Top 25 Stories of 2011 Subjected to Press Censorship.
1. More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat (For full story, click here)
For the second year (2010) in a row, more US soldiers killed themselves (468) than died in combat (462). In 2009, the 381 suicides of active-duty soldiers recorded by the military also exceeded the number of deaths in battle. The Good report, which references the Congressional Quarterly as a source, was published in January 2011, just weeks after military authorities announced that a psychological screening program seemed to be stemming the suicide rate among active-duty soldiers. “This new data, that American soldiers are now more dangerous to themselves than the insurgents, flies right in the face of any suggestion that things are ‘working,’” Good Senior Editor Cord Jefferson wrote.
Sources: Good Report, “More US Soldiers Killed Themselves Than Died in Combat in 2010” Truthdig, “Death and After in Iraq” Alternet, “Can You Face the True Consequences of War?”
2. US Military Manipulates the Social Media (For full story, click here)
The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda. Anyone suspicious of “sock puppets” … would be unnerved by the US military’s “online persona management service,” a little-known program described in The Guardian UK, Raw Story, and Computerworld stories. The U.S. Central Command (Centcom) is developing the program. Using up to 10 false identities, they can counter charged political dialogue with pro-military propaganda. These “personas” can be given detailed, fictionalized backgrounds to make them believable to outside observers, and a sophisticated identity protection service to back them up, preventing suspicious readers from uncovering the real person behind the account.
Sources: Guardian UK, “Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media” Raw Story, “Military’s ‘persona’ software cost millions“; Computerworld, “Army of fake social media friends to promote propaganda”
3. Obama Authorizes International Assassination Campaign (For full story, click here)
The Obama administration has quietly put into practice an ‘incomplete idea’ left over from the G.W. Bush presidency: creating a de facto ‘presidential international assassination program.’ U.S. citizens suspected of encouraging “terror” are being put on “death lists” without any due process of law. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. military have the authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad without a trial and outside war zones if strong evidence exists that they’re involved in terrorist activity, the Washington Post reported in a front page story. A moral, ethical, and legal analysis of the assassinations seems to be significantly lacking inside the corporate media. In December of 2010, Human Rights Watch asked for clarification of the legal rationale behind this practice after a judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the notion.
Source: Human Rights Watch, “Letter to President Obama – Targeted Killings” Inter Press Service, “Judge Declines to Rule on Targeted Killings of U.S. Citizens” Salon, “Obama Authorizes Assassination of U.S. Citizen” Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings
4. Human Caused Food Crisis Expands (For full story, click here)
A new worldwide spike in agricultural commodity and food prices is generating both predictable and extraordinary fallouts. The search for causes once again leads to a conjuncture of flawed policies in trade, environment, finance and agriculture that is likely to produce more dangerous volatility in years to come. David Moberg, offering an in-depth breakdown of the global food crisis in In These Times, places the blame for rising food prices and increasing malnutrition on flawed economic policies. “Hunger is currently a result of poverty and inequality, not lack of food,” he concludes. “Since 2010 began, roughly another 44 million people have quietly crossed the threshold into malnutrition, joining 925 million already suffering from lack of food,” Moberg writes. “If prices continue to rise, this food crisis will push the ranks of the hungry toward a billion people.”
Sources: In These Times, “Diet Hard: With A Vengeance”
5. Private Prison Companies Fund Anti–Immigrant Legislation (For full story, click here)
Over the past four years roughly a million immigrants have been incarcerated in dangerous detention facilities in our taxpayer-financed private prison system. Children were abused, women were raped, and men died from lack of basic medical attention. When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ran for reelection in 2010, her greatest out-of-state campaign contributions came from high-ranking executives of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), one of the nation’s largest prison companies. CCA profits directly from building and operating prisons and detention centers. CCA previously employed two of Brewer’s legislative aides as lobbyists. Peter Cervantes-Gautschi spotlights Brewer’s links to CCA and goes deeper still, offering an historic account of how investors in CCA and prison giant Geo Group have for years actively pushed for legislation that would result in the widespread incarceration of undocumented immigrants.
Sources: Social Policy, “Wall Street & Our Campaign to Decriminalize Immigrants”