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

15. Gerber Uses the WTO to Suppress Laws that Promote Breastfeeding

Environment and Health Weekly, November 18, 1999
Title: Corporate Rights vs. Human Need
Author: Peter Montague

Multinational Monitor, September, 2,000
Title: Milking Profits in Pakistan
Author: Muddassir Rizvi

Faculty Evaluators: Suzanne Toczyski, Ph.D., Linda Novack, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Deanna Battaglia, Nathalie Manneville

Gerber Baby Foods Corporation has used the World Trade Organization (WTO) to suppress a Guatemalan law that encouraged mothers to breast-feed their children.

For many years, the potential market for baby food corporations has deteriorated because of low birth rates in developing countries. In order to create demand for their products, Gerber Baby Foods has aggressively sought to expand their market in Third World countries, particularly Guatemala.

Under WTO rules, corporate intellectual property rights have higher priority than human health. Small, poor countries can be intimidated by transnational corporations into opening their markets to foreign corporations, and their governments cannot invoke their own domestic laws as a precondition of doing business. In effect, the WTO has given corporations a powerful new way to challenge the laws of any federal, state, or municipal government.

In 1983, the government of Guatemala passed a law and regulations with the goal to inspire new mothers to breastfeed their infants, and to fully understand the harm that could be done to their baby if they used breast-milk substitutes. The Guatemalan law prohibited the use of labels that associated infant formula with a healthy, chubby baby similar to those found on all Gerber packages. Manufacturers were prohibited from sending out free samples of their products because this encouraged mothers to stop breastfeeding, and to become customers. The law required packaging labels to carry a statement that breastfeeding is nutritionally superior. The law also restricted baby food manufacturers from targeting young mothers in the hospital. All of these regulations went into effect in 1988, and all other domestic and foreign manufacturers of baby foods, with one exception, Gerber, came into compliance. Gerber, the U.S baby food manufacturer objected to Guatemala’s law. Gerber refused to remove its trademark picture of a smiling chubby baby from its product labels. Gerber also refused to add a phrase to the labels saying that breast milk is superior. Although the Guatemalan Ministry of Health made numerous attempts to negotiate with Gerber, the company reportedly continued to market its infant formulas and to give free samples to women and children.

In November 1993 Gerber lost its appeal but opened up a new line of attack on Guatemala stating that the law was a “expropriation of Gerber’s trademark.” In 1995, when the World Trade Organization came into being, Gerber dropped its claim regarding expropriation and began to challenge Guatemala before a WTO tribunal. Guatemala realized they were in battle with an immense power. The government changed its law to concede to Gerber’s marketing practices.

Heavy marketing by the baby food industry has contributed to a drop in breastfeeding rates in both the United States and Third World nations. Advertisers intend to convince women that breastfeeding their babies isn’t modern, and that bottle-feeding is healthier. The premise of such advertising is medically false. Breastfeeding provides infants with significant immunity to disease, as well as creating an emotional bond between mother and child.

Baby formula leads to 1.5 million infant deaths each year in Third World countries, as mothers often unwittingly prepare the formula with contaminated water, causing fatal diarrhea. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICF) only 44 percent of women in Third World countries currently breast-feed.

Update by Peter Montague

During the last quarter of the 20th century, the industrialized world was swept by a resurgence of “free trade” ideology that had its roots in late19th century England. In his novels, Charles Dickens cataloged the frightful inequalities and widespread misery that free trade brought to the people of England, but, unfortunately, the modern resurgence of free trade has no Charles Dickens telling its story. Nevertheless, the inequalities and misery are spreading around the globe, largely unreported by the corporatized media. The main thrust of modern free trade ideology is to weaken national governments and give freedom to transnational corporations to do as they please. As a result, social safety nets, even in the advanced countries of northern Europe, are being dismantled. The forms of democratic self-governance at national, state, and local levels are losing substance as power shifts to the private sector. This long-term shift away from democracy, away from governmental control of corporate behavior, is the sweeping backdrop against which history is unfolding in our time. My story merely described a few details of this backdrop.

Of course the widely reported “Battle of Seattle” coincided with the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in late November 1999. For the first time since the Vietnam War, churches, labor unions, environmentalists, democracy activists, and students joined forces to assert their opposition, this time to the corporate agenda called “globalized free trade.” Thus for the first time the battle lines were drawn: those favoring popular control of governments (and of democratically set standards for labor and environment) versus those favoring corporate control of such matters. As a result of the Battle of Seattle, a worldwide network of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) has developed, using the Internet for communication, aiming to reassert democratic controls over corporations, economies, and standards affecting workers and the environment. A titanic struggle is thus under way worldwide-the forces of popular democracy vs. the forces of corporate control, again largely unreported in the corporatized media.

The mainstream media largely ignored this story. As Ben Bagdikian has documented in the sixth edition of Media Monopoly (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000), the mainstream press in the U.S. is now controlled by just six corporations. It should come as no surprise to learn that these six corporations report very little about the most important story of our time-free trade ideology undermining the role and power of national and subnational governments worldwide, giving corporations free rein to do as they please.

The organization Public Citizen, in Washington, D.C., has an excellent web site describing its Global Trade Watch campaign (and some of the best free trade publications available anywhere); Go to

Many good listservs about globalization and free trade are also available free from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) at <

Peter Montague:

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