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Top 10 Censored Stories of 2005

- by University Research Team

This message is available online at

Dear friends,
Project Censored specializes in covering the top news stories which
were either ignored or downplayed by the mainstream media each year.
Project Censored is a research team composed of nearly 200 university
faculty, students, and community experts who review about 1,000 news
story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources, and
national significance. The top 25 stories selected are submitted to a
panel of judges who then rank them in order of importance. The results
are published each year in an excellent book available for purchase at
their website,, and most major book stores.

A brief summary of last year's top 10 censored news stories provided
below proves quite revealing and most informative. The headline of each
news story contains a link for those who want to read the entire
article. Links to sources are also provided for verification. Thanks to
the Internet and wonderful, committed groups like Project Censored, the
news is getting out to those who want to know. By revealing these
censored news stories, we can stop the excessive secrecy and work
together to build a brighter future. Please help to spread the word,
and have a great day!

With best wishes,
Fred Burks for the Team
Former language interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton - Top 25 Project Censored
news stories - Order book "Censored 2006" here
for full news stories

1. White House Erodes Open Government

While the White House has expanded its ability to keep tabs on
civilians, it's been working to curtail the ability of the public—and
even Congress—to find out what the government is doing. One year ago,
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., released an 81-page analysis of how the
administration has administered the country's major open government
laws. The report found that the feds consistently "narrowed the scope
and application" of the Freedom of Information Act, the Presidential
Records Act and other key public-information legislation, while
expanding laws blocking access to certain records—even creating new
categories of "protected" information and exempting entire departments
from public scrutiny. When those methods haven't been enough, the
administration has simply refused to release records—even when
requested by a congressional subcommittee or the Government
Accountability Office. Given the news media's interest in safeguarding
open government laws, one wonders why these findings weren't publicized
far and wide.

Source: "New Report Details Bush Administration Secrecy" press release,
Karen Lightfoot, Government Reform Minority Office, posted on, Sept. 14, 2004.

2. Media Coverage on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Death Toll

The civilized world may well look back on the assaults on Fallujah in
2004 as examples of utter disregard for the most basic wartime rules of
engagement. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour
called for an investigation into whether the Americans and their allies
had engaged in "the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate
and disproportionate attacks, the killing of injured persons, and the
use of human shields," among other possible "grave breaches of the
Geneva Conventions" considered war crimes under federal law. More than
83 percent of Fallujah's 300,000 residents fled the city. Men between
the ages of 15 and 45 were refused safe passage, and all who
remained—about 50,000—were treated as enemy combatants. Numerous
sources reported that coalition forces cut off water and electricity,
shot at anyone who ventured out into the open, executed families waving
white flags while trying to swim across the Euphrates, shot at
ambulances, and allowed corpses to rot in the streets and be eaten by
dogs. Medical staff reported seeing people with melted faces and limbs,
injuries consistent with the use of phosphorous bombs. But you likely
know little of this as the media hardly mentioned it.

Sources: "The Invasion of Fallujah," Mary Trotochaud and Rick McDowell,
Peacework, Dec. 2004-Jan. 2005; "Fallujah Refugees Tell of Life and
Death in the Kill Zone," Dahr Jamail, New Standard, "The War in Iraq:
Civilian Casualties, Political Responsibilities," Richard Horton,
Lancet, Oct. 29, 2004; Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, April 15,

3. Distorted Election Coverage

The mainstream media largely ignored evidence that electronic voting
machines were susceptible to tampering and downplayed political
alliances between the machines' manufacturers and the Bush
administration. Then came Nov. 2, 2004. President Bush prevailed by 3
million votes—despite exit polls that projected John Kerry winning by a
margin of 5 million. "Exit polls are highly accurate," wrote Professor
Steve Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for
Organizational Dynamics in an article co-authored with statistician
Josh Mitteldorf of Temple University. "They remove most of the sources
of potential polling error by identifying actual voters and asking them
immediately afterward who they had voted for." The discrepancy of 8
million votes was well beyond the poll's recognized margin of error of
less than one percent. The official result deviated by more than five
percent, which is considered a statistical impossibility. Freeman and
Mitteldorf analyzed the data and found that "only in precincts that
used old-fashioned, hand-counted paper ballots did the official count
and the exit polls fall within the normal sampling margin of error."
The discrepancy between the exit polls and the official count was
considerably greater in the critical swing states.

