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Censored 2000 :
The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 1999
#1 Multinational Corporations Profit From International Brutality
Table "Corporation Crackdowns: Business Backs Brutality"
In the name of commerce, huge multinational corporations collaborate with repressive governments, and in the process, support significant human rights violations. Corporations often argue that their presence and investment will improve human rights. This practice is referred to as "constructive engagement". Major international energy corporations such as Mobil, Exxon, Enron, and UNOCAL have engaged in major business ventures in countries known as major human rights violators. Major U.S. governmental grants, as well as corporate capitol investment, have funded the suppression of media, political opposition, and personal rights in Turkmenistan, India and Burma. The myth of "constructive engagement" has failed to improve human rights, and yet has been endorsed both by international corporations and the U.S. government. Since the release of this information, BP Amoco and Statoil have taken positive steps toward addressing human rights issues. Programs are being developed in the U.S. and abroad to deal with the conduct of energy companies globally.
#2 Pharmaceutical Companies Put Profits Before Need
Title "Millions for Viagra, Pennies for the Poor"
Multinational pharmaceutical companies focus their research and development on high profile, profit-making drugs like Viagra instead of developing cures for life threatening diseases in poorer countries. Viagra earned more than one billion dollars its first year, for instance.
Though representatives of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America claim that some funds are directed toward eliminating tropical diseases, neither they nor individual firms are willing to provide statistics. Research into Third World tropical diseases is not being extensively considered or produced. A recent and effective medicine for African sleeping sickness was pulled from production, while older remedies are no longer available because they are not needed in the US. AIDS continues to receive the most attention in the Third World, mainly because the disease also remains a threat to the First World. Since the release of this story, Doctors Without Borders won the Nobel Prize and announced an international campaign to increase access to key drugs.
#3 Financially Bloated American Cancer Society Fails to Prevent Cancer
Title American Cancer Society: The World's Wealthiest "Non-profit"
The American Cancer Society (ACS) is growing increasingly wealthy, thanks to donations from the public and funding from surgeons, drug companies, and corporations that profit from cancer cures. More than half the funds raised by the ACS go for overhead, salaries, and fringe benefits for its executives and other employees, while most direct community services are handled by unpaid volunteers. The value of cash reserves and real estate totals over $1 billion, yet only 16 percent of funds go into direct services for cancer victims. Conflicts of interest affect ACS's approach to cancer prevention. With a philosophy that emphasizes faulty lifestyles rather than environmental hazards, the ACS has refused to provide scientific testimony needed for the regulation of occupational and environmental carcinogens. The Board of Trustees includes corporate executives from pharmaceutical industries with a vested interest in the manufacture of both environmental carcinogens and anti-cancer drugs.
#4 American Sweatshops Sew U.S. Military Uniforms
Title An American Sweatshop
The Department of Defense (DoD) has $1 billion invested in the garment industry, making it the country's fourteenth largest retail apparel outlet. Lion Apparel contracts with the DoD to produce military uniforms, yet the company's workplace conditions are dismal and remain virtually unregulated by the U.S. government. Lion employees are mostly women who are paid as little as $5.50 per hour. According to records obtained by Mother Jones, through a Freedom of Information request, OSHA cited Lion Apparel 32 times for safety and health violations in the past 12 years. Employees in a Kentucky plant are subjected to formaldehyde fumes that cause shortness of breath, headaches, and skin rashes. Efforts to unionize workers have failed because, union leaders claim, the company managed to evade a federal law prohibiting the threat of plant closures. The military continues to refuse to sign the garment industry's anti-sweatshop code of conduct. Despite the coverage provided by this article, the author estimates that there are still 10,000 American women sewing government uniforms, often in unsanitary, unsafe conditions
#5 Turkey Destroys Kurdish Villages with U.S. Weapons
Title Turkey's War on the Kurds
In 1995, the Clinton Administration recognized that the Turkish government used American arms in domestic military operations where human rights abuses occurred. In fact, Turkey has forcibly evacuated, leveled and burned more than 3,000 Kurdish villages in the past decade. Most of the atrocities, which have cost over 40,000 lives, took place during Clinton's first term in office. As an ally of the U.S. through NATO, Turkey receives U.S. weapons, from dozens of companies, including Hughes, Boeing, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. Despite a horrifying report of violent abuse by Amnesty International, the State Department passed arms deals with Turkey. The war in Turkey represents the greatest use of U.S. weapons in combat anywhere in the world today.
