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

20. “JUSTICE” AND THE TRIALS OF AMERICA’S AGENT ORANGE VETS

For the second time in the past decade, Vietnam veterans and the families of deceased vets have brought a class-action suit against the manufacturers of the lethal herbicide Agent Orange.

Hoping to hold the defense contractors that produced Agent Orange accountable for causing their health woes, veterans and their families have filed a class-action suit, Shirley Ivy et al. v. Diamond Shamrock Chemical Co., et. al.  But the U.S. federal courts and six defendant chemical companies, among them Dow, Monsanto, Uniroyal and Diamond Shamrock, have managed to stifle every initiative the vets have taken.

The unholy union of courts and contractors is nothing new to the veterans. The first suit ended abruptly in the Brooklyn courtroom of U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein. The judge told the vets’ attorneys, whom he had appointed, that their evidence was weak and urged them to take what they could get. Weinstein also intimated that the attorneys might be held personally liable if they did not settle. As a result, the arrangement crafted by Judge Weinstein provided ridiculously small sums to individual veterans. A Texas vet, totally disabled, was awarded “more than any other vet he knows”; his checks will total $6,000. Shirley Ivy was offered approximately $3,000 as compensation for her husband’s death. The tens of thousands of vets who had suffered debilitating injuries but were not completely disabled received nothing.

Some veterans chose not to cooperate with the settlement and opted to sue independently of the class-action. But not one of their cases survived Judge Weinstein, who created two new rules of law. Rather than follow normal rule of evidence that allows a jury to decide on disputes of fact and credibility of witnesses, Weinstein himself determined the vets’ experts were not credible. The second law invented to rid the courts of Agent Orange cases was an immunity for defense contractors. The government contractor defense was created specifically to enable Agent Orange manufacturers to avoid liability, and was the sole ground for dismissing the vets’ claims on appeal.

Shirley Ivy flatly refused to accept the token amount offered from the first Agent Orange settlement. In May 1989, she filed suit in Texas state court against the manufacturers of Agent Orange. Her case constitutes the second massive class-action suit on behalf of Agent Orange vets. The federal courts, however, have not let the lawsuit proceed unimpeded. In fact, federal judges have created novel rulings to wrest the case away from Texas state courts -­and to transfer it to the New York federal courtroom of Judge Jack Weinstein.

Federal statute permits a case to be taken out of state court and put into federal court only under certain limited conditions that did not exist in Ivy’s case. Nonetheless, the case was transferred to New York. On October 4 Judge Weinstein dismissed the case.

SSU CENSORED RESEARCHER: ANNE BRITTON

 SOURCE: MULTINATIONAL MONITOR, P.O. Box 19405, Washington, DC 20036, DATE: July/August 1991

TITLE: ‘The Agent Orange Trials”

AUTHOR: Laura Akgulian

COMMENTS: Investigative journalist Laura Akgulian describes the extraordinary efforts she made to get more coverage for this important issue. “It’s difficult for freelancers to place self-generated articles, particularly about sensitive topics. So when the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post rejected an Agent Orange article I’d written, I thought vets might be better served by having staff writers cover this story and began contacting journalists in all media — reporters and columnists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Newsday, The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, The Village Voice, etc.; Bob Edwards at NPR; Dan Rather and a senior investigative reporter at CBS Evening News; a Donahue Show producer; and many others. “Most print journalists yawned. The notable exception was a sympathetic reporter at The Wall Street Journal. A Newsday reporter wrote a piece, then called to apologize. ‘I don’t think you’re going to like it,’ she ventured. I didn’t think to ask if it had been edited to say something she hadn’t intended.

“A producer on Dan Rather’s staff told me CBS Evening News was very interested, but despite some frantic faxing, nothing materialized. The Donahue producer announced, We don’t do stories about Vietnam;’ her executive producer automatically nixes them, she confided. One might surmise that GE, a major defense contractor and NBC’s parent company, wouldn’t relish a show pitting the defense industry against dying veterans and their genetically damaged children. I did manage to arrange a talk show on Washington’s WAMU-FM featuring Shirley Ivy’s two public interest lawyers and retired Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr.

“Motivating others, it seemed, was even more taxing than trying to place freelance articles, so I reverted to my own writing. In addition to the Multinational Monitor article, my pieces have run in The Texas Observer and In These Times, with additional articles slated to appear in The Progressive and The Village Voice.

“I also hope to delve into related topics, including the curious relationship between The New York Times and key players in the Agent Orange drama. This story has so many angles that several reporters could examine its intricacies simultaneously with little overlap. I will continue passing along data to other authors in the hope that this sordid saga will out, especially now that Judge Weinstein has dismissed Ivy and a follow-up ruling is imminent.”

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