Monday, January 01, 2018

What Were The Censored News Stories Of 2017?

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Cerno News Most Censored Stories of 2017

Mike Cernovich
Published on Dec 20, 2017
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These Are The MOST Censored Stories of 2017

Redacted Tonight
Published on Dec 19, 2017
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YouTube Admits Censoring Independent News Channels

Mark Dice
Published on Oct 18, 2017
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Here are the most important, but CENSORED, news stories of 2017
by: JD Heyes  
Sunday, December 31, 2017
(Natural News) Professional journalism took a major hit this past year as one establishment media outlet after another became afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome and spent the better part of the past 12 months manufacturing one story after another.
Normal confirmation of information through multiple, independent sources was one of the biggest casualties of the year as networks and newspapers like CNN, the Washington Post, The New York Times, Politico, and the networks — ABC News in particular — were duped time and again into running with Deep State information about President Donald J. Trump and his administration that turned out to be patently and demonstrably false.
But there were additional, major journalistic infractions throughout the year as well in the form of major stories that the “mainstream” ignored altogether, leaving the American people less informed or completely ignorant of current events, some of which carry huge implications for freedom and the preservation of our republic.
In no particular order, here are what we consider to be among the most significant stories that became nothing more than censored news in 2017:
— The Pakistani-Democrat Connection: Have you ever heard of a Pakistani national named Imran Awan and his brothers Abid and Jamal and Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi? If not, you’re certainly not alone. The Daily Caller broke story after story involving this former IT worker who was employed exclusively by congressional Democrats and who very likely gained access through their email to very sensitive, top-secret U.S. intelligence. But for certain, The DC’s Luke Rosiak, who’s been all over this story from the beginning, says: “Members of Congress have refused to acknowledge what is well-known among the House bureaucracy; that investigators found conclusive evidence that the Awans wantonly violated House IT regulations.” This story sums it up best.
— The Charlottesville PD scandal: Earlier this summer Trump got into hot water (again) when he said “both sides” were responsible for protest violence related to the removal of Confederate memorials from a city park — referring to white supremacists and Antifa domestic terrorists. Only a few outlets at the time picked up on a primary reason why the violence was allowed to escalate (into one death): State and local police were held back, which allowed the violence to escalate, according to the conclusion of an independent investigation. But the legacy media focused on the white nationalists in attendance and Trump’s comments, which turned out to be spot-on.
— The Vegas massacre: It’s been three months since the worst mass shooting in the history of the country, and we’re still no closer to finding out the motive(s) behind Stephen Paddock’s attack. And in fact, it may be a year or more before we do find out; why isn’t the legacy media more curious? And why did the swallow the FBI’s immediate dismissal that terrorism was the motive, after ISIS claimed Paddock converted six months before the attack?
— The World Mercury Project: In September the group, led by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., called out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for alleged criminal misconduct at the agency over its attempts to hide links between mercury in vaccines and autism. The organization put out a report that contained new evidence of “corruption and scientific misconduct” at the CDC, and that employees and consultants for the government health agency engaged in “questionable ethics and scientific fraud” that has “resulted in untrustworthy vaccine safety science,” a press release noted. Crickets from the “mainstream” media.
— Ignoring Podesta Group corruption: It took President Trump to bring new attention to this just last week, but so far, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has yet to find anything at all wrong with the conduct of the Podesta Group. Trump was referencing the apparent scrutiny the Podesta Group is under by Mueller’s team, as, the lobbying work appears very similar to that done by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manfort, who has been indicted by a grand jury at Mueller’s recommendation. The Podesta Group, once headed by brother of former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, is likely to close by the end of this year.
— Missouri Democrat: State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal called for Trump’s assassination in an August Facebook post that she ultimately deleted. But as of this writing, and despite the fact that scores of lawmakers in the Red State have called for her to resign, she remains in office, which is a disgrace. Had a Republican state lawmaker called for Obama’s assassination, it would have been the establishment media’s 24-7 story for weeks.
