III (2020-2021), continues. Amazon.com has now banned the book in three countries … Germany, Austria, and The Netherlands.
The pretext the Amazon Content Review Team has cited as grounds for banning the book is the semi-visible swastika on the cover. This pretext is clearly a pretext, i.e., a lie, as Amazon sells a number of other products displaying semi-visible swastikas in these markets.
For example, William Shirer’s books, or Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, as depicted in the images above. Some of the swastika-displaying products Amazon offers in these markets display not merely semi-visible swastikas, but totally-visible swastikas on their packaging.
So, the Amazon Content Review Team’s pretext for banning the book is clearly a lie, and not even a convincing lie. But then Amazon doesn’t have to lie convincingly.
When you are an unaccountable supranational corporation founded and executive-chaired by Jeff Bezos, the second-richest person in the world, and a component of the US Intelligence Community, the “rule of law” does not apply to you.
You do not have to justify your actions to any court of law or regulatory body, much less to some mid-list author whose income and reputation you are maliciously damaging.
Sure, there are constitutional protections against censorship and discrimination, and other laws that ostensibly forbid you from maliciously damaging the reputations and incomes of mid-list authors like me. For example:
Article 5 of the Grundgesetz (i.e., Germany’s constitution):
“Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing, and pictures and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.”
Article 3 of the Grundgesetz:
“No person shall be favoured or disfavoured because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith or religious or political opinions.”
But these laws do not apply to you, not when you’re Amazon.com, because you know that: (a) the governments in question, i.e., the governments of Germany, Austria, and The Netherlands, condone your violations of their constitutions (which they have abrogated in any event under the pretext of a “public health emergency”) and might have even had something to do with them, i.e., your constitutional violations; and (b) lawyers will be too afraid of your wealth and power to challenge you in court.
Moreover, mainstream journalists will completely ignore your censorship of political literature that does not conform to the new official global-capitalist ideology, or they will “like” or retweet one of my tweets, and then rush back to covering whatever one of their colleagues tweeted about some other colleague’s tweet, and their colleagues’ responses to that tweet, i.e., the tweet about the original tweet, because they, i.e., the mainstream journalists, are also scared shitless of incurring your ire, and potentially getting their books banned by Amazon, and their incomes and reputations damaged, and getting fired by their literary agents, and so on.
Which means you can pretty much do whatever you want to anyone you want, which is a pretty sweet deal if you’re an immensely powerful supranational corporation that dominates book sales and distribution globally and is also an essential component of the global-capitalist Intelligence Community.
Which that is kind of the point of this piece. Yes, Amazon’s banning of my book will damage my book sales and reputation as an author, but I’ll survive. The point is, as I put it in a post I published yesterday, before Amazon advised me that they had banned the book in Austria and The Netherlands, in addition to Germany:
“What is important is that corporations like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. (which control our communication networks) do not have the slightest qualms about censoring information, banning books, suppressing facts, spreading disinformation, and generally behaving like Orwellian Thoughtpolice … and we are gradually becoming accustomed to it. It is becoming “normal,” boring even. I don’t know about you, but I am not OK with living in a world where Amazon and other unaccountable global corporations decide which books we are allowed to read, which films we are allowed to watch, which facts we are allowed to know about. And that is where we are headed, currently. We’re not going to arrive there suddenly, one day. We’re going to arrive there just like this … little step by little step, one little act of corporate censorship at a time.”
I don’t know how to fight this, exactly … not my book ban, the larger phenomenon. It probably has to start with mainstream journalists and lawyers taking on these global corporations. Relatively obscure little literary outlaws (like me) do not have the juice to do it.
So, if you happen to know any people like that …
Oh, and, for those of you who enjoy seeing how the ideological-sausage gets made, here, for the purpose of criticism and review, is my recent correspondence with the Amazon Content Review Team:
August 29, 2022 (4:35 PM)
During our review process, we found that your book’s cover image contains content (i.e. Swastika, Reichsadler, Sowilō) that is in violation of our content guidelines for Germany and may infringe German law. As a result, we will not be offering the following book for sale in Germany:
The Rise of the New Normal Reich: Consent Factory Essays, Vol. III (2020-2021)
ASIN: B0B1VCK39P, 3982146429
You may reply to this message if you believe this decision has been made in error.
Our content guidelines are published on the Kindle Direct Publishing website: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2TOZW0SV7IR1U.
Content Review Team
Amazon Content Review Team
* * *
August 29, 2022 (5:18 PM)
Dear Amazon KDP Content Review Team,
German law is clear on the banned/permitted use of images of swastikas. See, e.g., this Deutsche Welle article …
- Swastikas and other banned symbols can displayed in Germany if they are used for “civic education, countering anti-constitutional activities, art and science, research and education, the coverage of historic and current events, or similar purposes,” according to the Criminal Code.
