Nominations for December 2007

by Project Censored

#001 Bush Profiteers Collect Billions from No Child Left Behind

Researched by Sam Burchard

The architect of No Child Left Behind, Bush’s first senior education advisor, Sandy Kress, has turned the program, which has consistently proven disastrous in the realm of education, into a huge success in the realm of corporate profiteering.
After ushering NCLB through the US House of Representatives in 2001 with no public hearings, Kress went from lawmaker—turning on spigots of federal funds — to lobbyist,
tapping into those billions in federal funds for private investors well connected to the Bush administration. This source exposes individuals and corporations involved in the web of NCLB corruption.

“Bush Profiteers Collect Billions from NCLB” Mandevilla, Diatrubune, 3/30/07
http://www.diatribune.com/bush-profiteers-collect-billions-nclb

#010 Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America

Researched by Andrea Lochtefeld

Leaders of Canada, the US, and Mexico have been meeting to secretly expand NAFTA with “deep integration” of a more militarized tri-national Homeland Security force. Taking shape under the radar of the respective governments and without public knowledge or consideration, the SPP—headquartered in Washington— aims to integrate the three nations into a single political, economic and security bloc. The US-guided agenda prioritizes corporate-friendly access to resources, especially Canadian and Mexican oil and water. Exponential expansion of military force is being put in place to “defuse” social discontent arising from loss of sovereignty and corporate seizure of the commons. Connie Fogal of Canadian Action Party says, “The SPP is the hostile takeover of the apparatus of democratic government
a coup d’etat over the government operations of Canada, US and Mexico.”

“The Militarization and Annexation of North America” Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 7/19/07 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6359
“NAFTA: Kicked Up a Notch” Laura Carlsen, Foreign Policy In Focus, 5/23/07
http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4254
“North American Union: The SPP is a “hostile takeover” of democratic government and an end to the Rule of Law” Constance Fogal, Global Research, 8/2/07
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6456

#044 Israel’s Homeland Security Profiteering

Researched by Marie Daghlian and Tim LeDonne

In the midst of chaos and carnage, the Israeli economy is booming, not despite political chaos, but because of it. After 9/11 large parts of Israel’s tech economy were radically repurposed toward the “homeland security” sector. Thirty homeland security companies were launched in the past six months alone, thanks in large part to lavish government subsidies that have transformed the Israeli army and the country’s universities into incubators for security and weapons start-ups. Many of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs are using Israel’s status as a fortressed state, surrounded by furious enemies, as a kind of 24/7 showroom, a living example of how to enjoy relative safety amid constant war. In 2006, Israel exported $3.4 billion in defense products, making it the fourth largest arms dealer in the world, overtaking Britain. The war on terror, the state of constant fear, has created a bottomless global demand for devices that watch, listen, contain and target “suspects.”

“Laboratory for a Fortressed World,” Naomi Klein, the Nation, 2/2/2007
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070702/klein

#055 Palm in Colombia

Researched by Marie Daghlian and Katie Ernest

Colombia has become the largest palm oil producer in the Americas, with 35% of its product exported as bio-fuel. Palm oil plantations are forcing families from their homes as they spread through historically Afro-Colombian lands. From 18,000 hectares in the 1960s to over 300,000 hectares now, the government of Colombia plans for a cultivation of over one million hectares by 2020. Helping planters reach these goals, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funds projects in which rightwing paramilitary members who agree to disarm are given land to cultivate, land often located in historically Afro-Colombian areas. Families are forcibly displaced as the paramilitaries continue armed aggression in the task of protecting plantation investments. Afro-Colombian activists who get in the way pay a price in blood.

“Blood on the Palms,” David Bacon, Dollars and Sense, July/August 2007
http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2007/0707bacon.html

#014 Blocking War Protesters’ Assets

Researched by Jennifer Routh

An Executive Order entitled “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq” provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of US citizens and organizations who oppose US operations in Iraq. In one of the most chilling moves to date against his own citizens, Bush’s order states: “I have issued an Executive Order blocking property of persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq …”
The law furthermore prohibits others from in any way coming to the aid of those whose assets have been seized, and states that, “All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order…”

“Bush Executive Order: Criminalizing the Antiwar Movement” Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 7/20/07
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6377

#028 Mainstreaming Nuclear Waste

Researched by Derek Harmes

Radioactive materials from nuclear weapons production sites are being dumped into regular landfills, and are available for recycling and resale. The Nuclear Information and Resource Service has tracked the DOE’s release of radioactive scrap, concrete, equipment, asphalt, chemicals, soil, etc. to unaware and unprepared recipients such as landfills, commercial businesses and recreation areas. Under the current system, the DOE releases contaminated materials directly, sells them at auctions or through exchanges, or sends the materials to processors who can release them from radioactive controls. The recycling of these materials for reuse in the production of everyday household and personal items, or to build roads, schools, and playgrounds is increasingly common. Indiscriminate dumping is bound to increase as the DOE faces deadlines in its task to “clean up” sites of the nation’s nuclear weapons program and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

“New Report Finds Nuclear Weapons Materials Released to Landfills Pathways Open for Reuse and Recycling” Diane D’Arrigo, NIRS, 5/14/07 http://www.nirs.org/press/05-14-2007/1
“U.S. Allows Radioactive Materials in Ordinary Landfills” ENS, 5/14/07
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2007/2007-05-14-08.asp

#036 Stealthy Dismantling of Social Security

Researched by Jessie Toress and Marie Daghlian

The future of Social Security looks bleak with President Bush’s stealthy appointment of a privatization advocate to a leadership post. Ignoring Democratic objections, Bush took advantage of the congressional recess on April 4, 2007 to appoint Andrew Biggs, an acclaimed advocate of privatizing Social Security accounts, to serve as deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration. Bush had formally nominated Biggs to the post in February, but the Senate Finance Committee refused to consider the nomination,
The recess appointment would allow Biggs to serve without Senate confirmation until the end of the 110th Congress in December 2008. President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and former Congresswoman, Barbara Kennelly contends that Biggs can do irreparable harm as he can “undermine the program from within.”

