Nominations for April 2006

by Project Censored
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in Stories Reviewed in Prior Years

2007 Federal Budget Proposes Social Security Privatization

Reviewed by David Abbott

Bush quietly slipped privatization of Social Security into the 2007 federal budget despite overwhelming public rejection of the idea. The plan would siphon $700 billion from the existing Social Security system, within the first seven years, to pay for setting up private accounts. Individual funds would be set aside for investment in the stock market starting in 2009. Additionally 1,900 Social Security administration positions would be cut and benefits reduced by $6.3 billion over the ten-year budget period.

Journalists targeted under Espionage Act of 1917

Reviewed by Isaac Dolido

Journalists and their confidential government sources could find themselves facing espionage charges in a Bush Administration crackdown on media leaks. FBI agents are conducting investigations and polygraph interviews with employees of federal intelligence agencies to identify leaks that led to media coverage of secret CIA prisons, and the warrantless surveillance of US citizens by the National Security Agency. The Justice Department recently argued that journalists and their government sources can be prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917.

India turns away toxic aircraft carrier

Reviewed by Nick Ramirez

Plans to ship-break a decommissioned French aircraft carrier came to a halt after India’s Supreme Court denied the ship entry. The dismantlement met fierce resistance from environmental activists and Indian trade unions as the ship would release an estimated 500 to 1,000 tons of asbestos, PCBs, contaminated oils, mercury, cadmium, lead, and toxic sludge into the India’s Alang shipyard. The aircraft carrier Clemenceau is a litmus test for shipment of banned toxics from rich countries to poor countries, as many of the world’s 150 such toxic warships are currently in line for dismantling.

IMF measures lead to economic collapse in Iraq

Reviewed by Bailey Malone

Large scale rioting broke out in Iraq in December as a result of IMF insistence on lifting fuel subsidies and privatizing state-owned companies in exchange for loans. The immediate impact of IMF measures was a 500 percent rise in the cost of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene. The broader impact is souring inflation on all consumer goods. The main cause of Iraq’s budgetary crisis is the collapse of oil exports. Oil production has dropped 50 percent since the US occupation. Iraq must now import at world market prices. Riots erupted in Iraq as a result of the IMF-induced economic collapse two months prior to the February bombing of the Shiite mosque, which has since been blamed for an outbreak of sectarian based “civil war.”

Last days of the Ocean?

Reviewed by Charlene Jones

Oceanic problems once found on a local scale are now pandemic. Data from physical oceanography, marine biology, meteorology, fisheries science, and glaciology assert the seas are changing in every way. The world ocean is growing warmer and atmospheric litter has altered its chemistry radically. Thousands of toxic compounds poison marine creatures and devastate propagation, creating dead zones and laying waste to coastal nurseries, coral reefs and kelp forests. Reckless fishing practices have ramped up, dredged ocean bottoms, and driven species toward extinction. Human failure in governance of the world’s largest public domain threatens critical elements of the global life-support system.

US recruits Peruvians for Iraq

Reviewed by Lindsay San Martin

Private US military contractors are hiring and training Peruvians to work as security personnel in Iraq. Due to Peru’s depressed economy, former solders and police officers are all too willing to sign a one-year contract with a salary of $35 per day, despite the risk. The 380 Peruvians already flown to Iraq will provide private security in Baghdad’s “Green Zone”, where most rebel attacks occur. The contract states that neither the contracting firm, Triple Canopy, nor the U.S. government are responsible in case of employee injury or death in the line of duty.

Toxic rocket fuel in bodies of most Americans

Reviewed by Nick Ramirez

The Bush Administration is delaying the release of a study showing that most Americans carry toxic rocket fuel in their bodies. Perchlorate, the explosive compound in solid rocket fuel, is a thyroid toxin that can disrupt normal growth and development in fetuses, infants and children. Perchlorate has contaminated drinking water, soil and food sources across the country, with most of the contamination coming from military bases and defense contractors.

14,000 detained in Iraq without charges

Reviewed by David Abbott

US and UK led forces have detained 14,000 people without charges or trial in Iraq according to an Amnesty International report. Approximately 3,800 have been held for over one year, and another 200 for more than two years, in detentions that appear to be arbitrary and indefinite. Amnesty further reports of torture and resulting death of detainees in Iraq at the hands of Iraqi security forces.,,1724837,00.html

Studies reveal GM foods pose serious human health threat

Reviewed by Bailey Malone
A clutch of recent studies are reviving fears that GM food damages human health. Research by the Russian Academy of Sciences found a mortality rate for new-born rats six times higher when mothers were fed a diet of GM soy; Montsanto research shows that rats fed GM corm developed abnormalities in blood and kidneys; Italian research found that modified soy affected the liver and pancreas of mice; and Australia abandoned a decade-long attempt to develop GM peas when an official study concluded they caused lung damage.

UN defends Shoshone Nation

Reviewed by Lindsay San Martin

The UN High Commission on Human Rights sternly rebuked the US government for civil and human rights violations against the Western Shoshone Nation. In the first UN decision to specifically target US policy toward Native Americans, the US government was urged to halt any plans to appropriate Western Shoshone territory for private development or environmentally destructive government projects. The disputed territory is not only viewed as prime real estate for the mining industry and geothermal energy development, but is also the site of over 1,000 nuclear bomb tests and contains Yucca Mountain, where the DoE aims to build the highly controversial nuclear waste repository.