OPINION. NewsVoice is republishing – without asking for permission – Jan Guillou’s contemptuous opinion text “Julian Assange – a little bastard without principles” a text that disappeared from Aftonbladet’s website. We do it for several reasons. It has a great public interest in the debate about freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and the tendency of states to suppress these freedoms.
Jan Guillou’s article published on April 24, 2011 (it remains on the Web Archive) opened “a can of worms” that triggered journalists and politicians that it was free to spread the same kind of contempt for Assange.
Two of the main reasons for this re-publication are to stop the torture of truth-teller Julian Assange who is imprisoned and drugged in the high-security Belmarsh prison in England and to get him released after more than 10 years of torture because he and Bradley Manning exposed US war crimes in Iraq, crimes that Washington never had to answer for.
At some point, justice must prevail over the repression of truth-tellers by journalists, politicians, and states. What do you think? Are you on the right side of history?
Jan Guillou apologized vaguely but it is not enough
However, Guillou unexpectedly and vaguely apologized for what he wrote about Assange in 2011. He did so in an article titled “Which journalists want to take the risk of associating with Assange?” on January 2, 2022.
“What I once wrote a long time ago about the political prisoner at Belmarsh prison, Julian Assange, was nonsense. Not untrue, but nonsense and thus lousy journalism. The explanation is embarrassing enough that I couldn’t tell the difference between the main story and the side story, one of journalism’s most elementary ground rules.”
The self-examination that Guillou exhibits is of course both unexpected and positive, but it still remains to be seen whether Guillou, who opened “a can of worms” in 2011, can think of calling on Washington to drop the prosecution and thus join New York Times etcetera and some presidents who also recently demanded Assange’s release and “pardon”.
Guillou’s article “the little bastard without principles” was online in the years 2011-2021 according to the Web Archive. It’s 10 years. How much negative impact did the article have on the police, prosecutors, and citizens’ perception of Assange?
Julian Assange must be saved from untimely death, serious physical and mental irreparable harm, or 100 years in prison in the United States.
Guillou’s article needs to remain online for the time being. It represents the attitude of many bad politicians and system journalists in Sweden.
By Torbjorn Sassersson, editor and founder of NewsVoice