WikiRebels: The Documentary (2010) Movie Script

Julian, welcome.
It's been reported that WikiLeaks
has released more classified documents
than the rest of the world's media combined.
Can that possibly be true?
Yeah, can it possibly be true?
It's a worry, isn't it,
that the rest of the world's media is doing such a bad job
that a little group of activists is able to
release more of that type of information
than the rest of the world press combined.
Picking up the wounded.
I'm trying to get permission to engage.
Line them all up.
Come on, fire.
Good evening. They're the secret files
from the Iraqi War.
The internet platform WikiLeaks...
WikiLeaks have made public
the most extensive classified military
and diplomatic material ever.
What they've released is challenging and provoking governments
with skeletons in their cupboards all over the world.
We should condemn the disclosure
of any classified information
by individuals and organisations.
The people who are in power
will not give that power away freely.
That is just unfortunately a fact of nature.
The Defense Department demands
that WikiLeaks return immediately
all versions of documents obtained directly or indirectly
from the Department of Defense databases or records.
It's only now that the true story
behind the development of
this closed organisation is coming to light.
But while the world's discussing
whether Assange is a rapist or a saint,
WikiLeaks continue to pursue their own political agenda.
Every release that we do of material has a second message,
and that is we set examples.
If you engage in immoral, in unjust behaviour,
it will be found out, it will be revealed,
and you will suffer the consequences.
What we have here is a new breed of rebel -
IT guerrillas without a national base.
Student digs, coffee bars and server rooms -
these are their command and control centres,
spread all over the world,
and the battle's already started.
The general in charge of
120 defence intelligence agency personnel
targeting this institution and its products.
WikiLeaks have become a global force
to be reckoned with in record time.
It may not be easy to grasp at first,
but the release of classified information
is just a small step
in a long-term political and ideological battle,
and that leaking classified information is a weapon
and not a means unto itself.
The public has a right to know materials.
And the historical record has a right to have materials
of diplomatic, political, ethical, historical significance.
If something is interfering with that process,
we will undo it.
He's been called the 'Scarlet Pimpernel' of the computer age.
If one were to judge him on his looks alone,
you could call him a chameleon,
given the frequency of his change of hairstyles
during the six months we've been following WikiLeaks.
But if you look under the surface,
you'll soon discover that Julian Assange
has been revolting against the powers that be for a long time.
As a teenager in Australia,
he called himself 'Mendax',
and got a name for himself as a highly skilled hacker.
By the age of 21
he found himself in court
pleading guilty to some 20 different charges of hacking.
I mean, we had a back door
in the US Military Security Coordination Centre.
This is the peak security...
It's for controlling the security of MILNET,
the US military internet.
We had total control over this for two years.
The US space agency NASA is one of the victims
of the Melbourne computer hacking syndicate.
American investigators, including the FBI,
contacted Australian authorities
with their suspicions.
The court was told the men
even tampered with the police investigation
into hacking at the ANU.
The judge, seeing Assange as just
an inquisitive young man,
fined him a symbolic sum and released him.
However, the trial added further fuel to Assange's feelings
about the importance of unrestricted information.
Together with some friends,
he sets up one of Australia's first internet suppliers
and gives people with politically sensitive viewpoints
a platform from which to publish their opinions.
But when one of his customers
publishes secret Scientology manuals,
this prompts aggressive efforts to censor him.
Helena Kobrin,
one of the lawyers for Scientology in California,
sent many letters trying to attack us.
And they ended up hiring a private investigator
to try and track me down.
Who did manage to get hold of my silent telephone line
and call me up,
just as a sort of threatening manoeuvre.
I ended up tracking down how they did that.
Those efforts to censor the site
strengthen his conviction that something has to be done
against those withholding
important information from the public at large.
The problem was...
..there needed to be more actions
that created positive reform effect.
More actions that were just and corrective to injustice.
Assange sees disclosures as a preventative instrument.
It warns those involved in morally questionable
or criminal acts
that they'll be found out and
will have to face consequences.
I understood the significance of
disclosures for quite some time.
I mean, I registered leaks.Org in 1999.
