeping track at home, Lincoln Group later became known as Strategic Social and was acquired in 2014 by the security and support services group, Constellis (formed when Academi, Erik Prince’s renamed Blackwater, and Triple Canopy merged). Constellis was then bought by Apollo, a New York-based private equity firm. According to documents obtained by Newsweek:
“Lincoln Group specialized in producing films, news clips, and print stories in Baghdad that would be fed to the media through cutouts on an unattributed basis, making them appear as originating from legitimate news organizations.”
Newsweek also reported that in 2011, Texas public records show Burkett as a “managing member,” of Janus Lares, an Austin-based ammunition dealer.
Who Spoofed Who?
Despite Fox News retracting their story on Seth Rich earlier in the year, the conspiracy continued unabated into the summer of 2017, perhaps because of Kim Dotcom’s previous and unsubstantiated comments that that he knew Rich was WikiLeaks’ source for the DNC emails. According to a woman using the online handle “Trish the Dish,” she was introduced to Lara Logan’s friend, Trevor Fitzgibbon, through @NoxFemme (mentioned earlier as one the people who eventually went into business with Cicada’s Schoenberger and Manny Chavez) whom Trish claimed she had been working with since at least mid-2016 on “campaign stuff and outing the corruption.”
NoxFemme herself has stated that she was working with Fitzgibbon since at least 2016, and according to Trish, NoxFemme originally reached out to her to see if she could help him. At the time, Trish was working with investigative journalists George Webb and Crowdsource The Truth‘s Jason Goodman, so she put Fitzgibbon in touch with them. Webb had originally caught the attention of social media users when he created dozens of investigative videos in search of Clinton Foundation’s Eric Braverman, and Goodman has a fairly extensive background in film production.
On May 31, 2017, Webb and Goodman interviewed Fitzgibbon (as well as Lee Stranahan and Jerome Corsi later that day), introducing him as someone who used to work with now-deceased attorney Michael Ratner, WikiLeaks, and whistleblower, Chelsea Manning. Webb went on to say that Fitzgibbon was not a “Trump shill,” but rather as “progressive as one can get.”
According to Trish, weeks before the Fitzgibbon interview, NoxFemme had reached out to her about some files she said she had on a thumb drive that she thought may have been the ones in Seth Rich’s possession. She went on to explain that she was unable to decipher what was in the files despite Trish’s praise for NoxFemme’s abilities to go through WikiLeaks, FBI, and CIA files in order to have source material quickly available.
NoxFemme reportedly even approached CBS with the files but what she meant was Lara Logan while she was still working for the media outlet. This, of course, was after Logan had already reached out to Fitzgibbon a month or two prior about the Seth Rich conspiracy and introducing him to Ed Butowsky. Allegedly, NoxFemme also had a lengthy discussion with Logan’s husband, Joe Burkett, about the thumb drive, who Trish described as an “ex-CIA operative.”
Trish was eventually put in touch with someone named “White Rabbit,” who told her that the files were the same files that Guccifer 2 had previously posted on WordPress, causing Jason Goodman to later question why anyone would be trying to push files that had already been released. Perhaps it was because NoxFemme told her they might be the Seth Rich files. But more importantly, the files NoxFemme and White Rabbit were pushing were originally released by an online figure who was allegedly manufactured by the DNC and/or a U.S. intelligence agency to incriminate Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Additionally, after Guccifer 2 published the files, the media reported on some of its content almost a year prior to NoxFemme contacting Trish so it’s unclear why the documents were so difficult for her to decipher.
The day after Fitzgibbon did the interview with Webb and Goodman, Trish was given a thumb drive containing the Guccifer/Seth Rich files. When she asked NoxFemme if she could credit her handle so everyone knew where the files came from, she says NoxFemme grew angry at the suggestion, leaving Trish baffled and confused. By June 1, 2017, news hit social media that the trio might have the “Seth Rich files” and for the next three days chaos ensued when discrepancies appeared between Trish’s copy versus the original set of files, leading the trio to conclude that someone had “spoofed” the files. Goodman and Webb even tried to get in contact with Kim Dotcom for help.
A very public fight, whether real or fake, ensued with Trish, Webb, and Goodman in one corner claiming the thumb drive was bogus and a trap to make them look bad, and NoxFemme and White Rabbit in the other stating they had been upfront about the files from the get go. Even Defango, who had met with Cicada’s Schoenberger less than two months prior, played a role in the debacle, initially trying to walk the trio through the discrepancies in the files, asserting that they had not been “spoofed.”
