Top Censored News Stories of 2007
Project Censored specializes in covering the top news stories which were either 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 review about 1,000 news story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources, and national significance. The top 25 stories selected are submitted to a distinguished panel of judges who then 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 most major book stores.
A brief summary of last year's top 25 censored news stories 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. These links contain the sources for the censored news. For whatever reason the major media won't report these major stories. 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 censored news stories, we can stop the excessive secrecy and work together to build a brighter future. Please help to spread the word, and have a great day!
TOP 25 NEWS STORIES OF 2007 BY PROJECT CENSORED
#1 No Habeas Corpus for "Any Person" (For full story, click here)
With the approval of Congress and no outcry from corporate media, the Military Commissions Act (MCA) signed by Bush on October 17, 2006, ushered in military commission law for US citizens and non-citizens alike. While media, including a lead editorial in the New York Times October 19, have given false comfort that we, as American citizens, will not be the victims of the draconian measures legalized by this Act–such as military roundups and life-long detention with no rights or constitutional protections–Robert Parry points to text in the MCA that allows for the institution of a military alternative to the constitutional justice system for "any person" regardless of American citizenship. The MCA effectively does away with habeas corpus rights for "any person" arbitrarily deemed to be an "enemy of the state." The judgment on who is deemed an "enemy combatant" is solely at the discretion of President Bush. While it is true that some parts of the MCA target non-citizens, other sections clearly apply to US citizens as well, putting citizens inside the same tribunal system with non-citizen residents and foreigners. Besides allowing "any person" to be swallowed up by Bush's system, the law prohibits detainees once inside from appealing to the traditional American courts until after prosecution and sentencing, which could translate into an indefinite imprisonment since there are no timetables for Bush's tribunal process to play out. Other constitutional protections in the Bill of Rights, such as a speedy trial, the right to reasonable bail, and the ban on "cruel and unusual punishment," would seem to be beyond a detainee's reach as well.
Source: "Who Is 'Any Person' in Tribunal Law?", Robert Parry, ConsortiumNews.com, October 19, 2006. (Click here for article)
#2 Bush Moves Toward Martial Law (For full story, click here)
The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, which was quietly signed by Bush on October 17, 2006, the very same day that he signed the Military Commissions Act, allows the president to station military troops anywhere in the United States and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder." By revising the two-century-old Insurrection Act, the law in effect repeals the Posse Comitatus Act, which placed strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. As the only US criminal statute that outlaws military operations directed against the American people, it has been our best protection against tyranny enforced by martial law–the harsh system of rules that takes effect when the military takes control of the normal administration of justice. Historically martial law has been imposed by various governments during times of war or occupation to intensify control of populations in spite of heightened unrest. In modern times it is most commonly used by authoritarian governments to enforce unpopular rule. Author Frank Morales notes that despite the unprecedented and shocking nature of this act, there has been no outcry in the American media, and little reaction from our elected officials in Congress.
Source: "Bush Moves Toward Martial Law", Frank Morales, TowardFreedom.com, October 25, 2006. (Click here for article)
# 3 AFRICOM: US Military Control of Africa's Resources (For full story, click here)
In February 2007 the White House announced the formation of the US African Command (AFRICOM), a new unified Pentagon command center in Africa, to be established by September 2008. This military penetration of Africa is being presented as a humanitarian guard in the Global War on Terror. The real objective is, however, the procurement and control of Africa's oil and its global delivery systems. The most significant and growing challenge to US dominance in Africa is China. The political implication of an economically emerging Africa in close alliance with China is resulting in a new cold war in which AFRICOM will be tasked with achieving full-spectrum military dominance over Africa. AFRICOM will replace US military command posts in Africa, which were formerly under control of US European Command (EUCOM) and US Central Command (CENTCOM), with a more centralized and intensified US military presence. A context for the pending strategic role of AFRICOM can be gained from observing CENTCOM in the Middle East. CENTCOM grew out of the Carter Doctrine of 1980 which described the oil flow from the Persian Gulf as a "vital interest" of the US, and affirmed that the US would employ "any means necessary, including military force" to overcome an attempt by hostile interests to block that flow. It is in Western and Sub-Saharan Africa that the US military force is most rapidly increasing, as this area is projected to become as important a source of energy as the Middle East within the next decade. In this region, challenge to US domination and exploitation is coming from the people of Africa–most specifically in Nigeria, where seventy percent of Africa's oil is contained.
