Update (11/29/2016): Even after interviews Assange still not confirmed alive. Wikileaks continues to claim absoutley nothing is wrong while recent leaks are public knowledge.
Wikileaks, the Internet’s beloved source of free, open, honest and integrity-signed information, well at least that’s what is used to be. Just last month Wikileaks celebrated its 10 year anniversary, celebrating being online for over 10 years and publishing over 10 million documents with 100% accuracy. However, the once powerful truth machine is having quite a hard time authenticating its recent dumps, press releases, and no one has actually seen Assange alive for well over a month now.
There is more than reasonable belief that Wikileaks has been compromised. By who? No one is quite sure, but it is believed a third-party actor could be involved. And when we say Wikileaks has been compromised, we are talking about the foundation, including their website and Twitter.
How has Wikileaks potentially been compromised?
As I am sure we are all aware, both Wikileaks and it’s founder, Julian Assange, have been quite hot topics in the media lately. Rightfully so as they have been leaking vital information related to the recent US election. Now if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, the Wikileaks foundation received a copy of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails. The emails that the FBI have dismissed in part with extra emails they originally “missed.”
Starting just last month, things over at Wikileaks started to get a little out of the ordinary. The foundation began showing a new face it hadn’t shown once in its last 10 years and the community has quickly taken notice. Not only this, but Assange has not been seen alive in well over a month. Not within the embassy, not near the Windows, nowhere and there has been zero verifiable evidence of his location.
Wikileaks has not been the same since Assange’s Internet was Mysteriously Cut in October
For those who have not been following the Wikileaks saga closely, there has been quite a large amount of facts and misinformation following the case. So lets backtrack to where this all began, right in the middle of October.
Back on October 15th of this year, the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, unexpectedly lost all form of digital communication. Shortly after, outrage and fear sparked as Assange’s wellbeing instantly became unknown, and the Wikileaks foundation immediately began investigating.
According to Wikileaks, Assange’s Internet was abruptly cut on October 15, 2016 at 5PM GMT. The organization said it occurred shortly after the publication of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches. A leak that proved Hillary had done paid speeches for the mega-bank, with an official transcript being leaked.
After Assange’s Internet dropped for “unknown reasons,” Wikileaks went on to explain that “Julian Assange’s internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party.” Further acknowledging “we have activated the appropriate contingency plans.”
Following the date Assange’s Internet dropped, both the Wikileaks foundation and their Twitter have been acting quite irregular.
Shortly after Assange’s Internet had been severed, the Wikileaks foundation sent out a series of cryptic tweets (October 16th):
*These are a bundle of SHA256 hashes
An unexpected drop in hashes is not something Wikileaks has a history of doing, especially in the fashion they dropped. Without any context from the foundation, the community has had to interpret these hashes for themselves, leading a majority to concluded this is an encryption commitment scheme. To date, these have still not been confirmed.
Following the drops, the community has gone into investigation mode to try and identify what these could be related to. After scanning the Wikileaks site and even the Wikileaks insurance torrent, none of the hashes match up. People even speculated that the drops could have been the official keys or passwords to the encrypted files within the Wikileaks insurance torrent, however, this turned out untrue as well. Meaning these hashes have nothing to do with the information that is currently published.
It is clear that precommitment is being used, presumably as a deterrent to retaliation from an opponent. From Wikipedia: “Precommitment is 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. Any party employing a Strategy of Deterrence faces the problem that retaliating against an attack may ultimately result in significant damage to their own side.”
Was Assange captured/extradited?
Internet capabilities were to be restored to Assange following the election, however, he has still not been granted access to any network capabilities.
People believe cryptic the tweets could have been Assange’s cry for help. Following these drops there has still been no official statement from the new Wikileaks Twitter controller. After the foundation said a state party had intentionally severed his connection and in-turn they activated the appropriate contingency plans. Is this not indirectly acknowledged a dead mans switch?
What’s significant about these cryptic tweets is the mention of John Kerry, the current secretary of state. Kerry just happened to be near London during the time Assange’s connection dropped. According to news outlets, Kerry was there to allegedly renew Syrian peace efforts. However, Wikileaks reported: “BREAKING: Multiple US sources tell us John Kerry asked Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing Clinton docs during FARC peace negotiations.”
