Nominations for May 2006

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

in Stories Reviewed in Prior Years

No Disclosure on $Billions for Homeland Security

Reviewed by Nick Ramirez

The details of how $8 billion in Homeland Security funds have been spent remain a mystery to the public. Many states do not reveal specifics on what has been purchased, providing only broad explanations. The purchase of defective equipment by taxpayer dollars is not reported. Colorado has spent $130 million, yet has no Homeland Security plan. State security laws are misinterpreted, says Sen. Hagedorn, resulting in a serious lack of accountability.

“Billions in States’ Homeland Purchases Kept in the Dark,” Eileen Sullivan, CQ, 6/22/05

Cola vs. the People in India

Reviewed by Charlene Jones

After drying wells, poisoning drinking water, and distributing toxic sludge as fertilizer, a Coca-Cola bottling plant in a remote village of India was shut down. The Kerala State Pollution Control Board order was the latest episode in a battle between Coca-Cola and impoverished residents since the company began its $25 million operation in 2001. Pollution control authorities, political parties, the High Court system, and environmental groups became involved as the dispute grew into a global symbol of peoples’ resistance to powerful trans-national corporations trying to snatch water rights.

“Everything Gets Worse With Coca-Cola,” D. Rajeev, IPS, 7/21/05

Dismantling the Internet

Reviewed by Zoe Hoffman

On June 27, 2005, the US Supreme Court ruled that giant cable companies like Comcast and Verizon are not required to share their cables with other Internet service providers. Federal government–from the FCC to the White House–and the media have worked cooperatively to quietly block open access to cyberspace. Mainstream media have censored and covered up Federal moves to commandeer, monopolize, and turn the Internet into an extension of itself. From Fox News to CNN, there has been dead silence as the greatest bastion of democracy in history is being dismantled – and resurrected in the image of AOL.

“Web of Deceit: How Internet Freedom Got the Federal Ax, And Why Corporate News Censored the Story,” Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D, Buzzflash, 6/18/05

Rumsfeld’s Tamiflu Stock

Reviewed by Charlene Jones

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld holds investments valued between $5 million and $25 million in Gilead Sciences, a biotech company he chaired from 1997 until 2001 and the company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the most sought-after influenza remedy in the world. Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, which holds the sole license to manufacture Tamiflu, last year refused to lift its exclusive rights and allow other drug manufacturers to produce the drug. Fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent Gilead’s stock from $35 to $47, making the Pentagon chief—already one of the wealthiest members of the Bush cabinet—at least $1 million richer.

“Rumsfeld’s growing stake in Tamiflu,” Nelson D. Schwartz, CNN, 10/31/05

“Is Avian Flu another Pentagon Hoax?” F. William Engdahl,, 10/30/05

US Controls Colombian Reproductive Rights

Reviewed by Bailey Malone

In Columbia, women can be imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having abortions—300,000 to 450,000 illegal and sometimes fatal procedures take place every year. The US “Mexico City” policy, which denies financial aid to groups that support the right to abortion, is damaging a campaign to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, risk to the mother’s life, or severe deformation of the fetus. Groups that once supported decriminalization are now silenced due to dependence on US funding.

“Colombian Abortion Law Campaign is Undermined by Washington,” Andrew Buncombe, The Independent, 11/13/05

“Colombia: Women Face Prison for Abortion,” Human Rights Watch, 05/27/05

KBR’s Gulf Coast Slaves

Reviewed by Lauren Powell

Authorities are keeping Katrina relief workers ill-informed and unprotected from the health risks of what has been described as a cesspool of toxic chemicals. No government regulations for Katrina responders exist. KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, holds the main contract for Katrina relief work, and while the company maintains it operates legally, hundreds of undocumented immigrants have been hired. Many have been denied promised wages, food and shelter. A period of relaxed labor standards following Katrina created lasting conditions for abuse of workers.
“Gulf Coast Slaves,” Roberto Lovato,, 11/05
“Relief Workers May Be Next Wave of Katrina Victim,s” Michelle Chen, The New Standard, 09/23/05

US Terror Watchlist 80,000 Names Long

Reviewed by Sarah Randle

A watchlist of possible terror suspects distributed by the US government to airlines for pre-flight checks now consists of 80,000 names according to European air industry sources. The classified list carried just 16 names before the September 11, 2001 attacks. Airlines must check each passenger flying to a US destination against the list, and contact the US Department of Homeland Security for further investigation if there is a matching name.

“US terror watchlist 80,000 names long,”, 12/08/05

Air War in Iraq

Reviewed by Sarah Randle

Due to diminishing approval ratings, the Bush administration has decided to reduce the number of soldiers serving in Iraq. A key element in these drawdown plans, not mentioned in the President’s public statements, is that the departing American troops will be replaced by US airpower. Quick, deadly strikes by US warplanes are seen as a way to improve dramatically the combat capabilities of even the weakest Iraqi combat units. While the number of American casualties would decrease as ground troops are withdrawn, the overall level of violence and the number of Iraqi fatalities would increase dramatically.

“Tomgram: Dahr Jamail on the Missing Air War in Iraq,”, 1/06

“Up in the Air,” Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, 11/28/05

Power Plants Go Unregulated

Reviewed by Bailey Malone

In March 2005 the EPA took power plants off the list of sources of toxic pollutants, and instead has created a pollution trading scheme. A resolution challenging the EPA’s cutback of Clean Air Act requirements to reduce mercury emissions failed in the Senate in September. Despite the Senate vote against the resolution, many states continue to lead the way with plans to crack down on mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants.

“Six Senate Democrats Vote to Retain Bush Mercury Rule” BushGreenWatch 9/16/05

“Senate Vote Leaves Women and Children at Risk of Mercury Poisoning,” Sierra Club Press Release, 9/13/05

Threat to Our Forests

Reviewed by David Abbott

The Bush administration has come under attack for dismantling Clinton-era restrictions on road building and logging in nearly 58.5 million acres of the country’s remaining backcountry and undeveloped forests. California, Oregon, and New Mexico have filed a lawsuit against the Bush administration, and a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Reps. Jay Inslee (D-WA) & Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) seeks to restore the rule. During its public comment period, the “Roadless Rule” generated the largest public response in US Forest Service history, with over 90 percent of comments supportive of the ban, while the repeal generated an even greater volume of comment, most of it critical.

“Threats to Our Forests,” National Environmental Trust, 9/05