Amazon: We Didn’t Pull Down WikiLeaks Because Of Government

December 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Say it ain’t so, Joe. Amazon’s web hosting service on Thursday said they didn’t stop hosting WikiLeaks just because Sen. Joe Liberman (I-CT) asked them to.

The Lieberman camp said this week that Amazon stopped hosting WikiLeaks after inquires from the Connecticut Senator’s office. But Amazon said late Thursday that reports that government inquires caused the pulldown were “inaccurate.”

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) rents computer infrastructure on a self-service basis. AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them,” Amazon said.

WikiLeaks, said Amazon, had violated their terms of service which stated that “you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.”

“It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content,” Amazon said in a statement.

Human Rights First had written a letter to Amazon asking the company to “make clear the decision making process that led the dropping of Wikileaks from Amazon’s servers and to share with the public which parts of the United States government contacted Amazon with the request to halt service.”

Amazon’s full statement:

There have been reports that a government inquiry prompted us not to serve WikiLeaks any longer. That is inaccurate.

There have also been reports that it was prompted by massive DDOS attacks. That too is inaccurate. There were indeed large-scale DDOS attacks, but they were successfully defended against.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) rents computer infrastructure on a self-service basis. AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. There were several parts they were violating. For example, our terms of service state that “you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.” It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy. Human rights organizations have in fact written to WikiLeaks asking them to exercise caution and not release the names or identities of human rights defenders who might be persecuted by their governments.

We’ve been running AWS for over four years and have hundreds of thousands of customers storing all kinds of data on AWS. Some of this data is controversial, and that’s perfectly fine. But, when companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere.

We look forward to continuing to serve our AWS customers and are excited about several new things we have coming your way in the next few months.

- Amazon Web Services









TPMMuckraker

After Getting Amazon To Boot Wikileaks, Lieberman Eyes Other Firms (VIDEO)

December 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, yesterday succeeded in getting Amazon.com to boot Wikileaks off its servers.

Now, Lieberman says he’s widening his scope.

“We’ve gotta put pressure on any companies — like Amazon, [which] just cut Wikileaks off from its servers to distribute — there’s a company now in Sweden, I think it’s called Bahnhof, which is providing that kind of access to the Internet to Wikileaks,” he said on MSNBC this afternoon. “We’ve got to stop them from doing that.”

As TPM reported yesterday, Lieberman’s committee staff called Amazon and asked, “Are there plans to take the site down?”

Amazon responded by removing the site, telling the committee it violated unspecified terms of use.

TPM yesterday asked a committee spokeswoman, Leslie Phillips, whether Lieberman was planning to reach out to other companies.

“The committee is not reaching out to other companies,” she said. “Senator Lieberman hopes that the Amazon case will send the message to other companies that might host Wikileaks that it would be irresponsible to host the site.”

Phillips said that hasn’t changed, and that Lieberman has no specific plans as of now to speak with other companies, including the Swedish firm Bahnhof AB where Wikileaks is now reportedly residing.

But his pressure on Amazon is already having a wider effect. The New York Times reported this afternoon that a Seattle-based company called Tableau had deleted charts and graphs uploaded by Wikileaks.

Tableau explains on its web site:

Our decision to remove the data from our servers came in response to a public request by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, when he called for organizations hosting WikiLeaks to terminate their relationship with the website.

The company also said Wikileaks violated the site’s terms of use by uploading content it doesn’t have the rights to.

Watch the video of Lieberman on MSNBC:







TPMMuckraker

Wikileaks, Amazon and Joe Lieberman

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

TPM explains how Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee asked and Amazon complied:

Committee staff had seen news reports yesterday that Wikileaks was being hosted on Amazon’s servers, a committee spokeswoman told TPM. The service, we should note, is self-serve; as with services like YouTube, the company does not screen or pre-approve the content posted on its servers.

Staffers then, according to the spokeswoman, Leslie Phillips, called Amazon to ask about it, and left questions with a press secretary including, “Are there plans to take the site down?”

Amazon called them back this morning to say they had kicked Wikileaks off, Phillips said. Amazon said the site had violated unspecified terms of use.

Amazon has not responded to requests for comment. Its terms of acceptable use include a ban on illegal activities (it’s not yet clear whether Wikileaks has broken any laws) and content “that may be harmful to our users, operations, or reputation.” It also prohibits using Amazon’s servers “to violate the security or integrity of any network, computer or communications system,” although Wikileaks obviously obtained the cables long before hopping on Amazon’s servers.

So was Amazon following the law, its terms of service or the demands of Joe Lieberman?

RELATED: Senator Lieberman’s statement. The Wikileaks tweet saying its servers on Amazon had been “ousted” and another saying “If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.” And Techmeme discussion.


The Moderate Voice

How Lieberman Got Amazon To Drop Wikileaks

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Early this week, after hacker attacks on its site, Wikileaks moved its operation, including all those diplomatic cables, to the greener pastures of Amazon.com’s cloud servers. But today, it was down again and mid-afternoon we found out the reason: Amazon had axed Wikileaks from its servers.

The announcement came from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Lieberman said in a statement that Amazon’s “decision to cut off Wikileaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies Wikileaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material.”

Committee staff had seen news reports yesterday that Wikileaks was being hosted on Amazon’s servers, a committee spokeswoman told TPM. The service, we should note, is self-serve; as with services like YouTube, the company does not screen or pre-approve the content posted on its servers.

Staffers then, according to the spokeswoman, Leslie Phillips, called Amazon to ask about it, and left questions with a press secretary including, “Are there plans to take the site down?”

Amazon called them back this morning to say they had kicked Wikileaks off, Phillips said. Amazon said the site had violated unspecified terms of use.

Amazon has not responded to requests for comment. Its terms of acceptable use include a ban on illegal activities (it’s not yet clear whether Wikileaks has broken any laws) and content “that may be harmful to our users, operations, or reputation.” It also prohibits using Amazon’s servers “to violate the security or integrity of any network, computer or communications system,” although Wikileaks obviously obtained the cables long before hopping on Amazon’s servers.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that advocates for Internet freedom of speech by defending court cases, said the axing certainly doesn’t violate the First Amendment. But it is, according to senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston, “disappointing.”