#6 NATO Defends Private Economic Interests in the Balkans
Title The Role of Caspian Sea Oil in the Balkan Conflict
Title Kosovo: It's About the Mines
Title Caspian Pipe Dreams
Faculty Evaluator Catherine Nelson Ph.D. & Jim Burkland
As a result of NATO's success in the military conflicts of Bosnia and Kosovo, its member nations have been provided the political and economic opportunities to partake in the exploitation of the significant mineral resources in the Balkans. In addition, Western multinational corporations are now well positioned to access the lucrative oil refining industry needed at a terminal end of the pipeline agreement, formally signed last November by President Clinton and the presidents of four key Caspian-region nations. Proposed pipeline routes will divert oil and gas from the oil-rich Caspian sea to either Mediterranean or east European terminals for export to the Western nations, thus avoiding competing interests of either Russia or Iran. Successful reestablishment of NATO's military presence in the Balkans has made real the goal of a leaked 1992 document of a Pentagon plan to preserve NATO as the primary instrument for Western security interests as well as the channel for U.S. influence and participation in European affairs.
#7 U.S. Media Reduces Foreign Coverage
Title Good-bye World
Coverage of foreign news by the U.S. media industry reflects a continuing downward trend, despite evidence that the American public wants more international information (and at a time when the U.S. has become the world's only superpower). Pollsters reveal that most Americans rely on TV for national and international news. Unfortunately, major network coverage of foreign news is currently 7-12 percent, and dropping -- a sharp contrast to the at least 40 percent during heyday of Cronkite, Chancellor, and Reynolds. Coverage in print media is also down in large metro-area news markets. An example is the drop in coverage by the Indianapolis Stars from 5,100 column inches within a 30-day period in November 1977 to 1,170 column inches in 1997 -- a 23 percent drop over those two decades. Despite a critical examination by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, and the continued campaign of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, major market editors seem to continue to focus on the production of a media diet of crime news, celebrity gossip and soft features in an effort to gain more market share and an increase in profit margins.
#8 Planned Weapons in Space Violate International Treaty
TitleUS Violates World Law to Militarize Space
Title Pyramids to The Heavens Space
Community Evaluator Rick Williams, Attorney At Law
The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 bans the deployment of space weapons of mass destruction. Recently the U.S. Congress ignored further need of such a treaty, and approved the development of the U.S. Military's Space Command Weapons program. This sudden shift of viewpoint coincides with the complete absence of any foreign government competition, and with the increase in the ability of the US to effectively use satellite surveillance in military campaigns. The proposed system is designed to extend control of space far beyond the outer boundaries of the Earths atmosphere. To prevent deployment of any adversarial countrys satellites, the Pentagon is well along in its research and development of an anti-satellite weapons program. The reemergence of a "Star Wars" weapon system is echoed in the words of General Joseph Ashly, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Space Command: "It's politically sensitive but its going to happen...we are going to fight from space and we are going to fight into space." Concerned with the possibility of nuclear contamination of the atmosphere from satellite breakup, the European Space Agency has urged the US to utilize solar power to fuel space-military command modules.
#9 Louisiana Promotes Toxic Racism
Faculty Evaluator James Carr Ph.D.
Contained within the boundaries of a 100 mile stretch of land between Baton Rouge and New Orleans are seven oil refineries and 175 heavy industrial plants. Locally named "Cancer Alley," the EPA reports that the majority of the 23 million pounds of toxic waste released into the air are in two zip code areas, primarily inhabited by Blacks. A 1992 National Law Journal investigation found that even when the government enforces the environmental regulations against companies in violation, the fines levied in these areas are significantly lower than those levied in White communities. Promted by an increase in the public awareness, President Clinton signed an executive order in 1993 to open an investigation into the impact of the petrochemical industry's practices in these communities of color. Despite the rhetoric, little has changed among the targeted communities. On the contrary, the State of Louisiana has run full page promotional ads in the Wall Street Journal promising significant incentives for large corporate industries to relocate in the State and touting the States passage of tort reform legislation that limits the liability of companies who lose negligence suits and restricts the ability of citizens to file claims against "these protected companies."
#10 The U.S. and NATO Deliberately Started the War with Yugoslavia
TitleThe Real Rambouillet "
Title Redefining Diplomacy
Title What Was the War For?
