This was a picture of the world seen through a much less scrambled prism than usual, David Leigh, one of the journalists who forged an unprecedented deal between the whistleblower website WikiLeaks and the media, recalls in the first biography of the Julian Assange, the silver haired Australian who rattled the world order.
Authored by award-winning journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding, the book titled WIKILEAKS: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy was published on Monday by Guardian Books. The Guardian book reveals for the first time several unknown facets of the computer hacker. From his childhood to the secret deal he clinched in a Belgian hotel to get the world's major newspapers help him bring out the truth - the book promises to give a riveting account of the lead-up to the publication of the US embassy cables.
One of the interesting revelations in the book would be the recount of the time when Assange, nervous about the CIA, disguised himself as an old woman in a wig to travel to Ellingham Hall, from where he launched the US state department cables on the world.
The book also throws light on an the, so far, mysterious aspect of Assange's life - his childhood. One detail which would be news to many is the fact that Julian Assange did not get his name from his real father. Assange's mother, Christine, met his real father on a Vietnam war demo in Sydney in 1970. She later married a touring puppet theater owner Brett Assange, whose name her son took.
Assange met his real father only at the age of 27. However, he used his real father's name as a front to register the WikiLeaks website. Assange's father's identity was unknown until the Guardian got Australian court files released for this book.
This book will bring you as close to the unvarnished truth as you're likely to get, Leigh said.
The book also discloses the truth behind Assange's much spoken about quarrel with the Guardian's star reporter Nick Davies and the acrimonious row with the New York Times.
The book also gives details of Assange's deal with controversial journalist and writer, Israel Shamir. Israel Shamir also known as Jöran Jermas is a commentator on Arab- Israeli relations and Jewish culture. He has earned the reputation of being an anti-Semite for denying the holocaust. According to the documents, Assange paid Shamir €2,000 to be WikiLeaks' representative in Russia and gave him sensitive cables.
The United States diplomatic cables leak, which came to be dubbed 'Cablegate', began on 28 November 2010, when the first 220 of the 251,287 documents of private, secret and classified information from anonymous news sources, government whistleblowers, and news leaks were published on the WikiLeaks website.
The Guardian in United Kingdom was one among the five major newspapers around the world which worked with WikiLeaks on publishing articles on the leaks. The other media outlets were El País in Spain, Le Monde in France, Der Spiegel in Germany and the New York Times in the United States.
While the book published by The Guardian does claim to have a fairly large amount of details on Assange's personal life, the newspaper has not mentioned anything about the sex assault charges slapped against the Australian that scarred his reputation in the wake of the Cablegate.
WIKILEAKS: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy can be purchased online from Guardian Book Shop.