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Ellsberg Calls for Boycott of Amazon
Editor’s Note: After Amazon caved in to Sen. Joseph Lieberman and canceled its agreement to lease space on its server to WikiLeaks, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg thought that the appropriate response to this acquiescence to government pressure for censorship should be a public boycott of the online retailer.
Ellsberg sent a letter of complaint to Amazon and an appeal to others who object to this act of corporate cowardice. The appeal and the letter are printed below:
I hope you will join me and others in boycotting Amazon -- inconvenient as that may be -- to provide some counter-pressure to efforts by Senator Lieberman and the Administration to demonize, hound, block and prosecute Wikileaks, and ultimately to control whistleblowing and dissent on the Internet.
Note: After sending this letter to Amazon.com and to the websites below, I looked on Google News and found that antiwar.com had already launched a boycott effort, citing reasons that I share: Moreover, I hadn't yet read this terrific column by Glenn Greenwald, (I read Greenwald every day, but I'm in the grip of a bad cold at the moment.)
If you need more background, check out antiwar.com and Google News on Wikileaks, Assange, Amazon, etc.
I don't take it for granted that all my friends will agree with me about Wikileaks or Amazon. For those who do, this looks like a useful action.
Note to editors: I hope that any sites that now encourage their readers to make purchases through amazon.com will consider ending this arrangement as antiwar.com has done -- publicizing the reason for it to your readers -- even though I know that it means a loss of much-needed income for your operations.
Let's not leave it to Joe Lieberman to call on a boycott! It's not only Wikileaks that is now under threat, and not only from Congress or Republicans.
Open letter to Amazon.com Customer Service:
Dec. 2, 2010
I’m disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility in abruptly terminating 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),
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