“This certainly implicates First Amendment rights to the extent that web hosts may, based on direct or informal pressure, limit the materials the American public has a First Amendment right to access,” Bankston told TPM.

Wikileaks is reportedly back on servers based in Sweden. Lieberman, in his statement today, called on “any other company or organization that is hosting Wikileaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them.”

Phillips said Lieberman has no plans to reach out to other web-hosting services that may host Wikileaks, and has not contacted the Swedish government to discuss servers in its country.

“Sen. Lieberman hopes that the Amazon case will send the message to other companies that might host Wikileaks that it would be irresponsible to host the site,” she said.









TPMMuckraker

WikiLeaks Kicked Off Amazon Server

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

WikiLeaks has gone back to Sweden, AP reports.

Amazon.com Inc. forced WikiLeaks to stop using the U.S. company’s computers to distribute embarrassing State Department communications and other documents, WikiLeaks said Wednesday.

The ouster came after congressional staff had questioned Amazon about its relationship with WikiLeaks, said Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut.

WikiLeaks confirmed it hours after The Associated Press reported that Amazon’s servers had stopped hosting WikiLeaks’ site. The site was unavailable for several hours before it moved back to its previous Swedish host, Bahnhof.

It left Bahnhof because it was unable to sustain uptime during the massive traffic surge that followed the most recent document dump.  But one can hardly blame Amazon for not wanting to put up with the fallout.




Outside the Beltway

The genius of Amazon Prime

November 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Business Week explains:

Amazon Prime may be the most ingenious and effective customer loyalty program in all of e-commerce, if not retail in general. It converts casual shoppers like Tinsley, who gorge on the gratification of having purchases reliably appear two days after they order, into Amazon addicts. Analysts describe Prime as one of the main factors driving Amazon’s stock price — up 296 percent in the past two years — and the main reason Amazon’s sales grew 30 percent during the recession while other retailers flailed. At the same time, Prime has proven exceedingly difficult for rivals to copy: It allows Amazon to exploit its wide selection, low prices, network of third-party merchants, and finely tuned distribution system, while also keying off that faintly irrational human need to maximize the benefits of a club you have already paid to join. …

The company declines to disclose specifics about the program, though analysts estimate it has more than 4 million members in the U.S., a small slice of Amazon’s 121 million active buyers worldwide. Analysts say Prime members increase their purchases on the site by about 150 percent after they join and may be responsible for as much as 20 percent of Amazon’s overall sales in the U.S.







Ezra Klein

Another extreme drought hits the Amazon, raising climate change concerns - With exclusive commentary by forest scientist Simon Lewis

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Drought in the Amazon (1 month assesment period, through 16  October 2010).  Source: University College London,

We know from simple on-the-ground knowledge that the 2010 drought was extreme, leading to record lows on some major rivers in the Amazon region and an upsurge in the number of forest fires. Preliminary analyses suggest that the 2010 drought was more widespread and severe than the 2005 event. The 2005 drought was identified as a 1-in-100 year type event.

That’s from an email to CP by forest scientist Simon Lewis, a leading expert on the Amazon (see Scientists: “There are multiple, consistent lines of evidence from ground-based studies published in the peer-reviewed literature that Amazon forests are, indeed, very susceptible to drought stress”).

The figure above is from the University College London Global Drought Monitor via a post by WWF’s Nick Sundt, that I am reposting below.  It represents a 1-month assessment period, through 16 October 2010.

Amazon drought, BrazilBut first, here’s a excerpt from an article (with a video) by the Global Post that Lewis recommends, “Rivers run dry as drought hits Amazon: Droughts are growing more severe. Has the world’s largest rain forest reached its tipping point?”  In the photo, “Brazilians cross the muddy bottom of the Rio Negro, a major tributary to the Amazon River, in the city of Manaus, Oct. 26, 2010.”

The world’s largest rain forest was dangerously dry, and may well be drying out.

October marked the end of one of the worst Amazon droughts on record — a period of tinder-dry forests, dusty cropland and rivers falling to unprecedented lows. Streams are the highways of the deep jungle and they’re also graveyards for dead trees, usually hidden safely under fathoms of navigable water.

But not this year, and the drought’s significance extends far beyond impeded boats.

While the region has seen dry spells before, locals and experts say droughts have grown more frequent and severe. Scientists say there’s mounting evidence the Amazon’s shifting weather may be caused by global climate change.

The world’s largest rain forest has long been a bulwark of hope for a planet troubled by climate change. Covering an area the size of the continental United States, the Amazon holds 20 percent of Earth’s fresh water and generates a fifth of its oxygen. With the planet’s climate increasingly threatened by surging carbon emissions, the Amazon has been one of the few forces keeping them in check. But the latest scientific evidence suggests the forest may be unable to shield us from a hotter world.

“Every ecosystem has some point beyond which it can’t go,” said Oliver Phillips, a tropical ecology professor at the University of Leeds who has spent decades studying how forests react to changing weather. “The concern now is that parts of the Amazon may be approaching that threshold.”

Phillips led a team of dozens of researchers who studied the damage caused by a severe 2005 drought to trees and undergrowth at more than 100 sites across the Amazon. His findings, published in the journal Science, are troubling.

Through photosynthesis, the rain forest absorbs 2 billion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide each year. But the 2005 drought caused a massive die-off of trees and inverted the process. Like a vacuum cleaner expelling its dust, the Amazon released 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2005. All told, the drought caused an extra 5 billion tons of heat-trapping gases to end up in the atmosphere — more than the combined annual emissions of Europe and Japan.

It still remains to be seen whether the rain forest’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases has been permanently harmed. “We can’t say for sure — it could be happening now,” Phillips said. “Often you don’t know you’ve passed a turning point until you’ve already passed it.”

