The Dissenter

Palestinian refugee (Photo from UNRWA press release)
30 Aug 2015

Podcast: Under Siege, Palestinian Refugees Endure Typhoid, Famine & ISIS-Inspired Assassinations

The population of the Palestinian refugee camp in Yarmouk, on the southern outskirts of Damascus, was once around 200,000 people. A brutal siege by the Syrian regime and an occupation by fighters from the al Qaida arm in Syria and the Islamic State dramatically reduced that number to 18,000 in March. Now, it is somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 people, according to journalist Patrick Strickland.

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File: A gavel rests atop a printed document. (Flickr / Brian Turner)
28 Aug 2015

Key Constitutional Issues Avoided as Lawsuit Against NSA Surveillance Heads Back to Lower Court

Today, a federal appeals court vacated a preliminary injunction against the National Security Agency’s phone records surveillance program, and the lawsuit was sent back to the lower court for further proceedings if appropriate. But the U.S. Court of Appeals did not rule on whether the program, exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was lawful or not.

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Tinariwen perform on March 19, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. This band, composed of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of Mali, appears on Kevin Gosztola's list of the best protest music of the decade so far. (Flickr / ScannerFM)
27 Aug 2015

Top 25 Protest Albums of the 2010s (So Far)

The following list is aimed at putting to rest the notion that there is an absence of protest music or a lack of protest bands or singers. Many of the bands and singers are largely unknown and mostly do independent work. It is our hope that we might be introducing you to these bands and singers for the first time.

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Police guard the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, UK on August 16, 2012. Police are on guard outside this embassy 24-hours a day to ensure that Julian Assange does not receive even a moment of freedom or fresh air. (Flickr / κύριαsity)
26 Aug 2015

WikiLeaks Attorneys Oppose Diplomatic Retaliation by UK Against Ecuador

Attorneys for WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and other staff members of the media organization have condemned the United Kingdom’s diplomatic protest against Ecuador for continuing to provide Assange asylum. According to lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights, the United Kingdom has threatened to storm the Ecuadorean Embassy in clear violation of international law.

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Prison Protest

File: Four hospital beds in a row, each with curtains so they can be partitioned for privacy. (Flickr / StudioTempura)
28 Aug 2015

Lawsuit: Rikers Island Officer Unpunished After Raping Transgender Inmate In Corizon Health Clinic

A transgender inmate was raped by a corrections officer in a medical clinic on Rikers Island and the New York City Department of Correction has declined to punish him for the last three years, according a federal civil rights lawsuit filed this week. The inmate, known as “MT,” claims Corrections Officer L. Galan sexually harassed her “openly and repeatedly” for months before raping her in the clinic, where security cameras could not capture the encounter.

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The exterior of the Tulsa County Jail in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Google Streetview)
27 Aug 2015

Two Lawsuits Show The Human Cost Of For-Profit Jailhouse Healthcare

Two ongoing federal lawsuits against for-profit jailhouse medical contractor Armor Correctional Health Services (ACHS) describe lengthy delays and negligent care that put inmate health in jeopardy. Companies like ACHS sign lucrative agreements that promise to deliver medical care to inmates at a lower cost than governments can provide themselves. In court filings, however, the company is alleged to have financial disincentives in its contracts which encourage staff not to give inmates access to emergent and off-site treatments.

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File: A rainbow Pride flag blows in the wind. (Flickr / torbakhopper)
25 Aug 2015

Chicago LGBTQ Inmates Speak Out Against Solitary Confinement, Homophobia

LGBTQ prison abolition group Black & Pink began publishing letters from inmates in solitary confinement last month in an effort to shed light on the abuse and harassment they suffer. Black & Pink explained that last summer, their Chicago chapter contacted to over 100 inmates in isolation to ask for their experiences.

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A glimpse through the entryway of the Santa Rita Jail, photographed on February 15, 2013. (Flickr / Daniel Arauz)
24 Aug 2015

Inmate Claims Epilepsy Went Untreated At Santa Rita Jail

An inmate suffered a Grand Mal seizure after deputies at the Santa Rita jail in Alameda County, California denied his repeated requests for epilepsy medication, according to a federal lawsuit [PDF] filed against the county and various sheriff’s deputies at the end of July.

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The Bullpen

An activist with the Fight For 15 minimum wage movement poses under the entrance to a McDonald's  restaurant on May 14, 2014. A new study shows CEO compensation grew in 2014, while workers continued to suffer with stagnant wages. (Flickr / Peopls World)
28 Aug 2015

CEO Compensation Jumped In 2014 As Workers Treaded Water

The pay for CEOs of public companies continued its upward climb in 2014 according to a report by The Conference Board, a business research organization. The report, published in August, claims that total compensation for chief executive officers of US public companies in the Russell 3000 Index rose up 11.9 % from 2013 and as much as 34.7 % from 2010.

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At a May 17, 2014 flashmob-style protest in Germany against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership international trade deal, two activists hold signs objecting to the TTIP's potential effects on data privacy and the deal's lack of transparency. (Flickr / campact)
27 Aug 2015

Big Tobacco TTIP Discussion Documents Censored By EU

Documents related to discussions between US, British and European officials and multinational tobacco corporations concerning the regulation of tobacco under a new trade agreement were censored by the European Commission. Activists with Corporate Europe Observatory revealed the meetings through a Freedom of Information request, but the documents were heavily edited.

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File: An American flag hangs in front of the entrance to the New York Stock Exchange in the Wall Street district of New York City. (Morguefile)
26 Aug 2015

Wall Street Laundering Derivatives Trades Through Europe To Avoid Dodd-Frank

As compromised as Congress is when it comes to dealing with their Wall Street donors, they have nothing on financial regulators who often end up later working for the people and companies they are supposed to be regulating. Now regulators are allowing Wall Street to hide derivatives trades overseas to circumvent Dodd-Frank.

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File: A keychain with several keys and metal charms attached. Heavy key chains could cause a defect in some General Motors' vehicles to shut off the engine, causing over 100 deaths according to the latest figures. (Morguefile)
25 Aug 2015

More Deaths Linked To General Motors’ Ignition Switches

A study by a consultant hired by GM has led to a nearly ten fold increase in the number of deaths linked to the faulty switches. The new estimate, released on August 21 by a consulting group led by famed attorney Kenneth Feinberg, puts the number of deaths from the defected ignition switches at 124. Previously, GM said it only knew of 13 deaths.

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