Top Censored Media Stories of 2010
Note: To find the top media censorship stories of any year from 2003 to present, click here.
Project Censored specializes in covering the top stories which were subjected to censorship either by being ignored or downplayed by the mainstream media each year. The Project Censored research team is composed of over 200 university faculty, students, and community experts drawn from an international network of 30 colleges and universities. This capable team annually reviews up to 1,000 news story submissions for content, reliability of sources, and significance. The top 25 stories selected are submitted to a distinguished panel of judges who rank them in order of importance. The results are published each year in an excellent book available for purchase at their website, amazon.com, and major book stores.
A summary of the top 10 media censorship stories of 2010 provided below proves quite revealing and most informative. Each summary has a link for those who want to read the entire article. For whatever reason the mainstream media won't report these stories. Yet thanks to the Internet and wonderful, committed groups like Project Censored, the news is getting out to those who want to know. By revealing these examples of media censorship, we can stop the excessive secrecy and work together for a brighter future. And don't miss the section on little-known inspiring stories, too. Please help to spread the word, and take care.
Note: Major parts of these summaries were taken from an article by Rebecca Bowe at the SF Bay Guardian.
Top 10 Stories of 2010 Subjected to Media Censorship
1. Global Plans to Replace the Dollar (For full story, click here)
Since the financial meltdown of 2008 sent a jarring ripple effect throughout the global economy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has been talking up the idea of an international market that doesn't use the U.S. dollar as a global reserve currency. The dollar now holds the status of the predominant anchor currency held in foreign exchange reserves, securing the United States' strategic economic position.
In July of 2009 at the Group of Eight Summit in Italy, President Medvedev underscored his call for a newly conceived "united future world currency" when he pulled a sample coin from his pocket and showed it off to heads of state, the Bloomberg news service reported. And the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development suggested in a report that the present system of using the dollar as the world's reserve currency should be subject to a wholesale reconsideration, according to an article in the U.K.'s Telegraph.
Sources: Christian Science Monitor, "Iran and Russia Nip at US Global Dominance"; Truthdig, "The American Empire Is Bankrupt"; Bloomberg, "Medvedev Shows Off Sample Coin of New ‘World Currency' at G-8"; Telegraph (UK), "UN Wants New Global Currency to Replace Dollar".
2. US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet (Full story here)
The U.S. military burns through 320,000 barrels of oil a day. Yet that tally doesn't factor in fuel consumed by contractors, or the energy and resources used to produce bombs, grenades, missiles or other weapons of the Department of Defense.
By every measure, the Pentagon is the largest institutional user of petroleum products – yet it has a blanket exemption in commitments made by the United States to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Despite its status as top polluter, the Department of Defense received little attention during talks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
Meanwhile, human health is threatened by the long-term environmental impacts of military operations throughout the globe. And depleted uranium contamination from the Iraq conflict has been linked to widespread health problems. "The greatest single assault on the environment comes from one agency," author Barry Sanders wrote in The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, "the Armed Forces of the United States."
Sources: International Action Center, "Add Climate Havoc to War Crimes: Pentagon's Role in Global Catastrophe"; Planet Green, "Can You Identify the Worst Polluter on the Planet? Hint: Shock and Awe"; New America Media, "Cancer: The Deadly Legacy of the Invasion of Iraq"; Ottawa Citizen, "U.S. Plots Arctic Push".
3. Internet Privacy and Personal Access at Risk (For full story, click here)
The Cybersecurity Act was proposed in June of 2009, giving the president the power to "declare a cyber security emergency" and do whatever is necessary to diffuse a cyber attack. The Senate Homeland Security Committee approved a comprehensive cybersecurity bill this past June, which has drawn sharp criticism for the inclusion of a provision that would allow the president to shut down networks in the event of an emergency. Reporting in Wired, Noah Schachtman broke the story that the Central Intelligence Agency was investing in Visible Technologies, a software firm that can collect, rank and analyze millions of posts on blogs, online forums, Flickr, Youtube, Twitter and other social media sites. Wired also reported that the Obama administration had followed the lead of George W. Bush by urging a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants.
Sources: CNET News, "Bill Would Give President Emergency Control of Internet"; Wired, "U.S. Spies Buy Stake in Firm that Monitors Blogs, Twitter"; Wired, "Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case".
