|The Top Ten Censored News Stories of 1998|
|-- Project Censored|
Top Censored Story: " SECRET INTERNATIONAL TRADE AGREEMENT UNDERMINES THE SOVEREIGNTY OF NATIONS "
Story #2: "CHEMICAL CORPORATIONS PROFIT OFF BREAST CANCER "
Story #3: "MONSANTO'S GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEEDS THREATEN WORLD PRODUCTION "
Story #4: "RECYCLED RADIOACTIVE METALS MAY BE IN YOUR HOME"
Story #5: "U. S. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION LINKED TO THE DEATHS OF A HALF A MILLION CHILDREN"
Story #6: "UNITED STATES NUCLEAR PROGRAM SUBVERTS U.N.'S COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY"
Story #7: "GENE TRANSFERS LINKED TO DANGEROUS NEW DISEASES"
Story #8: "NO MERCY FOR WOMEN AS CATHOLIC HOSPITAL MERGERS"
Story #9: "U. S. TAX DOLLARS SUPPORT DEATH SQUADS IN CHIAPAS"
Story #10: "ENVIRONMENTAL STUDENT ACTIVISTS GUNNED DOWN ON CHEVRON OIL FACILITY IN NIGERIA"
Threats to U.S. sovereignty through secret 'Multinational Agreement on
Investment' Top Project Censored's 1999 list of 10 most censored
ROHNERT PARK, CALIF - Some developments in the course of history have
such potential to impact nations and humans that it would be
irresponsible to ignore them. Yet few mainstream news organizations
have reported on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), which
would set in place a vast series of protections for foreign investment.
According to reports in the alternative press, the MAI would threaten
national sovereignty by giving corporations near equal rights to
nations. This agreement has the potential to place profits ahead of
human rights and social justice, and that is why our judges named this
story the No.1 censored or under reported story of 1998.
MAI, hatched in secret negotiations that began in 1995 among the
U.S. and 28 other nations, could thrust the world economy closer to a
system where international corporate capital would hold free reign over
the democratic values and socioeconomic needs of people. The MAI will
also have devastating effects on a nation's legal, environmental and
cultural sovereignty. It will force countries to relax or nullify
human, environmental and labor protection to attract investment and
trade. Necessary measures such as food subsidies, control of land
speculation, agrarian reform and health and environmental standards can
be challenged as "illegal." This same illegality is extended to
community control of forests, local bans on use of pesticides, clean
air standards, limits on mineral, gas and oil extraction, and bans on
The stories, plus timely articles and reviews a resource guide
are included in the new Project Censored Yearbook: Censored 1999: The
News That Didn't Make the News. [For review copies, contact Seven
Stories Press, 212-995-0908]
The apparent goal of the latest international trade negotiations
is to safeguard multinational corporate investments by eliminating
democratic regulatory control by nation states and local governments,
the authors report.
More radical than NAFTA or GATT, MAI would thrust the world much
closer to a transnational laissez-faire system where international
corporate capital would hold free reign over the democratic wishes and
socioeconomic needs of people.
Mostly ignored by mainstream press, coverage of this issue was
offered in the following sources: IN THESE TIMES, "Building the Global
Economy," Jan. 11, 1998, by Joel Bleifuss; DEMOCRATIC LEFT, "MAI
Ties," Spring 1998, by Bill Dixon; TRIBUNE DES DRIOTS HUMAINS, "Human
Rights or Corporate Rights?" April 1998, Volume 5, No.s 1-2, by Miloon
Kothari and Tara Krause.
The winners of what are commonly referred to as the Pulitzer
Prize of investigative reporting were announced today at a ceremony at
Sonoma State University, where Project Censored is based.
Prof. Peter Phillips, director of the program, said the annual
project is conducted by more than 125 faculty, student researchers and
interns, and community experts. The final 25 censored stories are
ranked in order of significance by a panel of national judges including
members of the media, authors and educators.
Phillips said he hopes to see a network of alternative press
sharing significant stories the public needs to know as control of
mainstream media, and therefore, what most people know, falls into the
control of an increasingly reduced number of corporate board rooms.
