- Neocons' plans for global domination top the annual list
of stories ignored or downplayed by the mainstream media.
- If there's one influence that's shaped worldwide politics
over the past year, it's how the Bush administration has exploited the
events of Sept. 11, 2001, to solidify its military and economic control
of the world at the expense of democracy, justice and the environment.
- But President George W. Bush hasn't been simply responding
to world events. The agenda his administration has followed fits perfectly
with a clearly defined plan that's been in place for more than a decade.
- The neoconservative blueprint for U.S. military domination
is hardly a secret. A group called the Project for a New American Century--a
think tank founded by hawks who now hold prominent jobs in the White House--released
a version of it three years ago. The document is shocking in its candor:
It asserts that the United States should be moving unilaterally to assert
military control around the globe, and that all that's necessary to jump-start
the effort is a "new Pearl Harbor."
- None of the major news media in this country have reported
on this document or on the fact that Bush is so closely following its script.
- That's the nation's biggest "censored" story
in last year, according to Sonoma State University's Project Censored,
a 27-year-old program dedicated to shining light on the shortcomings of
the major news media.
- Researchers at Sonoma State meticulously combed through
news reports from 2002 and the first quarter of 2003 to find stories that
didn't get the media attention they deserved. This year's big stories include
the attack on civil liberties at home, Donald Rumsfeld's plan to provoke
terrorists and treaty-busting by the United States.
- In many cases, these stories got little or no play--or
else were presented piecemeal, without any attempt to put the information
- "The stories this year reflect a clear danger to
democracy and governmental transparency in the United States--and the corporate
media's failure to alert the public to these important issues," Project
Censored director Peter Phillips said. "The magnitude of total global
domination has to be the most important story we've uncovered in a quarter
- What follows is a rundown of Project Censored's Top 10
censored or underreported stories for last year:
- 1. The neoconservative plan for global dominance "TERROR:
A QUESTION OF when, not if" read a front-page headline of the Sept.
7, 2002, San Francisco Chronicle. Americans, the article argued, will just
have to get used to the fact that we're now engaged in a "perpetual
war." Later that day, Bush went on TV to ask the nation for another
$87 billion for the fight against terrorism. But the concept of perpetual
war, and the military strategy that comes with it--of unilateralism, preemptive
strikes and a "forward presence" in key regions throughout the
globe--is nothing new. The Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon simply provided the perfect rationale to implement existing
- Back in the early 1990s, hawks in Bush Sr.'s administration--notably,
then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, with the help of General Colin Powell
and Paul Wolfowitz (at the time, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chair and undersecretary
of defense for policy, respectively)--drew up a plan that was virtually
identical to the National Security Strategy unveiled in September 2002.
- Their blueprint--first spelled out in a 1992 classified
internal policy statement titled "Defense Planning Guidance"
(later repeated in Cheney's "Defense Strategy for the 1990s,"
formally released in January 1993)--called for the United States to assert
its military superiority to prevent the emergence of a new superpower rival.
- It called for the United States to diversify its military
presence throughout the world, offered a policy of preemption, argued for
the expansion of the U.S. nuclear program while discouraging those of other
countries, and foresaw the need for the United States to act alone, if
need be, to protect its interests and those of its allies. Sound familiar?
- Yet the neocons knew they faced a hard sell as Bill Clinton
took office. "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and
Resources," a report released by the Project for the New American
Century in 2000, stated that the United States needed a catastrophe--"a
new Pearl Harbor," as the authors called it--to jump-start the neocons'
blueprint for all-encompassing military and economic world dominance. (PNAC
was founded by none other than Cheney, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Donald
Rumsfeld and other former Reagan and Bush administration hawks.)
- Then came the attacks of Sept. 11--just nine months after
the Bush administration took office. The events of that day provided the
perfect excuse for Cheney and company to finally see their plans to fruition.
- Top on their list of targets was Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Within 24 hours of the planes hitting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon--and
without so much as an inkling of evidence as to who had carried out the
attacks--Attorney General John Ashcroft was already calling for war on
Iraq, according to a report by Bob Woodward in the Washington Post.
- Indeed, the neocons have had the Persian Gulf in their
crosshairs for 30 years now. After the oil crisis of 1976 and the Gulf
states' nationalization of their petroleum industries in the years that
preceded it, the United States began building up forces in the region--primarily
in Saudi Arabia--and strengthening relationships with regional dictatorships.
The reasons seem simple: The region holds two-thirds of the world's oil.
- "Control over the Persian Gulf translates into control
over Europe, Japan, and China," Hampshire College professor and Resource
Wars author Michael Klare told Mother Jones. "It's having our hand
on the spigot."
