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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
“[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.
“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
“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
“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 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 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 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
“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
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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

8. Government Secrecy Makes a Mockery of Democracy

Source: Issues In Science and Technology, 307 Massachusetts Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002, Date: Summer 1992, Title: “The Perils of Government Secrecy,” Author: Steven Aftergood

SYNOPSIS: In 1991 some 6,500 U.S. gov­ernment employees classified 7,107,017 documents, an average of more than 19,000 documents per day. Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC, says our information policy is in disarray, with widespread over­-classification and an inefficient and costly information system. Further, the classified files are overflowing with records of policy decisions, historical and budget docu­ments, and reams of environmental data that could not possibly compromise our national security. Some examples:

Secret historical documents: As of last year, the oldest classified military docu­ment in the National Archives was dated April 15, 1917, and concerns U.S. troop movements in Europe during World War I. National Security Directives (NSD): These secret presidential directives with­hold basic policy documents concerning space, telecommunications, counter-nar­cotics, etc., from Congress as well as the public. Until May 1992, not a single Bush administration NSD had ever been made public; at that time, President Bush, under pressure, partially declassified his direc­tive concerning U.S. policy on Iraq.

The Black Budget: About 15 percent of the Defense Department’s budget for weapons acquisition has been classified in recent years, keeping the cost of a pro­gram, its purpose, even its existence a secret from Congress. Often the excessive secrecy leads to abuse involving program failures, cost overruns and fraud.

Secret environmental impact data: The Department of Energy has withheld data on the health effects of its nuclear weapons production facilities. No matter how potentially dangerous a proposed project may be to the public, information about its hazards can be concealed.

Intelligence information: There are more than a dozen intelligence agencies within the government, including the Na­tional Reconnaissance Office (NRO), re­sponsible for satellite reconnaissance. Ironically, the very name and existence of the NRO are classified. Further, the com­bined budget for these agencies is secret because it is felt that official disclosure of such a number, estimated to be about $30 billion a year, would jeopardize American agents or sensitive technologies. Con­cerned with an ever-increasing criticism of its secrecy, the CIA last year prepared a report on how the agency might achieve greater openness — and then classified the report.

While governments require some degree of secrecy, it was only with the start of the Cold War that it went beyond mili­tary information and became an institu­tionalized part of the U.S. bureaucracy. In 1951, President Truman established a clas­sification system that included civilian as well as military agencies. The system has been revised a number of times since and reached a peak of openness under the Carter administration. This trend toward openness was reversed by President Reagan, who, in 1983, issued an executive order that said, in essence, when in doubt, classify. And if there is a question of what level of classification, the higher level is to be adopted. Now the system is totally out of control.

As Aftergood concludes, “Openness in government is not a threat to national security … it is the foundation of the nation’s political way of life and the source of much of its strength.”

SSU Censored Researcher: Kimberly S Anderson

 COMMENTS: The millions of documents now being classified annually, as author Steven Aftergood points out, can be traced to Friday, March 11, 1983, when President Ronald Reagan issued an executive order to “stem the flow of leaks of classified government information.”

At the time, Anthony Lewis, colum­nist with the New York Times, warned that this was “the most dangerous executive order in many years: dangerous to the American system of democratic control over public policy. It is also, so far, danger­ously misunderstood.”

Aftergood offers some further points: “Considering its importance in deter­mining the boundaries of permitted public knowledge, the government secrecy sys­tem has not been closely scrutinized or even widely recognized.

“Even when the news media report the eruption of scandals such as Iraqgate, they have rarely stopped to examine the structural factors that make such scandals possible. One of these factors is certainly the arbitrary exercise of classification au­thority, which all too often allows political misconduct to be concealed in the name of national security.

“Wider exposure of the systemic abuse of government secrecy would fi­nally make it politically possible to reform the secrecy system and to challenge it when warranted. Government officials quite naturally tend to conceal informa­tion they deem sensitive. It is incumbent on an informed electorate to assert its right to know and to demand government ac­countability. The necessary first step is to acknowledge the problem.

“It is hard to say that anyone benefits by ignoring the explosive growth of gov­ernment secrecy, except of course those who have secrets they wish to maintain. But if there is in fact a core body of informa­tion that truly must be protected in the interests of national security, as I believe, then that information too may become less secure when classification authority is invoked for bureaucratic or political ad­vantage, and the credibility of the classifi­cation system declines.

“It is easier to say who is harmed by ignoring secrecy, and that is almost every­one, to some degree. Excessive secrecy has not only become a hindrance in sci­ence and technology, it has infected much of government information policy, frustrat­ing public debate on a range of crucial subjects from foreign policy to the envi­ronment, and subverting the operation of our political institutions.”

Aftergood also has a tip for the Clinton administration:

“Since the national security classifica­tion system is based on Executive Order, not statutory law, it can be unilaterally altered by the president. One may hope that the Clinton administration will finally see fit to reverse at least some of the abuses of the Cold War secrecy system, and especially the excesses of the Reagan/ Bush years.”

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