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“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
“[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
“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
“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
“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.
“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 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.
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“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.
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“[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
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“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.
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Use of Force against Inmates

A report published on November 9, 2017 by the San Francisco Bay View reveals serious problems with the treatment of California inmates. The report explains how inmates are discriminated against, tortured, and dehumanized regularly by correctional officers (COs). The issues raised by the Bay View report connect to larger trends, as documented in Human Rights Watch’s 2015 report, titled “Callous and Cruel: Use of Force against Inmates with Mental Disabilities in US Jails and Prisons.” HRW’s 127-page report exposed the physical and mental abuses routinely wrought across the US by COs on inmates with mental disabilities. The report listed “120 abuse cases brought against guards, 80 abuse cases settled with disciplinary action (no dismiss), 30 guards up for dismissal, and 8 dismissed.”

As Carl F. Harrison wrote in the Bay View, “the idea that [correctional officers] own everything in the prison sounds like they have serious ownership issues, along with superiority complex and delusions. It could also be the reason they abuse prisoners so much.” Instead of the inmates living out their time in jail, some guards want to use their power to control and exercise authority over the inmates to prove a point about who wields power in the situation.

Awareness of the treatment that inmates endure in California has grown recently, partly due to increasingly active prisoners’ rights campaigns and the efforts of the inmates they represent.  However, as  Mira Ptacin reported, the challenges they face to achieve justice are “monumental.” Ptacin described how the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires prisoners “to clear substantial hurdles before being permitted to sue the Department of Corrections, prisons, or jails for assault or civil rights violations.” Prisoners can lose their rights to file grievances or complaints if they are deemed to have acted out too much. And, before prisoners can file lawsuits in court, they must pursue their complaints “through all levels of the prison’s or jail’s grievance system, complying with all deadlines and other procedural rules.”

Sources:

Carl F. Harrison, “Are California Prisoners the Property of Prison Staff?” San Francisco Bay View, November 9, 2017, http://sfbayview.com/2017/11/are-california-prisoners-the-property-of-prison-staff/.

Mira Ptacin, “Guards vs. Inmates: Mistreatment and Abuse in the US Prison System.” VICE Media (in partnership with Starz), https://partners.vice.com/starz/starzpowers4/news/guards-vs-inmates-mistreatment-and-abuse-in-the-us-prison-system/.

Student Researcher: L. Joseph Smith (Diablo Valley College)

Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)

Editor’s Note: For prior Project Censored coverage on the topic of abuses against inmates, see, for example, “Inmates and Activists Protest Chemical Weapons in US Prisons and Jails,” and “Lawsuit against Illinois Department of Corrections Exposes Militarization of Law Enforcement inside Prisons,” story #19 and story #22, respectively, in Censored 2018, and “Deadly Medical Neglect for Immigrants in Privatized US Jails,” story #17 in Censored 2017.

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