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

#9 Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Testify

Iraq Vets Against the War, March 13–16, 2008
Title: “Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations”

War Comes Home, Pacifica Radio, March 14–16, 2008
Title: “Winter Soldier 2008 Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations”
Co-hosts: Aaron Glantz, Aimee Allison, and Esther Manilla

One World, March 19, 2008
Title: “US Soldiers ‘Testify’ About War Crimes”
Author: Aaron Glantz

The Nation, July 30, 2007
Title: “The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness”
Authors: Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian

Student Researchers: April Pearce, Erica Elkington, and Kat Pat Crespán

Community Evaluator: Bob Alpern

Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are coming forward to recount the brutal impact of the ongoing occupations. An investigation by the Nation (July 2007) and the Winter Soldier hearings in Silver Spring, Maryland, in March 2008, which was organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War and brought together over 300 veterans, have made their experiences public. Soldiers’ harrowing testimony of atrocities they witnessed or participated in directly indicate a structural problem in the US military that has created an environment of lawlessness. Some international law experts say the soldiers’ statements show the need for investigations into potential violations of international law by high-ranking officials in the Bush administration and the Pentagon. Though BBC predicted that the Winter Soldier event would dominate headlines around the world that week, there was a near total back-out on this historic news event by the US corporate media.1

Dozens of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan occupation publicly testified at the four-day Winter Soldier gathering about crimes they committed during the course of battle—many of which were prompted by the orders or policies laid down by superior officers. Such crimes include targeting innocent, unarmed civilians for murder and detention, destroying property, desecrating corpses, severely abusing detainees (often torturing to death), and using corpses for medical practice.

Winter Soldier 2008 was organized to demonstrate that well-publicized incidents of US brutality, including the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of an entire family of Iraqis in the town of Haditha, were not isolated incidents perpetrated by “a few bad apples,” as many politicians and military leaders have claimed. They are part of a pattern, the organizers said, of “an increasingly bloody occupation.” The veterans also stressed the similarities between the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, “. . . units that are getting the exact same training and the exact same orders are being sent to both Iraq and Afghanistan,” explains a former US Army Medic.

The Nation investigation vividly documents the experiences of fifty combat veterans of the Iraq occupation. Their testimonies reveal that American troops lack the training and support to communicate with or even understand Iraqi civilians. They were offered little to no cultural or historical education about the country they control. Translators are in short supply and often unqualified. Interviewed vets said stereotypes about Islam and Arabs that soldiers and marines arrive with tend to solidify rapidly in the close confines of the military and the risky streets of Iraqi cities into a crude racism. Veterans said the culture of this counterinsurgency war, in which most Iraqi civilians were assumed to be hostile, made it difficult for soldiers to sympathize with their victims—at least until they returned home and had a chance to reflect. Former US Army Sergeant Logan Laituri argues, “The problem that we face in Iraq is that policymakers in leadership have set a precedent of lawlessness where we don’t abide by the rule of law, we don’t respect international treaties, so when that atmosphere exists it lends itself to criminal activity.”

International law expert Benjamin Ferencz, who served as chief prosecutor of Nazi War Crimes at Nuremberg after World War II, told OneWorld that none of the veterans who testified at Winter Soldier should be prosecuted for war crimes. Instead, he said, President Bush should be sent to the dock for starting an “aggressive” war. “Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime.” He said the United Nations charter, which was written after the carnage of World War II, contains a provision that no nation can use armed force without the permission of the UN Security Council.

Many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans return home deeply disturbed by the disparity between the reality of the occupations and the way they are portrayed by the US government and American media. The occupation the vets describe is a dark and even depraved enterprise, one that bears a powerful resemblance to other misguided and brutal colonial wars and occupations, from the French occupation of Algeria to the American war in Vietnam and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Although international and independent US media covered Winter Soldier ubiquitously, there was an almost complete media blackout on this event by US mainstream media (see Chapter 12).


1. “Why Are Winter Soldiers Not News?” Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, March 19, 2008.


The veterans who spoke at Winter Soldier could have stayed silent. They could have accepted parades and accolades of heroism and blended back into society, and the world would have never known about the terrible atrocities they committed or witnessed in Iraq or Afghanistan. By coming forward to share their stories at considerable risk to their honor, however, these veterans have done a great service, permanently changing the historical record of “what happened” in the war zones.

While their testimony continues to be largely ignored by the mainstream media (to date the New York Times, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS have failed to cover it), their words were not in vain. Our three-day broadcast lead to a Capitol Hill hearing in front of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. During our March broadcast, we brought on the Caucus’s co-chair, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, as a guest by phone from California and allowed two veterans to join us in conducting the interview. In opening remarks at Winter Soldier on the Hill, Lee referenced that interview.

“I remember one of the persons I talked with wanted to know why there weren’t any members of Congress there,” she said. “And someone asked me over the interview ‘Well, what about having a hearing in Washington, DC?’ And I said ‘Right.’”

On May 15, 2008, nine Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans stood before the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which is co-chaired by Lee and Congresswomen Lynne Woolsey. A half dozen other Congress members also participated and or listened to the three-hour testimony. Many of the representatives in attendance were visibly moved by it and Congresswoman Maxine Waters applauded the veterans for their bravery. KPFA and Pacifica Radio broadcast the hearing live.

Just as importantly, our three-day live broadcast showed many veterans they were not alone. During the course of both broadcasts, we were deluged with phone calls, e-mails, and blog posts from service members, veterans, and military families thanking us for breaking a cultural norm of silence about the reality of war. Since then, we have heard from many veterans about the importance our broadcast and how it impacted them personally. One soldier, Sergeant Matthis Chiroux, said learning about Winter Soldier caused him to refuse his orders to deploy to Iraq.

Before Winter Soldier, Chiroux said he was suicidal. “I just sat in my room reading news about Iraq and feeling completely hopeless, like I would be forced to go and no one would ever know how I felt,” he said. “I was getting looped into participating in a crime against humanity and all with the realization that I never wanted to be there in the first place.”

The turning point, Chiroux said, came when one of his professors at Brooklyn College in New York suggested he listen to a broadcast of March’s Winter Soldier hearings. “Here’s an organization of soldiers and veterans who feel like me,” he said. “All this alienation and depression that I feel started to ease. I found them, and I’ve been speaking out with them ever since.”

Since Silver Spring in March, regional Winter Soldier hearings have been organized across the country. New veterans are stepping forward to tell their stories and those who spoke in Maryland are revealing more about the reality of their service. To date, regional hearings have been held in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Gainesville, Florida. In Seattle, 800 people gathered to hear veterans’ testimonies. Many more are expected to be organized in the future. With their continued testimony, veterans’ stories have become their most powerful weapon.

For more information and to listen to the testimonies from March and May 2008, please visit or

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