Amazon was savaged by critics after it was revealed that the technology and online retail colossus was hosting a website for a propaganda arm of the Islamic State that celebrated the murder of 13 U.S. service members in Thursday’s suicide bombing at the Kabul airport, leading the company to pull the plug on the terrorists.
The site and app for ISIS media group Nida-e-Haqq were hosted since April by Amazon Web Services, a dominant player in cloud solutions, despite clear violations of AWS policy against using the service to encourage or promote violence, especially terrorism.
Amazon swiftly moved to avoid a huge public relations problem after a Washington Post report that the SITE Intelligence Group, a non-governmental organization that monitors terrorist activity had identified content and messages linked to Islamic State-Khorasan aka ISIS-K, the faction that claimed responsibility for the attack that claimed the lives of 170 people, including the American troops.
On Thursday, the Nida-e-Haqq app featured an image of an Islamic militant in a suicide bomb vest, claiming that it was taken before the blast outside of Hamid Karzai International Airport.
BREAKING: #ISIS has claimed today's bombings at #Kabul_Airport in an 'Amaq report, stating that its fighters killed and wounded approx 160. The report for the attack comes with a picture of the suicide bomber. pic.twitter.com/mBJX4pPsrW
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) August 26, 2021
The WaPo story quoted Rita Katz, the executive director of SITE.
“It’s just mind-blowing that even after all these years, ISIS could still find a way to exploit a hosting company like Amazon,” she said. Ironically, billionaire Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man owns both The Washington Post and Amazon.
In a Friday statement to The Washington Post, Amazon spokesperson Casey McGee acknowledged that the company had pulled the plug: “(F)ollowing an investigation, we have disabled a website that was linked to this app as it was in violation of the AWS Acceptable Use Policy.”
According to AWS policy, it is forbidden to use the service “to threaten, incite, promote, or actively encourage violence, terrorism, or other serious harm.”
Amazon’s hosting of the terrorist site raised serious questions after the company shut down conservative social media platform Parler, an emerging competitor to fellow tech giant Twitter after the so-called “insurrection” at the Capitol, claiming that it enabled extremism, a move that many believed was more about shutting down political dissent and silencing supporters of former President Donald J. Trump.
So Amazon and other Big Tech coordinated to shut down Parler, but not ISIS propaganda. https://t.co/MEMYJJ8l7T
— Stephen McIntyre (@ClimateAudit) August 28, 2021
The AWS banishment of Parler came as Democrat-aligned Big Tech moved with lightning-fast speed to eliminate any possible alternatives where Trump would be able to get his message out after he was simultaneously de-platformed, an unprecedented measure taken against a then-sitting president that sent shockwaves through the world and put America on notice that liberal Silicon Valley oligarchs would have the final say on free speech and not the U.S. Constitution.
Despite the censorship of Trump and his supporters, the tech companies haven’t similarly silenced the communist Chinese government, the Iranian regime, the Islamic extremist Taliban and other terrorist groups including ISIS.
The major question is why did Amazon even allow a notorious terrorist organization to use its services in the first place, it’s not like they went to great lengths to conceal themselves.
Katz also told the Post, “Of course, we should presume that ISIS will always be searching for ways to bypass security protocols, but this app isn’t even trying to stay low-key. It is blatantly filled with official ISIS claims, media and logos of ISIS’ media arms, clear as day. This app was clearly created to keep ISIS’ message and content alive and distributed online … It is clear that the stakes of keeping such content offline is no less major than in past years.”
With the fall of Afghanistan and the sophisticated U.S. military weaponry and technology that was gifted to them by President Biden, the terrorists are back in business again and they will likely only continue to exploit the political biases of Big Tech to organize and communicate among themselves, possibly even plotting a sequel to 9/11.
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