For a man who traffics in the free and open spread of information, Julian Assange sure has a lot of restrictions on which information he would like to see released.
Assange- who has been under interminable house arrest in the UK after allegations of date rape in Sweden clipped the rolling stone-like Wikileaks founder’s wings- is the subject of a soon-to-be-released memoir cum autobiography published by firm Canongate. But Assange and the publisher have fallen out rather publicly as the former says the latter rushed the tome to print before Assange had a chance to vet the mostly ghostwritten manuscript.
Assange posted a searing, lengthy statement alleging that the book was not properly audited by the man himself before publication. He fumes:
‘The draft is published under the title, Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography, a contradiction in terms… It is a narrative and literary interpretation of a conversation between the writer and me. Although I admire Mr O’Hagan’s writing, this draft was a work in progress. It is entirely uncorrected or fact-checked by me.
‘The entire book was to be heavily modified, extended and revised, in particular, to take into account the privacy of the individuals mentioned in the book. This book was meant to be about my life’s struggle for justice through access to knowledge. It has turned into something else.”
“The events surrounding [Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography‘s] unauthorised publication by Canongate are not about freedom of information—they are about old-fashioned opportunism and duplicity—screwing people over to make a buck.”
Part of the wrangling is over the book’s hefty advance, paid to Assange and, he says, seized to pay lawyers in Sweden- whose fees he finds excessive. Assange says he is not in a position to pay back the advance, but also wished to block publication until he is able to review the content. In a counter statement, Canongate contends:
“The fact is he was given five and a half months to read the manuscript and during this time he contributed not one written word by way of response. It became increasingly clear that he was never going to approve the book, despite signing a contract to write such a book and happily taking a significant amount of Canongate’s money.”
Will you be reading the Julian Assange “autobiography?”