In 2006, Assange and a group of like-minded people
start building up a special internet service,
exclusively for people wishing
to blow the whistle on abuse of power.
His fellow conspirators comprised of hackers and mathematicians.
They're located around the world
and communicate via a restricted mailing list.
From this platform,
they start defining their thoughts
of building up a worldwide movement
to mass publicise classified information.
They affirm that this is
the most cost-effective political weapon,
and that they intend to place a new star
on the political firmament of man.
Any reform that is large-scale
must be based upon information,
because what else can spread other than viruses?
Only information can spread and
achieve large-scale reform.
Inspired by Wikipedia,
WikiLeaks distribute the leaked information
to anonymous volunteers to check its authenticity
and eliminate any traces of the sender's identity.
It turns out that the majority of the general public
has neither the time, interest or resources
to analyse WikiLeaks' material.
But there are professionals to turn to.
In 2006, we hoped that the general public
would write analysis articles ...collaboratively.
And not at all true.
WikiLeaks come to the conclusion
that media are the only channels
that have the resources and motivation required
to create a real impact.
In 2007, WikiLeaks,
in association with the British daily newspaper 'The Guardian'
publish evidence of former
president Daniel arap Moi
having embezzled massive sums from Kenyan state funds.
Shortly after that, they release a report about
the Kenyan police's use of death patrols.
This disclosure causes a great stir,
but, as an organisation,
WikiLeaks continue to remain unknown to the general public.
However, the word spreads
among activists far and wide on the Net,
eventually reaching the German Chaos Computer Club,
the biggest and oldest club
for hackers in the world.
I heard about it in late 2007
from a couple of friends.
I started reading a bit more,
but I started to understand
the value of such a project to society.
The politically engaged Chaos Computer Club
has been fighting a long-term battle
for free access to information.
One of its members, Daniel Domscheit-Berg,
is quick to recognise the common ground
between his view of society and that of WikiLeaks'.
He quits his job as a computer consultant
so as to devote all of his time to the new organisation.
The question is the attitude.
What attitude do you have to society?
Do you look at what there is
and you accept that as God given?
Or do you see society
as something where you identify a problem
and then you find a
creative solution for that problem?
So it is a matter of, are you a spectator
or are you actively participating in society?
The computer club has put the skills of some of
the sharpest hacking talents
in the world at WikiLeaks' disposal.
What's needed now is a physical haven.
Hackers linked to the Swedish file
sharing site Pirate Bay
have what they need -
considerable technical skills
in a place where
freedom of speech is unusually free.
A lot of the countries in today's world
do not have really strong laws for the media anymore.
But a few countries -
like, for instance, Belgium,
also the United States with the First Amendment,
and especially, for example, Sweden -
have very strong laws protecting the media
and the work of investigative or general journalists.
So, from our perspective, this is something.
If there are any Swedes here,
you have to make sure that your country
is really one of the strongholds of freedom of information.
Sweden has an enviable,
although far-from-perfect record
in protecting publications.
It has a practical record within the past few years
of protecting internet publications
against censorship.
And it's precisely Sweden's
unique freedom of speech law
that prompts WikiLeaks
to locate their main site
in this unpretentious basement
in one of Stockholm's inner suburbs.
PRQ offer their customers total secrecy.
Their systems prevent anyone
from eavesdropping
either WikiLeaks chat pages
or finding out who sent what to who.
PRQ have a track record of
been uh...the hardest ISP you can find in the world.
There's just no-one else
that bothers less about lawyers harassing them,
about content they are hosting.
And it's just the attitude that, let's say,
works very well with
what WikiLeaks was set out to do.
One reason why WikiLeaks need PRQ is
that their operations
are protected by Sweden's strict freedom of expression laws -
laws which PRQ exploit to the full.
And we aren't talking about any old information.
It's from these servers at PRQ
that WikiLeaks has,
for example, made public a manual
from the United States Guantanamo Bay detention centre.
A military manual leaked on the internet
is revealing details of the way
terror suspects are being treated
at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
It tells of the use of solitary
confinement and humiliation
to break down the detainees mentally.
Human rights groups have for years
been asking the US administration
for access to this manual.
