In a slow-developing situation, the last few days has seen the two of the most high-profile anti-establishment media voices in the UK – Wikileaks and RT – come under some form of covert attack.
Over the weekend Wikileaks official twitter account suggested, and then confirmed, that the Ecuadorian Embassy in London had cut Julian Assange’s internet access:
Julian Assange’s internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 17, 2016
We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange’s internet access Saturday, 5pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speechs.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) 17 October 2016
The sudden social-media silence, in conjunction with some unusual coded tweets sent the night before, fuelled speculation that Assange had been killed, or that Ecuador had caved and handed him over to the Americans. Neither of which appear to be the case.
Meanwhile, RTUK have had their UK-based bank accounts frozen by NatWest, a move the Treasury denies any all knowledge of.
Whether deliberate or not, the disruption to these anti-establishment voices will be most welcome during the run up to the election. Wikileaks is in middle of its progressively stronger leaks of DNC internal e-mails, a subject RTUK is giving much more airtime than any American or British media outlet. Couple that with the FBI’s publishing some of their (heavily redacted) documents pertaining to Clinton’s e-mail, and the court decision finding that the British government illegally spied on their citizens for years, and you can see this would be a very handy time to have the alt-media quieted down a notch.
While still too early to say this is a coordinated effort, it’s definitely a strange coincidence and situation that bears watching. Independent or in conjunction both acts are quite obvious attacks on free speech, and both suggest that a major crackdown may soon be in the offing.