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“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“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.)
“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.
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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 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
“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 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
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] 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
“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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“[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
“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
“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 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

5. Corporate Exploitation of Global Refugee Crisis Masked as Humanitarianism

According to a June 2015 United Nations report, sixty million people worldwide are now refugees due to conflict in their home nations. The UN report indicated that during 2014 one out of every 122 people was a refugee, internally displaced, or an asylum seeker; and over half of these refugees were children. (For previous Project Censored coverage of the global refugee crisis, see “Global Forced Displacement Tops Fifty Million,” Censored story #14 in Censored 2016: Media Freedom on the Line.)

While Syrian refugees account for the largest number (an estimated 11.5 million people), other places such as Colombia, parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia have large refugee populations that remain largely unreported. According António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees at the time of the report, “We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before.”

Although the extent of the global refugee crisis has been covered in the corporate media (including, for example, the New York Times and the Washington Post), the exploitation of refugees has been less well covered. In February 2016, Sarah Lazare published an article on AlterNet that warned of the World Bank’s private enterprise solution to the Syrian displacement crisis. “Under the guise of humanitarian aid,” Lazare wrote, “the World Bank is enticing Western companies to launch ‘new investments’ in Jordan in order to profit from the labor of stranded Syrian refugees. In a country where migrant workers have faced forced servitude, torture and wage theft, there is reason to be concerned that this capital-intensive ‘solution’ to the mounting crisis of displacement will establish sweatshops that specifically target war refugees for hyper-exploitation.”

According to a World Bank press release by its president, Jim Yong Kim, “We are exploring the creation of special economic zones (SEZs), and encouraging investments in municipal projects and labor-intensive work.” According to World Bank materials, the goal is to help alleviate hardships faced by refugees in Jordan by developing five SEZs along the Syrian border. “We are using a holistic approach to addressing the refugee influx through private sector development,” Lazare quoted one World Bank spokesperson as saying. However, as Lazare also noted, despite her multiple attempts to obtain more information from the World Bank on the proposed SEZs, specific details remained scant; furthermore, she reported, the history of Jordan’s existing special economic zones (operated under a variety of names) is marred by human trafficking, torture, and wage theft, “often in the service of U.S. companies.”

“At a time of mass human displacement from ongoing wars,” Lazare wrote, “we should be asking hard questions about the political implications of encouraging Western companies to target and profit from the labor of people violently uprooted from their homes.” The World Bank program “raises deeper questions about the global responsibility to address the large-scale human harm the West played a role in unleashing” in Syria. Myriam Francois, a journalist and research associate at SOAS, University of London, told Lazare that the development of SEZs in Jordan “will change refugee camps from emergency and temporary responses to a crisis, to much more permanent settlements.” The SEZ proposals, Francois said, are “less about Syrian needs and more about keeping Syrian refugees out of Europe by creating (barely) sustainable conditions within the camps which would then make claims to asylum much harder to recognize.”

Describing an agreement between Turkey and the European Union to keep millions of refugees from entering Europe as “a deal between devils,” Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report said that Turkey has “cashed in on the people it has helped make homeless.” As Al Jazeera reported, Turkey accepted $3.3 billion from the European Union (EU) “in return for checking the flow of refugees across the Aegean Sea.” Turkey reportedly asked for double that amount to cover the costs of dealing with the refugees. Earlier in March 2016, European Council president Donald Tusk had warned refugees from Asia and Africa, “Do not come to Europe … It is all for nothing.”

Noting that “the great bulk of Turkey’s refugees are victims of Turkey’s role in the war against Syria, in alliance with Europe and the United States and the royal oil aristocrats of the Persian Gulf,” Ford described human trafficking in Turkey as “on a scale not seen since the Atlantic slave trade.”

In addition to the EU money, Turkey has also sought admission to the European Union—and, with this, the right for 75 million Turks to enter Europe without visa restrictions—as a condition for controlling its refugee population. Thus, according to Ford, Turkey has engaged in a “vast protections racket trap,” effectively agreeing to protect Europe from further incursions by “the formerly colonized peoples whose labor and lands have fattened Europe and its white settler states for half a millennium.” However, Ford concluded, “Europeans will never accept Turkey into the fold, because it is Muslim and not-quite-white.”

Corporate exploitation of the global refugee crisis is underreported in the popular and corporate press, and often subject to distorted pro-business coverage, as in a September 2015 Wall Street Journal article on the number of small businesses and large corporations that are finding ways to profit from the flood of migrants. Unlike Lazare’s AlterNet report, the Journal’s coverage dealt only with Syrians who had managed to migrate to European countries. According to the Journal, private equity groups across Europe were pursuing a new investment opportunity with “promising organic and acquisitive growth potential,” the management of camps and services for refugees. “The margins are very low,” the article quoted Willy Koch, the retired founder of the Swiss company ORS Service AG. “One of the keys is, certainly, volume.”


Sarah Lazare, “World Bank Woos Western Corporations to Profit from Labor of Stranded Syrian Refugees,” AlterNet, February 24, 2016, http://www.alternet.org/labor/world-bank-woos-western-corporations-profit-labor-stranded-syrian-refugees.

Glen Ford, “Turkey and Europe: Human Trafficking on a Scale Not Seen since the Atlantic Slave Trade,” Black Agenda Radio, Black Agenda Report, broadcast March 8, 2016, transcript, http://www.blackagendareport.com/turkey_europe_human_trafficking.

Student Researchers: Mark Nelson (Sonoma State University), Sean Donnelly (Citrus College), and Elizabeth Ramirez (College of Marin)

Faculty Evaluators: Anne Donegan (Santa Rosa Junior College), Andy Lee Roth (Citrus College), and Susan Rahman (College of Marin)

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