If you censor
important material of this type,
we're not just gonna criticise you,
we're going to take the material
that you try to censor
and we're going to spray it all over the world.
And we're gonna stick it in our archives
in a way that it's never gonna disappear,
and encourage everyone to get copies of it.
WikiLeaks' battle against censorship
knows no geographical frontiers.
Their next step is to publish an internal report
commissioned by the multinational trading company Trafigura,
who are alleged to have dumped toxic waste in the Ivory Coast
that caused tens of thousands of people to seek medical care.
'The Guardian' newspaper
was going to produce a big story on this,
and, as a result, they were gagged.
The company obtained a secret order in court
to gag all the press in the UK
from reporting anything related to the content of that report
and the fact that they had been gagged.
In the US, hackers discover
that the Republican presidential
candidate Sarah Palin
is apparently bypassing US transparency laws
by using a private email account to conduct government business.
WikiLeaks publishes her messages.
After just two years
the site's made public
over a million secret documents.
But WikiLeaks, as an organisation,
continues to be largely shrouded in secrecy.
Only Julian Assange and
Daniel Domscheit-Berg appear in public -
the latter under the pseudonym 'Schmidt'.
OK. Hello, everybody.
My name is Daniel Schmidt. This is Julian Assange.
We're here to make a short presentation
about the WikiLeaks project.
According to 'The National',
which is something we are kind of proud,
it's one of the last quotes we had,
so 'The National' has said that we have produced
more scoops in our short existence
than the 'The Washington Post' in the last 30 years.
Their publication activities
soon lead to counterattacks.
When WikiLeaks released lists of censored websites,
internet service providers in a number of countries,
including Thailand, China
and Iran, shut them down.
The more sensitive the material they publish,
the more often WikiLeaks
become the object of lawsuits and threats.
WikiLeaks now attracts the attention
of the US intelligence,
who, in a classified report,
claimed that the site is a threat to national security
and suggest ways of shutting it down.
Priority is put on finding
the individuals leaking the information.
The US intelligence, however,
only manage to keep the report secret a short while
before it's leaked to WikiLeaks.
It now becomes obvious that
WikiLeaks need to find more and safer havens
from which they can publish their information.
A sequence of events now starts
on an island in the middle of the North Atlantic,
which, while it leads to more censorship efforts,
will also create new opportunities for WikiLeaks.
October came, October 2008,
and the Icelandic banking system imploded.
It lost seventeen-eighteenths of its mass
over the course of about a week or two.
It was essentially one bank per week went bankrupt.
WikiLeaks obtain material that show
how Iceland's catastrophic bank collapses
were partly due to
cronyism, or favouritism,
carelessness and secretiveness.
When this highly detailed
document is put out on the Net,
the bank launches a counterattack.
Well, the first time I ever heard of WikiLeaks
was in the beginning of August 2009.
I was working as a reporter for the state television
when I got a tip that this website
had an important document just posted online.
The document was the high exposure loan book
for the failed Kaupthing Bank.
It was essentially all of the regulators
had been derelict in their duties.
All of the bankers had been lying
about the actual state of affairs.
The bank's management react in panic to the revelations,
and, in a desperate move,
force the Icelandic judiciary to resort to extreme measures.
I was the first one, actually, to break that story.
But the bank reacted in a manner that was quite interesting.
They got a gag order on the state television.
Actually, the first and only one
in the history of Icelandic state television news.
The leak lays bare the disastrous effects
of the cronyism inherent in Iceland.
We had failed as a country
because we had not been sharing the information that we needed.
We were in the middle of an information famine.
That sort of eventually led to this just,
"Let's get the WikiLeaks people here."
And then, when they were here, we just went,
"Hmm, OK, there anything you want us to do?"
And obviously there was.
-Welcome to this program.-Thank you.
You mentioned to me the dream that we in Iceland,
we should become a "Vanguard of publishing freedom".
Absolutely, absolutely. So, we see...
They were presenting this idea
which they called 'Switzerland of bytes',
which was basically to take the tax haven model
and transform it into the transparency haven model.
Why doesn't Iceland become
the centre for publishing in the world?
Because it's going to be global...
