The Wikileaks Tapes
Directed by Cathy Vogan
Featuring John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Christine Assange, Daniel Ellsberg, Mary Kostakidis, Senator Scott Lundlam, Julian Morrow & many more
One of the first things that will strike you about The Wikileaks Tapes is the unique style that citizen journalist Cathy Vogan brings to interviews.
The two-disc DVD The WikiLeaks Tapes brings together a wide range of interviews by Vogan with dozens of people on the subject of WikiLeaks.
From a sound base of knowledge on the subject matter, Vogan delves in to what matters most, the persecution of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks by Western governments, including Australia’s.
There really are some quite amazing interviews here, especially when you consider the filmmaker was a relative unknown citizen journalist, albeit with many skills and awards in video editing.
Interviews are conducted mostly in person and few via Skype. The wide and varied participants clearly enjoy the laid-back approach taken during the interviews.
These people open up, from well-known Australian TV icons such as Media Watch's Jonathan Holmes, The Chaser's Julian Morrow and SBS news presenter Mary Kostakidis (who delivers a heartfelt message of support for WikiLeaks), to experts in Australian and international law such as Julian Burnside, Spencer Zifkak and Michael Pearce.
Luminaries such as John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg (a Vietnam War-era whistleblower), as well as Australian whistleblower John Hatton, make for some interesting and deeply thought-provoking dialogue.
The new wave of notable and noble citizen journalists such as the awesome Juice Rap News, Antony Loewenstein and Gary Lord (a.k.a Jaraparilla) are inspiring. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam is an almost lone voice on communications and the Assange/Wikileaks arena in the wilderness of Australian mainstream politics.
Then there is the larger-than-life Clark Stoeckley, the “Wiki Truckin Man” who spent tireless hours driving his WikiLeaks truck outside the secret US grand jury that, according to the US government, does not and never has existed.
Stoeckley is also a tireless campaigner for alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. He also makes Anonymous-style masks in his spare time.
Others of note in The WikiLeaks Tapes include the well-spoken and considered Australian lawyer and Human Rights activist Kellie Tranter (who will soon appear as a panelist on Green Left TV’s “Dangerous Ideas” show), and award-winning writer and journalist Larry Buttrose, who laments the rapid decline of Australia’s “rampant journalists” from the mainstream media landscape.
I think the mantle of “rampant” uncompromised journalism is being taken up by citizen journalists, such as Vogan and the many others globally taking up the challenge.
The interactive DVD includes links to Vogan’s ongoing series of “Did You Have Any Idea”. These include the likes of human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson addressing as keynote speaker by invitation of the Australian Academy of Law, the Rule of Law Institute of Australia and Macquarie School of Law, on “Tomorrow’s Law: Disclosure of Information – Balancing Public and Private Interests”.
Robinson is the Australian human rights lawyer stopped at Britain's Heathrow airport on April 19 because she was on an “inhibited persons list”. Robinson is a member of Julian Assange’s legal team.
Assange’s family members also make appearances. Julian's mother, Christine, features in a protest taking it all the way to Canberra with a band of human rights devotees and activists marching. This was one of Christine’s first appearances in the public arena, marching and chanting in chorus with supporters.
The one segment that really tore at my own heart strings was when Julian’s father, John Shipton, proudly listed Julian’s many global awards for journalism. It is hard not to be moved given Julian’s current circumstances.
It is truly refreshing to see a plethora of articulate and honourable global citizens, all in the one place, taking their time to inform us on what they clearly believe is one of the most important events taking place in modern history.
The WikiLeaks phenomenon has shown us that a new form of journalism is possible. It has also shown just how full of Western corporate propaganda the mainstream media have become.
The lengths that Vogan has gone to, as a completely unfunded solo operator, to make such an important contribution to the historical continuum is a case in point that independent citizen journalism is an indispensable tool for speaking the truth.