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“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.
“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
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Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“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.)
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12. How Unocal Covered Up a Record-Breaking California Oil Spill

Source: SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS Date: 9/25/94 Title: “Environment: Why not a three-strikes law for corpora­tions?,” Author: Gary Hart

SSU Censored Researcher: Lori Stone

SYNOPSIS: In March 1994, the Unocal Corporation quietly pled guilty to three misdemeanor counts of spilling oil, agreed to clean up the spill, and to pay $1.5 million in criminal fines.

The “misdemeanor” spill-pos­sibly the largest oil spill in California history-was far larger than the 1969 Santa Barbara Channel oil platform blowout that spilled 4.2 million gallons of crude oil. While the full scope of the Unocal spill can’t be accurately determined, it is estimated to approach the size of the internationally infamous Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

Here’s how an environmental disaster of this magnitude went unnoticed and uncovered by the media:

It started back in the early 1950s when Unocal started using a light oil to dilute heavy oil at their pro­duction facilities near Guadalupe. The blend of the two oils was easier to extract and speeded the growth of a network of pipelines criss­crossing Unocal’s facilities. Over the years many of these pipelines began to leak with much of the lost oil entering the water table and an undetermined amount seeping into the ocean.

Although Unocal knew they were losing significant quantities of light oil, they ignored state laws by not reporting the spillage nor attempting to clean it up. When ocean spills were reported nearby, Unocal denied it could have origi­nated from their facility.

For years, Unocal succeeded in warding off any discovery that there were, in fact, millions of gallons of oil in the water table slowly working their way to the ocean from all over the production field.

The full extent of the spill came to light in 1992, when a Unocal employee tipped authorities that the facility was experiencing widespread loss of light oil in its pipelines; acting on the tip, the California Depart­ment of Fish and Game obtained a search warrant for inspection of the facility and found conclusive evi­dence of a corporate cover-up.

Company records revealed the large quantities of oil lost from the pipelines and confirmed that no effective steps were taken to clean up the chronic spills. In fact, Unocal actively worked to hide the spills-when light oil would rise to the surface, the company would use heavy equipment to bulldoze over the oozing pools.

Possibly worst of all, Unocal’s conspiracy of silence over several decades achieved much of its goal. The public probably will never know exactly how much oil escaped into the ocean since the facility was never monitored by authorities because no problems were ever reported by Unocal. Further, the state’s case against Unocal was hin­dered from the beginning by a judge’s ruling that the statute of limitations had been exceeded with regard to much of the leakage-a direct result of Unocal’s cover-up.

Incidentally, Unocal also was the company responsible for the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill disaster.

COMMENTS: The author, Gary Hart, a California state senator who retired in December 1994, felt that the issue of Unocal’s cover-up did not receive the exposure it deserved in the mass media last year. His article appeared in the local Santa Barbara newspaper and generated some letters to the editor and at best may have generated a story or two in the larger press.

“In this era of blame the govern­ment and criminal sloganeering, i.e. `Three strikes and you’re out,”‘ Hart believes this article “focuses upon an important issue: corporate irresponsibility and accountability.” Hart says that the primary benefi­ciary of the limited coverage given the oil spill and the cover-up is obvi­ously Unocal.

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