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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
“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
“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 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.
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 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
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“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.
“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
“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.)
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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
“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

2. Shell’s Oil, Africa’s Blood

Sources: SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, Date: February 7, 1996, Title: “Shell Game,” Author: Vince Bielski; TEXAS OBSERVER, Date: January 12, 1996, Title: “Shell’s Oil, Africa’s Blood,”* Authors: Ron Nixon and Michael King; EDITOR & PUBLISHER, Date: March 23, 1996, Title: “Rejected Ad Flap,” Author: M.L. Stein; WORLD WATCH, Date: May/June 1996, Title: “Dying for Oil,” Author: Aaron Sachs; WORLD WATCH, Date: July/August 1996, Title: “Eco-Justice in Nigeria,” Author: Chris Bright; BANK CHECK, Date: February 1996, Title: “IFC Pulls Out of Shell Deal in Nigeria,” Author: Andrea Durbin

In the wake of Nigeria’s execution of nine environmental activists, including Nobel Prize winner and leader of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ken Saro Wiwa, evidence has indicated that Shell has fomented civil unrest in Nigeria, contributed to unfair trials, and failed to use its leverage to prevent the unjustified executions. The executed activists were involved in massive protests against Royal Dutch/Shell Group because of the environmental devastation it has caused—particularly in Southern Nigeria’s Ogoniland.

Since the executions, Shell has also managed to keep the United States media from informing the public of its actions.

Nigeria’s government, under the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha, derives 90 percent of its foreign revenue from oil exports. The United States, home of Royal Dutch’s subsidiary Shell Oil Company, located in Houston, Texas, imports almost 50 percent of Nigeria’s annual oil production.

In October 1990, Nigerian villagers occupied part of a Shell facility demanding compensation for the farm lands which had been destroyed by Shell. A division manager at Shell Petroleum Development Company called the Nigerian military for help. The military forces then fired on the villagers, killing some 80 people and destroying or badly damaging 495 homes. A Nigerian judicial inquiry later concluded that the protest had been peaceful. The MOSOP was formed after the massacre to continue protests against Shell. And while Shell has denied having anything to do with the recent executions, Dr. Owens Wiwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa’s brother, reported that on three occasions Brian Anderson, the managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Co. in Nigeria, offered to make a deal with Wiwa: Shell would try to prevent the executions if the activists would call off their protests. Wiwa refused, and Shell did not intervene.

After international pleas for Shell’s intervention, Shell claimed that it was not—and would not become involved in Nigeria’s political affairs. Internal documents uncovered by journalists and human rights groups contradict this claim.

According to a report by Andy Rowell in the Village Voice (November 21, 1995), there is evidence that Shell has been bankrolling Nigerian military action against protesters and that two key prosecution witnesses admitted in sworn affidavits that they were offered bribes by Shell to unjustly incriminate Saro-Wiwa in his trial.

In response to these allegations, Shell has mounted an international media campaign to combat negative publicity. Amnesty International USA said the Houston Chronicle refused to run an ad which questioned Shell’s stance on human rights violations in Nigeria and that three billboard companies, including Gannett Outdoor Co. Inc., also declined to sell space to the human rights organization.

SSU Censored Researchers: James Hoback, Anne Stalder

COMMENTS: Vince Bielski, author of the San Francisco Bay Guardian article, says, “While the execution of the environmental activists in Nigeria was widely reported, most of the media ignored what was the thrust of my story—the links between Shell Oil, the Nigerian military, and human rights abuses. Under pressure, Shell recently admitted it had paid the military to protect its facilities—further implicating the oil giant in the human rights abuses.

“Few Americans understand how a multinational corporation could be responsible for the repressive acts of a dictatorship. A better informed public would help pressure Shell into acting more responsibly.”

According to Michael King and Ron Nixon, co-authors of the Texas Observer article, “Although the SaroWiwa execution received extensive coverage, the larger Nigerian story has gone largely unnoticed—and in the months since the execution, there has been little subsequent coverage.

“The most obvious benefits of wider coverage of the Nigeria story would be greater public pressure for an end to Nigeria’s military dictatorship, an end to U.S. government favoritism to the Nigerian regime, and an end to the stranglehold that the multinationals hold on the economies of underdeveloped nations, particularly in Africa.

“The Ogoni people have been heroically fighting the Nigerian regime and the Shell corporations virtually on their own; international support makes it more difficult for that struggle to be isolated and defeated.

“In this country, the conventional African story is one of starvation and misery; Americans would do well to know more about the organized opposition to tyranny in Africa and elsewhere. Moreover, it would begin to undermine the millions of dollars expended by Shell and other multinationals in self-serving and intentionally misleading ‘public relations’ efforts.”

Michael King, associate editor of the Texas Observer, also mentions the boycott launched against Shell in the wake of Saro-Wiwa’s execution, “although its overall effect is unclear (yet another consequence of minimal news coverage),” and notes, “The Nigerian regime has continued to cultivate friends in Congress and the White House.” King hopes the wake of the recent Texaco racism scandal will encourage renewed interest in the Shell/Nigeria situation-and says, “The attention of Project Censored to this story could be an important catalyst to additional coverage.”

Aaron Sachs, author of the World Watch article, “Dying for Oil,” believes the mass media picked up the story of the struggle of the Ogoni people only for a few moments, right around the execution of Saro-Wiwa and the eight other activists. Yet coverage was limited and described the hangings “as an outrage and a blip in the Abacha regime’s `transition’ to democracy,” he says.

“The consumer ought to know—indeed, has a right and a responsibility to know—the consequences of his or her actions and decisions … you might want to know if some of the profits from the gas you regularly buy for your car are going into the pockets of an unelected dictator who is committing environmental genocide within his own country.

“Both the U.S. government and Shell—as well as a few other major oil companies—benefit from the lack of (media) attention. The car/oil lobby is the largest and richest interest group in Washington, and Clinton has refused to impose sanctions on Nigeria largely out of fear that he would alienate Shell and Friends and that gasoline prices might rise a few cents,” says Sachs.

M.L. Stein, author of “Rejected Ad Flap,” says, “To my knowledge, the story (of Amnesty International USA’s inability to purchase media space) did not receive any exposure in the mass media. I believe it was a legitimate story that should have run for its news value alone. I believe that at least a segment of the public is interested in the fact that mainstream newspapers reject some ads and the reasons for it.” Stein believes it is important that “the public was deprived of learning about a subject that is of interest to them.”

Andrea Durbin, author of “IFC Pulls Out of Shell Deal in Nigeria,” discusses another largely unknown aspect of the story: “The fact that Shell was just about to receive a loan from the World Bank to expand its operations was hardly mentioned in coverage.” Durbin believes the public would benefit from media exposure “by knowing what their taxpayer dollars, contributed to the World Bank, are used for. Without the campaign to stop the loan, the World Bank would have doled out a $100 million loan to Shell.”

Durbin adds, “We are raising the issues, the fact that the World Bank makes loans to corporations, many of them the most profitable companies. We want the public to know what their money is being used for and exactly what kind of `development’ is being promoted. The progress is slow, however, because the media is unwilling to cover the issues.”

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