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‘I may be a chauvinist pig but I am no rapist’

The controversial autobiography of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange hits the shops on Thursday, in which he repudiates the claims that he is guilty of raping two Swedish women.

'I may be a chauvinist pig but I am no rapist'

”I may be a chauvinist pig of some sort but I am no rapist, and only a distorted version of sexual politics could attempt to turn me into one,” says Assange in the book.

In the book, Assange refutes the claims by the two Swedish women that he raped them, saying instead that he had temporary sexual liasions with both spanning several days while in Stockholm.

Assange describes staying at the home of one of the women for several days and says he only hooked up with the second woman when he felt that the encounters with the first were getting too serious.

“My behaviour sounds cold, and no doubt was, which is a failing of mine, but not a crime,” Assange wrote.

In the book he also says that the pressures from America made it especially difficult for him to concentrate on his love-life.

“Although I had spent time with these women, I wasn’t paying enough attention to them, or ringing them back, or able to step out of the zone that came down with all these threats and statements against me in America. One of my mistakes was to expect them to understand this,” Assange wrote.

What happened next, Assange wrote, was a complete surprise to him.

After a few days of peculiar contact with the women, he needed space and checked into a hotel to work on a newspaper column.

Suddenly he saw on Twitter that there was a warrant out for his arrest. At which point his “entire belief system temporarily collapsed”.

“I did not rape those women and cannot imagine anything that happened between us that would make them think so, except malice after the fact, a joint plan to entrap me, or a terrible misunderstanding that was stoked up between them,” Assange wrote in his autobiography.

Initially, Assange touted the autobiography as “one of the unifying documents of our generation”.

“In this highly personal work, I explain our global struggle to force a new relationship between the people and their governments,” he said at the time, according to reports in British media.

But despite initially being on board with the publication, Assange recently pulled out claiming that the book was less of the personal manifesto he had imagined and instead filled with too many personal biographical data about his person, according to British daily The Independent.

The decision came as quite a shock to the small Scottish publishing firm Canongate, who after landing the monumental deal with Assange, had sold on the rights to the book to 38 publishing houses worldwide.

Assange, who was given time to re-work the manuscript, failed to do so, claiming ”all memoir is prostitution”.

But the publishing house, having paid out a six-figure advance on the book to Assange already, decided to go ahead with the publication anyway. The result is what may be the first ever ”unauthorised autobiography”.

Despite the choice to renege on the deal, Assange will be receiving what is expected to be considerably generous royalty cheques as the book starts jumping off the shelves across the world, according to the paper.

“We disagree with Julian’s assessment of the book. We believe it explains both the man and his work, underlining his commitment to the truth. Julian always claimed the book was well written; we agree, and this also encouraged us to make the book available to readers,” publishers Canongate wrote in a note to readers in the beginning of the controversial book.

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JULIAN ASSANGE

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer

Julian Assange would cooperate with Swedish authorities if they reopen a rape case against him but will continue to resist any bid to extradite him to the United States, his lawyer said Sunday.

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer
Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson in London on Thursday. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham/TT

“We are absolutely happy to answer those queries if and when they come up,” Jennifer Robinson told Sky News television about the rape claims.

“The key issue at the moment is US extradition, which we have warned about for many years,” she added.

The WikiLeaks founder is in custody in London awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012 by seeking refuge in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He was arrested at the embassy on Thursday after Ecuador gave him up, and is now also fighting a US extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.

The Australian has always denied the claims of sexual assault and rape in Sweden. The first expired in 2015 and the other was dropped in 2017, but the alleged rape victim has now asked for the case to be reopened.

If Stockholm makes a formal extradition request, the British government will have to decide whether to consider it before or after that of the United States.

Robinson said Assange would seek assurances from Sweden that he would not be sent on to America, saying: “That is the same assurance we were seeking in 2010 and the refusal to give that is why he sought asylum.”

She added: “He's not above the law. Julian has never been concerned about facing British justice or indeed Swedish justice. This case is and has always been about his concern about being sent to face American injustice.”

The US indictment charges Assange with “conspiracy” for working with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password stored on Department of Defence computers in March 2010.

He faces up to five years in jail.

Manning passed hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, exposing US military wrongdoing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets about scores of countries around the world.

The conspiracy charge against Assange seems intended to sidestep limits on prosecution potentially arising from the US Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of press freedom.

But Robinson insisted: “This indictment clearly engages newsgathering activities and the kinds of communications that journalists have with sources all the time.”

The lawyer condemned as “outrageous” claims made by Ecuador about Assange's behaviour in the embassy, including that he smeared his faeces on the wall, saying: “That's not true.”

Quito also accused him of failing to care for his cat. WikiLeaks said Assange had asked his lawyers to “rescue him (the cat) from embassy threats” in October, adding: “They will be reunited in freedom.”

Assange's father, John Shipton, on Sunday urged Australia to bring his son home.

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