Phillips said he’s worried about yet another drought following so closely after the last. Along the edge of the forest in Peru and Bolivia, there were more fires this year than any year on record, he said, along with reports of substantial damage to plants in the normally wet northwestern Amazon.

“The humid tropical forests have evolved at pretty high temperatures but there’s a temperature at which you don’t see them on the planet,” said Greg Asner, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science. “And some tropical forests in the world now are starting to be exposed to temperatures they’ve never experienced.”

(Courtesy Greg Asner.)

Asner recently completed a study of world rain forests showing just how extensive the damage could be. He took 16 leading models for predicting the next century of climate change and essentially created a map — showing hotspots where they all agreed rising greenhouse gases would substantially change the forest.

He found that higher temperatures and shifts in rainfall could leave as much as 37 percent of the Amazon so radically altered that the plants and animals living there now would be forced to adapt, move or die. When other man-made factors like logging are taken into account, the portion of affected forest could be as high as 81 percent.

Asner said melting polar ice sheets aren’t the only climate change sentinels out there. The world’s largest rain forest — drained, drying, sometimes burning — is on the front lines, too, and just as threatened.

“I hate to pit myself against the polar bears,” he said. “But we’re talking about the Amazon, the majority of the biodiversity on the planet is in the humid tropical forests.”

Locals call the Amazon’s annual dry spells “the burning season,” named for the forest fires landholders regularly set to make room for crops and cows. In past decades, fires kindled on the jungle’s edges burned themselves out once they advanced a few yards into permanently damp virgin forest.

But that changed with the 2005 drought, said Foster Brown, an environmental scientist at the federal university in the Brazilian state of Acre….

“The ecosystems here have become so dry that instead of a being a barrier to fire, the forest became kindling,” he said. “We’ve changed from a situation where a relatively small part of the region would be susceptible to fire to the entire region being susceptible to fire.”

Burned forests aren’t the only evidence of drought. This year, one of the Amazon River’s biggest tributaries, the Rio Negro, dropped 13 feet below its dry-season average — to the lowest level on record. Channels in some areas have become little more than winding belts of mud — leaving boats stranded and remote communities cut off from supplies….

“Everything has changed. We don’t know when we can plant. We plant and then the sun kills everything,” Mariazinha said. “If it continues like this, we expect a tragedy.”

And the point she pressed upon her visitors was, perhaps they should be worried, too.

“I ask you,” she said, “as someone who lives in the outside world who knows the tragedy that’s happening there — is there anything we can do?”

Here is what Lewis has to say about the drought:

We need to be a little cautious when looking at these unpublished results as we don’t know the exact details of the techniques used to generate the maps. But, we know from simple on-the-ground knowledge that the 2010 drought was extreme, leading to record lows on some major rivers in the Amazon region and an upsurge in the number of forest fires. Preliminary analyses suggest that the 2010 drought was more widespread and severe than the 2005 event. The 2005 drought was identified as a 1-in-100 year type event, was anomalous as did not occur in a El Nino year, hit South-Western Amazonia hardest (a different pattern to El Nino related droughts), and was associated with high Atlantic sea surface temperatures (not Pacific sea surface temperatures as in El Nino years). Now in 2010, we again have a severe drought, again hitting South-Western Amazonia hard. Atlantic sea-surface temperatures and the north-west movement of the inter-tropical convergence zone seem ripe for careful study to improve our understanding of the 2010 drought.

The good news for the Amazon is that deforestation rates have been radically reduced since 2005, so in that sense the Amazon is doing well. The bad news is these droughts kill trees and promote fires, which are very damaging to forests and leaves them more vulnerable to fire in the future, potentially leading to a drought-fire-carbon emissions feedback and widespread forest collapse.  Most concerning of all is that while two unusual droughts clearly don’t make a trend, they are consistent with some model projections made well before 2005: that higher sea surface temperatures increase drought frequency and intensity, leading later this century to substantial Amazon forest die-back.

We ought to remember that every ecosystem has it limits, a point of where they radically change. The open question is whether such a point is being reached in some parts of the Amazon. While little is expected of the climate change talks in Cancun next week, the stakes, in terms of the fate of the Amazon are much higher than they were a year ago in Copenhagen.

And here is an excerpt from a World Wildlife Foundation post by Nick Sundt.

The Amazon region is experiencing the third extreme drought in a dozen years — and it may turn out to be the worst on record. The droughts coupled with recent research findings, suggest that rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will rapidly increase the frequency and severity of droughts in the region. The implications for people, biodiversity and climate are ominous.

As the map below shows, most of the Amazon region was afflicted by drought in mid-October 2010, with large areas in the north and west experiencing exceptional drought - beyond extreme.  Drought conditions, which now are improving, have been concentrated in Brazil, but extend into parts of neighboring countries including large areas of Bolivia, Peru, Colombia.

According to the classification system used by the University College London (UCL) Global Drought Monitor, exceptional droughts normally should not occur more than a couple of times  in a century. Typical impacts include “exceptional and widespread crop and pasture losses; exceptional fire risk; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams and wells, creating water emergencies.” According to UCL,  nearly 8.7 million people live in the locations shown above (which include smaller areas outside the Amazon) that are experiencing exceptional drought conditions.

The drought results from a combination of above normal temperatures over much of the region combined with low precipitation.  As the figure below illustrates, most of the Amazon region received less than 75% of normal rainfall between 1 July and 30 September.  Large areas have received far less precipitation, in many cases less than 25% of normal.

Brazil, Percent of Normal Precipitation, 1 July - 30 September  2010.  Source: NOAA.