Source: "Understanding AFRICOM", Bryan Hunt, MoonOfAlabama.org, February 21, 2007. (Click here for article)
# 4 Frenzy of Increasingly Destructive Trade Agreements (For full story, click here)
The Oxfam report, "Signing Away the Future," reveals that the US and European Union (EU) are vigorously pursuing increasingly destructive regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements outside the auspices of the WTO. These agreements are requiring enormous irreversible concessions from developing countries, while offering almost nothing in return. The US and EU are demanding unprecedented tariff reductions, sometimes to nothing, as the US and EU dump subsidized agricultural goods on undeveloped countries, plunging local farmers into desperate poverty. Meanwhile the US and EU provide themselves with high tariffs and stringent import quotas to protect their own producers. Unprecedented loss of livelihood, displacement, slave labor, along with spiraling degradation of human rights and environments are resulting as economic governance is forced from governments of developing countries, and taken over by unaccountable multinational firms. During 2006, more than one hundred developing countries were involved in FTA or Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) negotiations. "An average of two treaties are signed every week," the report says. "Virtually no country, however poor, has been left out." Much of the recent debate and controversy over trade negotiations has revolved around the increasingly devastating trade-distorting practices of rich countries versus the developing countries' needs for food security and industrial development. The new generation of agreements, however, extends far beyond this traditional area of trade policy – imposing a damaging set of binding rules in intellectual property, services, and investment with much deeper consequences for development and impacts on the poor.
Source: "Signing Away The Future", Oxfam International, March 2007. (Click here for article)
#5 Human Traffic Builds US Embassy in Iraq (For full story, click here)
The enduring monument to US liberation and democracy in Iraq will be the most expensive and heavily fortified embassy in the world – and it is being built by a Kuwaiti contractor repeatedly accused of using forced labor trafficked from South Asia under US contracts. The $592 million, 104-acre fortress [is] equal in size to Vatican City. With a highly secretive contract awarded by the US State Department, First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting [FKTC] has joined the ranks of Halliburton/KBR in Iraq by using bait-and-switch recruiting practices. Thousands of citizens from countries that have banned travel [to] or work in Iraq are being tricked, smuggled into brutal and inhumane labor camps, and subjected to months of forced servitude – all in the middle of the US-controlled Green Zone, "right under the nose of the US State Department." Though Associated Press reports that, "The 5,500 Americans and Iraqis working at the embassy are far more numerous than at any other US mission worldwide," there is no mention in corporate media of the 3,000 South Asian laborers working for contractors in dangerous and abysmal living and working conditions. FKTC has procured several billion dollars in US construction contracts since the war began in March 2003. Much of its work is performed by cheap labor hired from South Asia. The company currently employs an estimated 7,500 foreign laborers in theaters of war. American FKTC employees report having witnessed the issuance of false boarding passes to Dubai, and passport seizure from planeloads of South Asian workers, who were instead routed to war-torn Baghdad. Former US Embassy construction manager for FKTC, John Owen, disclosed ... that the deception had all the appearance of smuggling workers into Iraq.
Source: "A US Fortress Rises in Baghdad: Asian Workers Trafficked to Build World's Largest Embassy", David Phinney, CorpWatch.org, October 17, 2007. (Click here for article) For a highly revealing Times of London article on this: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2162249,00.html.
#6 Operation FALCON Raids (For full story, click here)
Under the code name Operation FALCON (Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally) three federally coordinated mass arrests occurred between April 2005 and October 2006. In an unprecedented move, more than 30,000 "fugitives" were arrested in the largest dragnets in the nation's history. The operations directly involved over 960 agencies (state, local, and federal) and were the brainchild of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and US Marshal's Director Ben Reyna. The DoJ supplied television networks [with] action videotape of Marshals and local cops raiding homes and breaking down doors, "targeting the worst of the worst criminals on the run," emphasizing suspected sex offenders. Yet less than ten percent of the total 30,150 were suspected sex offenders and less than two percent owned firearms. The press has not asked, "Who were the others?" And to date, the US Marshal's office has issued no public statement as to whether the people arrested in Operation Falcon have been processed or released. Author Mike Whitney cautions that Attorney General Gonzales has little interest in the petty offenders who were netted in this extraordinary crackdown. This action is instead, he warns, a practice roundup in the move toward martial law. Altogether, there were three FALCON Operations, each netting roughly 10,000 criminal suspects. Between April 4–10, 2005, FALCON I swept up 10,340 fugitives in the largest nationwide mass arrest (to that date) in American history. Operation FALCON II, carried out the week of April 17–23, 2006, arrested another 9,037 individuals from twenty-seven states mostly west of the Mississippi River. Operation FALCON III, conducted during the week of October 22–28, 2006, netted another 10,733 fugitives in twenty-four states east of the Mississippi River.
