Missed in Mainstream Media –The “Hidden Stories”

by Bernard Levy



    The following are a few of the “Hidden Stories.”  We define “hidden stories” as news that:  1) never receives coverage in mainstream media (MSM); 2) gets published, but insignificantly, e.g., in a newswire that’s easily overlooked by a reader or placed in an out-of-the-way page, perhaps next to a large ad for vacuum cleaners; 3) is reported reasonably well once and then never or rarely seen again.


    Most are important stories containing information that affect our pocketbooks and lives, e.g., government incompetence and corruption that cost taxpayers money.  Yes, there are humorous “hiders,” and we’ll include them, too.  We’ll cover some in depth as time and resources permit.  We hope you enjoy this feature.  If you do, please let us know at Editor@FullCourtPress.   



    After Decades of Waiting, Veterans and Others Still Wait for Government Recognition and Medical Assistance


    The U.S. government is continuing to deny medical and financial benefits to the 220,000 surviving military personnel and civilians of the 450,000 involved in nuclear testing in Nevada or the Pacific between 1945 and 1962 and those who served in the post-World War II occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.  The only recent coverage of this governmental denial of decades is a Cox News Service article by Corrie MacLaggan, published June 11, 2006.  The government has and continues to deny the connection between nuclear bomb participant illnesses, including cancer, and their exposure to U.S. government-produced radiation.  Consider the well-known legal axiom, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”



    The Ten-Year-Old Indian Trust Lawsuit Against the U.S. Government Continues to be Ignored by the Media


    This is one of the great hidden stories of both the 20th and 21st centuries.  More than ten years ago, Eloise Cobell, a Blackfeet Indian from Montana as the lead plaintiff, filed the landmark case, Cobell vs. the Secretary of the Interior.  Originally filed in 1996 when Bruce Babbitt was the Secretary of the Interior, the named defendant had been changed to Secretary of the Interior Norton, who recently left her post.  It probably will be changed again to reflect the name of the new Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne.


    Federal Judge Royce Lamberth, after a 59-day hearing in the summer of 2005, issued his opinion and conclusively decided in favor of the plaintiffs.  For decades, 500,000 Indians have been denied payment for the lease of their lands and royalties for the extraction of resources on and under their property. 


    The evidence, as well as independent investigative sources, proved conclusively that U.S. government witnesses lied under oath and mishandled both trust fund accountings and payments to the beneficiaries.  Judge Lamberth further opined that former Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton lied on the stand.  Specifically, our government officials did not tell the truth about the lack of safeguards that prevent hacking and destruction of computer programs, the accuracy of the accountings and the destruction of documents.  The U.S. government has received funds for years that should have been paid to the rightful beneficiaries of the funds.  The judge also found that the government continues to destroy evidence and records in the case, currently refuses to pay beneficiaries and has not established program security safeguards.


    It is clear the government is at fault, although the extent of the fault may be in dispute.  The funds estimated to be owed Native Americans run from $3 - $4 billion to $100 billion.  There are many accounts of Native Americans going without food, heat, adequate medical care and other essentials due to our government’s misfeasance and malfeasance. The government’s stonewalling, particularly the Bush Administration (other administrations also are at fault), is outrageous for several reasons, including the cost to the American taxpayers.  Ms. Cobell has noted the government has admitted in congressional testimony that it had spent $100 million defending the lawsuits.


    Contrary to the feelings of some non-Native Americans, most Native Americans are not getting “rich” from gambling casino money.  This case reflects a continuing wrongdoing by our government against Native Americans who, under treaty and contract, are entitled to such funds.  Ms. Cobell also has attempted to negotiate a settlement with Congress; she has not been successful.


    We plan to do an in-depth story on this continuing tragic American saga in the near future.


Lordy, Lordy, Lordy:  The Governor of Alabama Has Signed Legislation Setting Up the Pardon of Civil Rights Hero Rosa Parks and Hundreds of Others Arrested for Violating Segregation-Era Laws.


    Without any fanfare or official announcement, Alabama Governor Bob Riley on April 21, 2006, signed the bill.  However, the arrestees, or family members if they are deceased, have to affirmatively request the pardons.  A step in the right direction, it’s a little late in coming, doncha think, since Ms. Parks was arrested 50 years ago for, as we know, refusing to give her seat to a white man on a Montgomery City bus. 


    What’s this world coming to pardoning Ms. Parks?  Didn’t she break the law?  Irony aside, the pardons were greatly overdue.  The bill should have provided pardons without the need to file for them.  It’s interesting that our President pardons people every year for significant crimes against society.  Again, justice delayed is justice denied.  Hopefully, Rosa and others are looking down from their Heavenly lodgings and applauding this belated action. 


Almost Never Covered:  The War in the Congo Has Killed 4 Million Since 1998.


    It’s been years since we read about this conflict until Time’s coverage in its June 5, 2006, issue, The Deadliest War in the World:  “Simmering Conflict in Congo has Killed 4 Million People Since 1998, Yet Few Choose to Cover the Story.”  Its authors, Simon Robinson and Vivienne Walt, look at a forgotten nation and what’s needed to prevent the deaths of millions more.  For a world so eager to promote stability in all parts of the world, particularly Africa and the Middle East, it’s amazing that such coverage has been so universally denied.  FCP commends Time for its coverage.  “The second largest nation in sub-Samaran Africa (Sudan is number one), the Congo is “a land so vast and ungovernable that it’s long been perceived as the continent’s hell-hole…”  “Since 2000, the U.N. has spent billions on peace-keeping missions in the Congo, which is known by its French acronym, Monuc, and is at the moment the largest U.N. force anywhere in the world.” 


    With so much misery and strife in the world, including the genocide taking place in the Dafur region of the Sudan, nations have turned the other way.  But, as President Bush has pledged numerous times to take up the cudgel of helping oppressed people all over the world, he and the other world leaders have provided only major “lip service.”  


    What’s that, you say?  Developed nations only consider helping those poor countries that will provide monetary benefits?  Well, read the article.  “The Congo represents the promise of Africa as much as its misery:  Its fertile fields and tropical forests cover an area bigger than California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas combined.  Its soils are packed with diamonds, gold, copper…and uranium.”  And more than 1,200 Congolese still die every day because of war-related causes.   Even “justice delayed” would be welcomed in this instance.