Thursday, October 31, 2019

What we still don't know about Seth Rich


The known facts of Seth Rich's murder were more or less established within hours by the local media.

"A 27-year-old man who worked for the Democratic National Committee was shot and killed as he walked home early Sunday in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Northwest Washington, D.C.," NBC Washington reported.

The shooting occurred after 4 a.m. on Sunday, July 10, 2016. Rich had been talking to his girlfriend on the phone before the shooting.

"There had been a struggle," said Seth's mother, Mary Rich. "His hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything." She added, "They took his life for literally no reason."

Killers always have a reason. In the case of this young DNC programmer, the media did not want to know what that reason was.

Twelve days after Rich's death, WikiLeaks began releasing emails swiped from the DNC. Although mainstream journalists did their best to deny Rich was involved with those emails, WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange kept making suppression difficult.

Four weeks after the shooting, Assange said on Dutch TV, "Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks. There's a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington."

When the show host insisted it was a robbery, Assange corrected him, adding, "I'm suggesting that our sources take risks."

One insider who took Assange seriously was former DNC head Donna Brazile. In her 2017 book "Hacks," Brazile tells how Assange "dropped his smirk" when talking about the risks his sources took.

Rich's murder obsessed Brazile. "All I could think about was Seth Rich," she writes. She wonders whether Rich had been killed by "someone who had it out for Democrats" or whether the Russians had "played some part in his unsolved murder."

Another possibility Brazile considers is whether Rich "was murdered for being white on the wrong side of town." She mentions Rich on a dozen different occasions and dedicates the book to him.

In fact, Rich was not on the wrong side of town when killed. He was in a neighborhood where an average home price is about a million dollars. If he were providing Assange data, the Russians had no reason to kill him; and if someone "had it out for Democrats," there were a lot fatter targets than Rich.

The media, however, refused to investigate a case that alarmed even a DNC insider like Brazile because no likely result had useful political value, including Brazile's "being white" theory.

"What seems painfully obvious to his family is that Seth Rich was, instead, the victim of a botched holdup," the Washington Post insisted six months after the shooting. Yet, of course, the "robbers" took nothing.

The Metropolitan Police were still refusing to show a grainy video of the two assailants or to share Rich's comments in the two hours he lived after the shooting. As to why it took Rich nearly three hours for him to walk the 30 or so minutes from a local bar remains anyone's guess.

The police attributed their silence to fear of compromising "an ongoing investigation," but the Post editors had no excuse for failing to probe what the reporter called the "curiosities" of this case.

As an optimistic New York Times would admit in 2017, investigating Rich's death would provide "an alternative narrative to the cascade of damaging revelations about the Trump administration's ties to Russian officials who meddled in the presidential election." With the cascade selling newspapers, the Times was not about to get in the way.

Unlike the media, Robert Mueller thought Seth Rich worth discussing. The Mueller report quoted Assange at length about his insinuation that Rich was a source.

"According to media reports," Mueller's people wrote, "Assange told a U.S. congressman that the DNC hack was an 'inside job,' and purported to have 'physical proof' that Russians did not give materials to Assange."

Given his importance to the investigation, Mueller's crew should have interviewed Assange first. They did not interview him at all. Can't let that "alternative theory" go bouncing around when the fake ones do just fine.


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