HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » Julian Assange: the fugit...

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 01:11 AM

Julian Assange: the fugitive

Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy for six months. In a rare interview, we ask the WikiLeaks founder about reports of illness, paranoia – and if he'll ever come out
Decca Aitkenhead
Friday 7 December 2012 17.58 EST

... Assange talks in the manner of a man who has worked out that the Earth is round, while everyone else is lumbering on under the impression that it is flat. It makes you sit up and listen, but raises two doubts about how to judge his thesis. There's no debate that Assange knows more about the subject than almost anyone alive, and the case he makes is both compelling and scary. But there's a question mark over his own credentials as a crusader against abuses of power, and another over his frame of mind. After all the dramas of the last two and a half years, it's hard to read his book without wondering, is Assange a hypocrite – and is he a reliable witness?

Prodigiously gifted, he is often described as a genius, but he has the autodidact's tendency to come across as simultaneously credulous and a bit slapdash. He can leap from one country to another when characterising surveillance practices, as if all nations were analogous, and refers to the communications data bill currently before the UK parliament in such alarmist terms that I didn't even recognise the legislation and thought he must be talking about a bill I'd never heard of. "A bill promulgated by the Queen, no less!" he emphasises, as if the government could propose any other variety, before implying that it will give the state the right to read every email and listen in on every mobile phone call, which is simply not the case. It's the age-old dilemma: are we being warned by a uniquely clear-sighted Cassandra, or by a paranoid conspiracy theorist whose current circumstances only confirm all his suspicions of sinister secret state forces at work? ...

I try twice to ask how a campaigner for free speech can condone Ecuador's record on press controls, but I'm not sure he hears, because he is off into a coldly furious tirade against the Guardian. The details of the dispute are of doubtful interest to a wider audience, but in brief: WikiLeaks worked closely with both the Guardian and the New York Times in 2010 to publish huge caches of confidential documents, before falling out very badly with both. He maintains that the Guardian broke its word and behaved disgracefully, but he seems to have a habit of falling out with erstwhile allies. Leaving aside the two women in Sweden who were once his admirers and now allege rape and sexual assault, things also ended badly with Canongate, a small publisher that paid a large advance for his ghosted autobiography, only to have Assange pull out of the project after reading the first draft. It went ahead and published anyway, but lost an awful lot of money. Several staff walked out of WikiLeaks in 2010, including a close colleague, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who complained that Assange was behaving "like some kind of emperor or slave trader" ...

"Oh my God!" he interrupts angrily, raising his voice. "These people, we told them not to do that. They were wrong to do it, to violate the author's copyright like that." Did he ever consider giving his advance back? "Canongate owes me money. I have not seen a single cent from this book. Canongate owes me hundreds of thousands of pounds." But if he hasn't seen any money, it's because the advance was deposited in Assange's lawyers' bank account, to go towards paying their fees. Then the lawyers complained that the advance didn't cover the fees, and Assange fell out with them, too ...


11 replies, 3969 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Julian Assange: the fugitive (Original post)
struggle4progress Dec 2012 OP
niyad Dec 2012 #1
freshwest Dec 2012 #2
Hissyspit Dec 2012 #3
struggle4progress Dec 2012 #4
struggle4progress Dec 2012 #5
treestar Dec 2012 #6
Hissyspit Dec 2012 #7
treestar Dec 2012 #8
Hissyspit Dec 2012 #9
treestar Dec 2012 #10
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #11

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 01:17 AM

1. bookmarking for later

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:28 AM

2. This reads like lives of the rich and famous. I googled this from the article:

...Domscheit-Berg stated he would destroy WikiLeaks data when leaving WikiLeaks.[17] He wanted to be sure that duplicates would be confirmed deleted by a notary with an affidavit.[18]

In leaving, WikiLeaks state that Domscheit-Berg representing OpenLeaks, held the organisation to ransom over the unpublished documents and internal organisation communications[19] with mediations by a member of the hacker collective Chaos Computer Club between OpenLeaks and WikiLeaks.

