About the Conference
Some of the finest examples of investigative journalism come not from our daily news but from independent journals and the researchers who place a higher premium on digging up important news than on making profits.
It is unfortunate that many stories of greatest consequence go unrecognized until it is too late to respond. For every work of journalism that sparks a transformation (like Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” or Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”) there are a hundred that do not – but ought to.
Each year, publishers, researchers and students of journalism gather at Sonoma State in California’s North Bay to present and discuss their reports and to critique the choices made among mainstream news outlets over the previous year.
This year’s Best of the Censored list honors the work of such journalistic notables as Robert Parry, Thom Hartmann, Jeremy Scahill and Greg Palast. Just as often though, it includes the work of the dedicated but unsung investigative researchers who simply have, as last-year’s honoree Jason Leopold tells us, “a passion for uncovering the truth.”
Friday Schedule – October 26, 2007
5:00 – 6:00 PM – REGISTRATION / Ives Hall
6:00 – 7:00 PM – Author Reception / Ives 119
7:00 – 9:00 PM – OPENING PANEL / Warren Auditorium (Ives 101)
Defending Our Civil Liberties
Journalists Frank Morales, Robert Parry, Jeremy Scahill and Mike Whitney discuss the media’s apparent lack of concern over our eroding civil liberties
(There will be a showing of Kevin Pina’s documentary Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits following the opening panel)
Saturday Schedule – October 27, 2007
8:00 -9:00 AM – Registration & Check in / Ives Hall
9:00 -10:15 AM – SESSION 1
Panel 1A – Exploitation in the Service of Neocolonialism & Profit
Warren Auditorium (Ives 101)
Censored #5: Roy Mayberry (for David Phinney)
“Human Traffic Builds US Embassy in Iraq” – Thousands of citizens from countries that have banned work in Iraq are being smuggled into labor camps in the US-controlled “Green Zone”
Censored #11: Fariba Nawa
“Afghanistan Inc: a CorpWatch Investigative Report” – In June 2005, Action Aid revealed that much of the US tax money earmarked to rebuild Afghanistan actually ends up going no further than the pockets of wealthy US corporations.
Censored #23: Peter Byrne
“Senator Feinstein’s Iraq Conflict” – As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee Senator Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions of dollars to her husband’s firms.
Panel 1B – Moving Toward Martial Law and an Expanding Police State
Censored #2: Frank Morales
“Bush Moves Toward Martial Law” – The Defense Authorization Act of 2007 allows the president to station military troops anywhere in the United States and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities.
Censored #6: Mike Whitney
“Operation Falcon and the Looming Police State” – In 2006, more than 30,000 people were arrested in one of the largest dragnets in the nation’s history. Many were undocumented workers from Latin America with no criminal history.
Censored #7: Jeremy Scahill
“Blackwater Inc and Bush’s Undeclared Surge” – Bush’s contracts with Blackwater have createdthe most powerful mercenary firm in the world and a company that most embodies the privatization of the military industrial complex on an international scale.
10:30 – 11:45 AM SESSION 2
Panel 2A – Hidden Agendas Regarding Mexico
Warren Auditorium (Ives 101)
Censored #18: Joshua Holland
“Evidence of Election Fraud Grows in Mexico” – In an election riddled with mistakes, a recount in the recent Mexico election uncovered evidence of abundant stuffing and stealing of ballots, which favored the conservative – Calderon.
Censored #18: Nina Armand & Luciente Zamora (for Revolution Collective)
“Mexico: The Political Volcano Rumbles” – Mexico’s questionable presidential election in 2006 caused millions to take to the streets. At the foundation of this struggle is Mexico’s economy, the influnce of international forces and the legacy of NAFTA.
Panel 2B – Little Known Environment & Activism Policies
Censored #15: Tim Montague (for Peter Montague)
“Some Chemicals are More Harmful Than Anyone Ever Suspected” – New evidence about how genes interact with the environment may revolutionize medicine. It suggests that many industrial chemicals may be even more dangerous than is currently believed.
Censored #17: Sunny Lewis
“Factories, Cities Across USA Exceed Water Pollution Limits” – Industrial corporations and the U.S. military are dumping toxins into our ground water above limits established by the Clear Water Act – with few, if any, consequences.
Censored #20: Will Potter
“US House Passes Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act With Little Discussion or Dissent” – Corporations, industry groups and the politicians that represent them rushed through legislation labeling activists as “terrorists” on the first day back from Congressional recess
12:00 – 2:00 PM REAL NEWS AWARDS LUNCHEON
Niagara Room—Recreation Center
2:30 – 3:45 PM SESSION 3
Panel 3A – Terrorism and the New Legal Realities
Warren Auditorium (Ives 101)
Censored #1: Robert Parry
“Still No Habeas Rights for You” – The Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed in October 2006, ushered in military commission law for US citizens and non-citizens alike. The NYT minimized the dangers posed by the act, which allows a military trial for ‘any person’ deemed to be an enemy of the state, regardless of American citizenship.
Censored #1: Thom Hartmann
“Repeal the Military Commissions Act” – The Military Commissions Act says that the Executive Branch may detain people indefinitely or exile them to concentration camps on distant islands.
Censored #20: Odette Wilkens
“The AETA is Invidiously Detrimental to the Animal Rights Movement” – In 2006, the term ‘terrorism’ was expanded to include any act that interferes, or promotes interference, with the operation of an ‘animal enterprise.’ Over 160 groups oppose this Act on grounds that its terminology is dangerously vague and poses a major conflict to the US Constitution.
