THE CLAIRE FOSS JOURNAL


THE TOP 25 CENSORED NEWS STORIES


Media Democracy In Action

September - 4 - 2004

Sonoma State University's student run media research group Project Censored announces the release of its annual publication, Censored 2005, a compilation of the year's 25 most significant news stories that were overlooked or under-reported by the country's major national news media, as well as chapters on the grass roots media democracy, media ownership maps, real news about US involvement in Palestine, Haiti, Iraq, and more.

With introduction by Greg Palast and the political cartoon commentary of Tom Tomorrow throughout, this year's book covers critical issues facing the American public this election year. In Chapter 1's list of top 25 stories focus on politics, economics, foreign policy, food and health, the environment, energy, domestic policy, and the military.
"We define censorship as interference with the free flow of information," states Peter Phillips, Director of the Project, "Corporate media in the United States is interested primarily in entertainment news to feed their bottom-line priorities. Very important news stories that should reach the American public often fall on the cutting room floor to be replaced by sex-scandals and celebrity updates."

The Sonoma State University research group is composed of nearly 200 faculty, students and community experts who review about 1000 story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources and national significance. The top 25 stories are submitted to a panel of judges who then rank them in order of importance. Current judges include, Norman Solomon, Michael Parenti, Cynthia McKinney, Howard Zinn, and 20 other national journalists, scholars and writers.

Censored 2005, now available in bookstores nationwide, can also be purchased on the project's website at www.projectcensored.org.

For more information, contact:
Project Censored
Trish Boreta
707-664-2500
censored@sonoma.edu

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Top Most Censored News Stories

#1... Wealth Inequity in 21st Century Threatens Economy and Democracy
Multinational Monitor, May 2003, Vol. 24, No. 5
Title: "The Wealth Divide" (An interview with Edward Wolff)
Author: Robert Weissman
Buzzflash, March 26 and 19, 2004
Title: "A Buzzflash Interview, Parts I and II" (with David Cay Johnston) Author: Mark Karlin
London Guardian, October 4, 2004
Title: "Every third person will be a slum dweller within 30 years, UN agency warns"
Author: John Vidal
Multinational Monitor, July/August, 2003
Title: "Grotesque Inequality"
Author: Robert Weissman

Wealth inequality increased dramatically in the United States in the late1990s. The top 5% is now capturing an increasingly greater portion of the pie while the bottom 95% is clearly losing ground, resulting in the rapidly vanishing middle class. This trend is the product of legislative policies carefully crafted and lobbied for by corporations and the ultra-wealthy over the past 25 years. America's economic trends have a global footprint, and today, the top 400 income earners in the U.S. make as much in a year as the entire population of the 20 poorest countries in Africa. A series of reports released in 2003 by the UN warn that further increases in the imbalance in wealth throughout the world will have catastrophic effects if left unchecked, such as the collapse of the entire global economy.

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#2... Ashcroft vs. the Human Rights Law that Holds Corporations Accountable
One World.Net and Asheville Global Report, May 19, 2003
Title: "Ashcroft goes after 200-year-old Human Rights Law"
Author: Jim Lobe

Attorney General John Ashcroft is seeking to strike down one of the world's oldest human rights laws, the Alien Torts Claim Act (ATCA) which holds government leaders, corporations, and senior military officials liable for human rights abuses taking place in foreign countries.
Organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) vehemently oppose the removal of this law, as it is one of the few legal defenses victims of human rights violations can claim against powerful organizations such as governments or multinational corporations. By attempting to throw out this law, the Bush Administration is effectively opening the door for human rights abuses to continue under the veil of foreign relations diplomacy.

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#3... Bush Administration Manipulates Science and Censors Scientists
The Nation, March 8, 2004
Title: "The Junk Science of George W. Bush"
Author: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Censorship News: The National Coalition Against Censorship Newsletter, Fall 2003, #91
Title: "Censoring Scientific Information"
Author: The National Coalition Against Censorship staff
Environment News Service and OneWorld.Net, February 20, 2004
Title: "Ranking Scientists Warn Bush Science Policy Lacks Integrity"
Author: Sunny Lewis
Office of U.S. Representative Henry A. Waxman, August 2003
Title: "Politics and Science in the Bush Administration"
Prepared by: Committee on Government Reform - Minority Staff
Updated November 13, 2003

In Washington D.C. more than 60 of the nation's top scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, medical experts, and former federal agency directors, issued a statement February 18, 2004 accusing the Bush Administration of deliberately distorting scientific results for political ends. They are calling for regulatory and legislative action to restore scientific integrity to federal policymaking. Under the current administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has blacklisted scientists who pose a threat to pro-business ideology, and many unqualified scientists with close industry ties have been appointed to advisory boards.

