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What did you miss this year that was really important? We depend on Project Censored to fill us in. The Free Press would like to cover everything – but just can’t do it in our monthly paper or even on our two websites: and However, Project Censored did honor Free Press Publisher/Editor Bob Fitrakis and Senior Editor/Columnist Harvey Wasserman for the 3rd most censored story in 2005 on the theft of the 2004 election and also for “Search Engine Algorithms and Electronic Voting Machines Could Swing 2016 Election as the 4th "Most Censored Story of 2016."

Project Censored reviewed over 300 Validated Independent News stories (VINs) representing the collective efforts of 351 college students and 15 professors from 13 college and university campuses that participated in the Project’s Campus Affiliates Program during the past year. Some topics are positive, some are understandably negative, and a few are substantially horrifying. The top ten are:

#1 Global Decline in Rule of Law as Basic Human Rights Diminish

A 2018 survey conducted in response to global concerns about rising authoritarianism and nationalism shows a major decrease in nations adhering to basic human rights. The Guardian quoted Samuel Moyn, a professor of law and history at Yale University: “All signs point to a crisis not just for human rights, but for the human rights movement. Within many nations, these fundamental rights are falling prey to the backlash against a globalising economy in which the rich are winning.” The Guardian noted that the United States ranked just 19th out of the 35 countries classified as “high-income” in the report. In the fundamental rights category, the United States fell five places to 26th overall as a result of “worsening levels of discrimination and due process of law plus decreased guarantees of the right to life.”

#2 “Open-Source” Intelligence Secrets Sold to Highest Bidders

In March 2017, WikiLeaks released Vault 7, which consisted of some 8,761 leaked confidential CIA documents and files from 2013-2016, detailing the agency’s vast arsenal of tools for electronic surveillance and cyber warfare. However, as George Eliason of OpEdNews reported, while Vault 7 documented the tools at the CIA’s disposal, the “most important part” of the disclosure—“the part that needs to frighten you,” he wrote—is that “it’s not the CIA that’s using them.” The Nation reported that “Over the last 15 years, thousands of former high-ranking intelligence officials and operatives have left their government posts and taken up senior positions at military contractors, consultancies, law firms, and private-equity firms.” This allows open-source intelligence contractors to get “paid to deliver Intel for groups looking for specific insights” into creating or influencing government policy.

#3 World’s Richest One Percent Continue to Become Wealthier

In November 2017, the Guardian reported on Credit Suisse’s global wealth report, which found that the richest 1 percent of the world now owns more than half of the world’s wealth. As the Guardian noted, “The world’s richest people have seen their share of the globe’s total wealth increase from 42.5 percent at the height of the 2008 financial crisis to 50.1 percent in 2017.” This concentrated wealth amounts to $140 trillion, according to the Credit Suisse report. The number of millionaires in the world—approximately 36 million people—is now nearly three times greater than in 2000. The report contained bad news for millennials, as well. As Credit Suisse’s chairman, Urs Rohner, noted, “Those with low wealth tend to be disproportionately found among the younger age groups, who have had little chance to accumulate assets . . . [W]e find that millennials face particularly challenging circumstances.”

#4 How Big Wireless Convinced Us Cell Phones and Wi-Fi are Safe

A Kaiser Permanente study conducted controlled research testing on hundreds of pregnant women in the San Francisco Bay area and found that those who had been exposed to magnetic field (MF) non-ionizing radiation associated with cell phones and wireless devices had 2.72 times more risk of miscarriage than those with lower MF exposure. The American Journal of Epidemiology in October 2017 correlated long-term exposure to cell phone radiation with the risk for glioma (a type of brain tumor), meningioma, DNA damage, and other health risks. The Nation concluded that the wireless industry actively sponsors studies that result in published findings supportive of the industry while aiming to discredit competing research that raises questions about the safety of cellular devices and other wireless technologies. Over the past 30 years, billions of people around the world have been subjected to a massive public-health experiment: Use a cell phone today, find out later if it causes cancer or genetic damage.

