Thursday, September 22, 2011

Assange savages "duplicitous" Canongate

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has accused Canongate of "old-fashioned opportunism and duplicity" over it publishing of his memoir today (22nd September) without his approval.
Canongate made the shock announcement yesterday (21st September) that it was publishing Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography, despite the author's attempts to have his contract cancelled. Bookshops across the country have begun selling the book today with the likes of Amazon and Waterstone's listing it as in stock.
In a statement released overnight, Assange accused Canongate of acting "in breach of contract, in breach of confidence, in breach of my creative rights and in breach of personal assurances". He said: "The events surrounding its 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."
According to Assange, the book is a "narrative and literary interpretation" of a conversation between him and ghostwriter Andrew O'Hagan. Assange, who achieved public notoriety by becoming the public face of the organisation that leaked diplomatic leaks, said: "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."
Assange claims that in a meeting which took place on 20th May, Canongate publisher Jamie Byng assured him the book would not be published without Assange's consent. Instead, Assange was to write a new version of the book, with an aim to publish it in spring 2012. However, he then claims Byng refused to take any of Assange's calls. The next contact was in early September, when he was informed of the book's publication.
More at The Bookseller.

1 comment:

Mark Hubbard said...

So the man who is willing to destroy lives in the cause of transparency, is not so keen on his own transparency. When he treats everyone else's privacy so loosely, then he deserves this.

I won't curse this literary blog with a link to my own - because there would be no commonality whatsoever - but a post I made on Assange over December was as follows:

Reading the comments fields on blogs or news services wherever WikiLeaks comes up, there seems to be an idea held falsely by many that Assange is being persecuted for exercising his freedom of speech. This is certainly the case for those celebrities whom are voicing their support for him - which is further evidence why you wouldn't listen to a celebrity on anything, be it WikiLeaks or mining.

Quite apart from the inconvenient fact that Assange surrendered himself regarding a sex crime investigation, in the case of WikiLeaks he is an anarchist and thus dangerous: he wants to pull the system of government down - and I have some sympathy with that on many levels - but he has nothing to replace the vacuum that would be created, which means he wants to bring down the rule of law also: that's as quick a road to the end of liberty as the Nanny State nightmares we live in. A libertarian is not an anarchist: far from it.

He also has no regard whatsoever for the physical safety of the men and women who are fighting the war on terror (no matter what you think of that war), which makes him both dangerous and evil.

In light of the latter, and going straight for the Goodwin, this is no more a freedom of speech issue than it would have been ringing the Nazis on 1 June, 1944, and telling them there's this little landing thing happening at the Normandy beaches on the 6th. Would you call that exercising freedom of speech?