'This is an awful piece and indicates the disorientation of those from left/liberal backgrounds who have joined in the attacks on Assange. Pilger wrote a perceptive, principled and serious piece, which deserves a much more thoughtful and honest response.
It is absolutely reasonable to criticise those feminists who have got this so wrong. That isn’t an attack on feminism. Left-wingers like Pilger and Michael Moore have quite correctly located this issue in its proper context, i.e. the attacks on Wikileaks and freedom of information by a number of Western states (most significantly the US) with a vested interest in hiding the crimes of the ‘war on terror’.
None of us know what Assange did or didn’t do in Sweden. But not only is someone innocent until proven guilty after they have been charged, it’s worth recalling that Assange hasn’t been charged and there is no evidence in the public domain to support the allegations.
Everyone who regards themselves as remotely liberal, left-wing or progressive should unequivoically defend Wikileaks from attacks on the site’s ability to function freely, and oppose the violation of Assange’s human rights. They should also avoid smearing either Assange himself or those like Pilger who oppose the appalling treatment of him.
It’s got nothing to do with assuming the worst of those who allege rape or with treating rape lightly. It has nothing to do with ‘standing shoulder to shoulder with misogynists and conspiracy theorists’. Such silly and personalised abuse – a poor substitute for reasoned argument and engagement with the facts – is unacceptable.
I’m not aware of anyone on the left or in the anti-war movement vilifying the complainants or reinforcing sexist assumptions. Pilger certainly doesn’t do it in his article. The various signatories to a recent letter to the Guardian opposing the attacks on Wikileaks don’t do it. There may be misogynistic idiots on the internet doing it, but it is dishonest to tarnish the reputations of others by falsely associating them with such nonsense.'