MOST CENSORED STORIES OF 1998
No. 1. CENSORED
SECRET INTERNATIONAL TRADE AGREEMENT UNDERMINES THE SOVEREIGNTY OF NATIONS:
Some developments in the course of History have such potential to impact
nations and humans that it would be irresponsible to ignore them. Yet few
mainstream news organizations have reported on the Multilateral Agreement
on Investment (MAI), which would set in place a vast series of protections
for foreign investment. According to reports in the alternative press,
the MAI would threaten national sovereignty by giving corporations near
equal rights to nations. This agreement has the potential to place
profits ahead of human rights and social justice, and that is why our
judges named this story the No.1 censored or under reported story of 1998
MAI would thrust the world economy much closer to a system where
international corporate capital would hold free reign over the democratic
values and socioeconomic needs of people. The MAI will also have devastating
effects on a nation's legal, environmental and cultural sovereignty. It will
force countries to relax or nullify human, environmental and labor protection
to attract investment and trade. Necessary measures such as food subsidies,
control of land speculation, agrarian reform and health and environmental
standards can be challenged as "illegal" under the MAI. This same illegality
is extended to community control of forests, local bans on use of pesticides,
clean air standards, limits on mineral, gas and oil extraction, and bans on
Sources: IN THESE TIMES, "Building the Global Economy," January 11, 1998,
by Joel Bleifuss; DEMOCRATIC LEFT, "MAI Ties," Spring 1998, by Bill Dixon;
TRIBUNE DES DRIOTS HUMAINS, "Human Rights or Corporate Rights?" April 1998,
Volume 5, No.s 1-2, "Giving The World Away" by Elaine Weinreb, Vol 27, No 11
'ECONEWS' December 1997
No. 2. CENSORED
CHEMICAL CORPORATIONS PROFIT OFF BREAST CANCER:
In one of the more cynical examples of corporate profit-making ingenuity,
leaders in cancer treatment and information are the same chemical companies
that also produce carcinogenic products.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, initiated in 1985 by the chemical conglomerate
Imperial Chemical Industries, currently called Zeneca Pharmaceuticals,
reveals an uncomfortably close connection between the chemical industry and the cancer
research establishment. As the controlling sponsor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
(BCAM), Zeneca is able to approve--or veto-any promotional or informational
materials, posters, advertisements, etc. that BCAM uses. The focus is strictly limited to
information regarding early detection and treatment, with an avoidance of the topic of
prevention. Critics have begun to question why. With revenues of $14 billion, Zeneca is among the world's largest manufacturers
of pesticides, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Zeneca was instrumental in convincing
the FDA to approve tamoxifen as a "prevention" measure to reduce the incidence of
breast cancer in healthy women at risk. However, the World Health Organization's
International Agency for Research on Cancer considers tamoxifen a "probable human
Sources: RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH WEEKLY, "The Truth About Breast Cancer,"
Dec. 4, 1997, by Peter Montague; THE GREEN GUIDE, "Profiting Off Breast Cancer"
Oct. 1998, by Allison Sloan and Tracy Baxter.
No. 3 CENSORED
MONSANTO'S GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEEDS THREATEN WORLD PRODUCTION:
Over the 12,000 years that humans have been farming, a rich tradition of seed
saving has developed. Men and women choose seeds from the plants that are best
adapted to their own locale and trade them within the community, enhancing crop
diversity and success rates. All this may change in the next four to five years.
Monsanto Corporation has been working to consolidate the world seed market,
and is now poised to introduce new genetically engineered seeds that will produce
only infertile seeds at the end of the farming cycle. Farmers will no longer be
able to save seeds from year to year, and will be forced to purchase new seeds
from Monsanto each year.
For the first time in history, research is being done for the benefit
of corporations, sometimes in direct opposition to farmers' interests. It is
noteworthy that the USDA stands to earn 5% royalties of net sales if this
technology is commercialized. Historically the USDA has received government
money for research aimed at benefitting farmers, but recently the USDA has
been turning more and more often to private companies for funding.
Terminator plants, if introduced on a wide scale, will effectively
constrict worldwide crop diversity by preventing farmers from engaging in
the seed selection and cross breeding that has, for thousands of years, given
them the ability to adapt crops to local conditions.
Sources: MOJO WIRE Title: "A Seedy Business"
Date: April 7, 1998, by Leora Broydo; THIRD WORLD RESURGENCE #92,
"New Patent Aims to Prevent Farmers From Saving Seed," by Chakravarthi
Raghavan EARTH ISLAND JOURNAL Title: "Terminator Seeds Threaten an End to
Farming," Fall 1998, by Hope Shand and Pat Mooney ; THE ECOLOGIST, "Monsanto:
A Checkered History" and "Revolving Doors: Monsanto and the Regulators,"
Sept./Oct. 1998, Vol. 28, No. 5, by Brian Tokar, The Pesticide Action Network
(www.panna.org/panna) newsletter Global Pesticide Campaigner Vol 8, No
2."'Terminator Technology' Prevents Farmers from Saving Seeds," June 1998.
