Assange’s Week: A Balcony Scene and Films Report


Julian Assange, the scourge of nontransparent governments, reappeared Thursday in his solitary-man balcony scene. Speaking from a ground-floor deck of London’s Ecuadorian embassy, the Wikileaks’ publisher juggled a couple of enticing political spheres for a cheering crowd of 200 and a gathering of media.

On the one hand, he spoke of compromise, saying the “door was open” for talks to end his six-month embassy refuge from British arrest and eventual extradition to Sweden and then the U.S. But he also revealed that Wikileaks soon would release one million more files, evidently meaning of leaked government documents. Exactly what and when the files would flow forth wasn’t clear, but Assange said the release would affect “every country in this world.”

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Reuters reported Thursday:

Assange says he fears extradition to Sweden would ultimately lead to him being sent to the United States, which is furious that WikiLeaks has leaked hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic and military cables.

Ecuador, whose President Rafael Correa is a self-declared enemy of “corrupt” media and U.S. “imperialism”, granted him political asylum in August.

Assange’s pre-Christmas public speech was his second from an embassy balcony. It occurred the day following The New York Times‘ report of films about Assange’s story.

Alex Gibney‘s documentary “We Steal Secrets” is scheduled to debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival. The Times noted:

“We Steal Secrets” is a collaboration between the producer Marc Shmuger, who until 2009 was a chairman of Universal Pictures, and Mr. Gibney, a prolific documentarian who won an Oscar for “Taxi to the Dark Side.”

After leaving Universal, Mr. Shmuger started a film company, Global Produce. But he spent much of 2010 transfixed by reports about Mr. Assange, an Australian computer hacker who stepped into the limelight as a self-appointed czar of government and corporate transparency – and ultimately as a fugitive from authorities in Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning related to allegations of sexual assault. He is avoiding extradition from Britain by claiming asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London.

An Australian TV film “Underground: The Julian Assange Story,” was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

DreamWorks Studios and Participant Media in January will begin shooting a dramatic feature about Assange, directed by Bill Condon.

HBO has delayed plans for another film on Assange.

You can find CFR‘s earlier columns on Assange here and here.