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Julian Assange: #Canongate I

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EDINBURGH (Rixstep) — The memoirs of Julian Assange - in 'unauthorised' form - are out. And the UK's Independent are publishing excerpts. The surprise is Julian Assange comes off rather well. But actually it shouldn't be much of a surprise at all. What is more worrying is how everyone else - from legal counsel to journalists to publishers - come off very unfavourably. Although what with the year that's gone by, that shouldn't surprise anyone either.

Yet what no one has heard up to now is how things looked in Sweden from Julian's point of view. Not many people have considered the fear (and even paranoia) he must have been feeling at the time, what with world powers calling for his destruction.

Julian's been notoriously tightlipped about the events, something that seems to be part of his character.

Julian Assange arrived in Sweden on 11 August as most adepts - particularly the persistent denizens at Flashback - have known for some time. He knew there was a threat against him - one good soul in Australia saw fit to tell him what was being said on the TLA grapevine. They'd first try to tie him to Manning and failing that would resort to their 'dirty tricks' - plant drugs on him, plant child pornography on one of his computers, push him into a honey trap.

Even Donald Boström warned Julian about it but Julian admits he somehow didn't take the threat too seriously. Donald even reminded him of the frightful fate of Vanunu at the hands of Mossad but still Julian didn't rethink: he thought he was amongst friends and felt protected and isolated within the confines of Sweden. The situation didn't seem unusual for him - he said he felt like a part of something nice in an otherwise dark time. Sweden can definitely do that to you.

Julian tells about the infamous crayfish party, most telling details of the feminists' behaviour being skipped, and points out that his party - held in his honour - was arranged by the girl who accused him of rape after he'd supposedly raped her. And yes he'd definitely like you to think about that one.

Julian spent the night before the shit hit in one of the worst places imaginable for him: a hotel. He found out about the rabid Expressen article some 90 minutes after people at this site did - and at that his 'entire belief system temporarily collapsed'.

'I may be a chauvinist pig of some sort but I am no rapist, and only a distorted version of sexual politics could attempt to turn me into one. They each had sex with me willingly and were happy to hang out with me afterwards.'

So true. So was it a honey trap?

'The international situation had me in its grip, and although I had spent time with these women, I wasn't paying enough attention to them, or ringing them back, or able to step out of the zone that came down with all these threats and statements against me. One of my mistakes was to expect them to understand this. I wasn't a reliable boyfriend, or even a very courteous sleeping partner, and this began to figure. Unless, of course, the agenda had been rigged from the start.'

Guy Rundle covered the release for the erratic Crikey, getting basic facts wrong pretty much like last time with his 'white wine' story. Journalists can't seem to learn - they must be ill equipped genetically.

Canongate are now featuring the YouTube copy of Julian's surprise talk at TED Oxford spring 2010. It's worth watching if you still haven't seen it but you needn't visit Canongate for that - get help from AJE instead.

One can't get away from the fact that time and again the arrogance and ignorance of what today is pejoratively called the Old Media are pervasive and will never change. The Economist recently wrote 'Mr Assange's file management looks sloppy'. But do the eejits there know the first thing about encryption? They're in the same preschool class with David Leigh, Nick Davies, and Guy Rundle.

Old Media jackals have occupied an enviable and oftentimes unassailable position: that of the Winston Smiths of the world. They get their word out more, they distort the truth at will, and it's hard for others who are willing to do the research to be recognised and heard.

Rupert Murdoch perfected his techniques whilst still a resident of his native Australia. And David Leigh exploited similar techniques to a delicious advantage back in the 1990s to ruin the reputation of the UK's Observer until the price was cheap enough for his employer to snap it up. Truth doesn't matter. Access to powerful outlets does. Both James Ball and Heather Brooke have such access today, thanks to David Leigh, and look how they're abusing it.

Publishers are also Old Media jackals, as evidenced by Canongate's handling #Canongate. There's one simple reason Julian Assange is being screwed over again: those with the dirty tricks are under pressure from their partners in crime, Canongate had already raked in so much in revenues from selling rights to 38 countries, those other publishers started getting annoyed, Canongate tossed Julian and his ghostwriter both under the bus. No mystery involved.

'I have learned today through an article in the Independent that my publisher Canongate has secretly distributed an unauthorised 70,000 word first draft of what was going to be my autobiography', wrote Julian right after midnight BST yesterday. Canongate didn't inform him - for good reason as the narrative shows - and evidently not his ghostwriter either.

'I am not the writer of this book. I own the copyright of the manuscript. 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.'

Julian goes on to tell how Canongate, and Canongate's Jamie Byng in particular, pulled the basic 'Leigh/Ball/Brooke' two-step on him. Knopf reportedly paid £300,000 for their share but withdrew when they heard Assange wasn't pleased with Canongate.

What Canongate are now publishing is a copy of a 'manuscript in progress' lent to them by the ghostwriter's researcher. But Byng held onto it and now wants to make it into a real book. Despite objections from the ghostwriter, from Knopf, and from the copyright holder himself.

Also telling: the evident duplicity and betrayal of FSI solicitor Mark Stephens who stands to make a small fortune out of Julian's misfortunes by promising him 'pro bono' assistance to lure him into a clever 'bait 'n' switch'.

Thank goodness Julian also has good friends. And thank goodness for Julian Assange. And now take the first link below and travel back to the good old days when people could still be idealists and they always won and were never attacked by jackals.

My precious!
 - Gollum
My manuscript!
 - Byng
Yeah. Can it possibly be true? It a worry, isn't it? That the rest of the world's media is doing such a bad job that a little group of activists is able to release more of that type of information than the rest of the world press combined.
 - Julian Assange Oxford 2010

See Also
Magnetic Times: Christine Assange recalls her Magnetic Island days
WikiLeaks: Statement on the Publishing of the Julian Assange 'Autobiography'

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