Source: "Operation Falcon", Brenda J. Elliot, SourceWatch.org, November 18, 2006. (Click here for article)
#7 Behind Blackwater Inc. (For full story, click here)
The company that most embodies the privatization of the military industrial complex ... is the private security firm Blackwater [Worldwide]. Blackwater is the most powerful mercenary firm in the world, with 20,000 soldiers, the world's largest private military base, a fleet of twenty aircraft, including helicopter gunships, and a private intelligence division. The firm is also manufacturing its own surveillance blimps and target systems. Blackwater is headed by a very right-wing Christian-supremist and ex-Navy Seal named Erik Prince, whose family has had deep neo-conservative connections. Bush's latest call for voluntary civilian military corps to [augment] the "surge" will add to over half a billion dollars in federal contracts with Blackwater, allowing Prince to create a private army to defend Christendom around the world against Muslims and others. One of the last things Dick Cheney did before leaving office as Defense Secretary under George H. W. Bush was to commission a Halliburton study on how to privatize the military bureaucracy. That study effectively created the groundwork for a continuing war profiteer bonanza. During the Clinton years, Erik Prince envisioned a project that would take advantage of anticipated military outsourcing. Blackwater began in 1996 as a private military training facility, with an executive board of former Navy Seals and Elite Special Forces, in the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina. A decade later it is the most powerful mercenary firm in the world.
Source: "Our Mercenaries in Iraq: Blackwater Inc and Bush's Undeclared Surge", Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! January 26, 2007. (Click here for article)
#8 KIA: The US Neoliberal Invasion of India (For full story, click here)
Farmers' cooperatives in India are defending the nation's food security and the future of Indian farmers against the neoliberal invasion of genetically modified (GM) seed. As many as 28,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide over the last decade as a result of debt incurred from failed GM crops and competition with subsidized US crops. When India's Prime Minister Singh met with President Bush in March 2006, [they] signed the Indo-US Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA). The KIA allows for the grab of India's seed sector by Monsanto, of its trade sector by giant agribusiness ADM and Cargill, and its retail sector by Wal-Mart. Though the contours of KIA have been kept so secret that neither senior Indian politicians nor the scientific community know its details, it is clear that Prime Minister Singh has agreed to sacrifice India's agriculture sector to pay for US concessions in the nuclear field. Vandana Shiva [explains], "These are twin programs about a market grab and a security alignment." What the US is really seeking is agricultural markets and real estate markets, "to take over the land of people, not through a market mechanism, but using the state and an old colonial law of land acquisition to grab the land by force." Through KIA, Monsanto and the US have asked for unhindered access to India's gene banks, along with a change in India's intellectual property laws to allow patents on seeds and genes, and to dilute provisions that protect farmers' rights. [This] will in essence deliver India's genetic wealth into US hands [and] would be a severe blow to India's food security and self-sufficiency.
Source: "Vandana Shiva on Farmer Suicides, the US-India Nuclear Deal, Wal-Mart in India", Vandana Shiva with Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! December 13, 2006. (Click here for article) For more on the suppression of scientific evidence revealing the dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
#9 Privatization of America's Infrastructure (For full story, click here)
We will soon be paying Wall Street investors, Australian bankers, and Spanish contractors for the privilege of driving on American roads, as more than twenty states have enacted legislation allowing public-private partnerships to build and run highways. Investment firms including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and the Carlyle Group are approaching state politicians with advice to sell off public highway and transportation infrastructure. When advising state officials on the future of this vital public asset, these investment firms fail to mention that their sole purpose is to pick up infrastructure at the lowest price possible in order to maximize returns for their investors. Investors, most often foreign companies, are charging tolls and insisting on "noncompete" clauses that limit governments from expanding or improving nearby roads. In 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which called for the federal and state governments to build 41,000 miles of high-quality roads across the nation ... in what would later be called the "greatest public works project in human history." Eisenhower considered the interstate highway system so vital to the public interest that he authorized the federal government to assume 90 percent of the massive cost. Fifty years later, states are selling off our nation's enormous, and aging, infrastructure to private investors. Opponents are lambasting these plans as a major turn toward handing the nation's valuable common asset over to private firms whose fidelity is to stockholders – not to the public transportation system or the people who use it.
