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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
“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 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
“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
“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] 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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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.
“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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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

23. PUERTO RICO: THE REVOLUTION AT OUR DOORSTEP

In August of 1987, the United Nations Committee on Decolonization voted to ask the United States to immediately remove itself from Puerto Rico and to recognize the Puerto Ricans’ right to self-determination and independence. This was the 11th time the U.N. committee made this request. And, each time the request was ignored by the United States government and by the U.S. press.

In 1898, Puerto Rico won its autonomy from Spain and was well on its way to becoming an independent nation. That is until July 25, 1898, when the United States invaded the island. After three years of resistance by the Puerto Rican people, the U.S. military might prevailed and Puerto Rico became a U.S. colony. In 1952, it became a “commonwealth,” but the colonial pattern, with 90 percent of the country’s industry in U.S. hands, continues to this day.

Puerto Rico is rife with social and environmental problems, many of them stemming from its status as an American colony. One independence group claims that “forty percent of Puerto Rican women have been sterilized as part of a deliberate U.S. strategy to depopulate the island.” Unemployment drives many Puerto Ricans to seek work in the U.S. Many others left their homes in order to accommodate the seven military bases there. Military recruiters prey on desperate youth experiencing 75 percent unemployment. Bombing practice on the island of Vieques destroyed the local fishing industry there. And while Puerto Rico has eight federal “emergency list” toxic dump sites, no U.S. environmental laws apply there. The U.S. is in violation of the Treaty of Tlateloco, which prohibits the storage of nuclear arms in Latin America, by storing nuclear weapons in Puerto Rico.

Unfortunately for Puerto Rico, its importance to the U.S. is not limited to its industrial development but rather to its critical position as a U.S. military base. Currently 13% of Puerto Rico is controlled by the U.S. military. Roosevelt Roads, the largest U.S. naval base outside the continental U.S., is located in Puerto Rico. And, when the U.S. military is forced to leave Guantanamo, Cuba, and Panama in the 1990’s, the military importance of Puerto Rico will increase significantly.

The Puerto Rican people are resisting by every means they can from demonstrations protesting U.S. war games, to protests over plans to strip-mine mineral-rich Puerto Rico, to militant occupations of U.S. military controlled-land, to armed actions.

As a result of the growing struggle for independence, the U.S. has intensified its repression. FBI surveillance, the use of grand juries to imprison activists, and a deliberate media portrayal of Puerto Rican independistas as terrorists are all designed to destroy the movement for self-determination. It was recently revealed that the Puerto Rican Intelligence Division, a unit known for its closeness to the FBI, maintains a 74,000-person “subversives list” which includes not just those affiliated with armed actions but lawyers, writers, and others who engage in serious dissent.

Given the ongoing repression and the increasing dissension, it may well be that our next Vietnam is not Nicaragua, but our very own “Commonwealth” — Puerto Rico.

SOURCES:

NORTHERN SUN NEWS, October 1987, “Puerto Rico: A long freedom struggle,” by Melinda Power, p 5; UTNE READER, Jan/Feb 1988, “Puerto Rico: Revolution at doorstep?,” by Chris Gunderson, pp 13-14.

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