These moves are evidence of the situation your correspondent suggested in Crikey yesterday -- that the Assange case is proving to be the final process by which the second-wave feminist coalition formed in the late 1960s splits substantially, with feminists with differing attitude to Western state power finding themselves on different sides of the debate.
Indeed, it puts one in the unusual position of saying that commentators such as [Naomi] Wolf are being too anti-complainant in their construction of the charges as nothing other than a couple of bad dates. It's a strange world, and getting stranger.
In my own case it's not so much about 'differing attitudes to Western state power', and I'm not sure that's the main issue with other feminists either. Most feminists know that state power, Western or not, habitually militates against women and are therefore resistant to it on principle.
For me it's more that simple logic prevents one from doing the usual thing and taking warlike tribal sides for the mud-wrestling when there are so many different aspects to this case, so much nuance and so many different things at stake. But what does seem clear, as Rundle implies, is that this case is going to do untold damage to the rights of women with regard to sexual assault, if only by weakening and watering-down the views of those most likely, in other circumstances, to support those rights. Naomi Wolf, for example, in the article to which Rundle is referring, starts out funny and ends up, to me, downright offensive.
But whether or not the all-powerful state is opportunistically using the sexual assault charges against Assange is a completely different question from whether or not Assange's Wikileaks activities are a good thing. Which is again, in its turn, a completely different question from that of what the Australian government should be doing about his situation.
If there's anything good at all about this affair, it's that the thoughtful can use it as a way of sorting out what their own views really are on a number of questions: internet ethics, international diplomacy, sexual assault and state power.
UPDATE: It's occurred to me more than once since this all hit the fan how interesting it is to contemplate the whole Swedish aspect in the light of the Stieg Larssen books. Larssen himself was sufficiently an enemy of the state for there to have been real questions about the manner of his death; his novels reveal a startling view of corruption in high Swedish places; and the original Swedish title of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was Men Who Hate Women. Which is clearly what he, at least, thought the book was about.