Caitlin Johnstone responds to Netflix’s revival of a 2013 documentary that WikiLeaks, at the time, refuted as irresponsible libel.
Netflix will begin streaming a brazen hatchet job on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for its American subscribers on Oct. 24, just three days prior to a significant court date in Assange’s fight against extradition from the U.K. to the United States on Oct. 27.
“You can stream We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks on Netflix starting Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at 12 AM PT / 3 AM ET,” Netflix Schedule reports.
We Steal Secrets was a “documentary” that is now so outdated after its 2013 release that one of its central characters, Chelsea Manning, is referred to by a dead name throughout its entirety. Why choose this specific moment to release it?
Well it doesn’t make much sense at all, if the timing wasn’t deliberately geared toward damaging Assange’s reputation in the nation whose government is trying to extradite him for exposing its war crimes. Assange’s October court date was set way back in August and Netflix didn’t announce it had scheduled to begin streaming this film until two weeks ago.
After all, We Steal Secrets was so egregious in its spin that not only did WikiLeaks supporters like World Socialist Website and journalist Jonathan Cook pan it as a smear at the time, but WikiLeaks itself went to the trouble of publishing a line-by-line refutation of the mountains of propaganda distortion heaped on the narrative by filmmaker Alex Gibney.
“The title (‘We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks’) is false,” WikiLeaks writes at the beginning of its response. “It directly implies that WikiLeaks steals secrets. In fact, the statement is made by former CIA/NSA director Michael Hayden in relation to the activities of US government spies, not in relation to WikiLeaks. This an irresponsible libel. Not even critics in the film say that WikiLeaks steals secrets.”
“Gibney’s latest release — We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks — is something else again,” World Socialist Website wrote in 2013. “The 130-minute feature is a political hatchet job against Julian Assange and dovetails with the media and US government campaign against the WikiLeaks web site. Whether Gibney has shifted to the right or simply revealed the fatal limitations of his liberal ‘oppositional’ views is a matter for a separate discussion. In any event, his newest work is an effort at disinformation.”
“The job of a good documentarist is to weigh the available material and then present as honest a record of what it reveals as possible. Anything less is at best polemic, if it sides with those who are silenced and weak, and at worst propaganda, if it sides with those who wield power,” critiqued Jonathan Cook at the time.
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This would not be the first time Netflix has helped circulate narratives that advance the interests of the U.S. empire, or the second, or the third, having already run blatantly propagandistic “documentaries” advancing imperial interests in nations like Ukraine, Russia, Egypt and multiple ones about Syria. Netflix has also signed deals with the Obamas and with British royalty.
So, they’re not exactly looking out for the little guy, which from a company worth an estimated $229 billion should come as no surprise.
Still, such open facilitation of the world’s most powerful government in its campaign to imprison a journalist for inconvenient journalistic activity is a special kind of reprehensible. If there is a healthy humanity in the future, it will look back on the worldwide smear campaign against Assange and WikiLeaks with horror.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either Youtube, soundcloud, Apple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix, Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.
This article is from CaitlinJohnstone.com and re-published with permission.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
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