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View Full Version : Top Underreported Stories of the Year 2011


tostones
12-29-2011, 12:51 AM
More U.S. Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat

For the second year (2010) in a row, more U.S. soldiers killed themselves (468) than died in combat (462). "If you...know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know," Gen. Peter Chiarelli told the Army Times, "because we don't know." Suicide is a tragic but predictable human reaction to being asked to kill—and watch your friends be killed—for a war based on lies. Perhaps being forced to bag the mangled flesh of fellow soldiers could be another reason why some are committing suicide.

Ever heard of the term "body bagging"? Soldiers in the Marine Corps' Mortuary Affairs unit at Camp Al Taqaddum in Iraq are given the job of collecting and cataloging the bodies of dead Marines. They sift through the remains of the soldiers, including prom photos, suicide notes and love letters, and put their remains and effects into bags, metal boxes and refrigerators. One soldier, Jess Goodell, recounts a Marine brought into the unit still breathing. She frantically called to her superiors, to which they simply replied, "Wait." She watched while he died. When she returned to the United States, Goodell, like many others, was diagnosed with deep depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety.

Global Food Crisis Expands

A new worldwide spike in agricultural commodity and food prices is generating both predictable and extraordinary fallouts. The search for causes once again leads to a conjuncture of flawed policies in the areas of trade, environment, finance and agriculture that is likely to produce more dangerous volatility in years to come. Over the past year, food prices around the world shot sharply upward, surpassing the previous price surge in 2007-2008 to set a new record, as measured by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.

In February, the U.N.'s food price index rose for the eighth consecutive month, to the highest level since at least 1990. As a result, since 2010 began, roughly another 44 million people have quietly crossed the threshold into malnutrition, joining 925 million already suffering from lack of food. If prices continue to rise, this food crisis will push the ranks of the hungry toward a billion people, with another 2 billion suffering from the "hidden malnutrition" of inadequate diets, nearly all in the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. That deprivation will shorten lives and stunt young minds, hitting the most vulnerable populations, such as the urban poor of food-importing countries in cities like Cairo, Tunis and Dhaka.

Private Prison Companies Fund Anti-Immigrant Legislation

Over the past four years roughly a million immigrants have been incarcerated in dangerous detention facilities in our taxpayer-financed private prison system. Children were abused, women were raped, and men died from lack of basic medical attention. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer received substantial campaign financing from Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, which are the nation's two largest companies that design, build, finance and operate prisons. CCA, based in Nashville, and Geo Group, a global corporation based in Boca Raton, Fla., are the principal moving forces in the behind-the-scenes organization of the current wave of anti-immigrant legislative efforts.

Both CCA and GEO, which rely almost exclusively on revenue from tax dollars at local, state and federal levels, profit from the incarceration of immigrants apprehended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). CCA's top management in Tennessee contributed the largest block of out-of-state campaign contributions to Gov. Brewer. Brewer employs two former CCA lobbyists as aides that assisted in signing SB 1070 into law in 2010.

Google Spying?

Earlier this year the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated Internet search engine giant Google for illegally collecting personal data such as passwords, emails and other online activities from unsecured Wi-Fi networks in homes and businesses across the United States and around the rest of the world. Google has claimed the data was accidentally picked up by their Street View cars while driving the world's streets. Clearly this is an invasion of the public's privacy and yet the FTC has done basically nothing about it, not even a slap on Google's wrists. In late October 2010, David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, sent a two-page letter to Google attorney Albert Gidari saying that the FTC had ended their inquiry into the matter with little more than an assurance from Google that the company would make "improvements to its internal processes" and "continue its dialogue with the FTC." Why was nothing done about it?

Less than a week before the FTC's decision to drop the inquiry, President Obama attended a $30,000-a-person Democratic Party fund-raiser at the Palo Alto, Calif., home of Google executive Marissa Mayer. Also, Google's former head of public policy, Andrew McLaughlin, joined the Obama administration as the deputy chief technology officer in mid-2009. Other Obama administration officials include Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, who serves as a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Katie Stanton joined the administration after serving as a Google project manager; she is now the director of citizen participation. The former head of Google.org's global development, Sonal Shah, is now the head of the White House's Office of Social Innovation. These facts suggest that the Obama administration may have a conflict of interest in its handling of the company's civil rights violations.