- David Armstrong, Harper's Magazine, October 2002; Robert
Dreyfuss, Mother Jones, March 2003; John Pilger, www.pilger.carlton.com/print,
Dec. 12, 2002.
- 2. Homeland security threatens civil liberties THE YEAR
2002 OUGHT to be remembered as the year when Big Brother came of age. As
the Pentagon waged unending war abroad in the name of battling terrorism,
the Bush administration pursued a parallel, wholesale war on dissent at
home, fusing foreign intelligence operations with domestic security.
- Agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation
were granted sweeping powers to spy on U.S. citizens. Civil liberties took
the greatest hit in the last 30 years as the feds consistently slashed
away at our basic constitutional rights--including the right to privacy,
to any semblance of a fair trial in cases broadly defined as terrorism-related
and to the freedoms of speech, association and assembly.
- The Bush administration undertook all this and much more
by means of the USA Patriot Act executive orders, and the newly created
Department of Homeland Security.
- On Oct. 1, 2002, the government established the Northern
Command--a branch of the U.S. armed forces empowered to coordinate military
"assistance" to domestic law enforcement agencies. That was just
the latest in a push to allow the federal government to use the U.S. military
against its own citizens in the event of mass civil unrest. (That trend
wasn't without precedent: An anonymous Justice Department official reportedly
told the Seattle Weekly, in late December 1999, that the feds had deployed
an elite U.S. Army strike force, by the name of the Delta Force, to infiltrate
the now-infamous anti-World Trade Organization demonstrations in that city
- Yet media coverage of such measures was piecemeal at
best--and failed to shed light on the sordid details and ominous repercussions
that accompanied them.
- But it gets worse: The administration is pushing the
Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, dubbed Patriot Act II. Now that
there's opposition, the administration is trying to sneak major provisions
through as riders in other congressional bills.
- "The second Patriot Act is a mirror image of powers
that Julius Caesar and Adolf Hitler gave themselves," Alex Jones wrote
- Frank Morales, Global Outlook, Winter 2003; Alex Jones,
www.rense.com, Feb. 11, 2003, and Global Outlook, Vol. 4; Charles Lewis
and Adam Mayle, Center for Public Integrity, Feb. 7, 2003.
- 3. U.S. illegally removes pages from Iraq U.N. report
BUSH ADMINISTRATION INSIDERS often take extreme measures to protect their
own--including those who supplied Hussein's regime with weapons of mass
destruction and training on how to use them. Even as Bush urged military
action against Iraq for the country's failure to divulge details of its
alleged chemical, biological and nuclear arsenal, the U.S. government covertly
removed 8,000 of the 11,800 pages of the weapons declaration the Iraqi
government had submitted to the United Nations Security Council and the
International Atomic Energy Agency.
- But the Iraqis released copies of the full report to
key media outlets in Europe. It turns out that the missing pages may have
contained damning details on 24 U.S.-based corporations, various federal
departments and nuclear weapons labs, as well as several high-ranking members
of the Reagan and Bush administrations who, from 1983 until 1990, helped
supply Hussein with botulinum toxins, anthrax, gas gangrene bacteria, the
makings for nuclear weapons and associated instruction. Among those implicated:
Eastman Kodak, Dupont, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Bechtel, the U.S. Department
of Energy and Department of Agriculture, the Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories
and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield.
- Michael I. Niman, ArtVoice, Jan. 1, 2003, and The Humanist,
- 4. Rumsfeld's plan to provoke terrorists BURIED DEEP
IN ONE of its Sunday issues late last October, the Los Angeles Times published
a story by military analyst William Arkin about a slew of secret armies
the Pentagon had been creating around the world. One such force caught
the eye of Moscow Times columnist and regular CounterPunch contributor
Chris Floyd, who picked up on the tip and ran with it. "According
to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board,
the new organization --the 'Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (dubbed
the 'Pee-Twos')'--will carry out secret missions designed to 'stimulate
reactions' among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent
acts which would then expose them to 'counterattack' by U.S. forces,"
- In short, the alleged document seemed to show that the
Pentagon was gearing up to actively instigate terrorist acts, despite the
risk to innocent civilians. "The Pee-Twos will thus come in handy
whenever the Regime hankers to add a little oil-laden real estate or a
new military base to the Empire's burgeoning portfolio," Floyd continued.
"Just find a nest of violent malcontents, stir 'em with a stick, and
presto: instant 'justification' for whatever level of intervention/conquest/rapine
you might desire." Or, he proffers, just make them up after the fact.
