The official trailer for Dreamwork's "The Fifth Estate" starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange.

From the Daily Beast.

Julian Assange's Political Party Implodes

Julian Assange may have blown his best chance to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy and return home to Australia as a free man.

The founder of WikiLeaks, who has been holed up in the Ecuador's diplomatic mission in London for over a year, is now facing another obstacle to freedom. Assange had founded the WikiLeaks Party in his native Australia in an attempt to win election to the Australian Senate; which he believes would make it more difficult for him to be extradited to Sweden where he faces sexual-assault charges. However, the party just split up in turmoil earlier this week after members of its national council discovered that Assange and his inner circle had been ignoring them and making major decisions on their own.

Under the system of proportional representation used for the Australian Senate, voters in each state can either rank specific candidates or let their first choice party do so. Considering that there are often over 50 people on the ballot, voters to tend just defer to their party. The result is frenzied negotiations between small parties and large parties to maximize their representation and avoid wasted votes.

The Wikileaks Party's national council thought it had agreed to a plan where the party would be making deals to work closely with the Australian Green Party and other left-of-center groups. Then they discovered that Assange instead had made deals with a far-right party as well as one that is militantly pro-gun. The result was a number of party members quit, including Leslie Cannold, Assange’s No. 2 in the party, and Daniel Mathews, one of his close friends from college, leaving the party divided two weeks before the election.

In an article published in the Guardian on Wednesday, Mathews uses tough language to describe the personality of Assange, who he still admires, will vote for, and considers a friend. He describes Assange as “not ... suited to a party with democratic national-council oversight” and someone who “really ought not to have set up a party with internal democracy.”


In other news, Julian Assange gives a thumbs down to "The Fifth Estate."

In an interview with Yahoo! Movies on Tuesday (before we were aware of WikiLeaks's aforementioned disapproving tweet), Condon pointed out that Cumberbatch was in touch with whistle blower Assange during much of the making of "The Fifth Estate." "Ultimately the most direct communication we had was through Benedict, who was in touch with [Assange] by e-mail," Condon said. "[Assange] refused to see him, sadly, but there was a conversation that started there and went on for most of while we were shooting the movie, and then I think has continued."

But the director also acknowledged Assange's vocal dissent. "[Assange] did issue certain proclamations even as we started shooting; he called it 'The anti-WikLeaks movie,' which it couldn't be further from the truth," Condon said. "It's a movie that does present the sides of many issues, the different sides, but when it comes to WikiLeaks, I think it's mostly a celebration of the incredible, sort of noble ideas behind it, and the idealism that it reflected, especially in its early days."

Bill Condon: 'It is about having a balance' (Photo: Paul A. Hebert/Getty Images)
Condon insists that the film offers a fair picture of Assange's organization that publicly posted classified documents, and that the dramatized version of real events illustrates WikiLeaks's global impact. "Assange tends to conflate any conversation about himself with conversation of WikiLeaks, but we really tried every day, and its been part of developing the movie and also putting it together in the editing room, this I think is a movie that asks the questions but doesn't provide the answers," the director said.

"It is about having a balance," he said, also pointing to the complex nature of a similar case in the news: CIA operative Edward Snowden, who leaked details of several top-secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs to the press. "It's very hard to come down cleanly on one side or the other because they are so complicated. And I think Assange himself might be surprised at that. This is in no way to my mind an attack on him. And certainly Benedict has no interest in playing something that wasn't going to try to, you know ... He's a great actor, and he saw his job as trying to get inside the mind and soul of this person."


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