Sources: "A Corrupted Election," Steve Freeman, Josh Mitteldorf, In
These Times, Feb. 15, 2005; "Jim Crow Returns to the Voting Booth, Greg
Palast and Rev. Jesse Jackson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Jan. 26,

4. Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In

It's a well-known dirty trick in the halls of government: If you want
to pass unpopular legislation that you know won't stand up to scrutiny,
just wait until the public isn't looking. That's precisely what the
White House did Dec. 13, 2003, the day American troops captured Saddam
Hussein. President Bush celebrated the occasion by privately signing
into law the Intelligence Authorization Act—a controversial expansion
of the PATRIOT Act that included items culled from the "Domestic
Security Enhancement Act of 2003," a draft proposal that had been
shelved due to a public outcry after being leaked. Specifically, the
IAA allows the government to obtain an individual's financial records
without a court order. The law also makes it illegal for institutions
to inform anyone that the government has requested those records, or
that information has been shared with the authorities. The law also
broadens the definition of "financial institution" to include insurance
companies, travel and real estate agencies, stockbrokers, the U.S.
Postal Service, jewelry stores, casinos, airlines, car dealerships, and
any other business "whose cash transactions have a high degree of
usefulness in criminal, tax or regulatory matters." In one fell swoop,
this act has decimated our rights to privacy, due process, and freedom
of speech.

Sources: "PATRIOT Act's Reach Expanded Despite Part Being Struck Down,"
Nikki Swartz, Information Management Journal, March/April 2004; "Grave
New World," Anna Samson Miranda, LiP, Winter 2004; "Where Big Brother
Snoops on Americans 24/7," Teresa Hampton,,
June 7, 2004.

5. U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia

The American people reacted to the tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean
last December with an outpouring of compassion and private donations.
Across the nation, neighbors got together to collect food, clothing,
medicine and financial contributions. The White House initially offered
an embarrassingly low $15 million in aid. More importantly, the
government exploited the catastrophe to its own strategic advantage.
Establishing a stronger military presence in the area could help the
United States keep closer tabs on China. It could also fortify an
important military launching ground and help consolidate control over
potentially lucrative trade routes. The United States currently
operates a base out of Diego Garcia—a former British mandate about
halfway between Africa and Indonesia, but the lease runs out in 2016.
Consequently, in the name of relief, the U.S. revived the Utapao
military base in Thailand it had used during the Vietnam War and
reactivated its military cooperation agreements with Thailand and the
Visiting Forces Agreement with the Philippines.

Sources: "US Turns Tsunami into Military Strategy," Jane's Foreign
Report, Feb. 15, 2005; "US Has Used Tsunami to Boost Aims in Stricken
Area," Rahul Bedi, Irish Times, Feb. 8, 2005; "Bush Uses Tsunami Aid to
Regain Foothold in Indonesia," Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, Jan. 18,

6. The Real Oil for Food Scam

The United Nations allegedly allowed Saddam Hussein to rake in $10
billion in illegal cash through the Oil for Food program. New York
Times columnist William Safire referred to the alleged U.N. con game as
"the richest rip-off in world history." According to the GAO, Hussein
smuggled $6 billion worth of oil out of Iraq—most of it through the
Persian Gulf. Yet most of the oil that left Iraq by land did so through
Jordan and Turkey—with the approval of the United States. The first
Bush administration informally exempted Jordan from the ban on
purchasing Iraqi oil—an arrangement that provided Hussein with $4.4
billion over 10 years, according to the CIA's own findings. The U.S.
later allowed Iraq to leak another $710 million worth of oil through
Turkey, all while U.S. planes enforcing no-fly zones flew overhead.
Scott Ritter, a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq during the first six
years of economic sanctions against the country, unearthed yet another
scam: The United States allegedly allowed an oil company run by Russian
foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov's sister to purchase cheap oil from
Iraq and resell it to U.S. companies at market value—purportedly
earning Hussein "hundreds of millions" more.

Sources: "The UN Is Us: Exposing Saddam Hussein's Silent Partner," Joy
Gordon, Harper's, December 2004; "The Oil for Food 'Scandal' Is a
Cynical Smokescreen," Scott Ritter, UK Independent, Dec. 12, 2004.

7. Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood

Last year was the deadliest year for reporters since the International
Federation of Journalists began keeping tabs in 1984. A total of 129
media workers lost their lives, and 49 of them—more than a third—were
killed in Iraq. As far as anyone has yet proved, no commanding officer
ever ordered a subordinate to fire on journalists. But what can be
shown is a pattern of tacit complicity, side by side with a
heavy-handed campaign to curb journalists' right to roam freely. The
Pentagon has refused to implement basic safeguards to protect
journalists who aren't embedded with coalition forces, despite repeated
requests by Reuters and media-advocacy organizations. To date, U.S.
authorities have not disciplined a single officer or soldier involved
in the killing of a journalist. Meanwhile, the interim government the
United States installed in Iraq raided and closed down Al-Jazeera's
Baghdad offices almost as soon as it took power and banned the network
from doing any reporting in the country. In November, the interim
government ordered news organizations to "stick to the government line
on the U.S.-led offensive in Fallujah or face legal action," in an
official command sent out on interim prime minister Eyad Allawi's

Sources: "Dead Messengers: How the US Military Threatens Journalists,"
Steve Weissman,, Feb. 28, 2005; "Media Repression in
'Liberated' Land," Dahr Jamail, Inter Press Service, Nov. 18, 2004.

