Barack Obama
Source: The White House

To a discerning citizenry, it would be obvious that the contribution of the US to these dark times is quite in consonance with its notions of superiority. Be it in the realm of catastrophic climate change, depleted natural resources, global economic meltdown, or military misadventures in sovereign states, our country has indeed established itself the undisputed leader.

Despite promises of “change” and “withdrawal” by the Obama Administration, Iraq remains occupied, with over 130,000 US soldiers and over 200,000 private contractors. During my most recent visit there in 2009, the only notable change I witnessed was such a dramatic decline in living conditions that superlatives are rendered superfluous.

If such a thing is possible, and in Iraq it is, there is less electricity than ever before; there are fewer jobs and far less potable water; the medical system has collapsed further from its skeletal status; and the number of Iraqis killed by the US-led invasion and occupation has long exceeded 1.2 million. At the time of my visit, one out of six Iraqis remained displaced from their homes. According to the latest Oxfam International report, one in three was in need of emergency assistance.

Steadfast in its distortion of facts, the corporate press declares the exact opposite: that things in Iraq are far better than before, and that Obama is poised to bring home the troops. It is left to the gullible consumer of such ‘news’ to reconcile it with the Obama administration’s declared plans to have between 50,000 to 70,000 troops in Iraq until at least the end of his first term in 2013.

Change we can believe in.

Media, too, we can believe in, merely at some peril to our reason. Even as the ongoing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan daily erode what little is left of any credibility and respect for the United States, the State Department is busy devising elaborate ‘negotiations’ with different states in the region which are little other than carrot and stick strategies. But the carrots hold no promise and the sticks can flatten entire villages of civilians, as they have been doing in recent months on the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Perhaps the thinking segment of the US population have tired of crying foul. “Not in our name” is not a slogan heard anymore. Dissent is a taboo topic in the media, whose goal is only to ‘manufacture consent.’ [1]

Nor does anyone want to talk about the other elephant in the room. The silence of the corporate media is consistent to its alliance with the powers, but how do we explain the conspicuous absence of protest from the left and liberal media groups against this country’s unbridled, unquestioned support for the state of Israel?

Most of the rest of the world perceives Israel as the leading terrorist state in the Middle East, and with good reason. It is the only nucleararmed power that by definition of its own constitution has no borders. Perhaps to justify a continued expansion into Palestinian lands?

In late 2008 Israel began a military assault on the people of Gaza, instructing soldiers to shoot women, children and virtually anything that moved. Aerial support to the offensive was provided by US-supplied F- 16 war planes dropping white phosphorous incendiary weapons on the civilian population. The support package included Apache helicopters, missiles, jet fuel, and cluster bombs, all showered abundantly on the civilian population of Gaza while the soon-to-be inaugurated President Barack Obama stood silent.

The world watched in horror. The United States media must have been looking the other way, aside from when they dutifully defended Israel’s “right to defend itself.”

In 2008, special interest groups paid Washington lobbyists $3.2 billion, an amount higher than any other year on record. Subsequently, US aided Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank doubled in the same year. By offering tax deductions for donations to these settlements, our government makes public its encouragement of Israeli tactics. Only on occasion we hear some muted denouncements of the settlements.

It is no coincidence that Israel will be the primary financial beneficiary of the reconstruction of Gaza as the sole supplier of construction materials and the overseeing authority on the contracts to rebuild what was bombed. Joseph Heller [2] must be writhing in his grave.

Israel has at least 200 nuclear warheads, while Iran remains years away fromobtaining a single one. Yet the frightening prospect of another war in the Middle East hinges on the ‘threat’ that Iran poses to Israel, and by implication, to the US.

So the mainstream media will have us believe.

Those who expected a change in the country’s foreign policy when the occupant of the White House changed will do well to take a reality check. Let us remain mindful of the fact that the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama and a “Democrat” controlled Congress are operating on the same policies of the Bush administration that have bankrupted the United States economically, morally, militarily, and spiritually.

Change we can believe in.

Two appropriate old adages come to mind: “What do all men with power want? More power.” And, “How much is enough? Just a little more.”

We may now, without hesitation, dispel from our minds whatever ambiguity may have existed there. The Siamese twin of Corporations andWall Street still runs our government. Federal lawmakers responsible for regulating big business in the US have received, since 2001, $64.2 million. Donors include investment bankers such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, AIG, Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs. Nearly every single member of the House Financial Services Committee who oversaw hearings on how the first bailout was being spent had received contributions fromthese financial institutions during the 2008 election cycle. How convenient for these “too big to fail” companies. Former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson put it succinctly: “The finance industry has effectively captured our government.”

Greed, power, and gluttony dictate US home and foreign policy. We are governed by a sick hybrid of militarized corporate capitalism that is literally consuming and burning up our planet.

The latest report portends that the Arctic may well be completely icefree in the summer as early as 2010. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, one quarter of all species on Earth have gone extinct. Another one million species are likely to become extinct within forty years as a result of climate change.

But for the US corporate press, global climate change remains the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room that will disappear if it is dismissed as fiction or ignored entirely. Each year the effects become more obvious and devastating.

The ominous news for those who can stomach it is that it is business as usual for big oil, and the nuclear power industry.

News of farmore significance is that radioactive storage pools of spent fuel rods contaminate areas of North Carolina near the Shearn Harris nuclear plant, making it one of the most contaminated areas on the North American Continent.

It is now established beyond reasonable doubt that the mainstream media in the United States is not reliable or trustworthy. It sold us the bogus justifications for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it continues to distort and disregard the human catastrophe that unfolds in those countries on a daily basis. It falsifies the role the US in the Middle East and elsewhere, and it refuses to report accurately on the impending crisis of climate change.

Project Censored is doing Yeoman’s service for those who are willing to be served by truth. Thanks to this project, the most important stories from each year that go either underreported or ignored by the corporate press find visibility and public life. Exhaustive research conducted over months brings together stories in an annual volume that has become a trusted research and media tool. Increasingly, international journalists, activists, scholars, and researchers rely on it.

We commemorate the progress of the project. At a time when the need for independent journalismand formedia outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truth in all matters that matter. It has engineered a valuable bridge between those who wish to inform truthfully and transparently, and those who wish to be informed likewise.

In an interview decades ago the late journalist Martha Gellhorn commented to veteran journalist John Pilger, “All governments are bad, and some are worse.”

It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust, or even to collect and report on stories ourselves. It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Censored.

[1See investigation by Italian journalist Giulietto Chiesa: «Le contrôle politique et militaire de nos sociétés » (The political and military control of our societies), Réseau Voltaire, 7 March 2010.

[2Joseph Heller (May 1, 1923 – December 12, 1999) is a U.S. novelist widely regarded as one of the best post-World War II satirists; Source: Wikipedia.