A lot is known of Wikileaks and Julian Assange now, but for a long time that wasn’t the case. Assange presented himself as merely the spokesperson of the organisation and romanticized visions of a global network of secretive yet powerful freedom fighters were born. Inside Wikileaks was a truly groundbreaking feature as a result, it was the first time a camera crew had been allowed access behind the scenes of the organisation as it was preparing to release a huge cache of highly classified US documents.
The documentary would reveal a much different story to the one being spun by the mainstream media and the government PR machine, one which would tell of hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan, and of collusion between the Taliban and the Pakistani government. It also confirmed that Assange as the leader and brains behind Wikileaks.
At the time of broadcast / release this documentary had little impact, but retrospectively one can appreciate just how significant it was in charting the history of Assange and Wikileaks. It was the first time that the public became aware that numerous major news organisations were active in assisting Wikileaks in sorting through documents in exchange for exclusive new stories. One of the organisations to enter into such an agreement was the NY Times who sent a reporter to work with Assange in his secret underground bunker, The Guardian were another organisation to get exclusives from Wikileaks at the time.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this documentary is the insight into Assange’s eccentricity, particularly his tendency to pack the entire contents of his desk into a backpack when travelling, including a desktop computer rather than a laptop.