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Corporate Censorship vs. Indie Publishing

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

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For me the most important reason to be an indie author is the total control it gives me over my work. Owing to the controversial political content of my recent memoir (The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee), I faced the difficult choice of publishing independently or sacrificing the book's integrity to satisfy a mainstream publisher.

I began my memoir in 2003, shortly after Harper Collins made the decision to "pulp" bestselling author and filmmaker Michael Moore's 2002 book Stupid White Men. His publisher gave Moore an ultimatum to remove a chapter about the Bush campaign "stealing" the 2000 election by suppressing lawful votes in Florida (which has been rigorously documented). When Moore refused, they informed him the 50,000 copies in their warehouse would be destroyed. It was only when the American Association of Library Association launched a nationwide protest against this blatant censorship that Moore was allowed to publish his book as originally written.

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The government atrocities I describe in my memoir are even more horrendous than those described my Moore. They include government involvement in the murders of two African American activists, in the creation of the AIDS virus as part of an illegal biological warfare program, and in the embezzlement of funds from the federal workers compensation program to fund Reagan's illegal war against Nicaragua .

Why I Seek to Expose Government Corruption

I have very strong personal reasons for bringing these examples of government corruption and criminality to public view. They relate in part to covert government harassment I myself experienced (for my political activities) between 1987 and 2002. However they relate more to the harassment and murder, in 1989, of one of my psychiatric patients, a postal worker and union activist. Followed by the seizure of his evidence file by US intelligence, to block a homicide investigation by the Seattle police.

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It's hard to convey the very dark place I went as I confronted my total helplessness in bringing my patient's murderers to justice - despite my two year crusade to identify and expose the culprits - and the very nearly successful effort by the Federal Association of Injured Workers to initiate a Congressional Investigation into the violent deaths of 23 postal workers between 1988 and 1992.

I spent seven years writing this book because I wanted the American public to share my horror in discovering the extent to which CIA and other government agencies engage in blatant criminal activity. To my way of thinking, bringing the full extent of government corruption and crime into public view is the first step, not only in bringing the individuals responsible to justice but in ending a cultural norm in which people in high places are no longer subject to the rule of law.

Media Censorship is Real

Unfortunately Michael Moore's experience is not unique. Increasingly investigative journalists who seek to expose the misdeeds of either government officials or powerful corporations must turn to the alternative presses or go overseas to publish. If they are accepted by a mainstream US publisher, they can assume their work will be heavily sanitized before it appears in print.

Some well-known media personalities, for example, Gary Webb and Dan Rather, succeed in getting controversial material published only to have their journalism careers ended by the powerful interests they expose. Webb had his career ruined (and ultimately committed suicide) for his revelation that the CIA Contras supplied cocaine to Los Angeles gangs. CBS fired Rather, after 24 years as evening news anchor, for breaking the story that George W Bush failed to complete his enlistment with the Texas Air National Guard an assignment his father secured for him to keep him from being sent to Vietnam .

What I Expect to Accomplish With My Book

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My main objective in publishing The Most Revolutionary Act is to wake Americans up with some real life examples about the extent to which they have lost control, not only of their government, but of public information. To get them to unite in demanding that our elected officials be held accountable whether for war crimes in the Middle East , torture in Guantanamo or for covert CIA involvement in narcotics and arms trafficking, money laundering, fraud and embezzlement and covert assassinations.

Coming to grips with the loss of democratic rights in the US is more important than ever, given the two catastrophic global events predicted to occur simultaneously over the next two decades. The first, global climate change, has the potential of making the planet uninhabitable for all advanced life forms including human beings. The second, wide-ranging resource depletion, poses drastic limits on the total number of people the earth can support. There is now strong evidence that within twenty years, most of the world will no longer have access to natural resources essential to support industrialization (oil, natural gas, coal, uranium, rock phosphate, fresh water, topsoil, grain, fish, arable land, and precious metals used to make computers, cellphones and solar panels).

Finding effective public solutions to both the climate change and the resource scarcity depends on an end to government secrecy regarding the severity of these problems, as well as a commitment to explore solutions that benefit the American people, rather than those of corporate interests. It also depends on the willingness of the mainstream media to report honestly on these issues. Thus far they have been extremely reluctant to do so, owing to pressure from corporate advertisers who still seek to promote the massive consumption and unlimited growth that have brought us to this crisis point both through their contribution (through burning fossil fuels) to unsustainable atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and through their reckless depletion of resources to the point that we have left nothing for coming generations.

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I am a 63 year old American child and adolescent psychiatrist and political refugee in New Zealand. I have just published a young adult novel THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW (which won a NABE Pinnacle Achievement Award) about a 16 year old girl who (more...)

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