Nominations for August 2006

by Project Censored
Published: Last Updated on

in Stories Reviewed in Prior Years

US Oil’s Human Rights Violations Continue in Niger Delta

Reviewed by Kristine Medeiros

Ten years after the execution of writer and human rights activist Ken Sarowiwa and eight fellow activists, new evidence shows that the peoples of the oil-producing Niger Delta continue to face death and devastation at the hands of security forces. A report by Amnesty International reveals how poverty-stricken communities risk collective punishment for protests against actions of the Chevron and Shell oil companies. Based on ten years of injustice, violence, and human rights violations that haunt the Oil Delta, Amnesty International is calling for independent inquiries into these allegations, with findings reported to the public, and those responsible for human rights violations brought to justice.

Nigeria: New Evidence of Human Rights Violations in Oil-Rich Niger Delta, ACLU, Common Dreams, November 2005

Thousands Killed by Death Squads in Iraq

Reviewed by David Abbott

More than 7,000 people have been killed by Iraqi interior ministry death squads in recent months, many showing signs of torture. John Negroponte was the US ambassador in Iraq from June 2004-April 2005—precisely the time Pentagon chiefs were considering the “Salvador option,” the proposal to organize death squads from within US-recruited Iraqi security forces, to target Sunni resistance and their sympathizers. (Negroponte was an interesting choice as ambassador to Iraq. While US ambassador to Honduras 1981-1985, he oversaw CIA recruitment of the infamous death squads from within the Honduran military. During his term civilian deaths soared into the tens of thousands.)

“ IRAQ: Thousands killed by government death squads” Doug Lorimer, GreenLeft, 03/15/06

“ Negroponte’s ‘Serious Setback’” Dahr Jamail, Truthout 03/03/06

Panama Agriculture Minister Resigns Over US Free Trade Proposal

Reviewed by Lindsay San Martin

Panama’s Agriculture Minister Laurentino Cortizo quit his position in response to a proposed US Free Trade agreement to allow lowering of health standards in the flow of agricultural products into Panama. Although in previous talks both countries agreed to follow WTO inspection standards, the US wants to impose its own inspections. Cortizo fears that the lower health criteria would expose the Panamanian people to “catastrophic consequences of plagues and diseases.”

“ Panama agriculture minister resigns over US talks,” Reuters, 01/10/06

IMF Measures Lead to Economic Collapse in Iraq

Reviewed by Bailey Malone

Large scale rioting broke out in Iraq in December 2005 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 soaring 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 oil 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.

“ IMF Measures Wreak Havoc on Iraqi People” James Cogan, World Socialist Web Site 02/21/06

“ IMF Occupies Iraq, Riots Follow” Matthew Rothschild, Progressive 01/03/06

EPA Library Axed

Reviewed by Isaac Dolido

Under Bush’s proposed 2007 budget, the EPA is slated to shut down its network of libraries that serve its own scientists as well as the public. EPA scientists use the libraries to research questions such as the safety of chemicals and the environmental effects of new technologies. EPA enforcement staff use the libraries to obtain technical information to support pollution prosecutions and to track the business histories of regulated industries. “How are EPA scientists supposed to engage in cutting edge research when they cannot find what the agency has already done?” asked PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.

“ Bush Axing Libraries While Pushing for More Research” PEER 02/10/06

Pentagon’s Database on Children

Reviewed by Charlene Jones

A $70.5 million database of over 30 million children and young adults is being used by the Pentagon for recruiting purposes. Parents cannot remove their children’s names from the database. The No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to report data of children in secondary schools to military recruiters. The Pentagon purchases information supplied by private corporations, including General Motors and Hooked on Phonics.
“ Mining for Kids: Children Can’t ‘Opt Out’ of Pentagon Recruitment Database,” Kathryn Casa, Vermont Guardian, 01/17/06

Iraqi Hospitals Under Siege by U.S. Forces

Reviewed by Charlene Jones

Hospitals that are lacking both medical supplies and staff struggle to save the lives of injured civilians despite regular raids by the US military. Medical personnel are apprehended, and hospitals are wrecked and damaged during the incursions. With faulty equipment, power outages, and a 7 p.m. curfew, medical personnel are forced to work in extremely poor conditions.

“ Hospitals Under Siege,” Dahr Jamail and Harb Al-Mukhtar, Z Magazine, 11/29/05

Uncovered Documents Reveal Big Oil Ties to Ecuadorian Military

Reviewed by Isaac Dolido

Declassified contracts reveal that 16 multinational oil companies use the Ecuadorian military like a private army. Occidental Oil built a military base for Ecuadorian troops near a Quichua Indian community. Indigenous communities are being intimated, and have signed over land and future rights to sue in exchange for plates, cups, soccer balls, and modest allotments of food and medicine.

“ Exclusive: Selling the Amazon for a Handful of Beads,” Kelly Hearn, AlterNet, 01/17/06.

Pulp Production in Uruguay Devastates Environment

Reviewed by Nick Ramirez

Mass harvesting of Eucalyptus trees are leeching resources and causing widespread pollution throughout Uruguay. Plantations are draining local wells, and the construction of two paper pulp factories near the Argentine border was postponed after being blockaded by activists. Processing mills have contaminated water and polluted the air. The World Bank and the Inter-American bank fund the pulp industry.

“ Uruguay: Pulp Factions: Uruguay’s Environmentalists v. Big Paper,” Raúl Pierri, CorpWatch, 01/16/06

“ Uruguay: Mixed Reactions to Truce in Pulp Mill War,” Gustavo González, Inter Press Service News Agency, 03/11/06

Peruvians Violated by Pipeline: Ruptured Pipeline in Peru Poisons Indigenous Communities

Reviewed by Nick Ramirez

A $1.6 billion pipeline stretching from the Amazon Jungle to the Peruvian coastline is devastating indigenous communities. Financed by various foreign investors, including Hunt Oil from Texas, shoddy construction has resulted in four ruptures, leaking gas into water resources. Contagious disease from foreign employees of gas companies—including influenza, diarrhea, and syphilis—is spreading into the indigenous population.

“ Rights of Isolated Indigenous Communities Violated by Amazon Pipeline” Ángel Páez, IPS, 03/02/06

“ Bank Rejects Rapid Review of Controversial Pipeline” Emad Mekay, IPS, 03/02/06