Cassandra Fairbanks, WikiLeaks, and the Far-Right
At the start of August, the Seth Rich story lit up social media once again when Cassandra Fairbanks, an activist, close associate of Roger Stone, and avid Trump supporter, published three stories pertaining to the conspiracy. According to a lawsuit filed by Seth Rich’s brother:
“Cassandra Fairbanks, who writes about D.C. gossip and rumors for a number of partisan publications including Bigleaguepolitics.com, Sputnik International, and Gateway Pundit, authored and posted at least three articles about Aaron on BigLeaguePolitics.com.”
BigLeaguePolitics.com is a news site edited by former Breitbart writer, Patrick Howley, and on August 1, 2017, they published, “Brother of Seth Rich Works for Government Contractor That Provides Cyber Defense,” “Audio: Rod Wheeler Explains Fox News Fiasco, Claims Brother Blocked WikiLeaks Inquiries,” and “Audio: Seymour Hersh States Seth Rich Was WikiLeaks Source,” all three of which were written by Fairbanks.
The Seymour Hersh article included a Youtube link to the audio recording between Butowsky and Hersh that Butowsky had saved back in January. It had been quietly uploaded to Youtube on July 11, 2017, one week before BigLeaguePolitics.com published an interview Fairbanks conducted with Blackwater founder, Erik Prince, who was promoting the idea that the war in Afghanistan should be privatized—with the help of Prince and Dyncorp International’s Stephen Feinberg, of course.
Reminiscent of the days leading up to the 2016 Presidential election, Elizabeth Lea Vos, a current contributor to Robert Parry’s Consortium News and co-founder of Disobedient Media with William Craddick, both of whom were heavily involved in promoting the Pizzagate conspiracy (as was Fairbanks), published an article about the Fairbanks/Seymour Hersh story the next day with a headline that read, “Audio Reveals Seymour Hersh Alleging Seth Rich Was WikiLeaks Source.” At the time, William Craddick, a Trump supporter who was retweeted by President Trump last year, had already been added as a moderator to WikiLeaks’ Reddit account and worked with far-right former Navy intelligence officer Jack Posobiec, on the Macron leaks. According to Reuters:
“Posobiec is also close on social media to William Craddick, founder and editor-in-chief of Disobedient Media. The two appeared to preview the Macron leaks…first Posobiec and then Craddick began to dribble out hints on Twitter that a big stash of leaked Macron documents could be coming soon…Disobedient Media tweeted 22 minutes before the upload to Pastebin instructing followers” to prepare for “major leak on Emmanuel Macron and his close associates.”
Craddick denied having any prior knowledge of the leaks.
Perhaps what’s even more disturbing than the appearance of a long-standing relationship between the far-right, independent media, and individuals linked to U.S. intelligence, is the fact that Charles C. Johnson visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London less than two weeks after Fairbanks’ article on Seymour Hersh was published, an article that WikiLeaks just happened to retweet.
Johnson visited the WikiLeaks founder with then-Congressman Dana Rohenbacher whose assistant, Paul Behrends, was mentioned in Part 1 of this series as a former employee of Erik Prince’s Blackwater. Prince is the same one who had breakfast with Johnson the morning after Trump won the election, and Johnson, well, he’s the guy who was shooting the breeze over beers in 2015 with Jeff Giesea, the architect of “memetic warfare” who used to work for Peter Thiel and helped organize the 2017 far-right event, DeploraBall. “When I met Chuck I wondered why we weren’t weaponizing people like him,” stated Giesea after the meeting.
On approximately the same day that Fairbanks published her article about Seymour Hersh, Trevor Fitzgibbon was allegedly arranging the first conference call between himself, Ed Butowsky, Thomas Schoenberger, NoxFemme, and Defango. According to Schoenberger during a deposition taken in the Rich vs. Butowsky et al case, the conversation revolved around Butowsky’s frustration at being attacked over the Seth Rich conspiracy, mainly stemming from the retracted Fox News story, and how Schoenberger, NoxFemme, Defango, and Fitzgibbon could help him through their newly established company, Shadowbox, a “reputation defense” PR firm.
