For three decades, the Project Censored group at Sonoma State U. has annually released a list of “real news that the corporate media refuses to cover.” (In some cases, the stories appeared in mainstream papers but generally were ignored by the news industry.) And this year – well, let’s just say the list shows we have landed with both feet in that mythical hand basket and are paddling toward hell as fast as we can.
First, the stories you probably are somewhat aware of: The oceans of the world are in extreme danger. Destruction of rainforests is happening faster than ever. Genetically modified foods (not to mention packaged spinach) pose dangers to humans. You know – the kinds of problems that are so scary and so big that you figure all you can do is to fiddle louder.
Then there are the ones that involve things you suspected were happening, but you just didn’t know how bad it was: Bush appointees dismantling federal whistleblower protections. American oil company lobbyists campaigning to keep the Kyoto global warming treaty (the one we didn’t sign) from being enforced. Halliburton Corp., in violation of U.S. sanctions, selling nuclear reactor components in Iran. … Let’s see, that would be the country we’re so worried about developing The Bomb.
Others fall under the Defy Belief heading: The American Chemical Council is now the EPA’s leading research partner. A multinational corporation wanted to melt three glaciers in the Andes to open-pit-mine the gold underneath. The U.S. plans to start building anti-personnel landmines again. According to documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union, 21 people in Afghanistan and Iraq were tortured to death – in our names – by U.S. operatives during interrogation, the kind of “special measures” our prez, who is apparently immune to irony, says are vital to protecting our freedoms. And speaking of immunity, Congress has made the Pentagon’s intelligence agency completely immune to the Freedom of Information Act – to keep us from finding out about the torture, one presumes.
Finally, the scariest of all – the deaths of six to seven million people in the Congo since 1996, due, according to the Project Censored report, to “invasions and wars sponsored by western powers trying to gain control of the region’s mineral wealth.” Who knew?
Which, of course, is the point. Personally, Static thinks the plan put together years ago by some of Ed Bass’ crazier buddies – to shoot some folks off to another planet to try again – is sounding better and better. Maybe, though, we ought to load up the animals and plants and leave the humans behind.
The Bests issue this year had a super-hero theme, right? But one of the Weekly’s own heroes, unfortunately, got left in the phone booth. Photographer ne plus ultra Vishal Malhotra, who labored for weeks taking pictures for the Best issue, got nary a line of credit. Not even one of those teeny vertical lines that run up the side of photos. Even though he had 34 photos in the issue. We probably made his mom cry, not to mention his agent. So, belatedly, but heartfelt, here it is: PHOTOS BY VISHAL MALHOTRA.