Julian Assange Scores Book Deal

Julian Assange has scored a book deal with Knopf, making it a true shame that Sarah Palin has already taken the title ‘Going Rogue.’

Julian Assange Scores Book Deal

For months we’ve been speculating that Julian Assange would either end up assassinated or locked away in some solitary-confinement basement never to be heard from again. Now safe (for the moment, anyway) under house arrest in England, he’s landed a book deal with Knopf worth at least $1.5M, reports Huffington Post.

But lest you start picturing Assange transmogrifying into some rich celebrity author, emerging from the depths of banishment to ebullient Oprah appearances like Jonathan Franzen, Assange made it clear that he’s only writing this book to dig himself out of debt and bolster his defense against the rape allegations he faces in Sweden. (Which also makes it a shame that OJ Simpson has already taken the title ‘If I Did It.’)

“I don’t want to write this book, but I have to,” Assange told the British newspaper “Sunday Times.” “I have already spent 200,000 pounds for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat.”

Unlike Sarah Palin, whose ‘Going Rogue’ was ghost-written by Lynn Vincent, it sounds like Assange will be writing this book himself—unless he is in fact assassinated (or “hunted down like bin Laden”), in which case it’ll give a whole new meaning to the term ‘ghost-written.’

However, I do have to wonder about the viability of an entire Assange autobiography: While he has captured the world’s imagination, Assange has a particularly short shelf-life as a figure of public fascination—the period of his life that interests anybody only lasts about six months. This may be a short book.

Assange may be the first non-military, non-US citizen since John Lennon so threatening to US government interests as to be carefully scrutinized by intelligence agencies. One big difference between them: the US didn’t formally accuse Lennon of being a terrorist for his role in encouraging Americans to protest the Vietnam war, while Vice President Biden has labeled Assange a “terrorist.” Still, that didn’t stop Lennon from getting assassinated (c’mon, we all know Mark Chapman wasn’t a lone gunman).

On the other hand, the US hasn’t always succeeded in taking out targets it wanted to see “neutralized”: Tim Weiner’s ‘Legacy of Ashes’ details a hilarious account of botched assassination attempts on Fidel Castro, including the CIA slipping him a poison cigar that apparently needed a little more poison dip to be lethal.

At any rate, let’s hope that Assange survives long enough to complete his book. Whatever it’s called, it should be a hell of a ride.