There are numerous examples of books, films, artworks, etc. containing swastikas for the above-cited purposes in Germany.
The cover artwork of my book (which has been on sale throughout the world since May 2022, and was an Amazon bestseller in several countries upon its release) clearly falls under such exceptional use under German law, therefore, there is no legal ground for Amazon to ban its sale or otherwise censor it.
Additionally, Amazon.de offers for sale other products bearing images of swastikas, e.g., William Shirer’s books, a Quentin Tarantino film, etc. Thus, your decision to ban my book can only be seen as arbitrary, rather than as the result of a consistent in-house policy.
Moreover, Amazon’s banning of my book violates Germany’s constitutional protection of freedom of expression as set forth in Article 5 of the Grundgesetz:
- Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing, and pictures and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.
I trust you have taken this decision based on your misunderstanding of German law and lack of awareness of the other books and products Amazon offers in Germany that also contain images of swastikas for the above-cited purposes, and not based on any political or ideological bias and/or intention to damage my income and reputation as an author. Thus, I assume you will immediately reverse this ban.
I look forward to your prompt reply.
August 30, 2022 (3:07 PM)
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
We need a little time to look into the problem.
We’ll reply and send you more information within 2-3 business days.
Thanks for your patience.
August 30, 2022 (6:24 PM)
Thanks for your email.
We’ve reviewed your book “The Rise of the New Normal Reich: Consent Factory Essays, Vol. III (2020-2021)” (ASIN:B0B1VCK39P, 3982146429 ), and found that it is in violation of our content guidelines and we will not be offering this title for sale on Amazon.
We reserve the right to determine whether content provides a poor customer experience and remove that content from sale.
You can find our KDP content guidelines, here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help/topic/G200672390
Thanks for your understanding.
August 30, 2022 (6:39 PM)
Hi Amazon Content Review Team,
Could you please clarify:
(1) in which countries Amazon KDP has banned and/or is planning to ban the book;
(2) the nature of the “poor customer experience” you have cited, or which specific “content guidelines” the book violates?
I would note that the book has overwhelmingly positive reader reviews from readers all around the world, so I am unclear as to which customers are having a “poor experience.”
With kind regards,
August 31, 2022 (9:38 AM)
During our review process, we found that your book’s cover image contains content (i.e. Swastika) that is in violation of our content guidelines for Germany and may infringe German law.
As a result, we will not be offering the following book for sale in Germany, Netherlands and Austria:
“The Rise of the New Normal Reich: Consent > Factory
Essays, Vol. III (2020-2021)” (ASIN:B0B1VCK39P, 3982146429 )
Regarding the Paperback version “The Rise of the New Normal Reich: Consent > Factory Essays, Vol. III (2020-2021)” (ASIN: 3982146429) KDP Print availability may not always align with digital availability.
For European countries sales, in order for a KDP paperback title to be available in one European country, you must make the book(s) available in all European countries.
If your book(s) is not in the public domain, or you don’t have publishing rights in any one of those countries, then none of the European countries should be selected as territories.
For a list of European countries, visit Help: https://kdp.amazon.com/help/topic/G201834280
If you have additional questions, please reply to this email.
Thanks for using Amazon KDP
August 31, 2022 (1:31 PM)
Dear Amazon Content Review Team,
Thank you very much for clarifying in which countries you have arbitrarily decided to ban my book, clearly for political/ideological reasons, as you offer several other products containing “content (i.e. Swastika)” that you falsely claim is “in violation of [y]our content guidelines for Germany and may infringe German law” (referenced in my previous email).
I especially appreciated your failure to address my explication of German law regarding the permitted use of swastikas for certain purposes, and your robotic repetition of the phrase “may infringe German law,” as if I had not explained it (i.e., German law) to you. That was a lovely touch. It radiates Faceless Unaccountable Power, which I assume was what you were going for, so kudos!
Your refusal to explain the nature of the “poor customer experience” that you claimed customers have experienced or might experience, after I demonstrated that your “German law” pretext was nonsense, and a lie, and which specific Amazon “content guidelines” the book violates, is also much appreciated. Again, it evokes that “You-Are-Dealing-With-A-Faceless-Orwellian-Machine” feeling, so … good job!
Thank you also for the gibberish about “publishing rights” in European countries, which has absolutely nothing to do with this matter.
I will be sure to update you regarding the results of your efforts to damage my income and reputation as an author in due course. Until then …
All best wishes and kindest personal regards,
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