Saturday, October 23, 2004

Project Censored: 2004 report

Project Censored (http://www.projectcensored.org/) is a research organization based in Sonoma County CA dedicated to exposing newsworthy stories that do not get covered by the mainstream press. Every year they publish a list of 25 under-reported stories.

Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003

(http://www.projectcensored.org/publications/2004/index.html)

#1: The Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance

(my coverage: Iraq War "background material")

The story is that the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a think tank founded by such luminaries as Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfield, and Richard Perle (among others; most of whom are now holding positions of High Power) have been cooking plans to invade first Iraq, then Iran, then Syria, all in the name of exerting American Supremacy, and to install moderate regimes in the middle of the Middle East.

The war for Iraq has nothing to do with Terrorism, and everything to do with Oil.

#2: Homeland Security Threatens Civil Liberty

Just what has the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) been formed to do? Just what are they doing? Just what are the provisions of the PATRIOT Act, which was passed during a state of stress shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and which did not recieve proper debate in congress?

Apparently DHS has drastically stronger powers of domestic survellience and impositions on civil liberties.

There are calls for the repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act, which is what prevents the Military from being used as a domestic police force.

#3: US Illegally Removes Pages from Iraq U.N. Report

During the events leading to the launching of the war in Iraq (my coverage), demands were made to the Iraqi government to come clean on all the UN Resolutions on which they had not yet come clean. For example, declaring their weapons, submitting to inspections, etc.

They submitted a 11,800 page report. The U.S. "helpfully" offered to photocopy the report, because of faster turnaround time in U.S. publishing facilities. Well, somehow 8,000 pages of the report did not get delivered to the U.N. from the U.S. publishing facilities, however Iraq unnofficially delivered the full report to various journalists and others primarily in Europe.

What's in the missing pages? Documentation of the Regan and Bush I governments complicity in arming Iraq. Hmmm...

#4: Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists

A secret counter-terror plan to plant covert counter-intelligence agents. One of their strategies is to provoke terrorist groups into making attacks, giving an excuse to attack those terrorist groups.

#5: The Effort to Make Unions Disappear

Various U.S. administration actions to weaken Unions. The prevalent excuse is national security.

#6: Closing Access to Information Technology

Changing telecommunications rules surrounding access to the Internet, as well as the rise of Broadband connections, together are spelling Doom for independant Internet Service Providers (ISP's). Quickly, rather than wide choices of service providers, the market is quickly narrowing to few choices, partly through FCC actions.

#7: Treaty Busting by the United States

The U.S. administration is either blatantly violating or gradually subverting at least 9 international treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory.

#8: US/British Forces Continue Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Despite Massive Evidence of Negative Health Effects

(my coverage and other coverage)

The U.S. and Britian are highly fond of DU (Depleted Uranium) amunition. It is extremely dense (that is, very heavy for the size it is) giving it great penetration capability and ability to kill tanks or other fortified thingies. Unfortunately it is Uranium, and even though it is far less radioactive than weapons grade Uranium, it is still rather poisinous.

The U.N. has classified DU munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

#9: In Afghanistan: Poverty, Women's Rights, and Civil Disruption Worse than Ever

All eyes have been turned from Afghanistan to Iraq. Likewise has the attention to solving the problems of that country, and it still has no constitution, no new laws, little food, and doubtlessly little hope. Very sad.

#10: Africa Faces Threat of New Colonialism

In June 2002 the G8 nations met (well, their leaders anyway) and formed a plan to "save" Africa known as New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Funny thing is that no Africans were invited to the summit, so this is an outside "solution" being imposed on Africa. Doubtlessly the solution is geared to the needs of the G8 nations, opening markets for exploiting their resources for our benefit, that kind of thing. For example the U.S. currently gets 10% of its oil from Africa, and expects this to grow to 25% by 2015.

#11: U.S. Implicated in Taliban Massacre

During the war to Liberate Iraq from the Taliban, a tremendous number of fighters were incarcerated at Mazar-i-Sharif and killed there. Investigation of the mass graves and other evidence implicates U.S. forces in the massacre.

Oh, and by the way, why is it that the Taliban is still in control over much of Afghanistan?

#12: Bush Administration Behind Failed Military Coup in Venezuela

On April 11, 2002 a coup was done against the Socialist leaning leader of Venezuela. Among his actions prior to the coup was to nationalize the oil industry, and make various changes to give more rights to the people. The coup was apparently planned by U.S. CIA officials.

