After the world’s most massive online protest on Jan. 18 against two internet censorship bills, which generated over 7 million petition signatures, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid postponed the PIPA vote set for the 24th, so that lawmakers could rework the bill.
On January 18, from 8 am to 8 pm Eastern (-5 GMT), some of the most popular websites on the planet blackened their pages in protest of PIPA, or PROTECT IP Act, (S. 968: Protect Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property), and SOPA, (HR 3261) the Stop Online Piracy Act.
Though PIPA is hailed as only slightly less bad than SOPA, both threaten free access to information on the web by allowing accusers to shut down an entire website, even shared platforms like Twitter, WordPress and YouTube, because of a single copyright violation. Instead of a civil penalty, the law proposes making copyright violation a felony. Try finding a job in the US with a felony conviction under your belt.
Chris Heald did a Mashup analysis of SOPA, and explains how advertisers can get out of paying their bills. He adds that “SOPA expands ‘willful infringement’ to include those who don’t understand the law, not just those who understand it and choose to ignore it.”
Google, the world’s most visited website, blocked out its name and provided a link to petition Congress to defeat both bills. By 3pm on the 18th, it had already logged 4 million signatures, reports Torrent Freak.
Wikipedia, the world’s 6th most popular website, blacked itself out for 24 hours, leaving a poignant message:
“Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge: For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.”
WordPress enabled a feature so that its 40 million blogs could black out their own site, also providing a link to register objection to the bills.
Censorship a growing problem
Mickey Huff, editor of Project Censored, warns that American reliance on “institutional reform over implementation of revolutionary ideals and actions as tools for change” is allowing the erosion of democracy to continue unabated. Free and easy access to accurate and important information is the cornerstone of any free society. Reform, writes Huff, is only a small part of an effective radical strategy.
One radical tactic employed by Anonymous on Thursday tricked people into aiming its botnet software, known as LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Canon), at the US Dept. of Justice in retaliation for its takedown of file sharing site, Megaupload.com, and arrest of key principals.
For the past 35 years, Project Censored has published an annual collection of the top 25 censored news stories. In the 2012 book edition, my article, Atmospheric Geoengineering: Weather Manipulation, Contrails and Chemtrails, ranks as the 9th most censored story in the United States. PC 2012 sites several other independent sources that report on weather manipulation as a weapon of war, mentioning HAARP, the U.S. government’s High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program.
For example, after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plants, MSNBC reported:
“[T]he atmosphere above the epicenter … underwent unusual changes in the days leading up to the disaster.”
PC 2012 then points out that “the MSNBC report did not address whether increases in both the concentration of electrons and infrared radiation in the ionosphere in the days before the earthquake might have been caused by the sort of technologies” described in my report and others.
Related to geoengineering and ranking as the 8th most censored topic, a section covering “the fairy tale of clean and safe nuclear power” cites several pieces, including Jeff St Clair’s Inside America’s Most Dangerous Nuclear Plant, fingering Indian Point in New York. At least two others would name Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state as the most dangerous: whistleblower Donna Busche, who warns of an impeding hydrogen explosion from the leaking radioactive sludge, and Brainz, which names Hanford the 10th most radioactive spot on Planet Earth.
Related to the nuclear threat, the Centre for Research on Globalization will soon publish an updated version of Prof. Michel Chossudovsky’s Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War.
After reading the 76-page e-book which only costs $5, I’d characterize it as an essential read for anyone willing to look into the eyes of MADness. The mutually assured destruction of nuclear war is laid out in the US military’s plan, already underway, to modernize the nuclear stockpile for use on the other side of the world, as if blowback doesn’t exist. Chossudovsky’s message is clear: Nuclear states are the real terrorists in today’s world; the antiwar movement must unite and uphold 9/11 truth.
Information like this is what is censored from mainstream media.
The Project itself has been censored – for reporting on 9/11 truth, as this KPFA interview from 2010 reveals. Inter Press Service contracted with Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff to write the piece, and then refused to publish it and permanently severed their relationship. 9/11 Truth is covered in Project Censored’s 2011 edition.
PC 2012 includes the impacts of media censorship and misinformation in light of wars, Obama’s assassination program, environmental destruction, Wall Street crime, internet surveillance, and healthcare, including the refusal by corporate media to accurately discuss the single payer option.
Another theme is collaborating for the common good. Corporate media giants stay mum, for example, on key alternatives proposed by various sectors that would not profit industry giants or maintain the status quo, like Ellen Brown’s many articles promoting state-run banks. (See here and here for two examples.)
These censored stories have their own powerful effect. Natural News writers Mike Adams’ and Ethan Huff’s 2010 articles about federal agency refusal to label genetically modified foods (ranked as the 22nd most censored story) sparked the GMO-label movement we see today.
Not only researchers, but the general public, as well, can benefit from the book’s section on propaganda, spanning several chapters. In its international section, PC 2012 spotlights media distortion of the color revolutions and ongoing genocide in Palestine, even applauding the cable show Treme for its coverage of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, rating it far better than MSM coverage.
Journalists focused on amplifying info withheld or skewed by media giants can best serve the public, and democracy, by using Project Censored’s annual books. Even past editions provide valuable links, as many of these stories are ongoing.
Stalling passage of PIPA is only temporary; radicals – that is, anyone speaking truth today – need to arm themselves with the most reliable information available – most of which is outside mainstream sources. By giving hundreds of links to reliable reports, Project Censored provides those resources.
© Rady Ananda 2012. All rights reserved. This article first appeared at Activist Post.