Three articles that appeared in The Progressive Populist were cited among the most under-covered news stories of 2001-2002 by Project Censored. The media research project at Sonoma State University announced 25 "censored" news stories, which are published in the annual book Censored 2003 from Seven Stories Press. Nearly 200 faculty, students, and community experts reviewed over 900 nominations for the awards, which also included stories that appeared in late 2000. They were ranked by judges that included Michael Parenti, Robert McChesney, Robin Andersen, Norman Solomon, Carl Jensen, Lenore Foerstel and some 20 other national journalists, scholars and writers.
"We define censorship as any interference with the free flow of information in American Society," stated Peter Phillips, director of the project. "Corporate media in the United States is interested primarily in entertainment news to feed their bottom-line priorities. Very important news stories that should reach the American public often fall on the cutting room floor to be replaced by sex-scandals and celebrity updates."
Articles cited from The Progressive Populist include Frosty Troy's "Dunces of Public Education Reform," Nov. 15, 2000, which dealt with the seventh-most-underreported issue of "Corporations Promote HMO Model for School Districts;" David Corn's "Smog Screen," March 15, 2002, in the 15th-ranked "Bush's Energy Plan Threatens Environment and Public Health;" and Harry Kelber's "Temps are Ready for Organizing If AFL-CIO Provides the Muscle," June 1, 2001, in 21st-ranked "Large US Temp Company Undermines Union Jobs and Mistreats Workers."
1) FCC Moves To Privatize Airwaves. For almost 70 years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has administered and regulated the broadcast spectrum as an electronic "commons" on behalf of the American people. In February 2001, 37 leading US economists requested, in a joint letter, that the FCC allow broadcasters to lease, in secondary markets, the frequencies they currently use under their FCC license. Their thinking was that with this groundwork laid, full national privatization would follow, and eventually nations would be encouraged to sell off their frequencies to global media enterprises. The few non-allocated bands of the radio frequency spectrum would be sold off, as electronic real estate, to the highest bidders. In private hands, the frequencies would be exchanged in the marketplace. Sources: London Guardian, April 28, 2001, and Media File Autumn 2001 volume 20, #4, title: "Global Media Giants Lobby to Privatize Entire Broadcast System" by Jeremy Rifkin; Mother Jones, Sept/October 2001, "Losing Signal" by Brendan Koerner; Media File, May/June 2001, "Legal Project to Challenge Media Monopoly" by Dorothy Kidd.
2) New Trade Treaty Seeks to Privatize Global Social Services. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is a proposed free-trade agreement that will attempt to liberalize/dismantle barriers that protect government provided social services. Corporations plan to use the GATS agreement to profit from the privatization of educational services, health care systems, child care, energy and municipal water services, postal services, libraries, museums, and public transportation. If the GATS agreement is finalized, it will lock in a privatized for-profit model for the global economy. GATS/WTO would make it illegal for a government with privatized services to ever return to a publicly owned, non-profit model. Source: The Ecologist, February, 2001, "The Last Frontier" by Maude Barlow. International media coverage: Toronto Star, 3/3/02, The Herald (Glasgow) 2/27/02, The Hindu, 11/17,01 The Weekend Australian, 8/25/01, The Gazette (Montreal) 6/15/01 The Financial Times (London)
3) United States' Policies in Colombia Support Mass Murder. In July of 2000, the US Congress approved a $1.3 billion war package for Colombia to support President Pastrana's "Plan Columbia." Throughout these past two years, Colombian citizens have been the victims of human rights atrocities committed by the US-trained Colombian military and linked paramilitaries. Trade unionists and human rights activists face murder, torture, and harassment. Another problem resulting from the Columbian "drug war" has been the health consequences of the US-sponsored aerial fumigation. Since January 2001, Colombian aircraft have been spraying toxic herbicides over Colombian fields in order to kill opium poppy and coca plants, killing food crops that indigenous Colombians depend on for survival, as well as harming their health. The US provides slightly over $1 billion of military aid for what is known as "Plan Colombia," yet it is more a war against citizens and those who are fighting for social justice. Sources: Counter Punch, July 1-15, 2001, "Blueprints for the Colombian War," by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair; Asheville Global Report, October 4, 2001, "Colombian Army and Police Still Working With Paramilitaries," by Jim Lobe; Steelabor, May/June 2001, "Colombian Trade Unionists Need US Help" by Dan Kovalik and Gerald Dickey; Rachel's Environment & Health News, December 7, 2000, "Echoes of Vietnam," by Rachel Massey.
