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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
“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.
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“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.)
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“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
“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
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“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
“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.
“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.
“[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
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17. ONE OF THE BEST-KEPT CORPORATE SECRETS OF 1981

AWACS, the acronym for Airborne Warning and Control System planes, was one of the biggest headline stories of 1981. And when Congress finally approved the controversial sale of reconnaissance planes to Saudi Arabia we thought it was in the best interests of our country in terms of foreign policy, oil prices, and the need to maintain peace in the Middle East. We were misled.

In reality, the sale was saved from defeat in the U.S. Senate by a massive and unprecedented corporate lobbying campaign which included one of the most successful chain-letter operations in history. And this extraordinary campaign was the result of a successful effort by Saudi Arabia to blackmail U.S. corporations.

Initially, the lobbying campaign was orchestrated by two Saudi officials and three of their U.S. agents. They later were joined by representatives of 40 U.S. companies with aerospace, defense, and petroleum interests. The director of government relations for NL Industries (petroleum equipment and supplies) organized the U.S. corporate lobbying meetings which were held at the Washington offices of the Business Roundtable (the most powerful secret lobby in America and the subject of the 9th “best censored” story of 1979).

One strategy called for the Boeing Corporation (the major AWACS contractor) and United Technologies (estimated to have some $100 million at stake) to send out more than 6500 telegrams to vendors, subcontractors, and distributors asking them, in turn, to contact at least two Senators. An examination of more than 2000 letters sent in by corporate supporters of the AWACS sale showed most of them paraphrased or quoted the original telegrams.

When the race became heated in October, 1981, the Saudis froze virtually all contract awards and renewable negotiations with U.S. firms. U.S. businessmen were led to believe that if the sale did not go through, their deals and contracts would be nullified. In other cases, the promise of contracts were dangled in front of corporations, one corporate official said, “like raw meat before a hungry dog.”

Another uncovered part of the AWACS story concerns the final agreement. The Senate approved the sale after President Reagan assured critics that delivery of the aircraft could be stopped if Saudi Arabia did not accept U.S. conditions for their use. On March 1, 1982, Saudi Arabia denied it had signed the agreement calling such reports “baseless” and “lies.”

The failure of the media to reveal how American foreign policy was dictated by corporate interests and the President’s questionable assurance to Congress qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories of 1981.

SOURCES:

San Francisco Chronicle, 2/5/82, “Massive Lobbying for AWACS told” by Steven Emerson, Copyright 1982 by The New Republic; S.F. Chronicle (UP), “Saudis Deny Signing Pact on AWACS.”

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