A Man Vs an Empire: Al Mayadeen's documentary about Julian Assange
Al Mayadeen airs a docuseries revealing the truth about WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, as well as the pressures he was subjected to due to the nature of his work.
"Leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ecuador, among others, all gathered, not for countries or even a single country, but for one man named Julian Assange."
Introduction to the documentary by Al-Mayadeen: "A Man Against an Empire"
Julian Assange; a name that emerged in the media and international arena after WikiLeaks, a website he founded in 2010, revealed important and dangerous information and facts about what the United States government and other governments have wrought in the Middle East - crimes they have not been held accountable for yet. As a result, Assange faced pressure and persecution, until he was arrested by the British police in 2019 after seeking refuge for seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Since then, Assange has been held in the high-security Belmarsh Prison near London, facing a possible prison sentence of 175 years after the UK Supreme Court approved his extradition to the United States in December 2021.
Recognizing the importance of Assange's revelations, and in support of press freedom wherever it may be, and as a tribute to his struggle for truth, Al Mayadeen produced a three-part docuseries titled "A Man Vs. An Empire."
Assange, who provided the world with important and dangerous information, paid a steep price for what he did, but as a result, he established a new and pioneering school in investigative journalism around the world.
The docuseries delves into the details of Assange's long journey, documenting the inception of the WikiLeaks website, and what Assange went through. It also explores what he revealed during the early years of his work, and the pressures and persecution he faced as a result of his actions. This ultimately led him to seek refuge in an embassy before his arrest and his difficult life in prison, with the looming threat of extradition to the United States at any moment.
Each episode of this series showcases a phase of Assange's life and the story of WikiLeaks.
The first part covers the establishment of "WikiLeaks" and the significant and dangerous truths unearthed by Assange, leading up to the beginning of the pressure exerted on him regarding a fabricated legal case in Sweden, which ultimately led him to seek refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The second part focuses on the life of asylum within the Ecuadorian embassy and its difficulties, the escalation of the legal battle in British courts, the tightening of restrictions on Assange, as well as the solidarity campaigns in his support, leading up to his arrest by the British police.
The third part reveals prison life and its challenges, especially during the COVID-19 quarantine period, the continued severe restrictions on Assange, and the beginning of the extradition battle to the United States, and ultimately provides an overview of Assange's experience.
The docuseries was shot in seven countries: Britain, Scotland, France, Belgium, Australia, the United States, and Lebanon, and took approximately two years to produce.
The series features six different groups of guests: Assange's wife and defense team, friends and solidarity campaigners, journalists and heads of institutions that worked with WikiLeaks, former diplomats familiar with and connected to Assange's experience, former officers and whistleblowers, and war correspondents in the region and political analysts.
The docuseries discusses facts and represents a message of solidarity and support for Assange, specifically, and for journalists in general, especially those working to uncover the truth and expose government corruption and crimes.
It is the first contemporary and extensive film produced in the Arab world that expresses solidarity with Assange, who contributed to the outing of numerous crimes that occurred in the region, yet actual strong Arab solidarity with him is scarce.
The documentary's producer and director, Hala Bou Saab, told Al Mayadeen Net that "the general aim of the film is to document the case of Julian Assange in the context of solidarity because Assange worked professionally and established a new approach to investigative journalism worldwide."
"The importance of this documentary lies in amplifying our voice as journalists and as an Arab media platform by narrating Assange's story, especially since Arab countries have not shown significant solidarity with him, and there has been little deliberation about him," the director underlined.
"This documentary honors Julian Assange and introduces him and his approach to the Arab world, especially since he was not biased toward any one side, professionally exposing all the documents that expose the corruption and crimes of nations," Bou Saab added.
The documentary "will reveal new details about Assange's wedding ceremony with Stella in Belmarsh prison and will illustrate the difficulties they faced through accounts provided by Stella to Al Mayadeen. Other figures and well-known artists, such as Oliver Stone, who directed the film Snowden, will also be narrating the details."
Bou Saab hoped that "Julian Assange be liberated from prison and personally watch this film," as "this man deserves all our solidarity, for he paid the price of freedom due to his professionalism, honesty, and disclosure of true information and documents. It is our duty to amplify and raise his voice."