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“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
“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
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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.
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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
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“[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.
“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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“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
“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.

15 World Banks Carbon Trade Fiasco

Upside Down World, February 11, 2009
Title: “The World Bank and Climate Change: Sustainability or Exploitation?”
Author: Mary Tharin

Student Researchers: Victoria Masucci and Christine Wilson
Faculty Evaluator: Elaine Wellin, PhD
Sonoma State University

In the name of environmental protection, the World Bank is brokering carbon emission trading arrangements that destroy indigenous farmlands around the world.
The effort to coordinate global action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions began with the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and now has been ratified by 183 nations. While many of the strategies established in the protocol are encouraging, some are proving to have fatal flaws. One such program, known as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) investment, has become a means by which industrialized countries avoid reducing their own emissions through the implementation of “emissions reduction” projects in developing nations.

In accordance with the Kyoto Protocol, many governments have established “caps,” or limits, on the greenhouse gas emissions that can be produced in their countries. Industries can respond to these government-imposed limits by responsibly reducing their emissions, or they can bypass this process entirely by purchasing “carbon credits” from other industries in other parts of the world who, through CDM investment brokered by the World Bank, trade emission reduction “credits” in order to “offset” excessive emissions.  Joris den Blanken, a climate change specialist with Greenpeace, says, “Offsetting means exporting responsibilities to the developing world and removes the incentive for industry to improve efficiency or to invest in renewable energy.”

While the World Bank claims that this system “supports sustainable development . . . and benefits the poorer communities of the developing world,” the program in reality has become little more than a corporate profit-boosting enterprise. In fact, many transnational corporations are using cap and trade programs not only to avoid emissions responsibility, but to further profit by developing environmentally and socially destructive industries in less developed countries.

In Latin America, where a long history of corporate exploitation has already taken a steep toll, environmentalists and indigenous communities are beginning to speak out about the dangers of the CDM. Because of a myopic focus on greenhouse gas reduction only, and a lack of accountability to local communities, many projects are producing other environmental and social ills that are diametrically opposed to the program’s stated objectives.

Nevertheless, the United Nations Environmental Program reports that, to date, 4,364 projects have been approved for CDM funding, and the movement continues to gain momentum. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the number of new project proposals has risen drastically in just a few years, from less than ten per month in early 2005 to about 100 per month in 2007.

Wood and pulp industries have shown great interest in harnessing the carbon market to justify and finance projects that involve expropriating indigenous farm and grazing land for planting of enormous monospecific plantations. These plantations threaten the area’s biodiversity and can severely deplete water resources.  Author Mary Tharin warns, “From an ecological standpoint, planting large-scale plantations of non-native species in this area is clearly a step in the wrong direction. From a societal standpoint, this could spell cultural genocide.”

According to a 2008 report by Japan Overseas Plantation for Pulpwood (JOPP), entitled “Feasibility Study of Afforestation CDM for Community Development in Extensive Grazing Lands in Uruguay,” the land that would be used for the JOPP’s “afforestation projects,” is currently used for “extensive grazing” of cattle and sheep. The report, which elaborates on “land eligibility,” makes no mention of the people who own, live on, or make a living from the use of the land in question. The only allusion to this issue is the brief assurance that all displaced cattle would be “sold on the open market.” Despite the fact that “cattle and sheep production has been the traditional rural activity in the project area and all the surrounding regions since the17th Century,” the report contends that the establishment of plantations would be a more cost-effective use for the land than pasture. The question then becomes: cost-effective for whom?

The World Bank touts the CDM as an “integral part of the Bank’s mission to reduce poverty through its environment and energy strategies.” However, in Latin America as in other parts of the developing world, the global carbon market is proving to be largely detrimental to the indigenous and the poor. With little or no input on how a project is conducted, local communities have virtually no control over how their land, water, and resources will be affected.

In a recent documentary by Carbon Trade Watch, villagers explained that the massive plantations—which cover about 100,000 acres—are diverting water from local streams, causing a sharp decrease in fishing and killing off medicinal plants. In an interview, one local woman lamented that corporate plantations “continue destroying our community, destroying our citizens, destroying our fauna, destroying our flora, and nobody does anything [to stop it].”

