Sunday, December 26, 2010

ASSANGE signs book deal...

Julian Assange signs USD 1.5 million book deal

London, Dec 26 : WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, fighting a sex crime charge in Sweden, has signed a USD 1.5 million deal for writing his autobiography, Sunday Times here reported.

Assange told Britain's Sunday Times about the deal and hoped that the money would go in fighting the cases of sexual assaults in Sweden slapped on him.

"I don't want to write this book, but I have to, I have already spent 200,000 pounds for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat," he told the paper in an interview.

The 39-year-old Australian has been released on conditional bail on Dec 16, and put in house arrest. He had earlier surrendered to British police.

After being released by London's High Court Assange told reporters that he was happy with fresh air and would continue to fight to prove his innocence.

"This has been a very successful smear campaign and a very wrong one," he told BBC after his release.

He was quoted in Sunday Times saying that he would receive 800,000 dollars (600,000 euros) from Alfred A. Knopf, his American publisher, and 325,000 pounds (380,000 euros, 500,000 dollars) from a British deal with Canongate.

His Swedish extradition hearing is scheduled on Feb 7.

Assange founded the whistle-blowing WikiLeaks website in 2006 and serves on its advisory board.

In 2010, he published classified details about American involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But all hell broke loose when on Nov 28 WikiLeaks and its five media partners began publishing secret US diplomatic cables, a move that embarrassed USA before the world and undermined its diplomatic missions.

The White House has called Assange's release of the diplomatic cables "reckless and dangerous".