According to documents posted by Defango in a now-privatized Youtube video, the company comes across more as a malicious “reputation ruining” PR firm than anything else. Here are some excerpts from the documents:
THIS IS WAR
“Shadowbox is your army. We solve your problems and expose the truth. We unleash a multifaceted strategic battle plan through integrated research, earned media, legal and digital chaos.”
WHAT WE DO
“Our propriety covert approach includes swarming the opposition on multiple fronts and platforms. Our operations unit effectively routs adversaries away from you, sending them to chase phantoms and rendering them exhausted and perplexed.”
HOW IT WORKS
“We address smear assaults head-on by custom-creating shadow ‘bot’ campaigns as a counter strategy. We use targeted chaos to confuse your opponents…if there is evidence of defamation, we will initiate a legal response with defamation lawyers.”
“We are an elite team of specialists with backgrounds ranging from public image creation to coding and covert intelligence services.”
Covert intelligence services? In what has become a major game of he said/she said/he said, Defango claims that the company description was written by Fitzgibbon and Schoenberger, while Schoenberger says it was all Defango and Fitzgibbon. NoxFemme has also stated that she didn’t agree with the direction of the company and yet all of them stayed with it. According to Steve Outtrim, NoxFemme funded the entire project with $11,000 of a $50K investment going directly into Fitzgibbon’s pocket.
Shadowbox reportedly landed Butowsky as a client within 24 hours of starting the company and according to documents Defango posted in his Youtube video, shortly thereafter Fitzgibbon and Schoenberger discussed in an email having a “great conversation” with him, calling NoxFemme their “secret weapon.” Then, a month later, Butowsky flew members of the company to Texas for a meeting at his home.
There were at least nine people at this meeting including Thomas Schoenberger; Defango; NoxFemme; Trevor Fitzgibbon; independent journalist Matt Couch who, by that time, had become one of the biggest mouthpieces of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory; Couch’s friend; Fox News‘ Malia Zimmerman; Lara Logan’s husband, Joe Burkett; and Dave Stossel, an alleged former Army Ranger who Schoenberger described as “Bravo 13.” Defango stated in an another video that has also been privatized, that they attended the meeting to discuss the Seth Rich conspiracy and any information Butowsky might have while Matt Couch, in a court filing, also stated that he and his friend attended because he believed Butowsky had information that he wanted to gather for his investigative team. He says they left the meeting disappointed.
Rather than any new or additional information on the Seth Rich case, according to at least two people who attended the meeting, Butowsky allegedly asked members of Shadowbox to participate in a surveillance operation against Seth Rich’s parents and brother, by outfitting a van with a StingRay so they could “listen in” on their phone calls and other devices in order to obtain information Butowsky reportedly believed the Rich family was withholding from him.
There were also discussions about hacking into bank accounts according to court documents but it doesn’t appear that any supporting evidence for these allegations has been presented in court so far. The allegations do, however, appear to be a driving force in what some of the attendees from the meeting are pushing publicly. For instance, Schoenberger and NoxFemme insist that they were never interested in the Seth Rich story despite NoxFemme’s involvement with the Guccifer2/Seth Rich thumb drive and Shadowbox keeping Butowsky as a client despite the September meeting. They also claim that it was Defango who was interested in the surveillance op against the Rich family, not them, but Defango has denied the allegations, claiming that it was Thomas who was interested, not him.
DMs released by Defango and dated less than a month after the meeting seem to imply that they were both involved in the operation which, if it actually happened, may very well constitute a serious criminal offense. In two different DMs from the same day, Schoenberger tells Defango that “Ed wants you to had [sic] to Nebraska…on the Seth Rich stuff,” and “I also sent you $1500 towards ops…More coming.”
It should be noted that throughout this investigation, Schoenberger has been amicable and seemingly forthcoming about what transpired between Shadowbox members and Butowsky, and would like to clear his name of any wrong doing including the inexplicable DMs he allegedly sent Defango about heading to Nebraska. He claims that Defango hacked his Gmail account and wrote the emails himself in a move to undermine Schoenberger and prevent him from speaking to authorities and/or attorneys about the Seth Rich surveillance operation.
