After massive requests from Wikileaks supporters on Twitter, the Library of Congress removed on July 19th Wikileaks from the list of extremist websites.
What happened on July 19th is a 21st century version of David against Goliath: an obstinate bunch of Wikileaks supporters gathered on Twitter to force the powerful and respected Library of Congress to withdraw the “extremist website” label so far used to define Wikileaks.
While all should keep in mind this victory that gives Wikileaks supporters hope for upcoming fights against powerful and seemingly unshakeable institutions it is also interesting to notice how revealing that situation is. Today, countries and institutions find themselves stuck in a double bond ambiguity between their desire to condemn such a disturbing organization and the wide popular support now impossible to be ignored. On the one hand Sarah Palin claims Julian Assange should be hunted like a Taliban, on the other hand according to an international poll Ipsos released in April 2011 74% of the participants claimed that they strongly support the type of website Wikileaks is.
Because such a gap between the people’s opinion and the institutions and governments’ positions is worrying it has to stand as a warning for the people from all over the world to remind the governments that in a democracy men and women are elected to represent the people’s voices not to impose theirs.
Yesterday, an apologetic spokesperson from the Library of Congress attempted to explain that the library was in no way responsible for this unfortunate categorization, as it had simply been copied from the National Library of Australia’s catalogue. Interestingly enough David Leigh and Luke Harding anti Julian Assange book “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” was not classified as discussing an extremist website.
As a matter of fact this event is far from being the first attack the library has conducted against the media organization. Back in December 2010 the institution explained in a official blog post that:
“The Library decided to block Wikileaks because applicable law obligates federal agencies to protect classified information. Unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.”