“IT WOULD BE AN HONOR”
by Sharon Rondeau
Communication between Hannity and Dotcom began on May 20, when Dotcom tweeted that he possesses evidence showing that DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was shot in the early-morning hours of July 10 last year and later died, was the source of tens of thousands of emails from the DNC’s computer servers to WikiLeaks.
Rich’s job at the DNC was to oversee a voter-registration project. He was reportedly a supporter of Democrat presidential primary contender Sen. Bernie Sanders. As has been reported widely in secondary media, DC Metro Police have characterized the crime as a bungled robbery but have provided no details as to the basis of that finding.
Dotcom was a teenage internet entrepreneur and has admitted to hacking in the past. He founded a number of internet-based businesses from which he became wealthy. In 2014, he entered politics when he founded the Internet Party in New Zealand, where he has been a legal resident since 2010.
The mainstream media has systematically attempted to ridicule into silence anyone delving into the Seth Rich case, interest in which was renewed on May 15 by a local Fox television affiliate, Fox5. During the broadcast, a private investigator working for the Rich family stated that he had seen evidence that Rich had communicated with WikiLeaks by email.
On May 20, Hannity took note of Dotcom’s claim to evidence in the case and asked to see evidence of the claim, to which Dotcom responded, “I knew Seth Rich. I know he was the @Wikileaks source. I was involved.”
In a tweet on May 22, Hannity announced that he would be hosting Dotcom on both his radio and television programs in the near future. At the same time, Hannity recommended that his followers “follow” Dotcom for new developments.
The next day, Dotcom made an announcement on his website in which he stated, in part:
I know this because in late 2014 a person contacted me about helping me to start a branch of the Internet Party in the United States. He called himself Panda. I now know that Panda was Seth Rich.
Panda advised me that he was working on voter analytics tools and other technologies that the Internet Party may find helpful.
I communicated with Panda on a number of topics including corruption and the influence of corporate money in politics.
Hannity’s plan for Dotcom to appear on his FNC show, which he hosts nightly at 10:00 PM ET, was reportedly scuttled by his producers. One week ago in an open letter, Dotcom claimed that the producers apparently made their decision based on a “defamatory” letter written by the Rich family.
Dotcom asked the family to cease and desist its alleged defamation of him, which spilled over into an article on May 24 at The Washington Post strongly suggesting that Dotcom had attempted to hack Seth Rich’s extant Gmail account managed by his father, Joel.
A previous article by the same writer, Dave Weigel, has called speculation about Rich’s connection to WikiLeaks “fake news.”
On May 23, Hannity told his viewers that he would not report further on the Seth Rich case at the request of the family. On the same day, Fox News removed an article by award-winning journalist Malia Zimmerman which reported that a federal investigator had told her that Rich’s computer contained evidence of his alleged communications with Wikileaks.
The numbers of emails and attachments, respectively, which Zimmerman quoted the investigator as having confirmed as sent matched the numbers Wikileaks provided on its website on July 22, when it began releasing the incriminating DNC information.
The mainstream media delighted in the fact that the Fox article was taken down and that Hannity appear to have been silenced, although they continue to remind their readers that he is allegedly “peddling a conspiracy theory.”
“News” organizations including Media Matters for America, ThinkProgress, and Buzzfeed orchestrated an effort to pressure Hannity’s advertisers to pull their support because of his broadcasting about the Rich case. Seven capitulated to the pressure, with one, USAA, resuming sponsorship after Hannity’s supporters contacted the company en masse, with many canceling their policies.
While he was on vacation from May 25 through May 30, many wondered if Hannity would be terminated by Fox, with at least two reporters stating that Fox insiders affirmed that speculation. However, on Tuesday, Hannity returned to the airwaves and thanked his supporters for encouraging the advertisers who dropped his show to reconsider.
On Tuesday, Hannity hosted Melanie Morgan and Brian Maloney, both former radio show hosts themselves and developers of the new Media Equality Project, which is targeting the advertisers of left-leaning television hosts under the hashtag #StoptheScalpings and the slogan “Fight Fire with Fire.”
While the media have characterized Hannity’s interest in the Rich case as supportive of a “conspiracy theory,” they have discounted or not reported that:
- Dotcom came forward on Twitter stating he has evidence that Rich was a WikiLeaks source;
- Dotcom issued the open letter to the Rich family in which he stated that his evidence would be proved accurate if he is afforded the opportunity to present it to U.S. authorities; and
- Dotcom’s New Zealand defense team in a U.S. copyright-infringement case published its own letter to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III, with an offer for their client provide in-person testimony relevant to the FBI’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Although never having resided in the United States, the Obama Justice Department charged Dotcom with copyright infringement and other crimes for his operation of a cloud storage service, Megaupload, which he and four others founded. In January 2012, Dotcom’s assets were seized by the FBI and Megaupload shut down; he has been fighting extradition to the U.S. ever since.
In September 2012, the New Zealand government publicy admitted to illegally surveilling Dotcom, offering an apology for failing to protect his rights as a legal resident. Dotcom believes that the information was shared with the U.S. intelligence community in order for the Justice Department to prosecute its case against him.
New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain comprise the “Five Eyes,” which share intelligence information with one another purportedly in the name of national and international security.
Responding to a tweet of President Donald Trump’s, Dotcom wrote: