Don’t lie to your customers, Amazon. And don’t toady to the fascists. [updated]

“I realize there is a variety of sentiments about boycotts, with some people arguing that Amazon is merely the “victim” here, but that strikes me as quite unrealistic. … Amazon is quite a powerful corporation that did not need to capitulate to the likes of Joe Lieberman, and it would not have done so had it been the slightest bit inclined to resist.” — Glenn Greenwald

Well, it looks like my previous hopes that Amazon would respond appropriately and reverse or properly account for their actions were dashed.

Amazon.com’s Excuse: WikiLeaks ‘Harming People’
Spokesman Insists Ousting Site Was Ideologically Motivated, Not Cowardice

1) These are unbelievable claims by Amazon, as the link points out.
2) These statements are if anything, more troubling than just caving in, because they are toeing the line against WikiLeaks.

Well, shoot. Looks like we’re going to have to go through with this boycott after all. This will be enormously inconvenient, and it may take some time to remove all Amazon links from Promethea.org, which has been an Amazon affiliate for years. Not to mention, I have always favored the site for shopping, and always keep track of hundreds of books and other items on my wish lists. I have even been selling a Kindle download of one of my essays.

No more. Amazon needs to get the message that there are costs for kowtowing to the commissars who revile freedom of speech, and other hosts need to look at this boycott and think twice before following their servile example. Without hosts willing to circulate information that government officials don’t like, the internet will be worthless. We must at least expect that hosts will require legal papers before they respond to the wishes of officials.

Note that the legal precedent protecting Wikileaks’ free speech is strong (cf. the Pentagon Papers), which is probably why Joe Lieberman and the other fascists would rather place a “friendly call,” and hope this abuse of position imitates legal weight in order to coerce companies into achieving the same result without having to take a risk on the courts and due process.

UPDATE: A direct link to Amazon Web Services’ statement is available here. It contains outright lies about what WikiLeaks has been doing. In particular:

1) Amazon claims: “It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content.” FACT: The US government is prohibited from owning copyright. No one can control rights to those documents.

2) Amazon claims: “it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy.” FACT: WikiLeaks is gradually publishing the Cablegate files, and the small fraction they have published so far have been redacted. Also note that Amazon did not object to hosting WikiLeaks during past leaks of classified military information on the excuse of “putting innocent people in jeopardy,” so they clearly do not believe this nonsense themselves.

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3 responses to “Don’t lie to your customers, Amazon. And don’t toady to the fascists. [updated]

  1. Pingback: More backbone, less bullshit, Amazon. | Wisdom Dancer

  2. Pingback: Legal procedure and business ethics aren’t too much to expect from Amazon | Wisdom Dancer

  3. Pingback: A Libertarian Divide – Lessons from the Amazon boycott | Wisdom Dancer

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