The Fairy Tale of Clean, Safe Nuclear Power

Nuclear power presents a security threat of unprecedented proportions: It's capable of a catastrophic accident that can kill hundreds of thousands of people, with a byproduct that is toxic for millennia. To call nuclear power "clean" is an affront to science, common sense and the English language itself, yet industry backers, inside and outside of government, are attempting to establish a new "Clean Energy Standard" to promote nuclear power. These proposals suffer from three fundamental misconceptions: 1) that pollutants other than carbon dioxide are irrelevant when defining a "clean energy"; 2) that because radiation is invisible and odorless, it is not a toxic pollutant; 3) that nuclear power is carbon-free. None of these is true.

In their most recent report, released in 2005, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences determined that no safe level of radiation exposure exists—every exposure to radiation increases the risk of cancer, birth defects and other disease. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) accepts the linear no-threshold (LNT) hypothesis, which states that any increase in dose of radiation, no matter how small, results in an incremental increase in risk, as a conservative model for estimating radiation risk.

Trafficking of Iraqi Women Rampant

Human trafficking occurs throughout the world, but it has become increasingly prevalent in Iraq due to the instability produced by the war with the United States. Many Iraqi women and girls are widowed or orphaned by wartime casualties. Currently, it is estimated that more than 50,000 Iraqi women have fled to Jordan and Syria and are trapped in sexual servitude with no possibility of escape. Unable to support themselves or their households due to new government restrictions, thousands of Iraqi women have been preyed on by sex traffickers taking advantage of this chaotic environment. In June 2010 the State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TiP Report), which laid out a picture of human trafficking across the globe and reaffirmed the United States' commitment to ending this crime.

These trafficked women have received scant attention from American policy-makers, who have the power to alleviate the suffering of these women and condemn the countries that allow such practices to flourish. The United States holds the solution: It can protect these vulnerable women by making Iraqi trafficked women a priority resettlement group and putting greater pressure on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to follow suit. Doing this would finally provide Iraqi trafficking victims with a resettlement option that is fast and effective enough to actually help them.

Sweatshops in China Are Making Your iPods While Workers Suffer

Apple's suppliers such as Foxconn, Dafu and Lian Jian Technology routinely violate China's Law on the Prevention and Control of Occupational Diseases. Several manufacturers replaced alcohol with n-hexane, which is used to clean parts. While n-hexane works better than alcohol, it poisons workers. In these factories, the workers, often women in their teens or 20s, were forced to work with the poison in unventilated rooms.

Because of the chemical in suspected supplier Lian Jian Technology's plant, Suzhou No. 5 People's Hospital admitted 49 employees who fell ill. More employees were likely poisoned, but many were pushed out before they fell ill and Lian Jian forced them to sign papers saying they would not hold the company accountable. They left with 80,000 or 90,000 yuan [$12,000-$14,000] that they got in exchange for their lives and health, with fees and medical costs they would have to pay for the rest of their lives. Apple stands alone even among other IT companies that routinely cause problems of heavy metal pollution, with its evasiveness and refusal to work with green groups.

Lyme Disease: An Emerging Epidemic

Lyme disease is one of the most political and controversial epidemics of our time. Lyme originates from a bacteria transmitted through the bite of a tick and can remain hidden—often being called the great imitator—by mimicking other diseases such as multiple sclerosis, ALS, ADHD and other neurological conditions. And it is growing. New cases of Lyme occur each year at a rate 10 times higher then that of AIDS and the West Nile virus combined.

Current Lyme treatment guidelines were developed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), a group associated with pharmaceutical, insurance and university interests that are profiting from the diagnostic criteria, vaccines and recommended treatments for Lyme. These guidelines, endorsed by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, define the treatment of Lyme as a two- to four-week course of antibiotic therapy.

Physicians who believe Lyme is a more chronic condition needing long-term treatment risk losing their medical license for treating patients outside IDSA guidelines. And insurance companies refuse to pay for longer treatments despite evidence that illustrates the chronic nature of the condition and the effectiveness of long-term therapies. This leaves thousands of Lyme patients suffering from a commercialized medical community that won't acknowledge the chronic nature of their illness and a public uneducated about a growing epidemic.
To read the full list or order it in book form, go to www.projectcensored.org (http://www.projectcensored.org/)

Sky Blue Bally Kid
12-29-2011, 08:54 AM
A billion people with malnutrition is unreal...