Book: Julian Assange – The Unauthorised Autobiography

I was in the library getting my usual feed of newspapers & magazines when I spotted a book that I totally wanted to read – Julian Assange the Unathorised Autobiography. I kind of forgot why I didn’t buy it upon release (read Julian Assange’s statement which tells why this is really an unauthorised autobiography).

It was a wholly interesting read that I can highly recommend. Some points that I would like to take note of:

  • Reminding me of 1984 by George Orwell: “he who controls the present controls the past, and he who controls the past controls the future.”
  • Theodore Roosevelt: “Behind the ostensible government sits an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship.”
  • “Authoritarian powers knows ow to strengthen itself through conspiracy.” – Julian Assange
  • What were the unfakeable metrics in modern journalism? They were sales, hits, take-up and exclusivity. 
  • I see that WikiLeaks published Michaela Wrong’s book about Kenya that was banned in the country as a PDF (It’s our turn to eat). Turns out that the author didn’t like this. This is something I myself have long thought about as the list of banned books in Malaysia is amazingly long.
  • Its nice to see that he talks about the Malaysian Hack In The Box Conference (which he attended). It’s nice that he mentions he met Anwar Ibrahim too.
  • Another George Orwell gem: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
  • Disclosure is not merely an action; it is a way of life. To my mind it carries both sense and sensibility: you are what you know, and no state has the right to make you less than you are. Many modern states forget that they were founded on the principles of the Enlightenment, that knowledge is a guarantor of liberty, and that no state has the right to dispence justice as if it were merely a favour of power. Justice, in fact, rightly upheld, is a check on power, and we can only look after the people by making sure that politics never controls information absolutely.
  • Information sets us free. And it does so by allowing us to question the actions of those who would sooner we had no means to question them, no right to reply.