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For the 31st year running, Project Censored has released the top 25 stories the U.S. news media missed in the past year. According to the "San Franciso Bay Guardian", the picture isn't pretty: together, the stories "present a chilling portrait of a newly empowered executive branch signing away civil liberties for the sake of an endless and amorphous war on terror."

The top story was the passing of the Military Commissions Act in October 2006, which made significant changes to the nation's judicial system for U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike. While mainstream media were giving U.S. citizens false comfort that they would not be subject to the draconian measures legalised in the act, investigative journalist Robert Parry noted that the act allows for a military alternative to the constitutional justice system for "any person" regardless of American citizenship. The act effectively does away with habeas corpus (the right to a fair trial) for "any person" arbitrarily deemed to be an "enemy of the state." The judgment on who is deemed an "enemy combatant" is solely at the discretion of President George W. Bush.

Other stories that were inadequately reported or duly ignored mainly touched on two categories: the increase of privatisation and the erosion of civil liberties. They include: last year's passage of the John Warner Defense Authorization Act, which gives President Bush the right to "suppress public disorder" by stationing military troops anywhere in the country; the new U.S. embassy in Iraq, which will be the most expensive and heavily fortified embassy in the world, being built by a Kuwait contractor accused of using forced labour trafficked from South Asia; and an exposé of private security firm Blackwater Inc., the most powerful mercenary firm in the world with 20,000 soldiers, which is headed and backed by right-wing neo-conservatives. President Bush's latest call for voluntary civilian military corps to accommodate the "surge" in troops in Iraq will add to more than half a billion dollars in federal contracts with Blackwater, currently in the news for civilian deaths.

Project Censored is the annual media survey conducted by Sonoma State University researchers and students who spend the year patrolling obscure publications, national and international websites, and mainstream news outlets to compile the 25 most significant "news that didn't make the news."

Click here to see all the stories that made the cut:

(25 September 2007)

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