Assange hits out at WikiLeaks movie
LONDON - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hit out on Wednesday at a Hollywood film about his secret-spilling website, calling the movie "a massive propaganda attack".
Speaking to students at Britain's prestigious Oxford University by videolink from the Ecuadoran embassy in London, Assange revealed that he had acquired a copy of the script for "The Fifth Estate", due to be released in November.
"It is a lie upon lie. The movie is a massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff," the Australian Internet activist told the audience at the university's Oxford Union debating club.
Assange, 41, also blasted the movie for "fanning the flames" of war against Iran by implying that the Islamic republic was working on a nuclear bomb.
Reading from the script, he said the opening scene was set inside a military complex in Iran with documents containing nuclear symbols.
"How does this have anything to do with us?" Assange said from the embassy, where he has been holed up since June after claiming asylum in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sex crimes.
DreamWorks Studios announced on Tuesday that it had begun shooting the WikiLeaks movie, which stars British actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange.
A photo released by the company showed Cumberbatch with lank hair dyed the same platinum shade as the WikiLeaks founder's, with German actor Daniel Bruehl standing beside him as former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg.
"'The Fifth Estate' traces the heady, early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks," DreamWorks said, adding that the movie would open in the United States on November 15.
Director Bill Condon, who directed the final two instalments in the "Twilight" vampire saga, said the movie "won't claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgement".
"We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age and, we hope, enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked," he said.
Ecuador granted asylum to Assange in August but Britain refuses to grant him safe passage out of the country, leaving the former computer hacker stuck inside the embassy.
Britain says it is obliged to see Assange extradited to Sweden. Assange denies the sex crime allegations, which he says are a politically-motivated attempt to see him sent to the United States and prosecuted.
WikiLeaks enraged the United States in 2010 by publishing hundreds of thousands of classified documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a huge cache of US diplomatic cables that embarrassed governments worldwide.
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