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General News    H4'ed 5/31/13

We Steal Secrets, The New Movie About Wikileaks Infuriates Wikileaks

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Wikileaks says, "The film portrays Manning's alleged acts as failure of character rather than a triumph of conscience. The portrayal of Manning's alleged relationship to WikiLeaks and to Assange is grossly irresponsible and 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. The film buys into the current US government position that journalists and publishers can be prosecuted as co-conspirators alongside their alleged sources. 

"This is a dangerous proposition for all journalists and media organizations -- not just WikiLeaks. In the context of the US government's attempts to prosecute journalists who communicate with confidential sources, Gibney's film could have been an important and timely project. The film barely touches on the US investigation against WikiLeaks, never mentions the words "grand jury", and trivializes the larger issues, perhaps because the film-maker could not secure an interview with Julian Assange?"

The film reports that Assange demanded millions for an interview--his way, no doubt, of mocking the big bucks behind the production.  He knew they wanted the big confrontational Q&A and wouldn't give it them!

He says there are two more Wikleaks films on the way that he has cooperated with.

I have been impressed with Alex Gibney's work. He is a talented pro,  and this film is worth seeing (and dissecting). I also admire the daring of Manning and Assange who are faulted for being paranoid, but,given the propaganda and legal broadsides launched against them, you can understand why.

Remember when the US government sent thugs to break into Vietnam whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office looking for ways to discredit him?  Making your whistleblowers appear weird and crazy is an old technique used by the powerful against those who question power.

Kafka couldn't of come up with a more byzantine legal process than the one that Manning faces. (Military justice is said be for justice what military bands are for music.) There are, for example, no official transcripts of the legal proceedings available. Prominent journalists are calling for more access and transparency.

And while having Assange taking refuge in the Ecuador Embassy seems absurd, it is also a sign that there are people worldwide who respect and admire the work that Wikileaks does!

We Steal Secrets is now a high profile part of the media war that Wikileaks is fighting, a war that has often put whistleblower group at odds with the press whose freedom it champions.  That press insists their way is the only way and is in the business of marginalizing dissidents.

So, first, there were the newspapers, who initially rejected the secrets of government abuse, and then used Wikileaks, before repudiating Assange as not a "real journalist," as they apparently believe themselves to be. Then, collectively and arrogantly turned on him in masse.

Now, documentaries have become part of this contested terrain.

News Dissector Danny Schechter edits and blogs at news  He is also an independent filmmaker.  





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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at See
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