Rich or Russia, Why it’s Relevant

While the Rich family, for its own reasons, has succeeded in shutting down Fox News’ explorations concerning the murder of their son Rich, the issue is transcendental.  It affects both international relations and constitutional governance.  It impacts war and peace.  It impacts liberty or liberty’s suppression.  It requires resolution, whatever that resolution is, free from false reports but also free from suppression of relevant information.

As in the case of allegations of Russian responsibility for the unauthorized release of accurate and all too relevant information concerning the DNC, the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation during the 2016 presidential elections, allegations that a young DNC staffer was responsible for the leaks remains unproven.  In essence, in both cases only hypotheses exist (or what is a more fashionable description, “conspiracy theories).  The hysterical and hyperbolic assumption that one is accurate and the other false, in the absence of qualifying data and based solely on speculation, are as dangerous to world peace and constitutional governance as anything we’ve faced in the past half century.

Abandoning either investigation would be a serious mistake.  Just as mistaken is acting as though the Russian hypothesis has more validity than the Rich hypothesis, or visa versa.  The Russian hypothesis has been elevated to a pseudo-fact by the mainstream media and political establishment on a rare bipartisan basis and has the full support of the frequently discredited intelligence community.  The Rich hypothesis is a ridiculed orphan, all too often in modern times an indicia that it has merit those in power prefer not to delve into.  Neither yet has adequate “facts” to back it.

Apparently, in a rare show of concern for the victim’s family, something almost unheard of in modern journalism, Fox news (whose leaders, at least on the issue of Russian culpability and the desirability of conflict with Russia, join their counterparts in the mainstream media) has silenced a rare voice that dared to follow up on the possibility that the competing narrative has a greater probability of accuracy.  In essence the feelings of the victim’s family “trump” the public’s right to know information essential to its future.  Interesting.  That is directly contrary to the premises on which modern journalism is predicated, premises admittedly all too frequently abused for mere sensationalism and prurient entertainment value, but not in this case.

Hopefully, others will continue the quest and hopefully, find an answer.  For me, the most intriguing question is why WikiLeaks would contemporaneously offer a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of Seth Rich’s murderer if he were not the source of the leaked information; apparently more of an effort to find the murderer than has been undertaken by either local or federal authorities and with much more interest than has been demonstrated by the mainstream media.  In a case with much more real historical and practical impact than the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend and restaurant waiter Ron Goldman on June 12, 1994, the mainstream media’s comparative lack of interest appears deafening and I’m forced to wonder why.  I understand that to Democrats and to the mainstream media that renders me, not a citizen interested in the resolution of a critical case but a wacky conspiracy theorist.  If I took that concern seriously then I’d be as poor a civic activist and political analyst as, well, …  most purported civic activists and political analysts, at least on this issue.

Thankfully, at least for now, not everyone has abandoned the quest. Caitlin Johnstone, someone whom I’ve criticized in the past for expressing herself in language more flamboyant than persuasive but with whose conclusions I frequently agree and whose facts I find valuable, has written an interesting and perhaps important piece on the subject asking why “someone just edited Seth Rich’s Reddit post” (see https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/someone-just-edited-seth-richs-reddit-posts-b5f185b0aab).  Hopefully other credible journalists and perhaps, even law enforcement sources, will continue this very unpopular quest.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved

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