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“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.
“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.)
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“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
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“[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

4. Exposing the Global Surveillance System

Source: COVERTACTION QUARTERLY (CAQ), Title: “Secret Power. Exposing the Global Surveillance System,”* Date: Winter 1996/1997, Author. Nicky Hager

SSU Censored Researchers: Bryan Way and Brad Smith
SSU Faculty Evaluator. David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

For over 40 years, New Zealand’s largest intelligence agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), has been helping its Western allies to spy on countries throughout the Pacific region. Neither the public nor the majority of New Zealand’s top elected officials had knowledge of these activities. These procedures have operated since 1948 under a secret, Cold War-era intelligence alliance between the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand-the UKUSA agreement. But in the late 1980s, the U.S. prompted New Zealand to join a new and highly secret global intelligence system. Author Nicky Hager’s investigation into this system and his discovery of the ECHELON Dictionary has revealed one of the world’s biggest, most closely held intelligence projects—one which allows spy agencies to monitor most of the telephone, e-mail, and telex communications carried over the world’s telecommunication networks. It potentially affects every person communicating between (and sometimes within) countries anywhere in. the world.

The ECHELON system, designed and coordinated by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is one of the world’s biggest, most closely held intelligence projects. Unlike many of the Cold War electronic spy systems, ECHELON is designed primarily to gather electronic transmissions from nonmilitary targets: governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals in virtually every country.

The system works by indiscriminately intercepting very large quantities of communications and using computers to identify and extract messages of interest from the mass of unwanted ones. Computers at each secret station in the ECHELON network automatically search millions of messages for pre-programmed key words. For each message containing one of those key words, the computer automatically notes time and place of origin and interception, and gives the message a four-digit code for future reference. Computers that can automatically search through traffic for key words have existed since at least the 1970s, but the ECHELON system was designed by NSA to interconnect all these computers and allow the stations to function as components of an integrated whole. Using the ECHELON system, an agency in one country may automatically pick up information gathered elsewhere in the system. Thus, the stations of the junior UKUSA allies function for the NSA no differently than if they were overtly NSA-run bases located on their soil.

The exposure of ECHELON occurred after more than 50 people who work or have worked in intelligence and related fields—concerned that the UKUSA activities had been secret too long and were going too far—agreed to be interviewed by Hager, a long-time researcher of spying and intelligence. Materials leaked to Hager included precise information on where the spying is conducted, how the system works, the system’s capabilities and shortcomings, and other details such as code names.

The potential abuses of and few restraints around the use of ECHELON have motivated other intelligence workers to come forward. In one example, a group of “highly placed intelligence operatives” from the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) came forward protesting what they regarded as “gross malpractice and negligence” within the establishments in which they operate, citing cases of GCHQ interception of charitable organizations such as Amnesty International and Christian Aid.

Nicky Hager states: “The main thing that protects these agencies from change is their secrecy. On the day my book [Secret Power] arrived in the bookstores, without prior publicity, there was an all day meeting of the intelligence bureaucrats in the prime minister’s department trying to decide if they could prevent it from being distributed. They eventually concluded, sensibly, that the political costs were too high. It is understandable that they were so agitated.”

UPDATE BY AUTHOR NICKY HAGER: “As a long-time researcher into issues of spying and intelligence, I have become all too aware of how little reliable information on these subjects ever reaches the public. Many of the ‘leaks’ that hit the news have been planned by the spy agencies. Fragments of correct information that do leak out of the highly secretive agencies usually remain scattered or are denied, and incorrect information is frequently repeated year after year in news stories for lack of anything more substantial.

“As far as I know, the information contained in my CAQ article comes from the most substantial leak of top secret information this decade about the electronic spying activities of the Western powers. Many intelligence staff who work in the New Zealand outposts of the U.S. spy-network risked their careers to give me hundreds of pages of interview notes about the high-tech spy systems they operate.

“Since the article was published, the main electronic spy station operating in New Zealand has expanded its oper-ations—from intercepting e-mail, fax, and telex to telephone calls as well confirming that the ominous capability for large-scale automated telephone monitoring has been achieved by the spy agencies.

“When governments refuse to comment on and calculatedly ignore new stories, those stories usually quickly die. That is largely what happened with my revelations. However, anyone interested in reading more about the secret inner workings of the electronic spy agencies can read my book upon which the article was based: Secret Power (Nelson, New Zealand: Craig Potton, 1996). The book is available from CovertAction Quarterly (CAQ), 1500 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, #732, Washington, DC 20005; Tel: 202/331-9763; E-mail:”

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