If you want to know what’s really going on, you should not rely only upon mainstream media sources for your information. The major news channels-print, TV, and radio-are owned and controlled by a handful of corporate giants that have their own agendas. Fortunately, we have the internet and access to unfiltered news. Thanks to Tom Atlee for passing along the following summary of under-reported stories. -t.h.g.
Top Censored Media Stories of 2009
Project Censored specializes in covering the top stories which were
subjected to censorship either by being ignored or downplayed by the
mainstream media each year. Project Censored is a research team
composed of more than 200 university faculty, students, and community
experts who annually review up to 1,000 news story submissions for
content, reliability of sources, and national significance. The top
25 stories selected are submitted to a distinguished panel of judges
who rank them in order of importance. The results are published each
year in an excellent book available for purchase at their website,
amazon.com, and major book stores.
A summary of the top 25 media censorship stories of 2009 provided
below proves quite revealing and most informative. After the headline
of each news story is a link for those who want to read the entire
article. For whatever reason, the major media won’t report these major
stories. Yet thanks to the Internet and wonderful, committed groups
like Project Censored, the news is getting out to those who want to
know. By revealing these examples of media censorship, we can stop
the excessive secrecy and work together for a brighter future. And
don’t miss the section on little-known inspiring stories, too. Please
help to spread the word, and take care.
Top 25 Stories of 2009 Subjected to Media Censorship
1. US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street (For full story, click here)
Americans get the best democracy money can buy, money coming more
than ever today from Wall Street. Since 2001, eight of the most
troubled financial firms have donated $64.2 million to congressional
candidates, presidential candidates and the Republican and Democratic
parties. Is it surprising how much they control them? Influential
House and Senate finance and banking committee members got $5.2
million from bailout recipients like Goldman Sachs, Citibank, AIG,
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and others. In the last election cycle,
Obama received at least $4.3 million from the same institutions. From
1998 – 2007, financial and banking companies spent $1.7 billion on
federal campaign contributions and another $3.4 billion on lobbyists.
In 1999, the Glass-Steagall Act was gutted – the landmark 1933 law
that prevented banks from getting into the insurance business. In
January 2000, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act legitimized
swap agreements and other hybrid instruments, at the core of today’s
problems, by preventing regulatory oversight of derivatives and
leveraging, thus letting Wall Street legally pillage and speculate.
The result was a financial coup d’etat cementing the gradual takeover
of the government by a small class of connected insiders who choose
candidates, control elections, weaken financial regulations, and
basically run the country for their own self-interest. As a result,
Washington today has become largely a subsidiary of the Wall Street
Sources: Truthout/McClatchy, Oct. 2, 2008, “Lax Oversight? Maybe $64
Million to DC Pols Explains It,” by Greg Gordon. Rolling Stone, Mar.
19, 2009, “The Big Takeover,” by Matt Taibbi. OpenSecrets.org, Feb.
10, 2009, “Congressmen Hear from TARP Recipients Who Funded Their
Campaigns,” by Lindsay Renick Mayer.
2. US Schools Are More Segregated Today than in the 1950s (For full
story, click here)
According to a UCLA Civil Rights report, “schools in the US are 44
percent non-white, and … Latinos and blacks, the two largest
minority groups, attend schools more segregated today than during the
civil rights movement forty years ago.” The result is: unequal
education which denies disadvantaged youths access to college and
better jobs; growing numbers of these youths becoming “virtually
unemployable” for anything more than menial labor or the military;
greater vulnerability to future poverty, poor health, gangs, crime,
and prolonged incarceration in America’s vast prison/industrial
complex. The report stresses the need for “leaders who recognize that
we have a common destiny in an America where our children grow up
together, knowing and respecting each other, and are all given the
educational tools that prepare them for success in our society.” The
UCLA Civil Rights Study shows that most severe segregation in public
schools is in the Western states, including California – not in the
South, as many people believe. Eighty-five percent of the nation’s
teachers are white, and little progress is being made toward
diversifying the nation’s teaching force.
