Julian Assange started a worldwide controversy when he began releasing sensitive information through his whistle-blower website WikiLeaks. Confidential information related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq infuriated the public, both for its contents and for the fact that it was released at all. Is Assange’s self-stated mission to change the world by fighting corruption through exposing secrets a benefit or a danger? In short, is he a hero, a villain, or both?
CNN correspondent Kaj Larsen reports on Assange’s unconventional life in a one-hour documentary, CNN Presents — WikiWars: The Mission of Julian Assange, which debuts Sunday at 8p.m. and replays Saturday, June 18 at 8. CNN said in a release that through a series of in-depth interviews, conducted over several months between Australian freelance journalist Mark Davis and Julian Assange, WikiWars recounts Assange’s evolution from a convicted teenage computer hacker, to someone who provokes outrage from governments around the world. Assange has attained cult hero status among his supporters, but critics accuse him of being obsessed with targeting the U.S. military, and recklessly endangering lives.
Larsen interviews former WikiLeaks spokesperson, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, author of a book on WikiLeaks, who describes an organization in turmoil — running short of funding and running high on infighting. Larsen also spoke with former hacker Adrian Lamo, who communicated with PFC Bradley Manning in a series of web chats that eventually led to Manning’s arrest for allegedly leaking confidential State and Defense Department records related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And, he interviewed Brigadier General Mark T. Kimmitt, USA (Ret.) about the fallout from WikiLeaks’ release of the controversial “Collateral Murder” video which reveals U.S. soldiers shooting at a group of men, killing insurgents and two men later identified as journalists.