On July 10th, 2016, DNC poll worker, Seth Rich, was gunned down in a Washington D.C. suburb in the early hours of the morning. Within 24 hours of his death, a Reddit user using the handle, “Kurtchella,” posted a lengthy conspiracy theory that Rich may have been killed for having insider information about voter fraud perpetrated by the DNC. Their “conclusions” below:
After the murder and as online investigators clamored to post the latest conspiracy theory as to who hired the alleged hit, on August 9th, Julian Assange went public about Seth Rich for the first time during an interview with Dutch television. That same day, WikiLeaks posted a $20K reward for any information leading to an arrest for the unsolved murder.
Although you may only remember Assange’s first interview about Rich and WikiLeaks’ reward offering, the publishing outlet went on to mention Seth Rich more than a half a dozen times. On August 9th, they actually tweeted about the reward twice and the following day, surely because of the public interest generated by Assange’s interview, they issued a statement:
On August 11th, WikiLeaks tweeted about Brad Bauman, the “family spokesman” for the Rich family stating that he was a “professional Democrat crisis PR consultant with the Pastorum Group.” The Pastorum Group is the same “crisis” and PR management firm that absorbed clients from a former PR firm that had repped for Julian Assange called Fitzgibbon Media. The firm was shuttered over sexual harassment and assault allegations, the most serious of which was later filed by attorney, Jesselyn Radack. Although Radack has had two opportunities to tell her story under oath in front of a jury while being sued twice for defamation over her ongoing allegations against the firm’s owner, Trevor Fitzgibbon, she chose to settle in both cases. As for Seth Rich, two months after WikiLeaks tweeted about the Pastorum Group they posted:
Looking back now this tweet seems more like propaganda than anything else that served to fuel the Seth Rich conspiracy which, in turn, only benefited two people: Donald Trump and Julian Assange. The only reason why anyone would consider it bizarre for the Rich family to endorse the head of the DNC where Seth Rich worked is because you believed, or wanted others to believe, that the DNC ordered Rich’s murder.
For instance, although both Guccifer 2 and WikiLeaks documents revealed that the DNC manipulated the primaries against Bernie Sanders, a lot of Americans continued to support Brazile, Clinton, and the DNC. The Rich family’s support of Brazile wasn’t necessarily “bizarre.”
If Rich had worked at a sporting goods store and he was inexplicably murdered in the early hours of the morning, unless you believed or, again, wanted others to believe that his boss killed him, you wouldn’t think twice about his family endorsing his boss for being supportive. And frankly, what kind of person behind the WikiLeaks account, which has millions of followers, would mock the Rich family like this after they just buried their child? That’s perhaps more inexplicable than Rich’s murder. And yes, I openly and painfully admit that I initially fell for all of this back in 2017.
Keep in mind that we don’t know if Assange had his internet access back during this time period after it was cut by the Ecuadorian government during the U.S. elections so it’s technically unknown who wrote the tweet denigrating Rich’s parents. But it’s also well known that WikiLeaks crawled into bed with the far-right/alt-right in 2016, where the conspiracy seems to have spawned. Additionally, PSYOPS, manipulation of the masses, defamation, propaganda, and lawfare has become the playbook of choice used by both sides of the political spectrum ever since Gamergate hit the scene.
As a side note and for what it’s worth, I personally don’t believe that Assange in all of his interviews, statements and/or tweets meant that Seth Rich was WikiLeaks’ source. I firmly believe he was trying to convey the message that if Rich was killed because someone suspected (falsely) that he was their source, his murder was the perfect example of how dangerous it is not only for actual whistleblowers and leakers but for suspected ones, as well. With that said, after going back in time and re-researching events from 2016-2017, I think Assange could have been clearer in his message. I also think both he and WikiLeaks deliberately weren’t because the conspiracy worked in their favor, regardless if it was true or not.
A few weeks before WikiLeaks’ chastised the Rich family for endorsing Donna Brazile, on November 5, 2016, Ellen Ratner met with Julian Assange for three hours at the Ecuadorian embassy in London during which time he allegedly told her that Seth Rich was his source behind the DNC emails. According to Texan financier, Ed Butowsky, Ratner shared this information with him after which he wrote to her in mid-December (on the same day it was reported that the FBI agreed with then-CIA head John Brennan’s conclusions that the Russians interfered with the election), “Why don’t you speak up about email hack?”
After contacting the Rich family on or around December 17th, Butowsky wrote to Ratner again, “If the person you met with truly said what he did, is their [sic] a reason you we aren’t reporting it?” And no, just like Butowsky’s previous message sent to her, there is no evidence that Ratner ever mentioned Seth Rich.
