On May 22, 2019, al-Shabaab fighters detonated a car bomb at a security checkpoint near the presidential palace in Mogadishu, Somalia, killing at least nine people and injuring 13 others.
Earlier this month, Amazon announced a ban on the sale of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf from its site, telling sellers that they would no longer be allowed to list the autobiographical screed on its website, citing sales as a violation of their code of conduct. However, Amazon quietly reversed the policy and once again made the manifesto available for sale under the guise of free speech. The company claimed that it did not want to determine what people are allowed to read.
Amazon has official guidelines prohibiting the sale of products that “promote, incite or glorify hatred, violence, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”
“Amazon’s policy reversal demonstrates that the company is not serious about enforcing its own guidelines. Rather, the tech giant is simply interested in garnering positive media coverage. By allowing these extremist materials to remain for sale on their site, Amazon is enabling these egregious works to continue promoting hateful ideologies and encouraging violence,” said Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Executive Director David Ibsen. “Unfortunately, the company’s behavior is unsurprising. Amazon has long allowed the sale of anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi manifestos such as The Turner Diaries and Siege on its site, both of which have facilitated the radicalization of white nationalists. If Amazon was truly committed to prohibiting the sale of all products that promote hatred and violence, they would be doing so consistently and transparently.”
As CEP has previously highlighted, Internet platforms like Amazon have long normalized the sale of neo-Nazi propaganda. A February 9 article in the New York Times about the multi-billion dollar company wrote it was “quietly canceling its Nazis” stating that Amazon was halting sales of several neo-Nazi and white supremacist books. However, CEP found that claim to be false after locating copies of the William Luther Pierce’s white supremacist book The Turner Diaries still available for sale through the Amazon Marketplace, which is used by third-party sellers. The Turner Diaries describes a white supremacist revolution in the U.S. and eventual genocide. The book has helped inspire several terrorists and extremists, including Timothy McVeigh, who perpetrated the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people in two terror attacks in Norway on July 22, 2011.
CEP has also previously noted that a new edition of the book Siege, by James Mason, was made available for sale in 2018. Unlike The Turner Diaries which is sold via the Marketplace, the 2018 edition of Siege was made available on Amazon’s main site, meaning it was in an Amazon warehouse and could be shipped via Amazon Prime. The new edition of Siege has since been removed from the platform, but is still available through the Marketplace. Siege advocates for a violent leaderless neo-Nazi guerilla movement and lone wolf terrorism to bring down the government. The book is considered one of the most important pieces of work for the American neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, whose members have killed five people since May 2017. One of the group’s founding members, Brandon Russell, was sentenced to five years in prison in January 2018 for possessing explosives.
To read the CEP report The Turner Diaries’ Ties to Extremists, please click here.
To read the CEP report James Mason’s Siege: Ties to Extremists, please click here.
To read the CEP report U.S. White Supremacy Groups, please click here.
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