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“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University

1. Secret International Trade Agreement Undermines the Sovereignty of Nations

Sources: IN THESE TIMES, Title: “Building the Global Economy” Date: January 11, 1998, Author: Joel Bleifuss; DEMOCRATIC LEFT Title: “MAI Ties,” Date: Spring 1998, Author: Bill Dixon; TRIBUNE DES DROITS HUMAINS, Title: “Human Rights or Corporate Rights?,” Date: April 1998, Vol., Nos. 1-2, Authors: Miloon Kothari and Tara Krause

SSU Censored Researcher: Corrie Robb
SSU Faculty Evaluators: Tony White and Richard Gale

Mainstream media coverage: Denver Post, August 2, 1998, page A83; Charleston Gazette, September 7, 1998, page A5; San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 1998, page A22; Washington Times, March 21, 1998, page Al

The apparent goal of the latest international trade negotiations is to safeguard multinational corporate investments by eliminating democratic regulatory control by nation-states and local governments. The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) plans to set in place a vast series of protections for foreign investment. It would threaten national sovereignty by giving corporations nearly equal rights to those of nations. MAI delegates from 29 of the world’s richest nations have been meeting secretly in France since 1995. A draft of their work was leaked in January of 1997. More wide-reaching and one-sided than NAFTA or GATT, MAI would thrust the world economy much closer to a transnational laissez-faire system where international corporate capital would hold free reign over the democratic wishes and socioeconomic needs of people.

Pushed by the International Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Council on International Business, the major goal of the MAI is to safeguard direct foreign investment, defined broadly as encompassing any assets—factories, products, services, currency; stocks, etc.—which may be located in one country, but owned by a company, corporation, or individual in another country. U.S. direct foreign investment alone has more than doubled in the last ten years.

Traditionally, foreign investment has involved enormous risk, most notably in developing nations where the social, political, and economic climate is not always as conducive to foreign investment as corporations would like. Governments have commonly also put into place tariffs and subsidies favoring their home economies. These provisions shrink foreign profit margins and reduce the dollar amount multinational corporations can take out of a host country.

The new and controversial MAI agreement requires “national treatment” for all foreign investors. Governments will no longer be able to treat domestic firms more favorably than foreign firms. It will be illegal to implement restrictions on what foreign firms can own. Subsidy programs focused on assisting and developing domestic industries will be eliminated. Host nations will also be liable and can be sued by corporations for lost competitiveness and profits. There are no provisions for localized citizen and community legal recourse.

The MAI will also have devastating effects on a nation’s legal, environmental, and cultural sovereignty. It will force countries to relax or nullify human, environmental, and labor protection in order to attract investment and trade. Necessary measures such as food subsidies, control of land speculation, agrarian reform, and the implementation of health and environmental standards can be challenged as “illegal” under the MAI. This same illegality is extended to community control of forests, local bans on use of pesticides and hormone induced foods, clean air standards, limits on mineral, gas and oil extraction, and bans on toxic dumping.

A telling example involves the U.S. based Ethyl Corporation’s suit against the Canadian government. A Canadian law bans the use of MMT, a gasoline additive and known toxin which Ethyl produces. Under the NAFTA protocols which serve as a “model for the MAI,” Ethyl is suing Canada for $251 million, arguing that the regulation is unnecessary and violates their rights as a firm under NAFTA. While still pending, the case is an excellent example, and will test what corporations can claim as their rights under transnational policies like NAFTA and GATT. MAI would go a step further and allow corporations to directly sue any level of government—state, municipal, or federal—for what they perceive as losses based on legislative action, strikes, or boycotts.

Most at risk are developing nations and the natural resource and common property resource base. MAI would seriously exacerbate the pressure on undeveloped nations to deplete their own agricultural, mining, fishing, and forestry assets. The conditions of the agreement would undermine the capacity of local communities and municipalities to govern sustainably and democratically.

First proposed by the World Trade Organization just after the passage of GATT in 1995, MAI negotiations continue among the member countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The 29-member OECD, an association composed of 29 of the world’s richest countries, originated in the aftermath of World War II to administer U.S. aid to Europe.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR JOEL BLEIFUSS: “The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) has been described by Renato Ruggerio, the director general of the World Trade Organization as ‘the constitution for a new global economy.’ Yet this is a constitution that has been written outside of the public gaze by anonymous trade bureaucrats. And while there has been almost no citizen participation in the process, the United States Council for International Business, representing 600 corporations as the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, has been integrally involved in the MAI negotiations. In fact the group has reported, that it has ‘helped shape the U.S. negotiating positions by providing business views and technical advice on specific policy issues at regular meetings with U.S. negotiators immediately before and after each MAI negotiating session.’

“By late 1998, the negotiations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had reached an impasse. Some countries thought that the World Trade Organization should oversee implementation of the agree-ment, while others, principally the United States, wanted MAI kept within the confines of the much more exclusive OECD.

“The mainstream press has almost completely ignored the MAI negotiations. MAI will likely only become a ‘story’ when the negotiations are finalized and the treaty is submitted to the Senate for ratification. And at that point there will be no room for public or legislative discussion over what such a treaty should entail. Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch [Tel: (202)546-4996; ]] and the Preamble Center [Tel: (202) 265-3263;]] are the two organizations doing the most to monitor the MAI negotiations and to raise public awareness of how the treaty will affect the U.S. and world economics.”

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