In December 2010, Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore commented on Julian Assange in the Mail on Sunday:
‘Indeed it’s difficult to get a clear picture of the complaints by two women he had sex with in Sweden in August… The sex appears to have been consensual, though his refusal to use condoms was not. His behaviour looks bad rather than illegal but who really knows? The Swedish prosecutors themselves say they believe these women’s stories but don’t believe these are crimes.’
‘Who really knows?’ The answer, of course, was and is that, in the absence of a trial, nobody except the people directly involved knows what really happened.
If Moore was somewhat reasonable in 2010, her stance had changed by June 2012, when Assange sought political asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy – a time when, still, nobody really knew what had happened. She tweeted:
‘Seems like Assange’s supporters did not expect him to skip bail? Really? Who has this guy not let down?’
She added: ‘I bet Assange is stuffing himself full of flattened guinea pigs. He really is the most massive turd.’
As discussed in Part 1, the nub of this ‘mainstream’ scorn was the belief that Assange’s concerns about extradition were a cowardly excuse for fleeing possible sex crimes – fears of extradition were a nerdish, paranoid fantasy. Moore wrote in 2011:
‘The extradition hearing last week involved massive showboating on both sides. Assange supporters were gathered outside the…