It is approaching six weeks since Julian Assange suddenly disappeared and WikiLeaks supporters are growing increasingly frantic and disillusioned with the organization for failing to follow through with promises to verify their founder’s safety and wellbeing.
There is a growing belief that WikiLeaks haven’t proved Julian Assange is alive and well because he is not alive and well – and if that is the case then WikiLeaks, the world’s premier speakers of truth to power, has been compromised.
Here are Dark5’s reasons why WikiLeaks supporters are fearing the worst.
5. Altered Hash
To protect Julian Assange, WikiLeaks has been maintaining encrypted files that are supposedly damaging to world governments. Some now believe something weird is happening after updates to these insurance files have failed verification tests. The passwords to these files are allegedly linked to a “dead man’s switch” and will be released if the Wikileaks founder is ever captured or killed.
With each update WikiLeaks verifies the files using a “hash” code that would change if any information had been altered. The latest “2016-11-17” files, however, failed to match a pre-released hash and has raised concern among many supporters that WikiLeaks has been compromised.
WikiLeaks tried to calm fears but skeptics worry a hostile actor may be corrupting the files and spreading false information.
4. Internet outage
The altered “hash” controversy is closely linked to an alarming flurry of tweets sent by Assange or WikiLeaks in mid-October in which pre-commitments were sent for files that seemingly threatened the U.S., Ecuador and the U.K. governments.
Some believe Assange may have released the information in a hurried panic before he was seized or harmed in a raid. The following day WikiLeaks stated that Assange’s internet had been “intentionally severed by a state actor.” The organization then cryptically claimed they had “activated the appropriate contingency plans” without elaboration.
WikiLeaks supporters outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London photographed a new and heavily armed “police” presence.
Even if Assange is merely cut off from the internet, many are wondering why he can’t communicate online via a cellphone. He has yet to be seen alive on video since the chaotic incident and has supposedly “appeared” via voice only once on a phone call to a software conference in Buenos Aires. The call was rife with technical difficulties and many believe the interview was not actually live as claimed, but rather pre-recorded. Assange didn’t respond naturally to questions or delays due to technical problems.
Assange could easily make an appearance at his window to reassure the world he is alive and safe, but only his “Embassy cat” has been seen and photographed by observers.
The WikiLeaks twitter account has tried to fill the void left by Assange, but some worry the account may also be under hostile control.
It continues to assure that Assange is alive, yet has ignited requests to verify the statements with his PGP private key. After conducting a poll as to how supporters would like it to verify Assange’s wellbeing, it failed to follow through with the proof.
The recent bizarre activity of the WikiLeaks twitter account has only reinforced rumors of a conspiracy to discredit the group. Since Assange went dark, many tweets have been made in an unusual tone and have delved into unusual territory.
Tweets have been rife with uncharacteristic spelling mistakes, and including vague, ominous, and self-aggrandizing statements. WikiLeaks followers have been left wondering who the new voices belong to, because they don’t sound at all like Assange.
DDoS attacks have also been launched in the U.S. to take down popular websites, supposedly in support of WikiLeaks.
Some fear that if Assange has been harmed, a campaign is under way to distract the public and block the release of damaging new files.
1. Court “Appearance”
Even the one “official” appearance that could have proved Assange is still alive is clouded in confusion and mystery.
Assange was scheduled to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors the day after his Internet was cut in October, but it was suddenly rescheduled for the following month to supposedly allow his lawyer to attend.
At the November interview, however, his lawyer was not allowed to enter the building and Sweden was only allowed to submit questions in writing. Sweden planned to take a DNA sample from Assange for their investigation, but it is not known if they ever saw him in person.