Censored 2004

Phillips, Peter, and Project Censored. Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Stories. NY: Seven Stories Press, 2003.

Note: The following are notes from the above book. I found the book seminal, eye-opening, life-changing. I recommend that you buy and read the entire book. Only by reading the entire book will you get the whole picture. The following quotes, I hope, will whet your appetite. --Colby Glass

Media, Bush

"The [Bush] government's goal is total information control... Freedom of information and citizen access to objective news is rapidly fading in the United States and the world... This monolithic news structure creates intellectual celibacy, inaction, and fear.." (13).

Chicanos, Media

"..in 2001, less than one percent of all news stories on the network evening news-casts of ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN were related to Latino issues.. The stories.. often portrayed them stereotypically.. as illegal immigrants, prone to violence, and residing in slums" (26).

Campaign Finance Reform

"Political advertising is a major revenue source for corporate media. That is why the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is one of the main lobby groups working against campaign finance reform in this country" (28).

Think Tanks

"..hard-line, promilitary Washington insiders that included both Democrats and Republicans. Eventually labeled "neoconservatives"" (35).

Homeland Security, Patriot Act, Bush

"Homeland security threatens civil liberty" (38).

"William Safire.. defined the first Patriot Act as a presidential effort to seize dictatorial control" (39).

"Under Section 501, a U.S. citizen engaging in lawful activity can be picked off the streets or from home and taken to a secret military tribunal with no access to or notification of a lawyer, the press, or family... any violation of federal or state law could designate a U.S. citizen as an "enemy combatant" and allow him or her to be stripped of citizenship" (40).

"Section 102 states that any information gathering can be considered as the pursuit of covert intelligence for a foreign power -- even legal intelligence gathering by a U.S. reporter. This provision could make newsgathering illegal.." (40).

"..the Bush [II] Administration is calling for a repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.. [which] prohibit[s] the deployment of federal military forces onto American streets.." (40).

"..the "War on Terrorism" is the cover for the war on dissent" (41).

Iraq, U.S. Shameful Acts

"U.S. illegally remove[d] pages from [the] Iraq U.N. report.. The missing pages contain information that could potentially make a case for war crimes against officials within the Reagan and the Bush Sr. Administrations. This includes the current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.." (43).

U.S. Shameful Acts, Bush, Homeland Security

"Rumsfeld's plan to provoke terrorists.. the United States government is planning to use secret military operations in order to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. In a strange twist of logic, it seems the plan is to somehow combat terrorism by causing it" (44).

U.S. Shameful Acts, Bush, Homeland Security, International Law

"Treaty Busting by the United States: The United States is a signatory to nine multilateral treaties that it has either blatantly violated or gradually subverted. The Bush Administration is now rejecting outright a number of those treaties, and in doing so places global security in jeopardy as other nations feel entitled to do the same. The rejected treaties include: the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Treaty Banning Antipersonnel Mines, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), a protocol to create a compliance regime for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). The U.S. is also not complying with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Commission (CWC), the BWC, and the U.N. framework Convention on Climate Change.." (52-53).

"..in an unprecedented action, George W. Bush actually erased Clinton's signature (a United States president has never before "unsigned" a treaty). And his administration has declared it has no intention whatsoever of cooperating with the ICC.. authorize[d] the use of military force to "rescue" an American brought before the ICC.." (54).


Tri-Valley CAREs Communities Against a Radioactive Environment
Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy
Union of Concerned Scientists
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Project Ploughshares to promote, facilitate, and implement the biblical imperative to seek peace and pursue justice, both in Canada and abroad

"As of May 2003, all NATO members, except the United States and Turkey, have ratified the ICC treaty" (57).

WMD, Nuclear Weapons, Shameful U.S. Acts, Veterans

"U.S./British Forces Continue Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Despite Massive Evidence of Negative Health Effects" (57).

"British and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq.. flouting a U.N. resolution that classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction...

"Our own soldiers in the first Gulf War were often required to enter radioactive battlefields unprotected and were never warned of the dangers.. In effect, George Bush Sr. used weapons of mass destruction on his own soldiers" (58).


"The latest Persian Gulf conflict was basically a low-level nuclear war.. the Iraqi population is now free to live in a radioactive battlefield" (59).


Uranium Medical Research Center

Africa, Shameful U.S. Acts

"During the Cold War years (1950-1989), the U.S. sent $1.5 billion in arms and training to Africa thus setting the stage for the current round of conflicts.. These U.S.-funded wars have been responsible for the deaths of millions of Africans and the subsequent displacement, disease, and starvation of many millions more" (64).

