The Jury Talks Back

7/9/2019

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise: The Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory Was a Russian Disinformation Operation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:20 pm

So be proud if you spread it. (See below for plenty of comments on this very Web site from people who did.) You were doing the bidding of Russian trolls:

In the summer of 2016, Russian intelligence agents secretly planted a fake report claiming that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was gunned down by a squad of assassins working for Hillary Clinton, giving rise to a notorious conspiracy theory that captivated conservative activists and was later promoted from inside President Trump’s White House, a Yahoo News investigation has found.

Russia’s foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR, first circulated a phony “bulletin” — disguised to read as a real intelligence report —about the alleged murder of the former DNC staffer on July 13, 2016, according to the U.S. federal prosecutor who was in charge of the Rich case. That was just three days after Rich, 27, was killed in what police believed was a botched robbery while walking home to his group house in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C., about 30 blocks north of the Capitol.

. . . .

The Russian-inspired conspiracy theories also have had a devastating effect on the Rich family, especially after the theories migrated to alt-right websites and, ultimately, primetime Fox News shows. As they did so, there were repeated suggestions by alt-right commentators that the DNC staffer’s parents and brother were concealing information about his conduct.

We have had some commenters in recent times who fell for this crap. I won’t outright name anyone, but here are a few comments that appeared on this here Web site, just so you know I’m not making this up. For example, here:

damn that was unreadable stuff. Couldn’t get through the first paragraph. You Brennanites just seem so doomed.

And not a word about Seth Rich. Well, okay. Good luck with your little confused narrative. I can’t imagine who you find to latch onto that.

And here:

the sluts and tarts at the corrupt FBI aren’t even a wee tiny bit curious about Seth Rich’s murder

but spearphishing holy god america that gets their hot and horny blood pumping

Here:

I guess they will next be hired by bezos, the hill is also the ones there is nothing strange with the Seth rich matter.

And here:

Kim Dotcom says he was involved beginning, middle, and end, with the DNC email leak.
Can’t call it a hack because Seth Rich was an insider, supposed to use the DNC computer the exact way he did, as part of his job.

Here (copypasta of Roger L. Simon):

Further to this portion of the narrative is the overall question of putative Russian government hacking into the Clinton campaign. So far we have seen no public evidence that this is true. We have actually seen circumstantial evidence (the Seth Rich murder) to the contrary.

And here:

Seth Rich, the guy your evil hag had murdered, was the source of THE DAMAGING TRUTH reported by Wikileaks. How do we know this with not even a shadow of doubt? Because Rich forwarded the Hildabeast’s dirty laundry direct to Julian Assange’s director of films, Gavin MacFadyen. His computer was in London, outside of the Clinton’s sphere of control.

Here:

I know Patterico doesn’t hold Gateway Pundit in high regard, but this particular piece is well sourced, including with youtube videos of Assange denying that the Russians were his source. I would also remind everyone that Wikileaks offered a reward for info about the murder of Seth Rich, a DNC staffer. Alegedly, the motive was robbery, though nothing was taken. And if he was a Wikileaks source, that would explain why Wikileaks is offering a reward for his killer.

Yeah, or if Wikileaks were an arm of the GRU, that would explain why they made the offer, to drum up publicity about trolling bullshit from the Russian government.

Many of these people have been banned. I haven’t checked to see if they all have been. But all of them, banned or not, should be ashamed that they were doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin and repeating total horseshit tossed out there by the Russians to stir up the stupidest and most conspiracy-minded people in our midst.

I don’t know if anyone wonders why I don’t post much any more, but among a combination of non-political factors (a very busy work life, some time out of town, desire to get more sleep and spend more time with family), this kind of thing is part of it. The feeling that I have spent a large part of my life trying to push rationality, only to see this kind of conspiratorial nonsense gain a greater foothold in the minds of crazed partisans … it can make you wonder why you bother. It honestly can.

I haven’t given up entirely. I mean, I wrote this, didn’t I? And I’m heartened by the absolutely fantastic people writing on this Web site with me, and many of the excellent and common-sense commenters who remain.

But you can see how a guy can get dispirited. Can’t you?

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