The film, a bid to fuel fears over Iran’s nuclear programme, is a “lie built on a lie”
As leaks go, this one would probably go down in a class of its own — an ultimate coup for the secret-busting WikiLeaks’ chief Julian Assange, who claims to have obtained a copy of the script for a forthcoming Hollywood film about him, The Fifth Estate, calling it a “massive propaganda attack” against his organisation, and an attempt to fuel fears over Iran’s nuclear programme.
A purported copy of the script lay on his lap, though its contents were not shown on camera, as Mr. Assange questioned the motive behind the film, which he described as a “lie built on a lie”, in a video-linked address to the Oxford Union, the university’s debating society, from the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
He declined to say how he acquired the script but said WikiLeaks was “closely examining” whether to put it on its website so that others could judge it for themselves.
“Attack against Iran”
Starting with the opening scenes, apparently shot in Tehran and Cairo, the film was factually incorrect and politically inflammatory, he said. “It is not just an attack against us; it is an attack against Iran. It fans the flames of an attack against Iran.”
The film, being directed by Bill Condon and starring British actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange, is based on two books — Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former ally of Assange; and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy by David Leigh and Luke Harding, The Guardian writers.
DreamWorks studio, which is making the film, to be released in November, declined to comment but earlier this week, as though sensing that something was up, Mr. Condon issued a statement portraying it as nothing more than a bit of innocuous fun.
The film, he said, “traces the heady, early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks.”
“It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it has revolutionised the spread of information. So this film won’t claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment. We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age ,” Mr. Condon said.
Mr. Assange, however, insisted that it had an ulterior agenda. By suggesting that Iran was building a nuclear weapon, the film intended to inflame fears about Iran, he said.
He quoted from a scene which, he said, showed Iranian scientists meeting an American agent. “How is it that a lie gets into a script about WikiLeaks?” he asked.
The Associated Press quoted him as saying the film’s plot revolves round a fictional mole in Iran’s nuclear programme who discovers that the country has nearly finished building an atom bomb.
The address of Mr. Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy, is available on http://bit.ly/Vcokdo.