JUST IN: Julian Assange’s Internet Link Severed


Note: Article will be updated with new information as it becomes available. Updates will be found at the bottom

Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of the whistleblowing WikiLeaks organization, has reportedly lost his internet link due to the intentional actions of a “state party.”

Since its birth in 2006, Wikileaks has caused many headaches for political elites all over the world. Julian Assange has been trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK since 2012, having been granted diplomatic asylum on August 16, 2012. For the past several years, Ecuador has been seen as at least somewhat of a safe haven for those seeking to disclose the secrets of the elite to the public. However it seems as though the Ecuadorian government may no longer be the ally of freedom of speech that it is perceived to be.

Yesterday, October 16, Wikileaks placed three mysterious messages on Twitter:

The messages appear to be SHA256 strings for strong passwords, a common practice in the IT community used to create strong database passwords based on easily memorized words. However, looks can be deceiving, and constrained to only to characters that can be typed, the purpose of character strings can be difficult to discern. According to an obscure reddit user, “Wikileaks is tweeting out hashes. They’re not passwords to unlock a file, but a digital fingerprint to prove it’s authenticity. This is likely prep for future releases. Wikileaks will release files related to John Kerry, Ecuador, and the FCO. You can compare the hash of the file that you downloaded with the one in the tweet. If it doesn’t match, you know that your file is not authentic and was tampered. Hashes are useful for any downloads, particularly sensitive ones that Wikileaks releases.”

The numerous theories threw Twitter to spiral into rumors, with many asking “Is Julian Assange Dead?” because many had believed these were the result of a “Deadman switch,” a shorthand euphemism for an automatic protocol activated upon an unforeseen death. The truth became much clearer late into the night when WikiLeaks responded to the abounding theories.

A number of questions still go unanswered. Assange is not looked upon favorably by politicians who have skeletons worth discovering in their closets, and it comes as no surprise that actions are taken preemptively to prevent these skeletons from emerging. With the internet being his weapon of choice, and being confined to a relatively small area, removing Assange from the internet was an easy method of striking a blow to his whitleblowing community. It is expected that the aforementioned “state party” is Ecuadorian, as embassies maintain diplomatic immunity and executive decisions regarding network access cannot be easily made by the host country. In addition, the second of the 3 hashes released by WikiLeaks is labeled “Ecuador,” lending even more credence to the assertion that Ecuador’s government is involved in this decision. Impressively, WikiLeaks initiated a contingency plan for the incapacitation of the editor-in-chief.

The situation is tricky for both Assange and the Ecuadorian government, considering Assange is currently living within their embassy. The Ecuadorian state, like any other state, does not want their secret dealings revealed to the public. Assange, on the other hand, would be at a disadvantage should the embassy choose to no longer host him. The contingency plan may be a clever threat, whereas the only person who might stop the contingency plan is Assange himself, and he doesn’t have the required internet access to make that happen. Whatever the case, any actions taken by either side will lead to the revelation of information that the anxious public wants to know.

Wikileaks confirms Assange’s internet link has been severed, shortly after releasing Clinton’s Goldman-Sachs speeches


Update 2 October 18, 10:00AM EST:
Wikileaks is reporting that US Secretary of State John Kerry, had pressed Ecuador to stop allowing Assange to publish Clinton documents.

Update 3 October 19, 11:30 AM EST: Ecuador’s Government claims responsibility for severing Assange’s internet and released a statement which said in part

“The Government of Ecuador respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states. It does not interfere in external electoral processes, nor does it favor any particular candidate,”

“Accordingly, Ecuador has exercised its sovereign right to temporarily restrict access to some of its private communications network within its Embassy in the United Kingdom.”

“This temporary restriction does not prevent the WikiLeaks organization from carrying out its journalistic activities,”

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