Saturday, December 04, 2010

Boycott Amazon

I've been wanting to write about WikiLeaks but haven't been able to get ahold of their latest leak dump and so while I've heard that Guam appears in the documents 40 times I haven't been able to see it for myself and analyze it. Everytime I've tried to download them they've been taken offline.

In the meantime, I came across this on the website Antiwar.com. It is a letter from famous whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who has weighed in on the issue, noting on Democracy Now! that he is jealous of how scanners and other technology makes it so easy nowadays for whistleblowers to collect mountains of evidence. The Pentagon Papers which Ellsberg made public were 7,000 pages and he said it took hours of slowly photocopying them.

Part of the current saga is Amazon.com shutting down WikiLeaks from their US servers. Ellsberg wrote the letter below to them, chastising them for their cowardice and asking others to boycott them.

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Open letter to Amazon.com Customer Service:

December 2, 2010

I’m disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility in abruptly terminating today its hosting of the Wikileaks website, in the face of threats from Senator Joe Lieberman and other Congressional right-wingers. I want no further association with any company that encourages legislative and executive officials to aspire to China’s control of information and deterrence of whistle-blowing.



For the last several years, I’ve been spending over $100 a month on new and used books from Amazon. That’s over. I ask Amazon to terminate immediately my membership in Amazon Prime and my Amazon credit card and account, to delete my contact and credit information from their files and to send me no more notices.



I understand that many other regular customers feel as I do and are responding the same way. Good: the broader and more immediate the boycott, the better. I hope that these others encourage their contact lists to do likewise and to let Amazon know exactly why they’re shifting their business. I’ve asked friends today to suggest alternatives, and I’ll be exploring service from Powell’s Books, Half-Price Books, Biblio and others.



So far Amazon has spared itself the further embarrassment of trying to explain its action openly. This would be a good time for Amazon insiders who know and perhaps can document the political pressures that were brought to bear–and the details of the hasty kowtowing by their bosses–to leak that information. They can send it to Wikileaks (now on servers outside the US), to mainstream journalists or bloggers, or perhaps to sites like antiwar.com that have now appropriately ended their book-purchasing association with Amazon.



Yours (no longer),

Daniel Ellsberg

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