UK PM and movie expert David Cameron has praised the bio-flick on Wikileaks‘ Julian Assange – a man he wants locked up – after viewing roughly half of it.
Cameron said that Benedict Cumberbatch is “brilliant” as the WikiLeaks founder in The Fifth Estate.
What might surprise Assange is that Cameron said he admires his early work.
Cameron said he was a big fan when Wikileaks was exposing corruption in Africa. It was only when Wikileaks exposed western secrets that he went off it. He also liked the fact that Wikileaks encouraged open government, but didn’t much like the way it revealed secrets about his.
He told ITN’s political editor, Tom Bradby, who presents The Agenda, that Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Assange, did it brilliantly.
Cameron felt uneasy that, in the film, Assange appears to be more concerned about the fate of people who leaked documents to WikiLeaks, such as Chelsea Manning, rather those whose security may have been jeopardised by the leaks.
That anyone has been directly affected or harmed by leaks from the organisation is up for debate.
The prime minister tutted that, when Assange warns people’s lives are at risk, he is thinking of the people who have leaked documents.
“Actually you also need to think about the people whose lives are at risk because they have been leaked,” Cameron asserted. “In the bit of the film I saw that didn’t come out enough. But it makes you think”.
Cameron appears to have undergone a conversion since he entered Number 10. He campaigned strongly in favour of open government while in opposition – roughly around the time Wikileaks first started making an impact.
It seems Cameron had difficulty seeing a difference between corruption in the African continent or within the US or Britain’s military.
Cameron said people feel sympathy for Wikileaks because some of things the group uncovered in Africa and elsewhere, and they think it is great that information has been revealed.
“Transparency, sunlight is a great disinfectant,” Cameron said. “Transparency about information and where money is spent and how it is spent – this helps keep governments and politicians honest. So it is a good thing,” he said.
Cameron opposed the “huge dumps of information” by Wikileaks. He claimed every single telegram they had was made public without thinking of the consequences and lives could have been put at risk as a result.
“That is different,” Cameron said, before going on to say government secrecy is necessary for national security.
The Fifth Estate has been criticised by Assange, who was not involved in filming.
Assange said an early version of the script he had seen was “fanning the flames for war on Iran” and that the piece was a “serious propaganda attack on Wikileaks and the integrity of its staff”.