Julian and I, we were just throwing that idea out.
Just declaring on national television that we thought
this would be the next business model for Iceland.
So that felt pretty weird.
Then realising the next day
that everyone wanted to talk about it.
Iceland has seen some of the problems that happen
when society becomes too secret.
WikiLeaks gave us
the nudge that we needed.
We had had this idea,
but we didn't know what to do with it,
and they came and told us.
And that is an incredibly valuable thing.
WikiLeaks now team up with
Icelandic activists and parliamentarians,
and together draw up a proposal
that would transform Iceland into a haven for journalism.
Herbert and I and Birgitta Jonsdottir
and Rop Gonggrijp and Julian Assange,
the five of us sat in this hotel room
for about four or five hours
and wrote the entire proposal from scratch.
The proposal is adopted unanimously by Iceland's parliament.
Just getting a bill accepted in the parliament
is nearly impossible.
And this is actually
a huge victory for the parliament
to have a proposal of this nature
pass through the parliament
with everybody saying yes.
It's also a victory for WikiLeaks,
who are now not only using disclosures as a weapon
but also directly influencing freedom of expression laws.
The entire hacker world behind WikiLeaks
is growing increasingly confident
that their visions will lead to an improved society.
I think people that are dealing with systems,
and technologically oriented people who are dealing with systems,
they understand systems pretty well.
And if you look at society,
that's just yet another system.
The people involved with WikiLeaks
are exactly the same as me and the other people
who are fighting this fight,
in that they are information activists first and foremost.
They believe in the power of information
and power of knowledge,
and the importance of allowing everybody to have both of those
Perhaps it's similar convictions
that prompt a young former American hacker
to make one of the most crucial decisions of his life.
Bradley Manning, serving as an intelligence analyst
with the US Army in Iraq early 2010,
has, just like millions of other Americans
in the military or civil service,
access to a massive database of classified information.
He discovers indications of crime and corruption,
and tells another hacker, Adrian Lamo, about it.
Manning writes that he sent hundreds of thousands of
military and diplomatic reports to WikiLeaks -
the biggest leak ever.
Manning puts his faith in WikiLeaks.
Manning Bradley E
However, Lamo reports their chat to the military.
Manning now risks a 52-year jail sentence.
Many of the facts are still unclear.
One thing is certain.
At this point in time, WikiLeaks receive documents
with the same material that Manning is charged of having leaked.
We make a commitment to our sources
that we will represent their material to the public
to the best of our ability.
And achieve maximum
political impact for the risks that they take.
WikiLeaks are in possession of explosive material -
too big, in fact, for them to handle alone.
Assange decides to stake
all of his resources in one move.
We were sitting at a cafe in Reykjavik
and he basically just flipped over his laptop
and told me,
"You gotta see something very interesting."
I was quite shocked.
This was something I recognised instantly
as extremely important and strong material.
This is what the crew of an American attack helicopter see
while out on patrol in Baghdad.
See all those people standing down there?
There's a group of men on the street below.
Two of them work for the international news agency Reuters.
The driver Saaed Chmagh,
and the cameraman Namir Noor-Eldeen.
What annoys me the most
is when people abuse their power and harm innocents,
and they didn't actually need to do it.
Hotel 26. This is Crazy Horse 18.
I have individuals with weapons.
Request permission to engage.
Roger that.
We have no personnel east of our position.
For me, personally, somebody that had spent so much effort
into trying to stop this war,
that at least if this would be shown to people
that it might give people enough...motivation
to try to stop the next one.
Right, we'll be engaging.
Roger. Go ahead.
I can't get them now 'cause they're behind that building.
What shocked me with the video
was how the high resolution, the quality of it,
the excessive use of force
to shoot people with hollow 30mm bullets
that are designed to penetrate armoured vehicles and tanks,
basically shot to pieces.
Let me know when you've gathered before shooting.
Line them all up.
Come on, fire.
Keep shooting.
Different people argue that it was right for the United States
to be in Iraq, or wrong to be in Iraq.
But, nonetheless, in this incident...
