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

18. PCBs: Importing Poison

Sources: THE TEXAS OBSERVER Dates: March 8, 1996; April 19, 1996, Titles: “Choose Your Poison”; and “Poisoned Welcome,” Author: Michael King; SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, Date: April 24, 1996, Title: “Importing Toxic Waste,” Author: Jim Hightower

SSU Censored Researchers: Bob Browne, Jeffrey Fillmore

In March 1996, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) repealed a 16-year-old ban on the importation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), once used as lubricants for electrical transformers. Production and use of PCBs ended in the U.S. after it was learned that they are highly toxic carcinogens.

U.S. industries have disposed of most domestic PCBs. The preferred disposal method to date is burning. Five sites in the U.S. are approved for incineration of PCBs. Meanwhile, our neighbors, Canada and Mexico, have continued to collect old transformers and PCBs, and have stockpiled them, having no safe method of disposal. The ban on importation ideally would compel these other countries to develop their own safe methods of disposal. That hasn’t happened. Mexico, for example, still exports this toxic waste to Europe to be destroyed, and as of March had stockpiled about 8,000 tons of liquid PCBs.

Importation of Mexico’s and Canada’s PCBs is not a response to our neighbors’ looming environmental difficulties so much as it is a response to U.S. waste companies’ desire to establish lucrative new disposal contracts. Congressional representatives from Ohio, where one waste incineration site is located, reportedly lobbied, at the request of the local waste disposal firm, for the EPA to lift the ban. The firm, S.D. Meyers, would earn an estimated $100 million dollars from new contracts to dispose of Canadian toxic waste. Some experts doubt that U.S. disposal firms would be more efficient than Canadian firms, but they are certainly cheaper, sometimes running about one-quarter of the cost.

Scientists also believe the burning of toxic waste is inherently unsafe, with PCB incineration releasing such hazardous chemicals as dioxins, even PCBs themselves, into the air and water, and eventually the food chain. One chemist said that stored PCBs, even in such mass quantities, are not nearly as harmful as burned PCBs. For example, neighbors of an Arkansas disposal site reported black smoke and noxious fumes coming from that plant. Cancer cases and neurological disorders in the nearby town increased dramatically as well.

Moreover, predictions of the effects of PCB incineration are based on how emissions would affect theoretically clean air. But sites that would incinerate PCBs also burn a variety of other hazardous chemicals; add these emissions to air that is already polluted by other sources. PCB incineration does not, therefore, create a problem that may or may not be significant; it makes an existing problem even worse.

COMMENTS: According to Michael King, associate editor of The Texas Observer, “mainstream coverage of this story was confined to an AP dispatch or two, with no attention paid to the larger issues of PCB manufacture and the question of safe disposal (i.e., without incineration). There may have been a couple of stories at the time the ban was technically lifted; I have seen no coverage at all of the subsequent status of re-importation.”

King believes the obvious benefit of additional media coverage “would be public education of the ongoing risks involved in PCB incineration specifically, and toxic waste incineration generally.” King describes the “massive public risk” in Texas, where there are two hazardous waste incinerators as well as other sources, such as cement kilns, which have even less regulation, “and the prevailing winds certainly do not stop in Texas,” he says. “Great Lakes pollution has been traced to Texas and the Southeast—the continuing inattention to the dangers of waste incineration constitute a largely unacknowledged public health threat nationally and internationally.

“The obvious beneficiary of limited coverage is the hazardous waste industry (producers and incinerators). They have succeeded in maintaining the fiction that incineration destroys hazardous waste, when science and experience demonstrate that incineration simply disperses poisons (in the case of PCBs, the products of incineration are worse than the PCBs themselves) into the air and the food chain.

“As I write, the Mexican border remains open to re-importation, and the Canadian border is expected to be opened early next year; I do not know if Mexican PCBs are currently being re-imported under the new EPA regulations. An effort by Congressman Ken Bentsen to re-instate the ban failed for a lack of Senatorial sponsorship, and the Sierra Club reports that Bentsen’s original amendment would not have been effective in any case. The Sierra Club, however, in conjunction with Greenpeace, filed a lawsuit contesting the new EPA regulations; the suit remains pending in federal court and a decision is expected in December.

“I would hope that the new attention brought by Project Censored to this story might result in public pressure against the incineration of PCBs (here or abroad), and more generally at the whole issue of the incineration of toxic waste.”

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