With everyone facing serious accusations of illegality, this might not be far-fetched. However, what Defango released were Twitter DM notifications sent to Gmail, meaning he had to hack Schoenberger’s Twitter account, sent DMs from that account to himself, and then retrieved those message notifications from his own Gmail account — an explanation that was not given in Schoenberger’s deposition. In fact, contrary to his testimony, Defango did not have to hack his Gmail account at all to carry out the allegations against him.
Ties to Intelligence
As to whether or not any of these shocking allegations are true, the answers will probably have to wait until they are uncovered in court. In the meantime, it should also be noted that numerous people at the Butowsky meeting have ties to the intelligence community. For instance, according to Schoenberger’s depostion:
“Joe Berkell [sic][Joe Burkett] was talking about an application that can track who you associate with on social media. Dave Stossel was a veteran. And he was with Bravo — 13. He was a ranger. And so, you know, I — I’ve had an association with — with the Department of Defense, you know, in an earlier carnation. So we talked about conflict. Seemed like a nice guy.”
What’s even more interesting about Joe Burkett is the fact that one particular (alleged) email revealed by Defango shows that Burkett was trying to get Butowsky to pay the fees owed to Shadowbox. When questioned why in the world a military contractor who allegedly had no stake in Shadowbox would act as their debt collector, a member of the company stated that this was an individual Fitzgibbon had been working with.
Interestingly enough, last year one of the persons who attended the meeting at Butowsky’s shared with multiple people a presentation created for a company allegedly started by Burkett, Fitzgibbon, and others. However, there doesn’t appear to be any company registered with the name that appears on the documents, “Janus Lares,” the same name that Newsweek reported Burkett had used for a gun company in Texas.
Burkett isn’t the only one allegedly tied to intelligence whether in a former life or currently. According to text messages published by Steve Outtrim, NoxFemme stated that Fitzgibbon had brought two friends with him to the Butowsky meeting that she described as “spooks,” meaning “connected to the Intelligence Community.” One might conclude that she was referring to Lara Logan’s husband, Joe Burkett, and Stossell based on their backgrounds but Outtrim chalked it up to Stossell and Defango, who he reported as being connected to the “Director of the Keyhole system, former CIA Intelligence officer Robert David Steele, the Attorney General of Texas, an Arizona Chief of Police, Shadow Brokers,” and IARPA, which Utterim describes as the intelligence community’s version of DARPA.
And Thomas himself not only says that he had an association with the DOD, he also claims to have been best friends with a former CIA Deputy Director, had “meetings at the Pentagon,” and worked on an operation called “Operation Spring Forward:
“Operation Spring Forward was an operation I was involved in in 2011. It was aborted because the Taliban had drawn a bead on us. It was going to be at Harrah, 50 miles from the Iranian border…I speak Farsi, and I was — I was chosen to be a part of it. It’s a — it’s a military humanitarian thing.”
ELIZABETH LEA VOS
As early as July 2017, if not earlier, NoxFemme was communicating with Consortium News‘ contributor Elizabeth Lea Vos. Vos co-founded Disobedient Media with William Craddick, both of whom were mentioned in Part 3 of this series because of their heavy involvement in promoting the “Pizzagate” narrative which some say contributed to the election of President Trump. In a July 30, 2017 email sent by NoxFemme to Fitzgibbon, she stated that Vos wanted to write an article about him, presumably about how his life had been ruined by conspiring individuals, similar to what he stated during his interview with George Webb and Jason Goodman.
NoxFemme’s message is hardly surprising given the fact that an email from Fitzgibbon to Schoenberger dated two weeks earlier stated:
“I wonder if we should see if [NoxFemme] would be willing to reach out/to send her [Mother Jones’ journalist Laurie Abraham] an email about what Radack has done, rather than one of us. A woman will be more credible/powerful making the appeal…”
If the message to Schoenberger is indeed legitimate, it appears that Fitzgibbon plotted to reach out to a mainstream media journalist to push the story that attorney Jesselyn Radack, one of Fitzgibbon’s alleged victims, was really the one who ruined his life, despite multiple alleged victims coming forward, multiple complaints filed with the police against him, his own PR firm staff making a public statement about the more than half a dozen accusations against him, and 72 organizations publicly announcing they would no longer be working with him.
By August 1, 2017, the same day Fairbanks ran her three stories on the Seth Rich conspiracy and around the time Fitzgibbon was putting together that first conference call between himself, Butowsky, and the rest of the Shadowbox team, NoxFemme and Vos were communicating publicly on Twitter. On October 7, 2017, Disobedient Media ran a story about individuals who had been targeted and smeared for their work with WikiLeaks and/or Chelsea Manning.
