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

14. FBI’s New Plan to Spy on High School Students across the Country

Under new guidelines issued in January 2016, the FBI is instructing high schools across the country to report students who criticize government policies and “western corruption” as potential future terrorists, Sarah Lazare reported for AlterNet. The new guidelines also warn that young people who are poor, are immigrants, or talk about travel to “suspicious” countries are more likely to commit violence. As Lazare wrote, the FBI’s “Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools” guidelines combine “McCarthy-era theories of radicalization”—in which authorities monitor thoughts and behaviors suspected of leading to acts of violent subversion—with elements of a “widely unpopular” and “deeply controversial” British surveillance program, known as Prevent, that monitors Muslim communities and individuals.

The new guidelines depict US high schools as “hotbeds of extremism,” Lazare summarized. Claiming that youth “possess inherent risk factors,” the FBI guidelines describe high school students as “ideal targets” for recruitment by violent extremists. Educational materials prepared by the FBI for schools indicate that activities ranging from using “unusual language” or “private messaging apps” and encryption (“going dark,” in FBI speak) to playing online games outside of school could indicate that “someone plans to commit violence.”

The guidelines draw on a conveyor belt theory of extremism, which contends that extreme ideas lead to violence, a model tracing back to “the first red scare in America, as well as J. Edgar Hoover’s crackdown on civil rights and anti-war activists,” Lazare wrote. As Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project told Lazare, by broadening the definition of violent extremism, “the FBI is policing students’ thoughts and trying to predict the future based on those thoughts.”

The guidelines “are almost certainly designed” to target Muslim-American students. “In its caution to avoid the appearance of discrimination,” Lazare wrote, “the agency identifies risk factors that are so broad and vague that virtually any young person could be deemed dangerous and worthy of surveillance.” Nonetheless, the guidelines’ repeated focus on “immigrant” and “diaspora” populations, as well as cultural and religious differences, reveal an underlying agenda. The FBI “consistently invokes an Islamic threat without naming it,” Lazare reported. Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror, about Islamophobia, told AlterNet, “In practice, schools seeking to implement this document will end up monitoring Muslim students disproportionately.”

Writing for Just Security, an online forum based at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law, Danielle Jefferis of the ACLU’s National Security Project reported that “the FBI’s request that school officials spy and report on students’ ideas and beliefs risks stifling curiosity and free expression, which corrupts the trust that should exist between teachers and students.” Though the FBI asserts that it does not want to limit students’ freedom of speech, the guidelines encourage school officials to identify students who “engage in communications indicating support for extreme ideologies” or who are “curious about” subject matter that could be deemed extreme.

In calling for schools to create threat assessment teams and to “enhance domain awareness,” the FBI engages in what Jefferis characterized as “fear mongering,” which “will almost assuredly ratchet up the pressure on school officials to go to law enforcement before seeking out alternatives.” This forces school principals with the false dilemma of choosing between keeping their schools safe or upholding students’ rights to freedom of expression and equal protection. Instead, Jefferis concluded, “Our kids are safer, and our communities are stronger, when we work to protect—not erode—our fundamental values and freedoms.”

Lazare’s AlterNet report was republished by Salon. PressTV, the Free Thought Project, MintPress News, and the Intercept subsequently ran stories on the FBI’s “Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools” guidelines, but US corporate news media appear not to have covered this story in any detail.


Sarah Lazare, “The FBI Has a New Plan to Spy on High School Students across the Country” AlterNet, March 2, 2016, http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/fbi-has-new-plan-spy-high-school-students-across-country.

Danielle Jefferis, “The FBI Wants Schools to Spy on Their Students’ Thoughts,” Just Security, March 11, 2016, https://www.justsecurity.org/29901/fbi-schools-spy-students-thoughts/.

Student Researcher: Brandy Miceli (San Francisco State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)

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