Title Hawks and Eagles: Greater NATO" flies to Aid of "Greater
Faculty Evaluator Phil Beard
The US and NATO pushed for war with Yugoslavia by demanding full military occupation of the entire country as a condition of not bombing. Belgrade could not accept the U.S. drafted two-part Rambouillet ultimatum, not only because it was a thinly veiled plan to detach Kosovo from Serbia, but also because it contained provisions even worse than loss of that historic province, provisions no sovereign country in the world could possibly accept. Unreported in the mainstream media was the fact that, when Serbia rejected the treaty, they also passed a resolution declaring their willingness to negotiate Kosovo's self management. For months, the Serbian government offered to negotiate. High level government teams made many trips to Pristina to hold talks with Ibrahim Rugova and other non-violent ethnic Albanians. The Albanians refused to negotiate, for fear of going against the rising rebel movement, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which was hostile to any compromise and ready to assassinate "traitors" who dealt with Serbs.
# 11 AMERICAS LARGEST NUCLEAR TEST EXPOSED THOUSANDS
Title: Aftermath of Amchitka
Title: Thirty Years After-The Legacy of America's Largest Nuclear
Mainstream coverage note: Articles in the New York Times on October 30, 1996 and USA TODAY the following day reported the Greenpeace findings, but there have been not follow-up news reports since that time.
Thirty years ago, Amchitka, Alaska was the site of three large underground nuclear tests, including the most powerful nuclear explosion ever detonated by the United States. Despite claims by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Pentagon that the test sites would safely contain the radiation released by the blasts for thousands of years, independent research by Greenpeace and newly released documents from the Department of Energy (DOE) show that the Amchitka tests began to leak almost immediately. The blast ruptured the crust of the earth, sucking a creek into a brand new aquifer, a radioactive one. Highly radioactive elements and gasses poured out of the collapsed test shafts, leached into the groundwater, and worked their way into ponds, creeks, and the Bering Sea.
William Walker: "Man With a Mission"
According to the New York Times, the "turning point"
in NATO's decision to wage war on Yugoslavia occurred on January
20, 1999, when U.S. diplomat William Walker led a group of news
reporters to discover a so-called Serb massacre of some 45 Albanians
in Racak, Kosovo. This story made international headlines and was
later used to justify the NATO bombings. The day before the "massacre,"
Serb police had a firefight with KLA rebels that was covered by
an AP film crew. At the end of day, the village was deserted. William
Walker arrived at noon with additional journalists, and expressed
his outrage at a "genocidal massacre" to the world press.
Walker's story remains shrouded with doubt. "What is disturbing,"
remarks war correspondent Renaud Girard, "is that the pictures
filmed by the AP journalists radically contradict Walker's accusations."
Belarussian and Finnish forensic experts were later unable to verify
that a massacre had actually occurred at Racak.
# 13 U.S. AGENCY SEEKS TO EXPORT WEAPONS-GRADE PLUTONIUM TO
RUSSIAN ORGANIZATION LINKED TO ORGANIZED CRIME
Title: Hot Property Cold Cash: The Plan to Turn Russia into the
World's Nuclear Waste Dump
Title: The MinAtom Conspiracy
The Washington-based Non-Proliferation Trust (NPT) proposes that the US sell nuclear waste to Russia. NPT's plan would make Russia the world's dumping ground for nuclear waste including weapons-grade plutonium. NPT's partner in this endeavor is MinAtom, Russia's ministry of atomic energy. NPT is headed up by Daniel Murphy (former deputy director of the CIA), Bruce Demars (former head of the Navy's nuclear program), and William Webster (former director of the CIA and FBI). Although NPT is set up as a non-profit organization, its principals stand to make huge profits off consulting and sub-contracting. On the list of potential sub-contractors is Halter Marine in Gulfport Mississippi, a company to which U.S. Senator Trent Lott has close links. Yevgeny Adamov, the head of MinAtom, estimates that the operation could produce $150 billion in revenue, making it the most lucrative operation in Russia. MinAtom is also alleged to have links to corrupt government officials and the Russian Mob.
#14 U.S. MEDIA IGNORES HUMANITARIAN ASPECTS OF FAMINE IN KOREA
Dangerous Communists, Inscrutable Orientals, Starving Masses
As a food crisis of staggering proportions develops in North Korea, U.S. media is focusing on the threat posed by North Korea's continuation of nuclear testing. U.S. media have used the Korean famine for political propaganda and have failed to cover the huge disaster from a humanitarian perspective. Nowhere is there an out-cry like the one developed by media worldwide for Ethiopia. The German Red Cross estimates two million deaths in 1997 due to starvation, the South Korean Buddhists Sharing Movement reported an estimated three million deaths, and the New York Council of Foreign Affairs reported an estimate of one million North Korean deaths due to famine.