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#4... High Uranium Levels Found in Troops and Civilians
Uranium Medical Research Center, January 2003
Title: "UMRC's Preliminary Findings from Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom" and "Afghan
Field Trip #2 Report: Precision Destruction - Indiscriminate Effects"
Author: Tedd Weyman, UMRC Research Team
Awakened Woman, January 2004
Title: "Scientists Uncover Radioactive Trail in Afghanistan"
Author: Stephanie Hiller
Dissident Voice, March 2004 Title: "There Are No Words Radiation in Iraq equals 250,000 Nagasaki Bombs"
Author: Bob Nichols
New York Daily News, April 5, 2004
Title: "Poisoned?"
Author: Juan Gonzales Information Clearing House, March 2004
Title: "International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan At Tokyo, The People Vs. George Bush"
Author: Professor Ms. Niloufer Bhagwat J.

Civilian populations in Afghanistan and Iraq and occupying troops have been contaminated with astounding levels of radioactive uranium as a result of post-9/11 United States' use of tons of uranium munitions. Four million pounds of radioactive uranium were dropped on Iraq in 2003 alone. Most American weapons (missiles, smart bombs, bullets, tank shells, cruise missiles, etc.) contain high amounts of uranium that on detonation, release a radioactive dust. Once ingested, these subatomic particles slice through DNA. With a half-life of 4.5 billion years, it is a permanent contaminant distributed throughout the environment.
Scientists from around the world testify to the huge increase in birth deformities and cancers wherever uranium munitions have been used. The effects of the U.S. deployment will be felt in all the neighboring countries in the Middle East and Asia, as well as in our returning troops.

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#5... The Wholesale Giveaway of Our Natural Resources
In These Times, November 23, 2003
Title: "Liquidation of the Commons"
Author: Adam Werbach
High Country News, Vol. 35, No. 11, June 9, 2003
Title: "Giant Sequoias Could Get the Ax"
Author: Matt Weiser

The Bush Administration's environmental policies are destroying much of the environmental progress made over the past 30 years. Between the "Clean Skies Initiative," a recent policy that allows power plants to emit more than five times more mercury and twice as much sulfur dioxide, and the "Healthy Forests Initiative," which allows the wholesale liquidation of ancient forests by corporate timber interests under the guise of fire prevention, resource extraction and pollution is occurring at unprecedented rates.

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#6... The Sale of Electoral Politics
In These Times, December 2003
Title: "Voting Machines Gone Wild"
Author: Mark Lewellen-Biddle
Independet/UK, October 13, 2003
Title: "All The President's Votes?"
Author: Andrew Gumbel
Democracy Now!, September 4, 2003
Title: "Will Bush Backers Manipulate Votes to Deliver GW Another Election?"
Reporter: Amy Goodman and the staff of Democracy Now!

Conflicts of interest exist between the largest suppliers of electronic voting machines in the United States and key leaders in the Republican Party. While the voting machines themselves present some technical issues, the political affiliations within the voting machine industry pose even more serious questions. The three major companies involved in implementing the new, often faulty, technology at voting stations throughout the country have strong ties to the Bush Administration, Republican leaders, and major defense contractors.
It must be noted that under the Help America Vote Act control over the electoral process has been taken away from local officials and placed in the hands of a very small number of for-profit corporations. In effect we are privatizing America's most public endeavor.

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#7... Conservative Organization Drives Judicial Appointments
The American Prospect, Vol. 14, Issue 3, March 1, 2003
Title: " A Hostile Takeover: How the Federalist Society is Capturing the Federal Courts"
Author: Martin Garbus
Title: "Courts vs. Citizents"
Author: Jamin Raskin

In 2001 George W. Bush eliminated the longstanding influence of the American Bar Association (ABA) in the evaluation of the prospective federal judges. ABA's judicial ratings had long kept extremists from the right and left off the bench. In its place, Bush has been using the Federal Society for Law and Public Policy Studies-a national organization whose mission is to advance a conservative agenda by moving the country's legal system to the right.
One of the most important issues in the country is the control of one of the three branches of government, the judiciary. While Presidents and Congress-members get elected every few years, judicial appointments are for life, Our courts deal with nearly every aspect of life; work conditions and wages, schools, civil rights, affirmative action, crime and punishment, abortion and the environment, amongst others.