#13: Corporate Personhood Challenged

The fiction of corporate "person" status, and the legal rights that flow from the fiction that corporations are "persons", is part of the egregious misbalance of power in the U.S. putting average people at a great disadvantage. A few small steps were taken to undermine this legal fiction.

#14: Unwanted Refugees a Global Problem

The number of displaced asylum seekers around the world has exploded in the last 10 years. Some are "internally displaced" (driven out of their homelands, but still within their country) while others are displaced to other countries. Most are the poorest of the poor, and are the indigenous peoples of their homelands.

#15: U.S. Military's War on the Earth

The U.S. Military is a gross polluter emitting tremendous quantities of highly toxic waste material. It is not contained just to the territorial U.S., since the Military has bases in countries all around the world.

The Military is continuing to claim that if it were forced to abide by U.S. environmental laws, that would undercut readiness.

#16: Plan Puebla-Panama and the FTAA

The Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (FTAA) would extend NAFTA to the whole of North and South America. It's a wet dream of free market capitalism no doubt. It is an obvious step of the march of Globalization, for better or worse.

#17: Clear Channel Monopoly Draws Criticism

Clear Channel is a megalopoly controlling over 1200 radio stations around the U.S. There is a rising tide of criticism ranging from centralized control over the news broadcast over Clear Channel stations, to suppression of various artists (such as a supposed ban of the Dixie Chicks when they criticized the U.S. administration over the war in Iraq), and more.

Certainly the growing centralization of control over U.S. media outlets is greatly concerning.

#18: Charter Forest Proposal Threatens Access to Public Lands

The plan would "privatise" much of the federally owned forest land, turning these lands to locally controlled "trusts". The trusts would then be empowered to give greater access to corporate interests for recreational or who knows what other activities.

Sounds like more of the free market capitalism wet dreams.

#19: U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro: Another Reason for the Invasion of Iraq

An interesting and arcane study of global finance. Namely, Oil trading has traditionally been denominated in U.S. dollars. This and other things gives some measure of control by the U.S. over global trade. Except, Iraq began selling Oil denominated in Euros, and since that time the value of the Euro has climbed 17% while the U.S. dollar has fallen in value.

Did the U.S. invade Iraq to change this, and force Iraq to sell its Oil denominated in U.S. dollars?

#20: Pentagon Increases Private Military Contracts

While Dick Cheney was Bush I's Defense Secretary, he awarded a contract to Halliburton to “study and then implement the privatization of routine army functions.”

Dick Cheney then became CEO of Halliburton. During that time Halliburton bought Kellog, Brown & Root, a Defense contractor.

Dick Cheney then became U.S. Vice President. In the fallout of the Iraq war, Halliburton (via the Brown & Root subsidiary) is being awarded many no-bid contracts for operations in Iraq.

More free market capitalism wet dreams? Is "crony capitalism" part of the free market?

#21: Third World Austerity Policies: Coming Soon to a City Near You

Globalization, supposedly the savior force for us all. One way this plays out in the world is that third world countries in debt trouble often turn to the IMF or World Bank, and then are forced to follow a four stage series of reforms. The formula includes Capital-market liberalization, privatization, market-based pricing, and, finally, the introduction of “free trade.”

The formula is being applied to the U.S. as well. God save us all.

#22: Welfare Reform Up For Reauthorization, but Still No Safety Net

President Clinton pushed for "Welfare Reform" to change the way public aid worked, or didn't work as some claimed. Welfare agencies around the country became more like employment centers as a result.

The reform legislation is up for renewal in 2003, but the Bush Administration is appearing to deny renewing the plan. This would greatly cut back money given to the local agencies.

#23: Argentina Crisis Sparks Cooperative Growth

The IMF reform recipe had driven Argentina bankrupt. The Argentine President had frozen everybody's bank accounts, and massive shortages and closures of businesses and more resulted. Their President was forced out of power, and the following President defaulted on loan payments.

The unemployed people have begun to take over the country on their own. They are collectively running various factories, paying off the debts owed by the factories, etc. They have formed local assemblies to coordinate things. They have formed secondary currencies that are outside the official currency of the country. And more, generally they are forming grass roots real democracy, and along the way rebuilding their country.

#24: Aid to Israel Fuels Repressive Occupation in Palestine

U.S. aid to Israel is being spent to support the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and superceding of their rights.

#25: Convicted Corporations Receive Perks Instead of Punishment

Convicted corporations such as Enron and Worldcom are still receiving federal contracts. This despite a Clinton era rule prohibiting companies convicted of illegal activities from receiving federal contracts. You see, the Bush administration quietly negated that rule.

President Enr(er..)Bush received most of his campaign contributions from Enron.