Leaking tomorrow: unauthorized bio of WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange

Irony poisoning: Publisher goes ahead with book after Assange decides it's too revealing


Cannongate Books has published an unauthorized biography of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that does to Assange's control over his own history what WikiLeaks does to everyone else.

In December, Cannongate and U.S. publisher Alfred A Knopf announced a contract that would pay Assange $1.3 million for the for U.S. and U.K. rights to a book Assange said even at the time he didn't want to write.

"I have to. I have already spent 200,000 pounds for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat."

According to Cannongate's own story about the book, Assange signed a contract with it for a book that would be "part memoir, part manifesto," covering both his life and raison d'être of WikiLeaks.

After 50 hours of interviews in stately castle-turned-corporate-meeting-hotel Ellingham Hall, where he was under house arrest, Cannongate thought it had enough for a potential best seller.

After reading a first draft, Assange told Cannongate he thought the book gave too much evidence to prosecutors in the U.S. who were trying to extradite him for trial over publication of secret State Department cables.

It also became too personal due to to "vivid" portrait of Assange as an international man of mystery and his side of the accusations of sexual assault two Swedish women leveled at him last year – accusations he denied, while admitting he had slept with both and been polite to neither.

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Source: Cannongate Books

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