Julian Assange can finally stop tweeting in the third person as Wikileaks like what he has probably been doing since 2008. For the first time in five years, the WikiLeaks founder reactivated and posted from his personal Twitter account. So, what was his first tweet all about?
Believe it or not, the 45-year-old publisher introduced himself to this brave new digital world through quoting Mark Twain to tell the world that he is alive and well. Numerous conspiracy theories have previously circulated online, one of which claims Assange has been killed by the CIA. The speculation comes after Wikileaks posted some cryptic strings of numbers and letters on Twitter last year.
In the absence of context, several netizens quickly assumed that the tweets were results of a “dead man’s switch.” Express notes prominent figures whose lives are regularly threatened usually program their communication channels to deliver what appears to be incomprehensible messages in the event of their untimely end. And these only make sense to select followers.
Apparently, WikiLeaks did not do much to debunk the rumors. But now, he has finally dismissed the claims. WikiLeaks has confirmed itself that its founder has just indeed returned to social media through its separate account. Check out the tweets below:
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) February 14, 2017
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 14, 2017
Assange’s first tweet has already racked up over 3,000 retweets and 5,000 likes. Julian Assange Twitter account also gained 45,000 followers in just one day, per BBC.
Julian Assange Twitter Trolling
But Assange did not immediately log off of the platform. Not long after his first tweet, he started trolling the U.S. intelligence community. He weighed in on the tension between the community and the Trump administration, calling it an “amazing battle for dominance.”
Amazing battle for dominance is playing out between the elected US govt & the IC who consider themselves to be the 'permanent government'.
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) February 15, 2017
The tweet is in reference to the leaks about the contact between Trump aides and Russian officials. According to New York Times, Trump’s team had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officials before the November 2016 presidential election.
Trump, himself, has been struggling to contain the said leaks in his first few weeks in office. On Monday, his national security adviser, Michael Flynn resigned amid the fallout from claims that he misled the administration about his conversations with a Russian envoy. The media has started reporting on Flynn’s alleged Russia ties citing unnamed government sources.
The White House has not yet announced his replacements. However, press secretary Sean Spicer announced Tuesday that they will launch a probe into the leaks.
Assange’s organization has played a crucial role in shaping the result of the US presidential election. It has notably leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta.
At this point, it remains to be seen how the WikiLeaks founder will use his Julian Assange Twitter account. But during the election, he was quite vocal about his dislike of Clinton. With this, it’s likely we’ll see a range of political posts from him in the future.