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Julian Assange’s Unauthorised Autobiography: The Leaker, Leaked

Posted on the 22 September 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

Julian Assange’s unauthorised autobiography: The leaker, leaked

The cover of Julian Assange's Unauthorised Autobiography

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, the website that publishes huge amounts of hitherto secret information, is now facing leaks of his own as an autobiography, published by Canongate, will be published this week without his consent. Yes, it’s the world’s first unauthorised autobiography. The cover of the book features Julian Assange with the title covering his mouth. Get your irony counters out, readers, this one’s hitting the roof.

When Assange was pursued over alleged sexual assaults by the Swedish authorities, needing a quick bit of moolah (and under house arrest in a stately home) he agreed to a publishing deal with Canongate (reportedly worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, although exact figures differ), and with Knopf in the United States. The book was sub-contracted out to 38 foreign publishers. The novelist Andrew O’Hagan was hauled in as the ghost writer of what was meant to be a memoir and a manifesto, and Assange was duly impressed, hoping, with typical arrogance, that the book would become “one of the unifying documents of our generation”; but after the first draft was delivered, Assange claimed he didn’t want anything more to do with it as it contained too much autobiographical information (which, in an autobiography, is obviously Not the Done Thing) and wanted to cancel his contract, since the memoir lacked (in his view) the manifesto part.

“All memoir is prostituion,” said Julian Assange, quoted in The Independent.

But plucky independent publishers Canongate have gone ahead (having given Assange the chance to take out an injunction to prevent publication) and have sent the books out in a large secret operation to bookshops across the country. Assange’s advance is reportedly in escrow, said The Independent, which will serialise the leaker’s life this week.

How the tables have turned. Assange is a “[p]erpetual shit-show,” and an “impossible human being,”  crowed Gawker. Everybody who’s worked with him has ended up hating the “squirrely man-child”. The site also claimed that Assange’s defence of the alleged assaults boiled down to the fact that “the girls were just mad” as he didn’t call them, “and at the same time [ital.] were intelligence agents plotting to bring him down in a honeytrap.” The book, said the site, will be “insufferable.”

“We disagree with Julian’s assessment of the book. We believe it explains both the man and his work, underlining his commitment to the truth. Julian always claimed the book was well written; we agree, and this also encouraged us to make the book available to readers,” said Canongate, quoted in The Independent.

Bohemian rhapsody? Tim Bradshaw and Lorien Kite in The Financial Timestook the line that diplomats all over the world will be smiling at the irony of the whistleblower being beaten at his own game, adding that the book detailed his Bohemian upbringing in Australia as well as the computer hacking scene in the 1980s. They quoted a lawyer, Philippe Sands, who said that Canongate’s decision “raises understandable and real concerns that a draft could be published, but it all turns on what the contract provided for.”

The man, the monster. Assange is a monster, said Nick Cohen in The Guardian. His associate, Israel Shamir, supported the Belorussian dictatorship; Assange’s wilfull release of informants’ names does nothing but endanger them and encourage the psychopathic dictators they’re informing against. In Ethiopia he’s tipped off the cops about a journalist. He pretends to hold people in power to account, but actually he’s putting people in danger just so he can be at the centre of attention. He’s playing with fire, a “small-town boy desperate to make the world notice,” “the nark as show-off.”

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By MadameArcati
posted on 24 September at 21:40
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Shouldn't that be 'unauthorised biography'? Not autobiography.