— Rosie O’Donnell’s felony bribe: The Z-list actress very publicly committed a felony violation of statutes outlawing bribes or attempted bribes of public and elected officials when she tweeted an offer of $2 million apiece to Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Jeff Flake if they voted “no” on the Trump/Republican tax reform bill. The legacy media barely mentioned the illegal act, if at all, and most Americans still either don’t know the bribe was offered or that it’s highly illegal to do so.
— Trump’s awesome first year: Besides being a monster year for fake news, the mainstream media could have had a much better year reporting truthfully on the Trump administration’s major successes. Some of the president’s 81 major achievements include dismantling job-and-economy-killing regulations, smashing ISIS, recognizing Jerusalem as the rightful Jewish capital, and appointing many highly qualified federal judges. (Related: #nevertrump Conservatives soften, HAIL the president’s first-year achievements on way to making America GREAT AGAIN.)
Now, here’s a prediction for 2018: The establishment media won’t get any better in reporting truthfully on the Trump administration, but will get a lot better at censoring the really important stories.
Stay fully informed of the most important stories of the day at Censored.news.
Read more of J.D. Heyes’ work at The National Sentinel.
Sources include:
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Seven Times Journalists Were Censored: 2017 in Review
By Jason Kelley and Jillian C. York
December 30, 2017
Social media platforms have developed into incredibly useful resources for professional and citizen journalists, and have allowed people to learn about and read stories that may never have been published in traditional media. Sharing on just one of a few large platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube may mean the difference between a story being read by a few hundred versus tens of thousands of people.
Unfortunately, these same platforms have taken on the role of censor. They have created moderation policies to increase polite speech on their platforms, but simply put: they are not very good at it. These moderation policies are applied in imbalanced ways, often without an appeal process, sometimes relying on artificial intelligence to flag content, and usually without transparency into the decision-making process. This results in the censorship and blocking of content of all types.
Globally, these content takedown processes often ignore the important evidentiary and journalistic roles content can play in countries where sharing certain information has consequences far beyond those in the U.S. We recommend any intermediary takedown practice include due process and be transparent, as recommended in our Manila Principles. And, as these examples demonstrate, social media platforms often make censorship decisions without due process, without transparency, and with end results that would make most people scratch their heads and wonder.
We’re regularly documenting censorship and content takedowns like these on Onlinecensorship.org, a platform to document the who, what, and why of content takedowns on social media sites. 
Onlinecensorship.org is a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact.
While there are hundreds, and possibly thousands of examples, here are seven of the most egregious instances of social media platforms censoring journalism in 2017.
Social media platforms can contain video or photographic evidence that can be used to build human rights abuse cases, especially in situations where the videos or photos aren’t safe on a hard drive due to potential loss or retaliation, or in instances where larger organizations have been blocked. But first-hand accounts like these are at constant risk on platforms like YouTube and Facebook. YouTube in particular has implemented artificial intelligence systems to identify and remove violent content that may be extremist propaganda or disturbing to viewers, and according to a report in the Intercept, removed documentation of the civil war in Syria. Facebook meanwhile removed photos and images of abuses by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya ethnic minority.
In November, Katie Notopoulos, a journalist for Buzzfeed, was banned from Twitter after a seven-year old tweet was reported by several people all at once. She was “mass-reported”, or subject to a campaign where many people reported her, for a 2011 tweet that read “Kill All White People.” After this, her account was locked until the offending tweet was removed. Twitter’s inconsistent content policies allow for this sort of targeted harassment, while making it difficult to know what is and what is not “acceptable” on the platform.
In December, Facebook banned all links and all publications from independent Ukrainian news website Liga.net. They’ve since restored the links and posts, and are completing an internal investigation. According to Liga, Facebook told them they were banned because of "nudity." A Facebook representative told us that they were blocked because they had "triggered a malicious ad rule." Organizations can be banned and given confusing answers about why it's happening and what they can do about it due to murky moderation policies. A single platform with this sort of lack of transparency should not be able to flip a switch and stop a majority of the traffic to an entire domain without offering a concrete explanation to affected users.
