Julian Assange, the exiled founder of the site WikiLeaks has eluded that Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich was murdered because of his whistleblowing work.
Assange was interviewed on the Dutch program Nieuwsuur from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has remained holed up in London since 2012. Assange, an Australian, has been unable to depart from the embassy due to the accusations in both the United States and Sweden for publishing secret documents he received from his sources in the United States, and for rape allegations in Sweden.
The United Nations has deliberated Assange’s detention in its Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as a person who has been “arbitrarily detained.”
While Assange, a journalist and computer programmer has been charged with hacking in his mother country of Australia, he also worked with the Victoria Police Child Exploitation Unit to prosecute those exploiting children. He also won the Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal, which Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama were also recipients.
While he lauds the Internet, he also has described it as the “most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen.”
He formed WikiLeaks in 2006, which came under fire in 2010 with Attorney General Eric Holder, who the following year had eyes on him for Contempt of Congress. Republican representative Pete Olson (R-TX) proposed the Articles of Impeachment for Holder in 2013 for a range of issues including perjury and by 2014, Holder resigned for “personal reasons.”
During his tenure as U.S. Attorney General, Holder actively attacked journalists with leak-prosecutions, including Associated Press reporters, and Holder later recused himself from leak investigations, after initially stating that journalists could not protect their sources and were potentially liable for criminal contempt.
Wikileaks has since posted a $20,000 reward for any information leading to Rich’s murder.
Seth Rich was a DNC staffer gunned down in Washington D.C. on July 10. Though Rich’s family does not wish to add to what they consider the conspiracy theories in their child’s death, Joel Rich, his father, hopes that a reward from WikiLeaks will help to find Rich’s killer.
Rich, age 27, died prior to the release of WikiLeaks’ emails on July 22, which implicated Debbie Wasserman Schultz, then DNC Chair with collusion in the organization to oust Bernie Sanders as the nominee. Wasserman Schultz stepped down from her DNC post following the release of the emails and was hired on to work directly with the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Wasserman Schultz and Clinton were the first to provide public commentary about Rich’s murder, which has been blamed as a botched robbery, yet nothing of Rich’s was stolen, though he was shot twice in the back.
On July 12, Hillary Clinton said following his death, “Just this past Sunday, a young man, Seth Rich, who worked with the Democratic National Committee to expand voting rights, was shot and killed in his neighborhood in Washington. He was just 27 years old. Surely we can agree that weapons of war have no place on the streets of America.”
Wasserman Schultz said about Rich, who was the DNC voter expansion data director, “Our hearts are broken with the loss of one of our DNC family members over the weekend. Seth Rich was a dedicated, selfless public servant who worked tirelessly to protect the most sacred right we share as Americans – the right to vote.”
What Assange commented in the Dutch news broadcast released on Aug. 9 about Rich, noting the dangers that those who furnish information to WikiLeaks face and:
“A 27-year-old that worked 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 DC.”
When the Dutch reporter countered that it was “just a robbery,” Assange responded, “No, there’s no finding.”
The reporter, interrupted Assange and asked, “What are you suggesting?”
“I’m suggesting that our sources take risks and they become concerned to see things occurring like that,” Assange answered.
When asked if Rich was one of Assange’s sources, Assange nodded gently yet responded, “We don’t comment on who our sources are.”
The reporter pressed why Assange would mention Rich and he replied, “Because we have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States, and that our sources are, our sources face serious risks, that’s why they come to us so that we can protect their anonymity.”
“It’s quite something to suggest a murder,” the reporter fired back, “that’s basically what you’re doing.”
Assange noted that others have suggested murder as a motive in Rich’s death and that WikiLeaks is investigating what has happened in Rich’s case.
He described Rich’s murder as a “concerning situation” and his sources are concerned “when that kind of thing happens.”
On Aug. 10 WikiLeaks tweeted that its policy is not to “confirm or deny sources,” and would not “imply that Seth Rich was a source to WikiLeaks or to imply that his murder is connected to our publication.”
The day prior, WikiLeaks shared an NBC article that it would furnish “$20K Reward for Information in Murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich.”
WikiLeaks Offers $20K Reward for Information in Murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich https://t.co/c0YARaemzL
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 9, 2016
Yesterday, WikiLeaks tweeted that “Seth Rich’s new ‘family spokesman’ is Brad Bauman, a professional Democrat crisis PR consultant with the Pastorum Group.”
According to Bauman’s LinkedIn Profile, he worked for the Office of Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) from 2010 through 2011, and acted as Kilroy’s Communications Director for seven months in 2008.
He was Campaign Manager for Peter Franchot for Comptroller in 2006 and worked as Communications Director for Office of Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) from 2007 through 2009.
He was also the Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Ryan, who Bauman represented, was reported as one of Clinton’s picks for vice president.
Though Kilroy, who Bauman also worked for, does not show as strong a connection to Clinton as Ryan, she shared a C-SPAN video of Clinton in 2015 in a Facebook post noting, “Hillary Clinton delivers major policy speech with a strong message.”
However, like Clinton, Kilroy has practiced as a lawyer and was seeking to become a judge for the Franklin County Court of Appeals. While her website has been disabled, click here and here for snapshots of it. Though a candidate, Kilroy did not win the seat.
Franchot, with whom Bauman was also employed, Maryland’s Comptroller, backed Clinton’s campaign in Oct. 2015, instead of the state’s former governor, Martin O’Malley.
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