With the legal machinations piling up against Julian Assange, he may have found a way to alleviate some of the financial woes plaguing him as of late: write a book. He apparently told the Sunday Times of London that he had to sign the mega-bucks deal to pen his autobiography to ease his financial difficulties. Assange was quoted as saying, "I don’t want to write this book, but I have to. I have already spent £200,000 ($250,000) for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat."
The U.S. publisher, Alfred A Knopf is supposedly offering up $800,000 while a U.K. deal with Canongate is worth another $500,000. Add to that the serialization of the book.
Keeping WikiLeaks afloat must be getting more difficult considering that now VISA, MasterCard and PayPal have all stopped processing donations for the organisation. Amazon withdrew its servers to host the site. Why these decisions were made remain to be seen but the question about the limits of the freedom of expression are being hotly debated in various circles. It is reported that at its peak, WikiLeaks was bringing in $130,000 per day in donations.
On top of those problems, Assange is supposedly going to be extradited to Sweden in February to answer the charges of sexual misconduct levelled at him by two women.
The 39 year old Australian has garnered both praise and hate over the past year. The French newspaper Le Monde declared him Man of the Year and he was nearly named by Time Magazine for the same honour. In the end, Time accorded it to Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.
Criminal? Saint? Disclosures of secret documents are certainly going to change the way governments conduct their business. Of course, let’s not forget the American soldier Bradley Manning, 22 who is currently in custody as the alleged inside source who leaked all the documents in the first place. Attention is focused on Assange but we have forgotten that Bradley faces a court-martial and 52 years in prison. Without Bradley, there would be no WikiLeaks.
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