Vos doesn’t come out and directly say it, but she does infer that the sexual allegations against Fitzgibbon were in response to his work with WikiLeaks:
“In light of the examples previously mentioned here, Fitzgibbon’s case is strongly reminiscent of a well-funded and coordinated effort to smear those who represent Wikileaks or who are associated with them…It seems that anyone who supports or works with Wikileaks has become a potential target for complex, sometimes entirely fabricated, character assassination attempts.”
This, despite the fact that there are a myriad of other male figures who not only have a close relationship with Julian Assange, unlike Fitzgibbon, but have also never faced a flood of accusations about inappropriate sexual behavior. In fact, Vos goes so far as to quote an anonymous member of the intelligence community who suggests that the shuttering of Fitzgibbon’s firm and the “contrived” allegations against him were likely a “highly organized and well funded” operation when, in fact, it was reported that it was Fitzgibbon who shut down his own firm without notice, leaving employees without a job or health insurance right before Christmas. That, and the fact Fitzgibbon was accused while working at Fenton Communications means that this alleged operation against him would have spanned almost a decade and well before he was doing PR work for Manning or Wikileaks.
In addition to the article published by Disobedient Media, DMs between Fitzgibbon and NoxFemme seen in court documents seem to indicate that he was using her as a weapon to harass Radack by encouraging NoxFemme to create fake social media accounts to tweet phrases to Radack like “tick tock,” in an effort to intimidate her. In one particular (and alleged) DM exchange, Fitzgibbon ponders opening an alternative Twitter account in order to publish “one of her [Radack’s] text to me a day.” NoxFemme goes on to advise him to use a “burner email” that’s “not connected to you at all,” to which Fitzgibbon responded, “#thesetup.”
THE CONSPIRACY THEORY THAT BROUGHT IT ALL TOGETHER
Weeks after the Butowsky meeting, Shadowbox started to show cracks in company morale. In October, NoxFemme sent out an email to the Shadowbox team stating that she was leaving in the company but a December 5, 2017 email from NoxFemme, Schoenberger, and Defango wishing Butowsky a Merry Christmas and giving thanks for all that he does for them, seems to indicate that NoxFemme, in fact, never left. The company appears to have died sometime in 2018.
What is known is the fact that it appears the Seth Rich conspiracy theory brought together a misfit of characters including Trump-supporting members of the alt-right/alt-lite that are connected to both the Trump administration and the intelligence community, Pizzagaters turned independent journalists, Fox News, a well-connected Texas financier, a disgraced PR guy, military contractors, people allegedly running the Cicada 3301 puzzle who also have ties to intelligence, as well as the White House via former Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
We wish we could say that the Seth Rich conspiracy theory was finally put to bed at the end of the 2017, but it’s alive and well whether it be because of pending lawsuits or newly released material on social media. Kim Dotcom also played a large role in the story and according to DMs forwarded to this investigation from one of Shadowbox’s co-founders, Fitzgibbon allegedly landed him as a client in early August 2017.
According to the message, if legitimate, Fitzgibbon was sent a link to a tweet written by Suzie Dawson, a fairly unknown New Zealand activist outside of the WikiLeaks and Occupy movements and mentioned in Vos’ 2017 article about Fitzgibbon:
It’s unknown what he meant by the “sunday thing,” but he seems to indicate that it’s both Dotcom and Dawson he wants to make happy, although that’s speculation. In any case, Dawson, along with a myriad of other players already covered in this series who played a role in the Trump campaign, Pizzagate, the Seth Rich conspiracy, the intelligence community, and/or the elected Trump administration, including Kim Dotcom and Elizabeth Vos, would go on to become one of the most controlling factors in the Julian Assange support community. And the question is, who let them in the henhouse?
Update: Since the publishing of this story, Schoenberger has reached out to clarify that Defango was never asked to be the voice of Cicada and that Michael Levine never owned the “spear of destiny.” He also claims that he personally gave NoxFemme roughly $30K in “archeological artifacts to match her investment” in Shadowbox which Schoenberger says “was not even close to $50,000.” Additionally, contrary to what “Trish the Dish” reported, NoxFemme has denied telling her the files she had in her possession might be the “Seth Rich” files.