- Chris Floyd, CounterPunch, Nov. 1, 2002.
- 5. The effort to make unions disappear WHAT BETTER WAY
TO make those pesky unions disappear than by branding them a threat to
national security? That's precisely what the neocons in the White House
and on Capitol Hill have been doing--in a blatant move to break some of
the country's most powerful labor syndicates. And, so far, they've gotten
away with it. Bush--certainly not known as a stalwart of workers' rights--invoked
his war on terrorism rhetoric in early October 2002 to force striking International
Longshore and Warehouse Union dock workers in Oakland back on the job,
thereby undermining the future of the ILWU's West Coast labor agreement.
- "Some $300 billion worth of cargo--equivalent to
30 percent of U.S. gross domestic product--passes through ILWU members'
hands each year," Lee Sustar wrote in Z Magazine. (The ILWU is also
renowned as one of the nation's most progressive unions--having shut down
ports up and down the Pacific Coast in solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal
and, later, the anti-WTO protesters in Seattle during the '90s.)
- Then, when the Bush administration created the Department
of Homeland Security, Secretary Tom Ridge invoked similar reasoning to
argue that the department's employees be exempted from civil service regulations
governing pay scales, hiring and promotion practices, bans on discrimination,
whistle-blower protections and--last but not least--collective bargaining
rights. The formation of the DHS accounted for the largest restructuring
of U.S. government since 1947 and brought together more than 100 executive
agencies under one roof--equaling a total of 180,000 workers.
- Immigrant workers also took a big hit. The federalization
of airport screeners caused thousands of noncitizens to lose their jobs.
Others were swept up by Immigration and Naturalization Service raids targeting
not only baggage screeners but also other airport workers, including food
- Lee Sustar, Z Magazine, Sept. 20, 2002; David Bacon,
War Times, October-November 2002; Anne-Marie Cusac, The Progressive, February
2003; Robert L. Borosage, The American Prospect, March 2003.
- 6. Closing access to information technology ALL THE STORIES
ON this year's Project Censored list were gleaned from alternative and
international media sources. Likewise, progressives quickly learned to
seek out sources like CommonDreams.org, truthout.org and the U.K. Independent's
Web site for the real news on the latest war on Iraq. The Internet has
functioned as the most important medium for accessing these kinds of information.
But if the big communications companies get their way, the Web could be
compromised as a democratic source of alternative news and perspectives.
Soon what we get from the Web could be a carbon copy of what we already
get from corporate TV, cable, radio and newspapers.
- For several years now, businesses that provide access
to the Web--cable, telephone and (more recently) satellite companies--have
been working to cash in on their control over distribution.
- Unlike the companies controlling telephone lines (which
by law must grant access to any company that wants to use them), the Federal
Communications Commission opted, in spring 2002, to grant cable companies
full control over who could use their cable networks--and under what terms.
Cable companies can now manage the speed at which different sites pop up,
block out any content they choose and even deny sites and ISPs access to
their lines altogether. Of course, telephone companies have since been
lobbying for the same exclusive rights over DSL.
- The telephone and cable lines are controlled by monopolies
in most U.S. cities and towns. (Comcast, now the world's largest cable
company, exerts sole control over cable lines serving almost one-third
of U.S. households.) Without any open-access laws to preserve competition,
those monopolies are sure to hike up their rates, making it more difficult
for small businesses and nonprofits to stay online.
- The thousands of ISPs currently available could dwindle
to just two or three for any given region, as broadband distributors like
AOL Time Warner favor their own companies' ISPs over others. Customers
might be forced to pay more for a wider variety of sites, and companies
could block whatever sites they chose to.
- Of course, the largest media conglomerates have already
been merging with the companies that provide Internet access to the vast
majority of U.S. households and that stand to gain handsomely from such
a deal. So is it any wonder they've blacked out the story?
- Arthur Stamoulis, Dollars and Sense, September 2002.
- 7. Treaty busting by the United States EVEN AS THE BUSH
administration publicly demanded that terrorists be brought to justice
and that Iraq, Iran, North Korea and others dismantle their (in Iraq's
case, alleged) nuclear weapons programs, it consistently worked to undermine
hard-fought international agreements--including numerous treaties and the
international court system--meant to do just that.
- Bush has resuscitated the Reagan-era missile defense
program, pursued the development of a "Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator"
bomb and other small-size nuclear weapons for use in its military campaigns
abroad, declared its intent to create bio-warfare-agent facilities at the
Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos labs, adopted a policy of preemptive
military strikes, waged an illegal war against Iraq and actually voted
to authorize a U.S. military attack on the International Criminal Court
in the Hague should the ICC dare try any American for war crimes.
