WikiLeaks distances itself from US film

2013-05-24 13:21
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Washington - WikiLeaks has released what it says is an annotated transcript of a documentary that takes a critical look at the anti-secrecy group ahead of the US film's Friday premiere.

WikiLeaks said it had not participated in the making of We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, a film by Alex Gibney, which focuses on the website's founder Julian Assange and its main source of leaks, Bradley Manning.

Manning, a US Army intelligence analyst who admitted to leaking hundreds of thousands of secret military logs and confidential embassy cables to WikiLeaks, faces possible life imprisonment in a military trial to resume 3 June.

Assange, the Australian hacker who founded the site, has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy for nearly a year, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in a sexual assault case.

WikiLeaks said late on Thursday that the film "portrays Manning's alleged acts as a failure of character rather than a triumph of conscience", and said the film's portrayal of his relationship with Assange was "grossly irresponsible".

The portrayal "suggests - erroneously and when evidence is to the contrary - that Assange may be guilty of conspiring with Bradley Manning to commit espionage or similar offences".

Claims of factual errors

The WikiLeaks statement added that "neither Julian Assange nor anyone associated with WikiLeaks over the past two-and-a-half years agreed to participate in the film".

It then posted what appeared to be a full transcript of the documentary with copious notes alleging factual errors and misrepresentations.

Gibney could not immediately be reached for comment.

But in a recent interview with CBS news, the director said the film is concerned with "both the abuse of power and hubris on the part of the US government, but certainly also on the part of Julian Assange”.

"At his moment of greatest fame, [Assange] ends up becoming all too much like the enemies he sought to take out or expose," Gibney said.

Gibney told CBS he engaged in "endless negotiations" with Assange, but that his requests to interview the WikiLeaks founder were ultimately denied.

He was also unable to interview Manning, who has been in military detention since his arrest in 2010.

Read more on:    wikileaks  |  chelsea manning  |  julian assange  |  us

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