REVIEWS: Docs / Other films — September 7, 2011 at 5:15 am

REVIEW: WikiRebels, the Documentary (2010)


“WikiRebels” is a documentary about WikiLeaks, an organization that proved how much classified information is worth to ordinary people, governments, and even whole countries. The film starts off with Julian Assange, the “whistle-blower”, the man behind WikiLeaks.

A former hacker (by the age of 21, Assange found himself in court pleading guilty to some 20 charges of hacking) turned into one of the most talked about people in the world, Julian Assange unleashed “the beasts” online – classified reports of high importance, that made (and still make!) impacts all over the news. Assange had the idea, but at the time, he did not possess the right tools.

Soon enough, he and WikiLeaks found an ally in German Chaos Computer Club (biggest and oldest hackers club in the world), a community that shared the goals, similar to those of WikiLeaks’ – a free entrance to classified (at times priceless) information.

So, from there on, WikiLeaks started spitting out these “never before seen or read or heard of” reports online. With the entire hacking world behind it, WikiLeaks soon started directly influencing freedom of expression laws.

On the other hand…there must always be secrets, otherwise you become too vulnerable. And since in today’s world there’s always something to be protected from, such vulnerability can cost a lot. Sometimes, too much. This concerns everything: from ordinary people to companies, organizations, and even whole countries.

People all over the world swallow lies every day. Sometimes lies are needed, raw truth hurts. Information has to be protected in certain circumstances from the wide/general public, sometimes, for their own good.

There was one old low-budget movie, I cannot recall the title now, but its tag line I remember clearly: “Some secrets better be left (stay) buried”. Same thing here: does the general public really needs to know *all* the truth about governments, politicians, wars, and so on? Is the public ready for it? Do they (the majority) even care?

With WikiLeaks its “all or nothing”…in other words – “We either disclose all the massive database of classified information at once, or slowly, one report at a time. Or.. we do not leak anything at all”.

The Documentary features the “Bradley Manning case”, and that infamous footage of the U.S. Army attack helicopter shooting down on innocent Reuters journalists and little children in Baghdad. These are some “bulletproof” facts, that can hit you a lot harder (if you’re U.S.A.) than a roundhouse kick to the face from Chuck Norris.

What seemed important to me personally, is the question – would Assange’s strategy be any different if he was different himself? That takes us back to who he was, and what he turned into. He was a hacker, an outsider.

So, as the time went on, the outsider got this “brilliant idea” of exposing classified information to the world. Would Assange do the same, if he was in someone else’s shoes?

Would be follow the same path, if he was on another social level? Somehow, I really doubt that. WikiLeaks project became a reality because of who Assange was in the very beginning.

It also depends on how you “sell it”. One way to put it: “Listen man, your government is lying to you big time. We have the real, brutal truth about (insert subject of talk here) in this report, and we will spread it all over the internet. Log in, read it, and don’t forget to share.”

I believe, that Bradley Manning leaked hundreds of thousands of classified reports to Wikileaks, because he bought the idea of “exposing the lies”, and a hope for a better life for society he’s a part of. Was this one of the “secrets that should have been left buried”? Couple of men in suits believe so, however you, me, and a bunch of others think otherwise.

As the documentary goes on, we see that soon, problems started rising inside the WikiLeaks organization itself, and, as a result, some people who worked with Assange, left the organization, and created their own – OpenLeaks.

According to some, Assange did something he hated – he “abused the power he had”, and started to lose control over WikiLeaks.

As for OpenLeaks, as one of the creators described it, its a “technology project, that is aiming to be a service provider for 3rd parties that want to be able to accept materials/information from anonymous sources”.

The part of  the story where Assange is being charged with rape, is covered rather briefly. The documentary ends, leaving us with some “classified information”, and a lot of thoughts about what we’re being told everyday. War crimes. Corruption. Political deaths.

Reforms… is the weapon that WikiLeaks using, is it all really being done for the better (more honest…) world? To me, this was a good, educational documentary, although it probably won’t tell people what they already don’t know.



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