In August, the Indian government asked Twitter to suspend over two dozen Twitter accounts and remove over 100 tweets—some belonging to journalists and activists—that talked about the conflict in Kashmir, or showed sympathy for Kashmiri independence movements. The Indian government claimed the tweets violated Section 69A of India's Information Technology Act, which allows the government to block online content when it believes the content threatens the security, sovereignty, integrity, or defense of the country.
The Indian government reported the tweets and Twitter accounts, and Twitter contacted the users explaining they would be censored. There were no individual explanations given for why these tweets or accounts were chosen, beyond highlighting the conflict in Kashmir.
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia was locked out of his Facebook account after sharing four posts that Facebook deleted for violating the social network’s community standards. The four posts contained allegations against Malta’s prime minister, his chief of staff, and his minister of energy. The posts included images of documents from the 11.5 million documents in the Panama Papers leak, a collection put together by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, of which he is a member.
It’s unclear what community standard Facebook applied to delete the photos and lock the account, although it seems that it was due to the materials 
containing private information about individuals. Facebook has since announced that material that would otherwise violate its standards would be allowed if it was found to be “newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest.” However, the expectation that Facebook moderators should decide what is newsworthy or important is part of the problem: the platform itself, through an undisclosed process, continues to be the gatekeeper for journalistic content.
Alex Zaragova, a writer for San Diego City Beat, had links to her article removed from Facebook because, according to them, it was an “attack.” The article, entitled “Dear dudes, you’re all trash,” critiqued men for their surprise and obliviousness in the light of multiple, high-profile sexual harassment scandals.
Presumably, the post ran afoul of Facebook’s policy against “hate speech,” which includes attacks against a group on the basis of gender. But as ProPublica 
noted this summer, those standards aren’t applied evenly: “White men” are a protected group, for example, but “black children” aren’t.
If Facebook is going to continue to encourage publishers to publish their stories on the platform first, it needs to consider the effect its rules have on journalistic content. They’ve made efforts in the past to modify their standards for historically significant content. For example, they decided after much controversy to allow users to share images of the iconic Vietnam war photo of the ‘Napalm Girl’, recognizing “the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.” They should perhaps consider doing this for contemporary newsworthy content (especially content that expresses valuable critique and dissent from minority voices) that would otherwise run afoul of their rules.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most prolific censors. American companies—including Facebook and Google—have at times in the past voluntarily complied with content restriction demands from Saudi Arabia, though we know little about their context.
In June, Medium complied with requests from the government to restrict access to content from two publications: Qatar-backed Al Araby Al Jadeed (“The New Arab”) and The New Khaliji News. In the interest of transparency, the company sent both requests to Lumen, a database which has collected and analyzed millions of takedown requests since 2001.
In September, Snap disappointed free expression advocates by joining the list of companies willing to team up with Saudi Arabia against Qatar and its media outlets. The social media giant pulled the Al Jazeera Discover Publisher Channel from Saudi Arabia. A company spokesperson told Reuters: “We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate.”
This article is part of our Year In Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2017.
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The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2016-2017
October 6, 2017
The presentation of the Top 25 stories of 2016-2017 extends the tradition originated by Professor Carl Jensen and his Sonoma State University students in 1976, while reflecting how the expansion of the Project to include affiliate faculty and students from campuses across North America has made the Project even more diverse and robust. During this year’s cycle, Project Censored reviewed over 300 Validated Independent News stories (VINs) representing the collective efforts of 310 college students and 27 professors from 12 college and university campuses that participate in our affiliate program.
How do we at Project Censored identify and evaluate independent news stories, and how do we know that the Top 25 stories that we bring forward each year are not only relevant and significant, but also trustworthy? The answer is that each candidate news story undergoes rigorous review, which takes place in multiple stages during each annual cycle. Although adapted to take advantage of both the Project’s expanding affiliates program and current technologies, the vetting process is quite similar to the one Project Censored founder Carl Jensen established thirty-eight years ago.