Panel 3B – Media and Corruption Impact Military Policies
Censored #12: Wadner Pierre
“Haiti: Poor Residents of Capital Describe a State of Siege” – On the 21st anniversary of the fall of the dictator Duvalier , marches took place throughout Haiti, all calling for an end to the violence and that Aristide be allowed to return to the country. UN “peacekeepers” responded with violence and siege.
Censored #12: Kevin Pina
“UN in Haiti: Accused of Second Massacre” – In 2006, UN forces, under the pretense of capturing gangsters and kidnappers, attacked peaceful protestors, killing more than 30 unarmed civilians including women and children.
Censored #24: Arash Norouzi
“‘Wiped Off The Map’ – The Rumor of the Century” – Across the world, a mistranslated statement was spread that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has threatened to destroy Israel, saying, “Israel must be wiped off the map.”
4:00 – 5:30 PM CLOSING KEYNOTE
Holding Media Accountable: How Do We Recognize Censorship in the Modern Era?
Radio Host Thom Hartmann
6:00 PM INFORMAL GATHERING AND DISCUSSION
Who was there
Thom Hartmann is a three-time Project Censored-award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of 19 books in print in 14 languages, and the host of a national daily progressive radio talk show, now in its fifth year on the air. Thom has focused on a number of different topics including Corporate Personhood and, most recently, the Military Commissions Act.
Frank Morales is an Episcopal priest and activist in New York City. He is known for his articles about the Military Industrial Complex published by magazines such as Covert Action Quarterly and Global Outlook. In 2003, he founded the Campaign to Demilitarize the Police in NYC.
Will Potter is an award-winning independent journalist based in Washington, D.C., who focuses on how the War on Terrorism affects civil liberties. He has written for publications including: The Chicago Tribune, In These Times, The Texas Observer, The Washington City Paper, Z and Counterpunch
Fariba Nawa is an Afghanistan-American freelance journalist who grew up in Fremont, California and was born in Herat, Afghanistan. In 2000 she ventured into Taliban controlled Afghanistan by sneaking into the country through Iran. Her report Afghanistan Inc. (in Corp Watch) is one of the main resources used in different medias around the globe while debating effectiveness of reconstruction efforts.
Robert Parry is an American investigative journalist who has written for Associated Press and Newsweek, and broke a number of Iran-Contra stories. In 1995, he established ConsortiumNews.com as an online ezine dedicated to investigative journalism. Robert Parry has written several books, including Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq (2004).
Jeremy Scahill is an investigative journalist whose comprehensive analysis of the subjects he reports on has established him as a leading expert on several global issues. His most recent reports have focused on the rise of Private Military Corporations (such as Blackwater Inc) around the world.
Odette Wilkens is a New York attorney specializing in contract law. She became an animal activist after attending the AR2006 National Conference. She is co-founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Alliance formed in 2006 to educate the public about the dangers of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and to defeat such legislation.
Kevin Pina is an independent journalist, filmmaker and Associate Editor of the Black Commentator. He is founder of the Haiti Information Project, and currently resides in Haiti. He is also Haiti special correspondent for Flashpoints. There will be a showing of Kevin Pina’s documentary “Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits” following the opening panel at the 2007 Media Accountability conference.
Mike Whitney graduated from St. Michael’s College in English Lit in 1975. Currently, he is Program Director of the Snohomish County Democrats but, he admits that his interest in politics only began with the appointment of GW Bush as President. He says the, like many other regular Americans, he has understood from the very beginning the global aspirations of the Cabal that presently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Tim Montague is an environmental activist and researcher based out of Chicago. Tim is co-editor of Rachel’s Democracy & Health Weekly with his father, Peter Montague. His articles on epigenetics and the Precautionary Principle are widely published online and in print.
Peter Byrne has received national, regional, and local recognition for investigative work, writing style, and in-depth profiles of politicians, grifters, grafters, and.. artists (for whom he has a soft spot).
Byrne’s story “Death, Maiming, Money & Muni” was a finalist in 2004 for the Investigative Award given by Investigative Reporters & Editors. This hard-hitting expose of San Francisco’s transit system also won first place for investigative reporting from the Association of Alternative Weeklies.
Wadner Pierre currently works in the Bureau des avocats internationaux, which does the most important human rights work in Haiti. He is a journalist and photographer in Port au Prince, documenting the struggles of the voiceless poor in Haiti. Many of my articles can be seen on HaitiAnalysis.com, IJDH, and HaitiAction.net.
Luciente Zamora and Nina Armand work with the Revolution Newspaper Collective which is the voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party in the US. Its ideology is Marxism-Leninism- Maoism. Its vanguard is the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Joshua Holland is a staff writer at AlterNet and a regular contributor to the Gadflyer. He is currently a research fellow with the Los Angeles-based Center for Active Learning in International Studies, a youth outreach program. Joshua has a B.A. in international relations from the University of Southern California.
Sunny Lewis is Editor-in-Chief of the Environment News Service (ENS), established in 1990. It is independently owned and operated and is the original daily international wire service of the environment. ENS exists to present late-breaking environmental news in a fair and balanced manner. Its news reports are indexed by Reuters/Dow Jones Factiva, and KeepMedia. Hundreds of websites feature ENS headlines and story briefs.
Mickey S. Huff holds a graduate degree in history, is a musician/composer, and a long time civic activist. He is currently adjunct faculty in history and critical thinking at Berkeley City College, Chabot College, and Diablo Valley College where he has taught over 100 courses in the past 6 years. He was co-director of the alternative polling group Retropoll (http://www.retropoll.org/) and is a Community Evaluator for Project Censored.