Belfast Telegraph

Assange condemns film 'distortion'

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has attacked a film about his work and the whistleblowing website as "distorting" the truth.

He has written to actor Benedict Cumberbatch describing the film - The Fifth Estate - as "a work of cowardice".

Mr Assange, who has spent the last 16 months inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, said the actor wanted to meet him earlier this year while the film was being made.

He refused, saying a meeting might appear to legitimise a film intending to "mislead" the public with "numerous inaccuracies."

Mr Assange wrote: "I believe you are a good person, but I do not believe that this film is a good film.

"The United States government has engaged almost every instrument of its justice and intelligence system to pursue-in its own words-a 'whole of government' investigation of 'unprecedented scale and nature' into WikiLeaks under draconian espionage laws.

"Our alleged sources are facing their entire lives in the US prison system. Two are already in it. Another one is detained in Sweden.

"Feature films are the most powerful and insidious shapers of public perception, because they fly under the radar of conscious exclusion. This film is going to bury good people doing good work, at exactly the time that the state is coming down on their heads. It is going to smother the truthful version of events, at a time when the truth is most in demand.

"As justification it will claim to be fiction, but it is not fiction. It is distorted truth about living people doing battle with titanic opponents. It is a work of political opportunism, influence, revenge and, above all, cowardice. It seeks to ride on the back of our work, our reputation and our struggles."

The film is being released in the UK in the next few days.

Mr Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador. He is trying to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces sex allegations.

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