After that hit, Wikileaks dropped yet another bombshell: “The John Kerry private meeting with Ecuador was made on the sidelines of the negotiations which took place pricipally on Sep 26 in Colombia.”
During this time supporters of Wikileaks actually responded to Assange’s presumed dead mans switch by meeting outside the Ecuadorian embassy Assange has been stuck in since 2012. One supporter setup a live stream using periscope which had accumulated several thousands of viewers and abruptly lost connection for unknown reasons. Several attendees outside said the stream dropped once an “unnamed crew” showed up and entered the embassy. That same person hasn’t used their Twitter account since that night, October 19-20th.
Again, Assange was never seen during this time.
A couple of days following this Wikileaks randomly tweeted: “PHOTO: Heavily armed ‘police’ appear outside Ecuadorian Embassy in London where Julian Assange has political asylum (photo, Tuesday morning)”
The foundation unexpectedly tweeted out this information. As well, during this time there have been reports that people in neighboring areas of the embassy have had SWAT confiscate their phone and bar entry into streets neighboring the embassy. People have been discussing this online and on Twitter as well.
Was Assange Privately Flown out of London
Now this is one we won’t entirely dissect here as it is just massive. But according to publicly crowd-sourced information from Reddit, private jets from military bases tied to the CIA in London were being flown out at the exact times Assange was believed to have been detained. There are even images on public flight maps and radars showing the private jet taking off from its base and landing in a military base in the USA. The radar showing the plane eventually went down, now only images detailing the flight are available.
The Reddit comments give an even deeper dive into multiple airports, the actual plane Assange could have been extradited on, and where he could actually be.
Wikileaks Twitter Takes a New & Biased Look on Politics
One core principle behind the Wikileaks foundation is their usual unbiased outlook. Regardless of where the leaks came from, which country it may affect or who they may hurt, Wikileaks will always publish documents they receive.
As the leaks were targeting the presidential election, it’s extremely important that Wikileaks keeps an unbiased outlook. This was one of the great things Assange promised before the Hillary leaks even began dropping. The foundation has stuck beside this core message for the past 10 years, but not so much in the past month.
Following Assange losing Internet, the Wikileaks Twitter quickly began to take a quite bias outlook. Mind you, Wikileaks Twitter used to be just a long list of leaks and links, acting almost robotic with no opinion. Somewhere the foundation took a complete 180 and went from never liking a post and rarely sharing articles, to resharing bias Politico articles as well as liking and unliking bias tweets over time. Not only this but the Twitter account even began making veiled threats.
This is not common Wikileaks activity and has never been expressed in the past 10 years.
Podesta Emails Losing Heat While Email Numbers Not Matching Up
It’s no secret that the earlier Podesta leaks contained things we had never once imagined in politics, but it’s as if the recent leaks have lost their sensation. Undoubtedly less people will be following the leaks now that the election has wrapped up, but it’s almost as if the new leaks contain less and less information.
Not only have they been losing steam, but Reddit users discovered a discrepancy in the daily email leak count. They discovered the most recent leak is missing some 598 emails.
After hours of scouring Wikileaks, users were able to make up a small portion of the emails that had been hidden and not indexed.
Where are the emails? Has the foundation been compromised and third-party actors are scrubbing recent leaks? The possibility seems quite unreal, but there is even more cryptographic evidence against WikiLeaks.
The Reddit AMA Disaster
Wikileaks decided to host an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit just last week, this type of thread was intended for the public to be able to ask the Wikileaks staff anything they pleased, and staffers could openly respond. For an AMA to be hosted on Reddit, the account owners have to go through approval to verify they are the person or organization who they claim, whether it be an actor, politician, band or even whistleblower.
Well, this is where it gets a little weird and tin-foiley but with some proof backing it. First, the staff only verified that it was them through their Wikileaks twitter account with a simple tweet. The Wikileaks staff had attempted to post a selfie to Imgur, however the upload failed and staffers never updated it. Mind you, one of the moderators of the widely popular AMA subreddit, the one who verified the Wikileaks AMA, just up and deleted their account. Now the moderators of the AMA subreddit are not just your run of the mill Reddit users, they are often paid Reddit employees.