No. 4 CENSORED
RECYCLED RADIOACTIVE METALS MAY BE IN YOUR HOME:
Under special government permits, "decontaminated" radioactive metal is
being sold to manufacture everything from knives and forks and belt buckles
to zippers, eyeglasses, dental fillings and IUDS. The Department of Energy
(DOE), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the radioactive metal
processing industry are pushing for new regulations that would relax current
standards and dispense with the need for special radioactive recycling licensing.
By one estimate, the DOE disposed of 7,500 tons of these troublesome metals
in 1996 alone. The new standard being sought would allow companies to recycle
millions of tons of low-level radioactive metal a year while raising the
acceptable levels of millirems (mrems), a unit of measure that estimates the
damage radiation does to human tissue.
By the NRC's own estimate, the proposed standards could cause 100,000
cancer fatalities in the United States alone. While the DOE waits for new
standards to be released,"hot metal" is being marketed to other countries.
Three major U.S. oil companies, Texaco, Mobil and Phillips, shipped 5.5
million pounds of radioactive scrap metal to China in 1993. In June 1996,
Chinese officials stopped a U.S. shipment of 78 tons of radioactive scrap
metal that exceeded China's safety limit, some of it by thirty-fold. As of
January 1998, 178 buildings in Taiwan containing 1,573 residential apartments
had been identified as radioactive. Radioactive recycled metal has shown up
in domestic markets as well.
Source: THE PROGRESSIVE, "Nuclear Spoons," October 1998, by Anne-Marie Cusac
No. 5 CENSORED
U. S. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION LINKED TO THE DEATHS OF A HALF A
For the past seven years, the United States has supported sanctions against
Iraq that have taken the lives of more Iraqi citizens than did the war itself.
The Iraqi people are being punished for their leader's reticence to comply
fully with U.S.-supported UN demands "to search every structure in Iraq for
weapons of mass destruction." Ironically, 1994 U.S. Senate findings uncovered
evidence that U.S. firms supplied at least some of the very biological material
that the U.N. inspection teams are now seeking.
Although the United States defames the Iraqi government for damaging the
environment and ignoring U.N. Security Council resolutions, it has itself
engaged in covert wars in defiance of the World Court, and left behind a swath of
ecological disasters in its continuing geopolitical crusade. Blum considers
the U.S. demands both excessive and hypocritical. A 1994 U.S. Senate panel report
indicated that between 1985 and 1989, U.S. firms supplied microorganisms needed
for the production of Iraq's chemical and biological warfare. The Senate panel
wrote: "It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the United
States were identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and removed
from the Iraqi biological warfare program." Blum writes that shipments included
biological agents for anthrax, botulism, and c-coli. The shipments were cleared
even though it was known at the time that Iraq had already been using chemical
and possibly biological warfare since the early 1980s.
The real significance of "Made in America" is not only that the U.S. and
its allies played a significant role in arming Iraq with weapons of mass
destruction, but that those companies and politicians who were responsible for
this lucrative but deadly policy were never held accountable.
Sources: SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, "Made in America," Feb. 25, 1998, by
Dennis Bernstein; I.F. MAGAZINE, "Punishing Saddam or the Iraqis, March/April 1998,
by Bill Blum; SPACE AND SECURITY NEWS, "Our Continuing War Against Iraq," May
1998, by the Most Rev. Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF (retired).
No. 6 CENSORED
UNITED STATES NUCLEAR PROGRAM SUBVERTS U.N.'S COMPREHENSIVE TEST
When scientists in India conducted a deep underground nuclear test on May 11,
1998, it was seen as a violation of the United Nations' Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty (CTBT) even though that country did not sign the document. But two months
earlier, when the United States carried out an underground test, it went largely
unnoticed by the American media. Code-named "Stagecoach," the U.S. experiment
called for the detonation of a 227-pound nuclear bomb at the Department of
Energy's (DOE) Nevada Test Site which is co-managed by corporate superpowers
Bechtel, Lockheed Martin and Johnson Controls.
While perceived as a hostile act by many nations, US officials claim that
since it was a "subcritical" test -- that means no nuclear chain reaction was
maintained -- it was "fully consistent with the spirit and letter of the CTBT."