"The U.S... the IMF, World Bank, and G8.. Structural Adjustment programs (SAPs).. require that governments reduce public spending (especially on health, education, and food/storage).. creating a domino effect of disasters (prolonged famine, conflict, abject poverty, and environmental exploitation) linked to an estimated 21 million deaths and, in the process, transferring hundreds of billions of dollars to the West" (65).

"The U.S. has created a holocaust in Africa by backing wars and imposing structural adjustment programs.." (66).


Asad Ismi "The United States government is the greatest purveyer of violence in the world" -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shameful U.S. Acts

"The April, 2002, military coup in Venezuela was supported by the United States government.. the CIA actively organized the coup.. Venezuela is the fourth largest oil-producing nation" (71).


Venezuela's Electronic News
Narco News reporting on the drug war and Democracy from Latin America

Corporate Personhood

Reclaim Democracy "restoring citizen authority over corporations
Alliance for Democracy "progressive populist movement--not a political party--setting forth to end corporate domination, to establish true political democracy and to build a just society with a sustainable, equitable economy"

Shameful U.S. Acts, U.S. Military

"The world's largest polluter, the U.S. military, generates 750,000 tons of toxic waste material annually, more than the five largest chemical companies in the U.S. combined. This pollution occurs globally, as the U.S. maintains bases in dozens of countries.. it's poisoning the land.. resulting in increased rates of cancer, kidney disease, birth defects, low birth weight, and miscarriage" (79).


"..a recent study by Columbia University's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that the TV stations owned by smaller media firms generally produce better newscasts" (88).

"..Clear Channel is now widely seen as the poster child for what's wrong with our hyper-consolidated media environment...

"In January 2002, a train carrying 10,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia derailed in the town of Minot, North Dakota, sausing a spill and a toxic cloud. Authorities attempted to warn the residents of Minot to stay indoors and to avoid the spill. But when the authorities called six of the seven radio stations in Minot to issue the warning, no one answered the phones. As it turned out, Clear Channel owned all six of the stations, and none of the station's personnel were available...

"..the so-called "derelict rodeo roundup," in which employees give homeless people a $20 bill, a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor, and a bus ticket to the edge of town, was pioneered in spring of 2003 by a Clear Channel station in Cincinnati...

"Egregious examples of [Clear Channel's].. unconscionable.. behavior.. [include] banning the Dixie Chicks and more than 200 peace-related songs..; the many station-sponsored pro-war rallies; the intense union-busting; automated on-air programming and the train wreck in Minot, North Dakota; and the "derelict rodeo roundup"" (88-89).

"Clear Channel's.. non-music coverage was dominated by crime, drugs, and violence"(90).


Clear Channel Sucks "this powerful company has grown unchecked, using their monopoly to control the entire music industry. If you find this alarming, ClearChannelSucks.org is the place for you"
Media Alliance "promoting media excellence, ethics, diversity, and accountability"
Youth Media Council "building youth power through media advocacy and media accountability"
Center for Public Integrity investigative journalism in the public interest

Think Tanks

AMERICAN RECREATION COALITION - pro-privatization - "ARC represents resort developers, more than 100 motorized recreation industries and touts the Walt Disney Corporation as their most prominent member.. guided the development of.. [the] Bush Administration's Charter Forest Proposal.. an attempt to privatize and profit from public forest land" (92). (See Commons.)

Privatization, Commons

".. the Bush Administration is racing to privatize everything of value. it is actively creating a fiscal crisis with policies revolving around tax cuts and empire-building"(93).

"..the Bush Administration is so blatant in.. its rush to strip citizens of everything they hold in common" (94).

Globalization, Labor

"..the IMF.. promot[ed] indigence, unemployment, and organized crime every time it gained control over a distressed economy in the developing world" (102).


Public Services International Twenty million women and men in a variety of public service jobs are members of PSI
Bank Information Center promotes transparency at Banks

Clinton, The Poor

"In 1996, President Bill Clinton enacted legislation that ended 61 years of federal aid designed to lift families out of poverty" (103).

"..the effects of "welfare reform," no longer masked by the 1990s economic boom, are finally becoming clear: more homelessness, more hunger, and lessened ability to escape from poverty" (106).


Center for Law and Social Policy advocacy related to economic security for low-income families with children
Center On Budget and Policy Priorities "working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals"
Welfare Made A Difference "the personal experiences of current and former welfare recipients to illustrate the value of a reliable, adequate, and non-punitive welfare system"
Information For Decision Making "clearinghouse of information and technical assistance resources to support decision-making that produces and sustains good results for children, families, and communities"


"U.S. aid to Israel over the course of its 54 years of nationhood has fueled the illegal occupation of Palestinian land.." (110).