4) Bush Administration Hampered FBI Investigation into Bin Laden Family Before 9/11. A French book Bin Laden, la verite interdite (Bin Laden, the forbidden truth) claims that the Bush Administration halted investigations into terrorists activities related to the bin Laden family and began planning for a war against Afghanistan before 9/11. The authors allege that under the influence of US oil companies, the Bush administration initially halted investigations into terrorism, while bargaining with the Taliban to deliver bin Laden in exchange for economic aid and political recognition. Brisard and Dasquie contend that the governmentís main objective in Afghanistan was to unite the Taliban regime in order to gain access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia. They report that the Bush government began negotiations with the Taliban directly after coming into power and representatives met several times in Washington, Islamabad, and Berlin. Jane's Defense News reported in March 2001 that an invasion of Afghanistan was being planned. Sources: Pulse, Jan. 16, 2002, "French book indicts Bush Administration," by Amanda Luker; Times Of India, Nov. 8, 2001, "Bush took FBI agents off Bin Laden family trail"; The Guardian (London) with BBC television News Night, Nov. 7, 2001, "FBI and US spy agents say Bush spiked bin Laden probes before 11 September," by Greg Palast and David Pallister. Corporate media coverage: L.A. Times, 1/13/02.
5) US Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water System. During the Gulf WAR the US deliberately bombed Iraq's water system. After the war, the United Nations applied sanctions against Iraq, which denied the importation of specialized equipment and chemicals, such as chlorine for purification of water. Documents have been obtained from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which prove that the Pentagon was fully aware of the mortal impacts on civilians in Iraq and was actually monitoring the degradation of Iraqís water supply. This document states that epidemics and disease outbreaks may occur because of pollutants and bacteria that exist in unpurified water. The United Nations estimates that more than 500,000 Iraqi children have died as a result of sanctions and that unclean water is a major contributor to these deaths. Sources: The Progressive, September 2001, "The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How the US Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply" by Thomas J. Nagy.
6) US Government Pushing Nuclear Revival. The US Government is blazing a trail of nuclear weapon revival leading to global nuclear dominance. A nuke-revival group, supported by people like Stephen Younger, associate director for Nuclear Weapons at Los Alamos, proposed a "mini-nuke" capable of burrowing into underground weapon supplies and unleashing a small, but contained nuclear explosion. Princeton theoretical physicist Robert W. Nelson concluded, "No earth-burrowing missile can penetrate deep enough into the earth to contain an explosion with a nuclear yield even as small as 1% of the 15-kiloton Hiroshima weapon. The explosion simply blows out a massive crater of radioactive dirt, which rains down on the local region with an especially intense and deadly fallout." Billions more would be needed to produce and maintain a new generation of nuclear weapons. This plan has not been presented to the public for their consideration or approval. Sources: Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists, July/August 2001, "The New-Nuke Chorus Tunes Up" by Stephen I. Schwartz. Corporate News Coverage: Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2002, USA Today, March 18, 2002.
