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“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
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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
“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
“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.
“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
“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 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
“[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.
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“[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 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 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 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

3. INTERNATIONAL PANEL FINDS U.S. GUILTY OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Spurred by Jimmy Carter, the United States has put the subject of human rights on the international agenda.

Yet, few Americans are aware that, in 1979, the United States itself was the subject of an international inquiry into human rights violations … and found guilty.

It started on December 11, 1978, when the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the Commission of Racial Justice of the United Church of Christ filed a petition with the United Nations.          It alleged that there are consistent patterns of violations of human rights with classes of prisoners in the U.S. because of their race, economic status, and political beliefs.

Subsequently, seven international jurists, experienced in human rights cases, came to the U.S. to investigate violations of the document of the United National Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners. The jurists were from Sweden, India, England, Nigeria, Chile, Senegal, and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The jurists, the three organizations who petitioned the U.N., the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A., the National Council of Churches, Black American Law students Association of New York, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Team Defense, and various divisions of the United Methodist Church divided into groups of four to cover more territory. The observed and conducted interviews with inmates and officials in prisons across the country. Affidavits, trial transcripts, and court documents were studied as well as government reports on population and management of the prisons.

The jurists final report stated that a “clear prima facie case” exists of human rights violations in American prisons.

The report, which revealed many abuses within the American prison system, had an extensive section on political prisoners beginning with the Reverend Benjamin Chavis of the Wilmington Ten. There also were sections on abuse of the criminal process (jury selection, prosecutorial misconduct, exclusion of evidence), and sentencing. The jurists were appalled to find that one 14-year-old boy was given a 48-year sentence for armed robbery.

On Death Rows around the country, the jurists observed that “the taking of a black life, even by another black, is statistically one-tenth as likely to be punished by death as the taking of a white life. Yet a black who took a white life is five times as likely to receive the death penalty as a white doing the same thing. No white has ever been sentenced to death for murdering a black person.”

There were violations of rules concerning personal hygiene, medical services, and discipline and punishment. Particular notice was taken of the use of harshly repressive “behavior modification units.” There were also accounts of systematic medical maltreatment and “over-­prescription of psychotropic or heavily sedative drugs.”

One of the jurists, Richard Harvey, an English barrister and specialist in criminal law, prison conditions, and Southern Africa affairs, summarized his impressions as follow:

“It’s impossible to say how strongly shocked we were. We did not expect to find anything like this. The pervasive institutional racism, for instance. Prison after prison looked like a colonial setting -­overwhelming white forces of guards in charge of prison populations that are largely not white. And the racism — as the report shows — goes much deeper than that throughout the whole criminal justice system, from prosecutorial misconduct to medical malpractice inside the prisons.”

On August 21, 1979, the jurists’ findings were announced at a press conference held in the UN’s Church Center on UN Plaza.

Author-investigator Nat Hentoff said that following the press conference, “There was a brief report on CBS radio, but nothing on network or local television and nothing in the next day’s Times or News or Post. Or in that week’s. Or in last week’s (9/3/79). The wire services did carry a story, so why wasn’t it picked up? Well, as both local and national news functionaries told people from the National Conference of Black Lawyers who were making media calls, ‘The big black story now is Andy Young and the fallout from his resignation.’ There is only room for one sizeable ‘black story’ at a time, the media folk explained.”

International jurist Richard Harvey concurred with Hentoff’s critique of the media coverage, saying “I was quite surprised that after we pave that press conference on August 21, there was nothing in the Times. Or hardly anywhere.”

The lack of coverage given this story, which exposes the causal problems of violence in America’s prisons, stands in stark contrast to the massive and sensationalized coverage of prison riots such as that at Attica in 1971 or the more recent tragedy at a New Mexico prison. It surely is questionable whether Andy Young’s resignation would have pushed either the Attica or New Mexico prison riots off the front page.

The failure of the mass media to report the international inquiry into human rights violations in the U.S. qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories of 1979.

SOURCES: The Village Voice, Sept. 10, 1979, “Seven International Jurists Journey to the Heart of Darkness,” by Nat Hentoff; New York Amsterdam News, Dec. 9, 1978, “Human Rights Violations Subject of U.N. Petition.”

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