Showing posts with label ichaview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ichaview. Show all posts

Monday, June 10, 2013

To the delight of White House detractors everywhere, a soon-to-be-viral single-topic Tumblr was launched on Saturday mocking President Barack Obama's involvement in the National Security Agency's controversial spying program.
The photo-driven blog,, showcases out-of-context press images of an often gleeful President Obama—taken from Flickr, the web and elsewhere—looking at various computer screens and "checking your email."
On Friday, Obama defended the NSA program on grounds that Americans must tolerate what he dismissed as "modest encroachments on privacy" in the name of security.
Obama assured citizens that "nobody is listening to your phone calls" in the broad NSA phone sweep, and that the reported Internet-based surveillance "does not apply to U.S. citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United States."
"You can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience," the president added. "We're going to have to make some choices as a society."
In an interview published Sunday, Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old defense contractor employee who blew the whistle on the NSA program, told the Guardian newspaper that "the NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
"I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things," he continued. "I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under."

This abuse of the Patriot Act must end | Jim Sensenbrenner

This abuse of the Patriot Act must end | Jim Sensenbrenner

Monday, April 22, 2013

Me at Ta Prohm temple, Angkor, Cambodia 21 April 2013

I am still in Siem skin is so tanned now because I explore all nice places in Siem Reap including  Angkor World Heritage. One of the most famous temple in Angkor is Ta Prohm where Angelina Jolie played as Lara Coft in the movie Tomb Rider.

Angkor became more famous when the blockbuster Lara Croft: Tomb Raider were filmed there. One of the temples Ta Prohm is known even to those who have never traveled to Cambodia before: this is where the most impressive scenes were created. 

Cambodia, exotic state in Southeast Asia, dates back to 612 AD. Its most famous monument is the temple complex of Angkor Wat, but it's not the only thing to see here. Among other Cambodia landmarks are unspoilt beaches, unique nature, museums, and churches.

The ancient city of Angkor used to be a capital of the ancient Khmer Empire and one of the largest cities in the world. This huge complex of buildings, covering about 600 square kilometers, was known far beyond the Khmer Empire until it was destroyed by Siamese troops in 1431.
Till the end of the XIXth century, more than 100 palaces and temples were concealed under the shadow of lush tropical forest, when a French naturalist Henri Mouhot rediscovered it for humanity. In year 1992 the whole territory of Angkor was taken under the protection of UNESCO.
Angkor became more famous when the blockbuster Lara Croft: Tomb Raider were filmed there. One of the temples Ta Prohm is known even to those who have never traveled to Cambodia before: this is where the most impressive scenes were created.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Alexis Ohanian Reddit

