Julian Assange’s ghost writer has just published a damning summary of his would-be subject which looks like it might have been written by us.
According to Andrew O’Hagan, the founder of Wikileaks is vain, secretive, paranoid and jealous, prone to leering at young women and making frequent sexist jokes. What is weird is O’Hagan is considered as being a sympathetic biographer, god know what would have happened if we had done it.
Andrew O’Hagan has just written a 45-page essay chronicling the collapse of a $2.5 million deal for Assange’s autobiography, O’Hagan, an award-winning novelist and non-fiction author, recounts how he spent months with the Australian computer hacker in an attempt to extract material for the book.
Apparently, Assange, who is quite happy to reveal the secrets of governments around the world proved far more reluctant when it came to talking about his own past and private life.
O’Hagan wrote in the London Review of Books that the man who put himself in charge of disclosing the world’s secrets simply could not bear his own. The story of his life mortified him and sent him scurrying for excuses. He did not want to do the book.
He liked to spend hours Googling himself rather than have his own say in the pages of his autobiography, O’Hagan wrote.
In the end Assange’s publisher, Cannongate, released its own version of the autobiography. The book flopped, selling only 700 copies in its first week. Clearly, people were less interested in Assange than Assange.
During their time together Assange behaved in front of O’Hagan like an egotistical tyrant interested more in his own self-publicity than in changing the world. He turns on his friends with increasing regularity, rather than focusing his anger on his enemies.
At one stage, Assange described the Ecuadorean ambassador as “mad”, “fat” and “ludicrous” for going on a diet because she did not like the photographs of herself in the press.
He also did not like former ally Jemima Khan, who put up the surety for his bail before he broke its conditions by seeking refuge in the embassy. O’Hagan said that he didn’t pause to ask why a loyal supporter might become aggrieved because he simply made a horribly sexist remark.
Assange leered at two 14 year-old girls as they walked past a café table at which they were sitting. O’Hagan writes how Assange thought they were “fine”, until he saw one was wearing braces.
Assange’s girlfriend, WikiLeaks researcher Sarah Harrison, also got a miffed at him during the weeks he spent on bail at Ellingham Hall, in Norfolk.
Harrison said that Assange openly chats girls up and has his hands on their arses and goes nuts if she even talks to another guy. He threatened to fire her a few times and always for crazy reasons. One of the times was because she had hugged another member of staff. Assange thought that was disrespectful to him.
More damningly, Harrison appears to begin to be having doubts about Assange’s account of his relationship with the two Swedish women who have accused him of rape. While she does not believe that Assange raped the women, she wondered why he was even there.
Assange is obsessed with a belief that a government will think he is so important that they will waste a lead bullet and pay for an assassination on him. Yet O’Hagan notes Assange is careless about security.
Supposed WikiLeaks sympathisers and supporters come and go with no apparent vetting, the organisation’s staff use the same mobile phones for weeks on end and Assange himself is indiscreet.
O’Hagan said that he hoped to find an anti-authoritarian rebel figure but came to regard Assange as someone who sacrificed the moral high ground by attempting to evade trial over the rape charges.
He said that Big Government’s opposition to WikiLeaks’s work became confused, not least in Assange’s mind, with the rape allegations against him.
“A man who conflates such truths loses his moral authority right there. Because he has no ability to see through other people’s eyes he can’t see how dishonest this conflation seems even to supporters such as me,” O’Hagan wrote.