Source : The Civil Rights Project, UCLA, January 2009, “Reviving the
Goal of an Integrated Society: A 21st Century Challenge,” by Gary
3. Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates (For full story, click here)
The international community has come out in force to condemn and
declare war on the Somali fishermen pirates, while discreetly
protecting the illegal, unreported and unregulated fleets from around
the world that have been poaching and dumping toxic waste in Somali
waters since the fall of the Somali government eighteen years ago.
Foreign interests have been using hundreds of vessels to loot the
country’s food supply, according to the High Seas Task Force (HSTF),
stealing “an estimated $450 million in seafood from Somali waters
annually” and ruining the livelihoods of Somali fishermen. Somalia
has also been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting
in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there.
Instead of rectifying the problem, the UN passed “aggressive
resolutions that entitle and encourage transgressors to wage war on
Somali pirates.” NATO, the EU, and other countries issued similar
orders. Some say that the acts of piracy may actually be born of
desperation. What is one man’s pirate may be another man’s Coast Guard.
Sources: UK’s Independent, January 5, 2009, “You are being lied to
about pirates,” by Johann Hari. Al Jazeera English, October 11, 2008,
“Toxic waste behind Somali piracy,” by Najad Abdullahi. WardheerNews,
January 8, 2009, “The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the World Ignores
the Other,” by Mohamed Abshir Waldo.
4. Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina (For full story, click here)
North Carolina’s Shearon Harris nuclear plant contains the largest
radioactive waste storage pools in the country. If the cooling system
malfunctions, the resulting fire would be virtually unquenchable and
could trigger a nuclear meltdown. Between 1999 and 2003, there were
twelve major problems requiring the shutdown of the plant. In 2002,
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) put the plant on notice for
nine unresolved safety issues detected. When the NRC returned to the
plant a few months later, it determined that the corrective actions
were “not acceptable.” Between January and July of 2002, Harris plant
managers were forced to manually shut down the reactors four times.
Problems at Shearon Harris continue with chilling regularity. Yet the
NRC ignores the potential risks. A recent study by Brookhaven Labs
estimates that a pool fire could cause 140,000 cancers, contaminate
thousands of square miles of land, and cause over $500 billion in off-
site property damage. The plant is a nuclear time bomb, and millions
in the region are at risk.
Source: CounterPunch, August 9, 2008, “Pools of Fire,” by Jeffrey St.
5. Europe Blocks US Toxic Products (For full story, click here)
Unlike in America, European countries are moving toward a model of
insisting on environmental and consumer safety that requires
assessing thousands of chemicals for their potential toxic effects.
New regulations will mandate that companies seeking market access
eliminate toxic substances and produce safer electronics,
automobiles, toys and cosmetics. Without compliance henceforth, the
products of hundreds of US companies may be excluded from European
markets, and according to Mark Schapiro, author of Exposed: The Toxic
Chemistry of Everyday Products, “only five percent of all chemicals
in the US have undergone even minimal testing.” Further, new EPA
requirements consider the “costs to industry” in assessing threats to
public health as a reason to side with industry and keep regulations
minimal. The divergence between US and European regulation has made
America the dumping ground for toxic toys, electronics and cosmetics.
The US produces and consumes the toxic materials from which other
countries around the world are protected.
Sources: Scientific American, Sep. 30, 2008, “European Chemical
Clampdown Reaches Across Atlantic,” by David Biello. Environmental
Defense Fund, Sep. 30, 2008, “How Europe’s New Chemical Rules Affect
6. Lobbyists Buy Congress (For full story, click here)
In 2008, The Center for Responsive Politics reported that “special
interests paid Washington lobbyists $3.2 billion in 2008,” higher
than any year on record and 13.7% more than 2007. That amounts to
$17.4 million for each day Congress was in session, or $32,523 per
legislator per day. Health interests spent the most for the third
consecutive year, $478.5 million, followed by the FIRE sector
(finance, insurance and real estate) at $453.5 million. It’s a small
investment yielding big returns for these and other industries,
competing at the public trough for as much as they can get. The
payoff is in the billions for some corporations, and for Wall Street
trillions have been pledged, as well as interest free money from the
banker-owned Federal Reserve.
