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“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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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.)
“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
“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.
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“[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 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.
“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.
“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
“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
“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
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“[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
“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 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
“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
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review

10. Silicon Valley Uses Immigrant Engineers to Keep Salaries

Sources: LABOR NOTES, September 2000, Title: “Immigrants Find High-Tech Servitude in Silicon Valley,” Author: David Bacon; WASHINGTON FREE PRESS, July/August 2000, Title: “Silicon Valley Sweatshops,” Author: David Bacon; Corporate Media Coverage: San Francisco Chronicle, September 29, 2000, p. A29

Community Evaluators: Fred Fletcher, Ervand Peterson
Student Researchers: Ambrosia Crumley, Jennifer Swift, Terrie Girdner, Naomi Igra

High-skilled immigrant workers in Silicon Valley are being exploited by employers. Existing immigration law sets a cap on the number the H1-B visas the industry can use to hire immigrant engineers, so this year Silicon Valley electronics giants have been pushing for more Hl-B workers. While H1-B status laborers boost corporate bottom lines, there is a devastating effect on the workers themselves.

AFL-CIO vice president Linda Chavez-Thompson accuses the industry of using the H1-B visa program to keep their workers in a position of dependence. She points out that these workers are often hired under individual contracts, which by U.S. law means they don’t have the right to organize. For the high-tech industry this protection against strikes and unions is a key attraction of the H1-B program, especially in the aftermath of the Boeing Corp. engineers who mounted one of the most successful strikes in recent history.

Like other contract labor programs for lower wage and factory laborers, the H1-B program gives employers the power not only to hire and fire workers, but to grant legal immigration status as well. If an employer does not like something a worker does—such as defending themselves by filing discrimination complaints—the employer has the power to deport the worker.

One contract worker from India, Kim Singh, says that an employer withheld 25 percent of his earnings, none of which was returned when his contract was up. Another employer had him working seven days a week with no overtime compensation.

High-tech companies claim that a domestic labor shortage justifies the use of immigrant contractors with H1-B visas. Labor advocates counter that the problem is not a labor shortage, but instead the industry’s unwillingness to pay the salaries that American high-tech workers demand. Moreover, use of immigrant labor protects high-tech companies from strikes and union demands. Civil rights groups add that if Silicon Valley companies were interested in increasing the domestic high-tech labor market, they could train American workers—an approach that could also increase minority representation in the high-tech sector. The industry’s resistance to such alternatives indicates that its reliance on immigrant workers is not about a domestic labor shortage but about a desire for dependent employees and higher profits.

Both the Republicans and Democrats want the industry’s substantial campaign contributions to continue. So while the two parties quarrel over the details, both support revamping of U.S. immigration law in order to supply more immigrant labor to U.S. industry. Yet if Silicon Valley would take the millions they are pouring into political contri-butions and raise salaries instead, they would find all the workers they need.

African-American and Latino engineers protest the increase in H1-B visas because they believe it will eliminate jobs for engineers of color in an industry where local minority representation is already very low.

The practice of recruiting highly skilled workers from developing countries, such as India and the Philippines, perpetuates the loss of skilled workers in those countries, a situation called “brain drain.” Such workers end up subsidizing U.S. industry instead of contributing to industry in the native countries that paid to educate them.

Last February the AFL-CIO proposed a reform that would benefit workers instead of making them more vulnerable. The proposal includes a general amnesty for undocumented families already here. The proposal would also bring an end to employer sanctions and allow workers the right to organize to protest unfair and exploitative treatment.

UPDATE BY DAVID BACON: “Immigrants Find High-Tech Servitude in Silicon Valley” exposed the impact of Silicon Valley’s H1-B contract labor program on both contract workers themselves, and on other workers in high-tech and other industries. The media generally accept uncritically the idea that a legitimate purpose of immigration law is to supply labor to U.S. industry, and therefore saw little wrong with contract labor proposals.

Other proposals to institute and expand contract labor programs in agriculture, meatpacking, and other industries were made this year. If adopted, they will have a disastrous impact on immigrant workers, treating them as cheap, disposable labor instead of giving them legal status and protecting their rights. Efforts to organize unions by immigrants and non-immigrants alike will be made much more difficult.

These consequences for workers were ignored by the generally supportive way the mainstream press covered Silicon Valley’s effort to pass a bill expanding the H1-B program. A few articles covered fraud in the program’s administration, but hardly any looked at the exploitation of the workers themselves, and none at the bill’s potential impact on labor and union organizing.

This year immigrant rights groups were joined by the AFL-CIO in an historic call for a general immigration amnesty and the repeal of employer sanctions (the law which makes it a crime for an undocumented worker to hold a job). That received some press coverage, but the media then ignored the way those proposals fell victim to calls for contract labor.

In early October, Silicon Valley’s proposal was adopted by a unanimous vote in the House, and only one dissent, Ernest Hollings, in the Senate. To ensure the right outcome, the vote was held late at night, after the Republican leadership had assured Democrats that no more significant votes would be taken.

Microsoft, Intel, and other high tech giants showed their gratitude by contributing hundreds of thousands of soft-money dollars, through the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, to the unsuccessful reelection campaign of Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI), who shepherded the bill to passage.

The H-1B+ strategy, which tried to tie limited immigration reforms to the proposal, failed. Republican Congressional leaders passed the contract labor proposal without amendments. In an election year in which both parties were courting the votes of the powerful and wealthy high-tech industry, no one wanted to vote against it, with or without pro-immigrant reforms.

In subsequent weeks, the administration and Democratic leaders tried to tack the proposal, called the Latino Immigrant Fairness Act, onto other legislation. Through the November election, that effort was resisted by Republicans, and Democrats negotiated further and further concessions. In the closing days of Congress, an agreement was reached on legislation which contained almost none of the original proposals.

Meanwhile, the danger of contract labor actually increased. Agribusiness negotiated an expansion of the current “guestworker” law, which permits growers to import farm workers. In return, many undocumented farm workers would have been allowed to apply for visas. Although anti-immigrant Congress members defeated that proposal, it will be reintroduced next year.

In Nebraska, scene of the nation’s largest workplace immigration raids two years ago (see “The INS Takes On Labor,” The Nation, September 1999), the governor proposed a contract labor program to supply workers to the meat-packing industry. And as unions and community organizations geared up to organize workers in nonunion plants, the INS resumed wholesale deportations.

A new Republican administration will have an even more favorable attitude toward business proposals for contract worker programs. Divisions among Democrats will make it difficult to defeat them. At the same time, the anti-immigrant Right will oppose any broad amnesty for undocumented workers or effort to lift employer sanctions and end INS workplace raids.

The AFL-CIO, churches, and community organizations, however, remain committed to those pro-immigrant
reforms. That promises a fight over these proposals in this year’s Congress.

For more information, contact the Labor Immigrant Organizers Network(510) 643-2355, the National Campaign for Dignity and Amnesty-(212) 4733936, the AFL-CIO—(202) 637-5000, or the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights—(510) 465-1984.

David Bacon:

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