Title: Secondary Sexual Characteristics and Menses in Young Girls
Seen in Office Practice: A Study from the Pediatric Research in
Office Settings Network
Endocrine disrupters may be responsible for young girls maturing faster, thus creating an increased risk of breast cancer. A University of North Carolina cross-sectional study, conducted on girls between the ages of 3 to 12 years, found that girls are developing pubertal characteristics at younger ages than suggested by standard pediatric textbooks. The study found that on average, African American girls begin puberty between 8 and 9 years of age and white girls by 10 years of age, which is 6 months to a year sooner than previous data suggests. Although it is unclear what is causing this early onset of puberty, environmental exposures have been implicated. Breast cancer risks include the early onset of puberty that is brought on by the release of natural estrogens in the body. Women who go through puberty early have longer exposure to these estrogens and therefore may be at greater risk of developing breast cancer.
Title: "The Color Game: How Media Plays the Race Card"
The U.S. media over simplified the debate on affirmative action and deliberately misled the American public. Media coverage at the national level presented the controversy as a conflict primarily between Blacks and Whites. Minimizing the place of Latinos and Asian Americans in the affirmative action debate. In 1995, headlines, visuals, highlighted quotes, and story-line emphasis demonstrated unavoidable conflict of interest between Whites and Blacks. The media portrayed African Americans purportedly gaining at the direct expense of Whites. The continued use of the buzzword "preferences" in conjunction with affirmative action intensified the emotional context of the issue. The news reinforced racial antagonism, while perpetuating the idea that the White majority are fed up with affirmative action. This false perception may have discouraged White politicians who might otherwise have defended the policy. Since the media has made affirmative action an issue concerning only Blacks and Whites, Latinos and Asians have been left in peripheral positions, and women and Native Americans barely register on the radar screen.
World Bank's Record on Resettlement Remains Troublesome
The World Bank funds large dam projects, but does little to help the displaced millions who are forced to relocate. A recent report by the World Bank's Operations Evaluation Department (OED) shows the Bank's failure to implement its own resettlement policy. The most recent data available indicate that 1.9 million people are being displaced by projects in the Bank's current portfolio and that these numbers continue to grow. One of the biggest concerns aroused by the authors of the OED report is the Bank's inability to restore the incomes of those resetteled. The report recommends that the Bank move away from its policy of offering replacement land for lands lost to a project. "In reality, resettlers lose the best land in the area, river valley land, and it's replaced with the most awful land around, because that is what is left."
Title: The Lost Boys: California is trying kids as adults- and
locking them up for life. No one knows how many Source: The Bay
Guardian, January 27, 1999
It is unclear how many minors are getting bumped into the "big leagues" via fitness hearings which determine whether they should be tried as adults. Due to the lack of a tracking system there is no way to determine where these minors are ending up, or if trying minors as adults is an affective deterrent or rehabilitation method. Research shows that 80 to 90 percent of juveniles that did undergo fitness hearings ended up in adult court. In 1994 two state assembly members "courting-tough-on-crime votes revamped section 707 of the penal code, making it easier to try teens accused of serious offenses in the adult system." Paul S.D. Berg, Ph.D., a forensic pathologist who has testified in three or four dozen fitness hearings states, "The only cases that end up in these hearings are serious cases, so the criterion is met by definition."
Source: Cleveland Free Times
Research points to a possible connection between gastro-intestinal Crohn's disease and the milk we drink. Four studies show that the bacterium Mycobacterium Paratuberculosis (MP); which is found in an almost identical Johne's disease in cattle, survives the pasteurization process and can infect us through the dairy products we consume everyday. This disease has already infected between 500,000 and 1 million people in the US alone and approximately 55 Americans are newly diagnosed each day. At least half of these victims will have an inflamed intestine surgically removed. Both medical and veterinary researchers agree that there is cause for concern and great need for further investigations, yet neither the government nor the dairy industry are willing to touch the issue. Forty-five percent of dairy producers are either unaware of the disease or know very little about it despite the fact that the dairy industry is losing 1.5 billion dollars a year in lethally infected animals.
Title: "Banking On the Balkans"
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) were leading contributors to economic tensions in the Balkans that stimulated the break-up of Yugoslavia. Declassified documents from 1984, reveal that a U.S. national security decision directive, entitled "United States Policy Towards Yugoslavia," set a policy for destabilizing the Yugoslavian government. In the early 1980s, the World Bank and IMF provided loans to the former Yugoslavia to supposedly "fix" the economic hardship of the region. The loans from these two organizations included mandated macroeconomics restructuring that rather than helping, in fact, destroyed the industrial sector and dismantled the welfare state. In 1990, the IMF and the World Bank delivered a new "financial aid package" that required new extensive expenditure cuts by the federal government. The IMF and World Bank involvement led to the impoverishment of the population, which in turn led to hatred, confusion, and divisiveness.