Source: OpenSecrets.org, “Washington Lobbying Grew to $3.2 Billion
Last Year, Despite Economy,” by Center for Responsive Politics.
7. Obama’s Military Appointments Have Corrupted Pasts (For full
story, click here)
After promising not to politicize intelligence and to keep lobbyists
out of top government posts, Obama appointed many former lobbyists
and board members of companies doing business directly with the
Pentagon. He retained Robert Gates as Defense Secretary despite his
history at CIA of having cooked the books for political reasons.
According to Agency insiders who knew him, he “corrupted the
intelligence product” to suit the White House and further his own
self-interest. When Bush nominated him for CIA Director in 1991, a
virtual insurrection among CIA analysts erupted over his penchant for
having politicized intelligence. Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh
states that, despite Gates’ touted memory, he “denied recollection of
facts thirty-three times.” Obama’s Deputy Defense Secretary, William
Lynn, is just as tainted. The former Raytheon vice president and
company lobbyist caused Republican Senator Charles Grassley to object
to his “very questionable accounting practices” as Pentagon
comptroller during the Clinton years. He and Obama’s Undersecretary
of Defense, Robert Hale, who served as Assistant Air Force Secretary
Financial Comptroller under Clinton, are claimed to have lost enough
taxpayer money to pay for Obama’s stimulus plan four times over. They
now again oversee DOD spending. The list goes on. Most of Obama’s
national security team is composed of recycled appointees committed
to continued imperial wars and outlandish amounts of military
spending for them.
Sources: The Hill, November 24, 2008, “Ties to Chevron, Boeing Raise
Concern on Possible NSA Pick,” by Roxana Tiron. Truthout.org/
Consortium News, November 13, 2008, “The Danger of Keeping Robert
Gates,” by Robert Parry. Global Research, February 13, 2009, “Obama’s
Defense Department Appointees – The 3.4 Trillion Dollar Question,” by
8. Bailed Out Banks Cheat IRS Out of Billions (For full story, click
It’s an old story. “Only the little people pay taxes,” according to
former tax cheat Leona Hemsley (1920 – 2007), and rarely does anyone
like her get caught. In 2008, the Government Accountability Office
(GAO) reported that 83 of the top publicly held US companies have
operations in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and the
Virgin Islands. 14 of these companies, including AIG, Bank of
America, and Citigroup, received money from the government bailout.
In addition, Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) helped wealthy clients
cheat the IRS out of over $20 billion in recent years, according to
the Department of Justice. Other notorious tax havens include
Austria, Luxembourg, Singapore, Hong Kong, Monaco, Gibraltar, and the
Bahamas. In 2008, havens like these saved Goldman Sachs billions of
dollars through “changes in (its) geographic earnings mix.” For many
other companies, it’s much the same through legal provisions in the
tax code. According to some estimates, trillions of dollars in both
corporate profits and personal wealth have migrated offshore, and the
offshore banking world now harbors $11.5 trillion in individual
Sources: Bloomberg, December 16, 2008, “Goldman Sachs’s Tax Rate
Drops to 1% or $14 Million,” by Christine Harper. The Huffington
Post, February 23, 2009, “Gimme Shelter: Tax Evasion and the Obama
Administration,” by Thomas B. Edsall.