4. ICE Operates Secret Detention and Courts (For full story, click here)
The federal office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is confining people in 186 unlisted and unmarked subfield offices, many in suburban office parks or commercial spaces that reveal no information about their ICE tenants. Reporting in The Nation, Jacqueline Stevens describes ICE's jail network and the agency's penchant for secrecy when it comes to withholding public information about the facilities.
"The absence of a real-time database tracking people in ICE custody means ICE has created a network of secret jails," Stevens wrote. "Subfield offices enter the time and date of custody after the fact, a situation ripe for errors ... as well as cover-ups." As a result, detainees can literally be "lost" by attorneys or family members for days or weeks at a time after being transferred.
Source: The Nation, "America's Secret Ice Castles"; Human Rights Watch, "Locked Up Far Away, The Transfer of Immigrants to Remote Detention Centers in the US"; The Nation, "ICE Agents' Ruse Operations": The Nation, "Secret Courts Exploit Immigrants".
5. Blackwater (Xe): The Secret US War in Pakistan (For full story, click here)
The notorious private military contractor Blackwater has changed its name to Xe Services, but it hasn't escaped scrutiny. According to a story that ran in The Nation in December 2009, the contractor is at the center of a covert program in Pakistan run by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command in the city of Karachi. Blackwater (Xe) is involved in planning targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and al-Qaida operatives and helps direct a U.S. military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the U.S. military. The Pentagon has disputed the claim, stating, "There are no U.S. military strike operations being conducted in Pakistan." More recently, The New York Times reported that Blackwater had created a web of more than 30 shell companies to win defense contracts, and specifically mentioned that the company employees had loaded bombs and missiles onto predator drones in Pakistan.
Sources: New York Times, "30 False Fronts Won Contracts For Blackwater"; The Nation, "The Secret US War in Pakistan"; Antiwar.com, "Blackwater Wants to Surge Its Armed Force in Afghanistan"; Raw Story, "Ex-employees Claim Blackwater Pimped Out Young Iraqi Girls".
6. Health Care Restrictions Cost Thousands of Lives in US (For full story, click here)
As the health-care debate raged on and Americans heard over and over again about supposed "death panels" and the government's infringement on personal freedom, one important study was largely drowned out. Research led by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center revealed that lack of health insurance may have figured into 17,000 childhood deaths among hospitalized children in the U.S. in the span of less than two decades. The results of a study published in the Journal of Public Health compared more than 23 million hospital records from 37 states between 1988 and 2005, and found that uninsured children in the study were 60 percent more likely to die in the hospital than those with insurance.
"Can we say with absolute certainty that 17,000 children would have been saved if they had health insurance? Of course not," notes a co-investigator. "From a scientific perspective, we are confident in our finding that thousands of children likely died because they lacked insurance or because of factors directly related to a lack of insurance."
Source: Johns Hopkins Children's Center, "Lack of Insurance May Have Figured in Nearly 17,000 Childhood Deaths"; Physicians for a NHP, "Over 2,200 Veterans Died in 2008 Due to Lack of Health Insurance"; Democracy Now!, "Mother Speaks Out on CIGNA's Denial of Healthcare to Cancer-Stricken Twin Daughters".
7. External Market Forces Wreak Havoc in Africa (For full story, click here)
Vast tracts of land are being purchased by wealthy nations from mostly poor, developing countries in order to produce crops for export. Throughout the African continent, an estimated 50 million hectares (200,000 square miles) of land have been acquired or are in the process of being negotiated for purchase over the last several years, with international agribusinesses, investment banks, hedge funds, and commodity traders leading the rush for cheap, undeveloped, arable land.
Ethiopia has approved at least 815 foreign-financed agriculture projects since 2007, but the food that is produced there will be exported rather than used to feed the 13 million people in need of food aid in that country. Food shortages and riots in 28 countries in 2008, declining water supplies, climate change and huge population growth together have made land attractive. Africa has the most land and, compared with other continents, it is cheap.
Sources: New York Times, "Is There Such a Thing as Agro-Imperialism?"; Christian Science Monitor, "Africa: From Famine to World's Next Breadbasket?"; Oakland Institute, "Great Land Grab: Rush for World's Farmland Threatens Food Security for the Poor"; Inter Press Service, "Land Grabs for Food Production Under Fire".