..Even if you argue that it was right
for the United States to be in Iraq,
even if it was right for them
to be in that suburb at that time,
with a helicopter,
overlooking this wounded man crawling in the street,
it was not helpful for the United States
for that wounded, crawling man to be shot.
We got one guy crawling around down there,
but, yeah, we definitely got something.
-We're shooting some more. -Roger.
The Reuters employee, Saaed Chmagh, has been seriously wounded.
-He's getting up. -Does he have a weapon on him?
No, no, I haven't seen one yet.
It is very important to offer a voice to the voiceless.
Nobody really believes the people on the ground
when they're trying to tell
what the war crimes are occurring.
And that happened to the people there.
So I offered to help with this in any which way possible.
Bush Master, Crazy Horse. We have individuals going to the scene.
Looks like possibly picking up bodies and weapons.
Let me engage.
We need a doctor.
Can I shoot?
They're picking up the wounded.
Yeah, I'm trying to get permission to engage.
Come on. Let us shoot.
A father, driving his children to school,
catches sight of the injured man and stops to help him.
It's Bush Master 7. Go ahead.
Roger. We have a black Bongo truck picking up the bodies.
Request permission to engage.
Bush Master 7. Roger.
This is Bush Master 7. Roger. Engage.
18, OK. Clear.
Come on.
Clear. One again.
Why do it?
Well, there's two reasons.
One - because it's fun to kill people.
If you're being in that environment,
removed from all the effects of killing people for a long time.
It's a video game. You want to get a high score.
The other is
they brag after a kill...streak
about how many people they kill.
They go back to base and go, "Hey...killed 13 today."
Oh, yeah, look at that. Right through the windshield.
Oh, yeah, look at those dead bastards.
Nice. 26, Crazy Horse 18.
When the ground troops arrive,
they see that there are children in the car.
They're bringing their kids to a battle.
That's right.
After viewing the video hundreds of times...
..It became almost an obsession
to get the identity of the people there.
We knew the identity of Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saaed Chmagh
the Reuters employees.
But, for me, it was important to establish
the identity of the other people there,
especially the children in the mini-van.
We decided that it was worthwhile to go there and interview them.
It turns out that the children survived the attack.
Hrafnsson flies to Baghdad in search of more facts.
He traces the whereabouts of the children
and shows the helicopter film to the victim's family.
I think we could establish fairly well
from a journalistic point of view
that the reason why the mini-van was there
was basically a coincidence
that the driver stumbled upon the scene.
He was driving his kids to a tutorial.
On 5 April 2010, WikiLeaks publishes
the 'Collateral Murder' film.
The impact is no less than extraordinary.
Disturbing footage apparently showing
civilians being killed by the US military in Iraq...
It was leaked from within the defence community to a website.
By putting all their resources into the helicopter video,
WikiLeaks have managed to attract the attention
of some of the biggest players in the news business.
This is precisely what Assange needs
to help him handle the rest of the leaked US material.
I had been looking at this release and studying it
and understanding how to come up with a way
to deal with such a tremendously large volume of material...
..That would actually not simply drown any one organisation.
Assange proceeds to contact 'The New York Times',
'The Guardian' and 'Der Spiegel'.
He manages to persuade the chief editors
of these globally respected papers
to publish his material in a coordinated fashion,
with Assange pulling the strings.
What is new is us
enforcing cooperation between
competitive organisations that would otherwise be rivals
to do the best by the story,
as opposed to simply just
doing the best by their own organisation.
In late July 2010,
the Afghanistan reports are published at the same time and day.
One of the biggest leaks in US military history
has exposed several cover-ups over the war in Afghanistan.
The real story of this material is that it's war.
It's one damn thing after another.
The publication of the material is met with praise
as well as strong criticism.
The Defense Department demands that WikiLeaks
return immediately to the US Government
all versions of documents obtained directly or indirectly
from the Department of Defense databases or records.
For the first time,
WikiLeaks are now facing
criticism that they find hard to respond to.
The material includes the names of civilian Afghanis,
putting them at risk of being targeted by the Taliban.
The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents
are potentially severe and dangerous.
Mr Assange can say whatever he likes
about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing,
but the truth is, they might already have on their hands
the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.
Releasing classified material can be very risky.
