[Vision2020] Project Censored: Ten Most Ignored Important News Stories

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Sun Sep 17 13:06:34 PDT 2006


*SANTA MONICA, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- The San Francisco Bay Guardian
newspaper has printed a list of stories we in the media seem to have largely
ignored over the past year. The story is gleaned from an annual list
developed by Project Censored, a media research group out of Sonoma State
University that tracks the news published in independent journals and
newsletters. *

It's a provocative and eye-opening list that warrants attention, especially
from the media. And each year it usually gets it, as Salon comments, out of

In a great example of how certain stories play out, San Francisco Bay
Guardian reporter Sarah Phelan opens her article by citing the play two news
items recently received on the same day they broke: In Detroit, U.S.
District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that the Bush administration's
warrantless National Security Agency surveillance program was
unconstitutional and must end. Meanwhile, somewhere in Thailand, a weirdo
named John Mark Karr claimed he was with six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet
Ramsey when she died in 1996.

We all know which story received the most attention.

Here are the Top 10 most ignored stories. I've had to condense them for
space considerations, but their headlines should tell enough of a story:

1. The Feds and the media muddy the debate over Internet freedom

The Supreme Court ruled that giant cable companies aren't required to share
their wires with other Internet service providers. The issue was
misleadingly framed as an argument over regulation, when it's really a case
of the Federal Communications Commission and Congress talking about giving
cable and telephone companies the freedom to control supply and content -- a
decision that could have them playing favorites and forcing consumers to pay
to get information and services that currently are free.

Source: "Web of Deceit: How Internet Freedom Got the Federal Ax, and Why
Corporate News Censored the Story," Elliot D. Cohen, BuzzFlash.com, July 18,

2. Halliburton charged with selling nuclear technology to Iran

Halliburton, the notorious U.S. energy company, sold key nuclear-reactor
components to a private Iranian oil company called Oriental Oil Kish as
recently as 2005, using offshore subsidiaries to circumvent U.S. sanctions.
The story is particularly juicy because Vice President Dick Cheney, who now
claims to want to stop Iran from getting nukes, was president of Halliburton
in the mid-1990s, at which time he may have advocated business dealings with
Iran, in violation of U.S. law.

Source: "Halliburton Secretly Doing Business with Key Member of Iran's
Nuclear Team," Jason Leopold, GlobalResearch.ca, Aug. 5, 2005.

3. World oceans in extreme danger

Governments deny global warming is happening as they rush to map the ocean
floor in the hopes of claiming rights to oil, gas, gold, diamonds, copper,
zinc and the planet's last pristine fishing grounds. Researchers at the
Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory in 2005 found "the first clear evidence that the world ocean is
growing warmer," including the discovery "that the top half-mile of the
ocean has warmed dramatically in the past 40 years as the result of
human-induced greenhouse gases."

Source: "The Fate of the Ocean," Julia Whitty, Mother Jones, March-April

4. Hunger and homelessness increasing in the United States

As hunger and homelessness rise in the United States, the Bush
administration plans to get rid of a data source that supports this
embarrassing reality, a survey that's been used to improve state and federal
programs for retired and low-income Americans.
In 2003, the Bush Administration tried to whack the Bureau of Labor
Statistics report on mass layoffs and in 2004 and 2005 attempted to drop the
bureau's questions on the hiring and firing of women from its employment

Sources: "New Report Shows Increase in Urban Hunger, Homelessness," Brendan
Coyne, New Standard, December 2005; "U.S. Plan to Eliminate Survey of Needy
Families Draws Fire," Abid Aslam, OneWorld.net, March 2006.

5. High-tech genocide in Congo

If you believe the corporate media, then the ongoing genocide in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo is all just a case of ugly tribal warfare.
But that is a superficial, simplistic explanation that fails to connect this
terrible suffering with the immense fortunes that stand to be made from
manufacturing cell phones, laptop computers and other high-tech equipment.
What's really at stake in this bloodbath is control of natural resources
such as diamonds, tin, and copper, as well as cobalt -- which is essential
for the nuclear, chemical, aerospace, and defense industries -- and coltan
and niobium, which is most important for the high-tech industries.