Source: "The Highwaymen", Daniel Schulman with James Ridgeway, Mother Jones magazine, February 2007. (Click here for article)
# 10 Vulture Funds Threaten Poor Nations' Debt Relief (For full story, click here)
Vulture funds, otherwise known as "distressed-debt investors," are undermining UN and other global efforts to relieve impoverished Third World nations of the debt that has burdened them for many decades. Vulture funds are financial organizations that buy up debts that are near default or bankruptcy. The vulture fund will pay the original investor pennies on the dollar for the debt and then approach the debtor to arrange a better repayment on the loan, or will go after the debtor in court. In the private financial world, these funds, like the birds they are named for, provide a useful function for investors who are unable to follow up on defaulted debts and are themselves facing financial ruin if the debtor reneges entirely. Under normal circumstances, distressed-debt investing–like day trading–is risky business. It is a gamble and the company knows that going in. The vulture fund may get nothing for its investment if the debtor continues to default and has no assets to attach. However, if there is still meat on the bones (the debtor has considerable assets to liquidate) the vulture fund can make millions. A problem has arisen in recent years, however, as vulture funds have begun inserting themselves into an increasingly globalized "free market"–where no distinction is made between an irresponsible and defaulted company and a destitute and impoverished nation. In the case of nations, the actions of vulture funds are corrupting the process begun in 1996 to provide debt relief for Third World nations struggling to emerge from the heavy debt laid upon them by previous corrupt rulers and colonial masters.
Source: "Vulture Fund Threat to Third World", Greg Palast with Meirion Jones, BBC Newsnight, February 14, 2007. (Click here for article)
# 11 The Scam of "Reconstruction" in Afghanistan (For full story, click here)
"Phantom aid" that never shows up in Afghanistan is a scam in which paychecks for overpriced, and often incompetent, American "experts" under contract to USAID go directly from the Agency to American bank accounts.
Source: "Why It's Not Working in Afghanistan", Ann Jones, Tomdispatch.com, August 27, 2006. (Click here for article)
# 12 Another Massacre in Haiti by UN Troops (For full story, click here)
Eyewitness testimony confirms indiscriminate killings by UN forces in Haiti's Cité Soleil community on December 22, 2006, during a demonstration in which about ten thousand people rallied for the return of President Aristide in clear condemnation of the foreign military occupation of their country.
Source: "UN in Haiti: Accused of Second Massacre", Haiti Information Project, HaitiAction.net, January 21, 2007. (Click here for article)
# 13 Immigrant Roundups to Gain Cheap Labor for US Corporate Giants (For full story, click here)
In the wake of 9/11, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has conducted workplace and home invasions across the country in an attempt to round up "illegal" immigrants. The real goal of these actions is to disrupt the immigrant work force in the US and replace it with a tightly regulated non-union guest-worker program.
Source: "Which Side Are You On?", David Bacon, Truthout.org, January 27, 2007. (Click here for article)
# 14 Impunity for US War Criminals (For full story, click here)
A provision of the Military Commission Act (MCA) redefines torture, removing the harshest techniques from the definition of war crimes, and exempts the perpetrators –- both interrogators and their bosses – from prosecution for such offences dating back to November 1997.
Source: "A Senate Mystery Keeps Torture Alive–and Its Practitioners Free", Jeff Stein, Congressional Quarterly, November 22, 2006. (Click here for article)
# 15 Toxic Exposure Can Be Transmitted to Future Generations on a "Second Genetic Code" (For full story, click here)
New evidence about how genes interact with the environment suggests that the effects of toxic exposure may be passed on through generations, in ways that are still not fully understood.
Source: "Some Chemicals are More Harmful Than Anyone Ever Suspected", Peter Montague, Rachel's Democracy & Health News, October 12, 2006. (Click here for article)
#16 No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11 (For full story, click here)
Osama bin Laden's role in the events of September 11, 2001 is not mentioned on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" poster. When questioned about this shocking omission, Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI, responded, "The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama bin Laden's Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11." Special Note: Since this information spread widely on the Internet in 2006 and 2007, the FBI has add Bin Laden to their list.
