27 06 2017

August 7, 2017 update:

The story about Faux news making up quotes they attributed to “FBI agents” has been all over the news lately, repeating the claim that “this was an armed robbery gone wrong.” What has barely been in the news is the investigation by Ray McGovern and Veteran Intelligence Professionals For Sanity, which involved “a forensic analysis of the metadata for the DNC’s computer server” and concluded that

on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.

After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016, intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device, and that “telltale signs” implicating Russia were then inserted.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East Coast of the U.S.

The article goes on to sketch out a rationale that explains why this was most likely done by a DNC insider, and not a Russian mole in the DNC. That story is beyond the scope of this one, and well told my Mr. McGovern. Its significance for this story is, obviously, that the DNC material was definitely leaked, not hacked. And, on reflection, I have understood that his parents may well be right, that Seth could not have been the leaker. He might simply have had the misfortune of knowing who the leaker was.

I certainly hope we find out the truth of this matter, along with a great many of its corollaries.

(This post has been edited and expanded slightly since I first posted it, since it has become part of my July radio show.)

I have a bit of a backlog of “must-read” links. By the time some of them reach the light of day, they are no longer relevant, because things can change a lot in a month. So, after reading Caitlin Johnstone​’s late-May piece “Someone Just Edited Seth Rich’s Reddit Posts,” I checked to see if there was any reliable more recent information that might help me determine whether the post was still noteworthy, or not.

After skipping over various right-wing sources that did not feel I could trust, I found a Newsweek article titled “Seth Rich Update: DNC Staffer Murdered by Serial Killer, Not in Botched Robbery, Report Claims.” The title, however, proved to be somewhat misleading, as I found when I read the article, which quoted a police report that said  “death was more likely committed by a hired killer or serial murderer.”

The article also cites a report by a group called “The Profiling Project,” which points out

“The murderer brought a most likely unregistered firearm to the crime scene, utilized the firearm and most likely carried the firearm away from the crime scene….That the crime scene appeared to be almost sanitized (no firearms casings were reported to be found, no physical evidence was reported), and that there does not appear to be excessive use of force (as only two shots were reported), the offender does not appear to be psychotic.”

Verrry interesting. Soon, however, “The Profiling Project” starts to spin the information. In this next quote, the first sentence is a reasonable statement, the second spins the facts, and the third deposits us in what looks to me like disinformation territory.

1)“With such a sanitized crime scene and no emotional indications,” the (police) report says, “this is not Offender[’s] first kill.”

2)As for the conspiracy theories, the Profiling Project says those are unfounded, given that Rich did not die immediately at the scene: “A professional killer, whose sole job would have been to terminate Seth, did not accomplish their mission prior to escaping.”

3)“If this were a professional hit person, they failed,” says Doherty, a team member. “Nothing we’ve seen supports [the theory of] an assassin.”

Here’s my take on statement number three– “if this was a professional hit person, they failed. Nothing we’ve seen supports the theory of an assassin.” The killer shot Seth in the back twice, at close range, in a part of his body where those shots were almost certain to cause fatal damage. If Seth, attacked from behind, and falling forward, never got to see his killer, why wouldn’t the murderer just collect his shell casings, make a quick getaway, and leave Rich with some time to think about it all as he bled to death? How’s that for torture?

As for the “serial killer” bit, unsolved homicides of white people are extremely rare in our nation’s capital. There were three in 2013, for example, the most recent year for which I could find statistics. If there is a serial killer loose in Washington, he (presumably) is an extremely occasional, albeit extremely professional, one, and it is simply an extraordinary co-incidence that the “serial killer’s” victim, in this case, just happened to be someone who, after his death, would become a central figure in a major political controversy that, a year later, shows no sign of resolution.

Seth Rich’s parents have repeatedly insisted that Seth not only did not have access to, but would not have known how to access, the kind of information he may or may not have shared with Wikileaks. They would like to be left alone to heal. As a parent who has lost an adult child, I have at least some inkling of their pain. They may be right about what Seth knew and didn’t know. Or, perhaps, as children of any age may decide, there were things he chose not to share with his parents. But, with him gone, there is no simple way to tell.

“The Profiling Project” is, itself, worthy of some scrutiny. It sounds like that noble group, “The Innocence Project,” which works at saving people who have been unjustly imprisoned.  I suspect that resemblance is intentional, but that that’s where it ends. “The Profiling Project” is an astroturf group, created by “The Publicity Agency.” Yes, that’s really its name. In some places, “The Profiling Project” is made to appear to be independent, a creation of Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman and some public-spirited Washington University students. “The Publicity Agency? What’s that?” But The Publicity Agency does provide the Profiling Project a place on its website, with a nod to Burkman, who was initially hired by the Rich family to investigate the case, but then fired when they didn’t like the sensationalist slant Burkman brought to the project–specifically, his claim that “the Russians” were behind Seth’s death. I’m not sure if that’s GOP paranoia or DNC paranoia!  Burkman’s unstated allegiances, and whether and why they may have shifted, are another part of the mystery here.

While I doubt the mainstream media/Democratic Party narrative on this story, I also find the GOP’s take on it noxious and exploitive in the extreme.  As with so many political battles lately, there are three sides–the GOP view, the DNC view, and what’s really going on, which doesn’t get near the exposure that the first two receive.

The Publicity Agency’s only other high-profile client was former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, when he was being prosecuted for trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest (Democratic Party) bidder. Although he was Governor at the time, Blagojevich doesn’t seem to have sold the Senate seat to Obama, but he apparently introduced the future President to shady Chicago Democratic Party fundraiser Tony Rezko, who was busted by the FBI and ended up doing serious prison time. Just what was his relation with Obama? Nobody’s talking. So many mysteries, so little time!

Back to “The Publicity Agency.” The Blagojevich case was serious dirty laundry for the Democrats. Blagojevich has largely been forgotten in the tsunami of more recent scandals. Indeed, you won’t find the guvvner’s name mentioned on TPA’s web site. The Rich murder is another very messy DNC-linked laundry item, and we have to ask why this particular “publicity agency” took both it, and the Blagojevich case.

How dirty is that DNC laundry? Consider this remark from DNC chair John Podesta

I’m definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it.


If a Mafia Don was quoted as saying “we need to make an example” of so-and-so, everybody would know exactly what he meant, and some of the boys would take care of it for him. Somebody made quite “an example” of Seth Rich, but who, and why? And, how dare I compare the DNC to the Mafia!??!

Ms. Johnstone’s post mostly points out the peculiarity of an unknown person messing with Rich’s Reddit account, which contains nothing at all compromising, long after his death, removing most of the information that would link the account to Rich , but what stuck out in her story for me, besides the peculiar fact that a dead man’s Reddit account was still on the internet a year post mortem and somebody thought it was worth messing with, was this:

Tensions between the United States and Russia have reached such insane heights that an expert analyst has said we are in more danger of nuclear annihilation in some ways than we were at the peak of the last Cold War, and the reasons being given to the public for those tensions are all based first and foremost on allegations that Russian hackers stole the Democratic party emails that were released by WikiLeaks. This isn’t just about Seth Rich; we’ve all got a stake in this thing.

And it looks to me like people with a very large financial stake in heating up a nice, distracting (if possibly lethal) conflict with Russia may be doing everything they can to keep the Seth Rich case murky and obscure as they stuff it down the memory hole.  As with so many news stories in this country, we are left with highly suspicious circumstances, an apparent intent to downplay and deceive by mainstream media, and a smoking, but unidentifiable gun. The mystery continues.

music: James McMurtry, “The Governor

music: Camper Van Beethoven, “Jack Ruby




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