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“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
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“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
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19. Obama Administration Assures World Bank and International Monetary Fund a Free Reign of Abuse

On April 24, 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 International Monetary Fund (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.

Student Researchers:

  • Meg Carlucci and Marissa Warfield (Sonoma State University)
  • Abbey Wilson and Jillian Harbin (DePauw University)

Faculty Evaluators:

  • Laurie Dawson and Elaine Wellin (Sonoma State University)
  • Tim Cope and Kevin Howley (DePauw University)

Speaking five months later on the eve of the September 2009 G20 summit, Geithner called for higher regulatory standards:

As you know, the United States Congress has a very aggressive schedule to legislate sweeping changes to our financial system that are going to make—provide greater protection for consumers and investors to create a more stable financial system and to try to make sure that taxpayers are no longer on the hook in the future to bear the burdens of financial crises. But we can’t do this alone. If we continue to allow risk and leverage to migrate where standards are weakest, the entire US global financial system will be less stable in the future. We need to see competition for stronger standards, not weaker standards.

How far will the G20 go on the regulation of financial markets? A September 2009 report from Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch emphasized that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has long advanced extreme financial deregulation under the guise of trade agreements that will undermine the current professed push for increasing regulation.

Lori Wallach of Public Citizen warned of the incredible contradiction: “While the summit communiqué is going to, on one hand, talk about regulating finance, at the same time, they’re going to talk about adopting the Doha WTO expansion, and a huge part of that agreement is deregulating finance.” Wallach continued, “The problem is that the G20 commitments aren’t binding. It’s a commitment of faith on the countries about what they’re going to do domestically. But the WTO rules are very binding and enforceable by sanctions. And so, it’s hard to know if it’s ignorance or it’s cynicism, but if the Doha round goes into place, all of the world’s countries will have a commitment not only to keep in place the existing WTO deregulation dictates on finance, but to deregulate further, right in the midst of what seems to be a global commitment to re-regulate.”

The WTO has an agreement called the Financial Services Agreement that explicitly applies to over a hundred countries and mandates major deregulation. For instance, it has a rule that you cannot have a domestic law that limits the size of a financial service firm—insurance, banking, securities—even if it applies equally to foreign and domestic companies. So while everyone talks about putting into place rules regarding being “too big to fail,” there is a WTO dictate that forbids such regulation.

In short, these binding WTO rules require countries to maintain the same policies that led to the financial crisis. This agreement was never brought to a vote in any Congress.

Jesse Griffiths, coordinator of the London-based Bretton Woods Project, under the International Finance for Sustainability program of the Mott Foundation’s environmental division, said, “The ideology of the IMF and World Bank has failed and the accompanying structures have failed.” He added, “In addition to the current enormous economic instability, the system has failed to create equity and eradicate poverty; it has failed to ensure that human rights are protected, and it has failed to address environmental issues.”

The failures of these global entities have not prevented President Obama from allowing their relatively free reign in relation to the US government. In June 2009, President Obama used his sixth signing statement to negate provisions of US legislation that would have compelled the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards. When signing the $106 billion war-spending bill into law, Obama included a five-paragraph signing statement with the bill in which he also refused to require the Treasury Department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and the IMF.

The sections rejected by Obama would have required his administration to direct its World Bank representatives to pressure that institution into using metrics that “fairly represent the value of internationally recognized workers” rights. Organized labor groups had pushed for a revision of those standards.

Another section rejected by Obama would have pushed the World Bank to account for the cost of greenhouse gas in pricing projects and to more fully disclose operating budgets.

Yet another section rejected by Obama in this signing statement would have required Geithner to develop a report with the heads of the World Bank and IMF, “detailing the steps taken to coordinate the activities of the World Bank and the Fund,” to eliminate overlap between the two.

Obama said in a statement that “provisions of this bill . . . would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiating or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments.” He added, “I will not treat these provisions as limiting my ability to engage in foreign diplomacy or negotiations.”

Sources:

Lori Wallach, “Report: US-Initiated WTO Rules Could Undermine Regulatory Overhaul of Global Finance,” Democracy Now!, September 25, 2009, www.democracynow.org/2009/9/25/report_us_initiated_wto_rules_could.

Public Citizen, Global Trade Watch, “New Report: No Meaningful Safeguards for Prudential Measures in WTO Financial Service Deregulation Agreements,” Public Citizen, September 23, 2009, http://www.citizen.org/hot_issues/issue.cfm?ID=2374.

Michael O’Brien, “Obama Issues Signing Statement on $106B War Bill,” Hill, June 26, 2009, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/48019-obama-issues-signing-statement-on-106b-war-bill.

Maggie Jaruzel Potter, “NGO to G-20 Leaders: ‘World Bank and IMF Ideology Has Failed,’” Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Web site, April 24, 2009, http://www.mott.org/news/news/2009/G20.aspx.

Project Censored 2014
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