Candidate stories are initially identified by Project Censored professors and students, or are nominated by members of the general public, who bring them to the Project’s attention through our website. (Follow this link for information on how to nominate a story.) Together, faculty and students vet each candidate story in terms of its importance, timeliness, quality of sources, and corporate news coverage. If it fails on any one of these criteria, the story does not go forward.
Click on this link for the top 25 Censored Stories of 2016-2017: 
http://projectcensored.org/category/the-top-25-censored-stories-of-2016-2017/
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10 stories the mainstream media doesn't want you to read
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez
November 26, 2014
Each year, Project Censored, based at the Media Freedom Foundation in California, publishes the most important stories ignored or underreported by the mainstream media.
In addition to its advocacy for a free and democratic press, Project Censored promotes media literacy to help people evaluate the news they read.
Here are some of the top stories of 2014 that you didn't hear enough about. For more censored stories, go to www.projectcensored.org.
1. Ocean acidification
Our oceans are acidifying—even if the nightly news hasn't told you yet.
As humanity continues to fill the atmosphere with harmful gases, the planet is becoming less hospitable to life as we know it. The vast oceans absorb much of the carbon dioxide we have produced, from the industrial revolution through the rise of global capitalism. Earth's self-sacrifice spared the atmosphere nearly 25 percent of humanity's CO2 emissions, slowing the onslaught of many severe weather consequences.
Although the news media have increasingly covered the climate weirding of global warming—hurricane superstorms, fierce tornado clusters, overwhelming snowstorms and record-setting global high temperatures—our ocean's peril has largely stayed submerged below the biggest news stories.
The rising carbon dioxide in our oceans burns up and deforms the smallest, most abundant food at the bottom of the deep blue food chain. One vulnerable population is the tiny shelled swimmer known as the sea butterfly. In a few short decades, the death and deformation of this fragile and translucent species could endanger predators all along the oceanic food web, scientists warn.
This "butterfly effect," once unleashed, potentially threatens fisheries that feed more than 1 billion people worldwide.
Since ancient times, humans fished the oceans for food. Now, we're frying ocean life before we even catch it, starving future generations in the process. Largely left out of national news coverage, this dire report was brought to light by a handful of independent-minded journalists: Craig Welch from the Seattle Times, Julia Whitty of Mother Jones and Eli Kintisch of ScienceNOW.
It is also the top story of Project Censored, an annual book and reporting project that features the year's most underreported news stories, striving to unmask censorship, self-censorship and propaganda in corporate-controlled media outlets.
"Information is the currency of democracy," Ralph Nader, the prominent consumer advocate and many-time presidential candidate, wrote in his foreword to this year's Project Censored 2015. But with most mass media owned by narrow corporate interests, "the general public remains uninformed."
Whereas the mainstream media poke and peck at noteworthy events at single points in time, often devoid of historical context or analysis, Project Censored seeks to clarify understanding of real world issues and focus on what's important. Context is key, and many of its "top censored" stories highlight deeply entrenched policy issues that require more explanation than a simple sound bite can provide.
Campus and faculty from more than two dozen colleges and universities join in this ongoing effort, headquartered at Sonoma State University in California. There are 260 students and 49 faculty who vet thousands of news stories on select criteria: importance, timeliness, quality of sources and the level of corporate news coverage.
The top 25 finalists are sent to Project Censored's panel of judges, who then rank the entries, with ocean acidification topping this year's list.
"There are outlets, regular daily papers, who are independent and they're out there," Andy Lee Roth, associate director of Project Censored, said. Too many news outlets are beholden to corporate interests, but Welch of the Seattle Times bucked the trend, Roth said, by writing some of the deepest coverage yet on ocean acidification.
"There are reporters doing the highest quality of work, as evidenced by being included in our list," Roth said. "But the challenge is reaching as big an audience as [the story] should."
