Book Review

Censored 2009 Edited by Peter Phillips and Andrew Roth with Project Censored Seven Stories Press, 416 pp

According to a study undertaken by the British polling group Opinion Research Business, American military actions since 2003 have led to the death of one million Iraqi people, rivaling mass killings in Rwanda in 1994 and Cambodia in the 70s under Pol Pot. In addition, 2.5 million Iraqis have fled the country to escape the violence and 10,000 depart the country every month.

These and other stories are among the top 25 stories ignored by the U.S. corporate owned media in 2008, according to the latest volume of Censored 2009. The stories were selected by a panel of U.S. academics from a variety of independent news sources, ranging from the Nation to the British newspaper, the Guardian.

According to the Winter Soldier hearings in March, 2008, held in Maryland and organized by Iraqi Veterans Against the War, 300 teary eyed veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan reported that they had participated in or witnessed regular U.S. military atrocities that included torture, killing of innocent civilians and illegal arrests.

The soldiers pointed out that Abu Ghraib was not an isolated incident perpetuated by a few bad apples but part of “bloody occupation.” The BBC predicted that the Winter Soldier hearings would dominate the international media but the U.S. corporate media ignored the event.

A Nation feature documenting the experience of 50 Iraq vets, reported that commanding officers offered no historical or cultural education to soldiers about the Middle Eastern country. The army provides few translators to combat units. The vets said that the stereotypes held by U.S. soldiers — who are under constant attack — of Muslims and Arabs often turn into racism.

They begin to believe that all Iraqis are the enemy and have problems sympathizing with their victims until they return home and reflect on their experiences. Former U.S. army sergeant, Logan Laituri points out that U.S. policy makers’ lack of adherence to international or domestic law has led to criminal activity by the U.S. military in Iraq.

According to Vanity Fair, Salon and Democracy Now, the American Psychological Association (APA) allows its members to help the U.S. military and CIA develop and teach torture techniques to interrogators. APA leaders says it participation is necessary to ensure that interrogations are free of abuse, however members charge that the APA is enabling torture.

According to the Environment News Service, the U.S. Department of Energy is allowing contractors to dump radioactive materials from nuclear weapons production sites into regular garbage dumps.

Contractors are also selling radioactive metal equipment to metal recyclers. “The recycling of these materials — for reuse in the production of everyday household and personal items such as zippers, toys, furniture, and automobiles … is increasingly common,” reports Censored 2009.

Censored 2009 offers a number of insightful independent investigative stories. “Deconstructing Deceit — 9/11, the Media, and Myth Information” by U.S. academics Mickey Huff and Paul Rea examines the media’s silence on evidence that undermines the official version of the 9/11 attacks and its reluctance to look at other possible explanations.

The book also follows up on stories covered by previous volumes, such as electoral fraud committed by the Bush administration in Florida in 2000.

Once again, Project Censored is playing a crucial role in informing us what important issues the corporate owned media is not telling us about. “Censored 2009: the top 25 censored stories of 2007-08” is required reading.