 Sources: "The World's Most Neglected Emergency: Phil Taylor talks to Keith
Harmon Snow," The Taylor Report, March 28, 2005; "High-Tech Genocide,"
Sprocket, Earth First! Journal, August 2005; "Behind the Numbers: Untold
Suffering in the Congo," Keith Harmon Snow and David Barouski, Z Magazine,
March 1, 2006.

6. Federal whistleblower protection in jeopardy

Though record numbers of federal workers have been sounding the alarm on
waste, fraud, and other financial abuse since George W. Bush became
president, the agency charged with defending government whistleblowers has
reportedly been throwing out hundreds of cases -- and advancing almost none.
Statistics released at the end of 2005 by Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility led to claims that special counsel Scott Bloch, who was
appointed by Bush in 2004, is overseeing the systematic elimination of
whistleblower rights.

Sources: "Whistleblowers Get Help from Bush Administration," Public
Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) Web site, Dec. 5, 2005;
"Long-Delayed Investigation of Special Counsel Finally Begins," PEER Web
site, Oct. 18, 2005; "Back Door Rollback of Federal Whistleblower
Protections," PEER Web site, Sept. 22, 2005.

7. U.S. operatives torture detainees to death in Afghanistan and Iraq

While reports of torture aren't new, the documents are evidence of using
torture as a policy, raising a whole bunch of uncomfortable questions, such
as: Who authorized such techniques? And why have the resulting deaths been
covered up?

Of the 44 death reports released under ACLU's FOIA request, 21 were
homicides and eight appear to have been the result of these abusive torture

Sources: "U.S. Operatives Killed Detainees During Interrogations in
Afghanistan and Iraq," American Civil Liberties Union Web site, Oct. 24,
2005; "Tracing the Trail of Torture: Embedding Torture as Policy from
Guantanamo to Iraq," Dahr Jamail, TomDispatch.com, March 5, 2006.

8. Pentagon exempt from Freedom of Information Act

In 2005, the Department of Defense pushed for and was granted exemption from
Freedom of Information Act requests, a crucial law that allows journalists
and watchdogs access to federal documents. The ruling could hamper the
efforts of groups like the ACLU, which relied on FOIA to uncover more than
30,000 documents on the US military's torture of detainees in Afghanistan
Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, including the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.

Sources: "Pentagon Seeks Greater Immunity from Freedom of Information,"
Michelle Chen, New Standard, May 6, 2005; "FOIA Exemption Granted to Federal
Agency," Newspaper Association of America Web site, posted December 2005.

9. World Bank funds Israel-Palestine wall

In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the wall Israel is
building deep into Palestinian territory should be torn down. Instead,
construction of this cement barrier, which annexes Israeli settlements and
breaks the continuity of Palestinian territory, has accelerated. In the
interim, the World Bank has come up with a framework for a Middle Eastern
Free Trade Area, which would be financed by the World Bank and built on
Palestinian land around the wall to encourage export-oriented economic

But with Israel ineligible for World Bank loans, the plan seems to translate
into Palestinians paying for the modernization of checkpoints around a wall
that they've always opposed, a wall that will help lock in and exploit their

Sources: "Cementing Israeli Apartheid: The Role of World Bank," Jamal Juma',
Left Turn, issue 18; "U.S. Free Trade Agreements Split Arab Opinion," Linda
Heard, Aljazeera, March 9, 2005.

10. Expanded air war in Iraq kills more civilians

At the end of 2005, U.S. Central Command Air Force statistics showed an
increase in American air missions, a trend that was accompanied by a rise in
civilian deaths thanks to increased bombing of Iraqi cities.

Sources: "Up in the Air," Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker, December 2005; "An
Increasingly Aerial Occupation," Dahr Jamail, TomDispatch.com, December 2005

Project Censored then compiles an annual list of 25 news stories of social
significance that have been overlooked, underreported or self-censored by
the country's major national news media. See

Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
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