There are winners and losers in Alex Gibney's documentary about WikiLeaks, the website that changed the world. One of the winners is Bradley Manning, the soldier who provided WikiLeaks with the footage of Americans gleefully shooting civilians on the streets of Baghdad. Though the doc does portray him as something of a freak—a young man who randomly threw hissy fits in the office where he downloaded secret information, who was deeply lonely, whose sexual identity was complicated—at the end, it is Manning who pays the heaviest price for helping to expose state secrets. He is locked up and may never be allowed to see another free day in his life. Indeed, no one on earth expects that what happened to former White House adviser Lewis "Scooter" Libby (his short sentence, 30 months for leaking the identity of a CIA agent, was commuted by G. W. Bush) will ever happen to Manning.

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One of the losers of the doc, however, is the famous founder of WikiLeaks and an early citizen/celebrity of the 21st century, Julian Assange. Assange begins well enough, but as the documentary progresses, we begin to see him slip into the kind of madness that has fame as its source. Now, though there are problems with this unfavorable portrayal (many of which you can read at WikiLeaks.org; look for We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks: The Annotated Transcript), we must not act like Assange is a perfect human being. No such thing exists.

It is best that one leaves this film, which also happens to be entertaining (it's built like a spy thriller), with two understandings. One: No individual in WikiLeaks should have been more important than WikiLeaks in the first place. Meaning, even if Assange did not commit a crime, even if he was set up in Sweden, his private world should never have become one with the world of WikiLeaks. Two: We live in an upside-down world, where unofficial criminals like Donald Rumsfeld are free and official ones like Lewis "Scooter" Libby never serve time. Yet Assange and Manning have lost their freedoms. recommended