Where is Julian Assange? The WikiLeaks editor has not been seen via the Ecuadorian embassy window where he resides or made a verifiable live public appearance since October 3, 2016.
Since then, many events have transpired which call into question the legitimacy of WikiLeaks itself. No messages from Assange or WikiLeaks have been signed with a “PGP” – or “Pretty-Good-Privacy” – signature for some time. PGP signatures, used heavily by WikiLeaks in the past, are essentially a unique key generated to an individual or organization, able to verify identities through digital communications.
It’s a simple and effective way to show proof of identity and proof of well-being, yet time and time again WikiLeaks has refused the call from the public for Assange to sign something – anything – with a PGP signature.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Attempted break-in at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where Assange resides. At 2:47a.m., an unidentified man scaled the wall and window to the embassy and fled after being physically confronted by security. Ecuadorian police took over two hours to respond to the situation despite their station being only minutes away.
Throughout the month, attempts to character assassinate Assange as a pedophile and Russian spy were made. The attempts were unsuccessful with WikiLeaks fighting against the claims, eventually releasing a background of the character assassination in October and documents proving a blackmail attempt on Assange.
WikiLeaks on Twitter posts a tweet attributing Assange, saying he hopes to be publishing every week for the next 10 weeks. As of November 23, WikiLeaks has not published any leaks going on weeks.
In the morning, WikiLeaks releases Hillary Clinton’s paid Goldman Sach speeches. Afternoon, Pamela Anderson visits Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy. Note the final line of the article: “She then joked: ‘He said I tortured him with bringing him vegan food'”. A very odd choice of words considering everything that transpired in the days after.
Notably, this day is the final tweet from “@EmbassyCat” with Julian Assange’s internet access being severed at 5p.m. GMT.
John Kerry, Secretary of State, lands in London. Between 11:00-11:30p.m., WikiLeaks releases 3 pre-commitments.
Wikipedia explains a pre-commitment as “a strategy in which a party to a conflict uses a commitment device to strengthen its position by cutting off some of its options to make its threats more credible… Precommitment improves the credibility of a threat, either by imposing significant penalties on the threatening party for not following through, or, by making it impossible to not respond.”
As to the context of these WikiLeaks pre-commitments, we can only speculate. However, it’s safe to say that the situation involved U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry and Ecuador, where Assange was granted political asylum.
WikiLeaks announces Assange’s Internet was cut and that they have “activated the appropriate contingency plans.” @danrolle tweets: “I’ve spoken with 14 other @wikileaks task force members who have also experienced internet/phone outage.”
Ecuador admits to “restricting” Assange’s communications over the U.S. election.
A massive DDoS attack makes major Internet platforms and services unavailable to large parts of North America and Europe. It is the largest DDoS attack on record.
“A bloody year for WikiLeaks”
WikiLeaks reflects that three of their staff have died in 2016 – in such a short period of time at that.
WikiLeaks runs a poll on their Twitter concerning showing proof of life for Assange. The “video” option of the poll wins. Still, as of November 23, there have been no videos of Assange released. It really is as simple as recording a selfie holding up a currently-dated newspaper but nothing has come.
Statement released from Wikileaks on the status of Julian Assange, Ecuador and the U.S. election. Notably, there is no PGP signature included in the statement.
After being announced on CISL’s – a technology convention in Argentina – schedule as a speaker, Julian Assange phones into the convention and on October 27, WikileaksTaskForce tweets, reconfirming the validity of the appearance:
However, just like any of Assange’s other public “appearances” since his Internet was cut, website users have pointed out that the audio of his phone call is seemingly spliced together and Assange says nothing relevant to prove that this is current, new audio and ultimately fails as proof of life.
However, WikiLeaks has been scarce on leaks through November, releasing only the second batch of leaked DNC e-mails.
John Pilger releases his interview with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. Pilger has asserted the validity of the interview, saying it “took place inside the embassy on Oct 30”. However, both parties are not filmed together through the entire interview and – again – website users have made claims that Assange’s audio is spliced and edited and that no relevant information was referenced to prove that this was a new interview. Snopes even delved into the matter, asserting that 2 different online articles used the interview with Assange and Amy Goodman, quoted it and added fabricated dialogue. Snopes states that the interview itself was done by Pilger in August/September.
Again, this interview also does not provide adequate proof of life for Assange, either.
Pamela Anderson, again, visits the Ecuadorian Embassy to see Assange. Though the article, penned by Anderson herself, is littered with pictures – none are recent or show Assange during her visit.
WikiLeaks releases insurance files and the SHA-256 hashes do not match up with previous files tweeted in October. The hashes, used for identification when files were altered or changed, have little reason to change.
In the window of the Ecuadorian Embassy, Julian Assange’s cat appears wearing a shirt collar and candy-striped tie.
“I was not in the room [with Assange] myself”, tells Jennifer Robinson – Assange’s own lawyer.
Wikileaks addresses the hashes not matching and again purports of Assange’s well-being, stating Julian “appreciates the concern.”
The most telling aspect of this entire situation is WikiLeak’s refusal to do something so simple. Showing proof of life is not a tedious, drawn-out procedure mired with complexities.
It’s as simple as having Assange sign off on a message with a PGP signature, it’s a simple as snapping a picture of him holding up a currently-dated newspaper. WikiLeaks has countless options to show proof of life but so far have shown nothing.
UPDATE – 11/28/2016: Julian Assange gave a live phone-in interview to FCM16, Beirut on November 26 which can be listened to in full here. Notably, he referenced the death of Fidel Castro – meaning the interview was fresh and new, not old. However, with the interview being audio-only with no video of Assange, it’s hard to accept as 100% definitive proof of life. This interview is certainly more than we had before and it looks like Assange is – at the least – physically fine if he’s able to give phone interviews.
The question still lingers as to why he hasn’t signed anything with PGP – the only way to put this entire messy debacle to rest.
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