Plot: A documentary that details the creation of Julian Assange's controversial website, which facilitated the largest security breach in U.S. history.
Starring: Julian Assange, Adrian Lamo, Chelsea Manning (Bradley Manning), Timothy Douglas Webster
My Review and Thoughts:
The passion to reveal secrets. When does it go to far in the idea of revealing secrets that can destroy, that can alter or ultimately cause death and murder and lead to a situation that should have never been.
What happens when you compromise government secrets? What happens when you compromise revealing secrets of members of the army and government?
To describe this movie, Riveting, shocking, modern-day espionage, spy thriller, cybercrime crisis. That is the type of film you will see, but it is real. A documentary.
What I love about this documentary is the suspense that it has. The riveting drama of two personal stories. The story of Julian and the story of Bradley, both leading complex lives. Both interesting in the viewpoint of knowing the complete knowledge of who these two are.
The is a thick drama induced ordeal taking place on screen. The archive footage of the process and the outcome lead to shocking conclusions. A complex reality of just how far the freedom of information act should be. The uncovering of secrets revealed showcasing the governments fault, showcasing the innocent deaths and mistakes and ultimately the cover up.
700,000 classified U.S. documents hacked, stolen and released beginning in 2010. Private First Class Bradley Manning created a lasting historical name for himself that will never be forgotten in the world of stealing secrets and unlocking them to the world by giving them to Wikilinks.
Sadly I think what happens is the reality of the situation is not so much about the idea of stealing the secrets it's more about the reality of Bradley Manning and even Julian. I think it showcases that Bradley Manning a person that is confused about his own sexuality, which now he lives as a woman named Chelsea, was treated in a horrible cruel way throughout this ordeal. I think the only thing that these leaks caused was the embarrassment of just what some of the actions the US government did.
I don't think it's really caused any problems or at least nobody has showed the evidence of the problems that these leaks have caused other then the embarrassment of the US government.
Julian is a revolutionary, a genius. A person that takes on the world. A person that wants to be ultimately free. He is an anarchist. He is the person that walks upon the secrets of the world and wishes to reveal them for all mankind. He is a humanitarian. He is a person that believes in his cause. A person that's willing to fight for his belief. A person that's willing to take on the governments of the world. A person that's willing to bring down the tyrants of those that are hiding secrets from the world. Secrets of pain, suffering. Secrets of ordeals that have caused violence against innocent people.
When you keep the secrets, especially the acts that are those that showcase wrong doing and showcase those governments and organizations that are willingly keeping the secrets that are wrong; and they try to cover it up, in my viewpoint it's wrong and those acts should be shown.
After 9/11 the US government has increasingly grown into a totalitarian government. They slowly pass laws to spy on average individual people, hacking emails, phones, cameras, computers and so on. Our freedoms are slowly being taken and forced into a police like government. America was founded on freedom and when freedom of truth is taken, the very foundation of America and it's history to be free is walked on, then we loose the values and the honor of what America stands for.
During the war there are always going to be victims, innocent victims. The problem is when it comes down to so-called American troops. American soldiers, actively shooting random people for no apparent reason. Actively torturing, hurting average people for no reason other than their authority, that is wrong. That is not a war. That is Nazism. That is becoming, the tyrant, the terrorist that we are supposed to be fighting against.
If these actions happened and they clearly did, they were filmed, and our own government knew about them. Those people involved should be punished, reprimanded and the truth should be allowed to be seen by the public for they are criminals.
I am really not here to dispute whether Julian or Bradley is right and what they did by releasing documents with certain peoples names on it and locations. I am here to say that I believe what Julian stands for or at least stood for and what Bradley truly, heartfelt, believed in is right. To showcase the secrets being covered up about innocent victims in the war. That the total number of killed were withheld and covered up from the public. The truth that soldiers turned over combatants to Iraqi military police to be tortured is wrong. I believe Bradley and Julian, especially Bradley could not take what they saw or what he saw anymore. He knew that what he held showcased, a totalitarian government of murderers, murderers of children and innocent people standing on the street being gunned down as if they were video games.