But Assange says that the end justifies the means.
We would have had to have released all this material,
without separating out any of it,
or release none.
The value, the extraordinary value of this historic record
to the progress of that war
and its potential to save lives
outweighs the danger to innocents.
WikiLeaks now takes steps to avoid making the same mistake again.
Their next publication -
400,000 military reports from the Iraq War -
are painstakingly edited and names removed.
They also start reinforcing
their network of experienced journalists.
Hi. Hey.
A camera.
How are you?
Iain Overton is editor of the independent London-based
Bureau of Investigative Journalism,
who are now going to analyse the material
and produce their own documentaries.
There's a frantic rush of
getting the best people we could on board.
And we drew up a team of 25 people over a weekend,
and my phone went red-hot calling people.
It was Saturday night in the middle of August,
and about sort of five or six of us
at the bureau met with Julian.
About an hour later I end up sort of leaving the place
with a USB stick full of 400,000 classified military documents.
The material is essentially an encyclopedia of this war,
with reports issued day by day, hour by hour, corpse by corpse.
Absolutely we felt these are the reports
written by people on the ground straight afterwards.
It's kind of the day-to-day war through their eyes.
And that's new.
We haven't been able to do that before, ever, really.
The material tells of tens of thousands of civilian casualties.
Figures that the US have withheld to date.
And the widespread practice of torture
that the US said they'd put a stop to
is still being practised by the Iraqi allies.
I think there are stories that...
..Cause you to be filled with grief.
Some are incredibly harrowing.
I mean, you do have children tortured to death
or shot in front of parents.
And it's not material you can read and not be affected by.
When I was reading the reports,
you read a young American soldier writing
in a very, very bureaucratic,
anodyne, sterile way
about a father who's driving his children to back home
and he's going too fast, and they open fire at the car.
And the father, fearing that his children will be hit,
calls all his children to lie on the floor.
All of the children are killed, three children.
And the way it's written up,
it's called an 'Escalation of Force'.
You know.
It's not an escalation of force, is it?
It's a killing.
And it's, you's horrific.
Is anything truly new in war?
War is hell.
Awful things happen.
And what these logs tell us is that war is hell.
They don't hide from the truth.
They're not spun by a military spin doctor
talking in an air-conditioned conference room in the Green Zone.
This is visceral
unequivocal death
written in raw detail.
109,000 lives lost over the course of these reports.
We're all doing what we can in something so huge
that people can, and hopefully will, study this data for years.
This is worth telling. This is worth getting out there.
The lack of respect for human life
runs like a common thread through the material.
These images are of a helicopter crew
who have just received orders to bomb a building
where three enemy soldiers are thought to be hiding.
If you like,
Crazy Horse 18 can put a missile in that building.
A passer-by suddenly turns up...
but the crew don't wait.
It was a missile.
The crew could have waited until the man had passed.
This is perhaps a measure
of how human life was valued in Baghdad.
Private cars being pursued by an attack helicopter.
The driver gets out of the car
and holds his arms up in a gesture of surrender.
The more horrific the discovery the investigators in London make,
the more they get the feeling of being threatened.
It gradually becomes obvious
that someone's watching their office.
I do know that I'm being listened in to,
monitored by forces - I don't know.
I've received strange text messages from anonymous sources.
I've received death threats.
And they're not very nice, clearly.
And particularly the one that talked about my children.
I just think that was a bit unnecessary.
There's op eds in 'The Washington Post'
saying that our personnel should be kidnapped.
From Europe, our sources...
one alleged source executed similar statements
by right-wing members of the US Congress.
Congressman Mike Rogers isn't the only one crying revenge.
In Washington,
the influential public figure Christian Whiton
is agitating for the indictment of WikiLeaks members,
saying they should be treated as terrorists.
There has to be a clear punishment for people
who engage in what I would consider a form of espionage,
a form of political warfare.
It's not an act of journalism or transparency
but an act of political war against us.
The US ups its efforts to stop WikiLeaks.
The payment service providers Moneybrokers
closed down WikiLeaks' account.
American hackers suspected of having
links to WikiLeaks are detained,
questioned and have their computers confiscated.