"I was always a weird kid. My dad can certainly attest to that," Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, told "Off The Cuff." "He's still waiting for me to outgrow a lot of that, but it's not happening. I'll be thirty in a few months. Nothing's changed."
In addition to Reddit, Ohanian founded a social enterprise website, Breadpig, and helped launchHipmunk, a travel-search website. He founded an investment firm, Das Kapital Capital. He's invested in more than 60 other tech startups. He's a multi-millionaire—and yes, he's only 29 years old. If that makes him weird, we'll have what he's having.
Ohanian had intended to become an immigration lawyer. In his junior year of college, after suffering through an LSAT preparation test, he and a friend went to a Waffle House to commiserate. Those must have been some waffles, because Ohanian had a life-changing epiphany there: He wouldn't be a lawyer, he would be a "startup guy."
In 2005, he founded Reddit with Steve Huffman, his college roommate. Reddit is a social news website where content submitted by users ('redditors') is voted on by the community. The stories that receive the most votes rise to the top and front pages of the site.
Three months after founding Reddit, Ohanian's mother was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. "Her first words to me were, 'I'm sorry, I know how much this is going to affect you. I know how important it is right now for you to start your company.' I am looking at her unable to comprehend how this woman, who had already given me so much, was now apologizing for having terminal brain cancer," Ohanian recalled.
RELATED: High School Dropout to Tech Titan
"I would obviously trade anything for that not to have happened," he continued. "But it made me want to make sure that this was not going to fail…that this was going to have to succeed, if for no other reason than to justify the sacrifices that they had made in supporting me. I still don't feel like I have lived up to everything she did for me, and the woman that she was."
Reddit has succeeded. Ohanian says the number of users has grown steadily since its launch. In February 2013, the site received more than 55 million unique visitors, which makes it one of the most popular social-networking sites in the world. But Reddit is not without its critics. The site iscontroversial, and most of its content is unregulated.
"This is a communication platform for people to share links and have discussions," Ohanian said, "so long as it is legal, we will let people use it for that. If you create an open communication platform, it means someone now has a platform to say the things that he or she may not have been able to say before. And that can be a great thing. The curse side of it is sometimes those ideas are extremely offensive. I can live with that paradox. But I want to know that we're making sure we're enabling more people to say the stuff that they want to say, behind a keyboard. As well as combating the jerks who use that same platform for their a---holish behavior."
Ohanian doesn't believe that all digital content should be free, but he's been an outspoken proponent of the open Internet. In 2011, one of Ohanian's co-developers at Reddit, Aaron Swartz, an Internet folk hero who had helped create the RSS web feed format, was indicted on federal charges of gaining illegal access to JSTOR, a subscription-only digital archive of academic journals. He faced 13 felony charges, a possible prison sentence of up to 35 years, and up to $1 million in fines. Swartz committed suicide in January 2013.
"The people who owned this content said: 'We're not going to charge him.' That was very telling," Ohanian said, of the case against Swartz. "A significant amount of this research was publicly funded. Our tax dollars paid for it. So it calls into question, do we the people own the research that our tax dollars produce? Should it just be locked up for people who can afford the expensive licenses? It's a weird kind of sponsored monopoly of data. There are certainly instances of national security where one could make a pretty compelling argument that there is a more of a need-to-know basis. But those are few and far between. There's also the question of—do the penalties for this infringement really match up to the crime?"
Ohanian said he hopes Swartz' death will not be in vain. In February 2013, the Obama administration directed federal agencies to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research "freely available to the public."
Ohanian left Reddit in 2009 and now sits on its advisory board. The website's front page has remained stubbornly retro. "It's been like this for years because we didn't have a ton of developers,we didn't have the resources to really change it. We didn't have a good way to on-board new users," he said. "Reddit has now grown into this massive network.  Yet the user experience is set from 2005." He says he believes Reddit will change, however. "A new user's experience should look more like, say, Twitter. That is the kind of user experience that I hope the site can have, moving forward - where every user's front page is different because they are subscribed to the sub-reddits they like."
RELATED: Huffington: Failure Can Lead to Success
Ohanian is writing a book, "Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will be Made, Not Managed," which will be published in October 2013. He describes it as, in part, a blueprint for other aspiring start-up entrepreneurs. The key, he said, is to consider "what is the problem you're trying to solve? What is the simplest version of a solution that you can create and get out to the world and start getting feedback on? The great news is, with developing on the Internet, the cost of creating it is virtually zero. It's pretty much just your time, assuming you've got a roof over your head, Internet connection, and some Ramen, you can be creating."
"Without Their Permission" is also a clarion call for the democratic future of the Internet. "Until we have access for everyone, we still can't see the Internet live up to its full potential," Ohanian said. "Because I want there to be more books going forward that aren't written by people who look like me, who are straight, white guys. If we can get people access and the tools they need, we can get better ideas. And with those better ideas, we're going to get better businesses and better nonprofits, better art. We're going to get better politicians, even."

Thursday, February 07, 2013

No drama King Obama by Edward L Fox

Illustration by Richard Wilkinson
In Javanese culure, a ruler must stand chivalrously above strife: cool, intelligent and self-contained. Sound familiar?

 Like a lot of people in the autumn of 2012, I watched the TV debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It was the last big performance in that interminable presidential election campaign in the United States. Every now and then, as Obama did verbal battle with his adversary, I noticed something I didn't expect to see. It was a gesture he made with his hand: for emphasis, he would point at Romney with his thumb. I wasn't the only one to have seen this. In a short piece on the BBC website, a reporter wrote:
Featured in the three presidential debates were Romney, Obama, and Obama's thumb. At the debates, the president frequently jabbed his hand, with his thumb resting atop a loosely curled fist, to emphasise a point. The gesture — which might appear unnatural in normal communication — was probably coached into Obama to make him appear more forceful … And pointing the index finger is simply seen as rude and too aggressive.

But I'd seen this gesture before, and Obama hadn't learnt it from a debating coach. Whether consciously or not, he was revealing his boyhood in the Indonesian island of Java, where it is considered impolite to point with your index finger. Seeing Obama point with his thumb in the debates confirmed something I had suspected for some time. Whatever else he might be, Obama is America's first Javanese president.

Some time ago, I devoted a significant period of time and study to the traditions of Javanese kingship. I was writing a book called Obscure Kingdoms (1993) about traditions of kingship in non-Western societies, and I spent a period of time in Indonesia. One of the book's chapters was about kingship in Java and, in the course of my research, I had become well-acquainted with a certain Javanese mannerism. I was struck to see that mannerism once again, uncannily echoed by Obama during the televised US presidential debates.

Unlike most political analysts, I see the imprint of Java in Obama far more than the imprint of Hawaii (where he was born and later went to high school); more than the imprint of Chicago (where he began his political career), and certainly more than Kenya (a highly popular notion that is particularly far-fetched). Indeed, it was in Java that Obama spent his childhood, had his primary education, and where his mother made her career. It was the country where his stepfather and his half-sister were born, and which he visited several times in his early adulthood. Obama still speaks some Indonesian.

Considerable time and energy has been spent speculating and theorising about Obama's Kenyan background. There is a ridiculous book called The Roots of Obama's Rage (2011) by Dinesh D'Souza. It's a piece of popular controversialism which suggests that the key to understanding Obama — as a man and as a president — lies in his Kenyan background. Obama's father, whom he barely knew, was a government economist in the early days of Kenyan independence. D'Souza argues that Obama inherited his father's Kenyan anti-colonial mindset, and that this is what motivates Obama politically and informs how he sees the world.

Traditionally, the Javanese ruler triumphs over his adversary without even appearing to exert himself

Naturally, the idea caught on in the loony blogosphere, and as a result there are now millions of people in America who hold the view that Obama's political approach is somehow 'Kenyan', and that by the end of Obama's term of office the US will be governed according to a pernicious form of Kenyan socialism. Absurd, certainly, but then again there are also Americans who believe in black helicopters and alien abduction.

It's true that Obama has written comparatively little about his time in Java in either of his books. His first autobiographical book, Dreams from My Father (1995), is principally about his search for Barack Obama Snr's Kenyan roots. In fact, he only went to Kenya to research this book. The search for his African roots was important to him in his journey of self-discovery and self-invention, a process that was completed in his adoption of African-American cultural and social identity, and his choice of the black neighbourhoods of Chicago as the place where he began his political career. Part of the process of forging his own identity and his own path in life involved distinguishing himself from the world view of his mother, Ann Dunham, which was based on her international development work in Java. Most telling of all perhaps, when it comes to Obama's own downplaying of his time in Java, was a comment in his second book,The Audacity of Hope (2006), in which he wrote: 'Most Americans can't locate Indonesia on a map.'

While Dreams from My Father was about the father who returned to Kenya when Barack was a baby, undoubtedly the strongest influence on Obama throughout his childhood was his mother. A truly extraordinary person, Dunham was an anthropologist who devoted her life to the study of small-scale industry in rural Java, while also working as a development economist and raising two children. When Barack was six, he and his mother moved from Hawaii, where he was born, to Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, where he spent the formative years of his childhood. It was in Java where Obama learnt and adopted the cool, calm, unflappable personal and presidential style that has earned him the nickname 'No Drama Obama'. It's a genuinely Javan ideal.

nyone who has visited the island of Java will know what great value the Javanese people place on maintaining a serene demeanour, harmonious social relations, and not appearing visibly angry. Acutely aware of local norms of behaviour, Dunham made a point of ensuring that her son adopted Javanese manners. In his memoir, Obama recalls how his mother 'always encouraged my rapid acculturation in Indonesia. It made me relatively self-sufficient, undemanding on a tight budget, and extremely well-mannered when compared with other American children. She taught me to disdain the blend of ignorance and arrogance that too often characterised Americans abroad.'

But this formative period entailed more than a process of pragmatic acculturation. In Janny Scott's biography of Obama's mother, A Singular Woman, one of her interviewees maintains: 'This is where Barack learnt to be cool … if you get mad and react, you lose. If you learn to laugh and take it without any reaction, you win.' What the young Barack had to take was being taunted by Indonesian children — his classmates and the children he played with in his Jakarta neighbourhood — for his dark skin colour. At first he was often thought of as an Indonesian from one of the outer (racially Melanesian) islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Yet of this period in Jakarta, Obama's biographer David Maraniss wrote that the young Barack 'had become so fluent in the manners and language of his new home that his friends mistook him for one of them'.

The Javanese have a word for this kind of bearing. They call it halus. The nearest literal equivalent in English might be 'chivalrous', which means not just finely mannered, but implies a complete code of noble behaviour and conduct. The American anthropologist Clifford Geertz, who wrote some of the most important studies of Javanese culture in English, defined halus in The Religion of Java (1976) as:
Formality of bearing, restraint of expression, and bodily self-discipline … spontaneity or naturalness of gesture or speech is fitting only for those 'not yet Javanese' — ie, the mad, the simple-minded, and children.

Even now, four decades after leaving Java, Obama exemplifies halusbehaviour par excellence.

Halus is also the key characteristic of Javanese kingship, a tradition still followed by rulers of the modern state of Indonesia. During my period of study in Indonesia, I discovered that halus is the fundamental outward sign or proof of a ruler's legitimacy. The tradition is described in ancient Javanese literature and in studies by modern anthropologists. The spirit of the halus ruler must burn with a constant flame, that is without (any outward) turbulence. In his classic essay, 'The Idea of Power in Javanese Culture' (1990), the Indonesian scholar Benedict Anderson describes the ruler's halus as:
The quality of not being disturbed, spotted, uneven, or discoloured. Smoothness of spirit means self-control, smoothness of appearance means beauty and elegance, smoothness of behaviour means politeness and sensitivity. Conversely, the antithetical quality of being kasar means lack of control, irregularity, imbalance, disharmony, ugliness, coarseness, and impurity.

One can see the clear distinction between Obama's ostensibly aloof style of political negotiation in contrast to the aggressive, backslapping, physically overbearing political style of a president such as Lyndon Johnson.

Traditionally, the Javanese ruler triumphs over his adversary without even appearing to exert himself. His adversary must have been defeated already, as a consequence of the ruler's total command over natural and human forces. This is a common theme in traditional Javanese drama, where the halus hero effortlessly triumphs over hiskasar (literally, unrefined or uncivilised) enemy. 'In the traditional battle scenes,' Anderson notes:
The contrast between the two becomes strikingly apparent in the slow, smooth, impassive and elegant movements of thesatria [hero], who scarcely stirs from his place, and the acrobatic leaps, somersaults, shrieks, taunts, lunges, and rapid sallies of his demonic opponent. The clash is especially well-symbolised at the moment when the satria [hero] stands perfectly still, eyes downcast, apparently defenceless, while his demonic adversary repeatedly strikes at him with dagger, club, or sword — but to no avail. The concentrated power of thesatria [hero] makes him invulnerable.

Even to seem to exert himself is vulgar, yet he wins. This style of confrontation echoes that first famous live TV debate in the election of 2012 between Obama and Romney, in which Obama seemed passive, with eyes downcast, apparently defenceless (some alleged 'broken') in the face of his enemy, only to triumph in later debates and in the election itself.

Like a Javanese king, Obama has never taken on a political fight that he has not, arguably, already won

But such a disposition is not just external posturing. Halus in a Javanese ruler is the outward sign of a visible inner harmony which gathers and concentrates power in him personally. In the West, we might call this charisma. Crucially, in the Javanese idea of kingship, the ruler does not conquer opposing political forces, but absorbs them all under himself. In the words of Anderson again, the Javanese ruler has 'the ability to contain opposites and to absorb his adversaries'. The goal is a unity of power that spreads throughout the kingdom. To allow a multiplicity of contending forces in the kingdom is a sign of weakness. Power is achieved through spiritual discipline — yoga-like and ascetic practices. The ruler seeks nothing for himself; if he acquires wealth, it is a by-product of power. To actively seek wealth is a spiritual weakness, as is selfishness or any other personal motive other than the good of the kingdom.

That's the theory, though highly simplified. The modern Republic of Indonesia is in many ways the direct successor and continuation of the ancient Javanese kingdom. Java remains the political centre of an empire of islands. The first president of Indonesia, Sukarno, was inaugurated in 1945 in Yogyakarta, the Javanese city that remains the capital of the Javanese kingdom, in the very spot in the royal palace where the Sultans of Yogyakarta were crowned. Yogyakarta was briefly the capital of the Republic of Indonesia, and the Sultan of Yogyakarta was its first vice president. Sukarno began his term as president with a policy that combined communism, Islam and nationalism, a weird combination in Western terms, but one that makes sense in Javanese terms: in claiming ownership of these political forces, Sukarno was seeking to subjugate them and harmonise them under his own kinglike authority.

I can't help but feel the parallels with Obama are striking. He dismayed many liberals in the first term of his presidency, by persisting in a political approach that sought to absorb the Republican Party — his political opponents — into his policy-making, just as Sukarno sought, at first, to absorb all political forces in Indonesia, and as the Javanese king absorbed all natural and human forces. Four years later, of course, with political dramas such as the fiscal cliff behind him, one can see an Obama that has adjusted to American political conditions; he is now playing American, not Javanese politics. But then again, like a Javanese king, Obama has never taken on a political fight that he has not, arguably, already won.

here is, however, another reason why I persist in looking at Obama in the context of traditional Javanese kingship. After Barack left Indonesia to attend high school in Hawaii, his mother Ann Dunham moved from Jakarta to the very cradle of Javanese civilisation, the compound of the palace (Kraton) of the Sultan of Yogyakarta, in central Java. The Kraton is the past and present home of Javanese kings; in recognition of the role of Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII in the struggle for independence from Dutch colonial rule, the area around Yogyakarta was given special political status inside Indonesia, and the sultans retain political status within the Indonesian republic. Not only does the sultanate of Yogyakarta represent the theoretical and cultural model of government and political power in the modern state of Indonesia, the Kraton is the home of traditional Javanese culture. The Kraton's walled compound — essentially, a densely populated urban village — is traditionally the residence of members of the royal family and of palace servants and officials. Foreigners are forbidden from living here, but Dunham secured the unusual privilege of being allowed to live there because her mother-in-law, Eyang Putri, the mother of her second husband, Lolo Soetoro, was believed to be a distant relative of the royal family and lived in the compound. Although the old lady was in very good health, Obama's mother was allowed to move into her house in the palace compound for the nominal purpose of looking after her.

Let your opponent yell and scream, and listen politely

Now it might or might not be true that Dunham's mother-in-law — Obama's step-grandmother — was a blood relative of the Sultan. Maraniss, Obama's biographer, found no evidence either way. But Obama's stepfather believed it, as did Obama's mother, and so did their daughter, Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng. This belief or family myth is by itself significant. It places the family firmly within the system of Javanese kingship. Growing up, in Java or back in Hawaii, Obama would have known about this connection and its meaning.

After leaving Java for his education, Obama visited his mother regularly over the years. The palace compound (bekel, in Javanese) is a beautiful place. While I was researching my book on non-Western traditions of kingship, I would walk around it in the evenings, glimpsing the interiors of the houses, with their green and pink glowing aquariums, and blue and grey glowing televisions. Stars could be seen through the palm-tree branches, the air was filled with birdsong. I looked back at my own book and found the following reflection of the place: 'Tourists are forbidden from staying here, but a few academic researchers had managed it, and I envied them.' I didn't know then about Dunham.

