Sound the cyberwar cannons. It has begun.
On Monday morning the WikiLeaks Twitter account sent out an urgent tweet to the masses:
Julian Assange’s internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 17, 2016
The Australian founder of the activist website, known for releasing leaked and classified documents, was apparently having a connectivity issue. How the internet link was severed is unclear.
While some immediately recalled seeing Hillary Clinton lurking outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London with a big pair of scissors, there were some alternate, equally valid theories.
— Deplorable?Alisande (@Alisand3) October 17, 2016
Its simple if Hillary has the power to silence Assange when she isn’t even president, imagine who she will silence when she is. #FreeJulian
— masterninja (@masterninja) October 17, 2016
Julian has, single handedly, changed the course of modern history by exposing corruption and deserves to be free. #FreeJulian
— Catalyst (@Catalyst_317) October 17, 2016
WikiLeaks has played a significant role in the current U.S. election. It released troves of documents from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in July, forcing the resignation of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz after tensions were revealed between the DNC and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The organisation is currently sharing emails stolen from the account of Hillary Clinton’s advisor, John Podesta.
WikiLeaks has not disclosed the origins of its documents, although some security officials have pointed to Russian hackers hoping to influence the U.S. election. The link has not been definitively proven.
Assange, for his part, has been living in the Ecuador Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces sexual misconduct charges. A United Nations panel recommended in February he should be allowed to move freely.
Assange has denied the most recent leaks were intended to damage the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, however WikiLeaks’s political sympathies have been called into question.
Still, never one to hold a grudge, Twitter has some tried and tested suggestions if Julian needs some help.
Hours earlier, the same Twitter account sent out three cryptic tweets, leading to fevered Reddit speculation Assange had died and the tweets were a “dead man’s switch” to be triggered on his demise.
Given the concern about his internet, that is presumably not the case.
The hashtag #FreeJulian is currently trending on Twitter.