WikiLeaks leaked an annotated transcript of the documentary "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," on Thursday, the eve of its opening, in an effort to "reveal errors and sleight of hand by the director Alex Gibney," the group writes.
In an introductory note to the transcript, WikiLeaks slams Gibney's film as an "anti-WikiLeaks documentary" that "is filled with factual errors and speculation."
"The film implies – erroneously and when evidence is to the contrary – that Assange may be guilty of 'conspiring' with Bradley Manning," they continue. "This not only factually incorrect, but also buys into the current US government position that journalists and publishers can be prosecuted as co-conspirators with their alleged sources or with whistleblowers who communicate information to them. This is a dangerous proposition for all journalists and media organizations — not just WikiLeaks."
The criticism begins with the title of the film, which the groups says is "false" and "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."
Further on, Wikileaks also criticizes the characterization of whistleblower Bradley Manning, who faces possible life in prison.
"Gibney establishes Manning's character in the context of an alleged gender confusion. This context is reinforced through constant repetition over the next few minutes of the film, in order to leave a lasting impression on the audience. This is Gibney's frame for Manning's alleged acts throughout the entire documentary: that his alleged acts represent a failure of character, rather than a triumph of conscience," WikiLeaks writes in the annotated transcript.
The filmmaker and WikiLeaks have been engaged in a back-and-forth on Twitter since the transcript leak, with the media organization repeatedly including the phrase "Facts matter" to counter Gibney's take. Gibney tweeted several times that the WikiLeaks transcript was incomplete, missing Bradley Manning's words.
"Neither Julian Assange nor anyone associated with WikiLeaks agreed to participate" in Gibney's film, they also point out, though they did cooperate with other documentaries set to be out this year, one by filmmaker Laura Poitras and another co-produced with Ken Loach’s 16 Films.