Late yesterday, the @wikileaks account tweeted "Julian Assange's internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans."
The tweet followed some apparent "dead man's switch" with what looked like cryptographic fingerprints or keys, which could be used to decrypt "insurance files" of leaks that had been posted in encrypted form to a server somewhere, or to verify future documents as having originated with Wikileaks.
The "state party" could be the UK government, which exercises an extraordinary level of fine-grained control over the six major ISPs that serve the UK market (Assange is stuck in the Ecuadoran embassy in London), or it could be another government.
Wikileaks has intervened in the US election debate with a series of leaks from the Democratic Party machine, including the full texts of Clinton's high-ticket speeches to the finance industry (these proved to be remarkably anodyne, leaving many wondering why she didn't just release them when they were at issue during the primary). The US press has widely reported these leaks as originating with "Russian hackers" and the US intelligence apparatus has warned that Russia is using cyberattacks to destabilize the US elections (many have taken this as confirmation that Russian hackers were behind the Wikileaks docs).
Russia denies that it is the source of the Wikileaks docs. Glenn Greenwald makes a convincing case that it doesn't matter if Russia is behind the leaks, because they are newsworthy in their own right. The fact that Clinton is running against a psychopath doesn't mean that the press should help her hide her own dirty laundry. As the Sanders campaign demonstrated, the way that we drive Clinton to substantive, progressive policies is by calling her to account for her misdeeds, including support for racialized "crime bills" and "welfare reform"; support for military intervention; support for the finance industry; opposition to single-payer healthcare, and so on.
WikiLeaks’ tweet came after the organisation posted on Sunday night what were rumored to be the “dead man keys” to documents; encryption keys that would allow for the publication of leaked documents. Users on Twitter and Reddit suggested that these tweets indicated Assange had been killed, and that these documents should be revealed in the wake of his death.
But these rumors were shut down by WikiLeaks’ Kelly Kolisnik. “Julian Assange is alive and well,” Kolisnik tweeted. “Rumors circulating that he tweeted out a 'Dead Mans' switch are completely false and baseless."
WikiLeaks Claims 'State Actor' Has Cut Off Assange’s Internet [Ben Sullivan/Motherboard]