8. Massacre in Peruvian Amazon over US Free Trade Agreement (Full story here)
While this story highlighted a "massacre in the Amazon," a later installment appeared in the Huffington Post titled "Victory in the Amazon." On June 5, 2009, 50 or more Peruvian Amazon Indians were massacred after a 57-day protest against the implementation of decrees under the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. These decrees would have opened vast swaths of indigenous land in the Peruvian Amazon to private investment by gas, mining, and oil companies. This prompted Amazon peoples to block highways and gas and oil pipelines. But the conflict escalated when armed Peruvian government agents attacked the protesters with rifles and, according to eye witnesses, burned bodies and threw them into a river.
In the aftermath Peru's Congress voted 82 to 12 to repeal two of the decrees that the indigenous groups had been standing against. Daysi Zapata, a representative of the association of indigenous groups, celebrated the triumph: "Today is an historic day. We are thankful because the will of the indigenous peoples has been taken into account."
Sources: Center for International Policy, "Massacre in the Amazon: The US-Peru Free Trade Agreement Sparks a Battle over Land and Resources"; Inter Press Service, "‘Police Are Throwing Bodies in the River,' Say Native Protesters"; Huffington Post, "Victory in the Amazon".
9. Human Rights Abuses Continue in Palestine (For full story, click here)
While there is a great deal of coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Project Censored highlights little-discussed human rights abuses.
An Amnesty International report charges that Israel is denying Palestinians the right to access adequate water by maintaining total control over the shared water resources and pursuing discriminatory policies. Other articles detail how Israel had begun barring movement between Israel and the West Bank for those holding a foreign passport, including humanitarian aid workers and thousands of Palestinian residents.
After a 15-month study conducted by an international team of scholars, the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa concluded that Israel is, from the perspective of international law, an occupying power in Palestinian territories which implements a system of apartheid. Rare mainstream media glimpses of Israel's apartheid system, like the CBS 60 Minutes segment 'Is Peace Out of Reach?' in January 2009, air and then fade away after drawing vitriolic, selectively focused criticism.
Sources: Amnesty International, "Israel Rations Palestinians to Trickle of Water"; Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, "Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid"; Electronic Intifada, "Israel Brings Gaza Entry Restrictions to West Bank"; CBS 60 Minutes, "Is Peace Out of Reach?".
10. US Funds and Supports the Taliban (For full story, click here)
While this story appeared on the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post, they omitted some key facts. The Nation broke the story, and at the time Project Censored was researching it, there was nary a mention in the mainstream media of how American tax dollars wind up in the hands of the Taliban.
In some cases, money goes to Afghan companies run by former Taliban members like President Hamid Karzai's cousin, Ahmad Rateb Popal, who was charged in the 1980s with conspiring to import heroin into the United States. U.S. military contractors in Afghanistan also pay suspected insurgents to protect supply routes.
"It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the U.S. government funds the very forces American troops are fighting," according to the Nation story.
Sources: The Nation, "How the US Funds the Taliban"; New York Times, "U.S. Said to Fund Afghan Warlords to Protect Convoys"; Washington Post, "Mismanaged U.S. contractor money aids enemy in Afghanistan".
Other Media Censorship Stories in the Top 25
11. H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic: Manipulating Data to Enrich Drug Companies (Full story here)
The H1N1 virus spawned widespread panic and fear throughout the world. However, upon closer examination, many of the claims made by the World Health Organization (WHO) seem to be based on weak and incomplete data. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created and used data to grossly exaggerate the need for an expensive and unnecessary vaccine aimed at creating profits for the pharmaceutical industry—not protecting Americans. For summaries of dozens of major media articles exposing clear manipulation and profiteering on the fear generated around the swine flu, click here.
12. Cuba Provided the Greatest Medical Aid to Haiti after the Earthquake (Full story here)
Cuba was the first to come into Haiti with medical aid when the January 12, 2010, earthquake struck. Among the many donor nations, Cuba and its medical teams played a major role in treating Haiti's earthquake victims. Public health experts say the Cubans were the first to set up medical facilities among the debris and to revamp hospitals immediately after the earthquake struck. Their pivotal work in the health sector has, however, received scant media coverage. It is striking that there was virtually no mention in the media of the fact that Cuba had several hundred health personnel on the ground before any other country.
13. Obama Cuts Domestic Spending, Increases Military Corporate Welfare (Full story here)
President Obama's decision to increase military spending this year and in the future will result in the greatest administrative military spending since World War II. This decision is being made in spite of continued evidence of extreme waste, fraud, abuse, and corporate welfare in the military budget. At the same time, spending on "non-security" domestic programs such as education, nutrition, energy, and transportation will be frozen, resulting in inflationary cuts to essential services for the US public over the upcoming years. For an excellent article by a top U.S. general revealing how politics is beholden to the military/industrial complex, click here.
