Six News Items That Never Made the News
The Following Are From Project Censored
Untraceable Funding Mechanisms Support Climate Change
Although a majority of U.S. citizens believe in the scientific evidence of climate change, a number of powerful individuals and corporations are determined to undermine public faith in the scientific evidence for climate change. A new study conducted by Robert J. Brulle, an environmental sociologist at Drexel University, “exposes the organizational underpinnings and funding behind the powerful climate change countermovement.” The Science Daily reports that, “this study marks the first peer-reviewed, comprehensive analysis ever conducted of the sources of funding that maintain the denial effort.”
The climate change counter-movement, Science Daily reports, is “a well-funded and organized effort to undermine public faith in climate science and block action by the U.S. government to regulate emissions.” It involves “a large number of organizations, including conservative think tanks, advocacy groups, trade associations and conservative foundations, with strong links to sympathetic media outlets and conservative politicians.”
According to Brulle’s study: “Conservative foundations (including the Searle Freedom Trust, the John William Pope Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation, and the Sarah Scaife Foundation) have bank-rolled climate change denial. Since 2008, major foundations, including the Koch Affiliated Foundations and the ExxonMobil Foundation, have pulled back from publicly visible funding and funding has shifted to pass through untraceable sources, including organizations such as the Donors Trust foundation.”
As a result, most funding for climate change denial efforts is now untraceable. According to Brulle’s data, approximately 75 percent of the income of climate change denying organizations comes from “unidentifiable sources.”
“Like a play on Broadway,” Brulle explains, “the countermovement has stars in the spotlight—often prominent contrarian scientists or conservative politicians—but behind the stars is an organizational structure of directors, script writers and producers, in the form of conservative foundations. If you want to understand what’s driving this movement, you have to look at what’s going on behind the scenes.”
“The real issue here is one of democracy,” Brulle reports. “Without a free flow of accurate information, democratic politics and government accountability become impossible…. Powerful funders are supporting the campaign to deny scientific findings about global warming and raise public doubts about the roots and remedies of this massive global threat. At the very least, American voters deserve to know who is behind these efforts.”
Government Shutdown a Multibillion Bonanza for Wall Street
The October 2013 “shutdown” of the U.S. government and the financial climax associated with the deadline for a possible “debt default” by the federal government, was profitable for Wall Street. As Michael Chossudovsky reports, powerful corporate lobby groups acting directly or indirectly on behalf of Wall Street influenced the key actors in the U.S. Congress involved in the shutdown debate. Major interests on Wall Street were not only in a position to influence Congress; they also had inside information regarding the government shutdown impasse. As a result, Chossudovsky writes, Wall Street was “slated to make billions of dollars in windfall profits in speculative activities which are ‘secure’ assuming that they are in a position to exert their influence on relevant policy outcomes.”
The manipulation of markets is carried out on the orders of major bank executives including the CEOs of JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, and BNP Paribas. The “too big to fail banks” are portrayed, in the words of JP Morgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon’s, as the “victims” of the debt default crisis, when in fact they are the architects of economic chaos as well as the unspoken recipients of billions of dollars of stolen taxpayers’ money. “These corrupt mega banks,” Chossudovsky writes, “are responsible for creating the ‘gaping wound’ referred to by Deutsche Bank’s Anshu Jain in relation to the U.S. public debt crisis.”
Four major Wall Street financial institutions account for more than 90 percent of the so-called derivative exposure: J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank America, and Goldman Sachs. These major banks exert a pervasive influence on the conduct of monetary policy, including the debate within the U.S. Congress on the debt ceiling. They are also among the World’s largest speculators.
Washington Post Tied to CIA Through Google Contract
Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO and new owner of the Washington Post, maintains a $600 million contract with the CIA related to Amazon’s Cloud data storage system. Would Bezos’s potentially conflicting interests limit the Washington Post ability or willingness to publish negative news involving the CIA? As context, Normon Solomon notes that, “Even for a multi-billionaire like Bezos, a $600 million contract is a big deal. That’s more than twice as much as Bezos paid to buy the Post four months ago.”
Journalism scholar Robert W. McChesney points out, “Citizens need to know about this conflict of interest in the columns of the Post itself.” In a statement released by the Institute for Public Accuracy, McChesney added: “If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation—say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government—the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press. It is time for the Post to take a dose of its own medicine.”
“What emerges now is what, in intelligence parlance, is called an ‘agent of influence’ owning the Post—with a huge financial interest in playing nice with the CIA,” said former CIA official Ray McGovern. “In other words, two main players nourishing the national security state in undisguised collaboration.”
Amazon, Solomon reports, “has a bad history of currying favor with the U.S. government’s ‘national security’ establishment.” After WikiLeaks published secret State Department cables, the media watch group FAIR reported that, “WikiLeaks was booted from Amazon’s webhosting service AWS.” As a result, at the height of public interest in what WikiLeaks was publishing, readers using Amazon webhosting were unable to access the WikiLeaks website.