Indeed, though Welch's story was reported in the Seattle Times, a mid-sized daily newspaper, this warning is relevant to the entire world. To understand the impact of ocean acidification, Welch asks readers to "imagine every person on earth tossing a hunk of CO2 as heavy as a bowling ball into the sea. That's what we do to the oceans every day."
Computer modeler Isaac Kaplan, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration office in Seattle, told Welch that his early work predicts significant declines in sharks, skates and rays, some types of flounder and sole and Pacific whiting, the most frequently caught commercial fish off the coast of Washington, Oregon and California.
Acidification may also harm fisheries in the farthest corners of the earth: A study by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme outlines acidification's threat to the Arctic food chain.
"Decreases in seawater pH of about 0.02 per decade have been observed since the late 1960s in the Iceland and Barents Seas," the study's authors wrote in the executive summary. And destroying fisheries means wiping out the livelihoods of the native peoples of the Antarctic.
Acidification can even rewire the brains of fish, Welch's story demonstrated. Studies found rising CO2 levels cause clown fish to gain athleticism, but have their sense of smell redirected. This transforms them into "dumb jocks," scientists said, swimming faster and more vigorously straight into the mouths of their predators.
These Frankenstein fish were found to be five times more likely to die in the natural world. What a fitting metaphor for humanity, as our outsized consumption propels us toward an equally dangerous fate.
"It's not as dramatic as say, an asteroid is hitting us from outer space," Roth said of this slowly unfolding disaster, which is likely why such a looming threat to our food chain escapes much mainstream news coverage.
Journalism tends to be more "action focused," Roth said, looking to define conflict in everything it sees. A recently top-featured story on CNN focused on President Barack Obama's "awkward coffee cup salute" to a Marine, which ranks only slightly below around-the-clock coverage of the president's ugly tan suit as a low point in mainstream media's focus on the trivial.
As Nader noted, "'Important stories' are often viewed as dull by reporters and therefore unworthy of coverage." But mainstream media do cover some serious topics with weight, as they did in the wake of the police officer shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. So what's the deciding factor?
As Roth tells it, corporate news focuses on "drama, and the most dramatic action is, of course, violence."
But the changes caused by ocean acidification are gradual. Sea butterflies are among the most abundant creatures in our oceans, and are increasingly born with shells that look like cauliflower or sandpaper, making this and similar species more susceptible to infection and predators.
"Ocean acidification is changing the chemistry of the world's water faster than ever before and faster than the world's leading scientists predicted," Welch said, but it's not getting the attention it deserves. "Combined nationwide spending on acidification research for eight federal agencies, including grants to university scientists by the National Science Foundation, totals about $30 million a year—less than the annual budget for the coastal Washington city of Hoquiam, population 10,000."
Our oceans may slowly cook our food chain into new forms with potentially catastrophic consequences. Certainly 20 years from now, when communities around the world lose their main source of sustenance, the news will catch on. But will the problem make the front page tomorrow, while there's still time to act?
2. Top 10 U.S. aid recipients practice torture
Sexual abuse, children kept in cages, extra-judicial murder. While these sound like horrors the United States would stand against, the reverse is true: This country is funding these practices.
The U.S. is a signatory of the United Nations' Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, but the top 10 international recipients of U.S. foreign assistance in 2014 all practice torture, according to human rights groups, as reported by Daniel Wickham of online outlet Left Foot Forward.
Israel received more than $3 billion in U.S. aid for fiscal year 2013–14, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Israel was criticized by the country's own Public Defender Office for torturing children suspected of minor crimes.
"During our visit, held during a fierce storm that hit the state, attorneys met detainees who described to them a shocking picture: In the middle of the night dozens of detainees were transferred to the external iron cages built outside the IPS transition facility in Ramla," the PDO wrote, according to The Independent (U.K.).
The next top recipients of U.S. foreign aid were Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Jordan, Iraq, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda—all countries that were accused of torture by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Kenyan police in Nairobi tortured, raped or otherwise abused more than 1,000 refugees from 2012 to 2013, Human Rights Watch found. The Kenyan government received $564 million from the United States in 2013–14.
