Julian Assange Alive: WikiLeaks Founder Makes First Live Appearance In Weeks Amid Conspiracy Theories That He Had Died

Nathan Francis

The conspiracy theory that Julian Assange is dead appeared to be put to rest this weekend when the WikiLeaks founder made his first appearance in weeks, speaking with an interviewer for a conference in Beirut and talking about some current events.

The appearance gave the "proof of life" that many conspiracy theorists had been requesting from WikiLeaks in recent weeks as the rumors of his death grew. Those who subscribe to this theory believe that Assange had gone missing after a series of strange events around the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been living, including an internet outage and reports of armed men surrounding the building in November.

The theories of Julian Assange's death grew as the WikiLeaks founder --- cut off from the internet for many weeks --- remained holed up and did not make any live appearances.

That ended early on Saturday, when Assange appeared at the fifth annual Free Connected Minds FCM conference, which was held in Beirut. Assange appeared via telephone, and one attendee explained that he gave the long-awaited "proof of life" by making reference to an event that took place this weekend.

"The moderator started by telling him to speak about Castro's death so people know it's not pre-recorded," wrote one Reddit user who attended the conference.

Others believed that the entire appearance may have been faked, and that the person talking wasn't Assange at all.

"Use a good voice actor who's already close, or a good video actor who is familiar with the target's mannerisms, and things come together pretty convincingly," one person speculated.

WikiLeaks appeared to do its part to quash the theories, posting the full audio of Saturday's conference.

The conspiracy theory that Assange was dead built through a mix of speculation and some outright fake news. While some of the evidence may have been based on actual events --- like Ecuador's decision to cut off Assange's internet amid his alleged interference with the U.S. presidential election --- other bits were outright lies. Some sites like the Conservative Daily Post falsely reported that Julian Assange was dead.

"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."

"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."

[Featured Image by Matt Dunham/AP Images]

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