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“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“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.
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“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
“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 shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
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“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“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.
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone

2. Ashcroft vs. the Human Rights Law that Holds Corporations Accountable

ONE WORLD.NET and ASHEVILLE GLOBAL REPORT, May 19, 2003
Title: “Ashcroft goes after 200-year-old human rights law”
Author: Jim Lobe

Faculty Evaluator: Meri Storino, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Brian Ferguson, Lawren Lutrin

Attorney General John Ashcroft is seeking to strike down one of the world’s oldest human rights laws, the Alien Torts Claim Act (ATCA) which holds government leaders, corporations, and senior military officials liable for human rights abuses taking place in foreign countries. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) vehemently oppose the removal of this law, as it is one of the few legal defenses victims of human rights violations can claim against powerful organizations such as governments or multinational corporations. The attempt to dismiss the law comes less than a year after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Unocal Corporation could be held liable for human rights abuses committed against Burmese peasants near a pipeline the company was building. By attempting to throw out this law, the Bush Administration is effectively opening the door for human rights abuses to continue under the veil of foreign relations.

The ATCA dates back to 1789 when George Washington signed legislation for an anti-piracy bill. An obscure segment of the bill gave foreign citizens the right to sue in United States courts over violations of international law. After being used only twice in its first two hundred years of existence, the law has been the basis of some 100 lawsuits since 1980. A landmark ruling in that same year awarded a Paraguayan woman $10 million dollars for the torture and murder of her brother committed by a Paraguayan police official, who was living illegally in the U.S. That ruling effectively opened the door for foreign citizens to seek justice through litigation in U.S. courts.

Business groups argue that human rights lawyers and courts that interpret the ATCA too broadly have wrongly exploited the law. The Bush Administration agrees stating the law interferes with foreign policy. Non-citizens would be allowed to file lawsuits that could potentially embarrass foreign governments the U.S. needs cooperation from in the war on terrorism. Critics of recent ATCA suits also argue that the original statute provides no actual authority to file suit and only paves the way for Congress to do so – should it adopt a separate act defining which violations can be addressed in court.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, upholding the law could jeopardize aspects of the war on terrorism. “A U.S. government employee or contractor working in a high-risk law enforcement, intelligence of military operation could be sued for their participation,” says Mark Rosen, a retired U.S. Navy captain and specialist in defense and homeland-security issues.

UPDATE BY JIM LOBE: The Foreign Tort Claims Act has been used as an important tool for human rights activists to keep raising the issue of impunity for severe abuses committed abroad, ordinarily by repressive governments, but increasingly by the U.S. and other corporations that are at the least, condoning abusive practices by local governments and their security forces. At the end of March, for example, a federal judge in San Francisco refused to throw out claims that the Chevron-Texaco Corporation might be liable for abuses at a Nigerian oil platform operated by a subsidiary of the company. Of course, Unocal and Exxon Mobil face similar suits.

ATCA – or more accurately the campaign against ATCA – has drawn increasing attention over the past two years. In fact, I’ve seen some recent ads on the New York Times op-ed page attacking ATCA on behalf of a coalition of multinational corporations.

A number of lawsuits are continuing to make it through the federal judicial system, but only one has reached the Supreme Court. It involves a lawsuit brought under ATCA by a Mexican national who was kidnapped by bounty hunters and taken to the U.S. where he was held – wrongly – in connection with the murder of a DEA agent in Mexico. He sued the US government and the bounty hunter under ATCA. A jury awarded him $25,000 in damages. For more on this case, which could be very important to ATCA’s fate, I refer you to a New York Times piece written on March 31, 2004, by Linda Greenhouse, which summarizes the oral argument and background. At the same time, Dolly Filartiga, the plaintiff in the first ATCA case from 1980, had an op-ed in the New York Times on March 30, 2004, entitled ‘American Courts, Global Justice.’

Some background is also included in an editorial in the Washington Post published a week later (4/6/04) called ‘Human Rights in Court.’

Unocal’s case was re-argued to appeals judges sitting en banc just about one year ago, but a decision has not yet been rendered. It usually takes about a year, but there is speculation. The appeals court also wants to wait until the Supreme Court decides the Mexico case.

There has been some coverage of the Unocal case in the mainstream media but mainly about the state court case, which doesn’t rely on ATCA. There has been much more attention paid to what ATCA is and why it is being attacked.

Earth Justice and the Center for Constitutional Rights are extremely involved in the campaign against ATCA. For more information, these organizations, as well as the Human Rights Watch, are good sources.

Project Censored 2014
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