Seth Rich and the Russian “Hack”

*Russia has collapsed (*not the country, the storyboard scribble conjured up by the desperate and wicked) and there is a growing pile of evidence that the DNC e-mails were not stolen via hack but rather were leaked from someone on the inside. In early August, within the space of a little over a week, two independently derived stories emerged that were totally ignored by the mainstream press.

On August 1st an audio recording emerged of well-respected journalist Seymour Hersh. (Although an exceptionally clear writer, Hersh’s characteristically rambling speech patterns can be difficult to transcribe, so listening to the audio can be useful for clarification). He had this to say about Russia:

I have somebody on the inside, you know I’ve been around a long time, and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy and he’ll do a favour. You’re just going to have to trust me. I have what they call in my business a long-form journalism, I have a narrative of how that whole fucking thing began, it’s a Brennan (Director of the CIA) operation, it was an American disinformation and fucking the fucking President, at one point when they, they even started telling the press, they were back briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, fucking cock-sucker Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Service, who leaked it. I mean all bullshit. They were telling the stupi-I worked at the New York Times for fucking years, and the trouble with the fucking New York Times is they have smart guys, but they’re totally beholden on sources. If the president or (unclear) the head of the CIA tells them something, they actually believe it. I was actually hired at the Times, to write, to go after the war, the Vietnam War in ’72 because they were just locked in. So that’s what the Times did. These guys run the fucking Times, and Trump’s not wrong. But I mean I wish he would calm down and had a better a better press secretary, I mean you don’t have to be so. Trump’s not wrong to think they all fucking lie about him.”

The New York Times has shown massive interest in *Russia, writing what likely amounts to hundreds of stories about the subject, so you’d think that if a tape emerged in which Seymour Hersh, the man who broke the My Lai Massacre story and one of their most celebrated former reporters, claimed to have a source confirming that Russiagate is “all bullshit”, The Times would have spent the next several days feverishly contending with and reporting on this new allegation. The mere existence of the tape should have been one of their top stories on August 1st; in the days following they could delve further into an analysis and investigation of its credibility. The fact that they ignored it makes it incredibly clear that they are not interested in *Russia in an objective, follow-the-facts-wherever-they-lead kind of way.

There’s another reason The Times and other establishment media ignored this story: Hersh identifies the leaker as one Seth Rich – “About the kid, I’ll tell you what I know” – lending credence to one of the most frowned-upon “conspiracy theories” of 2016/17.

Julian Assange, who has always insisted that Wikileaks was not given the DNC’s e-mails by Russia, cryptically hinted in an interview that Rich, a DNC staffer who was found murdered five days after the cyber theft operation, may have been their source; Wikileaks even posted a $20 000 reward for information on Rich’s unsolved murder. Naturally, those capable of the rudimentary connecting of dots pondered the possibility that he might have been silenced for information he possessed, or to send a warning to anyone else who might be thinking of messing with the DNC/Clinton Campaign. In an article from last May entitled ‘How the Murder of a D.N.C. Staff Member Fueled Conspiracy Theories’ The New York Times gives us this conclusive reason to go back to bed:

No credible evidence has emerged, however, that Mr. Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks.”

That was in May, but how would The Times deal with this? From their former reporter:

About the kid, I’ll tell you what I know. What I know comes off an FBI report. Don’t ask me how. You can figure it out, I’ve been around a long time. What they find is he makes cont- first of all this is what you have to know, you have to know some basic facts, one of the basic factors, in that there’s no DNC or Podesta emails that exist beyond May 22nd. May 21st, May 22nd is the last email from either one of those groups. And so what the reports says is that sometime late spring, early summer and he makes contact with Wikileaks. That’s in his computer and he makes contact. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC, and you know, by the way all this shit about the DNC, um, you know, whether it was hacked or wasn’t hacked, whatever happened, the Democrats themselves wrote this shit, you know what I mean? All I know is that he (Seth) offered a sample, an extensive sample, you know I’m sure dozens of email and said ‘I want money’. Then later Wikileaks did get the password, he had a Dropbox, a protected Dropbox, which isn’t hard to do, I mean you don’t have to be a wizard IT, you know, he was certainly not a dumb kid. They got access to the Dropbox. He also, and this is also in the FBI report, he also let people know, with whom he was dealing…I’ve also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problem.’ Ok. I don’t know what that means.”

