January 24, 2013 – 1:31PM – Julian Drape, AAP London Correspondent
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says a film about his whistle-blowing website is propaganda designed to fan the flames of a war against Iran.
Assange, facing renewed criticism over his handling of sexual assault allegations against him, on Wednesday night turned his sights on the film The Fifth Estate, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
The film isn’t due to be released until November, but WikiLeaks has managed to get hold of a copy of the script.
“It is a mass propaganda attack against WikiLeaks the organisation,” Assange told students in Oxford via a video-link from the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
“But it is not just an attack against us – it is an attack against Iran.
“It fans the flames to start a war with Iran.”
The 41-year-old Australian said the opening scene was set in a military complex in Tehran and showed Iran was working on an atomic weapon.
But in reality, the United States’ own intelligence agencies had confirmed Iran didn’t have a nuclear weapons program, he said.
“It’s a lie upon a lie. Everything we see, read and hear is produced for a purpose.”
Assange was addressing the Oxford Union’s annual Sam Adams Awards, which recognises courageous whistleblowers. He’s a previous winner.
But some students insist the debating society shouldn’t have allowed the internet activist to deliver Wednesday’s speech.
Fifty protesters rallied outside the union building shouting: “Oxford Union shame on you, now you’re rape apologists too.”
Organiser Simone Webb told AAP: “We are not saying he is a rapist, but they are the accusations and he needs to face the justice process.”
Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations of sexual assault against two women.
He is avoiding extradition by remaining inside the Ecuadorean embassy after being granted asylum by the Latin American nation.
Asked by an Oxford student on Wednesday how much longer he’d stay in the embassy, Assange replied: “We will see. Who knows.”
The Australian received support from former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, who told the debating society event he was accused of rape after speaking out 10 years ago about intelligence agencies using torture.
“I was not guilty (but) it took me years to clear my name,” Murray said.
“Anyone who believes governments do not do that kind of thing to whistleblowers is naive.”
Murray said WikiLeaks was needed because governments couldn’t be trusted.