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#8... Secrets of Cheney's Energy Task Force Come to Light
Judicial Watch, July 17, 2003
Title: "Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Feature Map of Iraqi Oilfields"
Author: Judicial Watch Staff
Foreign Policy in Focus, January 2004
Title: "Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy: Procuring the Rest of the World's Oil"
Author: Michael Klare

Cheney Energy Task Force documents turned over in the summer of 2003 by the Commerce Department as a result of the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Sierra Club and Judicial Watch contain maps of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals. The documents, dated March 2001, also contain plans of occupation and exploitation that predate September 11, confirming suspicions that the Bush Administration energy policy is driving U.S. military strategy.

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#9... Widow Brings RICO Case Against U.S. Government for 9/11
Scoop.co.nz, November 2003 and December 2003
Title: "911 Victim's Wife Files RICO Case Against GW Bush"
Author: Philip J. Berg
Title: "Widow's Bush Treason Suit Vanishes"
Author: W. David Kubiak

Ellen Mariani became widowed when her husband Louis Neil Mariani perished in the collision between United Airlines flight 175 and the South Tower of the World Trade Center. In addition to her refusal of the government's million-dollar settlement offer, Mrs. Mariani has filed a 62 page complaint in federal district court charging that President Bush and officials: (1) had adequate foreknowledge of 911, yet failed to warn the country or attempt to prevent it; (2) have since been covering up the truth of that day; (3) have therefore abetted the murder of plaintiff's husband and violated the Constitution and multiple laws of the United States; and (4) are thus being sued under the Civil Racketeering, Influences, and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act for Malfeasant conspiracy, obstruction of justice and wrongful death.

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#10... New Nuke Plants: Taxpayers Support, Industry Profits
Nuclear Information and Resourse Service, November 17, 2003
Title: "Nuclear Energy Would Get $7.5 Billion in Tax Subsides, US Taxpayers Would Fund Nuclear
Monitor Relapse If Energy Bill Passes"
Authors: Cindy Folkers and Michael Mariotte
WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor, August 2003
Title: "US Senate Passes Pro-Nuclear Energy Bill"
Authors: Cindy Folkers and Michael Mariotte

Senator Peter Domenici (R-NM), along with the Bush Administration, is looking to give the nuclear power industry a huge boost through the new Energy Policy Act. The Domenici-sponsored bill will give nuclear power plants credits costing taxpayers an estimated 7.5 billion dollars, to build six new privately owned, for-profit reactors across the country. Safety standards will be lowered and liability will be passed on to taxpayers. This is in addition to the $4 billion already provided for other nuclear energy programs.

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#11...The Media Can Legally Lie
CMW Report, Spring 2003
Title: "Court Ruled That Media Can Legally Lie"
Author: Liane Casten
Organic Consumer Association, March 7, 2004
Title: "Florida Appeals Court Orders Akre-Wilson Must Pay Trial Costs for $24.3 Billion Fox Television; Couple Warns Journalists of Danger to Free Speech, Whistle Blower Protection"
Author: Al Krebs

In 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals ruled that there are no written rules against distorting news in the media. It agreed with an argument by Fox Television that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. Under the current ruling, it is up to the public to discover whether or not they are being lied to.

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#12... The Destabilization of Haiti
KPFA Radio-Flashpoints, April 1, 2004
Title: "Interview with Aristide's lawyer, Brian Concannon"
Reporter: Dennis Bernstein
globalresearch.ca, February 29, 2004
Title: "The destabilization of Haiti"
Author: Michel Chossudovsky
Dollars and Sense, September/October 2003
Title: "Still Up Against the Death Plan in Haiti"
Author: Tom Reeves
KPFA - Democracy Now!, March 17, 2004
Title: "Aristide talks with Democracy Now! About the leaders of the coup and US funding of the opposition in Haiti"
Reporter: Amy Goodman
Associated Press, March 16, 2004
Title: "Aristide Backers Left Out of Coalition"
Author: Ian James

On February 29, 2004, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced into exile by American military. While U.S. officials were eventially forced to acknowledge the kidnapping allegations, they were quick to discredit them and deny responsibility. Meanwhile, the circumstances that led to the current situation in Haiti, as well as the history of U.S. involvement, are being ignored by U.S. officials and the mainstream media.