As the majority owner of Amazon, Bezos has a financial stake in maintaining good relations with the CIA—and this sends a clear message to even the hardest-nosed journalist that making the CIA look bad might be a risky career move.
Naked Gold Shorts Exposed
The Federal Reserve has been short-selling gold contracts through central banks without the underlying physical gold, Global Research reports. Over the past two years, manipulation of the gold market has become increasingly pronounced, to the extent that the Royal Bank of India recently reported a 93:1 ratio of paper claims to physical gold available. In January 2013, Germany requested that the Federal Reserve return all its gold. In response, the Federal Reserve denied Germany’s request and ultimately settled on an agreement to return just 20 percent of Germany’s gold over a seven-year timeline.
The Feds have been manipulating gold prices through several exchanges and markets. The biggest venue for manipulation is the New York COMEX Exchange. COMEX, where the world trades gold futures, is referred to as a paper gold exchange. Each gold futures contract represents one 100-ounce gold bar. According to Paul Craig Roberts and David Kranzler, short selling drives down the price of gold, potentially intimidating shareholders to sell their gold futures; bullion dealers then buy these shares and present them to gold trusts, such as GLD, for reclamation in physical gold. The purpose of short selling these contracts on COMEX is to satisfy Asian demands for physical gold.
The financial news media has interpreted the manipulation of the gold market as a sign that the public is rejecting gold as an investment. However, Roberts— the former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and Kranzler—the co-founder and principal of Golden Returns Capital, LLC—believe that if the Feds had to deliver purchased gold by default, it would terminate their ability to manipulate gold prices. “The entire world would realize that the demand for gold greatly exceeds the supply, and the price of gold would explode upwards,” Roberts and Kranzler write. “The Federal Reserve would lose control and would have to abandon Quantitative easing. Otherwise, the exchange value of the U.S. dollar would collapse, bringing to an end U.S. financial hegemony over the world.”
The Truth About Charter Schools
Charter schools have been heralded as the antidote to “failed” public schools, especially in poor urban communities of African-American and Latino/a students. Politicians and celebrities alike now advocate charter schools and preside over their openings. However, as Salon, AlterNet and other independent media outlets report, charter schools have come under fire for not fulfilling the roles or achieving the results that their proponents have claimed. Instead of providing positive teaching and preparing children for the future, recent news reports indicate that charter schools are subjecting students to padded cells, public shaming and embarrassment, poor instruction and the negative consequences of financial corruption.
In January 2014, Salon’s Jeff Bryant reported on a five-year-old New York charter school where a student was “occasionally thrown in a padded cell and detained alone for stretches as long as 20 minutes.” Bryant also describes students who were made to “earn” their desks by sitting on their classroom floor. Similarly, AlterNet’s James Horn reports on the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), which is the largest corporate public charter school program in the United States. “KIPP requires the poorest urban children, those who have received the least in life, to earn everything,” Horn reports. The harsh practices implemented by some charter school instructors result in negative repercussions for all children involved, obstructing their learning and undermining their sense of security in what is supposed to be a positive environ- ment.
KIPP is just one example of the growing number of large, national chains of educational management organizations (EMOs) that run many of the new charter schools. As Bryant reports, along with the development of EMOs themselves, “nationwide organizations have rapidly developed to lobby for these schools.” One such organization, the Alliance for School Choice, recently received a $6 million gift from the Walton Foundation, of Wal-Mart fame. Stan Karp of Rethinking Schools writes that, “The charter school movement has changed dramatically in recent years in ways that have undermined its original intentions… It’s time to put the brakes on charter expansion and refocus public policy on providing excellent public schools for all.”
FBI Changes Chief Mission to National Security
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has changed its chief mission from law enforcement to national security. The changes reflect reforms to the FBI implemented after September 11, 2001. As John Hudson reports, commentators and experts have criticized the change and, more than a decade since the 9/11 attacks, been prompted to question, “Why now?”
Kel McClanahan, a Washington-based national security lawyer, told Foreign Policy News that he believes the FBI “is trying to rebrand” itself. “So many good things happen to your agency when you tie it to national security.” A spokesperson for the FBI states that the changes reflect new FBI priorities since 9/11: “When our mission changed after 9/11, our fact sheet changed to reflect that,” according to FBI spokesman Paul Bresson. “We rank our top 10 priorities and CT [counterterrorism] is first, counterintel is second, cyber is third,” he said. “So it is certainly accurate to say our primary function is national security.”
Athan Theoharis, an emeritus professor of history at Marquette University and an expert on the history of the FBI, agreed that the changes reflect the agency’s actual focus, but said that their timing is not clear. “I can’t explain why FBI officials decided to change the fact sheet,” Theoharis told Foreign Policy News, “unless in the current political climate that change benefits the FBI politically and undercuts criticisms.”
Between 2001 and 2009, the FBI doubled the amount of agents dedicated to counterterrorism, according to a 2010 Inspector’s General report. Hudson report that this period coincided with “a steep decline in the number of white-collar crime investigations,” which had previously been a primary responsibility for the agency.
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