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“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.
“[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
“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.)
“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.
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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
“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.
“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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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
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 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
“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
“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] 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
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“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 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

19. Global Food Cartel Fast Becoming the Worlds Supermarket

LEFT TURN, August/September 2003
Title: “Concentration in the Agri-Food System”
Author: Hilary Mertaugh

Evaluator: John Lund
Student Researcher: Anna Miranda

Over the last two decades, agribusiness and food retail mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and informal contract agreements have transformed the agri-food system into a powerful network of transnational corporations that have the power to control the world’s food supply at every stage of food production-from gene to market shelf. By cooperating with one another rather than competing, transnational corporations escape the scrutiny of federal anti-trust regulators and manipulate the market through “non-merger alliances.” In April 2002, the world’s two largest seed corporations, DuPont and Monsanto announced that they would agree to swap their key patented agricultural technologies and drop all outstanding patent lawsuits.

The flurry of mergers and acquisitions throughout the agri-food system has created highly concentrated markets as agribusinesses expand their dominance by diversifying their commodities. Cargill is among the top five companies in the US market for flour milling, grain and oilseed processing, salt production, corn and soybean exports, turkey production and processing, pork processing, and beer processing.

As fewer corporations control each stage of food production, farming is becoming a kind of serfdom. Consolidation among suppliers and processors leave farmers with few choices of who to buy from and who to sell to. Dominant agribusinesses have the ability to drive up the prices they charge for inputs while watering down the prices they pay for outputs. Furthermore, the rise of patented seed varieties places farmers in an even worse position, as agricultural biotech companies gain ownership of the germplasm itself.

Consolidation in the food system is not limited to the production and processing side. Consolidation activity among food retailers has catalyzed a domino effect of mergers and acquisitions. ConAgra, a company few Americans have heard of, is a major force in food production in the US and has continued to aggressively acquire small rivals while expanding its operation worldwide. It is estimated to be the #3 seller of retail food products in the world. Although consumers might be unfamiliar with the name ConAgra, they will recognize some, if not all, of ConAgra’s popular brand names: Armour, Butterball, Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, La Choy, Orville Reddenbacher, Parkay and Hebrew National, just to name a few. ConAgra is also known for a recall of 19 million pounds of tainted beef after 47 people were sickened and one died from E. coli poisoning in 2002.

The top five supermarket chains capture one half of all food sales in the US, and it is widely predicted that there will soon be only six major retail supermarkets selling the majority of the world’s food. Because it is necessary for each and every one of us to eat and drink, we will pay what it takes to make sure we do not go hungry or thirsty. Although food may appear to be “cheap” with fewer and fewer retailers, lack of competition will ultimately lead to higher prices, lack of choice, and poorly paid employees. Wal-Mart typically sells grocery products at prices 14% lower than competing grocers, in part because the company is a non-union employer that hires clerks at below-poverty wages.

Food corporations rely on the consumers’ lack of knowledge as to where their food comes from, how it is produced, and who wins the profits. The trend toward consolidation at every stage along the food production chain has dramatically impacted the global economy and distribution of income and wealth. Given the complexities of the domestic policy-making and legislative processes, and the numerous mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and “non-merger mergers,” it is not surprising that few people are aware of the degree to which food companies influence food safety policies, competition and decide where and how food is produced and how much it will cost.

Prior to committing suicide as an act of political protest on September 10, 2003 against the World Trade Organization in Cancun, Mexico, Lee Kyung-Hae, a 56-year old farmer from South Korea circulated the following statement. “My warning goes to all citizens that human beings are in an endangered situation in which uncontrolled multinational corporations and a small number of big WTO official members are leading undesirable globalization of inhumane, environmentally degrading, farmer-killing and undemocratic policies. It should be stopped immediately, otherwise the false logic of neo-liberalism will perish the diversities of global agriculture with disastrous consequences to all human beings.”

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