Some Foreign leaders believe that "Stagecoach" was designed to test the
effectiveness of U.S. weapons in case they are ever needed again. The European
Parliament issued an official warning to the U.S. declaring that further
experiments might prompt other nations to engage in full-scale testing. Some
Chinese and Japanese officials also criticized the United States, calling for
America to stop "skirting its responsibility for arms reduction."
Underground experiments aren't the U.S. Government's only method of
subverting the Treaty, says The Nation. In July 1993, Clinton introduced the
Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP) which allots $45 billion over the next
10 years to finance new research facilities. While the CTBT prohibits the
"qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons," this program will fund the
building of nuclear accelerators, giant X-ray machines, and the largest glass
laser in the world. In defending the experiment to the press, Russian
officials pointed to the U.S. test as proof that subcritical tests of nuclear weapons
are permissible under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). There are no
signs that either country will change its policy on subcritical nuclear testing.
Nor does the DOE appear ready to end other activities in the Stockpile
Stewardship Program (SSP) that violate the principals and goals of the CTBT.
Source: THE NATION, "Virtual Nukes-When is a Test Not a Test?" June
15,1998, by Bill Mesler.
No. 7 CENSORED
GENE TRANSFERS LINKED TO DANGEROUS NEW DISEASES:
All the signs are pointing toward a major crisis in public health
as both emergent and recurring diseases reach new heights of antibiotic
resistance. At least 30 new diseases have emerged over the past 20 years,
and familiar infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, and
malaria are returning with vigor. By 1990 nearly every common bacterial
species had developed some degree of resistance to drug treatment, many
to multiple antibiotics. A major contributing factor, in addition to anti-
biotic overuse, just might be the transfer of genes between unrelated
species of animals and plants which takes place with genetic engineering,
according to Third World Resurgence. Worse yet, regulators are considering
a further relaxation of the already lax safety rules regarding this
unpredictable and inherently hazardous field.
The technology of genetic engineering, also called biotechnology,
uses manipulation, replication, and transference techniques to insert
genes "horizontally" to connect species which otherwise cannot interbreed.
Normal genetic barriers and defense mechanisms, which degrade or inactivate
foreign genes that they recognize as dangerous to the self, are in this
way broken down. Used to facilitate horizontal gene transfer, genetic
engineering can also result in antibiotic-resistant genes, which can
inadvertently spread and recombine to generate new drug and antibiotic
resistant pathogens. This, say the authors, has occurred. Horizontal gene
transfer and subsequent genetic recombination may have been responsible
for bacterial strains which caused a 1992 cholera outbreak in India, and
for a streptococcus epidemic in Tayside in 1993. Antibiotic resistant genes
spread readily between human beings, as well as from bacteria inhabiting
the gut of farm animals to human beings. Antibiotics can create the very
conditions that facilitate the spread of antibiotic resistance because
they can increase the frequency of horizontal gene transfer ten to 10,000-fold.
Biotechnology firms have billions of dollars invested in these
new technologies, and are concerned that their speculation bubble may
burst, due to public outrage, before they can recoup their investments.
Not surprisingly, then, there currently is no independent investigation
into the relationship between genetic engineering and the emergent and
Sources: THIRD WORLD RESURGENCE, #92, "Sowing Diseases, New and Old,"
by Mae-Wan Ho, and Terje Traavik; THE ECOLOGIST, "The Biotechnology Bubble,"
May/June 1998, Vol. 28, No. 3, by Mae-Wan Ho, Hartmut Meyer and Joe Cummins.
No. 8 CENSORED
NO MERCY FOR WOMEN AS CATHOLIC HOSPITAL MERGERS:
THREATEN REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Nationwide hospital mergers with Roman Catholic
church medical facilities are threatening women's access to abortions,
sterilization, birth control, in vitro fertilization, fetal tissue
experimentation, and assisted suicide. In 1996, over 600 hospitals merged
with Catholic institutions in 19 states. The merged partnerships extend from
Portland, Maine, to Oakland, Calif., and these mergers and partnerships with
hospitals and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are resulting in the
impairment of reproductive health care rights across the nation.
Ms. gives the example of Kingston Hospital in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Kingston
once performed about I00 abortions a year, but if merged with Benedictine
Hospital, a Roman Catholic facility, it will provide the service for medical
reasons only. No hospital in the community would provide birth control counseling
or family planning services. Collaborations between secular and Roman Catholic
hospitals have made the Roman Catholic Church the largest private health care
provider in the nation. Why would they want to join forces with secular hospitals?
"The big money in the hospital comes when you have a closed system of doctors,
HMO'S, and hospitals all feeding each other in a closed loop," writes Dinsmore.