Many questions went unanswered and overall the AMA was handled very poorly. Unlike the foundations past AMA’s which were extremely well documented and informed.
On top of this, when the Wikileaks staffers talked with other AMA staffers about verification, they never once offered a PGP signature. Mods are stating these claims aloud on Reddit. Why would they bother making a big deal out of their signed PGP keys if they aren’t willing to use them?
Cryptographic Errors, Hashes are Not Matching the Insurance Files
Now this is really where this story takes a turn for the worse. Say what you will about the above, but this is possibly proof that something has gone fatally wrong.
To start, Wikileaks is not even signing their own press releases with their PGP keys they advertise widely on the site. This seems quite uncommon as all the earlier Podesta leaks were signed with DKIM keys, authenticating each email. So why wouldn’t Wikileaks authenticate their own statements? Should we assume the author doesn’t have the ability to authenticate their posts?
If you want to learn more about PGP you can read EFF’s introduction, but in short basically whoever holds the private key is the only one who can sign their PGP signature. Unless of course the private key has been stolen or cracked.
Even when the foundation has been pressed for any kind of PGP statement, we are met with complete silence.
What’s even more damning is that the latest insurance files published by Wikileaks do not match the pre-commitment hashes they tweeted out in October. Again, Reddit users have done a breakdown on the hashes with links, and the comments give even more insight. Now we are aware that Reddit is not a “reliable” source of information, however, everything listed is public information. Proving that the Wikileaks hashes don’t match.
Other forums have pointed out that the actual torrent hosted on Wikileaks has changed as well as other minor site alterations.
Now there are definitely plausible reasons the hashses could change. The file could have become corrupted at some point during transit, the files could have needed to be rehashed since Assange lost Internet, or the original hash could have even been incorrect. Though, Wikileaks has had a pretty stellar 10 years and has rarely if ever made a quite complex mistake like this.
Or this could be the dead mans switch we were waiting for. Wikileaks could be compromised and we could be waiting for the keys to drop. If the Wikileaks Twitter was compromised and the foundation has been taken over them the switches could be suppressed. Especially amid the massive DDoS attacks striking the general Internet and Wikileaks in particular.
Assange did two recent interviews, one with John Pilger, and a second “live” phone interview with UMET. The first interview with Assange is a bit odd in a couple of places. First, nowhere in the interview does Assange mention his Internet being cut off nor him not being able to access the Internet. On top of that, he claims that Hillary’s most damaging leaks are leaks that were dropped quite a while back. Nothing regarding the most recent sets of leaks. There also appears to be weird pauses and cuts in Assange’s interview.
On top of that, Julian’s interview to Confercia Internacional De Software appeared to be genuine, but people pointed out that his speech didn’t flow well and they weren’t entirely sure if it was Assange actually speaking. Again, quite a stretch, but where do we draw the line when the leaks are affected mega power structures and billionaires.
Extra Strange Things and Deniability
There are quite a few odd things regarding Assange’s whereabouts. Some have pointed out:
- It’s odd Assange has not been able to come to the Embassy Window but the cat can
- No one can get ahold of Assange via cell phone in London
- Recent interviews with Assange have been questionably choppy and possibly pre recorded
- Assange’s Internet has still not been restored
- Sources claimed to have called the Ecuadorian embassy and staff cannot confirm if Assange is there
- Wikileaks was to publish several leaks they never did. Including phase 3, Tim Keane, possibly John Kerry, UK and Ecuador files.
- Two of Assange’s other lawyers both recently “commit suicide” in extremely questionable ways
- Per Samualson, Assange’s Swedish lawyer has not been allowed into the embassy to see him
However, on the other hand, if this was going on, long time respected people including John Pilger, Assange’s Lawyer and even Jennifer Robinson would have to be apart of all of this. Even Ecuadorians working around the embassy and Swedish prosecutors would have to play a role.
There is no 100% proof that Wikileaks has been compromised, however, the tone has definitely changed in the recent month since Assange lost Internet. There is also clear cryptographic proof that the hashes aren’t matching up and we aren’t getting any clarification.
It appears only time will tell us Assange’s whereabouts, we can only hope he is safe and in good health!