Julian Assange has been missing since the internet outage on Friday and an official statement by WikiLeaks concerning his safety has only raised fears he has been captured or killed.
In the midst of growing concerns for Assange’s safety, WikiLeaks Editorial Board announced on Saturday they would issue a statement about their founder. However the statement, released late Sunday night, contains no new information about Assange, nothing to explain the recent suspicious behavior of the WikiLeaks account, and nothing that reassures supporters he is safe.
Social media users have been concerned for Assange’s wellbeing since last weekend when the Ecuadorian embassy unexpectedly cut off his internet access after the US government leaned on them to halt the flow of damaging leaks.
In the following week it wasn’t just Assange who had his internet cut – it was half the Western world. The Anonymous hacking collective contacted Assange and claimed responsibility – explaining it was an act of solidarity with WikiLeaks. But experts have poured scorn on the claim, stating that the DNS provider was taken down by an Internet of Things botnet similar to the Miria botnet – something Anonymous or a similar group would not be controlling.
It was massive-scale State-based hacking, and the word in tech circles is that the hack was a test on a single DNS provider – and as half of the US and UK can confirm, the test was successful. In the future – for instance if WikiLeaks drop a serious truth bomb – the state hacker will be able to attack every DNS provider, bringing the entire internet offline.
There are fears that Assange, recently the target of an exposed smear campaign with suspicious Democratic Party links, has been gotten to, kidnapped, and the American intelligence agencies are behind it in order to silence WikiLeaks and alternative media during this “fragile time.”
London City Airport, the closest airport to the Ecuadorian embassy, was completely evacuated at the same time as the internet outage, reportedly due to a “chemical scare.” The two unusual events, happening simulataneously, prompted fears Assange was captured and flown out of the airport. The fact Hillary Clinton attended a meeting in which she asked the room why they couldn’t just “drone the guy” means fears that US intelligence agencies have finally found a way to silence the man Hillary wanted droned are legitimate.
Reports that Hillary Clinton was serious about the question make it all the more important that WikiLeaks send a message with some kind of proof that Assange is still alive, still living and working in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and not on a secret military base in the hands of the CIA in North Carolina, as some internet sleuths have suggested.
The official WikiLeaks statement released late Sunday night has done nothing to quash these fears.
WikiLeaks supporters have been pointing out spelling mistakes and typos in WikiLeaks tweets since Friday, and claim that Julian Assange – known to operate the account – never made mistakes in the past.
On Facebook, one user screen-capped the tweets, and removed each letter that was incorrect. The incorrect letters spelled out a message that could have come straight from a Hollywood thriller: HILP HIM, or “help him,” if you replace the “i” with an “e”.
While a misspelt coded cry for help sent through misspelt words in tweets remains a long shot, the theory demonstrates the degree of fear among supporters that all is not well in the Ecuadorian embassy.
At time of going to press, the video option was the most popular proof of life option in the poll. However detractors point out that a video – regardless of what Assange says in it – will not actually prove Assange is safe and well. Take a look at this disturbing technology:
Followers of Wikileaks have repeatedly requested the organization to produce a PGP signed statement – essentially a digital signature – that supporters could use to verify that Julian Assange is alive and still in charge of the organization. But rather than producing the key – or even offering it as an option in the poll – WikiLeaks have taken the strange step of blocking some users making the request.