Julian Assange Unauthorised Autobiography Published Against WikiLeaks Founder's Wishes
An unauthorised autobiography of Julian Assange has been published despite attempts by the WikiLeaks founder to block its release.
Assange had originally agreed to write a "part memoir, part manifesto" along with a ghostwriter with Edinburgh-based Canongate books, saying book would be "one of the unifying documents of our generation" and would explain "our global struggle to force a new relationship between the people and their governments".
However he backed out of the decision in June, declaring "all memoir is prostitution", according to the publishers.
Canongate, reported to have paid a substantial advance to Assange, who remains under house arrest in Norfolk amid an ongoing extradition battle to Sweden, decided to go ahead and publish the material handed over to them in March this year, which includes 50 hours of recorded interviews with the freedom of information campaigner.
Canongate told Huffington Post UK that as Assange had not refunded his advance the "contract still stands" as so the book will go on sale in shops and online.
In an excerpt of the book, published in the Independent newspaper, he gives his version of the background to the sexual assault allegations.
"I did not rape those women and cannot imagine anything that happened between us that would make them think so, except malice after the fact, a joint plan to entrap me, or a terrible misunderstanding that was stoked up between them," he says.
"I may be a chauvinist pig or some sort but I am no rapist, and only a distorted version of sexual politics could attempt to turn me into one. They both had sex with me willingly and were happy to hang out with me afterwards."
The 40-year-old, who made headlines around the world with revelations from leaked US military files and diplomatic cable, also reveals how a contact in a Western intelligence agency told him that the American government was considering dealing with him "illegally".
He said the source said means such as planting drugs and child pornography or embroiling him "in allegations of immoral conduct", were being discussed.
Assange has criticised the release, saying the publication is "not about freedom of information" but "old-fashioned opportunism and duplicity - screwing people over to make a buck."
"By publishing this draft against my wishes Canongate has acted in breach of contract, in breach of confidence, in breach of my creative rights and in breach of personal assurances," he said in a statement posted on the WikiLeaks website.
"This draft was a work in progress," he said.
"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."
Canongate said it would pay royalties to Assange, who is currently living at his bail address of Ellingham Hall in Norfolk.