7) Corporations Promote HMO Model for School Districts. The aptly named Educational Management Organizations (EMOís) are being touted as the new answer to impoverished school districts and dilapidated classrooms, the real emphasis is on investment returns rather than student welfare and educational development. Schools with already limited resources, serving poor and minority communities, will be those under the greatest pressure to boost scores or face loss of funding as a result of Bushís proposal for national standardized testing. Additionally, standardized testing funnels public dollars directly to non-public schools, including religious schools, through taxpayer-supported vouchers. Vouchers shunt kids out of the public schools system and into private for-profit institutions. The reality is that, though most EMOís have yet to show investors a profit, they generally cut teacher salaries, eliminate remedial, special, and bilingual education programs (mandated for public schools), and consistently perform at or below the level or surrounding schools in test scores. Sources: Multi-National Monitor, January/February 2002, "Business Goes to School: The For-Profit Corporate Drive to Run Public Schools," by Barbara Miner; The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2000, "Dunces of Public Education Reform," by Frosty Troy; North Coast Xpress, Winter 2000, "Corporate-Sponsored Tests Aim to Standardize Our Kids," by Dennis Fox; In These Times, June 2001, "Testing, Testing: The Miseducation of George W. Bush," by Linda Lutton
8) NAFTA Destroys Farming Communities in US and Abroad. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are responsible for the impoverishment of and loss of many small farms in Mexico and Haiti. NAFTA is also causing the economic destruction of rural farming communities in the US and Canada. In both Mexico and Haiti, NAFTA policies have caused an exodus from rural areas forcing people to live in urban slums and accept loz paid sweatshop labor. These same corporations have entered into massive farming ventures outside the US and use NAFTA to import cheaper agricultural products back into this country , further undermining the small farmers in the US. The resulting loss of rural employment has created a landslide of socio-economic and environmental consequences that are worsening with the continued dismantling and deregulation of trade barriers. Sources: Fellowship of Reconciliation, Dec. 2000/Jan. 2001, "NAFTA's devastating effects are clear in Mexico, Haiti," by Anita Martin; The Hightower Lowdown, September 2001, "NAFTA gives the shafta to North America's farmers," by Jim Hightower.
9) US Faces National Housing Crisis. The national housing crisis affects nearly 6 million American families and is growing worse. Over 1.5 million low-cost housing units have recently been lost, and millions of children are growing up in housing that is substandard, unaffordable and dangerous. Still, politicians refuse to add federal funded housing to the US budget. Low-cost housing programs are slowly being drained of funding. More than 100,000 federally subsidized units have been converted to market-rate housing in the past three years. While the $5 billion Federal Housing Administration surplus is tied up in Washington, neither major political party seems responsive to the current housing crisis. Neither party is addressing issues of living wage, adequate health care, or affordable housing. Homelessness has become the result for many families across the nation. Source: In These Times, November 2000, "There's No Place Like Home," by Randy Shaw. Corporate media coverage: US Newswire, 1/18/02. Other corporate coverage mostly limited to local and regional housing issues
10) CIA Double Deals In Macedonia. The CIA destabilized the political balance in Macedonia to allow easier access for a US-British owned oil pipeline, and to prevent Macedonia from entering the European Union (EU), thereby strengthening the US dollar in a German deutschmark dominated region. It's an effort supported by Wall Street's financial establishment, to destabilize and discredit the deutschmark and the Euro, with hopes of imposing the US dollar as the sole currency for the region. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the National Liberation Army (NLA) were trained in Macedonia by British Special Forces and equipped by the CIA. In a strange twist the CIA, NATO, and British Special Forces provided weapons and training to the NLA/KLA terrorists, while at the same time, Germany provided Macedonia's security forces with all-terrain vehicles, advanced weapons, and equipment to protect themselves from NLA/KLA attacks. Last year's conflict in Macedonia is a small part of a growing rift between the Anglo-American and European interests in the Balkans. In the wake of the war in Yugoslavia, Britain has allied itself with the US and severed many of its ties with Germany, France, and Italy. Washington's design is to ensure the dominance of the US military-industrial complex, in alliance with Britain's major defense contractors, and British-US oil. Sources: www.globalresearch.ca, June 14, 2001, "America at War in Macedonia" by Michel Chossudovsky; www.globalresearch.ca, July 26, 2001, "NATO Invades Macedonia" by Michel Chossudovsky
11) Bush Appoints Former Criminals to Key Government Roles. The Nation, May 7, 2001, "Bush's Contra Buddies," by Peter Kornbluh; In These Times, Aug. 6 2001, "Public Serpent; Iran-Contra Villain Elliott Abrams is Back in Action," by Terry Allen; Extra, September/October 2001, "Scandal? What Scandal?" by Terry Allen; The Guardian, Feb. 8, 2002, "Friends of Terrorism" by Duncan Campbell; Feb. 18, 2002, "No More Mr. Scrupulous Guy" by John Sutherland; Washingtonian, April 2002, "True or False: Iran-Contra's John Poindexter is Back at the Pentagon" by Michael Zuckerman
12) NAFTA's Chapter 11 Overrides Public Protection Laws of Countries. The Nation, October 15, 2001, "The Right and US Trade Law: Invalidating the 20th Century" by William Greider; Terrain, Fall 2001, "Seven Years of NAFTA" by David Huffman.
13) Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford Lied to the American Public about East Timor. Asheville Global Report, 12/13/2001, "Documents Show US Sanctioned Invasion of East Timor" by Jim Lobe, (IPS).
14) New Laws Restrict Access to Abortions in US. Mother Jones, September/ October 2001, "The Quiet War on Abortion" by Barry Yeoman.
15) Bush's Energy Plan Threatens Environment and Public Health. TomPaine.com, Alternet.org, Feb. 15, 2002, "The Loyal Opposition: Bush's Global-warming Smog" by David Corn; Environment News Service, July, 2001, "Bush Energy Plan Could Increase Pollution" by Cat Lazaroff; The Progressive Populist, March 15, 2002, "Smog Screen" by David Corn
16) CIA Kidnaps Suspects for Overseas Torture and Execution. Weekend Australian, February, 23, 2002, "Love Letter Tracks Terrorist's Footsteps" by Don Greenlees; World Socialist Website (www.wsws.org), March 20, 2002, US Oversees Abduction, Torture, Execution of Alleged Terrorists by Barry Grey. Original US source: Washington Post, March 11, 2002, "US Behind Secret Transfer of Terror Suspects" by Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Peter Finn.
17) Corporate Media Ignores Key Issues of the Anti-Globalization Protests. Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 2001, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: The Globalization Protests and the Befuddled Press" by John Giuffo.
18) World's Coral Reefs Dying. Harpers, January 2001, "Shoals Of Time: Are We Witnessing The Extinction of the World's Coral Reefs?" by Julia Whitty.
19) American Companies Exploit the Congo. Dollars and Sense, July/August 2001, "The Business of War in the Democratic Republic Of Congo: Who benefits?" by Dena Montague, Frieda Berrigan; Voice (Pioneer Valley, Mass.), March/April, 2001, "Depopulation and Perception Management (Part 2: Central Africa) by Keith Harmon Snow.
20) Novartis' Gene Research Endangers Global Plant Life. London Observer, October 8, 2000, "Gene Scientists Disable Plants' Immune Systems" by Antony Barnett.
21) Large US Temp Company Undermines Union Jobs and Mistreats Workers. The Progressive Populist, June 1, 2001, "Temps are Ready for Organizing If AFL-CIO Provides the Muscle" by Harry Kelber. Labor Ready Inc. is a national temporary employment agency that employed over 700,000 people in 2000. Labor Ready has 839 offices in 49 states and in Canada, and stands ready to place temporary workers as strikebreakers in union labor disputes.
22) Fish Farms Threaten Health of Consumers and Aquatic Habitats. Mother Jones Magazine, November/December 2001, "Aquaculture's Troubled Harvest" by Bruce Barcott; PEW Oceans Commission Report on Marine Aquaculture, 2001, www.pewoceans.org, "Marine Aquaculture in the United States: Environmental Impacts and Policy Options" by Rebecca J. Goldburg, Matthew S. Elliott, Rosamond L. Naylor.
23) Horses Face Lives of Unnecessary Abuse for Drug Company Profits. The Animals' Agenda, March/April 2001, "Pissing their Lives Away" by Susan Wagner.
24) Wal-Mart Takes Union Busting to the State Level. Madison Capital Times, August, 2001, Wal-Mart Ravages Workers' Rights" by John Nichols; reprinted In Asheville Global Report 9/6/01
25) Federal Government Bails Out Failing Private Prisons. The American Prospect, September 10, 2001, "Bailing Out Private Jails" by Judith Greene.