9. US Arms Used for War Crimes in Gaza (For full story, click here)
For decades, America has supplied Israel, population 7.5 million,
with tens of billions in aid, interest-free loans, and the latest in
new weapons and technology, including illegal white phosphorous
shells used against Gazan civilians during Operation Cast Lead. In
addition, Washington has supplied F-16 fighters, attack helicopters,
tactical missiles, bunker-buster bombs, a wide variety of other
munitions, and undisclosed new weapons for testing in real time
combat situations against Palestinian or other Arab civilians. In
Gaza, shell fragments revealed names of US defense contractors,
including Raytheon. Another was marked the Pine Bluff Arsenal in
Arkansas. In shocking support for Israel’s questionable attacks, and
in violation of international and US law, both Houses of Congress
overwhelmingly endorsed the continued aggression. Obama stayed silent
on the subject in the run-up to his January 20 inauguration.
Sources: Human Rights Watch, Mar. 25, 2009, “White Phosphorus Use
Evidence of War Crimes Report,” Fred Abrahams. Guardian, Feb. 23,
2009, “Suspend Military Aid to Israel, Amnesty Urges Obama,” Rory
McCarthy. Inter Press Service, Jan. 8, 2009, “US Weaponry Facilitates
Killings in Gaza,” Thalif Deen. Consortium News, Jan. 18, 2009, “Is
Israel’s Gaza War a New War Crime?” by Dennis Bernstein. Foreign
Policy Journal, Jan. 09, 2009, “US Senate Endorses Israel’s War on
Gaza,” by Jeremy R. Hammond.
10. Ecuador Declares Foreign Debt Illegitimate (Full story here)
In November 2008, Ecuador became the first country to undertake an
examination of the legitimacy and structure of its foreign debt. In
violation of Ecuadorian law, predatory international lenders were
involved in hundreds of illegitimate irregularities. Billions in
foreign debt at exorbitant interest rates resulted in debt service
far exceeding the principal borrowed, and at a staggering human cost.
In December, President Rafael Correa announced his country would
default. In April 2009, he was re-elected overwhelmingly. Ecuador
exposed the corrupted international finance system in a way that
could set a precedent for the poorest of indebted countries. Correa
asked other Latin American nations “to forge a united response, (and
for) the United Nations to help develop international norms to
regulate the foreign debt market.” The April 2008 House passed
Jubilee Act was a positive step forward. However, the Senate failed
to pass its S. 2166 version, then cleared the legislation from its
books. In June 2009, Ecuador agreed with 91% of its creditors to pay
35 cents on the dollar for its debt. Other countries may now follow
suit, especially those most impacted by the global economic crisis.
Sources: Alternet, Nov. 26, 2008, “Ecuador Declares Foreign Debt
Illegitimate and Illegal,” by Daniel Denvir. Utube, Fall 2008,
“Invalid Loans to Ecuador: Who Owes Who,” by Committee for the
Integral Audit of Public Credit. Institute for Policy Studies, Dec.
15, 2008, “Ecuador’s Debt Default,” by Neil Watkins, Sarah Anders.
Other Media Censorship Stories in the Top 25
11. Private Corporations Profit from the Occupation of Palestine (For
full story, click here)
US, Israeli, and other international corporations profit from the
occupation of Palestine. They lead real estate deals, develop Israeli
settlements and infrastructure, and help solidify the continued land
theft, economic exploitation, and apartheid separation of Muslims and
Jews, in violation of international law.
12. Mysterious Death of Mike Connell – Karl Rove’s Election Thief
(For full story, click here)
As Karl Rove’s chief IT consultant, Connell was a key figure in 2004
election manipulations for George Bush. Under subpoena to testify on
his role in Ohio, he died mysteriously in a Dec. 19, 2008 plane
crash. IT expert Stephen Spoonamore, a conservative Republican,
explained how Connell’s vote tabulation system worked. “It allowed
(for) the introduction of an additional single computer between
computer A and computer B.” The centralized collection of all
incoming statewide results made it easy for a single operator, or a
preprogrammed computer to change the results in any way desired by
the team controlling the inserted computer.
