Broadcast date: December 12th, 2010
Running time: 57:25 minutes
Directors: Jesper Huor, Bosse Lindquist
In 2010 the world suddenly sat up and took notice of a website which had been online since 2006. WikiLeaks, under The Sunshine Press organization, and with Julian Assange as its Editor-in-Chief, had been publishing highly classified documents from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers.
Ranging from information that had been wilfully withheld from the public, such as files on the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the Collateral Murder video which showed an air strike in Baghdad, the Afghan War Diary with more than 76,900 documents, the 400,000 documents in the Iraq War Logs and extensive records of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war, WikiLeaks was reported to heave released more classified documents than the rest of the world’s media combined. Assange responded to this by saying:
In what seems like a modern day version of Daniel Ellsberg’s leaking of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 there we calls for the website to be shut down and even for Assange to face prosecution for his actions. Yet the question that was asked in 2010 had little to do with national security but more to do with a smear campaign to paint Assange as a rapist, following a European Arrest Warrant issued on charges of sexual assault.
WikiRebels is a documentary directed by Swedish filmmakers Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquist for SVT (Sveriges Television AB). They follow Assange for six months, filming and interviewing with him and while it looks at the impact WikiLeaks has had, it also traces its history and Assange’s.
Set up with the aim to blow the whistle on abuses of power, WikiLeaks grew from being comprised of a handful of likeminded individuals to a global movement that would mass-publicize classified information. Breathtaking in its ideals, but with Assange to front it, he would also become its controversial spokesperson whom much of the criticism and legal action would be aimed at. The more documents they published, the more counter attacks they would face.
Huor and Lindquist also interview Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks’ new spokesperson, and Daniel Domscheit-Berg (aka Daniel Schmitt), who left the organisation after being suspended by Assange. Domscheit-Berg has since then set up his own version of WikiLeaks, called OpenLeaks, with the aim of making whistle-blowing safer and more widespread.
With even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich branding Assange an information terrorist, those who are in power are doing everything they can to hold onto that power. Movements to suppress the accessibility of information are spreading from action against Wikileaks to the internet in general with attempts by SOPA and PIPA.
WikiRebels offers a framework to understand what’s happening and where it’s happening with a clear and concise approach. With so much already written on this cyber-vigilante it’s hard to distort what he’s saying here himself and even though some of us might still be skeptical about his true agenda we can’t deny that what he’s been providing is a healthy alternative to what usually ends up on the mainstream news. It’s an interesting look at both an individual and an organisation that’s been in so many headlines but who we still know so little about.
The documentary is now widely available to watch on Youtube.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .