Published December 09, 2010
The author of a WikiLeaks-related e-book has removed the publication from Amazon amidst a controversy surrounding its sale.
"We did not remove the title, and are verifying that it was removed from sale by the author," an Amazon spokesman said via e-mail.
Separately, Amazon avoided a denial of service attack at the hands of Operation Payback, after the group could not muster enough support for the effort and switched its focus to PayPal.
Author Heinz Duthel was offering his book, titled "WikiLeaks documents expose US foreign policy conspiracies," as a download on Amazon's UK Web site. Given that Amazon Web Services recently cut off access to WikiLeaks' servers because - Amazon said - WikiLeaks was hosting illegal information, some WikiLeaks' supporters took note of Duthel's book, suggesting that Amazon refused to host WikiLeaks but was ok with profiting from the sale of the leaked cables.
Amazon denied the charges. The online retailer declined to pull Duthel's e-book themselves because it did not actually include the cables published by WikiLeaks. "This book contains commentary and analysis regarding recent WikiLeaks disclosures, not the original material disclosed via the WikiLeaks website," Amazon wrote in a note on the product detail page.
The e-book controversy came amidst an attempted denial of service attack against Amazon by Operation Payback, a group that supports WikiLeaks and is operated by the clandestine group known as "Anonymous," which reportedly includes members of the "/b/" bulletin board 4chan.org.
Earlier this morning, Operation Payback loudly proclaimed via its Twitter feed: "TARGET: WWW.AMAZON.COM." The operation apparently could not muster enough support, however, as members switched their focus to PayPal, another company that has dropped its support for WikiLeaks.
Three hours after the call to arms against Amazon, Operation Payback re-tweeted a message that said "No one is attacking Amazon, dude. Everyone's going to www.paypal.com." The group chimed in and said "this seems to be true. Fire now," referring to PayPal. Another Twitter feed, @AnonOpsNet, also tweeted: "We can not attack Amazon, currently. The previous schedule was to do so, but we don't have enough forces," and directed people to attack PayPal.
PayPal confirmed the attacks, but said they have only slowed its operations, not taken down its site completely.