Domscheit-Berg apparently told weekly Der Freitag that "I took no documents from WikiLeaks with me", leading to suspension of mediations.[16] Domscheit-Berg was eventually kicked out of Chaos Computer Club due to his conduct during the mediation and for requesting the Chaos Computer Club to test OpenLeaks' security.[16] This decision was revoked in February 2012 by the general assembly of the Chaos Computer Club.

WikiLeaks and other sources later confirmed the destruction of over 3500 unpublished whistleblower communications with some communications containing hundreds of documents.[18][16][20][21]

Including: US Government's No Fly List[22], 5 GB of Bank of America leaks[23], insider information from 20 right-wing organizations[22][24] and proof of torture and government abuse of a Latin America country...[25]


I never forgot this. Who remembers these stories?

What Does WikiLeaks Have on Bank of America?

Thursday 13 January 2011
by: Mary Bottari - t r u t h o u t

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is promising to unleash a cache of secret documents from the hard drive of a U.S. megabank executive. In 2009, he told Computer World that the bank was Bank of America (BofA). In 2010, he told Forbes that the information was significant enough to "take down a bank or two," but that he needed time to lay out the information in a more user-friendly format.


Some of WikiLeaks' Bank of America data destroyed

...The destruction of the documents could provide a small amount of relief to Bank of America investors. The bank's stock dropped 3 percent in November amid fears the bank could be the target of WikiLeaks' next document release. In recent weeks investors have pummeled Bank of America's stock on fears it may need to raise outside capital to absorb losses...


I wish they had not destroyed the data which might have brought down right wing groups, that they had released proof of abuse in 'a Latin American country' noted on the Wikipedia page. Here is something I read years ago about this:

If you rule by code you will fall by code: the philosophy of Wikileaks

...The world of diplomacy, the world of the rulers, is certainly no sacred realm. The content of the leaked cables - as has been pointed out - is not all that surprising. But Marshall McLuhan strikes again here too: the message is the medium. The momentous nature of Wikileaks comes in its form, not its content: the digitalisation of our representations of the world around us is a new global DNA. And that digitalisation brings to the foreground – partly by contrast – another, complementary aspect of humanity: what I call crealism, the desire to become self-created, to establish a space of liberty outside the automata by seizing democratic control of of the protocols that rule us. Another word for this is empowerment.

The old, elitist, analog world of double-speak and counter-bluff, the worlds of diplomacy and political institutions, cannot hope to survive the two-pronged attack from digitalisation and empowerment. The message sent by Wikileaks to governments is this: “you are using the digital to organise the world and to control the people; but that means that the people will also have access to your mechanisms of control, the code and the data; the people will be able to hack you – to uncover and subvert your hegemonic uses.” The only way governments could stop this democratising force would be to imprison the coders – a temptation some seem to be tempted by.

Whosoever rules by code will fall by code. Those who expect to control the masses through biometric identification systems and other electronic controls, must expect that the digital will be turned back against them. And this as long as hackers have access to a free Web and a free press. The freedom needed is not just technical – it requires constructive crticism. Remember the lesson from Orwell: technocratic digitalism alone, without crealism - collective empowerment - will not deliver more democracy … but only the best of all possible worlds.


Is this theory working at all?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to freshwest (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:55 AM

3. Yeah, it's ultimately pretty much a hit piece.

Assange's personality is the only thing that matters don't you know. This apparently ostensively was supposed to be a discussion of Assange's new book. No one else's personality matters, of course.

Let's the COMPLETELY DISCREDITED Domscheit-Berg get some slanderous words in, but no discussion about why they shouldn't be given credence.

Manages to get the words rape and rapist in there.

