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Book Review: Project Censored 2013

By       Message Paul W. Rea, Phd.       (Page 2 of 2 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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opednews.com Headlined to H4 12/22/12

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Fellow Sonoma State sociologist and co-editor Andy Lee Roth elaborates on the top-rated story, "an emerging police state." In "Framing Al-Awlaki: How Government Officials and Corporate Media Legitimized a Targeted Killing," Prof. Roth uses the assassination of one suspected terrorist to raise broader issues: compromised media, extrajudicial executions, and ever- expanding drone warfare, sometimes targeting American citizens.

All this occurs, Roth argues, because corporate media are prone to demonize Islamist leaders and to suppress the CIA drone attacks that target them. Roth's article certainly makes a strong indictment of these violations of constitutional guarantees. The case would be even stronger if it mentioned that just two weeks later another US citizen, the Imam's 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, was also killed by a CIA-sponsored drone strike.

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This time, not only was there no legal process but there were no credible allegations of involvement with terrorism. A Hellfire missile just blew the kid away (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/robert-gibbs-anwar- al-awlaki_n_2012438.html).

Another excellent chapter takes a tough look at "GERM Warfare: How to Reclaim the Education Debate from Corporate Occupation." Adam Bessie, a former public school teacher now an English professor, again combines passionate commitment with significant expertise. Prof. Bessie shows how the current privatization-of-the-public-schools movement, its roots in the toxic substrate of Milton Friedman's laissez faire economics, has now borne toxic fruit in "reformers" like Michelle Rhee, the former anti-faculty administrator. Bessie shows how Rhee's Students First, while presenting itself in progressive-sounding language, is really about teachers last. As most of us realize, when teachers are beaten down, students are less likely to rise.

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Fukushima: The Deep Roots of Disastrous Secrecy

It's not surprising that Fukushima, which Project Censored contributors elevated to the #3 important censored story, receives ample, in-depth coverage. Brian Covert, a journalist and researcher living in Japan, explains why the nuclear industry became so problematic. His "On the Road to Fukushima" focuses on the huge media-watchdog failures, especially those emerging from Matsutaro Shoriki, a pro-capitalist, highly nationalistic newspaper magnate who beat the war drums for Imperial conquest. Though Shoriki was briefly imprisoned after the War, he was soon freed and brought back to prominence by the Americans under Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Following World War II, then, Shoriki regained his stature as a media baron and used his influence to import the American "Atoms for Peace" program into Japan. Since Japan had just been shattered by the first atomic bombs, this presented a real propaganda challenge. To help surmount it, Shoriki used his cozy connections with journalists to insure that issues of nuclear safety were air brushed out of the picture, thereby helping to institutionalize "the toothless lapdog press of today." The health consequences for the Japanese population and the ecological fallout for the Pacific Ocean will likely be grave.

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This government/industry/press collusion became horrifically evident in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, when Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) and the government were able to suppress public awareness and grossly underestimate the dangers to both public health and the environment. The book's editors clearly understand the connection, for the pollution from Fukushima is linked to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vast glob of debris, mostly plastics, coagulated by currents swirling in the Pacific.

A Stunning Update on the Kent State Killings

If much of this history was new to most American readers, so was Mickey Huff and Laurel Krause's truth-telling about the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970. While the controlled indignation evokes Neil Young's famous "Four Dead in Ohio," the impressive research and writing delivers a hard- hitting expose'. Making use of groundbreaking new evidence, notably a fresh forensic analysis of an audiotape, the authors explode the conventional narrative about Kent State. No longer can government apologists claim that "rioters" burned down the ROTC Building, that no order to fire was ever given, that national guardsmen acted only in self-defense, or that only a few shots were fired. Instead, any accurate narrative must now include the fact that activist groups at Kent State, like those on many campuses opposing the Vietnam War, had been infiltrated by FBI COINTELPRO ("counter intelligence," actually sabotage from within) and the Department of Defense was deeply implicated in gunning down college students.

Since the National Guardsmen were armed with armor-piercing bullets, the killings must ultimately be seen as a State Crime Against Democracy (SCAD), a deliberate attack on citizens exercising their right to protest-- intended, it would surely seem, to intimidate other demonstrators.

Looking Toward the Future: A Positive Vision

Given the range of problem issues presented by Censored 2013, readers might need affirmations about how to proceed toward solutions. This is exactly what Prof. Kenn Burrows and Dr. Michael Nagler offer in "The Creative Tension of the Emerging Future." As forward-looking thinkers, Burrows and Nagler invite readers into "a deeper conversation about our collective dilemma." These include moving toward an economy whose purpose is the satisfaction of human needs, not promotion of consumer wants. Such an economy would involve gifting, sharing, and barter as well as worker-owned cooperatives to replace the standard capitalist model (pp. 315, 322).

Burrows and Nagler also emphasize community banking and state banks. While credit unions are increasingly popular, many progressives do not realize how much state banks offer, especially in terms of job creation. The authors point out that North Dakota, the only state with its own public bank, has experienced the lowest unemployment rate in the country. One reason, they rightly note, is that while corporate banks, obsessed with high returns, have remained reluctant to make loans, a state bank has served the small businesses that create local jobs.

Yes, the problems are many and varied, as this new Project Censored volume makes clear. And yes, solutions are possible--but first we must understand what we're up against. That's what Censored 2013 delivers so remarkably well.


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Paul W. Rea, PhD, is the author of Mounting Evidence: Why We Need a New Investigation into 9/11 (2011). In the interest of full disclosure, Dr. Rea contributed to the Introduction for Section 2 and helped edit two chapters of Censored 2013.

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Book Review: Project Censored 2013