Fri Jan 25, 2013, 03:32 PM
struggle4progress (80,381 posts)
Alex Gibney on His WikiLeaks Documentary: Julian Assange Got Corrupted
by Marlow Stern
Jan 24, 2013 6:12 AM EST
The latest film from Oscar winner Alex Gibney is “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,’” about the rise and fall of the controversial publisher. The filmmaker dishes on WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and Lance Armstrong—his next documentary subject.
... Prior to being commissioned to make this project, what was your take on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange?
I thought it was a classic David and Goliath story, and I was fully onboard Team WikiLeaks. I was very pro the leaks, barring the redaction issue. But I see WikiLeaks as a publisher. In the film we trace some of their earlier publications, particularly the Iceland one. Without that publication, people wouldn’t have been able to see this material that was so damaging and deeply corrupt. That is the purest example of the wonder of WikiLeaks. But in the course of making the film, my opinon of him changed somewhat
... I think he was unprepared to handle the enormity of the fame that was thrust upon him, and someone says in the film, “We shouldn’t be surprised by this. Mendax by name, Mendax by nature.” Mendax is derived from splendide mendax, which is from Horace and means “nobly untruthful.” So I think his view was always, “Look, I’m pure of heart and want the best for society, so it’s OK for me to lie.” He’s also not a good listener, and he hates being held to account ...
My perception changed fundamentally because I investigated the Swedish case. Initially, it seemed to me that Julian and his supporters were correct, and it was probably some kind of stunt to embarrass Julian at a moment when he was leaking all these documents. I investigated it and came to the conclusion that it was just the opposite. It was a personal matter that Julian cleverly transformed into a political issue. He says in the film, which is a classic Julian line, “I didn’t say it was a honey trap. I didn’t say it was not a honey trap.” What does that tell you? It takes you down the path of a mystery, but it’s also kind of a wink and a nod in the sense of Julian as this all-powerful person. There is absolutely no evidence that I was able to find other than that these women were mad at him, and they just wanted him to get an AIDS test. He refused, so they went to the police to force him to get an AIDS test ...
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