Sending a signal the meaning of which cannot be mistaken, Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, has posted a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the killer of Seth Rich, the DNC Data Director who was murdered in July, in a puzzling crime in which nothing was taken, casting doubt on robbery as a motive.
Per Wikileaks' standard practice of never identifying the sources of the leaked documents it publishes, Assange took refuge behind the policy when asked by an interviewer whether or not Seth Rich was the source of 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails, which were made public by Wikileaks just before the Democratic convention. The emails embarrassed the DNC mightily by proving that the DNC leadership was working to assure the nomination of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders as the Democratic presidential nominee.
Asked directly whether Rich was the source of the leaked documents, in the interview with Dutch media outlet Nieuwsuur, Assange declined to answer by repeating his standard answer to any questions about Wikileaks sources, "We don't comment on who our sources are."
But when pressed by the interviewer on why Assange would make the link between Wikileaks and the murder, by offering the $20,000 reward, Assange said carefully: "We have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States, and that our sources take serious risks when they come to us so we can protect their anonymity..."
Assange then said tantalizingly, "A variety of Wikileaks sources are concerned when that kind of thing happens."
Wikileaks has never before involved itself in an ongoing criminal investigation in this manner. Washington DC police have said that they are at this time operating under the theory that the murder was a botched robbery, although nothing was taken from Rich, who was found with his wallet, watch, and cellphone still on him. Rich was beaten and shot multiple times, including twice in the back.
In response to the news of the Wikileaks reward money, Assistant D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said, according to the Washington Post, that “at this time we don’t have any information to suggest” a connection between Rich’s killing and the WikiLeaks data.
Newsham welcomed the Wikileaks reward, saying “We are very pleased if anyone is going to assist us with the giving of reward money.”
Julian Assange Interview, August 9, 2016
Rich, 28, was the Data Director for the DNC's Voter Expansion Project. He was hired by former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who was forced to resign in the middle of the Democratic convention after the DNC emails became public.
The emails revealed a DNC leadership firmly committed to helping Hillary Clinton in her quest to become the Democratic Party's nominee for president, and already treating her as the presumptive nominee long before important primaries had taken place. In a leaked email from Wasserman-Schultz to DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda, dated May 21st, Wasserman-Schultz writes of a Sanders' promise to replace her as chair of the DNC if he is elected:
"This is a silly story. He isn't going to be president."
The Wikileaks offer of a reward comes after Assange has taken pains to refute an accusation by the DNC that the Russian government was behind the leak of the DNC emails, in order to help the campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump, by embarrassing the DNC. Assange accused the DNC of devising a ruse to implicate the Russians, by playing a "conflation trick."
Assange told NBC News' Richard Engels in an interview on July 25th:
"there is a conflation trick going on here. The DNC's cybersecurity experts have said for years that it is insecure, and the RNC as well. So it has been hacked for years on and off. Have some of the hacks which have been related to the DNC, have some of those been related to Russia? I don't know, we haven't looked into that. But that has nothing to do with the emails that we have released. The emails that we have released are different sets of documents than the documents that those people have analyzed."
Assange said the DNC ruse to blame the Russians was intended as a "diversion" from the content of the emails.
The death of Seth Rich was followed by another puzzling death near the realm of DNC politics, that of Shawn Lucas, an election integrity activist who served papers upon the DNC in a fraud lawsuit, and posted a video of the occasion on Youtube, to the delight of many Bernie Sanders supporters. On August 3rd a friend of Lucas' posted on his own Facebook that Lucas had been found dead that day, of unknown causes. It was at first said that Lucas "died in his sleep," which later changed to his girlfriend finding him on the bathroom floor.
That same week, prominent election integrity activist and attorney Cliff Arnebeck posted in an open letter to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden saying that his life had been threatened, by an associate of former Bush chief of staff Karl Rove, with whom he has been battling in court over election fraud for years. In 2008, a star witness for Arnebeck, who was set to testify in a landmark election fraud lawsuit challenging the outcome of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, was killed in a small plane crash. Arnebeck contends that elections are rigged by a cross-party apparatus of operatives and election officials who can determine elections according to the needs of a powerful American oligarchy.
Seth Rich was widely mourned in Washington and was praised and remembered by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in a speech after the convention. He was by all accounts beloved and respected, for his sense of humor and commitment to social causes. Upon his death his brother spoke of Rich's idealism, saying:
“He was truly out, I think, to try to save the world..He was committed to whatever cause he thought was right.”
Rich volunteered for the Humane Society in his little spare time and had fun being seen bicycling across Washington DC in a panda suit.