In a press release on 22 Oct (Seca pode bater recorde na Amazônia / Drought may hit record in the Amazon), Brazil’s Amazon Environmental Research Institute (Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia or IPAM) said:

“The drought of 2010 still hasn’t ended in the Amazon and could surpass that of 2005 as the region’s worst during the past four decades. In the Western Amazon, the Solimões River reached its lowest level in recorded history. In Manaus, the level of the Rio Negro (Black River) is approaching that of 1963 – the lowest in a century. Even if this doesn’t occur, the forest will have already experienced three extreme dry spells in just 12 years, two of which occurred during the past five years: 1998, 2005 and 2010. And this is not including the drought of 2007, which affected only the Southeastern Amazon and left 10 thousand sq. km. of forest scorched in the region…`The Amazon that had wet seasons so well-defined that you could set your calendar to them – that Amazon is gone,‘ says ecologist Daniel Nepstad of IPAM…”

Among the consequences of the drought are extremely low flows on many of the region’s rivers.  On 24 October 2010, the Rio Negro, a major tributary of the Amazon, reached an all time low of 13.63 m at Manaus, edging out 1963 when water levels reached 13.64 m (Monitoramento Hidrologico: 2010, Boletim no 33 – 29/10/2010, by the Companhia de Pesquisa de Recursos Minerais or CPRM).  In contrast, just last year, the river saw an all time record high of 29.77 m as the region experienced devastating floods. (Relatorio da Cheia 2009 [PDF] [2010], by CPRM).  See photos of the flood [PDF]. Records for the Rio Negro extend back 107 years.  See also Flooding Near Manaus, Brazil, NASA Earth Observatory, 19 August 2010.

Writing for the New York Times upon his return from Iquitos, Peru, Nigel Pitman reports that “people were deeply upset by the lack of rain.”  He explains: ”Long dry spells like these in Amazonia wither crops and worsen air pollution and cut off whole towns from the rest of the world, when the arm of the river they’re on turns to mud. They also destroy forests” (Drought in the Amazon, Up Close and Personal, 12 November 2010).  Satellite imagery on 19 August showed a pall of smoke concentrated over Bolivia  (see Fires in South America, NASA Earth Observatory, 8 September 2010), where drought conditions allowed fires to burn out of control, prompting the Bolivian government in mid-August to declare a state of emergency.

Dr Richard Bodmer of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (University of Kent) and the Wildlife Conservation Society recently reported on the impacts the drought is having on the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon.  Among the species affected:  the pink river dolphin (see photo below).  “The conditions have resulted in fewer dolphins observed throughout the Samiria River,” says Dr.  Bodmer.  “Overall, pink river dolphin numbers have decreased by 47 per cent and the grey river dolphin by 49 per cent compared with previous years’ population estimates. The dolphins have been forced to leave their habitats in the Samiria River and find refuge in the larger channels of the Amazon.” See Amazon drought results in dramatic fall in pink river dolphin populations (press release from Earthwatch).

Pink river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis)  in the Rio Negro, Brazil.  © naturepl.com/Luiz Claudio Marigo / WWF.

For an outstanding series of photographs documenting the impacts of the drought, see Estiagem na Amazônia posted by Último Segundo (22 November 2010).  See also the Reuters video (6 Nov 2010) below for discussion of some of the major consequences of the drought.

Above: Brazil Looks to Ease Amazon Drought, Reuters Video, 6 November 2010.

The 2005 Drought

Just 5 years ago — in 2005 — the Amazon experienced an extreme drought that prompted the government of Brazil to declare a state of emergency in most of the region. In The Drought of Amazonia in 2005 (by José A. Marengo, Carlos A. Nobre, Javier Tomasella in the Journal of Climate, February 2008), researchers said:

“In 2005, large sections of southwestern Amazonia experienced one of the most intense droughts of the last hundred years. The drought severely affected human population along the main channel of the Amazon River and its western and southwestern tributaries, the Solimões (also known as the Amazon River in the other Amazon countries) and the Madeira Rivers, respectively. The river levels fell to historic low levels and navigation along these rivers had to be suspended. The drought did not affect central or eastern Amazonia, a pattern different from the El Niño–related droughts in 1926, 1983, and 1998.”

The 2005 drought in the Amazon also was notable for its impacts on the global carbon cycle.  Though the exact magnitude of the impacts are a matter of debate within the science community (see Amazon drought raises research doubtsNature News, 20 July 2010), there is evidence that the drought along with elevated air temperatures sharply reduced net primary production (NPP) in the Amazon. NPP is a measure of the amount of atmospheric carbon plants pull from the atmosphere and incorporate into biomass.  Where NPP is reduced, less carbon is fixed by plants and more is left in the atmosphere to disrupt climate.

In Drought-Induced Reduction in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 2000 Through 2009 (Science, 20 August 2010) researchers using satellite data found that global NPP dropped precipitously in 2005 to its lowest level of the decade.  The largest contributor to the drop was a decline of NPP in the Amazon rainforest that they attributed largely to elevated temperatures and the severe drought.

Similarly, scientists using records from long-term monitoring plots in the Amazon reported in Science a year earlier (6 March 2009) in Drought Sensitivity of the Amazon Rainforest that the drought had a large impact on carbon flows. They note that the Amazon’s old growth forests process 18 Petagrams (or Gigatons) of carbon each year — more than twice the amount emitted annually by burning fossil fuels (1 Petagram = 1015 grams = 1 billion metric tonnes = 1 Gigaton). “Relatively small changes in Amazon forest dynamics therefore have the potential to substantially affect the concentration of atmospheric CO2 and thus the rate of climate change itself,” they said.

They estimated that the drought reduced the biomass carbon balance by 1.2 to 1.6 Gigatons of carbon.  “The exceptional growth in atmospheric CO2 concentrations in 2005, the third greatest in the global record, may have been partially caused by the Amazon drought effects documented here,” they add. “Amazon forests therefore appear vulnerable to increasing moisture stress, with the potential for large carbon losses to exert feedback on climate change.”

The scale of such drought-induced changes in the Amazon’s carbon budget can be contrasted with the magnitude of Brazil’s carbon emissions from other sources, and with global carbon emissions from fossil fuels.   The Brazilian government estimates that in 2005, carbon emissions from land-use and landcover changes (including deforestation) were 1.3 gigatons of carbon and accounted for 77% of Brazil’s carbon emissions from all sources in 2005  (Segunda Comunicação Nacional do Brasil à Convenção-Quadro das Nações Unidas sobre Mudança do Clima [PDF], Coordenação-Geral de Mudanças Globais do Clima, Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia, Brasília, 2010).

