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Project Censored: The Biggest Stories the Mainstream Media Didn't Report

The expanding police state tops the annual list of stories underreported by the mainstream media

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THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF COOPERATIVE

Can something really be censored when it's straight from the United Nations? According to Project Censored evaluators, the corporate media underreported the United Nations declaring 2012 to be the International Year of the Cooperative, based on the co-op business model's stunning growth. The United Nations found that in 2012, 1 billion people worldwide are co-op member-owners, or one in five adults older than 15. The largest is Spain's Mondragon Corporation, with more than 80,000 member-owners. The United Nations predicts that by 2025, worker-owned co-ops will be the world's fastest growing business model. Worker-owned cooperatives provide for equitable distribution of wealth, genuine connection to the workplace and, just maybe, a brighter future for our planet.

NATO WAR CRIMES IN LIBYA

In January, the BBC "revealed" how British Special Forces agents joined and "blended in" with rebels in Libya to help topple dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a story that alternative media sources had reported a year earlier. NATO admits to bombing a pipe factory in the Libyan city of Brega that was key to the water supply system that brought tap water to 70 percent of Libyans, saying that Gaddafi was storing weapons in the factory.

In Censored 2013, writer James F. Tracy makes the point that historical relations between the United States and Libya were left out of mainstream news coverage of the NATO campaign; "background knowledge and historical context confirming al-Qaida and Western involvement in the destabilization of the Gaddafi regime are also essential for making sense of corporate news narratives depicting the Libyan operation as a popular 'uprising.'"

PRISON SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES

On its website, the UNICOR manufacturing corporation proudly proclaims that its products are "made in America." That's true, but they're made in places in the United States where labor laws don't apply, with workers often paid just 23 cents an hour to be exposed to toxic materials with no legal recourse. These places are U.S. prisons.

Slavery conditions in prisons aren't exactly news. It's literally written into the Constitution; the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, outlaws "slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." But the article highlighted by Project Censored this year reveal the current state of prison slavery industries and its ties to war. The majority of products manufactured by inmates are contracted to the Department of Defense. Inmates make complex parts for missile systems, battleship anti-aircraft guns and landmine sweepers, as well as night-vision goggles, body armor and camouflage uniforms.

Of course, this is happening in the context of record high imprisonment in the United States, where grossly disproportionate numbers of African Americans and Latinos are imprisoned and can't vote even after they're freed. As psychologist Elliot D. Cohen puts it in this year's book: "This system of slavery, like that which existed in this country before the Civil War, is also racist, as more than 60 percent of U.S. prisoners are people of color."

HR 347 CRIMINALIZES PROTEST

HR 347, sometimes called the "criminalizing protest" or "anti-Occupy" bill, made some headlines. But concerned lawyers and other citizens worry that it could have disastrous effects for the First Amendment right to protest. Officially called the Federal Restricted Grounds Improvement Act, the law makes it a felony to "knowingly" enter a zone restricted under the law, or engage in "disorderly or disruptive" conduct in or near the zones.

The restricted zones include anywhere the Secret Service may be--places such as the White House, areas hosting events deemed National Special Security Events, or anywhere visited by the president, vice president and their immediate families; former presidents, vice presidents and certain family members; certain foreign dignitaries; major presidential and vice presidential candidates (within 120 days of an election); and other individuals as designated by a presidential executive order.

These people could be anywhere, and NSSEs have notoriously included the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Super Bowls and the Academy Awards. So far, it seems the only time HR 347 has kicked in is with George Clooney's high-profile arrest outside the Sudanese embassy. Clooney ultimately was not detained without trial--information that would be almost impossible to censor--but what about the rest of us who exist outside of the mainstream media's spotlight?

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