When the U.S. funds a highway or other project that it's proud of, it plants a huge sign proclaiming "your tax dollars at work." When the U.S. funds torturers, the corporate media bury the story, or worse, don't report it at all.
3. Trans-Pacific Partnership, A Secret Deal To Help Corporations
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is like SOPA on steroids, yet few have heard of it, let alone enough people to start an Internet campaign to topple it. Despite details revealed by WikiLeaks, the nascent agreement has been largely ignored by the corporate media.
Even the world's elite are out of the loop: Only three officials in each of the 12 signatory countries have access to this developing trade agreement that potentially impacts over 800 million people.
The agreement touches on intellectual property rights and the regulation of private enterprise between nations, and is open to negotiation and viewing by 600 "corporate advisers" including big oil and pharmaceutical and entertainment companies.
Meanwhile, more than 150 House Democrats signed a letter urging President Obama to halt his efforts to fast-track negotiations and to allow Congress the ability to weigh in now on an agreement only the White House has seen.
Many criticized the secrecy surrounding the TPP, arguing the real world consequences may be grave. Doctors Without Borders wrote, "If harmful provisions in the U.S. proposals for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement are not removed before it is finalized, this trade deal will have a real cost in human lives."
4. Corporate Internet Providers Threaten Net Neutrality
Illustration by JP Trostle
Verizon v Federal Communications Commission may weaken Internet regulation, which Electronic Frontier Foundation and other digital freedom advocates allege would create a two-tiered Internet system. Under the FCC's proposed new rules, corporate behemoths such as Comcast or Verizon could charge entities to use faster bandwidth, which advocates say would create financial barriers to free speech and encourage censorship.
Project Censored alleges corporate outlets such as The New York Times and Forbes tend to highlight the business aspects of the case, skimming over vital particulars affecting the public and the Internet's future.
Yet this is a case where corporate media were circumvented by power of the viral web. John Oliver, comedian and host of Last Week Tonight on HBO, recently gave a stirring 13-minute treatise on the importance of stopping the FCC's new rules, resulting in a flood of comments to the FCC defending a more open Internet. The particulars of net neutrality have since been thoroughly reported in the corporate media.
But, as Project Censored notes, mass media coverage only came after the FCC's rule change was proposed, giving activists little time to right any wrongs. It's a subtle but important distinction.
5. Bankers Remain On Wall Street Despite Major Crimes
Bankers responsible for rigging municipal bonds and bilking billions of dollars from American cities have largely escaped criminal charges. Every day in the U.S., low-level drug dealers get more prison time than these scheming bankers who, while working for GE Capital, allegedly skimmed money from public schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes, according to Rolling Stone.
Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm were dubbed a part of the "modern American mafia," by the magazine's Matt Taibbi, one of the few journalists to consistently cover their trial. Meanwhile, disturbingly uninformed cable media "journalists" defended the bankers, saying they shouldn't be prosecuted for "failure," as if cheating vulnerable Americans were a bad business deal.
"Had the U.S. authorities decided to press criminal charges," Assistant US Attorney General Lanny Breuer told Taibbi. "HSBC [a British bank] would almost certainly have lost its banking license in the U.S., the future of the institution would have been under threat, and the entire banking system would have been destabilized."
Over the course of decades, the nation's bankers transformed into the modern mafiosi. Unfortunately, our modern media changed as well and are no longer equipped to tackle systemic, complex stories.
6. The "Deep State" Of Plutocratic Control
What's frightening about the puppeteers who pull the strings of our national government is not how hidden they are, but how they exist in plain sight.
From defense contractors to multinational corporations, a wealthy elite using an estimated $32 trillion in tax-exempt offshore havens are the masters of our publicly elected officials. In an essay written for Moyers & Company by Mike Lofgren, a congressional staffer of 28 years focused on national security, this cabal of wealthy interests make up our nation's "Deep State."
As Lofgren writes for Moyers, "The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction."
