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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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23. CIA LA PENCA BOMBING. A MURDER INDICTMENT: NO NEWS?

One of the most comprehensive news blackouts in recent history occurred when an official Costa Rican judicial investigation recommended that two U.S. citizens, who played prominent roles in the Iran-contra affair, be indicted for murder in connection with the La Penca bombing in 1984.

The final investigation report named John Hull, identified as a CIA operative who helped supply the contras from his northern Costa Rican farm, and Felipe Vidal, a Cuban-American contra figure, as planners of the assassination attempt against Nicaraguan rebel leader Eden Pastora, a bombing that only wounded its intended victim, but killed three journalists (one of them American), and maimed several more.

Pastora had refused to join forces with a rival contra faction directed by the CIA, as well as refused to accept the help of arms pilots who doubled as drug runners, and also refused the participation of Miami-based anti-Castro Cubans in the effort to oust the Sandinistas.

Additionally, the Costa Rican investigators found that a network of CIA operatives par­ticipated in an elaborate cover-up of the bombing in which vital evidence (including parts of the bomb) was stolen, false stories were concocted to lead investigators away from the true perpetra­tors of the crime and Costa Rican officials were bribed or pressured to stop their investigations. The U.S. media, with the exception of the Miami Herald, USA Today, and NBC affiliate KRON in San Francisco, completely ignored this seemingly significant development in the ongoing La Penca/Iran-contra story.

SSU CENSORED RESEARCHER: BILL GIBBONS

SOURCE: THE MIAMI HERALD, One Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132-1693, DATE: 1/6/90

TITLE: “Costa Rican Prosecutor Links Two Americans to Fatal Bombing”

AUTHOR: JOHN McPHAUL

SOURCE: PROPAGANDA REVIEW, Media Alliance, Building D, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

DATE: Winter 1990

TITLE: “La Penca Cover-up Continues” AUTHOR: JOHAN CARLISLE

COMMENTS: Investigative reporter Johan Carlisle, an observer of the La Penca case since 1986, both as a journalist and briefly as a consulting investigator for the Christic Institute, in Washington, DC, said that “the larger story of the La Penca/Christic lawsuit has been systemati­cally suppressed by all of the major media with a few exceptions. The Miami Herald and the Philadelphia Inquirer have broken a number of Iran/contra-related stories which have managed to at least mention the La Penca lawsuit. The New York Times has only used what some of us have come to call the ‘C’ word (Christic) on one or two occasions and the Washington Post has not done much better.” While there may have been some brief mention of some of the La Penca case details, Carlisle noted, there certainly was “no analysis, background or serious mention of the lawsuit- all of which is necessary to put the Costa Rican government’s actions into per­spective.” Carlisle feels that if the public had been informed “about the alleged crimes of John Hull and other defendants in the La Penca lawsuit, they would have exerted more pressure on Congress to establish firm controls on the President’s ability to run such anti-democratic opera­tions around the world.” At the very least, Congress might not have been so eager to pass the Intelligence Authorization Bill (noted in censored story # 25, on page 67) which was subse­quently vetoed by Bush. Carlisle concludes that the La Penca story is unique in modern journal­ism. “The combined resources and disclosures of a massive congressional investigation of the Iran /contra affair, the resulting mainstream media investigations, public TV and radio coverage, and numerous trials produced a huge amount of data and revelations about covert operations. Covert operations are normally undiscovered and thus go unreported. That the media didn’t go beyond the safe stories of Iran/contra and allowed Congress to ignore important leads is a trag­edy.”

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