14. Increased Tensions with Unresolved 9/11 Issues (For full story, click here)
Several contentious issues still plague the US government and their version of the events of 9/11. How did WTC Building 7 fall? Where is Osama bin Laden? How could US air defense fail so completely? Mountains of evidence that suggest that American citizens were told little about the truth of the biggest single-day attack on their homeland in history. Are the hundreds of politicians and professors and over 1,000 architects and engineers who have raised serious questions about the official story dangerous conspiracy theorists? For an abundance of reliable, verifiable information suggesting a major cover-up around 9/11, click here.
15. Bhopal Water Still Toxic Twenty-five Years After Deadly Gas Leak (For full story, click here)
Around midnight on December 2, 1984, the citizens of Bhopal, India, a city of over 500,000 people in central India, were poisoned by approximately forty tons of toxic gases pouring into the night air from a largely abandoned chemical insecticide plant owned by the US-owned Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). The long-predicted gas leak at UCC was, and remains today, the worst industrial disaster in history.
16. US Presidents Charged with Crimes Against Humanity as Universal Jurisdiction Dies in Spain (For full story, click here)
In October 2009, under great pressure from the US, the government of Spain limited its own jurisdiction in cases of genocide and crimes against humanity, thus closing one of the last windows of accountability for the most serious crimes committed by the most powerful nations on Earth. Under international law, such crimes fall under the universal jurisdiction of any nation, whether one's own citizens are victims or not. The logic is that crimes against humanity are offenses against every member of the human species—a crime against all.
17. Nanotech Particles Pose Serious DNA Risks to Humans, Environment (Full story here)
Personal products you may use daily and think are harmless—cosmetics, suntan lotion, socks, and sports clothes—may all contain atom-sized nanotech particles, some of which have been shown to sicken and kill workers in plants using nanotechnology. Known human health risks include severe and permanent lung damage. Cell studies indicate genetic DNA damage. Extremely toxic to aquatic wildlife, nanoparticles pose clear risks to many species and threaten the global food chain.
18. The True Cost of Chevron (For full story, click here)
Chevron's 2008 annual report to its shareholders is a glossy celebration heralding the company's most profitable year in its history. Profits of $24 billion catapulted Chevron past General Electric to become the second most profitable corporation in the United States. The oil company's 2007 revenues were larger than the gross domestic product (GDP) of 150 nations. So who benefited from the record high gas prices of 2008?
19. Obama Administration Assures World Bank and International Monetary Fund a Free Reign of Abuse (For full story, click here)
In April 2009, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hosted meetings with finance ministers from the world's top economies to discuss increased oversight of the global financial system in the wake of the meltdown. The meetings preceded semi-annual gatherings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, DC. The April G20 meeting in London secured a lot of positive media attention after world leaders announced a global package of $1.1 trillion for economic recovery and reform, mostly for the IMF. The plan, however, did not include specific information about the much needed operational reforms to the IMF and the World Bank.
20. Obama's Charter School Policies Spread Segregation and Undermine Unions (For full story, click here)
Charter schools continue to stratify students by race, class, and sometimes language, and are more racially isolated than traditional public schools in virtually every state and large metropolitan area in the country. Charter schools are often marketed as incubators of educational innovation, and they form a key feature of the Obama administration's school reform agenda. But in some urban communities, they may be fueling de facto school segregation and undermining public education.
21. Western Lifestyle Continues Environmental Footprint (For full story, click here)
Rajendra Pachauri, the United Nation's leading climate scientist, warned that Western society must enact radical changes and reform measures if it is to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told the Observer that Western society urgently needs to develop a new value system of "sustainable consumption." The Nobel Prize winner stated, "Today we have reached the point where consumption and people's desire to consume has grown out of proportion."
22. 1.2 Billion People in India to be Given Biometric ID Cards (For full story, click here)
India's 1.2 billion citizens are to be issued biometric identification cards. The cards will hold the person's name, age, and birth date, as well as fingerprints or iris scans, though no caste or religious identification. Within the next five years a giant computer will hold the personal details of at least 600 million citizens, making this new information technology system the largest in the world. The project will cost an estimated $3.5 billion. The 600 million Indians will receive a 16-digit identity number by 2014.
23. Afghan War: Largest Military Coalition in History (For full story, click here)
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has become history's first global army. Never before have soldiers from so many states served in the same war theater, much less the same country. At the eighth anniversary of the United States' invasion of Afghanistan, the world is witness to a twenty-first-century armed conflict waged by the largest military coalition in history.