Guardian does itself a disservice with stuff like this. And the stuff that is designed to make him sound worst is excerpted for the OP.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Hissyspit (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:42 PM

4. The Assange-Canongate saga is really quite informative

Canongate seems to have advanced Assange perhaps half a million pounds to produce an autobiography, after which Assange began to work with their ghostwriter and sat for the cover photo. But then Assange changed his mind, though he never returned the advance, as he had transferred to his lawyers, who had already spent it fighting his extradition to Sweden. So Canongate published anyway, which produced vintage fulmination from Assange: "Canongate owes me money. I have not seen a single cent from this book. Canongate owes me hundreds of thousands of pounds." In the end, the saga ruined Canongate's bottom line that year. Sadly, this flexibly shifty behavior is not usual for Assange, as the book witnesses also: for example, in the book we are told that W accused Assange of rape because he didn't call her from his train: "it has already turned out to be the most expensive call I didn't make."

Here are some links:

On 20 December 2010, Julian Assange signed a contract with Canongate Books to write a book – part memoir, part manifesto – for publication in 2011. At the time, Julian said, ‘I hope this book will become one of the unifying documents of our generation. In this highly personal work, I explain our global struggle to force a new relationship between the people and their governments’ ... After reading the first draft of the book that was delivered at the end of March, Julian declared, ‘All memoir is prostitution’. On 7 June 2011, with 38 publishing houses around the world committed to releasing the book, Julian told us he wanted to cancel his contract. However, he had already signed his advance over to his lawyers to settle his legal bills. We have decided to honour that contract and to publish. Once the advance has been earned out, we will continue to honour the contract and pay Julian royalties ...

Statement from Canongate Books <21 September 2011>
link to pdf: http://www.canongate.tv/media/pdf/Statement%20from%20Canongate%20Books.pdf
hattip: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/foreign-affairs-defense/wikisecrets/unauthorized-assange-autobiography-leaked-by-publisher/

... In late December Mr Assange accepted an advance – reportedly worth hundreds of thousands of pounds – from Canongate and New York publisher Alfred A Knopf ... Canongate went on to sell the rights to a further 38 publishing houses around the world ... But the relationship soured soon after the first draft of the manuscript was delivered to him in late March ... Only a week earlier he had posed for a photo shoot and cleared the portrait that now graces the book's front cover ... Mr Assange's decision to renege on his contract plunged Canongate into a crisis ... He was given two months to work on the manuscript but deadlines went by without any further work ...

Assange: The truth will out
How did Julian Assange's autobiography become unauthorised? To introduce exclusive extracts from the WikiLeaks figurehead's memoir, Jerome Taylor recounts the behind-the-scenes battle for publication


... I met a woman called W—— at a press conference. I remember she was wearing a nice pink sweater. After an awards party, I met up with W—— and went back with her to her house in Enkopping ... My behaviour sounds cold, and no doubt was, which is a failing of mine, but not a crime. I'd spent long enough at A——'s and could see that it would be a bad idea to stay longer. Remember, I was feeling especially paranoid ... The thing with W—— was going nowhere, either. She was a little vague, but the night in Enkopping was fun and I thought we'd had a perfectly nice time, albeit one that probably wouldn't be repeated. She didn't seem too fussed herself, as we had breakfast together the next morning and then rode together on her bicycle to the railway station. She kindly paid for my ticket – my bank card was still on the blink, though I'm always skint – and she kissed me goodbye and asked me to call her from the train. I didn't do that, and it has already turned out to be the most expensive call I didn't make. At one point, I did have a short conversation with W——, when she called me, but the phone was low on charge and it ran out while we were still talking ... After a strange few days of contact with the women, one of whom said she wanted me to do an STD test, I needed some time and space to myself ...

Julian Assange: 'I did not rape those women'
In the first extract from the book, Julian Assange gives his version of the background to accusations of sexual assault that have led to his battle against extradition to Sweden


... The company made an operating loss of £368,367 compared with a profit of more than £1m in 2010 ... In a report, the company's chairman Sir Christopher Bland said the loss was "largely attributable to Julian Assange's failure to deliver the book he had contracted to produce, and we were unable to obtain repayment from him of Canongate's substantial advance, which had to be written off". The advance is said to be more than £500,000 although Canongate gave no details in its financial statement ...

