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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
“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.)
“[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
“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.
“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
“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 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 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
“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] 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
“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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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.
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast

24. The No-Pest Shell Game

Source: E Magazine, PO Box 5098 Westport, CT 06881, Date: November/December 1992, Title: “The Shell Game,” Author: Diana Hembree and William Kistner

 SSU Censored Researcher: Mark Lowenthal

SYNOPSIS: It wasn’t long after the original Shell No-Pest Strip, sold by the Shell Chemi­cal Company (a division of Shell Oil Com­pany), became a popular household item in 1966 that serious scientific questions were raised about its safety. By 1971, every Shell pest strip manufactured in the U.S. bore a label warning buyers not to hang the strips in a room occupied by babies, the elderly or the infirm; it also warned consumers not to use the strips in kitch­ens, hospitals, nurseries or restaurants.

Finally, in 1987, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study officially linked the active chemical in pest strips­ dichloros, or DDVP-to an unusually high cancer risk. By then the controversial de­vice had all but disappeared from stores and homes in the United States.

This was not the case in Mexico. To find the strips widely marketed today, as revealed in an investigation by journalists Diana Hembree and William Kistner, all you have to do is go across the border to Mexico. There, in many drugstores and supermarkets, you can buy the DDV P­laced pest strips (called Shelltox Matavoladores-“flying-insect killer”) from Shell Mexico. However, the popular prod­uct does not carry a label warning Mexi­can consumers of possible cancer risk from exposure to DDVP. Even worse, for more than 20 years, Shell Mexico’s in­structions for using the pest strips contra­dicted the safety warning labels required in the U.S. In fact, the packaging advised buyers to hang them in kitchens, bed­rooms and just above baby cribs. This now discontinued label has not been recalled and is still found on shelves in popular supermarkets.

Dr. Joseph Ross, professor emeritus at the UCLA School of Medicine, describes Shell Mexico’s pest strip instructions as “appalling.” Noting that infants are more sensitive than adults, Ross stresses that hanging a pest strip above a baby’s crib “is potentially extremely hazardous. The [in­structions] are unconscionable. They’re just heartless. It’s shocking to me that great corporations with reputable people would allow this to happen.”

Shell Mexico and Shell Oil Company are both wholly owned subsidiaries of the Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell.

This story, of 1992 vintage, is reminis­cent of Project Censored stories dating back to 1976 when the #3 Censored story revealed how major corporations were selling banned pesticides and drugs to Third World countries. A conservative World Health Organization study estimated that some 500,000 people, the majority of them in Third World countries, were poi­soned annually by banned pesticides and drugs at the time.

It also reveals that unethical and im­moral marketing practices by multinational corporations, applying inadequate stan­dards to Third World countries, continue to endanger foreign consumers to this day.

COMMENTS: Speaking on behalf of her­self and co-author William Kistner, author Diana Hembree, of the Center for Investi­gative Reporting, reports, “The subject of `The Shell Game’-the multinational’s ques­tionable marketing practices in the Third World-received little or no media atten­tion last year.

“Our story examined the flaws in Royal Dutch Shell’s regulation and oversight of one of its popular household pesticide products, No-Pest Strips (whose active in­gredient, DDVP, is linked to cancer, blood disorders, nerve damage and genetic dam­age) in Mexico. Shell Mexico advised con­sumers to use the pest strips around in­fants and in kitchens, thus completely con­tradicting health and safety warnings re­quired on Shell pest strips in the U.S. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a story has ever exposed the difference in Shell’s marketing standards. (Searches through Nexis, Dialog and Journal Graph­ics data files failed to turn up any stories on the subject).

“Although the dumping of banned or dangerous U.S. products in other coun­tries has received some publicity over the years, less attention has been paid when a hazardous product developed here is manufactured and sold by local subsidiar­ies in another country — without safety-warnings.

“Millions of consumers in the United States, Mexico and other countries would benefit from wider exposure of this sub­ject in the mass media by being more wary of DDVP pest strips, which expose people to a suspected carcinogen 24 hours a day. Although Shell stopped making its contro­versial pest strips years ago, other U.S. made pest strips containing DDVP have quietly made their way onto the market in recent years; if the American public real­ized that medical reports have linked DDVP with leukemia and fatal blood disorders in children, they would be better able to protect themselves from exposure to pest strips and popular bug sprays containing DDVP.

“Consumers in Mexico, Nicaragua and Bolivia, where Shell Mexico strips are found, would also be able to make an informed choice when considering whether to buy a DDVP pest strip, and where to hang it. At the very least, they would know that Shell pest strips sold in the U.S. warned consumers not to hang the pest strips around infants, the elderly, in kitchens, hospitals, or the sick and in­firm.

“Pest strips containing DDVP are also reportedly sold in Australia and Japan, where the public would also benefit from a greater knowledge of DDVP hazards. Finally, wider exposure of the flawed test­ing and regulation of pesticides like DDVP night stir more calls for reform.

“The parent company-in this case, the Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell­ benefits from the limited coverage [given this issue] because its wholly owned sub­sidiaries can likely sell more pesticide prod­ucts if marketing standards are looser in poorer countries. Also, without media scru­tiny, the multinational’s regulatory staff has little incentive to promote the same mar­keting standards for pesticide safety in a developing country as those used, for ex­ample, in the United States.

“Although Royal Dutch Shell officials told us that the parent corporation always shared the latest in scientific studies on the safety of DDVP and other pesticides with Shell subsidiaries, this was appar­ently not the case with Shell Mexico.

“In addition, a Royal Dutch regulator’s assertion that DDVP is ‘not hazardous to humans, but specifically hazardous to flies’ contradicts data from the EPA and Na­tional Center for Toxicological Research as well as medical studies from the U.S. and other countries; such a statement sug­gests that, in the absence of media atten­tion, the multinational has little incentive to amass up-to-date health and safety re­search on the pesticides used in its prod­ucts.

We mailed ‘The Shell Game’ to vari­ous environmental groups and pesticides companies as well as to sources in the article, some of whom responded with calls or letters. Altemet has distributed the story as published in E Magazine; in this way, we hope to reach a larger audience in the United States. We are also considering translating the story into Spanish for distri­bution through newspapers such as Excel­sior or La Jornada, or helping with a short news story for Univision News, broadcast to households throughout Mexico and much of Central and Latin America.”

David, R. Ellison, an attorney with Ellison, Hinkle & Bayer, in Ventura, Cali­fornia, who represented a family in a little publicized law suit filed against the Shell Chemical Company over the original Shell No-Pest strip, expressed his feeling about the issue raised by Hembree and Kistner: “It is incredible what corporate greed will drive people to do–it is unfortunate there are not more whistle-blowers, but at least we have competent and capable investiga­tive reporting that can function within the atmosphere of a free press.

“Though sometimes I feel like an ant on the beach with a 40-foot tidal wave coming, it is still nice to stand up for what you know is right and to fight for the truth of those principles.”

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