Source: "FBI says, 'No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11'", Ed Haas, The Muckraker Report, June 6, 2006, and Ithaca Journal, June 29, 2006. (Click here for article)
# 17 Drinking Water Contaminated by Military and Corporations (For full story, click here)
Despite the federal government's avowed commitment "to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters," corporations, municipalities, and the US military pollute our waters -– often with little or no accountability.
Source: "Factories, Cities Across USA Exceed Water Pollution Limits", Sunny Lewis, Environment News Service, March 24, 2006. (Click here for article)
# 18 Mexico's Stolen Election (For full story, click here)
Overwhelming evidence reveals massive fraud in the 2006 Mexican presidential election between "president-elect" Felipe Calderón of the conservative PAN party and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the more liberal PRD. In an election riddled with "arithmetic mistakes," a partial recount uncovered evidence of abundant stuffing and stealing of ballots that favored the PAN victory.
Source: "Evidence of Election Fraud Grows in México", Chuck Collins and Joshua Holland, AlterNet.org, August 2, 2006. (Click here for article)
# 19 People's Movement Challenges Neoliberal Agenda (For full story, click here)
The US Free Trade model is meeting increasingly successful resistance as people's movements around the world build powerful alternatives to neoliberal exploitation.
Source: "Is the US Free Trade Model Losing Steam?", Jessica Walker Beaumont, Trade Matters, American Friends Service Committee, May 3, 2006. (Click here for article)
# 20 Terror Act Against Animal Activists (For full story, click here)
The term "terrorism" has been dangerously expanded to include acts that interfere, or promote interference, with the operations of animal enterprises. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), signed into law on November 27, 2006, broadens punishment present under the Animal Enterprises Protection Act (AEPA) of 1992.
Source: "The AETA is Invidiously Detrimental to the Animal Rights Movement (and Unconstitutional as Well)", David Hoch and Odette Wilkens, Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, March 9, 2007. (Click here for article)
# 21 US Seeks WTO Immunity for Illegal Farm Payments (For full story, click here)
What went uncovered in mainstream news analysis of the collapse of World Trade Organization negotiations in July 2006 was what exactly the countries involved were offering, and what they expected in return. Of utmost importance to the Bush Administration was that the US receive immunity from lawsuits by poor countries before Bush's special "fast track" trade negotiating powers expired at the end of June, 2007.
Source: "US Seeks 'Get-Out Clause' for Illegal Farm Payments", Oxfam International, June 29, 2006. (Click here for article)
# 22 North Invades Mexico (For full story, click here)
The number of North Americans living in Mexico has soared from 200,000 to 1 million (one-quarter of all US expatriates) in the past decade.
Source: "Border Invaders: The Perfect Swarm Heads South", Mike Davis, TomDispatch.com, September 19, 2006. (Click here for article)
# 23 Feinstein's Conflict of Interest in Iraq (For full story, click here)
Dianne Feinstein–the ninth wealthiest member of congress–has been beset by monumental ethical conflicts of interest. As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee (MILCON) from 2001 to the end of 2005, Senator Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions of dollars to her husband's firms.
Source: "Senator Feinstein's Iraq Conflict", Peter Byrne, North Bay Bohemian, January 24, 2007. (Click here for article)
# 24 Media Misquotes Threat From Iran's President (For full story, click here)
Across the world a media story has spread that Iran's President Ahmadinejad has threatened to destroy Israel, by saying that, "Israel must be wiped off the map." Contrary to general belief, this statement was actually a misinterpretation.
Source: "Wiped Off The Map–The Rumor of the Century", Arash Norouzi, Global Research, January 20, 2007. (Click here for article)
# 25 Who Will Profit from Native Energy? (For full story, click here)
Energy on Native American land is becoming big business. According to the Indigenous Environmental Network, 35 percent of the fossil fuel resources in the US are within Indian country. The questions to be answered now are: what sort of energy will Indian lands produce, who will make that decision, and who will end up benefiting from the production?
Source: "Native Energy Futures", Brian Awehali, LiP Magazine, June 5, 2006. (Click here for article)
Important Addition: Top 20 Revealing Media Articles Ever Published
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