Everyone’s favorite attention-seeking, secret-document-leaking man is back. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has signed a $1.3 million dollar deal to write his autobiography, reports the WSJ. He will be paid $800,000 from U.S. publisher Alfred A. Knopf and another $502,000 from Conongate Books in the U.K. Assange claims that he doesn’t want to write the book or get the money, but he needs it.
“I don’t want to write this book, but I have to,” Assange told the Sunday Times. “I have already spent £200,000 for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat.”
Though Assange doesn’t seem to want to even write the book, a spokesperson for Random House publishing seems enthusiastic about the deal. “We are very excited to be publishing this book. The work that Assange has been doing at WikiLeaks has tremendous importance around the world.”
Assange recently made bail after being arrested on Swedish charges of sex crimes (as Mashable eloquently put it). His bank account has also been frozen at the PostFinance Swiss bank. Aside from those personal problems, Assange’s WikiLeaks website faces a number of obstacles. After beginning to publish 250,000 stolen cables (emails) from the U.S. State Dept., the organization recieved immense amounts of heat from Gov’t agencies and officials. Under pressure, companies like Amazon, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, and others dropped support for the Website. In response, a group of vigilante hackers launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, shutting down all of the services for periods of time. DDoS attacks work by overloading Websites with thousands or millions more hits than they are used to, usually resulting in the Website going offline for a period of time.
Assange may also write about the internal power struggles within WikiLeaks. A number of his staff recently defected and started a new leaking service called OpenLeaks which has similar goals. One of their main problems was that Assange seemed unable to follow one of Journalism’s basic tenets: keep yourself out of the story.