What goes around, comes around.
That’s what politicians and diplomats around the world must be thinking in light of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s recent predicament.
Canongate Books, an independent British publisher, released Julian Assange: The Unauthorized Autobiography Thursday, without Assange’s consent. The book details his childhood in Australia, the rise of WikiLeaks, his account of the sexual assault charges he faced in Sweden, and the ultimate debate over his extradition, the Associated Press reports.
“I may be a chauvinist pig of some sort, but I am no rapist,” he says in the book, maintaining that his relationships with the two women who accused him of rape were consensual.
Assange signed a contract with the publishing house in late 2010, collecting a hefty advance which he reportedly spent on legal fees. Working with a ghost writer, Assange spent more than 50 hours in taped interviews before deciding he wanted to cancel the contract.
“All memoir is prostitution,” the publishers claimed he said after reading the first draft in March 2011. Canongate discovered he spent his entire advance and decided to publish the book against his wishes. Assange is claiming the publishers are in breach of contract and accusing them of “opportunism and duplicity.”
But it’s fitting how the man behind the world’s largest whistleblowing operation should condemn the publication of unauthorized documents. Assange ignited a public debate and angered many in his publishing of secret and classified U.S. documents without any consent.
It’s also fitting that Canongate should secretly release the book about the elusive Assange, practicing covert delivery methods. The publishers said they used encrypted laptops and no Internet communication, and only told retailers about the book one day in advance, according to the AP.
“We have had books delivered under a level of security before, but not to this height,” Jon Howells, a spokesman for Waterstone’s book store chain said. “In publishing terms this is real ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ stuff.”
Spy stuff indeed.