#5 Washington Post Bans Employees from Using Social Media to Criticize Sponsors

In June 2017, Andrew Beaujon reported in the Washingtonian on a new policy at the Washington Post that prohibits the Post’s employees from conduct on social media that “adversely affects The Post’s customers, advertisers, subscribers, vendors, suppliers or partners.” In such cases, according to the policy, Post management reserved the right to take disciplinary action “up to and including termination of employment.” In addition to restricting criticism, the Post’s new policy encourages employees to snitch on one another: “If you have any reason to believe that an employee may be in violation of The Post’s Social Media Policy . . . you should contact the Post’s Human Resources Department.” Editor’s Note: The Washington Post is currently owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

#6 Russiagate: Two-Headed Monster of Propaganda and Censorship

The Intercept, Truthdig, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, Rolling Stone, and other independent outlets documented that corporate media coverage of Russiagate has created a two-headed monster of propaganda and censorship. By saturating news coverage with a sensationalized narrative, Russiagate has superseded other important, newsworthy stories. Furthermore, corporate news coverage that has been reflexively hostile toward Russia also serves to link political protest in the United States with Russian operatives and interests in ways that discredit legitimate domestic activism. Norman Solomon observed, “As the cable news network most trusted by Democrats as a liberal beacon, MSNBC plays a special role in fueling rage among progressive-minded viewers toward Russia’s ‘attack on our democracy’ that is somehow deemed more sinister and newsworthy than corporate dominance of American politics (including Democrats), racist voter suppression, gerrymandering and many other U.S. electoral defects all put together.”

#7 Regenerative Agriculture as “Next Stage” of Civilization

Regenerative agriculture represents not only an alternative food production strategy but a fundamental shift in our culture’s relationship to nature. As Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association wrote, regenerative agriculture offers a “world-changing paradigm” that can help solve many of today’s environmental and public health problems. Climate disruption, diminishing supplies of clean water, polluted air and soil, rising obesity, malnutrition and chronic disease, food insecurity, and food waste can all be traced back to modern food production. The array of techniques that comprise regenerative agriculture rebuilds soils and sequesters carbon. Regenerative farming could potentially draw a critical mass of 200–250 billion tons of carbon from the earth’s atmosphere over the next 25 years, mitigating or even reversing key aspects of global warming.

#8 Congress Passes Intrusive Data Sharing Law under Cover of Spending Bill

Hidden in the massive omnibus spending bill approved by Congress in February 2018 was the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act of 2018. The CLOUD Act enables the US government to acquire data across international borders regardless of other nations’ data privacy laws and without the need for warrants. The CLOUD Act gives US and foreign police new mechanisms for seizing data—including private emails, online chats, Facebook posts, and Snapchat videos—from around the world, with few restrictions on how that information is used or shared.

#9 Indigenous Communities around World Helping to Win Legal Rights of Nature

In March 2017, the government of New Zealand officially recognized the Whanganui River—which the indigenous Maori consider their ancestor—as a living entity with rights. By protecting the Whanganui against human threats to its health, the New Zealand law established “a critical precedent for acknowledging the Rights of Nature in legal systems around the world,” Kayla DeVault reported for YES! Magazine. Also, in the battle over the Dakota Access pipeline, DeVault reported, the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin “amended its constitution to include the Rights of Nature.” As DeVault wrote, from New Zealand and Australia to Canada and the United States, “we are seeing a revival” of communities seeking to protect natural systems and resources on the basis of “non-Western, often indigenous” worldviews that challenge the values of “colonial” governments.

#10 FBI Racially Profiling “Black Identity Extremists”

In August 2017, the counterterrorism division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued an intelligence assessment warning law enforcement officers, including the Department of Homeland Security, of the danger of “Black Identity Extremists” (BIE). Jana Winter and Sharon Weinberger reported for Foreign Policy that, as “white supremacists prepared to descend on Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, the FBI warned about a new movement that was violent, growing, and racially motivated. Only it wasn’t white supremacists; it was ‘black identity extremists.’” The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch staff reported that the FBI’s intelligence assessment used the term “BIE” to describe “a conglomeration of black nationalists, black supremacists, and black separatists, among other disaffiliated racist individuals who are anti-police, anti-white, and/or seeking to rectify perceived social injustices against blacks.”

The Other 15 Censored Stories

#11 US Air Force Seeks to Control Seventy Percent of Nevada’s Desert National Wildlife Refuge

#12 ICE Intends to Destroy Records of Inhumane Treatment of Immigrants

#13 The Limits of Negative News and Importance of Constructive Media

#14 FBI Paid Geek Squad Employees as “Confidential Human Source” Informants

#15 Digital Justice: Internet Co-ops Resist Net Neutrality Rollbacks

#16 $21 Trillion in Unaccounted-for Government Spending from 1998 to 2015

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