If an innocuous memo (the Comey Memo) read by an anonymous source over the phone is front page breaking news for the Times, then how do they rate this? Or how about CNN? Since Van Jones was caught on camera (courtesy, once again, of Project Veritas) calling *Russia “a big nothing burger” and producer John Bonifield, also unaware he was being recorded, said it was “mostly bullshit” (there’s that word again) before explaining that the whole thing was really about ratings, you would think that CNN would be hungry, longing, Jimmy Stewart on a bridge at Christmas desperate for redemption – It’s not too late, Tapper! For journalists hungry to uncover the truth about Russia and the US election it doesn’t matter if Rich’s murder is completely unrelated (and Hersh’s opinion is that the police’s botched robbery theory is likely correct), what is relevant is that Hersh’s FBI source attributes to Seth Rich a role that US Intelligence attributes to Russia.

But what about those intelligence agencies who have assured us, on the basis of forensic evidence and analysis we the public can’t see, that the DNC was definitely hacked by “the Russians” who then handed Wikileaks the e-mails? That’s where our second early August story comes into play.

On August 9th The Nation published an article about the results of comprehensive forensic work done on the DNC incident by an organization called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), which is a group of well credentialed and experienced former intelligence officers that formed during the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Their critical analysis of the intelligence being touted by Colin Powell in his silly presentation to the UN as absolute proof that Iraq possessed WMD’s, as well as various other claims being disseminated by government officials and their media squawkers, have stood the test of time.

But why let an organization being correct in the past prevent you from ignoring them in the present?

After all, if you only consume establishment media sources, you only know of the one forcefully asserted *Russia hypothesis, and we are told that to reveal the evidence would be to endanger national security. It is the role of an unbiased media to investigate, thoroughly, all valid leads, and, as in the case of Hersh, VIPS cannot simply be ignored. These are experts at the top of their fields, and when dealing with them, it is the job of a journalist to show first deference and then skepticism when presented with their findings.

At least VIPS presents us with their case against the hack and for the leak, giving us a chance to evaluate their conclusions, something that the official government sources have refused to do. According to their (VIPS) analysis it turns out that the DNC’s files were being transferred out at an impossibly high rate in 2016 (and likely even now), with the likelihood of such rapid transference being even further outside the realm of the possible if the hack originated in Romania, as Guccifer 2.0 claimed. No matter; the attack appears to have come from somewhere in the Eastern Time Zone, which includes Washington DC, the home and place of employment of…Seth Rich. The transfer rate is more consistent with a USB-2 flash device – a device one might use if one had direct access to a DNC computer, like an employee…which, of course, would include Rich.

Here we have two stories, occurring in early August, that contain complimentary elements which only the most ardent coincidence-theorist could successfully explain away. There is no mention of Seth Rich in the Nation’s August 9th article, and VIPS makes no mention of him elsewhere. In fact, VIPS’s memorandum for The President upon which the article is based is dated July 24th, so it can’t be said that VIPS’s leak-not-hack theory was hastily thrown together to bolster Hersh’s audio which emerged on August 1st. It doesn’t work the other way, either: The recorded conversation happened prior to June 2nd. Hersh had no idea he was being recorded, and only begrudgingly admitted that it was indeed his voice, refusing to comment or elaborate. In fact, on July 31st, Hersh told NPR, who was writing a story discrediting wealthy Trump supporter and financier for an independent investigation into Rich’s murder Ed Butowsky, that “I hear gossip. [Butowsky] took two and two and made 45 out of it.” The Washington Post, also eager to portray Butowsky as an agent of Trump and Putin who was using Rich to cast doubt on *Russia, was happy to drop this quote in an article published after NPR’s on the same day (Aug 1st). Luckily Butowsky quickly shared his sneaky little recording later that day, revealing that Hersh was in possession of more than just “gossip”, although those same media outlets were – surprise! – not so eager to report on this new information. Now as for Hersh’s behaviour here, that is a rabbit hole for another day…get back to me if you have any theories.

The DNC actually responded to the Nation’s article:

We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed

in England and in Ireland, not confessing

their cruel parricide, filling their hearers

with strange invention.”

Oh, sorry, that was greedy usurper Macbeth, accusing innocent people of his crime, and of Shakespeare’s 17th century equivalent to the conspiracy theory, “strange invention.” Not sure how that got there, but I’m sure the DNC will do much better at sounding less comically guilty:

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.”

And the Strange Invention Award goes to…