At the end of the day, things involving the Web,
I think you find, are less mysterious and new
than may meet the eye at first.
If you just go beyond, I'd say, the surface,
you'll find telecommunications companies
that are hosting the servers,
or hosting the companies that in turn host this information
and have made this possible.
You'll find banks that provide banking services to these people.
You'll find landlords who provide
rent to the individuals involved.
So, to that extent, I'm pretty sure you can peel back the onion
and find exactly what this organisation is,
where it conducts its activities
and which jurisdiction it's subject to most directly.
However, the stronger the attacks,
the greater the support WikiLeaks receive.
Julian Assange has been without
a fixed address for several years,
but wherever he lands,
activists are on hand to offer him a place to sleep
and their services free of charge.
People love the idea of
an out-of-control investigative journalist
who's trying to take on governments.
The story of some quasi-romantic, fleet of foot,
Scarlet Pimpernel character
in the form of Julian Assange darting in the cybershadows,
it's very appealing.
I am very pleased to be amongst so many people I can respect.
I don't think I have ever...
Assange is an ideal media figure.
He's been portrayed as the Lone Ranger
of the information age.
- Who to? - Arnie...
You are the only one which is sounding like a pure angel.
- Me - a pure angel? - Yes.
- It's just the hair. - No, no...
Praise and prizes are being poured over WikiLeaks.
Time Magazine has included Assange on a short list
for the world's most influential man.
You should remember Solzhenitsyn's words that in the right moment,
"One word of truth outweighs the world."
But all is not quiet on the WikiLeaks front.
Assange is aware that the Iraqi material
that's shortly to be released
will generate even more anger.
In August he travels to Sweden.
He applies for a resident's permit to obtain the protection
of the world's most extensive freedom of the press law.
Does this mean that WikiLeaks is becoming even more Swedish?
I hope so.
To start with, everything goes well.
Julian Assange is welcomed with open arms.
He's invited to major political and trade union venues
and there are calls that he should be
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
A couple of days later, the picture changes dramatically.
Swedish authorities have issued an arrest warrant
for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
He's accused of rape and molestation.
On 20 August, Assange is accused of rape.
The alleged crime is immediately leaked to the world press.
Behind the accusation are two women
who had casual relationships with Assange.
The women don't make any public statements,
but the important evening paper 'Aftonbladet'
publishes an anonymous interview with one of them,
which states that what started as voluntary sex
subsequently became what she described as 'abusive'.
But she's not afraid of him and he's not violent.
Alright, Julian Assange,
the WikiLeaks founder
and the target of the rape allegations, joins me now on the line.
Thank you so much for speaking to us, Mr Assange.
What do you think about this?
Clearly, clearly, it is a smear campaign of some kind.
Well, I came to Sweden as a refugee.
A refugee publisher involved with
an extraordinary publishing fight with the Pentagon,
where our people were being detained.
It was an attempt to prosecute me for espionage.
So I'm unhappy and disappointed
with how the Swedish justice system has been abused.
Assange says he never forced anyone to have sex
and that the judicial system has been misused.
He implies that he's a victim
of personal revenge and US pressure.
That trouble the last of us
that had worked with the organisation,
the way this case was mixed with WikiLeaks.
The way, of course, there must have been a party
at the American Embassy in Sweden when they read this news.
"Yes, we don't have to do anything except just to pass this on."
But, whatever the truth is,
a shadow is now being cast not only on his
but also WikiLeaks' name.
The rape allegations lead to
a storm of protests from WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks has become the sensation
because the two last big scoops,
and the only scoops that have been actually
played into the hands of the mainstream media,
are sort of WikiLeaks versus the US,
or Julian Assange versus the Pentagon.
This is not what WikiLeaks is about.
It is a site that focuses on all sorts of leaks
from all over the world.
It has weakened the organisation.
That is my perception.
Too much focused on one person,
and one person's always much weaker than an organisation.
The difference of opinion began
when Assange decided to put
all of WikiLeaks' resources
into the giant American disclosures.
And it's now grown into a serious source of discontent
regarding how the organisation should be run.
I think the wisest thing to do
would have been to do this slowly,
step by step, to grow the project.