Unfortunately, people hear what they want to hear. Take for instance this video of Ratner. Do you know how many people still believe that she mentioned Seth Rich during this interview but she never actually did? Never even hinted about him. And yet, conspiracy theorists, propagandists, and/or people who have no discernment as to what actual evidence looks and sounds like will watch the video below and two seconds later still make that insane claim.
Did anyone stop to think that maybe all Assange told Ratner was that he knew the DNC material didn’t come from the Russians or that he knew the source was an “insider” who hated Clinton? If the latter is actually true, then sure Butowsky and others are welcome to conclude that Assange was talking about Seth Rich but that doesn’t make it true, there’s no evidence to suggest it’s true, and ya’ll realize how many people work for the DNC and/or could be considered an “insider”? Ya’ll also know that WikiLeaks’ source could have led them to believe they were a DNC insider when in actuality that wasn’t true either?
Take this headline from December 11, 2016: “Julian Assange Associate: It Was a Leak, Not a Hack and the DNC Insider is NOT Russian.” If you actually read the article, Assange is never mentioned as saying that his source was a DNC insider. In fact, no one in the article says that but it was Assange’s associate, Craig Murray, who stated, “As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks.” These words originally came from an article that Murray published earlier that day. Five days later, Assange told Sean Hannity that “Craig Murray is not authorized to talk on behalf of WikiLeaks.”
A little over a month after Murray went public about what he believes were “insider leaks,” Ed Butowsky interviewed Sy Hersh about Seth Rich after former CIA analyst, Larry Johnson, put them in contact with one another. That interview wouldn’t be released for another six months, around the same time that a PR firm called Shadowbox (co-founded by Thomas Schoenberger and Beth Bogaerts, and included Trevor Fitzgibbon and Manny Chavez) obtained Butowsky as a client to improve his image over the conspiracy theory. But it was Cassandra Fairbanks, a journalist for the far-right media outlet Gateway Pundit, who allegedly leaked the interview. She was not a part of Shadowbox.
As we know now, on February 23rd, Butowsky reached out to D.C. private investigator, Rod Wheeler, and asked if he was interested in investigating Rich’s murder. Five days later, Wheeler met with Butowsky and Fox News reporter, Maria Zimmerman, the journalist who went on to write the infamous Fox News story about Seth Rich in May 2017 that was retracted seven days later. Butowsky and Wheeler eventually landed a meeting with then-White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, about Seth Rich sometime in late April 2017, but not before former Playboy model and bunny, Robbin Young, dropped what many considered a bombshell about the conspiracy that just wouldn’t die.
Disclaimer: Ten more pages of disclaimers to follow.
If you were mentioned in this article because your associate(s) did or said something stupid/dishonest, that’s not a suggestion that you did or said something stupid/dishonest or that you took part in it. Of course, some may conclude on their own that you associate with stupid/dishonest individuals but that’s called having the right to an opinion. If I’ve questioned something that doesn’t make sense to me, that’s not me spinning the confusing material you’ve put out. That’s me trying to make sense out of something that doesn’t make sense. And if I’ve noted that you failed to back up your allegations that means I either missed where you posted it or you failed to back your shiz up.
If I haven’t specifically stated that I believe (my opinion) someone is associated with someone else or an event, then it means just that. I haven’t reported an association nor is there any inference of association on my part. For example, just because someone is mentioned in this article, it doesn’t mean that they’re involved or associated with everyone and everything else mentioned. If I believe that there’s an association between people and/or events, I’ll specifically report it.
If anyone mentioned in this article wants to claim that I have associated them with someone else or an event because I didn’t disclose every single person and event in the world that they are NOT associated with, that’s called gaslighting an audience and it’s absurd hogwash i.e. “They mentioned that I liked bananas but they didn’t disclose that I don’t like apples. Why are they trying to associate me with apples???” Or something similar to this lovely gem, “I did NOT give Trish the thumb drive!” in order to make their lazy audience believe that it was reported they gave Trish the thumb drive when, in fact, that was never reported, let alone inferred.
That’s some of the BS I’m talking about so try not to act like a psychiatric patient, intelligence agent, or paid cyber mercenary by doing these things. If you would like to share your story, viewpoint, or any evidence that pertains to this article, or feel strongly that something needs to be clarified or corrected (again, that actually pertains to the article), you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
I cannot confirm and am not confirming the legitimacy of any messages or emails in this article. Please see a doctor if sensitivity continues. If anyone asks, feel free to tell them that I work for Schoenberger, Fitzgibbon, Steven Biss, the CIA, or really just about any intelligence agency because your idiocy, ongoing defamation, and failure as a human is truly a sight to behold for the rest of us.
This is an opinion piece about my own theories and viewpoint. You should research this story and events yourself and come to your own conclusions.
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