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Amazon.com drops link to Real IRA fund raiser

It was after commissions

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A group linked to the Real IRA, the organisation responsible for the Omagh bombing which killed 29 people in 1998, has been using Internet booksellers Amazon.com in a fundraising scam.

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement, regarded as the political wing of the Real IRA, had a link to Amazon.com at the bottom of its Web page.

Commissions generated by any purchases made after following the link, between three to five per cent of sales prices, were donated to the Irish Republican Prisoners' Welfare Association - until Amazon was alerted to the terrorist link.

Amazon, which said no payment had been made to the group, has pulled the 32 County Sovereignty Movement from its associates' program and severed links with the website.

The associates' program, which has 600,000 members, bars sites which discriminate against race, gender, sexual orientation or age, promote illegal activity or violence.

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement filled in an application to join associates of Amazon.com from an address in Indiana last month which didn't raise any alarms with the Internet bookseller, until 'concerns' about the organisation were highlighted to the bookseller earlier this week.

For its part the 32 County Sovereignty Movement has said that it is "committed to finding a peaceful solution to the Troubles".

However, the case raises concerns about types of organisations that are now turning to the Internet to raise funds, and the ability of organisations to prevent themselves becoming associated with groups whose aims they deplore. The problem is all the worse because of the ability to mask a organisation's identity on the internet. ®

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