Since the news emerged at the weekend about the allegations being made against Julian Assange, there has been a general sense of shock and disbelief.
The correct approach, of course, is to allow due process to take its course; for Mr Assange to have the benefit of the presumption of innocence; for the complainants in turn to be accorded respect as anyone complaining of a rape or molestation should be accorded respect; and for the rest of us not to jump to assumptions about the culpability or credibility of anyone involved.
However, since the news emerged, there appears to me that there is a couple of worrying aspects as to the reaction of some supporters of WikiLeaks.
First, and without any evidence whatsoever, there has been repeated claims of US government involvement.
The reason this conspiracy theory is concerning is that those who support WikiLeaks often claim that its role is to place documentation into the public domain for other people to consider and form their own conclusions.
Thereby, in the circumstances, it is at least odd for some supporters of WikiLeaks to assert as truth a theory which has (as yet) no evidential basis at all.
It makes one wonder what credibility such supporters have when they tell us what certain leaked documents mean, for these supporters seem complete strangers to any evidence-based approach themselves.
Indeed, some WikiLeaks supporters seem nothing more than knee-jerk conspiracy theorists.
Second, a minority of WikiLeaks supporters seem to find it appropriate that they should now smear and dig dirt on the complainants.
The assumption is that the complainants "must be" lying and have improper motives.
However, this is (in my view) a deeply sexist and unacceptable assumption.
And it is ironic that the only smears which can actually be documented so far are not of the US government smearing Mr Assange, but of some WikiLeaks supporters smearing the complainants.
WikiLeaks is a good thing. Whatever the outcome of the current investigation, any sensible person hopes that WikiLeaks thrives.
The complaints are being investigated; they may be dropped; or there may be charges.
It is too early for anyone to tell.
But if the enemies of WikiLeaks had actually wished to bring discredit on it with some smearing conspiracy, then they would not have brought WikiLeaks as much discredit as some of its supporters have managed by themselves in the last few days.
Are the conspiracy theories and the misogynist rubbishing of complainants really necessary?
Do some of its supporters really have to behave as if WikiLeaks is just a cult?
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