“Bush appoints Biggs to Social Security post” William Watts, MarketWatch, 4/4/2007
[url=”http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/bush-end-runs-senate-social-security/story.aspx?guid=%7BE3181156-599E-4CA6-ACF5-1156926E89BF%7D” title=”http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/bush-end-runs-senate-social-security/story.aspx?guid=%7BE3181156-599E-4CA6-ACF5-1156926E89BF%7D”]http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/bush-end-runs-senate-social-security/story.aspx?
guid=%7BE3181156-599E-4CA6-ACF5-1156926E89BF%7D[/url]
“National Committee Reacts to Recess Appointment of Andrew Biggs to Social Security Administration” The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare News Release, 4/5/2007
http://www.ncpssm.org/news/archive/recess_appointment_biggs/
“Social security future bleak with Bush’s new appointment bias” Kari Thumlert, Daily Sundial, 5/1/2007
[url=”http://sundial.csun.edu/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticlePrinterFriendly&uStory_id=4dc5d69d-77ca-400a-86e7e506430812de” title=”http://sundial.csun.edu/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticlePrinterFriendly&uStory_id=4dc5d69d-77ca-400a-86e7e506430812de”]http://sundial.csun.edu/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticlePrinterFriendly&
uStory_id=4dc5d69d-77ca-400a-86e7e506430812de[/url]

#026 Postage Hikes Threaten Print Media

Researched by Marie Daghlian and Lindsey Lucia

Freedom of the press is being threatened by a postage rate hike for magazines which took effect in mid July. Under this plan, large magazines’ rate hikes average less than 10% while small independent publications such as Mother Jones and the Nation face rate hikes as much as 20%. USPS had intended an across-the-board hike of 10 to 11 percent, but instead adopted a graduated hike proposed by Time Warner. According to a McGraw Hill estimate, 5,700 publications face increases in the range of 20% and hundreds more will be hit with hikes of 30%. The Nation estimates that postal increases will cost the publication $500,000 per year, enough to close many independent publications that give voice to alternate points of view.

“QUIDDITY: Postage Hikes Threaten Print Media” Z Staff, Z Magazine Online, Vol. 20, No. 6, June 2007
http://zmagsite.zmag.org/June2007/zstaff0607.html
“Media Monopolies Kill”, The Phoenix Online, 7/13/2007
http://thephoenix.com/article_ektid43481.aspx

#136 Chevron is Burmese Regime Lifeline

Researched by Cristine Wilson

While George Bush and Condoleezza Rice make headlines calling for sanctions against the brutal Burmese regime, Chevron plays a vital role as its lifeline. The Burmese regime in partnership with the U.S. multinational oil giant Chevron deliver extracted gas to Thailand through Burma’s Yadana pipeline. It is Yadana and related gas projects that have kept the military regime afloat to buy arms and ammunition and pay its soldiers. The pipeline was built with slave labor, forced into servitude by the Burmese military. The original pipeline partner, Unocal, was sued for use of slave labor. As soon as the suit was settled out of court, Chevron bought Unocal. The U.S. government has had sanctions in place against Burma since 1997. A loophole exists, though, for companies grandfathered in. Unocal’s exemption from the Burma sanctions has been passed on to its new owner, Chevron. Despite the recent brutal crack down, Chevron maintains it has no intention to cut ties.

“Chevron’s Pipeline Is the Burmese Regime’s Lifeline” Amy Goodman, King Features Syndicate, truthdig.com, 10/2/07
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20071002_chevrons_pipeline_is_the_burmese_regimes_lifeline/

#116 Growing US Debt to UN

Researched by Sam Burchard

U.S. debt to U.N. peacekeeping has been growing even as the U.S. affirmatively votes for more and larger U.N. peacekeeping missions. The U.S. has accrued more than one billion dollars in outstanding bills at the U.N. for regular U.N. dues, peacekeeping operations and the capital master plan. Compounding the problem, the U.S. Fiscal Year 2008 budget request of 1.1 billion dollars falls far short of the estimated 2.26 billion dollars that the U.S. will likely be assessed for peacekeeping in 2008. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that U.N. peacekeeping, ‘is more cost-effective than using American forces. And of course America doesn’t have the forces to do all these peacekeeping missions
” [See Censored 2008 Story #12, Massacre in Haiti by UN Troops, for an example of the Orwellian use of the term “Peacekeeping”] Over the last three years, the Security Council has created nine new peacekeeping missions and U.N. peacekeeping forces have tripled in size. The U.N.’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) now fields over 100,000 active duty personnel, making it the world’s second-largest organised military, after only that of the U.S.

“U.N. Peacekeeping Suffers as U.S. Debt Mounts” Mithre J. Sandrasagra, IPS, 9/25/07
http://ipsnorthamerica.net/print.php?idnews=106