Though activists object to partnerships between religious and secular hospitals
that result in the ban of reproductive services, they are sometimes willing
to accept lesser collaborations, such as joint ventures or affiliations, in
which it's more likely religious directives won't be imposed. In response to
community pressure, some health care agreements have resulted in independently
run women's health clinics. Some activists, however, say it's a lousy solution
because separate women's health clinics are often easier targets for
Source: Ms.,"Women's Health: A Casualty of Hospital Merger Mania?"
July/August 1998, BY Christine Dinsmore
No. 9 CENSORED
U. S. TAX DOLLARS SUPPORT DEATH SQUADS IN CHIAPAS:
On December 22, 1997, in the village of Acteal, in the highlands of
the Mexican state of Chiapas, 45 local men, women and children were
shot as they were praying. Their bodies were dumped into a ravine.
Elsewhere throughout the state of Chiapas, unarmed women face down
armies "with fists held high in rebellion and babies slung from their
shoulder." In Jalisco, more than a dozen young men were kidnaped and
tortured. One of them, Salvador Jimenez Lopez, drowned in his own
blood when his tongue was cut out. The group responsible for these
and other atrocities are allegedly members of the Mexican Army Airborne
Special Forces Groups (GAFE)-a paramilitary unit trained by U.S.
Army Special Forces.
Mexican soldiers are being trained with U.S. tax dollars to
fight an alleged" War on Drugs, but peasants activists say the real
motive driving the U.S.-supported war is the protection of foreign
investment rights in Mexico. "In Chiapas, U.S. tax money pays for
weapons and military ... to destroy a movement for social justice
... . The United States transfers aid to the Mexican military in
cash, weapons and comterinsurgency training. The 1998 Clinton
administration budget earmarked more than $21 million dollars for
the Mexican Drug War, including $12 million for Pentagon training
in "procedures for fighting drug traffic." Anti-drug effort seems
to continue to focus on the Chiapas region where 80 percent of
the communities are in conflict zones. According to the Zapatismo
Papers (Wood), acts of inhumanity by GAFE were led by Lt. Col.
Julian Guerrero Barrios, a 1981 graduate of the U.S.-sponsored
School of Americas (SOA). Although it remains unknown how many of
the 15 soldiers charged in the Acteal incident were trained at
U.S. bases, the Pentagon has admitted that some of the soldiers
arrested were U.S. trained.
Sources: SLINGSHOT, "Mexico's Military: Made in the USA,"
Summer 1998, by Slingshot collective; DARK NIGHT FIELD NOTES/ZAPATISMO,
"Bury My Heart At Acteal," by Darrin Wood.
No. 10 CENSORED
WHAT PRICE, CHEAP OIL? ENVIRONMENTAL STUDENT ACTIVISTS GUNNED
DOWN ON CHEVRON OIL FACILITY IN NIGERIA:
For three days last may, 121 youths from 42 different communities
had gathered to oppose the environmental destruction brought on by
Chevron's oil extraction practices. For decades, the people of the Niger
Delta have been protesting the destruction of their wet lands. Discharges
into the creeks and waterways have left the region a dead land, resulting
in the Niger Delta becoming one of the most heavily polluted regions in the
The students claim they had voiced their concerns many times and had
scheduled a number of meetings with the company, but the meetings had been
repeatedly canceled by Chevron. As a next step, the students organized the
protest around a Chevron barge in order to draw Chevron's attention to the
goal of environmental justice. Student demonstrators had peacefully occupied
an anchored barge in a protest since May 25. According to student leader,
Bola Oyinbo, approximately 20 of the 121 students surrounding the barge in
small boats went on board to meet with a Nigerian Naval officer who was
working for Chevron. Oyinbo stated that the students wanted to speak to a
Mr. Kirkland, Chevrons managing director. Although the director never came,
other Chevron officials did arrive the next day and promised to set up a
meeting with the students at the end of May. The students agreed to leave
the barge on May 28 in order to attend the proposed meeting. On May 28,1998,
Nigerian National soldiers were helicoptered by Chevron employees to the
Chevron owned oil facility off the coast of Nigeria where after an onslaught
of attacks, two students were dead and several others wounded.
Sources: ERA ENVIRONMENTAL TESTIMONIES, "Chevron in Nigeria," July 10, 1998,
by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria; PACIFICA RADIO,
"Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship"
PacificaRadio/www.pacifica.org, September 1998, by Amy Goodman and
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