8. Iraqi Farmers Threatened By US Mandates

Historians believe it was in the "fertile crescent" where Iraq now
lies, that humans first learned to farm. "It is here...that mankind
first domesticated wheat," wrote Jeremy Smith in the Ecologist. "The
U.S., however, has decided that Iraqis don't know what wheat works best
in their own conditions." Smith was referring to Order 81, penned by
Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, and left as a legacy by
the American government when it transferred operations to interim Iraqi
authorities. The regulation sets criteria for the patenting of seeds
that can only be met by multinational companies like Monsanto or
Syngenta, and it grants the patent holder exclusive rights over every
aspect of all plant products yielded by those seeds. The new scheme
effectively launches a process whereby Iraqi farmers will soon have to
purchase their seeds rather than using seeds saved from their own crops
or bought at the local market. Native varieties will be replaced by
foreign—and genetically engineered—seeds. Order 81 fit nicely into the
outlines of a U.S. "Economy Plan," a 101-page blueprint for the
economic makeover of Iraq, formulated with ample help from corporate
lobbyists. BBC journalist Greg Palast reported that someone inside the
State Department leaked the plan to him a month prior to the invasion.
Smith put it simply: "The people whose forefathers first mastered the
domestication of wheat will now have to pay for the privilege of
growing it for someone else. And with that, the world's oldest farming
heritage will become just another subsidiary link in the vast American
supply chain."

Sources: "Iraq's New Patent Law: A Declaration of War Against
Farmers,"Grain, October 2004; "Adventure Capitalism," Greg Palast,, Oct. 26, 2004; "US Seeking to Totally Re-Engineer
Iraqi Traditional Farming System into a US Style Corporate
Agribusiness," Jeremy Smith, Ecologist, Feb. 4, 2005.

9. Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency

The Bush administration has been paying a lot more attention to Iran
recently. Part of that interest is clearly Iran's nuclear program—but
there may be more to the story. One bit of news that hasn't received
the public attention it merits is Iran's declared intent to open an
international oil exchange market, or "bourse." Not only would the new
entity compete against the New York Mercantile Exchange and London's
International Petroleum Exchange (both owned by American corporations),
but it would also ignite international oil trading in euros. A shift
away from U.S. dollars to euros in the oil market would cause the
demand for petrodollars to drop, perhaps causing the value of the
dollar to plummet. Russia, Venezuela and some members of OPEC have
expressed interest in moving towards a petroeuro system. And it isn't
entirely implausible that China, which is the world's second largest
holder of U.S. currency reserves, might eventually follow suit. Barring
a U.S. attack, it appears imminent that Iran's euro-dominated oil
bourse will open in March 2006. Logically, the most appropriate U.S.
strategy is compromise with the EU and OPEC towards a dual-currency
system for international oil trades. But you won't hear any discussion
of that alternative on the 6 o'clock news.

Source: "Iran Next US Target," William Clark,,
Oct. 27, 2004.

10. Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy

On Aug. 15, environmental activists created a human blockade by locking
themselves to drilling equipment, obstructing the National Coal Corp.'s
access to a strip mine in the Appalachian Mountains 40 miles north of
Knoxville, Tenn. It was just the latest in a protracted campaign that
environmentalists say has national implications, but that's been
ignored by the media outside the immediate area. Under contention is a
technique wherein entire mountaintops are removed to access the coal
underneath—a practice that is nothing short of devastating for the
local ecosystem, but which could become much more widespread. As it
stands, 93 new coal plants are in the works nationwide. Areas
incredibly rich in biodiversity are being turned into the biological
equivalent of parking lots. Is this the final solution for
200-million-year-old mountains?

Source: "See You in the Mountains: Kat?h Earth First! Confronts
Mountaintop Removal," John Conner, Earth First!, November-December

Below are the headlines and links to Project Censored news stories 11
to 25

11. Universal Mental Screening Program Usurps Parental Rights

12. Military in Iraq Contracts Human Rights Violators

13. Rich Countries Fail to Live up to Global Pledges

14. Corporations Win Big on Tort Reform, Justice Suffers

15. Plan to Override Academic Freedom in the Classroom

16. U.S. Plans for Hemispheric Integration Include Canada

17. U.S. Uses South American Military Bases to Expand Control of the

18. Little Known Stock Fraud Could Weaken U.S. Economy

19. Child Wards of the State Used in AIDS Experiments

20. American Indians Sue for Resources; Compensation Provided to Others

21. New Immigration Plan Favors Business Over People

22. Nanotechnology Offers Exciting Possibilities, Health Effects Need

23. Plight of Palestinian Child Detainees Highlights Global Problem

24. Ethiopian Indigenous Victims of Corporate, Government Resource

25. Homeland Security Was Designed to Fail

For several previous censored news stories even more important that
those above, see our two-page media cover-up summary at

Final Note: Remember that with your help, we can and will build a
brighter future for us all. And for some deeply inspiring stories to
provide balance to all of this:

See our archive of cover-up news articles at

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