The worst-kept secrets - Page 3

What the major media left out: Project Censored highlights the year's most relevant ignored news
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The authors instead point us to coverage in Salon, the Inter Press Service, Common Dreams, and several other sources that sharply question the president's authority to license extrajudicial executions of individuals. 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.

Columnist Glenn Greenwald blasts the practice in Salon: "Bush merely imprisoned [Jose Padilla] for years without a trial. If that's a vicious, tyrannical assault on the Constitution — and it was — what should they be saying about the Nobel Peace Prize winner's assassination of American citizens without any due process?"

 

#4 HUMAN CAUSED FOOD CRISIS

David Moberg offers an in-depth breakdown of the global food crisis for In These Times in an article highlighted by Project Censored, touching on the environmental context of worsening droughts and flooding, as well as the economic ramifications of a system in which free-market speculators stand to profit from volatile food prices.

Beyond crop reductions resulting from irregular weather patterns, Moberg 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.

The food price index rose to its highest level since 1990 in February 2011, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "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."

 

#5 PRISON COMPANIES FUND ANTI-IMMIGRANT LEGISLATION

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. Brewer gained notoriety among immigrant rights advocates after championing SB 1070, strict anti-illegal immigration legislation that drew criticism for legitimizing racial profiling.

SB 1070 established new crimes and corresponding prison sentences relating to illegal immigration; CCA profits directly from building and operating prisons and detention centers. Bringing it closer to home, CCA previously employed two of Brewer's legislative aides as lobbyists.

In a Counterpunch article entitled "Wall Street and the Criminalization of Immigrants" that is spotlighted by Project Censored, 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.

 

#6 GOOGLE SPIES?

A flurry of stories aired in the spring of 2010 when it became apparent that Google Street View vehicles, in the process of collecting data for its mapping service, also picked up consumer "payload" data on Wi-Fi networks, including e-mail messages, website data, user names, and passwords.

The tech giant publicly apologized for what it characterized as a mistake, saying it had "failed badly." The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) admonished Google in a letter, but declined to pursue it further. From there, Project Censored authors make the leap that the FTC abandoned its inquiry because a week earlier, Obama attended a Democratic Party fundraiser at the Palo Alto home of Google executive Marissa Mayer, citing a San Francisco Chronicle article about the $30,000-per person affair.

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