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

The Pentagon Money Pit: $6.5 Trillion in Unaccountable Army Spending and No DoD Audit

According to a July 2016 Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG) report, $6.5 trillion of Army Spending allocated to the Pentagon have no paper trail and no audit has been made by the Department of Defense (DOD) for the past two decades to resolve this issue. In other words, David Lindorff reported that “the Department of Defense has not been tracking or recording or auditing all of the taxpayer money allocated by Congress — what it was spent on, how well it was spent, or where the money actually ended up. There are enough opportunities here for corruption, bribery, secret funding of ‘black ops’ and illegal activities, and or course for simple waste to march a very large army, navy and air force through. And by the way, things aren’t any better at the Navy, Air Force and Marines.”

Lindorff notes that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) showed the Pentagon money pit goes back to Fiscal Year 1991 “during an annual audit five years before Congress even passed the law requiring all federal agencies to operate using federal accounting standards and to conduct annual audits.” This past year, the Government Accountability Office found out that “unsupported re-adjustments” were being made to the military’s financial statements.

For backstory, Congress passed The Government Accountability Act of 1996 that required annual audit on government department budgets. This bill was passed to resolve the previous accounting mistakes made in 1991. Surprisingly, the DoD is still unable to implement the measures over 20 years later. Looking at the Federal Discretionary Spending of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the DOD was allocated $600 billion of the $1.1 trillion budget. The rest of the budget was split between $70 billion for education, $63 billion for housing and community development, $66 billion for Medicare and Health care, $65 billion for Veterans, $39 million for energy, $26 billion for transportation, and finally $41 billion for International affairs. With the exception of DoD, all the other departments have reported their budgets since the bill was passed.

In 2008, the Army finally reported on the issue in their Fiscal Year statement of Assurance on Internal Control: “The ‘weakness’ found in 1991 “would be corrected by the end of FY 2011.” In response, the Congress set in 2009, a September 30 2017 deadline for the Pentagon to subject itself to a full audit. Indeed, this $6.5 trillion “weakness” was still present in 2015 as the OIG report stipulated that, “the FY 2015 Statement of Assurance on Internal Controls indicated this material weakness remained uncorrected and may not be corrected until third quarter 2017.” Ironically, Leon Panetta, then Secretary of Defense, stated on October 13, 2011, that, “We owe it to the taxpayers to be transparent and accountable for how we spend their dollars, and under this plan we will move closer to fulfilling that responsibility.”

As Lindorff points out, the inaction of the Congress over the decades on such incredible amount of money is mindboggling. While accountability is expected of all other US Departments, the ease with which the Pentagon gets away with its accounting defaults remains a mystery. Both major political party candidates in the primaries last year didn’t mention once the IGDOD report. According to a statement in Lindorff’s article by Mandy Smith Berger, director of the Strauss Military Reform Project on the Project Government Oversight, “Accounting at the Department of Defense is a disaster, but nobody is screaming about it because you have a lot of people in Congress who believe in more military spending, so they don’t really challenge military spending.” While the September 2017 deadline is approaching, the outcome of the Pentagon audit whether it fails or not, will reveal which actions the Congress is willing to take to held the DOD truly accountable of the taxpayer money they receive.

In terms of corporate media coverage of this story, it was under-reported or misrepresented by several outlets. While some media reported the lack of audit from the Pentagon, they usually failed to mention the amount of money associated with it and how long this failure of accountability has persisted. The Huffington Post and CNN reported once the report on their political page. However, CNN failed to mention that “the Army is in the process of identifying and correcting the root causes of the errors” in the last 20 years and focus only on the accounting mistakes rather than the Congress role in not asking accountability. Regarding the Huffington Post, lack of accountability is mentioned but the amount of $6.5 trillion is left out. Regarding independent media, Lindorff’s article was also reported on CounterPunchOpedNews, and News Target.

Sources:

Dave Lindorff, “The Pentagon Money Pit: $6.5 Trillion in Unaccountable Army Spending, and No DOD Audit for the Past Two Decades,” This Can’t Be Happening, August 17, 2016, http://thiscantbehappening.net/node/3262

William Hartung, “The Pentagon War on Accountability,” The Huffington Post. May 24, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-hartung/the-pentagons-war-on-accountability_b_10116176.html

Student Researcher: Elsa Denis (Diablo Valley College)

Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)

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