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The Top Censored Stories of 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Media
Written by Project Censored   
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 05:40

Project Censored annually publishes its list of the year’s top “censored” stories. “We define modern censorship as the subtle yet constant and sophisticated manipulation of reality in our mass-media outlets,” its Web site states. “On a daily basis, censorship refers to the intentional non-inclusion of a news story – or piece of a news story – based on anything other than a desire to tell the truth. Such manipulation can take the form of political pressure (from government officials and powerful individuals), economic pressure (from advertisers and funders), and legal pressure (the threat of lawsuits from deep-pocket individuals, corporations, and institutions).”

Put differently, these 25 stories represent the most important news that Project Censored felt was under-reported over the past year.

Censored 2012: Sourcebook for the Media Revolution, by Mickey Huff and Project Censored with an introduction by Dr. Peter Phillips, is available (along with more detailed media analysis and sources for these summaries) at ProjectCensored.org. The book is published by Seven Stories Press.

(1) More U.S. Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat

In 2010, for the second year in a row, more U.S. soldiers killed themselves (468) than died in combat (462). “If you ... know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know,” General Peter Chiarelli told the Army Times, “because we don’t know.” Suicide is a tragic but predictable human reaction to being asked to kill – and watch your friends be killed.

(2) U.S. Military Manipulates the Social Media

The U.S. military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social-media sites by using fake online personae to influence Internet conversations and spread pro-America propaganda. A California corporation has been awarded a contract with U.S. Central Command (CentCom), which oversees U.S. armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop an “online persona-management service” that will allow one U.S. serviceman and woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world. The CentCom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history, and supporting details, and that up to 50 U.S.-based controllers could operate false identities from their workstations.

The multiple-persona contract is thought to have been awarded as part of a program called Operation Earnest Voice, which was first developed in Iraq as a psychological-warfare weapon against the online presence of al-Qaeda supporters and other extremists resisting the U.S. military and political presence in Iraq. This effort proved successful and is now being used elsewhere in the Middle East and beyond with assurances that none of these interventions would happen here at home, as it would be unlawful to “address U.S. audiences” with such technology.

(3) Obama Authorizes International Assassination Campaign

The Obama administration has quietly put into practice an “incomplete idea” left over from the George W. Bush presidency: creating a de facto “presidential international assassination program.” Court documents, evidence offered by Human Rights Watch, and a special United Nations report allege that U.S citizens suspected of encouraging “terror” had been put on “death lists.” Reports of the “death list” say Obama’s director of national intelligence told a Congressional hearing that the program was within the rights of the executive branch of the government and did not need to be revealed. At least two people are known to have been murdered by Central Intelligence Agency operatives under the program. When the program was challenged in a New York City court, the judge refused to rule, saying, “There are circumstances in which the executive’s decision to kill U.S. citizens overseas is constitutionally committed to the political branches and judicially unreviewable.”

(4) Global Food Crisis Expands

A new worldwide spike in agricultural-commodity and food prices is generating both predictable and extraordinary fallouts. The search for causes once again leads to a combination of flawed policies in trade, environment, finance, and agriculture that is likely to produce more dangerous volatility in years to come. Over the past year, food prices around the world shot sharply upward, surpassing the previous price surge in 2007-8 to set a new record, as measured by UN’s Food & Agricultural Organization.

In February, the UN’s food-price index rose for the eighth consecutive month, to the highest level since at least 1990. As a result, since 2010 began, roughly another 44 million people have quietly crossed the threshold into malnutrition, joining 925 million already suffering from lack of food. If prices continue to rise, this food crisis will push the ranks of the hungry toward a billion people, with another 2 billion suffering from “hidden malnutrition” of inadequate diets, nearly all in the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. That deprivation will shorten lives and stunt young minds, hitting the most vulnerable populations, such as the urban poor of food-importing countries in cities such as Cairo, Tunis, and Dhaka.

(5) Private Prison Companies Fund Anti-Immigrant Legislation

Over the past four years, roughly a million immigrants have been incarcerated in dangerous detention facilities in our taxpayer-financed private prison system. Children were abused, women were raped, and men died from lack of basic medical attention. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer received substantial campaign financing from Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, which are the nation’s two largest companies that design, build, finance, and operate prisons. CCA (based in Nashville, Tennessee) and GEO Group (a global corporation based in Boca Raton, Florida) are the principal moving forces in the behind-the-scenes organization of the current wave of anti-immigrant legislative efforts.

Both CCA and GEO rely almost exclusively on revenue from tax dollars at the local, state, and federal levels and profited from the incarceration of immigrants apprehended by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. CCA’s top management in Tennessee contributed the largest block of out-of-state campaign contributions received by Governor Brewer. Brewer employs two former CCA lobbyists as aides that assisted signing SB 1070 into law on April 23. CCA, which already has several detention facilities in Arizona and is hoping to expand its immigrant business in that state, is expected to show a huge increase in revenues when SB 1070 is implemented.