Rumors have been swirling about that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is dead. There has been no definitive evidence of him being alive for over a week now, even though many have been calling for it. WikiLeaks has played a prominent role in the 2016 American election with their continued dump of emails and documents from the Democratic Party.
Julian Assange has been living under asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. He is wanted for questioning in Sweden in regards to an allegation of rape, and the UK will extradite him to Sweden if he leaves the confines of the Embassy of Ecuador. The fear is that if he leaves the embassy he will be extradited to the United States from Sweden due to the publishing of American documents.
It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party do not like Julian Assange. WikiLeaks has released many emails that show them in a less than flattering light. They have also repeatedly said that WikiLeaks is working with hackers from the Russian government to influence the American election.
Democratic National Committee release
WikiLeaks was a thorn in the side of the DNC during the Democratic Party primaries. The release of 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from the DNC published on July 22, 2016 showed favoritism for Hillary Clinton. This favor came at the expense of the popular Bernie Sanders campaign. The end result of these revelations was the resignation of party chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz due to her involvement.
WikiLeaks releases Podesta emails
John Podesta is the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign. His Gmail account was hacked, and on October 7 WikiLeaks began the release of his emails. They have continued with a steady stream of batch releases throughout October, and claim to have 50,000 emails in total. This has brought about information on Clinton's paid Wall Street speeches.
Assange's Internet cut off
On October 16 Assange’s internet connection was cut off at the Embassy of Ecuador, and initially WikiLeaks blamed it on a state party.
Later on October 17, Wikileaks said that Assange's internet was cut off by Ecuador in a tweet.
This was suspected to be a result of the email dumps from WikiLeaks, which would later be confirmed by the Ecuadorian government.
The Government of Ecuador respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states. It does not interfere in external electoral processes, nor does it favor any particular candidate. — Statement from Government of Ecuador
People begin to have suspicions on Assange's well being
It has been over a week since there has been definitive proof that Assange is indeed alive. This has raised suspicion with many, as they look for a sign that he is alive and well. On October 23 there was a poll held on the Twitter account of WikiLeaks of the most satisfactory way to prove that he is still alive.
Since the post was made, there still has been no evidence provided, even though a majority voted for a video to be made showing him alive in a way that confirms the date.
What has happened to Julian Assange?
There are a host of possibilities for what could be going on with Julian Assange. While some may have a more conspiracy theory bent to them, in a situation as bizarre as this one the absurd can’t be ruled out. He could be within the embassy still, he could have left it somehow. It is likely that he is still alive, but the possibility of his death can't be completely ruled out either.
Still within Embassy of Ecuador
The most simple explanation would be that he is still alive within the Embassy of Ecuador. As long as he does not leave the embassy nothing should be able to happen to him inside. He could be, for one reason or another, choosing to not provide proof of life. This could potentially be to create a news story and draw attention to WikiLeaks.
Another possibility is that he died within the embassy. This could be through natural causes, suicide or, as some might speculate, through poisoning or some other means meant to kill him. It is no secret that there are many that would want him gone, although to enter another countries embassy to kill him would breach a host of international laws. As well, there would be the issue of the body, and there has been no indication that a body has been removed from the embassy.
Has left the Embassy of Ecuador
Perhaps he is not in the embassy at all, and was somehow able to escape. This would be a difficult endeavor to pull off, as the British authorities would be able to arrest him as soon as he steps outside. If he left the embassy and was caught he would be extradited from the UK to Sweden, and as some might fear, from Sweden to the US. If he left the embassy and managed to evade capture it could be conceived that he would head to a state that might provide asylum. A possibility could be Russia, as they are currently giving asylum to Edward Snowden.
Of course a final possibility is that he left the embassy but is no longer alive after leaving. It is unlikely, but within the realm of the possible, that he had a plan to leave but was somehow captured and killed outside of the embassy somewhere.
Evidence required still
Until more evidence comes forwards that he is alive or dead, the safest assumption would be that he is still within the embassy but choosing to not contact the outside world. If he provides a video with proof of life, it would put the rumors to rest. Until he does though, many will continue to speculate on the range of potential scenarios that could have happened.