13. Katrina’s Hidden Race War (For full story, click here)
After Hurricane Katrina, a Nation magazine report explained that
“white vigilante groups patrolled the streets of New Orleans …
shooting at least eleven African American men.” Falsely portrayed as
looters and thugs, they were gunned down in cold blood by “gun-toting
white males,” yet city police didn’t intervene or investigate. In
addition, Blackwater mercenaries were deployed in New Orleans right
after the storm. In full battle gear, they terrorized black
residents, removed them from choice areas for development, and
assured they didn’t return.
14. Congress Invested in Defense Contracts (For full story, click here)
According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, over 151
congressional members have invested up to $195 million in major
defense contractors, thus profiting from America’s imperial wars.
Major investors include: Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) – $49.1
million; Senator John Kerry (D-MA) – $38.2 million; Rep. Robin Hayes
(R-NC) – $37.1 million; Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) – $8.4 million; Rep.
James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) – $7.6 million; Rep. Jane Harmon (D-CA) –
$6.3 million; and Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) – $5.8 million.
15. World Bank’s Carbon Trade Fiasco (For full story, click here)
On the pretext of environmental protection, the World Bank is
brokering carbon emission trading arrangements that destroy
indigenous farmlands around the world and do little to cut pollution
or reduce the threat of climate change. The scheme is similar to
Obama’s cap and trade bill (HR 2454: American Clean Energy and
Security Act) that lets corporate polluters reap huge windfall
profits by charging consumers more for energy and fuel.
16. US Repression of Haiti Continues (For full story, click here)
The US government plans to demolish the homes of hundreds of Haitians
to expand an occupying UN force’s military base. The New York Times
has also published a revealing article titled “Rights Groups Assail
US for Withholding Aid to Haiti, Citing Political Motives.” The Bush
administration may have caused the deaths of thousands of Haitians by
blocking aid for cynical and self-interested political purposes.
17. The ICC Facilitates US Covert War in Sudan (For full story, click
Huge potential oil reserves explain the significance of Darfur.
Washington’s genocide claim is exaggerated for political purposes.
It’s part of America’s chess game with China for control of the
region’s resources. Beijing already gets up to 30% of its oil from
Africa. Under cover from International Criminal Court’s fraudulent
indictment of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and
other contrived reasons, America has exploited the region militarily
for geopolitical advantage.
18. Ecuador’s Constitutional Rights of Nature (For full story, click
In September 2008, Ecuador became the first country ever to declare
constitutional rights to nature, thus codifying a new system of
environmental protection. Its Constitution declares nature “has the
right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles,
structure, functions and its processes in evolution.” Ecuador’s
Rights of Nature hold hope that other nations may adopt them and
start to more fully protect the environment.
19. Bank Bailout Recipients Spent to Defeat Labor (For full story,
After receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, Bank of America
organized opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) –
legislation to guarantee workers the right to bargain more fairly and
collectively with management. Business is firmly opposed. On March
10, S. 560: Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 was introduced in the
Senate. It was referred to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Committee where it’s pending. Given the Obama administration’s
opposition, its passage looks doubtful.
20. Secret Control of the Presidential Debates (For full story, click
Since 1987, the Republican and Democrat-controlled Commission on
Presidential Debates (CPD) has run the process, dictates terms, and
excludes unwanted participants. During the 2008 presidential cycle,
the Obama and McCain teams secretly cut a deal on who could
participate, permissible topics, and the debate format structure.
Before he died, Walter Cronkite called the CPD an “unconscionable
21. Recession Causes States to Cut Welfare (For full story, click here)
Faced with huge budget shortfalls and little help from Washington,
states have been forced to make major expenditure cuts, many
affecting vital social services, including health care, education,
and welfare. Yet cutting Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
(TANF) began prior to the present crisis so funds could be redirected
to other priorities. Nationally, welfare rolls dropped over 40%
between 2001 and June 2008, and in some states, like Georgia, up to
90%. America’s social safety net is fast disappearing.