That is at the low-end of the range of 1.2-1.6 gigatons of carbon that may have shifted to the atmosphere in 2005 as a result of the Amazon drought.  In other words, 2005 carbon emissions associated with the drought may have equaled or  exceeded those from deforestation in Brazil that year. Furthermore, at the global level, the range of emissions that may have resulted from the 2005 drought is equivalent to roughly 16-22% of annual global carbon emissions from fossil fuel use in 2005 (about 7.4 gigatons of carbon).

The 2010 Drought

Just as the 2005 drought was preceded by an El Niño (from Apr-May-June 2002 through Feb-Mar-Apr 2003), the 2010 drought was preceded by an El Niño (May-June-July 2009 through March-April-May 2010).  Consequently, the Amazon experienced well below normal precipitation during the rainy season that normally stretches roughly from September-November through March-May.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported in The South American Monsoon System Summary, July 2009-June 2010 [Powerpoint] that precipitation from July 2009 through June 2010 was well below normal over the Amazon basin, consistent with the expected impacts of an El Niño.  Furthermore, precipitation was much lower than during the 2002-2003 rainy season associated with the 2002-2003 El Niño that set the stage for the 2005 drought.

Similarly, as in 2005, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical North Atlantic ocean in 2010 were elevated during the dry season (normally April-September). The maps below show the global temperature anomalies for September 2005 and September 2010 (around the usual end of the dry season) and show that SSTs in the north tropical Atlantic and the Caribbean in both years show a similar pattern.  Likewise, the surface temperatures over the Amazon during both years were elevated — though were substantially higher in 2010.

September 2005 surface temperature anomalies.  Source: NASA

Global Surface Temperature Anomalies, September 2010. Source:  NASA.

The Monthly Tropical North Atlantic Index (TNA) (a measure of the average monthly SST anomaly in the region) has been at record high levels (and above the values for 2005) for every month of 2010 through September. The TNA for October was second only to that of 2003. The separate Caribbean SST Index (CAR) has not been at record levels for most months, but has been anomalously high and for most months has been above 2005 levels.

For both the TNA and the CAR indices, the long term trend is upward.  See for example the long-term trend for the Tropical North Atlantic Index for the month of September below.

Above: The North Tropical Atlantic SST Index for the Month of September, 1951-2010. SST anomalies (relative to 1951-2000) averaged over the region of the tropical Atlantic between Africa and the Caribbean (the region is indicated by NTA on this map) for the month of September from 1951 through 2010.

As in 2005, these high SSTs in the Tropical North Atlantic are resulting in one of the worst coral bleaching episodes on record in the Caribbean, as well as energizing one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons on record.  See our recent posting, Sea Surface Temperatures in Tropical North Atlantic Rise to Record Levels in 2010, With Impacts from the Amazon to Canada (16 November 2010).

Are the high SSTs — as in 2005 — also associated with the Amazon drought conditions during the 2010 dry season?  The answer is most likely “yes,” but the nature of the connection and the role of other factors (such as the 2009-2010 El Niño in the tropical Pacific) will have to await the published research results of scientists.  Similarly, we will not know the impacts of the 2010 drought on the cycling of carbon to and from the Amazon until scientific assessments are conducted and research results are published.

The Climate Change Connection

What connection might these droughts have to rising concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere and what might we expect during the course of this century as GHG  concentrations continue to rise?

The connections between rising GHG concentrations on the  El Niños is a matter of scientific interest and debate.  El Niño-Southern Oscillation patterns in the tropical Pacific appear to be changing and some research suggests the changes may be related to climate change (see El Niño in a changing climate, Nature, 24 September 2010).  However, the science is very much unsettled, so we cannot say anything definitive about the relationship between rising GHGs and the El Niños that preceeded the 2005 and 2010 droughts.

In the case of rising SSTs in the tropical Atlantic — another major contributor to the 2005 drought and likely to the 2010 drought  -  the connection to rising GHG concentrations is better understood, though there is uncertainty regarding the magnitude of the impact relative to other variables.

When asked about the degree to which rising GHG concentrations in the atmosphere were contributing to the trend of rising  sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean, Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) said at a Congressional briefing on 30 June 2010 that the temperatures could not be explained without accounting for rising GHG concentrations.  He said that while some researchers thought the rising GHG levels might account for 60-80% of the temperature anomaly, he estimated that about half was due to rising GHGs.

This is consistent with research results published in Geophysical Research Letters on 29 April 2010.  In Is the basin-wide warming in the North Atlantic Ocean related to atmospheric carbon dioxide and global warming?, Chunzai Wang and Shenfu Dong of NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, conclude that “both global warming and AMO [Atlantic multidecadal oscillation] variability make a contribution to the recent basin-wide warming in the North Atlantic and their relative contribution is approximately equal.”

If the rise in SSTs in the tropical north Atlantic are being driven in part by rising GHG concentrations in the atmosphere, and if those SSTs are implicated in the Amazon drought of 2005 and potentially in the drought of 2010, then rising GHG concentrations are among the factors likely contributing to those droughts. However, researchers have not at this point definitively attributed either drought to rising atmospheric GHG concentrations.

More importantly rising atmospheric concentrations of GHGs in the future will continue to affect tropical sea surface temperatures in both the Pacific and the Atlantic,  and research indicates that this — in combination with rising air temperatures over the Amazon - will increasingly dry out the Amazon. In Amazon Basin climate under global warming: the role of the sea surface temperature (Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B, Biological Sciences, 27 May 2008), researchers analyze these connections.

Using a model from the UK’s Hadley Centre, they focused on a period centered around the year 2050.  The analysis suggests that SST anomalies in both the tropical Atlantic and Pacific would combine to reduce Amazon Basin rainfall, “leading to a perennial soil moisture reduction and an associated 30% reduction in annual Amazon Basin net primary productivity (NPP). A further 23% NPP reduction occurs in response to a 3.5°C warmer air temperature associated with a global mean SST warming.”