Lack of accountability to local populations is a fundamental flaw in the way CDM projects are presented, evaluated and implemented. The official “Project Design Document Form”—which the CDM Executive Board uses to approve or deny funding—largely disregards the impact of projects on local communities. The document contains no binding legal language, asking only for a “report on how due account was taken of any comments received” by local stakeholders. In their assessment of four CDM projects carried out in Brazil and Bolivia, the EEP found that “participation of local community members was found to be limited.”

While the World Bank pays constant lip service to the importance of sustainability and poverty alleviation in the CDM, it continually fails to deliver positive results for either the environment or disadvantaged communities in the developing world. The global carbon market is proving to be simply another weapon used by multinational corporations to accelerate their incursion on the rights of indigenous peoples and small-scale landholders in Latin America.

The irony of this situation takes on an especially tragic hue since many of the communities at risk have been living in a sustainable manner for centuries and thus should be seen as models in the fight against environmental degradation and climate change. Instead, the World Bank has adopted a system that inadequately addresses one pressing environmental hazard at the expense of other important environmental issues and the wellbeing of the world’s most vulnerable, and often most knowledgeable, of populations.

Janet Redman at the Institute for Policy Studies says, “Farmers [in the global south] are trading communal land rights and their ability to feed themselves for the whims and price fluctuations of the international carbon market.”

Update by Mary Therin
As governments, environmentalists, and industry leaders gear up for UN Climate Change Conference this December in Copenhagen, the debate over carbon offsets has taken center stage. Groups including the European Commission have acknowledged the many shortcomings of the Clean Development Mechanism and are calling for reform. In late April 2009, delegates from all over the world attended the Indigenous People’s Global Summit on Climate Change, producing a declaration which called on governments to abandon “false solutions to climate change that negatively impact Indigenous Peoples’ rights . . . such as carbon trading, the Clean Development Mechanism, and forest offsets.”

Unfortunately, the CDM Executive Board, instead of addressing issues of transparency and accountability, has proposed an expansion of some of the carbon offset scheme’s most problematic aspects. The board has put forth plans to expand its forestry mechanism and ease the funding application process. According to Oscar Reyes of Carbon Trade Watch, these reforms would drastically expand CDM while “lowering the already inadequate checks on environmental sustainability and social justice.”

Meanwhile, the Clean Development Mechanism continues to expand. In May 2009 alone, 132 new CDM projects were submitted for approval, marking an all-time high in the application process. At the same time, more evidence is cropping up all over the globe that many “emissions reduction” projects in the developing world are doing more harm than good. In June 2009, the UK-based Daily Mail published an exposé on a UN-funded chemical plant that has poisoned the local water supply in Gujarat, India. According to Eva Filzmoser of CDM Watch, large hyrdo and gas projects are the most damaging receivers of CDM funding. These projects, she argues, rarely save additional emissions and in fact provide perverse incentives to expand environmentally degrading industries.

In the United States, debate over carbon offsets and cap and trade schemes has erupted since the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, was passed by the House Energy Committee in May 2009. While many environmentalist groups are heralding the bill as a huge step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, others point to the prominence of carbon offsetting in the bill as a way for corporations to skirt any real commitment to emissions reductions. According to the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), up to 2 billion tons of carbon (about 30 percent of current US emissions) could be purchased as offsets under the legislation, half of which would come from developing countries through programs like the Clean Development Mechanism.
While most of the mainstream media and many environmental groups have jumped on the cap and trade bandwagon, organizations such as the Institute for Public Studies, Carbon Trade Watch, and CDM Watch continue to boost public awareness on the dangers of cap and trade. A number of voices, including The Economist, have come out in favor of a Carbon Tax as a more effective way to motivate emissions reductions. These groups are calling for people in the developed world to take the lead by shrinking our own carbon footprints, and demanding a real solution to climate change that starts at home.

For more information, see:
Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (Institute for Policy Studies):
Carbon Trade Watch:
Friends of the Earth:
CDM Watch:

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