Un­cov­ered: Wik­ileaks — Se­crets and Lies

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Fri­day, 9.30pm, BBC Knowl­edge Like him or loathe him, Ju­lian As­sange is a fas­ci­nat­ing study. This meaty doc­u­men­tary pulls to­gether the main play­ers and events that saw Wik­iLeaks burst on to the in­ter­na­tional scene in 2006. In­ter­views with As­sange and the edi­tors of The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel trace how the work of this ec­cen­tric Aus­tralian un­cov­ered lies, be­trayal and ma­te­rial ca­pa­ble of dis­rupt­ing US re­la­tions with 100 coun­tries. It’s also the story of how As­sange turned tri­umph into disas­ter. At first he charmed the news­pa­per con­tacts who ini­tially found him cap­ti­vat­ing and charis­matic. The Guardian’s Nick Davies was the first jour­nal­ist to see the po­ten­tial in the story; he thought As­sange ‘‘ bright, fun, brave and lik­able’’. Along with his col­league David Leigh, he was ap­palled by the ‘‘ hor­ror sto­ries’’ hid­den in spread­sheets As­sange pro­duced con­tain­ing more than 93,000 lines of in­com­pre­hen­si­ble mil­i­tary jar­gon re­lat­ing to the Afghanistan war. But they be­gan to re­alise they were ‘‘ deal­ing with some­one not quite on the same planet’’. When they re­fused to pub­lish ma­te­rial that named in­for­mants, As­sange’s re­ply was: ‘‘ They’re Amer­i­can in­for­mants, they de­serve to die.’’ Cocky, self-as­sured, he re­mains as de­fi­ant as ever to­day.

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