In Drought under global warming: a review (Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 19 Oct 2010) Dr Aiguo Dai of the National Center for Atmospheric Research says that models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2007 assessment “project increased aridity in the 21st century, with a striking pattern that suggests continued drying” over many land areas including “most of Americas.”  While acknowledging the uncertainties, he says that the model results appear “to be a robust response to increased GHGs.”  He adds: “This is very alarming because if the drying is anything resembling [the model results]…a very large population will be severely affected in the coming decades” in Brazil and many other land areas.

Approaching — or passing — a Tipping Point

The possibility of increasingly arid conditions along with more frequent extreme droughts in the Amazon — and the regional and global implications — is a matter of growing and grave concern.  In a report to WWF, The Amazon’s Vicious Cycles: Drought and Fire in the Greenhouse [2.49 MB pdf] (Dec 2007, WWF), IPAM’s Daniel Nepstad concludes:

Synergistic trends in Amazon economies, vegetation, and climate could lead to the replacement or damaging of more than half of the closed-canopy forests of the Amazon Basin over the next 15 to 25 years, undoing many of the successes currently in progress to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Counteracting these trends are emerging changes in landholder behaviour, recent successes in establishing large blocks of protected areas in active agricultural frontiers, important market trends favouring forest stewardship, and a possible new international mechanism for compensating tropical nations for their progress in forest conservation, that could reduce the likelihood of a large-scale dieback of the Amazon forest complex. In the long term, however, the avoidance of this scenario may depend upon worldwide reductions of greenhouse gas emissions that are large enough to prevent global temperatures from rising more than a degree or two.”

More recently (in late 2009 and before the 2010 drought), in Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector [PDF], WWF identified the prospect of more frequent extreme droughts in the Amazon and the related rainforest dieback as being among the ”tipping points” that could be passed in coming decades, with ”significant impacts within the first half of this century.”

Given the current drought in the Amazon, the report’s discussion of the 2005 Amazon drought should raise some eyebrows:

“…until more recently, 2005-like droughts may have had a frequency of between 1-in-40 and 1-in-100-years. Recent work, however, suggests that, with the now elevated concentration of GHGs  [greenhouse gases] (currently ~430 ppmv CO2e [parts per million, volume, of carbon dioxide equivalent],compared with 280 ppmv CO2e pre-industrial), the return period is of the order of 1-in-20-years and this is likely to increase to 1-in-2 and above by between 2025 and 2050 if stabilization at 450 to 550 ppmv CO2e is achieved (with a higher probability if it is not).”

Given that the 2010 drought is comparable to the 2005 drought — and that they are only five years apart, we already may be closer to a return period of 1-in-2 years than the research suggested.

About the implications of an increase in the frequency of 2005-like droughts, the report says:

“The 2005 drought impacts were relatively severe. However, the social, environmental and economic consequences of such a significant increase in the frequency of 2005-like events are far more than the sum of 2005 impacts x drought frequency. What is currently termed ‘drought’, with such a significant increase in frequency, becomes the norm implying a potentially radical change in hydrological systems in affected regions, with knock-on effects for people, environment, and economy.”


For an excellent discussion of the 2005 and 2010 droughts, climate change and the implications for the Amazon, see the video below from GlobalPost, Rumble in the Jungle: Is the Amazon Losing the Fight Against Climate Change? by Erik German and Solana Pyne.  See also their online article, Rivers run dry as drought hits Amazon (GlobalPost, 3 November 2010).

- Nick Sundt

Climate Progress

Attention Amazon shoppers!

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Shameless commercial announcement: With the holidays near and Black Friday on, well Friday, I want remind you know that if you are buying a gift on Amazon, click on one of my Amazon ads. Thanks! I get a teensy commission.

Thanks again!

Marathon Pundit

Attention Amazon shoppers!

November 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Decision PointsShameless commercial announcement: With the holidays near, I want remind you know that if you are buying a gift on Amazon, click on one of my Amazon ads. Thanks!

Marathon Pundit

Amazon pulls pedophilia manual after protest

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Retreat.


Amazon has apparently conducted an about-face over its sales of a book that allegedly promotes pedophilia after a national outcry over its policy. ABC News reports now that the book, while still listed at Amazon, no longer can be purchased through the website after its controversial position was widely criticized by its customers. ABC earlier [...]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

Amazon Pulls E-Book Promoting Pedophilia After Protests

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Controversy erupted yesterday when it was discovered that Amazon.com was selling an e-book that purported to offer advice to pedophiles:

Amazon.com Inc. is selling a self-published guide that offers advice to pedophiles, and that has generated outrage on the Internet and threats to boycott the retailer.

The availability of “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct” calls into question whether Amazon has any procedures — or even an obligation — to vet books before they are sold in its online stores. Amazon did not respond to multiple e-mail and phone messages.

The title is an electronic book available for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader and the company’s software for reading Kindle books on mobile phones and computers. Amazon allows authors to submit their own works and shares revenue with them.

Amazon issues guidelines banning certain materials, including those deemed offensive. However, the company doesn’t elaborate on what constitutes offensive content, saying simply that it is “probably what you would expect.” Amazon also doesn’t promise to remove or protect any one category of books.

After initially saying that it would not remove the book from it’s catalog due to concerns about ‘freedom of expression,’ the company decided to pull the book yesterday after a firestorm had erupted on the internet:

Amazon.com appears to have pulled “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure” a day after the Kindle e-book’s listing on the shopping website ignited anger from hundreds of customers.

The controversial book was available for purchase Wednesday through the Seattle-based online retailer, but a click on any link to the book’s listing on Amazon directs to a page that says “We’re sorry. The Web address you entered is not a functioning page on our site.”

Amazon officials were not available to comment about the book  Thursday morning.

The book, described on Amazon by its author, Phillip R. Greaves, is an “attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles … by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow.”

