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“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
“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
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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.
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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
“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
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“[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.
“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 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
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“[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
“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.)
“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.

5. CONTINUED MEDIA BLACKOUT OF DRUG WAR FRAUD

While the fire and brimstone of drug war rhetoric continues to saturate the mainstream press, high-ranking drug war insiders continue to come forward in attempts to expose the “war” for what it really is: a battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American public. And the media continue to be the government’s apparently willing ally in this war.

The latest to “go public” is Michael Levine, who recently retired from the DEA after 25 years as a leading undercover agent for various law enforcement agencies. Over the course of his career, Levine has personally accounted for at least 3,000 people serving a total of 15,000 years in jail, as well as several tons of various illegal substances seized. Upon his retirement Levine published a critical expose of the DEA in which he thoroughly documents his journey from true believer to drug war heretic.

Levine documents numerous instances of CIA involvement in the drug trade, State De­partment intervention, and DEA cooperation with both parties. Levine’s story closely parallels that of Richard Gregorie whose defection from the Attorney General’s office was the fourth ranked “censored” story of 1989.

According to Levine, “the only thing we know with certainty is that the drug war is not for real. The drug economy in the United States is as much as $200 billion a year, and it is being used to finance political operations, pay international debts – all sorts of things.” While not being completely frozen out by the media, not one DEA or other government official would appear to respond to his charges.

Levine’s appearance on The MacNeil/Lehrer show was significant because Terrence Burke (the acting DEA chief), when asked by Lehrer, agreed with Levine that “we (the U.S.), have consistently chosen drugs over communism,” but Burke only agreed to appear on the show after the Levine interview (which was taped) and with the proviso that he would not discuss any of the charges made in the book.

Another strange media non-event was the proposed “60 Minutes” segment on “the drug war fraud”. On January 24, “60 Minutes” producer Gail Eisen called Levine and explained that executive producer Don Hewitt had ordered a “crash production” for a segment on his experi­ence with the DEA. Levine gave “60 Minutes” extensive documentation and he was instructed to get his passport in order to do on location shooting in Panama. He then received a phone call informing him that “60 Minutes” had suddenly and inexplicably dropped the piece.

“The whole drug war is a media war,” says Levine, “It’s a psychological war, aimed at convincing America through the press that our government is seriously trying to deal with the drug problem when they’re not.”

SSU CENSORED RESEARCHER: DENISE MUSSETTER

SOURCE: EXTRA!, 130 West 25th St., New York, NY 10001, DATE: July/August 1990

TITLE: “Ex-DEA Agent Calls Drug War a Fraud”

AUTHOR: Martin A. Lee

SOURCE: THE HUMANIST, 7 Harwood Drive, PO Box 146, Amherst, NY 14226-0146, DATE: September/October 1990

TITLE: “A Funny, Dirty Little Drug War”

AUTHOR: Rick Szykowny

COMMENTS: Investigative journalist Martin A. Lee, co-author of “Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media,” felt the “drug war” issue received minimal exposure. “Charges by Michael Levine, a 25-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration, that the drug war is a fraud, got very little coverage in mainstream U.S. news media – this at a time when the so-called drug war was perhaps the biggest ongoing news story in the U.S. press.” Lee said that his interview with Levine was reprinted in a handful of alternative weeklies, but no mainstream news outlet picked up his charges and explored the serious issues he raised. Rick Szykowny, author of the article in The Humanist, said that the media coverage of the drug war amounted to a propaganda exercise, as the media focused on the Bush Administration’s self­-serving pronouncement and rigorously avoided any analysis of either the systemic social and cultural causes of drug use (and abuse) in this country or the political aspects of the “war on drugs”. Szykowny also suggested that “The Bush Administration is the most obvious beneficiary of the mass -media’s uncritical coverage of the drug war – as were the Reagan and Nixon administrations before it. The Drug War is the kind of issue that lends itself quite handily to cynical political manipulation. By declaring “war” on drug abuse – essentially a thorny social (non-military) problem – the Bush administration was able to achieve a number of things. It could foment a kind of crisis mentality in the general public, to the point where the average American supported the suspension of constitutionally protected civil liberties in order to wage that war. It could divert the attention of the American public (and mass media) from far more substantial political issues – and from the fact that the United States government has cynically colluded with international drug traffickers when it has served the interests of `national security.’ The Bush Administration was also able to intervene in the internal affairs of South American nations under the pretext of `going to the source,’ and even invaded Panama to (allegedly) bring Manuel Noriega to trial on drug trafficking charges.”

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