A Documentary Review Of ‘We Steal Secrets- The Story Of WikiLeaks’
After posting this article, WikiLeaks responded to us with the following message: “You are pushing propaganda from the US company Universal. Please be sure to post our rebuttal: https://wikileaks.org/IMG/html/gibney-transcript.html …“
To read WikiLeaks’s extremely comprehensive rebuttal to the documentary please visit this site: https://wikileaks.org/IMG/html/gibney-transcript.html
“WikiLeaks- giving us the truth when everyone else refuses to”
This Documentary tells the story of how Julian Assange became the world’s most infamous ‘whistle-blower’ through his release of American State secrets via his ‘freedom of speech’ website WikiLeaks and how one of the most significant sources, Bradley Manning, a lost, gender identity disorder sufferer and military intelligence analyst had his identity revealed to the CIA by the young Asperger’s, hacker Adrian Lamo.
An astounding picture is painted of the complex world of Internet connections and how one man’s inspiration for personal satisfaction leaves in his wake a path of destruction.
“We steal secrets. We steal other Nation’s secrets. We cannot do that above board and be very successful for a very long period of time”. General Michael Hayden, former Director of the US National Security Agency.
When asked what drives Julian Assange his answer was more indicative for what was to come than most would realize: “I am a combative person, I like crushing bastards…for me that is deeply and personally satisfying”.
With Julian’s steadfast determination to leave no secret unturned, he began a journey that would forever change the lives of three very different people.
As a young boy, Julian Assange’s family moved around a lot and this made it increasing difficult for Julian to develop relationships. Having the Internet as his only contact to the outside world, Julian began hacking.
The nature of hacking has been suggested to be ego-driven, always being better than your counterpart. It also allows for one to “Walk around like God Almighty”. Julian found hacking ‘intellectually liberating’ and was ‘raised’ in a world whose nature is different to that of humans. With liberation as the motivation for hacking, Assange would stop at nothing to continually seek more information. The first noticeable contradiction referred to his hacker name: Mendax “a noble liar” and one would say this would be the persona that followed Assange around for years to come. “If you want to produce a more civilised just/ society it needs to be based on the truth.”
“People became struck by Julian’s vaulting idealism, forthrightness and uncompromising about what he believed in”.
Julian had a vision for WikiLeaks since its conception for it to “become the most powerful intelligence agency on earth, an intelligence agency of power”. With the addition of WikiLeaks’s secondary member Daniel Bomscheit-Berg, the ‘Beta’ company was growing in size and unashamedly portrayed that view.
911 became the watershed moment for the world of secrets- both for the leaker’s and secret keepers. The US Government not only starting sharing more information among its different agencies but at the same time started keeping more secrets from its citizens. The amount of classified documents in a year more than quadrupled and so did the amount of people with access to classified information. With the increase in the amount of information produced, the US never fundamentally re-assessed its ability to control its secrets.
WikiLeaks fueled the growing popular demand for the site when they published confidential documents about the demise of an Icelandic National Bank. With an already interested audience and Assange’s bait for the most wanted secrets dangling, WikiLeaks published the video of an airstrike on civilians. This would begin a series of publications of classified military documents that would be known as the ‘biggest leak of classified documents in history’ and Assange’s rise to fame.
By popular demand, Julian thrust himself in the spotlight to provide WikiLeaks with a public figure, however, he had always been an elusive character up until then, who suffered from unjustifiable paranoia.
Bradley Manning, a military intelligence analyst, reached out to Adrian Lamo, a diagnosed Asperger’s hacker in the hopes of finding a friend. The kinship developed by these two lost and broken souls would forever shape their destiny. Bradley, a lonely, confused soldier suffering from gender identity disorder was an experienced young man when it came to the ability to use a computer. With access to classified networks, Bradley adopted a ‘whistle-blower mentality’ and began wondering if he had access to information the public should know about. With this growing mentality and the struggle to ‘find himself’ Bradley put over 260 000 classified documents onto WikiLeaks.
Growing increasingly alarmed at the conversation between himself and Manning, Lamo believed he had more of a responsibility to the many than the few and turned Manning in. The need that Adrian felt to not only produce this conversation to the Government but also to involve the media suggested his own need for personal recognition, “He lives life like he is writing a novel and every novelist wants to be read”.
Assange continually denied possessing the knowledge that Manning was the source, which, spoke to his Mendax persona as later it was revealed he had known.
What became increasingly evident in the time leading up to the release of the remaining war logs was Julian’s ideology that all information is good information and therefore, should be published. Julian reduced human activity to a formula and maintained a digital way of relating to the world. There was a lack of understanding of journalism ethics and the possibility of publishing information that put people in serve danger.
WikiLeaks was described later as a ‘corner gas station with extremely bright attendants’ desperately trying to give the impression of a large organization but did not possess a ‘no harm minimization’ process. The big question was, “was this website equipped to deal with the enormity of the information they possessed?”
With the White House shaping the conversation, headlines read “WikiLeaks have blood on their hands”. There would be no mention of the role the major media corporations played in the leaking of the documents. Julian became the isolated enemy of the state the “crazy white haired Aussie”. For some this made him a martyr.
The level of celebrity that Assange secured made him a target. With a warrant for Julian’s arrest in sexual matters out, Julian’s paranoia for a conspiracy only grew. Julian shaped the conversation for the demise of WikiLeaks and the need to discredit his character to be the underlying reason for these allegations. He believed it was now his ‘role to be the lightning rod to attract the attacks against his organization for their work’.
Julian was described as ‘ a natural fabulist and storyteller which lies intensely in his imagination and to some extent his imagination becomes more real’.
To never be sure what is fact or fiction and with the release of an article about his Partner Daniel ousting him as the WikiLeaks leader, Julian suspended Daniel using the following reasoning found in the 1917 espionage act: ‘disloyalty, insubordination and destabilization in times of crisis’. This began a series of cruel ironies about the man who once was so outspoken to not having secrets.
When Julian Assange came face to face with the possibility of going to prison he did whatever he could to prevent the process.
A “wizard of Oz’ moment revealed Julian as a transparent hypocrite and showcased him as the type of man he had fought so hard to protect the world from – issues such as using the money he raised for WikiLeaks for his personal legal fees, ensuring his trusted allies signed non-disclosure agreements and his ever increasing aloofness.
Ultimately WikiLeaks were never equipped with the ability to deal with the magnitude of secrets entrusted to them. Was Manning’s leak a reckless dump or an act of a man who had peaked behind the curtain of a superior power and decided what they were doing was wrong?”
And, for that matter, who was Manning to decide? Assange, Manning and Lamo all hid behind an ideal that they were not aware of its enormity- Transparency.
Assange will forever remain a mass of contradictions, supposedly transparent and yet one of the most obscure characters in the modern century. A noble Liar.
“Three things you can not hide for long- the moon, the sun and the truth”.