Each year, Project Censored sifts through 700 to 1,000 submitted articles and selects 25 of the most significant and underreported stories of the year. To read the rest of Project Censored's findings, visit www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/category/y-2009.
11 El Salvador's Water Privatization and the Global War on Terror
"Close range shooting of rubber bullets and tear gas was used against community members for protesting the rising cost, and diminishing access and quality, of local water under privatization. Fourteen were arrested and charged with terrorism, a charge that can hold a 60-year prison sentence under El Salvador's new Anti-Terrorism Law, which is based on the USA PATRIOT Act."
12 Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind
"The architect of No Child Left Behind, President George W. Bush's first senior education advisor, Sandy Kress, has turned the program, which has consistently proven disastrous in the realm of education, into a huge success in the realm of corporate profiteering."
13 Tracking Billions of Dollars Lost in Iraq
"Beginning in April 2003, one month after the invasion of Iraq and continuing for little more than a year, the United States Federal Reserve shipped $12 billion in U.S. currency to Iraq. The U.S. military delivered the bank notes to the Coalition Provisional Authority to be dispensed for Iraqi reconstruction. At least $9 billion is unaccounted for due to a complete lack of oversight."
14 Mainstreaming Nuclear Waste
"The Nuclear Information and Resource Service has tracked the Department of Energy's (DOE) release of radioactive scrap, concrete, equipment, asphalt, chemicals, soil and more, to unaware and unprepared recipients such as landfills, commercial businesses and recreation areas. Under the current system, the DOE releases contaminated materials directly, sells them at auctions or through exchanges or sends the materials to processors who can release them from radioactive controls."
15 Worldwide Slavery
"Twenty-seven million slaves exist in the world today, more than at any time in human history. Globalization, poverty, violence and greed facilitate the growth of slavery, not only in the Third World, but in the most developed countries as well. Behind the façade in any major town or city in the world today, one is likely to find a thriving commerce in human beings."
16 Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights
"The first Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights to be published by the year-old International Trade Union Confederation documents enormous challenges to workers' rights around the world. The 2007 edition of the survey, covering 138 countries, shows an alarming rise in the number of people killed as a result of their trade union activities, from 115 in 2005 to 144 in 2006. Many more trade unionists around the world were abducted or 'disappeared.'"
17 UN's Empty Declaration of Indigenous Rights
"Three months following the passage of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a delegation of indigenous peoples were forcibly barred from entering the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, despite the fact that the delegation was invited to attend. Indigenous peoples from around the world protested the exclusion from the climate negotiations."
18 Cruelty and Death in Juvenile Detention Centers
"In states across the country, child advocates have harshly condemned the conditions under which young offenders are housed — conditions that involve sexual abuse, physical abuse and even death. The U.S. Justice Department has filed lawsuits against facilities in 11 states for supervision that is either abusive or harmfully negligent."
19 Indigenous Herders and Small Farmers Fight Livestock Extinction
"The industrial model of livestock production is causing the worldwide destruction of animal diversity. At least one indigenous livestock breed becomes extinct each month as a result of overreliance on select breeds imported from the United States and Europe."
20 Marijuana Arrests Set New Record
"For the fourth year in a row, U.S. marijuana arrests set an all-time record, according to 2006 FBI Uniform Crime Reports."
21 NATO Considers "First Strike" Nuclear Option
"North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials are considering a first-strike nuclear option to be used anywhere in the world a threat may arise. ... The authors of the plan insist 'the first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction.'"
22 CARE Rejects U.S. Food Aid
"In August 2007, one of the biggest and best-known American charity organizations, CARE, announced it was turning down $45 million a year in food aid from the United States government. CARE claims the way U.S. aid is structured causes rather than reduces hunger in the countries where it is received."
23 FDA Complicit in Pushing Pharmaceutical Drugs
"While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) turns a blind eye, drug companies are making false, unsubstantiated and misleading claims in their advertising, often withholding mandated disclosure of dangerous side effects. Though companies are required to submit their advertisements to the FDA, the agency does not review them before they are released to the public."24 Japan Questions 9/11 and the Global War on Terror
"Testimony in the Japanese parliament, broadcast live on Japanese television in January 2008, challenged the premise and validity of the Global War on Terror. Parliament member Yukihisa Fujita insisted an investigation be conducted into the war's origin: the events of 9/11."
25 Bush's Real Problem with Eliot Spitzer
"Timing suggests that Spitzer was likely a target of a White House and Wall Street operation to silence one of its most dangerous and vocal critics of their handling of the current financial market crisis."