Each year, Project Censored, a media study conducted at Sonoma State University, releases the top underreported stories of the year as an antidote to information fatigue brought on by exposure to repetitive, sanitized media. Here's our own Top 10, gleaned from the 25 identified by project researchers.
A Tsunami of Military Opportunity
The United States brought guns with butter: In tandem with tsunami aid efforts, the military revived a base in Thailand, reactivated military agreements with Thailand and the Philippines, and deployed the Navy in Singapore and Sri Lanka. (Jane's Foreign Report, The Irish Times, Inter Press Service)
Exit Poll Exhumation
In These Times uncovered the disquieting fact that the 'discredited' exit polls -- which projected a 5 million vote victory for John Kerry in 2004 -- proved accurate both in Kerry strongholds and in precincts that used hand-counted ballots.
Iran Threat Gaining Currency
Put the nuclear question aside. What really makes the U.S. government antsy, GlobalResearch.ca maintains, is the Iranian plan to dethrone U.S. dollar supremacy by opening a euro-based international oil exchange in 2006.
Liberating Agribusiness in Iraq
With Iraq in post-invasion shambles, L. Paul Bremer, then administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, issued 100 orders to guide the country to stability. No. 81: Iraqi farmers cannot replant seeds harvested from patent-protected plants. (Grain, TomPaine.com, The Ecologist)
The private security goons propping up the U.S. military in places like Baghdad have less-than-impressive resumes. Many were mercenaries and soldiers recruited from shock troops in South Africa, Yugoslavia, Chile, and other human-rights disaster zones. (Mother Jones, Law.com, CorpWatch)
Mountains of Trouble
Headlines on mountaintop removal rarely cross state lines into national coverage. The mining tactic blows up peaks for easy coal removal, replacing thousands of workers with TNT and clogging watersheds with sediment. (Earth First!)
Oil-for-Food Fault Lines
Harper's Magazine and The Independent point fingers away from malfeasance by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and toward the U.S.-steered Security Council, which designed Iraq's pre-invasion emergency oil-sales program and approved its sketchy policies and trades.
U.S. Border Moves South
Evidence is mounting that a U.S. military mission at an Ecuadorian base in Manta is creeping from counternarcotics to migrant-smuggling interdiction and other lease-violating activities. (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, North American Congress on Latin America, Z Magazine)
Interhemispheric Resource Center, Washington Free Press, and MotherJones.com report that corporate dependence on a steady stream of low-paid workers without benefits is the force driving the U.S. guest-worker plan.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that little light has been shed on nanotechnology's dark side-namely, the possibility that the minute molecules could pass through barriers in the body and cause harm.