Sunday, December 5, 2010

Open Letter to

--- Daniel Ellsberg

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 have contacted Customer Service to 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. I’ve removed all links to Amazon from my site, and I’ll be exploring service from Powell’s Books, IndieBound, 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 a site like, which has now appropriately ended its book-purchasing association with Amazon and called a boycott.

If you’d like to read further analysis of your cowardice, I suggest you see this excellent article by Glenn Greenwald.

Yours (no longer),

Daniel Ellsberg


Anonymous said...

Amazon was never the only bookstore online - it just had the best advertising team.

Aussie Blue Sky said...

I'm so chuffed that I have something like this in common with Daniel Ellsberg. :)
Used books, used textbooks, rare and out-of-print books
I've been a happy Alibris customer since 2006.

Philip Munger said...

I just e-mailed Amazon to discontinue any emails to me. Sorry it took me four days to come around to it.

Anonymous said...

but you would have continued to shop at Amazon after their defending how-to books for sexual child abuse? gads this is so telling!

Anonymous said...

Why do you support espionage, Phil? I am so not with you on this one. Amazon did the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Amazon lost me when they peddled "how to" book on pedophilia.

I have less issues with their taking Wikileaks off their site than their hosting of shady and problematic book.

It took this expose from Anderson Cooper, and a lot of public pressure to get the book off their site. Then again, they have other such book.

take a look closely at what Jeff Bezos said and the kinds of books they promote, even knowing what the books are about.

It took Facebook page and all kinds of backlash to get that book off their site, but still there are more.

Disgusting, and morally bankrupt. They lost my trust.

And, I am a left-leaning voter.

Anonymous said...

WikiLeaks donations blocked

Anonymous said...

Kerry on WL

clark said...

powell's is a good substitute for amazon.

nancydrew said...

Phil--I think you're wrong (or at least jumping the gun) on this one. I offer for your consideration:

David Seaton is a very thoughtful blogger, an American based in Spain, whose posts I only read when I don't mind lying awake at night from about 3 to 4:30.

Anonymous said...

Shut Wikileaks down NOW.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

Phil isn't worried about perverts, he lives in some sort of odd little world like a creepy character out of "The Lord of the Rings" rubbing his hands together and bitching about one of the Palins.

Anonymous said...

Your effing government would shoot your ass in a minute. American people are so damned brainswashed. A government without whistleblowers, without checks and balances, without TRANSPARENCY. For all you ignorant masses sitting behind your faceless computer screens trying to appear that you KNOW something: go live in the real world of YOUR elected government. You wouldn't last a minute with your infantile ideas and beliefs. A government that has to cover up so much of its affairs is NOT "of the people, by the people and for the people". Or is it true that you are all just lazy jerks that want your government to do "whatever" and you lay on your asses and piss off your so called constitutional freedoms? Yeah I think that's it. If someone (many) call for the murder of another individual because that individual EXPOSES TRUTHS, then those screechers have A LOT TO HIDE. Dumb asses. BTW: The palin's NEED TO BE BITCHED ABOUT. Idiot. Americans: some of the stupidest people on the planet.