24. War Crimes of General Stanley McChrystal (For full story, click here)
McChrystal is a man accused of committing war crime atrocities as head of the Pentagon's infamous Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Established in 1980, JSOC is a special black operations commando unit of the Navy Seals and Delta Force so clandestine that the Pentagon for years refused to acknowledge its existence. Its special ops teams were a virtual executive office assassination wing engaged in extrajudicial killings, systemic torture, and bombing of civilian communities. Most of what McChrystal has done over a 33-year career, including service between 2003 and 2008 as commander of the JSOC, remains classified.
25. Prisoners Still Brutalized at Gitmo (For full story, click here)
In Guantánamo, the notorious but seldom-discussed thug squad, officially known as the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF), deployed by the US military remains very much active. IRF is an extrajudicial terror squad, the existence of which has been documented since the early days of Guantánamo. IRF has rarely been mentioned in the United States media or in congressional inquiries into torture.
Stories of Hope and Creative Change
For more than 30 years, Project Censored has searched out the most important undercovered stories of the year showing what's wrong with our world. But in 2008, Project Censored began offering a new feature: a list of the top underreported stories of hope and creative change. These stories suggest that a better world is both possible and practical, and that every day, all over the world, people are solving problems. The message is simple: Stop fighting or lamenting existing reality—be an innovator and help create something better. Below are key examples from the year 2010.
Happiness, Not Economic Growth, Is Becoming the Goal: Global surveys confirm that the happiest peoples are not those living in countries with the highest growth rates or the most wealth, but those with the most equity, "social solidarity," work-life balance, and strong safety nets. New research shows that, among developed countries, the healthiest and happiest aren't those with the highest incomes but those with the most equality. Increasing numbers are recognizing that growth-at-all-costs policies can't continue: Growth-based policies may increase the wealth for the already rich, but they have failed to result in broad well-being. Happiness is emerging as a substitute goal among researchers and leading policy makers.
Local Food Comes to a Neighborhood Near You: Communities are increasingly turning to local food to improve health, strengthen the local economy, and bring fresh foods to those living in food deserts.
Worldwide Climate Movement Flexes Its Muscles: The December 2009 United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen did not produce a binding treaty, but they did galvanize a united international movement of people calling for solutions to stop runaway climate change. When leaders failed to agree on a binding deal, countries from the Global South and civil society groups stepped forward to propose their own solutions. A climate conference held in May in Cochabamba, Bolivia, drew an astounding thirty thousand people.
Outrage Turns to Action Over U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Corporate Elections Funding: Across the political spectrum, polls show people oppose the decision. Many are organizing. to protect the rights of real, human people to elect the representatives of their choice, free of the influence of corporate treasuries.
Wall Street Banking Crisis Spurs Development of State Banks: At a time of state budget crises in the U.S., North Dakota has a sizable budget surplus. While other states are cutting back on essential services and jobs, North Dakota is adding jobs. How is this? North Dakota is the only state in the U.S. that owns its own bank. Now, other states are taking notice. Massachusetts, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia have bills introduced in their legislatures, and state leaders in Missouri, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Vermont are also calling for studying and developing state banks.
Worker Ownership Burgeoning in the U.S.: Corporate outsourcing and trade policies encouraging the movement of production to the world's lowest-wage countries created long-term unemployment and community decline before the 2008 economic crash. In the last two years, these trends have only gotten worse. But what is unreported is the growth of cooperatives, which are creating jobs that can't pick up and move overseas, while helping some communities make a green economic recovery. Worker-owned coops are just one segment of the 30,000 cooperative business in the U.S. generating $500 billion in revenue. These cooperatives are among the many inspired by the Mondragon cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain
Citizen Budgeting Comes to the U.S.: Born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, participatory budgeting has come to Chicago's 49th ward, the first place in the United States to adopt the practice that allows taxpayers to directly decide how to spend public money. Over 1,600 community members got involved in the process: proposing project ideas, planning budgets, and voting on which they felt were most important. Participatory budgeting has already spread to cities throughout Latin America and Europe, where the process keeps government spending transparent, changes governmental priorities, and makes democracy palpable.
For more lots more excellent information on these inspiring stories, click here for a report in Yes! magazine. And for summaries of some of the most inspiring major media articles ever published, click here.
Important: Top 20 Most Revealing Media Articles Ever Published
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