January 26, 2013

WikiLeaks founder says film is a 'hit piece'

Julian Assange blasts an upcoming movie about him and WikiLeaks as a 'mass propaganda attack.'

The Associated Press

LONDON - If you're making a movie about WikiLeaks, this is the kind of thing -- a leaked script -- you probably see coming.

click image to enlarge

Actors Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, left, and Daniel Bruhl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg are seen during the production of “The Fifth Estate,” about the WikiLeaks drama.

The Associated Press

Julian Assange Oxford Union address
click image to enlarge

Julian Assange

Julian Assange says he has obtained his leaked copy of the script for "The Fifth Estate," a DreamWorks film about the maverick computer expert and his famed secret-busting site. In a speech before the Oxford Union debating society earlier this week, Assange said his unauthorized sneak peek has left him convinced the film is a hit piece.

"It is a mass propaganda attack against WikiLeaks, the organization (and) the character of my staff," he said, adding that the movie -- the opening scenes of which Assange described as taking place in Tehran and Cairo -- also hyped Western fears over the Islamic Republic's disputed atomic energy program.

"It is not just an attack against us, it is an attack against Iran. It fans the flames of an attack against Iran," he said.

A DreamWorks spokeswoman declined to comment.

In a telephone interview late Friday, Assange said that the film's plot revolves around a fictional mole in Iran's nuclear program who discovers that the country has nearly finished building an atom bomb and will soon be in a position to load it onto ballistic missiles. The film has the informant fleeing to Iraq when WikiLeaks publishes his name among its massive trove of classified material.

Assange says the whole story is "a lie built on a lie," claiming that the U.S. intelligence community generally believes that Iran stopped comprehensive secret work on developing nuclear arms in 2003, and that, in any case, the world had yet to see evidence of a case in which WikiLeaks had exposed a CIA informant.

"They tried to frame Iran as having an active nuclear weapons program. Then they try to frame WikiLeaks as the reason why that's not known to the public now," Assange said, comparing the movie to Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," another film whose artistic liberties with recent history have drawn allegations of political bias.

Assange declined to say where he got the script, although he hinted that he had been supplied with several copies of it over time. He also declined to say whether the script would be posted to the WikiLeaks website

"The Fifth Estate" stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange and Daniel Bruhl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg, an early Assange ally who eventually fell out with WikiLeaks.

The film is due for release in November, and in a statement earlier this week director Bill Condon was quoted as saying that those behind the movie want "to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age" and "enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked."

Assange made his comments via videolink from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been holed up for more than six months in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden as part of a long-running sex crimes case.

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)