- In fact, the United States has now "either blatantly
violated or gradually subverted" at least nine multilateral treaties
on which it is a signatory, Project Censored found. These include the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Commission, the Biological
Weapons Convention, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty, the Treaty Banning Antipersonnel Mines, the Kyoto Protocol
on global warming, the U.N. Convention on Climate Change and the Rome Statute
of the ICC.
- All these action have been taken in the name of national
security. Yet, "this unprecedented rejection of and rapid retreat
from global treaties ... will render these treaties and conventions invalid
without the support and participation of the world's foremost superpower,"
wrote Project Censored's authors.
- Marylia Kelly and Nicole Deller, Connections, June 2002;
John B. Anderson, The Nation, April 2002; Eamon Martin, Ashe ville Global
Report, June 20-26, 2002; John Valleau, Global Outlook, Summer 2002.
- 8. U.S. and British forces continue use of depleted uranium
weapons despite massive evidence of negative health effects FORMER SERGEANT
FIRST Class Carol Picou will never be the same after serving in the first
Gulf War. On the front lines with a mobile medical unit, "I noticed
that all the bodies that were on the highways and the tanks and all the
armament that was damaged was burnt," the veteran nurse told Hustler
magazine last spring. "It was actually literally black, and I thought
the Iraqi people were black-skinned. It amazed me that they were burnt
that bad--that we would have used some type of armament that would actually
melt these people into their vehicles."
- Picou began experiencing serious health effects almost
immediately. Back in the United States, her muscles were deteriorating.
She permanently lost control of her bowels. She suffered from 104-degree
fevers, and her skin would break open and bleed. Rather than take care
of Picou, who had served in the armed forces since 1978, the Army medically
discharged her against her wishes in 1995.
- "More than 9,600 of the relatively young Operation
Desert Storm veterans have died since serving in Iraq, a statistical anomaly,"
wrote Dan Kapelovitz, the reporter who interviewed Picou. Of those still
living, more than a third--upward of 236,000--have filed Gulf War Syndrome-related
claims with the Veteran's Administration.
- Research overwhelmingly suggests these ailments and deaths
were caused by depleted uranium, a metal the military uses in much of its
hardware that is so dense it can pierce through steel-armored tanks. But
this radioactive material has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, according
to renowned scientist Helen Caldicott. In Iraq incidences of cancer, childhood
leukemia and rare mutations in newborns have skyrocketed.
- A study conducted by the U.S. Army in 1990, at least
six months before the first Gulf War, shows the U.S. government knew what
the effects would be. Nonetheless, the Americans and Brits dropped anywhere
between 300 to 800 tons of the stuff on Iraq over the four-day assault.
They've done nothing to clean up the radioactive mess left behind.
- "In effect, George Bush Sr. used weapons of mass
destruction on his own people," Kapelovitz continued.
- But it didn't end there. The United States has since
used depleted uranium weapons in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan and again
during its most recent assault on Iraq--a fact that was reported in the
European media but not widely in the United States.
- Dan Kapelovitz, Hustler, June 2003; Reese Erlich, Children
of War, March 2003.
- 9. In Afghanistan: poverty, women's rights and civil
disruption worse than ever RATHER THAN ALLOW THE inter- national community
to supply sufficient security forces to safeguard Afghan citizens from
brutal warlords--and thereby create the foundation necessary for democracy
and reconstruction--the United States has instead financed and armed regional
warlords in its effort to root out the last remaining al Qaeda forces.
- As a result, by October 2002--a year after the United
States embarked on its campaign to "liberate" that war-torn Central
Asian country--private armies were estimated to be 700,000 strong. (The
International Security Assistance Force, in contrast, consists of a scant
5,000 troops--only enough to provide meager protection for Kabul, Afghanistan's
- The practice has, in effect, strengthened the nation's
endemic system of military feudalism. The heroin trade has skyrocketed.
Life expectancy is a mere 46 years--with more than one in four children
not making it to their fifth birthday. Only 10 percent of those who survive
have access to an education. In many regions, the constraints placed on
women's basic liberties have reverted to those imposed by the Taliban.
Per capita average yearly income is only $280. And the basic infrastructure
needed to reintroduce law and order--like a working justice system, banking
institutions and a national army--remains a pipe dream.
- In short, thanks to American policies, Afghanis are more
forsaken than ever. Yet, as far as the mainstream U.S. media are concerned,
Afghanis' worst fear has come true: Afghanistan has once again dropped
off the corporate media's radar--and, with it, that of the American public.
- Ahmed Rashid, The Nation, Oct. 14, 2002; Pranjal Tiwari,
Left Turn, February/March 2003; Jan Goodwin, The Nation, April 29, 2002;
Scott Carrier, with a photo essay by Chien-Min Chung, Mother Jones, July/August
- 10. Africa faces new threat of colonialism MANY AMERICANS
ARE NOW at least marginally aware of recent neoliberal economic programs
such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas and Plan Colombia. But how
many have heard of the New Partnership for Africa's Development--a plan
being forwarded by the world's most powerful industrialized nations?
- NEPAD was launched at the G8 meeting in June 2002--presumably
to help combat poverty in Africa by encouraging outside investment. Curiously
enough, the architects of the program didn't bother to consult with representatives
of a single African nation while drawing up their plan. Critics fear the
program is just another bid by more powerful nations to exploit the continent's
last remaining natural resources--at the expense of Africans themselves.
- First-world meddling has already wrought havoc on Africa.
During the Cold War, the United States alone injected $1.5 billion worth
of weaponry and training into the continent--now the most war-torn in the
world. From 1991 to 1995, the United States increased its military contributions
to 50 of Africa's 53 nations. Millions have died from war, displacement,
disease and starvation as a result.
- Meanwhile, structural adjustment programs force-fed to
African nations by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and G8
in the name of development have only resulted in the continent's foreign
debt rising by a whopping 500 percent over the past 20 years. More of the
same isn't likely to help.
- Michelle Robidoux, Left Turn, July/August 2002; Asad
Ismi, Briarpatch, vol. 32, no. 1 (excerpted from the CCPA Monitor, October
2002); Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, New Internationalist, January/February
- The Rest of the Stories...
- PROJECT CENSORED'S other picks for 2002:
- 11. U.S. implicated in Taliban massacre. Kendra Sarvadi,
Asheville Global Report; Adam Porter, In These Times.
- 12. Bush administration behind failed military coup in
Venezuela. Duncan Campbell and Greg Palast, The London Guardian; Joe Taglieri,
Global Outlook; Karen Talbot, People's Weekly World; Jon Beasley-Murray,
NACLA Report on the Americas.
- 13. Corporate personhood challenged. Thom Hartmann, CommonDreams
and Impact Press; Thom Hartmann, Wild Matters; Jim Hightower, The Hightower
- 14. Unwanted refugees a global problem. Daniel Swift,
In These Times; Charles Bowden, Mother Jones; Bill Frelick, Bulletin of
- 15. U.S. military's war on the earth. Bob Feldman, Dollars
and Sense; David S. Mann and Glenn Milner, Washington Free Press; John
Passacantando, Wild Matters.
- 16. Plan Puebla-Panama and the FTAA. Miguel Pickard,
CorpWatch.org; Timi Gerson, Public Citizen's Trade Watch; Tom Hansen and
Jason Wallach, Labornotes; Rachel Coen, Asheville Global Report and Extra!
- 17. Clear Channel monopoly draws criticism. Jeff Perlstein,
- 18. Charter forest proposal threatens access to public
lands. Kristin Robison, Earth First! Journal; Jon Margolis, American Prospect.
- 19. U.S. dollar vs. the euro: another reason for the
invasion of Iraq. William Clark, The Sierra Times; CÛilÌn
Nunan, Feasta; William Greider, The Nation.
- 20. Pentagon increases private military contracts. Nelson
D. Schwartz, Fortune; Pratap Chatterjee, CorpWatch.org; Antony Barnett,
- 21. Third-world austerity policies: Coming soon to a
city near you. Greg Palast, Harper's Magazine; Michael Parenti, Covert
Action Quarterly; Gabriella Bocagrande, Texas Observer.
- 22. Welfare reform up for reauthorization but still no
safety net. Barbara Ehrenreich and Frances Fox Piven, Mother Jones; Neil
deMause, In These Times; Dave Hage, The American Prospect; Heather Boushey,
Dollars and Sense.
- 23. Argentina crisis sparks cooperative growth. Lisa
Garrigues, Yes! Magazine; Leif Utne, Utne Magazine.
- 24. U.S. aid to Israel fuels repressive occupation in
Palestine. John Steinbach, Covert Action Quarterly; Matt Bowles, Left Turn;
Bob Wing, War Times.
- 25. Convicted corporations receive perks instead of punishment.
Emad Mekay, Asheville Global Report; Ken Silverstein, Mother Jones.
- This story originally appeared in the San Francisco Bay
Guardian. For more information on Project Censored, visit www.projectcensored.org.
E-mail Camille T. Taiara at email@example.com.