Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book About Assange Launched In New York

By Jerry Smith Apr 19 2011

ABC journalist Andrew Fowler's book about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange titled 'The Most Dangerous Man in the World', was launched this week in New York after being published last month in Australia.

The book covers Assange's childhood, the launch of WikiLeaks and their high profile leaks like the embarrassing diplomatic cables, the classified documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the classified 'Collateral Murder' video, and much more.

Melbourne University Press chief executive, Louise Adler called Fowler after he interviewed Assange for ABC's Foreign Correspondent program in May of last year after the release of the 'Collateral Murder' video, asking Fowler if he wanted to write a book about Assange.

Fowler met with Assange three times in Melbourne and twice in Norfolk, Britain in order to write his book, and describes Assange as a "mystical figure."

Fowler also said about Assange:
"He seems to have a lot of characters."

"The world's closing in on you and he is as cool as a cucumber."

"Julian doesn't know the meaning of fear."
In Fowler's book a former girlfriend talks about how Assange didn't seem to care that they had forgotten to bring bedclothes for an overnight trip. Assange reportedly said "Why don't we just knock on doors and see if there are any blankets we can have?"

There have been a few books about Assange published recently, including 'WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy' by Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding, 'Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website', by former WikiLeaks member Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and 'Julian Assange - WikiLeaks: Warrior for Truth' written by Sophie Radermecker and Valerie Guichaoua.

When Leigh and Harding's book was published, a posting on WikiLeaks' Twitter account, thought to have been written by Assange, said “The Guardian book serialisation contains malicious libels. We will be taking legal action".

“This book will bring you as close to the unvarnished truth as you're likely to get," Leigh said about the book he and Harding wrote.

Domscheit-Berg told reporters that his motives for writing the book were to explain the events that led to his leaving and said “We need to set the record straight before Assange turns into a cult, a pop phenomenon.”

“WikiLeaks turned pale computer geeks, whose cleverness otherwise would not have been noticed by anybody, into public figures, who put fear into politicians, CEOS and military chiefs around the world,” Domscheit-Berg wrote in his book.

In an interview, Domscheit-Berg said about Assange:
“Assange became exactly the kind of person he despised and wanted to fight.”

“It is therefore very important that it is made clear how everything went down and why, in the end, we decided to leave the project, and that is something that Assange has described the wrong way.”
In their final computer chat, Domscheit-Berg told Assange:
“A leader communicates and cultivates trust in himself. You are doing the exact opposite. You behave like some kind of emperor or slave trader.”
Domscheit-Berg and some of the other people who left WikiLeaks started OpenLeaks, a website they claim will provide secure drop boxes for NGOs, trade unions and other media sites.

A statement by WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson said about Domscheit-Berg, when his book was published:
"WikiLeaks has been taking legal action against former employee, Daniel Domscheit-Berg who was suspended from the organization in September. The reasons for these actions will gradually become clear, but some are hinted at by extracts from Domscheit-Bergs book."

“In the book Domscheit-Berg confesses to various acts of sabotage against the organization. The former WikiLeaks staffer admits to having damaged the sites primary submission system and stolen material.”

“It should be noted that Domscheit-Berg´s roles within WikiLeaks were limited and started to diminish almost a year ago as his integrity and stability were questioned. He has falsely misrepresented himself in the press as a programmer, computer-scientist, security expert, architect, editor, founder, director and spokesman. He is not a founder or co-founder and nor was there any contact with him during the founding years. He did not even have an email address with the organization until 2008 (we launched in December 2006). He cannot program and wrote not a single program for the organization, at any time.”

"Domschiet-Berg was never an architect for the organization, technically, or in matters of policy. He was a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in Germany at various times, but he was never the spokesman for WikiLeaks, nor was he ever WikiLeaks editor, although he subedited some articles. He was also never a computer scientist, or computer security expert, although he was a computer science student many years ago. His accounts of the crucial times in WikiLeaks history since April last year are therefore based upon limited information or malicious falsifications."
The book written by Radermecker and Guichaoua was published by The Cogito Media Group who describe the book as a detailed investigation of WikiLeaks and the sexual assault allegations against Assange that features "graphic testimony from the women that Swedish prosecutors plan to use" against Assange in their investigation of possible rape.

The Cogito Media Group also said that the book will uncover "never-before-revealed findings" about Assange.

"Whether WikiLeaks survives or not it has spawned a huge number of copies around the world," Fowler said

Fowler's book is published by Melbourne University Press and set to become a movie after it was optioned by Hollywood producers Barry Josephson and Michelle Krumm in January this year.

Assange is writing a book titled 'WikiLeaks Versus the World: My Story', that was supposed to hit book store shelves April 7, but is nowhere to be seen.

Assange hired novelist Andrew O'Hagan to help him with his book and said "I don't want to write this book but I have to."

Canongate, publishers of Assange's book, are said to have paid Assange around US$500,000 to have the book done by a certain date. US publishers, Alfred A Knopf, reportedly paid Assange around US$700,000. Assange is also expected to receive around US$1.55 Million for the serial rights.

"Publishing dates change all the time," Canongate said.

Currently under house arrest in Norkfolk, England, Assange will continue to fight being extradited to Sweden at a two day hearing at the High Court in London on July 12 and 13.

Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden where he has not been charged with anything but is wanted for questioning by the Swedish police about accusations of rape and sexual molestation made against him by Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin. Assange denies the allegations and says he had consensual sex with the two women.

Assange and his lawyers fear that if he is extradited to Sweden he may then be extradited to the United States, where he could face torture, confinement at Guantanamo Bay, both, or even the death penalty.

Assange angered the United States when the leaked embarrassing diplomatic cables, the classified documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the 'Collateral Murder' video were released and published by WikiLeaks.

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