5 October 2012
Canongate Books blames Assange for loss

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Hissyspit (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:53 PM

5. Julian Assange autobiography: why he didn't want it published

Memoir looked set to make the WikiLeaks founder and publisher Canongate a fortune – then the arguments started
David Leigh, James Ball and Esther Addley
Thursday 22 September 2011 16.47 EDT

... To complete the picture of acrimony, Assange went on to publicly denounce his former lawyers, claiming they were sitting on his publishers' advance of £412,000, which they were holding to cover their legal fees. Assange's allegations of "extreme overcharging" were rapidly denied by the London media firm of Finers, Stephens, Innocent (FSI) ...

A book deal was drawn up and clinched by the London literary agent Caroline Michel, under which Canongate, the innovative Scottish firm run by Jamie Byng, and the US publishers Knopf agreed to pay £600,000 and $800,000 respectively for the rights, with Knopf paying $250,000 (£162,000) in advance. Canongate also agreed to pay upfront O'Hagan's ghostwriting fee, believed to exceed £100,000.

Assange already seemed to have the possibility in mind that he might withdraw from the deal. Sources close to the Canongate negotiations say he demanded a deal that he could keep £125,000 of the advance whatever happened. Byng laughed this out of court, responding according to correspondence seen by the Guardian: "We cannot accept … the idea that regardless of whether Julian delivers (or regardless of what he delivers or regardless of when he delivers), he will keep £125,000."

Canongate also negotiated a crucial loophole in the contract, which it was eventually to invoke ... "If … the manuscript has not been delivered by the prescribed date or its final form is not acceptable to the Publisher, the Publisher has the right to decide whether to continue to publish the Work. If the Publisher decides to continue to publish the Work the Proprietor agrees that all typescript or notes relevant to the said Work shall belong to the Publisher" ...


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:20 AM

6. Our favorite subject!

He sounds like a nut. If he were doing anything of importance, then why doesn't he just clear the Swedish thing and get on with it? His US arrest excuse is ridiculous. And who is he to tell Sweden is does not go by the rule of law and its courts? Good grief.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to treestar (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:24 PM

7. People have been countering your arguments for years now with details and logic

and verified info. And you come here and post the same old tired stuff as if none of those arguments had ever been answered or argued before.

Yeah, he sounds like a nut. It's a Guardian hit piece.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Hissyspit (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:53 PM

8. No it's the other way round

His US extradition fears are the ones that have been countered with details and logic. His alleged fears of the Swedish system and his issues with it have been countered with details and logic.

And how can it be a hit piece? He is interviewed personally. If he doesn't want to seem crazy, 1) don't talk crazy, 2) quit with the persecution complex 3) go to Sweden and clear things up.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to treestar (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 11:38 PM

9. How can it be a hit piece if he was interviewed personally?


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Hissyspit (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:43 AM

10. It is in his own words?

He is quoted directly? A hit piece would not let him have his say. If you see it as a hit piece, he made it so himself.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to treestar (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 01:59 PM

11. Here is how...

In 2005, the Guardian published Emma Brockes interview with Noam Chomsky that included misrepresentations and outright fabrications. The ensuing outrage forced the Guardian to release the raw transcript and remove the interview from their website.



The headline introduction to the article was:

“Q: Do you regret supporting those who say the Srebrenica massacre was exaggerated?

“A: My only regret is that I didn't do it strongly enough.”

Remarkably, and very foolishly, this answer attributed to Chomsky was actually in response to a different question posed during the interview. In a letter to the editor published in the Guardian on November 2, Chomsky explained:

“I did express my regret: namely, that I did not support Diana Johnstone's right to publish strongly enough when her book was withdrawn by the publisher after dishonest press attacks, which I reviewed in an open letter that any reporter could have easily discovered. The remainder of Brockes's report continues in the same vein. Even when the words attributed to me have some resemblance to accuracy, I take no responsibility for them, because of the invented contexts in which they appear.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread