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Project Censored: The important stories the mainstream media ignored in 2014

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Project Censored counts an alleged assassination plot against Occupy leaders among the year's most under reported stories. - COURTESY
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  • Project Censored counts an alleged assassination plot against Occupy leaders among the year's most under reported stories.

6. The "Deep State" of Plutocratic Control

What's frightening about the puppeteers who pull the strings of our national government is not how hidden they are, but how hidden they are not.

From defense contractors to multinational corporations, a wealthy elite using an estimated $32 trillion in tax-exempt offshore havens are the masters of our publicly elected officials. In an essay written for Moyers & Company by Mike Lofgren, a congressional staffer of 28 years, focused on national security, this cabal of wealthy interests comprise our nation's "Deep State."

As Lofgren writes for Moyers, "The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction."

This is a story that truly challenges the mass media, which do report on the power of wealth, in bits and pieces. But although the cabal's disparate threads are occasionally pulled, the spider's web of corruption largely escapes corporate media's larger narrative.

The myopic view censors the full story as surely as outright silence would. The problem deepens every year.

"There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances—a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government," Lofgren wrote, of a group that together would "occupy the floor space of almost three Pentagons—about 17 million square feet."

7.FBI Dismisses Plot Against Occupy as NSA Cracks Down on Dissent

Nationally, law enforcement worked in the background to monitor and suppress the Occupy Wall Street movement, a story the mainstream press has shown little interest in covering.

A document obtained in an FOIA request by David Lindorff of Who, What WHY, from the FBI office in Houston, revealed an alleged assassination plot targeting an Occupy group, which the FBI allegedly did not warn the movement about.

From the redacted document: "An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [DELETED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles."

Lindorff confirmed the document's veracity with the FBI. When contacted by Lindorff, Houston Police were uninterested, and seemingly (according to Lindorff), uninformed.

In Arizona, law enforcement exchanged information of possible Occupy efforts with JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, according to a report by the Center for Media and Democracy titled Dissent on Terror. The CEO meant to evade possible protests, and local law enforcement was happy to help.

Law enforcement's all-seeing eyes broadened through the national rise of "fusion centers" over the past decade, hubs through which state agencies exchange tracking data on groups exercising free speech. And as we share, "like" and "check-in" online with ever-more frequency, that data becomes more robust by the day.

8. Ignoring Extreme Weather Connection to Global Warming

In what can only be responded to with a resounding "duh," news analyses have found mainstream media frequently report on severe weather changes without referring to global warming as the context or cause, even as a question.

As Project Censored notes, a study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found extreme weather events in 2013 spurred 450 broadcast news segments, only 16 of which even mentioned climate change. National news outlets have fallen on the job as well, as The New York Times recently shuttered its environmental desk and its Green blog, reducing the number of reporters exclusively chasing down climate change stories.

Unlike many journalists, ordinary people often recognize the threat of our warming planet. Just as this story on Project Censored went to press, over 400,000 protested in the People's Climate March in New York City alone, while simultaneous protests erupted across the globe, calling for government, corporate and media leaders to address the problem.

"There is a huge mismatch between the magnitude of the challenge and the response we heard here today," Graca Machel, the widow of former South African President Nelson Mandela, told the United Nations conference on climate change. "The scale is much more than we have achieved."

9. U.S. Media Hypocrisy in Covering Ukraine Crisis

The U.S. battle with Russia over Ukraine's independence is actually an energy pipeline squabble, a narrative lost by mainstream media coverage, Project Censored alleges.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn fire from the media as a tyrant, without complex analyses of his country's socio-economic interests, according to Project Censored. As the media often do, they have turned the conflict into a cult of personality, talking up Putin's shirtless horseback riding and his hard-line style with deftness missing from their political analysis.

As The Guardian UK's Nafeez Ahmed reported, a recent U.S. State Department-sponsored report noted "Ukraine's strategic location between the main energy producers (Russia and the Caspian Sea area) and consumers in the Eurasian region, its large transit network, and its available underground gas storage capacities," highlighting its economic importance to the U.S. and its allies.

10. World Health Organization Suppresses Report on Iraq Impacts

The United States' legacy in Iraq possibly goes beyond death to a living nightmare of cancer and birth defects, due to the military's use of depleted uranium weapons, a World Health Organization study found. Iraq is poisoned.

Much of the report's contents were leaked to the BBC during its creation. But the release of the report, completed in 2012 by WHO, has stalled. Critics allege the U.S. is deliberately blocking its release, masking a damning Middle East legacy rivaling the horrors of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

But Iraq will never forget the U.S. intervention, as mothers cradle babies bearing scars obtained in the womb, the continuing gifts of our invasion.

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