The listing said the book was published for the Kindle, Amazon’s popular e-reader device, on Oct. 28.

Greaves’ book garnered more than 3,000 comments while it was available for sale, and  commenters gave the book an average rating of one star.

For those who aren’t avid users of Amazon’s site, one star is the lowest rating one can give to any product.

This is about the outcome that I expected would happen when I first heard about this story yesterday. While its initial statement that it “believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable,” the fact remains that Amazon is a business that thrives on attracting mainstream users, including parents. Once this story that a book about pedophilia was available for sale on the site (and it’s still unclear how it got there) became an internet firestorm, simple corporate public relations mandated that the publication be sacrificed for the sake of the public image of Amazon.com.

As is usually the case with these types of situations, though, most of the comments about the case reveal widespread misconceptions about the First Amendment and freedom of expression. Amazon’s decision not to sell the book would not be censorship. Amazon is a private company and therefore isn’t bound by the First Amendment in any respect. For that reason it’s unfortunate that the first public statement they issued made reference to “censorship” struck me as not only wrong, but also completely missing the point of the objections that people were raising to the publication. Clearly, Amazon doesn’t sell every publication or movie available. If it did, you’d be able to buy hardcore pornography there. The fact that you can’t is a result of a business decision that Amazon has obviously made. It isn’t censorship, and Amazon was wrong to try to cast the calls for them to take a second look at this product in such a way.

At the same time, though, it’s not entirely clear that the publication itself, although it’s subject matter is offensive, is illegal in any respect:

The fact that a book advocates criminal behavior — however vile — does not mean it falls outside the First Amendment. Consider, for instance, Brandenburg v. Ohio, standing for the general proposition that “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

However, the First Amendment status of a book that explains how to get away with criminal behavior is more complex. A full discussion of that is beyond the scope of this post. Eugene Volokh’s exceptional article Crime-Facilitating Speech discusses it at length. It appears from some reports that the book includes at least some advice about getting away with pedophile conduct; I haven’t bought the book and am not going to, though.

Which leads us to the second lesson that can be drawn from this story.

As Ken over at Popehat (who I quote and link above) points out, before this story went viral yesterday morning, this e-book had sold one copy since it had been listed for sale. By the time Amazon had deleted the page from its site, it had made it onto the Top 100 list for the day. Granted, many of these sales were probably to media outlets and the like, but it’s still the case that thanks to the Outrage-of -day viral mentality, hundreds or maybe even thousands of copies were sold at $ 4.00 copy. Obviously, the author had a very good day yesterday.  As Ken says:

In other words, assuming for the moment that the book actually contains non-obvious suggestions on how to get away with molesting children, the OUTRAGE mob has just lifted the author from complete obscurity, given him a chunk of money, and ensured that his previously obscure child molestation suggestions are now known, widespread, and widely available.

Oh, well done.

So, what lessons can we learn from this ? Well, nobody understands the First Amendment, Amazon has a fairly bad crisis response team, and catapulting a creep to internet fame usually just ends up being to his benefit.

All in a day’s work, I suppose.




Outside the Beltway

‘A Child-lover’s Code of Conduct.’ Shame on you Amazon.

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Amazon is selling on-line a self-published book on pedophilia, “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover’s Code of Conduct.”

According to the “author,” Philip R. Greaves II:

I wrote the book to establish guidelines so that people would behave in a manner that is non-injurious to each other, for one, and, for two, to communicate the fact that these people who are so different in maturation, etc., that when they develop relationships, they use certain principles that regular people, adults, would be well to attend.

In describing his “product,” the “author” also writes:

This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow…I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter [sic] sentences should they ever be caught.

How sensitive and thoughtful of you, Mr. Greaves.

Naturally, the book and Amazon’s selling of the book have ignited a fire storm of protest and controversy. People everywhere are asking Amazon to remove the book from its online stores.

Please include me among those.

Many others are also calling for a boycott of Amazon. Please include me here, too.

Amazon has defended its sale of the book by claiming that not selling the book would amount to censorship:

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…

Just as I have taken the side of the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder—the memory of whose son and his father’s precious right to mourn his death with dignity were so obscenely violated by members of the Westboro Baptist Church—I take the side of millions of innocent children whose sacred rights are at risk every day at the hands of pedophiles and I paraphrase what I said about the Snyder v. Phelps case:

Of course, the First Amendment is one of our most cherished and inviolable constitutional rights. Of course, all Americans, including Mr. Greaves have the right to free, irreverent, even hateful and obscene speech…But our rights also carry obligations and responsibilities. Most reasonable people do not believe that our free speech rights are diminished or infringed upon when those who misuse them to maliciously and falsely defame others, to publish child pornography, to advise pedophiles on achieving “love and pleasure” at the expense of our most innocent ones, our most cherished ones, are allowed to do so with impunity

I know that many of our readers will have different opinions, I will respect such, but in this particular case I may not necessarily agree with them

CODA:

It has been reported that Amazon has taken the book off its “shelves.”

Thank you, Amazon


The Moderate Voice

North Carolina Department of Revenue’s Demand for Amazon Customer Records Violates the First Amendment

October 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Eugene Volokh)

So holds Amazon.com v. Lay (W.D. Wash., decided yesterday):

Amazon pursues summary judgment as to its First Amendment claim that the DOR’s request for all information related to Amazon’s sales to North Carolina residents violates the First Amendment. The Court agrees and GRANTS the motion.

The First Amendment protects a buyer from having the expressive content of her purchase of books, music, and audiovisual materials disclosed to the government. Citizens are entitled to receive information and ideas through books, films, and other expressive materials anonymously. In the context of distribution of handbills, the Supreme Court held that anonymity “exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular.” McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm’n, 514 U.S. 334, 357 (1995); Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60, 64 (1960) (protecting anonymity in handing out campaign literature). The fear of government tracking and censoring one’s reading, listening, and viewing choices chills the exercise of First Amendment rights. In a concurring opinion, Justice Douglas highlighted the deleterious effect of governmental meddling in the reading habits of its citizens: “Some will fear to read what is unpopular what the powers-that-be dislike. When the light of publicity may reach any student, any teacher, inquiry will be discouraged.” United States v. Rumely, 345 U.S. 41, 57–58 (1953) (Douglas, J., concurring).

