Watch WikiLeaks: War, Lies & Videotape
- 57 min
WikiLeaks is a 2011 documentary film that examines the story of WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website founded by Julian Assange that became the center of a global controversy with its publication of secret and confidential documents that exposed corruption and cover-ups. The movie explores the origins of the organization and its impact on the media landscape, as well as the political and legal battles faced by Assange and his team.
The movie starts with the early days of WikiLeaks, when it was just a small website with a noble mission: to serve as a repository for leaked documents that revealed wrongdoing and abuse of power by corporations and governments around the world. The film examines the motivations of the people behind the website, including Assange, a controversial figure who is portrayed as both brilliant and enigmatic.
The film then moves on to the publication of the Iraq War Logs, the massive leak of thousands of military documents that exposed the true extent of civilian casualties and human rights abuses in the conflict. The impact of the leak is explored in detail, from the initial shock it caused to the intense political pressure exerted on WikiLeaks and its staff. The movie also addresses the criticism and pushback from the US government and other countries, claiming the site endangered the lives of agents, journalists and diplomats.
WikiLeaks: War, Lies & Videotape also delves into the internal conflicts between its staff, most notably the rift between Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the organization's former spokesperson. Domscheit-Berg, along with other members of the WikiLeaks team, is portrayed as being motivated by idealism, but ultimately disenchanted with Assange's increasingly erratic behavior and lack of transparency. This schism, as shown in the movie, slows down the operations, complicates communication, and exposes Assange's vulnerabilities.
The documentary film also examines the role of the media in the WikiLeaks controversy, particularly after the release of the US diplomatic cables. It highlights how traditional media outlets struggled to adapt to the new platform and how, under pressure from governments, some acted to try and sabotage WikiLeaks' reach rather than to protect the freedom of information. The film shows journalists analyzing the significance of the leaks, assessing the siteâs credibility, and debating the ethics of publishing anonymous leaks. The debate about whether WikiLeaks' actions amount to journalism is also discussed.
One of the most striking aspects of WikiLeaks: War, Lies & Videotape is its portrayal of Assange. The documentary portrays him as an erratic, egotistical and secretive character, but also as a brilliant thinker and passionate advocate for transparency and accountability. The film shows the impact of Assange's leadership style on the organization's operations. Even people who admire Assange are shown struggling to work with him.
Finally, the movie examines the legal and political implications of WikiLeaks' actions, including the American government's ongoing attempt to extradite Assange to the United States to face charges that could result in a 175-year sentence. The film also touches on the role of whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, who gave the organization access to the classified documents, and Edward Snowden, who famously leaked classified NSA documents.
Overall, WikiLeaks: War, Lies & Videotape is a gripping, thought-provoking documentary that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the controversial website and its impact on a world where governments and corporations are increasingly subject to scrutiny and accountability. The movie raises important questions about the role of the media, the nature of contemporary warfare, and the ethics of whistleblowing. The documentary is a must-watch for anyone interested in the intersection of politics, technology, and information.