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“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.
“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.
“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.
“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
“[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 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
“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
“[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
“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
“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
“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
“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.
“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

23. The Scheme to Privatize the Hanford Nuke Plant

Source: COUNTERPUNCH Title: “Clinton Crowd Said Yea! Plot to ‘Cure AIDS,’ Make H-Bombs and $5 Billion,” Date: April 1997, Authors: Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn

SSU Censored Researchers Susan Allen
SSU Staff Evaluator: Charles Fox

A consortium of energy contractors plotted to gain control of the Fast Flux Facility at Hanford Nuclear Reservation, convert it to tritium production for H-bombs, and profit to the tune of billions. The Hanford Fast Flux, sitting at the heart of a radioactive wasteland in eastern Washington State, was scheduled for decommissioning. But the government’s emphasis on privatizing public facilities—promoted under Vice President Gore’s program for “reinventing government”—made it a tempting target for profit.

Contemplating the shutdown and the potential for profit, the consortium of about a dozen large corporate contractors at Hanford (including Westinghouse, Lockheed, Batelle, Bechtel, TRW Environmental, Fluor, and Informatics) actively lobbied to have the Fast Flux transferred to the consortium and retooled for tritium production at taxpayer expense. Tritium—the substance needed to put the “oomph” into an H-bomb—could earn profits of $4 to $5 billion a year for the consortium.

Sales to the U.S. government were to be the major source of profit, since tritium has a half-life of only 12.3 years and must be regularly replaced. But the consortium recognized that approval would be hard to obtain as the Department of Energy (DOE) had already selected two other facilities as the primary future providers of tritium. Approval of a “tritium-only” plan at the Hanford site was sure to fail unless a new strategy was developed.

At a November 20, 1995 meeting in Washington, DC, representatives of the consortium met with Washington congressional delegation staffers, Terry R. Lash, director of the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, and Richard Thompson, a Democratic wheeler dealer/entrepreneur who was impresario of the conclave. Thompson suggested that they should be “riding the AIDS cure bandwagon,” and outlined a plan to promote Hanford as the last American producer of medical isotopes to be used in AIDS and cancer research.

The Hanford consortium then faced the delicate task of convincing the DOE they needed to be paid for making tritium in order to finance the future production of medical isotopes. Negotiations in Washington began by labeling Hanford an “interim” tritium project. To sell this idea to the White House, the consortium launched lobbying and PR campaigns, hiring Hugh Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother, to lobby on their behalf, and making campaign donations to insure access to the President, who gave “thumbs up” to the proposal during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. One of Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary’s last acts before leaving the DOE for a position on the board of directors of a major energy company was to approve Hanford’s role as a potential site for tritium production.

Fatefully, when the consortium moved to the next step—arranging for financing and plutonium fuel rods supplies—they turned to Randall Bonebrake, then an employee at Advanced Nuclear Medicine Systems. Bonebrake states that when placed in contact with European sources of supply, he suddenly found himself “…in the center of an international market in nuclear waste. It was bizarre and frightening.” He stated he woke up to the fact that he was involved in what appeared to be a conspiracy to breach the International Atomic Energy Treaty, which forbids trade in commercial nuclear fuel for the production of nuclear weapons.

Carrying internal documents from Thompson and the DOE, Bonebrake first approached the IRS in Seattle. He was told there was nothing they could do and they recommended he approach The Seattle Times. Instead, Bonebrake turned to Greenpeace, who counseled leaking the affair to the media and seeking some protection of his status as whistleblower by unburdening himself to the Government Accountability Project. When Bonebrake learned that Thompson was about to sign a contract with the DOE commencing privatization of the Fast Flux, he leaked the news report to the German weekly, Der Spiegel, thus raising alarm in Europe and blocking the shipments of fuel rods from Europe.

At the time of the article, the Fast Flux remained on “hot standby” and had not been decommissioned.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR JEFF ST. CLAIM: “Our story shows how easy it is for a group of venture capitalists to get their hands on government nuclear reactors capable of making fuel for hydrogen bombs. Taking advantage of the wide-spread privatization of DOE sites and some slick public-relations work, a small company from Ellensberg, Washington was nearly awarded title to the Fast Flux Breeder Reactor at the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State. Though the deal ultimately collapsed (after it was exposed in CounterPunch), the firm, Advanced Nuclear Medicine Systems (ANMS), successfully persuaded the DOE to keep the Fast Flux in ‘hot stand by’ as a possible source of tritium production rather than being shut down as advised by DOE staffers. The DOE is currently searching for another company to take over operations of the Fast Flux.

“One of the key sources for our story was a former employee of ANMS by the name of Randall Bonebrake. Bonebrake left ANMS when he discovered that the company’s professed intention to operate the Fast Flux in order to produce radioactive isotopes to treat AIDS and cancer patients was a ruse to hide the company’s real objective: production of tritium for hydrogen bombs. Bonebrake turned over ANMS papers to Greenpeace, the Government Accountability Project, and CounterPunch. He was later arrested for theft. After our story ran, Bonebrake’s trial ended in a hung jury and the prosecutors decided not to retry the case.

“The story was largely ignored by the mainstream press, although it received quite a bit of attention from public radio. We did interviews for stations in Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; and Moscow, Idaho. The combination of our story and the radio coverage was cited as a major factor in ANMS’s decision to withdraw its proposal, according to Bill Sykes, the company’s president, who complained that his company had been ‘tarred by bad publicity.’ The privatization of DOE sites, many of them highly toxic, remains one of the great uncovered stories in America.”

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