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

15. Plutonium is Forever

Sources: Utne Reader, 1624 Harmon Place, Ste. 330 Minneapolis, MN 55403, Date: July/August 1992, Title: “Plutonium Is Forever,” Author: Monika Bauerlein; Harper’s Magazine, 666 Broadway, 11 th Fl. New York, NY 10012-2317, Date: August 1992, Title: “The Last Cold-War Monument,” Author: Alan Burdick; Los Angeles Times, Times-Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, Date: 7/26/92, Title: “All Shook Up,” Author: Jennifer Warren

 SSU Censored Researcher: Blake Kehler

 SYNOPSIS: In the 1950s, a nuclear energy critic warned “nuclear waste is like getting on a plane, and in mid-air you ask the pilot, how are we going to land? He says, we don’t know-but we’ll figure it out by the time we get there.” Well, 40 years later, we’re ready to land our nuclear plane, and we still haven’t figured out how to do it.

Each year, the nuclear industry pro­duces tons of high-and low-level waste not knowing what to do with it. Nicholas Lens­sen, a researcher at the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute, estimates the world­wide volume of high-level nuclear waste at more than 80,000 tons. In 1990, the world’s 413 commercial reactors produced 9,500 tons. And that’s not counting the tens of thousands of tons from weapons programs, and medical and industrial uses. In 1989, U.S. reactors alone produced 67 times the plutonium it would take to give everyone on earth lung cancer.

There have been two great hopes for nuclear waste disposal-Yucca Mountain in Nevada and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico.

Yucca Mountain was selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) as the na­tional “permanent repository for high level nuclear waste.” But after ten years of re­search and $6.7 billion spent by industry, including $2 billion in taxpayer funds, not a single hole has been dug in the moun­tain. The primary obstacle to the Yucca Mountain site is public opposition. In June 1992, a 5.6 tremor confirmed fears in Ne­vadans already leery of their state becom­ing the permanent home for tons of waste which remains dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. It now appears that this repository will evolve no further.

Unlike Yucca, WIPP is not intended to house high-level waste but rather low-level nuclear garbage — radiation contaminated rags, rubber gloves, test tubes, pipes, etc. Nonetheless, the dangers of radioactivity in this waste make it imperative that WIPP not leak (appreciably) for the next 10,000 years.

Incredibly, the site selected for WIPP is in a stratum of salt thought to contain significant amounts of brine. The DOE itself estimates that within 20 years of burial, the thousands of soft-steel drums contain­ing the waste will corrode and their con­tents will be exposed. Despite the poten­tial hazard, however, WIPP seems des­tined to open. It is the only existing reposi­tory and, with the apparent demise of the Yucca repository, the pressure for a dump site is building. In any event, critics say that WIPP is only a partial solution. To contain the volume of plutonium-contaminated waste currently in retrieval storage across the country would require three WIPPs; to hold the entire backlog of military and commercial waste, ten WIPPs would be needed.

Yet another hurdle must be jumped­ what kind of a sign do you put up to warn whoever may be inhabiting the earth in 10,000 years to “Keep Out” of WIPP? The simple “keep out” sign probably would not suffice. As Alan Burdick, senior editor of Sciences, asks, “Who knows whether hu­mans will speak English ten millennia hence-or whether the term ‘human’ will still apply?” As Burdick reminds us, of the original Seven Wonders of the World, only one — Khufu’s pyramid in Egypt — still stands, a mere 4,500 years old; Stonehenge is a thousand years its junior. And remember, plutonium is forever.

 COMMENTS: Monika Bauerlein, manag­ing editor of City Pages, an alternative weekly in Minneapolis, says that, except for some coverage in the alternative press, the issue of nuclear waste hasn’t received much attention anywhere for as long as she can remember.

“Mainstream coverage has been largely limited to: a) post-Gulf War stories about whether nuclear energy could be our salvation after all; and b) local stories in areas with a specific interest-towns near a potential waste repository, etc.

“From what I have seen covering this issue over the years, the U.S.-and the world-is at a crossroads on the question of nuclear energy. The nuclear industry, having laid low for most of the past de­cade, is beginning a major push for a ‘new, safe’ generation of reactors that are sup­posed to not only generate power, but also help us save the ozone layer. The Bush administration’s National Energy Strategy calls for at least doubling the number of reactors in the next 20 years, and there’s no indication that the Clinton team would change those plans at least in the immedi­ate future.

“During the debate on this strategy before Congress in 1991 and 1992, there was practically no media coverage of the nuclear waste aspect; instead, most sto­ries revolved around fuel-efficiency stan­dards and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Consequently, major decisions were made with little or no public input ­decisions which can and probably will affect not just us, but countless genera­tions to come.

“This is particularly frustrating be­cause, despite the official line that dis­posal plans are perfectly on track, govern­ment and industry officials admit that a solution (including a `permanent reposi­tory’) appears further and further away, rather than closer at hand. As a result, even people who are normally nuclear ­energy boosters — some utility executives, for example-are beginning to say that building any more plants is simply not cost-efficient.

“In other words, this issue is overripe for public debate and decision-making. Even assuming that the question of reactor safety has been solved (and it hasn’t), what will make or break the nuclear pro­gram are ‘front-and-back end’ matters in­cluding uranium mining and processing (another vastly under-covered story) and nuclear waste. And we only know one thing for certain: the longer we take to address these things, the bigger a problem we have on our hands.”

Monika Bauerlein has one final com­ment and warning:

“I clearly remember Chernobyl-I still treasure a radioactive sweater I was wear­ing the night it rained nuclides in Ger­many-and the resulting rash of stories about nuclear safety. The story died down after a while, which, unfortunately, tends to make people think that the issue must have gone away. Of course it hasn’t. And in some ways, I find it astonishing that there hasn’t been more attention-from the media, but also from activists.

“This is a question that divides the establishment (nuclear-powerboosters vs. skeptics) and affects local communities, opening unlimited possibilities for vigor­ous arguments and grassroots interests. It also bridges the gap between areas too often separated, like economics (how long can we afford to ignore a problem if it’s starting to cost us?), environmental pro­tection, race (why are so many of the tentative sites on or near Native American lands?), etc.

“In a word, it’s one of those issues that virtually scream for a real public debate –not only over the future of the nuclear program, but over the future of this society as a whole.”

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