Mum’s the world for Assange

06. 773NEWSWikiLeaks’ founder’s mum to visit Luna, April 12

CHRISTINE ASSANGE says she communicates with her son Julian using notes, because she believes her phone may be tapped.

She won’t disclose her home location to the Voice because of “security considerations”.

The mother of the WikiLeaks’ founder says she remains politically active and works every day to get the, “truth out there”.

Her son has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy since June last year. UK bobbies ring the place to nab Mr Assange—wanted by Interpol on a sexual assault warrant—in case he makes a run for it.

Mr Assange’s supporters believe the Swedish sexual assault charges have been cooked up in order to make it easier to get him on a plane to the US, where he could face charges relating to WikiLeaks’ publication of reams of classified military material.

Ms Assange says she is concerned about her son’s physical health: “I’m obviously concerned about the lack of exercise and sunlight, but mentally he is very strong, so that wont be an issue.

“It’s ironic because the Americans wanted nothing more than to stop him doing WikiLeaks, but now they’ve got him holed up in the embassy, where all he can do is work on a computer.”

Ms Assange will speak to Perth audiences when she appears at the screening of Underground: The Julian Assange Story at Luna Leederville on April 12.

The film follows Mr Assange, his mother and a group of Australian hackers who are pursued by the FBI during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Ms Assange will participate in a Q&A with Underground director and writer Robert Connolly, whose filmography includes Balibo, Three Dollars and The Bank.

She is unaware of any “organised” WikiLeaks group in Perth, but notes WA Greens senator Scott Ludlam has been very supportive in lobbying the Gillard government to stop her son’s extradition to Sweden. So far the Fremantle-based senator’s pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Mr Connolly consulted with neither the Assanges nor WikiLeaks during the making of the film, but Ms Assange is pleased with the result, saying he presents an accurate portrayal of their lives.

“I think the film is both entertaining and educational,” she says.

“Alex Williams was so convincing as my son, that at times I thought I was actually watching Julian—he had the mannerisms and movements down to a tee.

“There were only a few minor points concerning my character that I thought were over-dramatised and slightly inaccurate.”

Mr Connolly says he deliberately shied away from the Assanges during pre-production to avoid a hagiography. Mr Assange had later told him he’d “loved” the movie when Mr Connolly visited him at the embassy following its release.

“Yeah, he really liked it and thought it was a good Aussie movie about an exciting youth movement,” he says.

“It’s pretty-full on in the embassy: He lives in a small, simple room—it’s probably three by three metres.

“It could be tough in there after a few months.”

Mr Connolly—essentially a political film maker—says he’s encouraged A-List Hollywood actors such as George Clooney are making movies about morally ambiguous, political issues.

“What excites me is that audiences are now seeing films that have a bit more meat on the bone,” he says.

“But I do find it interesting that Australia hasn’t made a film about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars yet, given Afghanistan is the longest war we’ve ever been involved in.

“Yet America, which is viewed as conservative, has made several films on it.”

Mr Connolly says he’s mulling over whether to make a sequel to Underground.

This week, Mr Assange announced lawyer and ex-political candidate Greg Barns, who once headed up the Australian Republican Movement with Malcolm Turnbull, will run his campaign for the Senate. Mr Assange is seeking a seat as a Victorian senator but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to campaign in person on Australian soil.

“The upper house has become a rubber-stamping exercise when its real job is to scrutinise,” Ms Assange says.

“Julian would be a great independent senator—a breath of fresh air.”

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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