As Obama entered adulthood, he sought to create a new identity for himself that was based on an American and, within that, a black American identity. He distanced himself from what he saw as his mother's 'internationalist idealism'. But the influence of Javanese ways remained, unconsciously perhaps, a crucial part of him. When he was a community organiser in Chicago, working with black churches and local institutions, people noticed his unusual tendency to prefer harmony to confrontation, to bringing all forces together under his quiet leadership. Maraniss quotes an informant who was present at a meeting of church leaders when one of the leaders attacked Obama as a 'do-gooding outsider':
To Barack's credit, he didn't get up from the back of the room and come to defend himself. He left it there and let the guy say what he needed to say …. Barack absorbed it. But then, as soon as it was over, he waited until the guy left, and said, 'Now, what just happened? Let's make sure we understand what just went on so we can go from here.' Civility, being respectful, was always very important to him.

He would use this same technique again and again in later political conflicts: let your opponent yell and scream, listen politely, and then, when your adversary has exhausted himself, somehow end up winning. Indeed, that is halus through and through.

Published on 4 February 2013

Friday, October 12, 2012

I am looking for a novel and a movie titled Red Sorghum by Mo Yan... #Nobel2012

Here from wiki:
Red Sorghum  pinyin: Hóng Gāoliáng is a 1987 Chinese film about a young woman's life working on a distillery for sorghum liquor. It is based on a novel by Mo Yan.
The film marked the directorial debut of internationally acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou, and the acting debut of film star Gong Li. With its lush and lusty portrayal of peasant life, it immediately vaulted Zhang to the forefront of the Fifth Generation directors.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Travelling to five countries in one month (Part 5)

Some pics of my recent trips in Davao-Manila-Kota Kinabalu-Yangon-Bangkok-Ayutthaya-Chiang Mai-Kuala Lumpur (15 August 2012 - 20 September 2012). I think I have spent so much money for the trip but it is ok...We can't buy happiness, can we?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bangkok-Chiang Mai trip Sept 2012 : 20000 bath i never forget

In my last day Bangkok trip 3 days ago, i run out cash, so i went again for the third time to CIMB Thai. I was going to take only 2000 bath and ended up with 20.000 bath instead. I was in rush so i did a mistake by withdrawing too much money coz before i had spent 6000 bath . Now i have 19000 bath left which i have to exchange to idr. I hope the rate is not bad, at least equal to what i got from the cimb thai. It is 322 for 1 bath

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Monsopiad's House of Skulls, Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

In this pic I am in the Monsopiad's house of the skulls. I visited this place on 22 August 2012. Entrance fee to this village is RM 65 ($US 20) which a little pricey but it is worth paying because you learn more about Sabah culture. For your information, there are 42 human skulls in the house. They are the Monsopiad collection. He lived300 years ago and is considered as a Kadazan hero because he killed 42 criminals to make the village safe. Btw, the skulls displayed above me are original and they are kept in the house as part of the history of Kadazan-Dusun people. The people are the second largest indigenous tribe in Kota Kinabalu.  I noticed that their culture is similar with Dayak people in Eastern Kalimantan, Indonesia. For example, most Kadazan guys have tattoo as part of their culture.

Kadazan-Dusun, Monsopiad Village

The Kadazans and me in Monsopiad Cultural Village, Penampang, Malaysia. I visited this place on 22 August 2012. To enter this place you need to pay RM 65 (USD 20). You can trace the Sabah indigenous tribe here including to see the 42 skulls that are kept in the house of Monsopiad family. The house is opposite of the cultural village. it is really a worth trip.

Segama Waterfront, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

I  had been in Kota Kinabalu for 5 day-trip and visited some places including the waterfront next to Jettison, KK. This picture was taken on 22 August 2012. While in KK I stayed in Sembulan

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Watch "Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Pulau Sapi, Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia II." on YouTube

you just need to pay 30 RM to get pulau sapi from jettisson ferry terminal, KK

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I also boycott PayPall

Daniel Ellsberg Says Boycott Amazon « Blog

Open letter to 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 that have now appropriately ended their book-purchasing association with Amazon.

Yours (no longer),
Daniel Ellsberg