That did not happen.
What happened was to pick out the biggest releases,
to release these, to put all effort, all resources,
everything we had into producing these releases.
Other voices join in the criticism,
some through anonymous media interviews.
And now it's Assange's turn to look for leaks.
This is an extract from a chat
between Domscheit-Berg and Assange:
If you preach transparency to everyone else,
you have to be transparent yourself.
You have to fulfil the same standards
that you expect from others.
And I think that's where we've not been heading into
the same direction philosophically anymore.
The argument ends with Daniel
and several others quitting WikiLeaks.
Eventually this ended with me arguing with Julian
about basically his dictatorial behaviour.
Which ended in Julian saying to me
that if I had a problem with him,
I could just "Piss off", I quote.
Those who quit the organisation
build up their own site on the quiet - OpenLeaks -
to be run without an authoritarian editor
and serve purely as an online distribution service,
helping people deliver material anonymously to the media.
OpenLeaks is a technology project
that is aiming to be a service provider for third parties
that want to be able to accept material from anonymous sources.
Well, I'm inclined not to talk too much about the people,
the few people that have decided
that their interests are not with WikiLeaks anymore.
But what I hear is that some of the people
are contemplating to open up their own website
with the same ideal as WikiLeaks.
And I think that's an excellent idea, and I wish them well.
I think it's... the more, the better.
WikiLeaks continues to pursue its set strategy,
which leads to massive media reaction
when the next part of the material is published.
I can't think of any case where a satellite news channel,
the BBC Radio World Service,
terrestrial channels and broadcasters and their internet
are all going to go at the same time on a story.
This...disclosure is about the truth.
They're the secret files from the Iraq War...
Internet platform WikiLeaks...
Let me just say, with regards to the allegations of not intervening
when coming across detainee abuse - it's not true.
The Iraq leak hits the headlines around the world.
Thanks to Assange's strategy,
the leak has a huge impact
and greatly boosts WikiLeaks' resources.
Now 40 volunteers are brought in
to work more or less full-time for the organisation,
with another 800 people available for specific tasks.
WikiLeaks are well into planning
the release of future disclosures.
But, first, there's still the final part
of the US material to be released.
For this latest release,
we have chosen a different methodology.
We have tried to pull it out over time,
rather than having it all go out in one hit.
This time, however, the new material contains disclosures,
the consequences of which are far harder to assess
than previous releases.
The United States strongly condemns
the illegal disclosure of classified information.
In a storm of criticism,
WikiLeaks are accused of threatening world peace.
Are they and their media partners sufficiently competent
to gauge the consequences of releasing
hundreds of thousands of diplomatic dispatches,
covering everything from nuclear reactors in Iran
to Saudi Arabian domestic policy?
Or is it again a matter of the end justify the means.
For Christian Whiton, things are much simpler than that.
I think Mr. Assange is actually waging political warfare, too.
He's not using weapons,
but he's not using purely soft things either, like words.
He's using information -
wielding information against us, if you will.
That, to me, is what political warfare is.
By and large, WikiLeaks is a force for good.
I think you can't just be absolute on this.
WikiLeaks is very, very powerful.
And I think one has to be cautious
of anything that's very, very powerful in life.
WikiLeaks' website may disappear again tomorrow
or it may suddenly reappear in a thousand other locations.
History is still in the process of being written,
and the rape allegations are a long way from being settled.
One thing's clear - whatever happens,
WikiLeaks have sown a seed,
a thought that's impossible to erase.
It's about new ways and new channels
of disseminating classified information
that'll have a profound effect on transparency,
not only on the Net but in a broader global dimension.
What I really learned in the last three years
is that a difference can be made bottom up,
and not only top down.
Information does not respect borders.
States are going to have
to rethink how they approach information.
Any state which fails to do this will cease to exist.
Well, if we're gonna have a military and a defence policy,
it's predicated on having information that is controlled.
Of course, we're a democracy,
we're one of the most open countries,
I believe, in the history of the world,
but information has to be protected in certain circumstances
and denied to the public.
Democracy without transparency is not democracy.
I mean, that's just an empty word.