I love America. I love our government. I love this great nation. I support and love my troops that protect me to have the freedom that I have. What I don't love is when my nation and the government that I love covers up or turns a blind eye to wrongdoing. That is not what this nation stands for. Our forefathers when they signed the Declaration of Independence they did not and would not stand for what has happened during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The war in Iraq and Afghanistan created another Vietnam. Created the war of violence and bloodshed. Yes it was wonderful to take down Saddam. Yes it was wonderful to take down Osama bin Laden but at what cost. We should not step over the line, we should've took down the government in Iraq as we did with Saddam Hussein and the terrorist Osama bin Laden but we should not kill innocent people, we should not kill at random. I do not believe in war when a helicopter flies over and randomly shoots people to death. I do not agree with that, to me that is nothing more than lining people up like the SS Gestapo did and blowing the brains out and burying them in unmarked graves.
So what does all my rant have to do with this documentary, it has everything to do because that's what Bradley did. He exposed. He showcased what he was seeing and he knew through his conscience and heart, he could not sit on this information. He had to showcase what he was seeing. He had to show what people were doing.
Yes Bradley broke the law but so did the people that he exposed. I'm not saying Bradley should get off. What he did, he should be reprimanded. He should be dishonorably discharged. He should serve some time in jail but they made an example of him. He was given too much time in jail. He should've never been tried the way he was.
This documentary is a touchy subject, it digs deep inside the idea of a whistleblower. The idea of secrets. The idea of a cover-up. The idea of bad members inside the government showcasing violence being done to innocent people yet government covering it up. This is a great thought-provoking documentary. I will say this I think the documentary is bias in favor of putting down Julian. I do think the documentary should've been unbiased and just told the story from both sides and both point of views but every time they showcased something about Julian you have another person speaking, putting him down so I think the director was going for more of a documentary to taint Julian's image. You can clearly see the director made a judgement against the subject.
I think when you're doing a documentary about a subject you should not make a judgment about the subject, you should tell the truth and that's it, be unbiased.
Highly recommend this documentary. I think it's a thought-provoking piece of cinema. A great moment or shocking moment or unfortunate moment in history. I say if your pro Julian you might not want to watch this because like I say it's a judgment call upon him, it's putting him down. It doesn't really put Bradley down it just showcases this young unfortunate man struggling with this thoughts, having a breakdown, having anxiety, being tortured inside by his own self image, self conscience and then to be bombarded with horrible images. Being told to be quiet. Being told to just do your job to walk away from what you see. How can you walk away when you witness innocent children, men, women, being slaughtered as if in a video game? I could not. If I was in Bradley shoes I would've done the same thing. I couldn't live with myself knowing what I saw. Knowing that innocent people gunned down; there story needs to be told.
What I wouldn't do was release documents with individuals names, because that was wrong. That jeopardized innocent people. I do not agree with that aspect. I agree with the video should be released, the images and the cover-up should be showed but I do not agree with releasing innocent peoples names or even if those peoples names are guilty, they still should be given the benefit of the doubt and be safe in their lives and they should not be in danger. If you expose secrets, secret documents of members names of the war, Iraqis, Americans you might jeopardize and so on; looking at it from that point of view yes what Bradley and Julian did was wrong but the other aspect of exposing innocent death that was right, in my viewpoint.
Loved seeing behind-the-scenes of the real story. Seeing all those involved. The personal interviews with friends and acquaintances of Julian and Bradley. What I would've loved in the documentary is like I say both sides of the story. I would like to see more pro Julian and more pro Bradley instead most of it was all negative Julian.
I think that's what shocked me about this documentary is all the negative toward Julian because of the director and writer of it Alex Gibney. Who I consider a somewhat whistleblower himself, someone that's willing to tackle the touchy subjects and walk over all the coverups and secrets and to expose everything. With such powerful masterpieces behind his belt such as 2007's Taxi to the Dark Side.
All in all, great documentary, great part of history to view, a great teaching tool documentary. Great exploration into the struggle of young Bradley Manning and the consequences and the choices that he made for what he believed in and what he stood for.