Gush Shalom
Sustain Campaign stop U.S. aid to Israel
International Solidarity Movement

Shameful U.S. Acts

"The U.S. has initiated a secret weapons program in violation of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention Treaty" (118).

Privatization, Globalization, Commons

"Corporations plan to use the GATS agreement to profit from the privatization of educational systems, healthcare systems, childcare, energy and municipal water services, postal services, libraries, museums, and public transportation...

"..the agreement prevents the government from taking actions on behalf of its citizens. Once a private contract has been given to a corporation, it CANNOT be revoked, even if the prices are so high [that] they lead to social unrest and violence" (130-131).

Shameful U.S. Acts

"During the first Gulf War, the United States deliberately bombed Iraq's water system... a direct violation of the Geneva Convention" (139).

"[If this action were taken against the] U.S. civilian population. It would be called terrorism, or worse, genocide... International law on this matter is unambiguous -- depriving people of life-sustaining resources is a war crime" (140).

Bush, Shameful U.S. Acts

"Bush Appoints Former Criminals to Key Government Roles:

"John Poindexter [head of the Information Awareness Office].. found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and the destruction of evidence...

"Elliot Abrams [National Security Council (NSC)] plead guilty to withholding evidence from Congress... active in covering up some of the worst [war] atrocities...

"John Negroponte [Ambassador to the U.N.].. is known for his role in the cover-up of human rights abuses by CIA trained paramilitaries...

"Otto Reich [assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs].. was instrumental in the failed Venezuelan coup.. censured by Congress for "prohibited covert propaganda activities".." (147).

"John Poindexter is barred from Costa Rica for drug trafficking... convicted of five felony counts of lying to Congress" (149).

Shameful U.S. Acts

"[The] CIA kidnaps suspects for overseas torture and execution.. suspects are denied legal counsel and detained without specific charges" (154).

"Amnesty International.. makes clear that the U.S. is in violation of numerous human rights and war laws..." (156).


"In 1998, U.S. military-trained leaders of Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich areas of the Congo... installed illegal colonial-style governments which continue to receive millions of dollars in arms and military training from the United States" (157).

"Since 1998, the number of dead in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) exceeds FOUR MILLION people... Torture is commonplace" (158).

"The U.S. is the leading arms dealer in central Africa" (159).


"..what is written and depicted in the media.. is often done so to further a particular political or social agenda... overwhelming onslaught of corporate propaganda, slick public relations spins, and outright lies" (182).


Democracy Now! radio program "to meet a growing demand for trustworthy, independent news and information in this time of war"
Flashpoints! investigative news radio..known for its hard-hitting international investigative journalism
North Bay Progressive "all the news that didn't fit"
Alternative Information Center a Palestinian-Israeli organization which disseminates information, research and political analysis on Palestinian and Israeli societies as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while promoting cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis based on the values of social justice, solidarity and community involvement
Between the Lines monthly "which opposes the exclusive Jewish-Zionist nature of the state of Israel and the authoritarian regime which has emerged in the areas beneath the control of the Palestinian Authority"
Challenge "a bi-monthly leftist magazine focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.. one of the very few sources in English focusing on the problems of Arabs in Israel. We cover such issues as the plight of local Arab workers amid the forces of globalization, the struggles of unrecognized Arab villages, and land confiscation"
Electronic Intifada about "Palestine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the economic, political, legal, and human dimensions of Israel's 37-year occupation of Palestinian territories"
Palestine: Indy Media "founded to record and explore the current practices of the Israeli occupation and the real background to the conflict. For the first time this will be a truly free forum for the Palestinian people who choose to participate"
Islam Online news and interpretation
The Other Israel Newsletter of the Israeli Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) "ACME, free of corporate media funding, is a strategic network linking media educators, health advocates, media reformers, independent media makers, community organizers and others"
Retro-Poll challenges manufactured consensus by corporate media


Polls have become a key instrument in the battle for public attention. Yet opinion polls are generally misleading. Even the best polls, those that use reliable methods, usually conceal vital truths from the public either by omitting, hiding, or oversimplifying important information (211).

"It is commonly accepted in public opinion research that 70 percent or more of those contacted will refuse to participate in polls. With that single act, the refusers destroy the claim that a poll sampled people randomly because the results of any poll can honestly reflect the views of the general population only if the 70 percent who refuse to talk have near identical views with the 30 percent who agree to participate...

"Polls usually report out a statistical "margin of error" for their results.. But this margin of error statistic that makes polls look highly accurate is, in essence, a cover to hide the 70 percent who refused to participate.." (212).

