About a fortnight ago I asked Amazon why they were stocking a book called The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure which appeared to endorse and encourage sex with children. Amazon issued the following response:
"Thank you for your inquiry. Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."
And yet, a matter of hours after defending their sale of the book with this clear statement of policy, Amazon pulled the title, apparently in response to a widespread outcry amongst customers and commentators, and it remains off the shelves. Amazon has not replied to questions as to what happened there.
Amazon's statement as to why it did so is so flagrantly disingenuous as to make no sense, and raises serious concerns about the general terms of service that Wikileaks allegedly breached.
If Wikileaks was kicked off Amazon because it didn't "own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content", who does? The documents Wikileaks holds were produced by US government officials working in that capacity, and not therefore protected by copyright. If Wikileaks was kicked off because of of a condition requiring content"will not cause injury to any person or entity", that's even more worrying. Wikileaks is not harming anyone - it is merely publishing facts that the US government alleges will lead to people coming to harm from unconnected third parties. It is by no means within Wikileaks' power (or by extension within the power of any of AWS's customers) power to uphold that provision if it is thus interpreted.
When a seemingly careful explanation makes no sense it is often because the explainer is lying. Hopefully the conversation between Liberman and Amazon will leak soon, and hopefully by then there will be somewhere for that leak to be published.