22. Obama’s Trilateral Commission Team (For full story, click here)
Obama appointed 11 members of the Trilateral Commission (TC) to top
positions in his administration in his first ten days in office. He
was groomed for the presidency by key TC members. Zbigniew
Brzezinski, co-founder of the TC with David Rockefeller in 1973, has
been Obama’s principal foreign policy advisor. Since the Carter
administration, Trilateralists have held the following very
influential positions: six of the last eight World Bank presidents;
all presidents and vice-presidents of the US (except Obama and
Biden); over half of all US secretaries of state; and three quarters
of the secretaries of defense. The original stated purpose of the TC
was to create a “new international economic order.” For more on
powerful secret societies, click here.
23. Activists Slam World Water Forum as a Corporate-Driven Fraud (For
full story, click here)
Organized every three years since 1997, activists have blasted the
World Water Forum as a corporate trade show promoting privatization
of water. The Forum’s main organizer, the World Water Council (WWC),
is dominated by two of the world’s largest water companies, Suez and
Veolia. WWC promotes expensive and destructive dam and water
diversion projects, as well as putting water services in private
hands through the establishment of Public-Private Partnerships
(PPPs). The result has been huge price hikes, water pollution,
depletion, and cut-offs that deny people the right to water if they
can’t pay the exorbitant cost.
24. Dollar Glut Finances US Military Expansion (For full story, click
Economist Michael Hudson first addressed this topic in his 1972 book,
“Super Imperialism,” updated in a 2003 edition. He revisited it in an
award-winning article which explained the inter-related dynamics of:
surplus US dollars pouring into the rest of the world for financial
speculation and corporate takeovers; global central banks recycling
these dollar inflows into US Treasury bonds to finance the federal
budget deficit; and most important (but suppressed in the US media),
the military character of the US payments deficit.
25. Fast Track Oil Exploitation in Western Amazon (For full story,
Home to the world’s most biodiverse and intact rainforest, the
Western Amazon may soon be covered with oil rigs and pipelines. Vast
parts of of this region will be opened for oil and gas exploration,
putting some of the planet’s most pristine and biodiverse forests at
Stories of Inspiration and Hope
Project Censored also presents inspiring stories that didn’t receive
the coverage they deserved. Below are key examples from the year 2009.
* Evidence that the human brain is hardwired to reward caring,
cooperation, and service.
* Community banks functioning as an alternative to Wall Street giants.
* The Common Good Bank model distributing profits back to the
community and making all lending and spending decisions through
* Canada’s Stephen Harper led government apologizing for the
treatment of native peoples.
* Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) introducing a bill to strengthen
federal whistleblower protections.
* New York grassroots organizers and volunteers using the state’s
fusion voting laws to win over citizens for higher wages, fair taxes,
affordable housing, civil rights, and campaign finance reform.
* Pro-Israeli groups like Americans for Peace Now (APN) and J Street
calling for an immediate cease fire in Gaza during Operation Cast
Lead last December and January.
* A federal appeals court telling the EPA that its pollutants
standards are “contrary to law and unsupported by adequately reasoned
* Urban farms becoming an important resource for providing cheap,
local amounts of food for growing numbers of people.
* The US Conference of Mayors voting to encourage municipal water
use over high-cost corporate sources.
* Congress approving a massive public lands bill to protect two
million acres of wilderness in nine states and 1,000 miles of rivers.
* Ireland and the province of British Columbia, Canada banning
* Brazil pledging to reduce deforestation by 70% over the next decade.
* The Pathway to Housing program calling for a “housing first”
approach to address chronic homelessness.
* A Latin American commission challenging the efficacy of the war on
drugs and calling for a new paradigm.
* America becoming the world’s largest wind-energy producer.
* Portugal building the world’s largest solar photovoltaic farm to
supply enough electricity for 30,000 homes.
* Rising investment levels being made in renewable energy.
Note: Thanks to Stephen Lendman at www.globalresearch.ca for his work in compiling parts of this summary.