Title: Giving the Vatican the Boot
A special delegation to the Vatican, the Holy See, holds a position in the United Nations that is more powerful than any other non-governmental organization (NGO), enjoying the same status as politically neutral Switzerland. The Holy See claims to be the representative of "the entire people of God," and promotes its agendas by threatening to "pull out" of any of the 300,000 health care facilities it owns worldwide, if the UN should attempt to force any of those facilities to provide abortion services or contraception services. This threat creates a hostage situation for poorer countries that are reliant on the church for poverty relief and basic health care. The See Change Campaign was launched to challenge the Vatican's power. Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice asks, "Why should an entity that is in essence 100 square acres of office space and tourist attractions in the middle of Rome, with a citizenry that excludes women and children, have a place at the table where governments set policies? If the Vatican is a state, then EuroDisney deserves a place on the Security Council." This spring, the Churches opposition prevented UN peacekeepers from distributing RU 486 to rape victims in Kosovo.
Title: Mercenaries in Kosovo: The U. S. connection to the KLA
Since the early 1990s, Germany and the US collaborated in supporting the development and training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to deliberately destablized a centralized socialist government in Yugoslavia. Undercover support of Kosovo's rebel army was established as a joint endeavor between the CIA and Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). Since the mid-1990s there has been a small handful of Pentagon contractors, or private military companies providing support to the KLA. One of these contractors is the Military Professional Resources, Inc. (MPRI). The MPRI employs more than 400 personnel and can access the resumes of thousands of former U.S. military specialists. There has also been a blurring of law enforcement and military activities of companies like Dyncorp and Science Application International Corporation (SAIC). One of Dyncorp's UN police monitors was wounded by pro-Indonesian East Timorese militiamen in the post-referendum violence that swept the territory. Others, providing police services in NATO-occupied Kosovo, were attacked by both Serb and Albanian militia groups.
Title: United for Peace
The Hague Appeal for Peace (HAP) Conference, which took place in the Netherlands in May 1999, set a "Global Agenda" for world peace in the next century. Ten thousand peace activists, Nobel peace prize winners, and celebrities from a hundred different countries met for four days in May of 1999 to voice their suggestions on how to make international peace possible. One campaign launched at the conference was the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), which will encourage tracking, protesting, and publicizing the sales and shipments of weapons. Referring to the fact that the US sold $119 billion in arms, (some 45 percent of the world's total) from 1989 to 1996, Pierre Sane of Amnesty International stated at the conference that the US is "becoming the arsenal of the world." The Hague Global Agenda calls for recognition and enforcem ent of World Court rulings that over one hundred and fifty countries have endorsed. The United States has been unwilling to submit to the international jurisdiction of the World Court. A long-term project put in motion at the conference is the Global Action to Prevent War. Its purpose is to establish a coalition of organizations that will build a permanent body of NGOs, individuals and eventually governments to support world peace.
Title: Positive Attitude Toward Nuclear Weapons Duty
Mentally unstable individuals may be in control of U.S. nuclear devices. A screening process called the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP), set in place after a near-disaster in 1959, is supposed to guarantee that only competent, stable, and dependable individuals have access to America's nuclear arsenal. PRP is a two step process consisting of an initial screening and post-approval monitoring. Screening includes a cursory medical evaluation, review of the candidate's personnel file, and a background check of professional, educational, and personal histories. However, no routine psychological testing is done, and an expelled PRP Marine claimed that heavy drinking and depression are overlooked. In certain cases, individuals still had their PRP clearance while in prison for a felony conviction. In several cases, PRP-certified people have gone on to commit murder or suicide, assault, rape, and other serious crimes, exposing unstable mental conditions in their past and present.
Title: Irrational Rations: Animals Used in Military Training
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) estimates that more than l0,000 animals, including chickens, rabbits and goats are used each year at military installations around the country in military training classes. "Survival Skills" teaches soldiers to hunt, kill, cook and eat the tame animals. Transported to training grounds by truck, the soldiers stage an ambush of the vehicle and release, chase, capture, and kill the animals. They are "required to stroke the rabbit to calm it, then bash it on the head - and the rabbits don't always die with the first blow." Two Air Force bases alone used more than l,500 rabbits each year at a cost of more than $l0,000, and according to a l997 Department of Defense (DOD) report, the Air Force kills more rabbits in survival skills courses than does the DOD in all its intramural research facilities combined.