"..self-awareness that her views were outside the "norm" [often] cause [people] to refuse to participate...

"Fewer African Americans and Latinos agree to be polled in most national samples.." (213).

Another key to polling fraud is that polls cost big money. Who pays? What influence do they have? "..there are strong financial incentives for polls to provide a simpler picture, one which validates the sponsors and the government" (215).

Propaganda, Bush

"The [Bush] Administration's obsession with "staying on message" is.. reflected in Bush's reluctance to hold press conferences and its insistence on tightly scripting those few conferences it does allow" (234).

"All of these tactics fall within the framework of a "propaganda model" of communication, whose strategies and assumptions are fundamentally contrary to a democratic model. Propaganda consists of attempts to manipulate or coerce the thinking of an enemy or captive population. Some scholars refer to propaganda as a "hypodermic approach" to communication, in which the communicator's objective is to "inject" his ideas into the minds of a "target population." This is quite different from the democratic model, which views communications as a dialogue between presumed equals" (235).

"One of PR's dirtiest little secrets, however, is that it often fails... In fact, propaganda is often more successful at indoctrinating the propagandists themselves than it is at influencing the thinking of others" (237).

"Following World War I, Austrian journalist Karl Wiegand made an interesting observation: "How are nations ruled and led into war?" he asked. "Politicians lie to journalists and then believe those lies when they see them in print"" (238).

Disinfopedia collects information on government and industry propaganda campaigns

Depleted Uranium (DU)

"DU munitions (800 tons used during Gulf War I) leave thousands of alpha radioactive particles in the environment with a half-life of 4.5 billion years. People or animals ingesting even a single particle of DU suffer grave consequences to their health. Leukemia and other cancers have soared in Iraq in the past decade" (254).

"Do one has warned [food] vendors.. to keep the toxic and radioactive dust off [their] produce. The children haven't been told not to play with the radioactive debris.. the U.S. rejected proposals for cleanup of DU sites in Iraq --- even though both U.N. and U.S. reports acknowledge the dust can be dangerous if inhaled" (255).


"..there are sharp increases in domestic violence when the soldiers come home" (255).

"The murders [of military wives] have raised a host of questions -- about the effects of war on the people who wage it, the spillover on civilians from training military personnel to kill, the role of military institutional values.." (256).

"[In Iraq] the soldiers were very conflicted about what was going on. "I'm here to get school benefits. I'm not interested in being here." That's what they'd tell you. One sergeant in particular was upset with his deeds and seriously questioned his place there... "One of his soldiers I talked to said he had not fired his weapon once. He kept saying it was jammed"" (258).

Patriot Act

"Ashcroft demanded that his proposal be enacted within three days, and he suggested publicly that Congress would be responsible for any subsequent terrorist attacks if it did not meet his deadline... bypassing the normal committee approval process.." (266).

"..the arm-twisting used by the Senate leadership to pass the Patriot Act there would not work in the House. A more devious strategy [was] to rewrite the bill in the middle of the night before the floor debate, making it conform to Ashcroft's specifications" (268).

"..they voted for it not knowing what was in it and under a great fear of being considered unpatriotic...

"The act has had three fundamental effects on American government and society: 1) It introduced unprecedented government secrecy; 2) It removed checks and balances within our governing system, specifically weakening the judicial oversight of the executive branch; 3) It eroded the civil liberties of citizens and noncitizens alike, allowing secret arrests and detention of persons based solely on their country of origin, race, religion, or ethnicity" (269).

Some Key Provisions:

Section 101: "Establishes a new counterterrorism fund without fiscal year limitation and of unnamed amount...

Section 105: "Establishes a "national network of electronic crimes task forces"...

Section 206: "Provides "roving wiretap" authority to FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act]...

Sections 209, 212, 215 and 216: "..enhancements to standard surveillance techniques, including the authorization of the government's controversial "Carnivore" electronic surveillance programs...

Section 213: "Allows delayed notification of "nonphysical search warrants," known as "sneak and peek warrants"...

Section 215: "Allows federal investigators to seize "any tangible thing" from libraries and other institutions in FISA type investigations...

Section 216: "Explicitly places access to Internet information, including e-mail and Web browsing information, within the reach of pen/trap orders, without need to show probable cause...

Section 217: "Allows any government employee to conduct electronic content surveillance of U.S. persons...

Section 218: "Lowers the standard for obtaining FISA warrants" (270).

Sections 311, 312, 316, and 319: "Allows federal investigators to impose "special measures" upon any domestic bank or financial institution and impose new due diligence requirements...

Section 326: "Establishes new or expanded requirements to track identities of persons opening new bank accounts...