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#13... Schwarzenegger Met with Enron's Ken Lay Before the California Recall

Common Dreams, August 17, 2003
Title: "Ahnuld, Ken Lay, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Gray Davis"
Author: Jason Leopold
The London Observer, October 6, 2003
Title: "Arnold Unplugged-It's Hasta la Vista to $9 Billion"
Author: Greg Palast
San Francisco Chronicle and CommonDreams, October 11,2003
Title: "Schwarzenegger Electricity Plan Fuels Fears of Another Debacle"
Author: Zachary Coile
San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 2001
Title: "Enron's Secret Bid to Save Deregulation: Private Meeting With Prominent Californians"
Authors: Christian Berthelsen, Scott Winokur, Chronicle Staff Writers

In 2002, while the California Governor and his deputy were attempting to re-regulate the energy industry (and get back the $9 billion that was defrauded from California taxpayers by Enron and other energy companies) Arnold Schwarzenegger was being groomed to overthrow Governor Davis in a recall - and cancel plans to re-regulate or to recoup the $9 billion. Back in May of 2001, in the midst of California's energy crisis, Schwarzenegger met with Enron's Ken Lay to discuss "fixing" California's energy crisis.

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#14... New Bill Threatens Intellectual Freedom
Yale Daily News, November 6, 2003
Title: "New Bill threatens intellectual freedom in area studies"
Author: Benita Singh
Christian Science Monitor, March 11, 2004
Title: "Speaking in 'Approved' Tongues"
Author: Kimberly Chase

The International Studies in Higher Education Act of 2003 threatens academic freedom and classroom curriculum. Under this act, professors whose ideological principles do not support U.S. practices abroad can have their appointments terminated, any course curriculum containing criticism of U.S. foreign policy can be censored, and any course deemed anti-American can be barred from the classroom.

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#15... US Develops Lethal New Bio-weapon Viruses
The New Scientist, October 29, 2003
Title: "US develops lethal new viruses"
Author: Debora MacKenzie

Scientists funded by the US government have developed a way to make pox viruses incredibly deadly. The stated goal of this research is to fight possible bio-terror attacks. The new virus kills all mice even if they have been given antiviral drugs along with a vaccine that would normally protect the victim from death.

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#16... Law Enforcement Agencies Spy on Innocent Citizens
Agenda, July--August 2003
Title: "Big Brother Gets Bigger--Domestic Spying & the Global Intelligence Working Group"
Author: Michelle J. Kinnucan
Community Alliance, April 2003
Title: "Police Infiltrate Local Groups"
Author: Mark Schlosberg
CovertAction Quarterly, Fall 2003
Title: "Denver Police Keeping Files On Peace Groups"
Author: Loring Wirbel
North Bay Progressive, Volume 2 # 8, October 2003
Title: "Fresno Peace group Infiltrated by Government Agent"
Author: Mike Rhodes
World Socialist Web Site, www.wsws.org, 1/10/04
Title: "Bush Administration Expands Police Spying Powers"
Author: Kate Randall

With little media comment, federal, state and local agencies have begun working as partners in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence information. Under the "Global Intelligence Working Group" (that oversees the new network) police departments receive increased funding for surveillance activity. This has resulted in the recent COINTELPRO-style instances of police infiltration of groups critical of government policies.

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#17... U.S. Government Represses Labor Unions in Iraq in Quest for Business Privatization

The Progressive, December 2003
Title: "Saddam's labor laws live on"
Author: David Bacon
Left Turn, March/April 2004, v. 12
Title: "Ambitions of Empire: The Radical Reconstruction of Iraq's Economy"
Author: Antonia Juhasz

According to the Wall Street Journal (alone), the Bush Administration has "sweeping plans to remake Iraq's economy in the US image." The US is calling for the privatization of state-owned industries such as oil and water. But it has chosen not to overturn Sadaam-era edicts that outlaw unions. Every day the economic policies of occupying authorities create more hunger among Iraq's working people, transforming them into a pool of low-wage, semi-employed labor, desperate for jobs at any price.

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#18... Media and Government Ignore Dwindling Oil Supplies
New Internationalist, October 31, 2003
Title: "Running on empty; Oil is disappearing fast"
Author: Adam Porter
Guardian Unlimited, December 2, 2003
Title: "Bottom of the Barrel"
Author: George Monbiot

Even industry executives affirm that oil is close to reaching, or may have already reached, its highest levels of production potential. Once the peak is reached, oil prices will start to rise (as they have every year since 2000). As oil decline accelerates, prices will rise even faster, with devastating effects to the US economy. Over the years, U.S. leaders, bowing to oil industry pressure, have not worked to develop viable alternatives (as they have done in Europe).

