The Mission of Project Censored is to educate people about the role of
independent journalism in a democratic society and to tell The News That
Didn't Make the News and why.
Project Censored is a media research group out of Sonoma State
University which tracks the news published in independent journals and
newsletters. From these, Project Censored compiles an annual list of 25
news stories of social significance that have been overlooked,
under-reported or self-censored by the country's major national news
Between 700 and 1000 stories are submitted to Project Censored each
year from journalists, scholars, librarians, and concerned citizens around
the world. With the help of more than 200 Sonoma State University faculty,
students, and community members, Project Censored reviews the story
submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources and national
significance. The university community selects 25 stories to submit to the
Project Censored panel of judges who then rank them in order of
importance. Current or previous national judges include: Noam Chomsky,
Susan Faludi, George Gerbner, Sut Jhally, Frances Moore Lappe, Norman
Solomon, Michael Parenti, Herbert I. Schiller, Barbara Seaman, Erna Smith,
Mike Wallace and Howard Zinn. All 25 stories are featured in the yearbook,
Censored: The News That Didn't Make the News.
In 1996 and 1997, the yearbook won the Firecracker Alternative Book
Award, celebrating the best in alternative publishing. The release of
Project Censored's yearbook has developed into a national alternative
press event. In 2003, along with several independent national magazines,
over 40 alternative newsweeklies carried the Top 10 Censored stories in
metropolitan areas throughout the country, and Project Censored was
featured on more than 125 independent talk radio and television shows.
Throughout the next year and into the next decade, Project Censored will
continue to inform the public, advocate for independent journalism, and
strive to spark debate on current issues involving media monopoly.
Project Censored is a national research effort launched in 1976 by Dr.
Carl Jensen, professor emeritus of Communications Studies at Sonoma State
University. Upon Jensen's retirement in 1996, leadership of the project
was passed to associate professor of sociology and media research
specialist, Dr. Peter Phillips.
(11-10-03) Ten years have passed since unethical radiation experiments
were publicly revealed in 1990s front page news and the Office for Human
Subject Research, OHRP, recently confirmed that there have been no changes
in federal regulations on human subjects of classified research since
then. In 1995 the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments,
(ACHRE) reported that the federal government was "blameworthy for not
having had policies and practices in place to protect the rights and
interests of human subjects" in several thousand experiments. President
Clinton adopted one of the ACHRE recommendations in a 1997 presidential
memorandum requesting that federal agencies modify their policy governing
classified research. A 1998 Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
proposed rule on the Clinton memorandum has stalled and secret unethical
experimentation could happen again.
This is the second time a major scandal involving human experiments for
national security purposes has occurred. Past military and CIA experiments
with toxic chemicals and for behavior modification were headline news in
the 1970s. Congressional hearings uncovered illegal and extensive
government programs including the CIA's now infamous MKULTRA mind control
experiments. As a result, a series of presidential executive orders were
President Reagan's 1981 executive order, E.O. 12333, is the only
current law governing classified experiments by intelligence agencies.
Legal experts say it is unenforceable for several reasons, one being that
a provision of the executive order states, "Nothing contained herein or in
any procedures promulgated hereunder is intended to confer any substantive
or procedural right or privilege on any person or organization."
Federal regulations are ineffective
Adopted by 17 federal agencies, the current regulations on experiments
are called "The Common Rule". The rules cover both classified and
unclassified experiments and include the cornerstone of human
experimentation law, informed consent of the research subject. But experts
agree the regulations lack any mechanisms for how classified research can
be reviewed and conducted with informed consent.
Efforts to adopt a regulation on classified research have failed. A new
draft regulation has been circulated but it's current status could not be
confirmed. Some experts say US national security policy on weapons
development is the main reason for the lack of effective protections for
human subjects of classified experiments.
9-11 secrecy law increases risk of unethical experiments
"It borders on the scandalous that we still don't have rules in place
that would at least begin to protect the people who are in those trials,"
warned Jonathan D. Moreno in a 2002 news account. Dr. Moreno, a University
of Virginia ethicist reported that President Bush had given the Secretary
of Health and Human Services [HHS] the authority to classify information
as secret. Moreno said "that could allow the Defense Department or CIA to
undertake secret human experiments with the HHS."
Dr. Andrew Goliszek, author of the 2003 book,
History of Secret Programs, Medical Research, and Human
Experimentation warned, "While there is much debate, there are no
clear guidelines or legislation that would prevent the government from
conducting secret research in order to stay one step ahead of terrorists
who would use bio weapons against us."
Proposed legislation fails
Fred Allingham is executive director of the National Association of
Radiation Survivors, NARS, a network of 11,000 radiation survivors.
Allingham recently described NARS legislative work. "Five to eight years
ago, our members brought a proposed Nuclear Ethics Law to their local
congresspeople (over 200) asking them to sponsor such a piece of
legislation in order to make it not only a civil wrong but a criminal
wrong, to expose people to radiation deliberately for experimental
purposes... Not one congressman touched it. We ... decided we are going to
Former Senator Glenn of Ohio described his 1997 bill as "the nation's
first criminal sanctions for medical researchers who fail to obtain
consent from people participating in experiments." The bill did not pass.
Congressman Diane Degette of Colorado will reintroduce her 2002 bill on
experimentation very soon, her office reported last week.
No national statute on protections for human subjects of classified
experimentation that would help to prevent national security experiments
like the radiation or mind control experiments has passed.
Lack of justice in the courts
Lawyers of radiation and mind control experiments litigation describe a
nightmare of legal hurdles. Courts give great deference to national
security and the government is immune to many types of lawsuits. While the
government admitted to wrongdoing, not one government official or
researcher involved in mind control or radiation experiments has been
A 1994 US News account reported few victims of the drug and behavior
control experiments were told what was done to them and most were never
compensated. Radiation victims report a similar tragedy. A huge number are
not eligible for the available legislative compensation because of
extremely demanding requirements.
No change in sight
Commenting on the total lack of legal protections, law professor Alan
Scheflin stated, "The message to scientists and governments around the
world is that you can get away with unlawful experiments on unwitting
victims with impunity." New classified weapons comparable to the atomic
bomb have actually been in development for a long time and classified,
unethical human experiments are inevitable, without major changes.
Coping with the Weapons of Tomorrow, a 2003 International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC) conference featured a discussion of concerns about
new nonlethal weapons using electromagnetic energy. A disarmament expert
read from the 1975 Geneva protocol treaty debates about the then-future
weapons including, "...geophysical, ecological, electronic and
radiological warfare as well as devices generating radiation, microwaves,
infrasonic waves, light flashes and laser beams".
According to Dr. Colin Ross, author of
Project Bluebird, on CIA experiments, new nonlethal weapons "are
beamed at individuals in order to control them." Dr. Ross predicted, "It
is implausible that there hasn't been some clandestine experiments of
nonlethal weapons on individuals today."