Section 358: "Allows government investigators access to consumer records without a court order...

Section 411: "Creates a new definition of terrorism, with wide latitude for federal investigators to identify "terrorist groups"...

Section 412: "Provides for mandatory detention of suspected aliens.. and possible indefinite detention...

Section 504: "Links the investigation of any crime with the search for foreign intelligence...

Sections 507 and 508: "Allows government investigators access to educational records without a court order...

Section 802: "Creates a new crime called "domestic terrorism"...

Section 803: "Expands the crimes of harboring, concealing, or providing material support for terrorists...

Sections 809-812: "Allows increased penalties for certain terrorist crimes, with no statute of limitations" (271).

"Past FBI requests for library records have required a court-ordered subpoena, which can be challenged in open court by the library. Under the Patriot Act, a "warrant" issued by a secret FISA court is sufficient to require the immediate release of library records, and no court review or adversarial hearing is available to challenge the process. To make matters worse, libraries or librarians served with such a warrant may not disclose, under penalty of law, the existence of the warrant or the fact that records were produced in response to it.

"Another discouraging aspect of library surveillance under Section 215 of the Patriot Act is the fact that state library confidentiality laws, passed in 48 of our 50 states, are overridden by these new FBI warrants. Thus, years of hard work by librarians and state legislators throughout the land to protect the privacy of library patrons has been undone by a single federal law" (273).

"..the new Attorney General Guidelines on the FBI.. issued on May 30, 2002, by Attorney General Ashcroft.. [allow the FBI to] routinely post undercover agents in libraries to observe and record the behavior of patrons.. The FBI can now enter libraries or bookstores, not in search for books, but for terrorists. Undercover agents will "hang out" in libraries to secretly spy on other patrons..." (274).

"The new guidelines expressly state that FBI agents may engage in online research on individuals and may use commercial "data-mining" services, such as those companies that track commercial transactions, including book purchases" (275).

For more, see the book Refuge of a Scoundrel: The USA Patriot Act in Libraries, by Herbert Foerstel (Greenwood Publishers/Libraries Unlimited).

"..an FW Weekly articles on April 17, 2003, cited a case in New Mexico where a former public defender was arrested by federal agents and interrogated for five hours after using a computer at a Santa Fe academic library, apparently as a result of a chat room statement that President Bush was out of control" (277).

"The USA Patriot Act is just one of several troubling policies... Another is the Enhanced Computer Assisted Pre-screening System (CAPPS-II), which profiles airline passengers and provides "No-Fly" watch lists to the Transportation Security Administration... all airline passengers are assigned a risk assessment "score" without recourse. As a result, innocent people could be branded security risks on the basis of flawed data and without any meaningful way to challenge the government's determination.

"A third example is the Department of Defense Total Information Awareness program that seeks to scam billions of personal electronic, financial, medical, communication, education, housing and travel transactions, analyze them utilizing both computer algorithms and human analysis, and then flag suspicious activity... it will collect information (and misinformation) on everyone, much of which can be misused...

"..finally.. the proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, a more extreme version of the USA Patriot Act.. [will] restrict release of information about health or safety hazards posed by chemical or other plants, expand the definition of terrorist acts to include civil disobedience.. strip even native-born Americans of all of the rights of US citizenship if they provide support to unpopular organizations.." (278).

Propaganda, Censorship, Media

"Like any government rallying a country for war, the Bush Administration is engaged in a massive propaganda campaign... U.S. corporate media.. see their role as supporting the government at the expense of wide debate [ie., democracy] and fair treatment of dissent...

"[For example] Juan Gonzalez recounts the difficulties he encountered at the paper while investigating the environmental consequences of the World Trade Center disaster. While most mainstream media were uncritically repeating the assurances of officials, Gonzalez was breaking stories about toxins in lower Manhattan that far exceeded safety levels. The backlash was intense; complaints about Gonzalez came rolling in from one of Rudolph Giuliani's deputy mayors, the head of the N.Y. City Partnership and Chamber of Commerce, and EPA administrator Christine Whitman.

"Subsequently, Daily News editors "showed a marked reluctance" to pursue the story. "One courageous editor at the News, however, refused to buckle under the pressure," writes Gonzalez... "within days of forming the team," Pienciak "was removed from his post without explanation"" (293).


"..the problem known as "lap dog journalism".. self-censorship runs rampant.. do not.. carry out investigative reporting.. lacks any skepticism toward authority... [most] news stories.. originate from government officials and Big Business... the mass media serve as mouthpieces for those in power...

"A healthy, tense atmosphere between news sources and journalists is indispensable for solid journalism to flourish" (314-315).

Colby Glass, MLIS