Social media users are worried about Julian Assange. Since last weekend, the WikiLeaks founder and editor has been locked out of his internet access by the Ecuadorian Embassy. The Ecuadorians issued a statement that his participation in releasing damning emails, entitled the "Podesta Emails," was an attempt to influence the U.S. election process. Since that time, WikiLeaks has issued a series of tweets that have left Assange supporters wondering if they are a message for help.
One of those tweets concerned WikiLeaks updating the Stochastic Terminator algorithm, with the word "algorithm" misspelled as "algorithim."
The tweets in question all have at least one spelling mistake, which is highly unusual for the organization, which is known for its 100 percent accuracy rate in its releases. Assange, who often tweeted leaks himself, is known by his followers to have excellent spelling, so the mistakes stood out. On Facebook, one user screen-capped the tweets, and removed each letter that was incorrect. The incorrect letters spelled out a message that could have come straight from a Hollywood thriller: HILP HIM, or "help him," if you replace the "i" with an "e".
Does this mean that WikiLeaks sent out a subtle call for help to assist in locating Julian? Is it merely a coincidence that the incorrect letters in these tweets spell out a seeming S.O.S. message?
Followers of WikiLeaks have noticed a marked change in the tone and accuracy of the organization's tweets since Assange's internet went dark last week, which has created speculation that it has been taken over by the U.S. government or another state agency. Others muse that each message could be a code meant to be deciphered, such as the "hilp him" message hidden within a series of tweets.
The five tweets span the course of two days, with four on October 21 and one on October 20. The Ecuadorian Embassy has refused to tell anyone who calls whether or not he is alive or dead, which makes his fate all the more mysterious.The misspelling of the alleged coded message as "hilp him," and not "help him," sheds some doubt as to whether this is actually an S.O.S. message.
Since its inception 10 years ago, WikiLeaks has been run by Julian Assange as a way to force openness in government agencies. Instead, these governments have done their level best to mute his message and reveal the inner, secret workings of governments worldwide. While Hillary Clinton was still secretary of State, she attended a meeting in which she reportedly asked the room why the United States couldn't just "drone" Julian Assange. Reports emerged that she was serious about the question, which makes it all the more important that WikiLeaks send a message with some kind of proof that Assange is still alive, still at the Ecuadorian Embassy, and not somewhere on a secret military base in the hands of the CIA in North Carolina, as some have suggested.Since 2012, he has lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after one woman accused him of sexual assault and another accused him of rape, according to a 2010 report in The Guardian. The lesser charges of sexual assault have since been dropped, but the rape charge remains. For this, Assange was inexplicably put on Interpol's Most Wanted List. It makes little sense for an international agency to put someone accused of one rape on its Most Wanted list, and therefore, it stands to reason that the true reason for his presence on the list is due to his involvement in "opening governments."
Another cause for concern regarding Assange's safety is WikiLeaks's tweet on Friday evening stating that they had changed its Stochastic Terminator algorithm, which is a fancy way of saying it will be releasing documents at a faster rate than they normally would, possibly as a result of outside pressure.One of the main issues Assange followers have with recent events concerns the fact that WikiLeaks has not used his PGP signature to verify his identity or to prove he is actually safe and still at the embassy. PGP is tech-speak for "pretty good privacy," according to TechTarget. It is a pre-determined key -- a series of characters -- a person can use to protect their privacy and to assure others they are who they say they are when sending a message.
The massive DDOS attacks on the DYN DNS server on Friday has led some to speculate that perhaps the tweets containing the misspelled words were a call to help WikiLeaks somehow, and hackers responded. The attack was so widespread, though, that it even knocked out Twitter intermittently, which would have defeated the purpose of helping WikiLeaks who relies heavily on Twitter to spread its message.
The misspellings could also be nothing more than simple mistakes. However, in the heightened tension swirling around the WikiLeaks releases (now on a near-daily basis), and the mysterious activities that occurred earlier this week, it is not surprising that folks are on the lookout for any meaning and message they can find. One of the more interesting pieces of this mystery puzzle is suspicion that Assange was surreptitiously taken earlier this week by the CIA and is currently at a secret base in Smithfield, North Carolina.
Of course, this is all pure speculation, but if something has, indeed, happened to Julian Assange, we may not know about it until after the November 8 election.
[Featured Image by Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Images]