Two district courts addressing subpoenas seeking book purchase records have similarly held the First Amendment rights are implicated where the government seeks the disclosure of reading, listening, and viewing habits. In In re Grand Jury Subpoena to Amazon.com Date August 7, 2006, 246 F.R.D. 570 (W.D. Wis. 2007), the court held that the government had to show a compelling need to obtain the personal identities and titles of books certain persons purchased through Amazon from a seller suspected of tax evasion. The government served Amazon a subpoena duces tecum seeking the identities of customers of the criminal defendant and information about their purchases. Id. at 571. Amazon provided the requested information, except the identities of the purchasers, objecting that the revelation of the purchasers’ identities would violate their First Amendment rights. Id. at 572. The court agreed. The court barred the government from contacting anyone who did not consent to talking to the government, noting that the First Amendment was implicated where the government might “peek into the reading habits of specific individuals without their prior knowledge or permission.” Id. at 572. A similar result was reached by a district court handling a subpoena request to obtain the book purchasing records of Monica Lewinsky. In re Grand Jury Subpoena to Kramerbooks & Afterwords, Inc., 26 Med. L. Rptr. 1599, 1600-01 (D.D.C. 1998). The court held that the Independent Counsel investigating President Clinton had to show a compelling interest and sufficient nexus to sustain his request. Id.

Amazon and the Intervenors have established that the First Amendment protects the disclosure of individual’s reading, listening, and viewing habits. For example, the Intervenors make uncontroverted statements that they fear the disclosure of their identities and purchases from Amazon to the DOR and that they will not continue to make such purchases if Amazon reveals the contents of the purchases and their identities. The DOR concedes that the First Amendment protects them from such disclosures. In fact, the DOR has repeatedly stated it does not want detailed information about purchases for fear of implicating the First Amendment. However, DOR has consistently requested this very information by reaffirming its broad requests. At the same time, the DOR has also refused to give up the detailed product information about Amazon’s customers’ purchases. The pending request for “all information as to all sales” by Amazon implicates the First Amendment rights of Amazon’s customers and the Intervenors. While the DOR states that it could not possibly match the names to the purchases, its promise of forbearance is insufficient to moot the First Amendment issue. See United States v. Stevens, 130 S. Ct. 1566, 1591 (2010) (stating that the Court “would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the Government promised to use it responsibly”). The Court finds the disclosure of the identities and detailed information as to the expressive content of Amazons’ customers’ purchases will have a chilling effect that implicates the First Amendment.

Given that the DOR’s request implicates the First Amendment, the DOR must show “a compelling governmental interest warrants the burden, and that less restrictive means to achieve the government’s ends are not available.” United States v. C.E. Hobbs Found., 7 F.3d 169, 173 (9th Cir. 1993) (setting for the standard for a First Amendment challenge to an IRS summons). There must also be a “substantial relation between the information sought and a subject of overriding and compelling state interest.” Gibson v. Fla. Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 546 (1963) (in the context of a legislative subpoena). The DOR must “actually need[] the disputed information.” In re Grand Jury Subpoena to Amazon.com, 246 F.R.D. at 572.

The DOR concedes that it has no legitimate need or use for having details as to North Carolina Amazon customers’ literary, music, and film purchases. In spite of this, the DOR refuses to give up the detailed information about Amazon’s customers’ purchases, while at the same time requesting the identities of the customers and, arguably, detailed records of their purchases, including the expressive content. With no compelling need for both sets of information, the DOR’s request runs afoul of the First Amendment. It bears noting, too, that the DOR’s requests for information were made solely in the context of calculating Amazon’s potential tax liability. Amazon has provided all of the data necessary to determine its tax liability, except any potential tax exemptions. The DOR has failed to articulate the compelling need to calculate these possible exemptions, particularly where it has admitted that it can and will assess Amazon at the highest rate and it would permit Amazon to “challenge the assessment and … establish that exemptions or lower tax rates applied to some products.” Even assuming there is a compelling need to calculate Amazon’s tax liability inclusive of exemptions, the DOR’s requests are not the least restrictive means to obtain the information. The request is overbroad. The Court GRANTS the motion for summary judgment.

Thanks to Daniel Cowan for the pointer. For more on the dispute, see this earlier post. For my somewhat skeptical views about some First Amendment defenses to such subpoenas, see PDF pp. 30–37 of this article, though I agree that the justification for this particular sort of subpoena — as opposed to some of the subpoenas I discuss in the article — is extremely weak.




The Volokh Conspiracy

Amazon death threat

September 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

AmazonDeathThreatsm.jpg

Apparently a simple thumbs down wouldn’t have sufficed. Anyway, “modern, hip Muslims” like this bloodthirsty Islamic supremacist thug may indeed catch up to me one day, but they will never be able to prevent the truth about their violent, hateful, intolerant belief system from coming out. And they will never be able to extinguish the human spirit.

Threats like this one are merely an expression that they are morally and intellectually bankrupt, and they know they’re losing the national and international argument — and so in their frustration and static, impotent rage they resort to smears and defamation (a la CAIR) and to death threats (like our hip friend here).

The threat/book review is here.

Turkish Delight, September 29, 2010
By J

This review is from: The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran (Paperback)

Robert Spencer has his right to speech. But someday he will slip up, he will visit a place that doesn’t honor such infidel “rights.” And what a day they will have with him. You’ve heard of head cheese and blood pudding? See, modern hip Muslims like me like to be look different than everybody else in Western society. And we don’t like to believe Islam has any real enemies left. But Robert Spencer, well, he will see the sacred text come to life…”fuel the fires of hell…” only when they are done with him.
Peace and Love.

Peace and Love!

Jihad Watch

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