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#19... Global Food Cartel Fast Becoming the World's Supermarket
Left Turn, August/September 2003
Title: "Concentration in the Agri-Food System"
Author: Hilary Mertaugh

Agribusiness and supermarket alliances are transforming the agri-food system into a powerful network of transnational corporations. They now have the power to control the world's food supply at every stage of food production. As fewer corporations control food production, traditional farming is becoming a high-tech form of serfdom. Lack of competition is leading to higher prices, lower choice and quality, and employee abuse.

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#20... Extreme Weather Prompts New Warning from UN
UK Independent, July 2003
Title: "Extreme Weather Prompts Unprecedented Global Warming Alert"

In 2003, The UN's World Meteorological Organization reported unprecedented levels of extreme weather and climate occurrences all over the world. The report emphasized an alarming increase in global warming and pointed to the impact of human activity. The significance of this particular report is that the highly respected UN organization is known for its normally conservative predictions and statements.

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#21... Forcing a World Market for GMOs
Globalinfo.org, 12/3/03
Title: "Agriculture: Biotech Links to Big Lenders Worry Farm Experts"
Author: Katherine Stapp
Inter Press Service (IPS) News Agency, May 14, 2003
Title: "U.S. WTO Dispute Could Bend Poor Nations to GMOs-Groups"
Author Emad Mekay
CMW Report, Summer 2003
Title: "A Rebuttal to the Tribune"
Author: Liane Casten
SF Weekly, June 2-8, 2004
Title: "Bioscience Warfare"
Author: Alison Pierce

The Bush Administration is trying to force Europe to drop trade barriers against genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Meanwhile, the agricultural biotechnology industry is focusing even more intently on developing countries, where regulations governing their use are generally more lax. At the same time, biotech promoters continue to suppress studies that show GMOs may have adverse effects on health and the environment.

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#22... Exporting Censorship to Iraq
The American Prospect, Volume 14, Issue 9, October 1, 2003
Title: "Exporting Censorship to Iraq"
Author: Alex Gourevitch
Asheville Global Report, May 12, 2003
Title: "U.S Army Major Refuses Order to Seize Iraq TV Station"
Author: Charlie Thomas

After the fall of Saddam, Paul Bremer told journalists they were now "free to criticize whoever, or whatever, you want." But when negative critiques of U.S. policies appeared in the Iraqi media, Bremer quickly placed controls on its content. And rather than hiring a media outlet to run the Iraqi media (or simply allowing the news groups already there to continue reporting), the Pentagon chose a defense contractor to define the news.

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#23... Brazil Opposes US-style FTAA agreements, But Provides Little Comfort for the Poor of South America
Globalinfo.org, November 15, 2003
Title: "Trade: US Moves to Squeeze FTAA Opponents"
Author: Emad Mekay
Left Turn, Mar/Apr, 2004
Title: "Lula's First Year"
Author: Brian Campbell

The Free Trade Area of the America's (FTAA) could become the biggest trading block in history, expanding NAFTA to 34 countries from Canada to the bottom of South America. This deal is unlikely to meet its January 2005 deadline, now that the second largest player in the negotiations, Brazil, is holding back. However, Brazilian President Lula has begun, of his own volition, to institute his own brand of FTAA austerity policies that are sure to drive the poor of the region deeper into poverty.

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#24... Reinstating the Draft
Salon, November 3, 2003
Title: "Oiling up the Draft Machine?"
Author: Dave Lindorff
Buzzflash.com, November 11, 2003
Title: "Would a Second Bush Term Mean a Return to Conscription?'
Author: Maureen Farrell
War Times, October-November, 2003
Title: "Military Targets Latino Youth"
Author: Jorge Mariscal

The Selective Service System (SSS), the Bush Administration, and the Pentagon have been quietly moving to fill draft board vacancies nationwide in order to prepare for a military draft that could start as early as June 15, 2005. Several million dollars have been added to the 2004 SSS budget. Meanwhile, through an on-going militarization of public school systems, the Pentagon has begun efforts to double the number of Latinos in the U.S. military by 2006.

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#25... Wal-Mart Brings Inequity and Low Prices to the World
Multinational Monitor, October 2003
Title: "Welcome to Wal-World"
Author: Andy Rowell
The vision of the international division of Wal-Mart is one where Wal-Mart becomes a global brand, just like McDonald's or Coca- Cola, monopolizing the global retail market. The next five or six years could see about 5,000 to 6,000 Wal-Mart stores outside of the United States. Wal-Mart is Americanizing retailing around the world and exercising an inordinate amount of economic power.

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Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Sociology Department/Project Censored
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
707-664-2588
http://www.projectcensored.org/