WikiRebels - The Documentary (1/4)

Uploaded by zerwas2ky on 09.12.2010

[Music] Video by SVT Play
[Radio noise]
[Applause] Julian, Welcome.
>>Interviewer: 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?
>>Julian Assange: 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.
[Radio Static]
[Multiple News Clips]
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Hillary Clinton: We should condemn the disclosure of any classified information by individuals
and organizations.
>>Herbert Snorrason: The people who are in power will not give that power away freely.
That is just unfortunately a fact of nature.
>>Geoff Morrell, spokesperson for the Pentagon: The Defense Department demands that WikiLeaks
return immediately all versions of documents obtained directly or indirectly from the Department
of Defense databases or records.
>>Narrator: It's only now that the true story behind the development of this closed organization
is coming to light. But while the world is discussing whether Assange is a rapist or
a saint, WikiLeaks continue to pursue their own political agenda.
>>Assange: Every release that we do of material has a second message and that is: we set examples.
If you engage in immoral, in unjust behavior, it will be found out, it will be revealed
and you will suffer the consequences.
>>Narrator: What we have here is a new breed of rebel, I.T. guerillas without a national
base. Student digs, coffee bars and server rooms - these are their command and control
centers spread all over the world, and the battle has already started.
>>Assange: There’s a General in charge of 120 advanced intelligence agency personnel targeting this
institution and its products.
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Assange: The public has a right to know materials and the historical record has a
right to have materials of diplomatic, political, ethnic or historical significance. If something
is interfering with that process, we will undo it.
>>Narrator: 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 hair styles 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.
>>Assange: Yeah, I mean we had a back door in the US military security coordination center.
This is the peak security [body] for controlling the security of Milnet, the US military internet. We had total
control over this for two years.
>>Journalist: The US space agency, NASA is one of the victims of the Melvin computer
hacking syndicate. American investigators including the FBI contacted Australian authorities
with their suspicions.
>>Second Journalist: The court was told the men even tampered with the police investigation
into hacking at the ANU.
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Assange: Moxon and Kobrin, one of the lawyers for scientology in California sent me 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 called me up and just as
a sort of threatening manoeuvre… I ended up tracking down how they did that.
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Assange: What the problem was, there needed to be more actions that created positive
reform effect, more actions that were just, and corrective to injustice.
>>Narrator: 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
>>Assange: I understood the significance of disclosures for quite some time, I mean I
registered [wiki] in 1999.
>>Narrator: 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 publicize 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.
>>Assange: 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.
>>Narrator: 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 analyze WikiLeaks' material but there are professionals to turn to.
>>Assange: In 2006 we hoped that the general public would write analysis articles collaboratively
and [this proved] not at all true.
>>Narrator: WikiLeaks had 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, published 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 organization, 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.
>>Daniel Domscheit-Berg: 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.
>>Narrator: 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
recognize 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 organization.
>>Daniel Domscheit-Berg: The question is the attitude. What attitude do you have to society.
Do you, 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... in
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Daniel Domscheit-Berg: 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's… if there are any Swedes here, you have to make sure that your country is
really one the strongholds of freedom of information.
>>Assange: 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.
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Narrator: PRQ offer their customers total secrecy. Their systems prevent anyone from
eavesdropping either WikiLeaks chat pages or finding out who sent what to who.
>>Daniel Domscheit-Berg: PRQ have a track record of being 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're hosting. And it's just the attitude that, let's say, works very well
with what WikiLeaks was set out to do.
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Narrator: 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 center.
>>Journalist: 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.
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Assange: If you censor important material of this type, we're not just going to criticize
you. We're going to take the material that you tried to censor, and we're going to spray
it all over the world. And we're going to stick it in our archives in a way that it's never
going to disappear, encourage everyone to get copies of it.
>>Narrator: WikiLeaks’ battle against censorship knows no geographical frontiers. The 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.
>>Assange: 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.
>>Narrator: 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.