This is a story that truly challenges the mass media, which do report on the power of wealth, but only in bits and pieces. But although the cabal's disparate threads are occasionally pulled, the spider's web of corruption largely escapes corporate media's larger narrative.
The myopic view censors the full story as surely as outright silence would. The problem deepens every year.
"There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances—a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government," Lofgren wrote, of a group that together would "occupy the floor space of almost three Pentagons—about 17 million square feet."
7. FBI Dismisses Plot Against Occupy As NSA Cracks Down On Dissent
Illustration by JP Trostle
Nationally, law enforcement worked in the background to monitor and suppress the Occupy Wall Street movement, a story the mainstream press has shown little interest in covering.
A document obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request by David Lindorff of WhoWhatWhy from the FBI office in Houston, Texas, revealed an alleged assassination plot targeting an Occupy group, which the FBI allegedly did not warn the movement about.
From the redacted document: "An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [DELETED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles."
Lindorff confirmed the document's veracity with the FBI. When contacted by Lindorff, Houston Police were uninterested and seemingly (according to Lindorff), uninformed.
In Arizona, law enforcement exchanged information of possible Occupy efforts with JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, according to a report by the Center for Media and Democracy titled "Dissent on Terror." The CEO meant to evade possible protests, and local law enforcement was happy to help.
Law enforcement's all-seeing eyes broadened through the national rise of "fusion centers" over the past decade, hubs through which state agencies exchange tracking data on groups exercising free speech. And as we share, "like" and "check-in" online with ever more frequency, that data becomes more robust by the day.
8. Ignoring Extreme Weather Connection To Global Warming
In what can only be responded to with a resounding "duh," news analyses have found mainstream media frequently report on severe weather changes without referring to global warming as the context or cause, even as a question.
A study found extreme weather events in 2013 spurred 450 broadcast news segments, only 16 of which even mentioned climate change. National news outlets have fallen on the job as well, as The New York Times recently shuttered its environmental desk, reducing the number of reporters exclusively chasing down climate change stories.
Unlike many journalists, ordinary people often recognize the threat of our warming planet. More than 400,000 protested in the People's Climate March in New York City alone, while simultaneous protests erupted across the globe, calling for government, corporate and media leaders to address the problem.
"There is a huge mismatch between the magnitude of the challenge and the response we heard here today," Graca Machel, the widow of former South African President Nelson Mandela, told a United Nations conference. "The scale is much more than we have achieved."
9. U.S. Media Hypocrisy In Covering Ukraine Crisis
The U.S. battle with Russia over Ukraine's independence is actually an energy pipeline squabble, a narrative lost by mainstream media coverage, Project Censored alleges.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn fire from the media as a tyrant, without complex analyses of his country's socio-economic interests. As the media often do, they have turned the conflict into a cult of personality, talking up Putin's shirtless horseback riding and his hard-line style with deftness missing from their political analysis.
As The Guardian UK's Nafeez Ahmed reported, a recent U.S. State Department-sponsored report noted "Ukraine's strategic location between the main energy producers (Russia and the Caspian Sea area) and consumers in the Eurasian region, its large transit network, and its available underground gas storage capacities," highlighting its economic importance to the U.S. and its allies.
10. World Health Organization Supresses Report On Iraq
The United States' legacy in Iraq possibly goes beyond death to a living nightmare of cancer and birth defects, because of the military's use of depleted uranium weapons, a World Health Organization study found. Iraq is poisoned.
Much of the report's contents were leaked to the BBC during its creation. But the release of the report, completed in 2012 by WHO, has stalled.
Critics allege the U.S. is deliberately blocking its release, masking a damning Middle East legacy rivaling the horrors of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
But Iraq will never forget the U.S. intervention, as mothers cradle babies bearing scars obtained in the womb, the continuing gifts of our invasion.
Rodriguez worked for the San Francisco Bay Guardian until the weekly folded. He is now a staff writer at the San Francisco Examiner and SF Weekly.
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