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What should have been informative became too personal...
on September 18, 2013
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks is a mixed bag at best. On the plus side, We Steal Secrets is brilliantly crafted, well-filmed and edited, and fast-paced and as exciting as a Hollywood thriller. On the negative side, the director clearly had a personal vendetta against Assange by the end, giving too much light to fishy stories of assault in Sweden and his melancholy time holed up in various safe houses.
I have no idea why Alex Gibney, obviously a fine director, chose such obviously one-sided sources. We mostly hear from outcasts like Daniel Domscheit-Berg and other "former" WikiLeaks supporters, and too much screentime is given to some extremely questionable stories from the woman Assange allegedly sexually assaulted. Neither Bradley Manning nor Julian Assange were directly interviewed, which is obviously a huge blow to the film. We Steal Secrets starts out hopeful and mysterious, detailing the huge leaks perpetrated by conflicted soldier Bradley Manning, and the rise of Wikileaks - the triumphant exposures of heinous war crimes, lies, and secrets swept under the rug by various countries and organizations. Wikileaks gave us the truth on the Iraqi War and the War on Terror that no one else would. But the documentary tries to paint it, AND Assange (which I find heavily ironic since We Steal Secrets is against those who targeted Assange in person) as a controlling, paranoid, suspicious bunch of wierdos.
Look, I'm NOT saying to paint Assange as a white knight in shining armor. He's a human being, full of faults and shortcomings, doubts and weaknesses. He's also one of the great visionaries of our time: a controversial and engimatic figure that dared to show us the secrets that our governments wouldn't. Along with whistleblowers like Manning and now, Edward Snowden, and organizations such as The Pirate Party and Anonymous, these individuals seek a more transparent, honest, and safer world. Thomas Jefferson said, "A government afraid of it's people is democracy. A people afraid of their government is a tyranny."
When you look at it that way, WikiLeaks is a fight against tyranny. Freedom of speech, press, movement, and belief are untouchable rights of every human being. We must fight against tyranny alongside them. Long live sites like Wikileaks!
In conclusion, We Steal Secrets is fascinating and provocative, but also biased and not as insightful as it might hope. Seek the truth out for yourself to make your own opinions, but this is in NO way a bad documentary, and I rather enjoyed it! A very solid 3 stars!