When Julian Assange lost internet access, the rest of the internet exploded.
Tweets went flying, Facebook groups got swarmed, posts about it were at the top of Reddit, and Periscope feeds appeared at the Ecuadorian embassy where Assange lives. People stayed up late, pacing and sharpening their pitchforks saying “Do it. I dare you. Please give us an excuse.”
We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange's internet access Saturday, 5pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton's Goldman Sachs speechs.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 17, 2016
People were on edge already because of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s presence in the UK at the time, and because of some cryptic tweets WikiLeaks sent out earlier in the day, rumored to be keys to a ‘dead man switch’ activated by Assange’s death or detention. Conventional wisdom as of this writing is that the codes tweeted were actually security hashes to either operate as keys to unlock confirmation of the authenticity of forthcoming leak drops, or are in fact encrypted messages themselves, and Assange seems to be alive and well.
At the time though, just at the hint of something going wrong, the majority of political internet culture was prepared to go to war for him. The Berners, Trump’s deplorables, the hackers, the hippies, the Greens, the libertarians, the basement dwellers and the anarchists were all ready to go, and they remain on high alert as the situation unfolds.
“This is not a drill,” wrote u/mivvan, moderator of Trump’s subreddit r/The_Donald, in a stickied post which shot to the top of all of Reddit titled “RED ALERT! WikiLeaks on Twitter: “Julian Assange’s internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.””
The post has 5,386 comments as of this writing, full of deplorables staying up into the wee hours communicating, sharing information, and planning. In another top post, u/bopbopi instructed fellow centipedes to make sure they’re recording the hashes, mirroring the insurance files and previous leaks, and livestreaming at the Ecuadorian embassy.
And livestreams appeared. How cool is that, huh? We want to know what’s going on in a building on the other side of the planet, so we look at our screens and there are people with digital eyes on it feeding us information in real time! The future is awesome. A little scary, seeing as they’re only doing it because corporate media refused to, but it’s awesome as well.
So the U.S. government, in a state of sheer panic due to the nonstop deluge of leaks, appears to have leveraged Ecuador (or “Equador” as Roger Stone called it in an alarmist tweet at the time) into cutting off Assange’s internet access, which they couldn’t possibly have expected to work anyway. And of course it didn’t work; part ten of the Podesta Emails was released just hours later.
All they succeeded in doing is demonstrating their own powerlessness to stop the great political awakening we’re seeing unfold all over the globe, and in unifying the rebels all over the world against their tyranny. And now everyone knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that if anyone harms so much as a single silver hair on that pale Aussie’s head, all hell will be unleashed.
You guys think “Russian cyber attacks” are a problem? Watch what happens if you harm the god of all hackers. You guys were worried about the Bernie Sanders insurgency? Watch what happens when you enrage Berners enough to band together with Trumpsters against you. You’re worried about the progressive awakening at home? Watch what happens when you bring it down upon your head from abroad as well by assassinating the planetary hero of rebels all around the world.
We’re watching you, Obama. We’re watching you, Kerry. We’re watching you, Mrs. Clinton. You stay away from our man, or you’ll unlock something you’ll wish you hadn’t.
Look at that cutie with his little floofcat. We love him. He’s ours. Don’t you touch. We know you’re scared, we know you’re desperate, but don’t you dare.
Don’t even think about it.
[Featured Image by AP Photo/Frank Augstein]