The Listening Post

Julian Assange: Charges in the US, trial by media?

An apparent cut-paste error confirms a US indictment against the Wikileaks founder. Plus, patriotic cinema in Russia.

On The Listening Post this week: An apparent cut-paste error confirms a US indictment against Julian Assange. But have the media already found him guilty? Plus, patriotic cinema in Russia.

Julian Assange: Tried by media?

Last week, in court papers filed in the US, in a case completely unrelated to Julian Assange, there was a paragraph confirming that a secret indictment has been filed against the WikiLeaks founder. A supposed clerical error confirmed something that Assange had always feared, but that the US Department of Justice never admitted: it wants him in jail.

It’s been more than six years since Assange was granted asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

An investigation into sexual assault-related allegations made by two women in Sweden has long since been dropped. However, British police say Assange will be arrested the moment he steps out of the embassy for breach of bail.

Less than a decade ago, Assange had media outlets eating out of his hand and governments with secrets to hide on high alert. Now, he’s at the mercy of an Ecuadorian government that’s running out of patience and he may be running out of time.


Eric Alterman – media columnist, The Nation
Glenn Greenwald – cofounder, The Intercept
James Ball – Author, ‘WikiLeaks: News in the Networked Era’ / Contributor, The Guardian
Stefania Maurizi – investigative reporter, La Repubblica

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Tariq Nafi about a New York Times’ story that has exposed the questionable tactics Facebook is using to go after its critics.

Russia’s big patriotic screen: Making films for the motherland

Vladimir Putin describes patriotism as a central tenet of today’s Russia – and then relies on nationalistic rhetoric to boost morale and shore up his political base. Not just on the television airwaves, on the silver screen as well.

While Russia has been criticised over its annexation of Crimea in 2014, alleged election meddling in the US and spy poisoning in the UK – the cinematic treatment of the contemporary Russia story is somewhat different. Crimea, for instance, is the stuff of romcoms.

Russia’s history on the battlefield and in the world of sports is a heroic and triumphant tale. The Kremlin not only backs those films to the tune of millions of rubles, it clamps down on filmmakers it calls “anti-state” and bans their work.

The Listening Post‘s Layli Foroudi reports on the cinematic effort to produce patriotism in Russia.


Larisa Malukova – film critic, Novaya Gazeta
Vitaly Mansky – documentary filmmaker
Vlad Strukov – associate professor, Leeds University
Filip Perkon – founder, London Russian Film Week