Daniel Ellsberg Says Boycott Amazon

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

523 thoughts on “Daniel Ellsberg Says Boycott Amazon”

  1. “I’m disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility”

    Ditto that and feel the same way about the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ; The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, RCFP; The Society of Professional Journalists, SPJ; and the National Coalition against Censorship. Cowards all.

    Kudos to Reporters without Borders, Salon.com, Atlantic, Reason Mag., Guardian UK and so many other outspoken proponents of Free Speech and the First Amendment.

    To heck with these blasted Shield Law proponents, their true colors coming through now: groveling to Congress to sell out our Free Speech for privilege of becoming a small, cowardly, credentialed, journalistic oligarchy. Doing anything they can to distance themselves from this

  2. I will boycott Amazon and Paypal, and last year, all my holiday shopping was done through amazon, not this year.

    1. I just sent this to Amazon: You have behaved cowardly in blocking Wikileak's account facilities with you. I will not tolerate such unprofessional procedure and less so if, and I say even if, Mr. Lieberman & Co think they have a 'good reason' or more rights than any of their constituency or people. Shame on Amazon.
      CLOSE ACCOUNT!

      1. It appears that Daniel Ellsberg, Wikileaks, and all these mindless drones are incapable of READING! There is this thing called Terms of Service. Users agree to them when using the service. If they violate those terms, the get pulled. Its that simple. Boycotting because someone got pulled for violating a policy that was already in place and agreed to by the user, is just dumb.

  3. I am about to close my account now – shame, I liked Amazon but if we do not stand up for the just thing, who will?

  4. Amazon sells books on the "how to be a pedophile" and video games about raping women because it doesn't believe in censoring people. Why does public pressure make them realize things are right and wrong? How can't they realize what is worth supporting and what is not? Personally I think this company is very messed up in the message is sending. I wanted to buy a kindle for when I move overseas, but I will just as happily buy an e-book reader when I'm in Asia. I can't stand by a company that is so morally bankrupt.

  5. Personally i never had a negative or great positive feeling about Amazon..now i loath them and i know for a fact ill never do any business with them ever again!

  6. Your loss (: You can loose out on instant click buying if you please.
    myself ill stick to the easy online shopping king (:

  7. I half seriously stated to friends that next thing you know Bank of America will block me from sending money where i want to from my checking acount. Sure enough as of December 18th… that is the last friggin' straw. See ya B of A, Amazon and Paypal! Unfortunately, Visa still has me by the ovaries until I find a way to dump them too. I'll send money to Wikileaks through Xipwire from my Community Credit Union.

  8. Haven't bought from them in a while because I am boycotting EVERYTHING (Fortune 500 and made in China that is). So I will add this company to the list. I am so sick of the direction this country is going in. WikiLeaks helps to expose this. I am 49 and now permanently unemployed because of the Greedheads and the stranglehold in Washington. It's going to to take all out war on these companies hurt them.

  9. There is an amazon.co.uk advertisment at the bottom below the article and above the comments. how ironic. Im not Buying from amazon anyore. will use powells instead. Hope this can be felt the corparations decision makers

  10. We strongly affirm Ellsberg's statement. We were considering buying a Kindle, we now opted for the Nook. Richard Goldberg

  11. Wow, I can't believe how many idiots are on here. It appears that Daniel Ellsberg, Wikileaks, and all these mindless drones are incapable of READING! There is this thing called Terms of Service. Users agree to them when using the service. If they violate those terms, the get pulled. Its that simple. Boycotting because someone got pulled for violating a policy that was already in place and agreed to by the user, is just dumb.

  12. 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.

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  14. Having a company totally depending on AWS i applaud the decision to toss out Wikileaks. I like the liberty of speech, but I'm not willing to risk my business for Wikileaks (DoS attacks disrupting its service). So good bye Daniel. Best of luck with your future ventures. I'll stay firmly in the AWS sphere myself. David Lichtenstein

  15. Money is the answer, don't buy from them and this money will not flow up to the Drudge. Being in investment Banking(maybe a hypocrate but at least not a total sell-out) I have seen how these business people suck up to USA Debt Clock. Amazon, never again.

  16. Judging from the debates on this topic that I have seen, it seems the boycotters and non-boycotters are content to go their separate ways in peace. Nobody, for example, is suggesting that the boycotters be boycotted for their unfair "disruption of commerce"; that would be silly. And by the same token, I haven’t seen any boycotters threatening to disassociate from someone for crossing the picket line and ordering Christmas presents from Amazon.

    Yet it is this very attitude of tolerance that makes me reluctant to punish Amazon. I’m not going to stop doing business with somebody, just because he boycotts Amazon. Why then would I stop doing business with Amazon, just because they boycotted WikiLeaks?

    As I said in the beginning of this essay, these are not matters of property rights, but rather ones of strategy for gaining one’s ultimate objectives. I do not condone the current U.S. apparatus of worldwide military occupation and police state surveillance, and am going to use whatever peaceful methods I can, to persuade as many people as possible that there is another way to live.

    Along the way, I have made decisions, such as refusing to work for the government in any capacity, including as a professor at a State-funded school. That doesn’t mean I condemn people who teach at State schools as "sell-outs," it just means it was a decision I made for myself. On the other hand, I pay my taxes in accordance with the law, even though I know there are some extreme libertarians who would condemn me for "feeding the beast" and perpetuating the very system I claim to oppose.

    It’s very hard to live a principled life, and the rapacious State makes it that much harder. If someone wants skin care gift sets to boycott Amazon because it dropped SEO in Kent, I understand the motivation. I would just hope the boycotter has thought it through."

  17. Devo sottolineare, che in tutto il tempo che ho speso on-line, a seguito di siti di informazione, non ho letto uno come utile e ben fatto come questo, io non frequentemente commentare web log comunque per te io sentito il bisogno di fare un'eccezione, questo è certamente il lavoro veramente alto e completamente opposta a quella sciocchezze, che trascorrono gran parte del mio tempo on line, lettura. Grazie per aver dedicato del tempo e investire lo sforzo di presentare i vostri lettori con un rapporto di 1 ° classe. Non vedo l'ora di leggere molto di più del tuo lavoro, ancora applausi.

  18. Merci de prendre le temps de discuter de cela, je crois fermement à ce sujet et de l'amour en apprendre davantage sur ce sujet. Si possible, comme vous acquérir de l'expertise, auriez-vous l'esprit la mise à jour de votre blog avec plus d'informations? Il est extrêmement utile pour moi.

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