Thursday, December 9, 2010

Screw You, Amazon

I was ready to put the whole WikiLeaks controversy behind me on this blog.  Two back to back posts on essentially the same subject struck me as a bit excessive.  Even though other WikiLeaks news items cropped up, my responses were pretty well encapsulated in what I had already written here.  To keep at it would be to belabor my points, right?  Probably, but something has happened that I cannot let slide.

Not long after WikiLeaks and its affiliated newspapers began releasing the cable documents, it came under massive Internet attack and political pressure designed to shut down its website. In an effort to stay online and a step ahead of its enemies, WikiLeaks changed hosting services several times.  One of the hosting services that WikiLeaks moved to was Amazon.Com.  Almost a week ago, Amazon.Com dumped WikiLeaks off of it servers amid the rising storm of controversy and heavy handed government pressure being brought to bear on any companies associated with WikiLeaks.

Amazon claimed that WikiLeaks had violated the terms of service by publishing documents it did not author and did not own.  Amazon claimed this had nothing to do with pressure from the US State Department or Senator Joe Lieberman, both of which have been threatening anyone with ties to WikiLeaks to sever the relationship or else.  Senator Lieberman has been leading what can only be characterized as censorship campaign.

Into this whole mess has now come a piece of hypocrisy so ridiculous I would be laughing about it if I wasn't so incensed.  Amazon.UK is selling a Kindle version of some of the WikiLeaks cables that have been released.  That's right, the company that refused to host WikiLeaks on it servers is more than happy to make money off selling the materials they would have been hosting.  Behold a screen capture I took this morning:   [see edit below]

OK.  To be fair, it was Amazon.Com that dumped WikiLeaks off its servers and Amazon.UK that is selling the WikiLeaks cables.  They are technically different companies, but they are linked together with marching orders coming from California often enough to blur the lines between them except in the most pedantic of legal ways.  That little disclaimer out of the way...

Screw you, Amazon, you hypocritical bastards.

[edit -- Apparently either Amazon.UK or the merchant has altered the text for this product.  If you can get through the heavy Internet traffic to the product page, it now says that this book does not contain the actual cables, only commentary on them.  I figured this would get changed or disappear which is why I took a screen capture of it, in which we can clearly see it claimed that the cables are in this e-book.  It is hard to erase your mistakes from the Internet.]

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