WikiRebels - The Documentary (3/4)

Uploaded by zerwas2ky on 09.12.2010

>>Helicopter Transmissions: Go ahead.
Roger, We have a black bongo truck, picking up the bodies, requesting permission to engage.
Master 7, Roger. Repeat, Master 7, Roger. Engage.
One-eight, engage. Clear. Come on!
[Machine gun fire] Clear.
Clear. [garbled radio transmission]
>>Assange: Why do it? Well, there’s two reasons. One: Because it's fun to kill people.
If you've been in that environment, removed from all the effects of killing people for
a long time. It's a videogame, and you’ll get the high score. The other is they brag after a kill
streak. About how many people they killed, and go back to base, and go, "Hey", I killed
thirteen today.
>>Helicopter Transmissions: Oh yeah, look at that, right through the windshield!
[laughs] [garbled] ...come about 12:15...
Hey, look at those dead bastards. Nice.
[garbled radio transmission]Crazy Horse 180...
>>Narrator: When the ground troops arrive, they see that there are children in the car.
>>Soldier in Chopper: Well, it's their fault for bringing theirs kids to a battle.
- That's right.
>>Kristinn Hrafnsson: 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 Saeed Chmagh, the Reuters employees
But for me, it was important to establish the identity of the other people
there, especially the children in the minivan, we decided it was worthwhile to go there and
interview them.
>>Narrator: It turns out that the children survived the attack. Hrafnsson flies to Baghdad
in search of more facts.
>>Narrator: He traces the whereabouts of the children, and shows the helicopter film to
the victims' family.
[man crying]
>>Hrafnsson: I think we could fairly establish very well from a journalistic point of view
the reason why the minivan was there was basically a coincidence. The driver stumbled upon the
scene, he was driving his kids to a tutorial.
>>Narrator: On the 5th of April, 2010, WikiLeaks publishes the "Collateral Murder" film. The
impact is no less than extraordinary.
[Tape of news broadcast] >>Journalist: Disturbing footage apparently
showing civilians being killed by the US military in Iraq.
>>Other journalist: It was leaked from within the defense community to a website.
>>Narrator: 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 U.S. material.
>>Assange: 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 organization.
>>Narrator: Assange proceeds to contact the New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Speigel.
He manages to persuade the chief editors of these globally respected papers to publish
his material in a co-ordinated fashion, with Assange pulling the strings.
>>Assange: What is new is us enforcing cooperation between competitive organizations that would
otherwise be rivals, to do the best by the story, as opposed to just doing the best by
their own organization.
>>Narrator: In late July, 2010, the Afghanistan reports are published at the same time and
>>News Anchor: One of the biggest leaks in US Military history has exposed several cover-ups
over the war in Afghanistan.
>>Assange: The real story of this material is that it's war: it's one damn thing after
>>Narrator: The publication of the material is met with praise, as well as strong criticism.
>>Geoff Morell, Pentagon Spokesman: 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.
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Robert Gates - US Defense Secretary: The battlefield consequences of the release of
these documents are potentially severe and dangerous.
>>Michael Mullen - US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Mr. Assange can say whatever
he wants 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.
>>Narrator: Releasing classified material can be very risky. But Assange says that the
end justifies the means.
>>Assange: We would have had to release all of this material without separating out any
of it, or release none. The value, the extraordinary value, of this historic record of the progress
of that war and its potential to save lives outweighs the danger to innocents.
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Woman: Hey. Ok, so two, twenty... [garbled]
>>Narrator: Iain Overton is the editor of the independent, London-based Bureau of Investigative
Journalism who are now going to analyze the material and produce their own documentaries.
>>Iain Overton, Editor-in-Chief TBIJ: There was a frantic rush of getting the best people we could
on board. We drew up a team of twenty-five people over a weekend and my phone went red-hot
calling people.
>>James Ball: It was Saturday night, in the middle of August, and about five or six of
us at the Bureau met with Julian. About an hour later I ended up sort of leaving
the place with a USB stick full of (laugh) 400,000 classified military documents.
>>Narrator: The material is essentially an encyclopedia of this war, with reports
issued day by day, hour by hour, corpse by corpse.
>>James Ball: I absolutely have a feel that 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.
>>Narrator: 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 practiced by their Iraqi allies.
>>Overton: I think there are stories, that cause you, um, you know, to be filled with
>>James Ball: Some are incredibly harrowing. You do have children tortured to death or
shot in front of parents. It's not material you can read and not be affected by.
>>Overton: When I was reading the reports, you read of a young American soldier writing
in a very, very bureaucratic, anodyne, sterile way about a father who is driving his children,
to, back home and is going too fast. And they open fire on 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, his 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, it's a killing. It's horrific.
[somber music :( ]
>>Overton: This isn't 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. And 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.
>>James Ball: 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.
>>Narrator: The lack of respect for human life runs like
a common thread through the material. These images are of a helicopter crew who've just
received orders to bomb a building where three enemy soldiers are thought to be hiding.
[Chopper video] [static]
>>HELICOPTER TRANSMISSIONS: If you’d like… ah… Crazy Horse one-eight to put a missile in that building.
>>Narrator: A passerby suddenly turns up. [missile fired]
But the crew don’t wait. [explosion]
[static] He fired the missile.
>>Narrator: 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.
>>Narrator: 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
is watching their office.
>>Overton: I do know that I’m being listened in to. Monitored. Um, by, forces, I don't
know. I've received strange text messages from anonymous sources. I've received death
threats, they’re not very nice, clearly. Particularly the one that talked about my children. That was a
bit unnecessary.
>>Assange: There's op-eds in the Washington Post saying that our personnel should be kidnapped
from Europe, uh, our sources, one alleged source, executed similar statements
by right-wing members of the US Congress.
>>Narrator: In Washington, the influential public figure Christian Whiton is agitating
for the indictment of WikiLeaks members, saying they should be treated as terrorists.
>>Christian Whiton, Foreign Policy Analyst: There also 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, uh, um journalism or transparency, but an act of, um, political
war against us.
>>Narrator: The US ups its efforts to stop WikiLeaks. The payment service providers MoneyBrokers
close down WikiLeaks' account. American hackers suspected of having links to WikiLeaks are
detained, questioned, and have their computers confiscated.
>>Whiton: 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, uh, I'd say the surface,
you'll find umm, telecommunications companies that are hosting the servers or hosting the
companies that in turn post this information and have made this possible. You'll find banks
that provide banking services to these people. You will 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 organization is, where it conducts its activities and which
jurisdiction it's subject to most directly.
>>Narrator: However, the stronger the attacks, the greater the support WikiLeaks receives.
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.
>>Overton: People love the idea of a, um, an out-of-control investigative journalist
who's trying to take on governments.