The Dissenter

File: A General Atomics MQ-1A Predator drone. (Wikimedia Commons / United States Air Force)
02 Sep 2015

Obama’s Drone War Escalates in Syria, Despite Fueling Violence in Other Countries

President Barack Obama’s administration has apparently expanded covert drone operations in Syria in order to strike leaders of the Islamic State. But the expansion is destined to fail as much as previous operations in other countries, which have only fueled the rise of violent extremism.

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Photo from Vera Institute of Justice report on alternatives to solitary confinement
02 Sep 2015

California Agrees To Restrict Use of Long-Term Solitary Confinement

California has agreed to restrict the use of long-term solitary confinement in a settlement agreement filed in federal court this week. Restrictions are expected to reduce the number of inmates in isolation, cap the number of continuous years an inmate can spend in solitary confinement to five, and establish measures by which inmates can more easily achieve release back to general population.

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Colonel George Salloum, a Syrian military intelligence officer, is accused of carrying out the torture Maher Arar (pictured) experienced while in prison in Syria between 2002-2003. (Image courtesy the Center for Constitutional Rights)
01 Sep 2015

Canada Charges Syrian Colonel for Torture of Maher Arar

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has filed charges against a Syrian colonel who tortured Canadian citizen Maher Arar. Colonel George Salloum, a Syrian military intelligence officer, is accused of carrying out the torture Arar experienced while in prison in Syria from October 2002 to October 2003. Salloum is also accused of overseeing Arar’s

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A paratrooper scans the iris of another using a Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, or HIIDE, system during training Jan. 10, 2012, at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La. The device measures personal biometric data that allow friendly forces to identify persons of interest at a later date. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)
01 Sep 2015

U.S. to Use Iris and Facial Scans at Southern Border for First Time

The United States Customs and Border Protection will launch a “Pedestrian Border Experiment” that will target non-US citizens. The “experiment” is expected to mark the first time facial and iris scans are used on individuals crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Prison Protest

The Baltimore Transition Center in Baltimore, Maryland, photographed on September 14, 2012, is the oldest continuously operating prison in the United States, dating back to 1811. Adapting older buildings for climate change presents considerable challenges . (Wikimedia Commons / groupuscule)
03 Sep 2015

Report: US Jails And Prisons Ill Equipped For Global Warming

A new study published by the Columbia Law School Sabin Center for Climate Change Law found US jails and prisons grossly unfit for dealing with rising temperatures, which place inmate and staff health at risk. The study urged policy makers and administrators to begin taking steps to prepare for heat waves associated with climate change.

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Photo from Vera Institute of Justice report on alternatives to solitary confinement
02 Sep 2015

California Agrees To Restrict Use of Long-Term Solitary Confinement

California has agreed to restrict the use of long-term solitary confinement in a settlement agreement filed in federal court this week. Restrictions are expected to reduce the number of inmates in isolation, cap the number of continuous years an inmate can spend in solitary confinement to five, and establish measures by which inmates can more easily achieve release back to general population.

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Eric Garner and Michael Brown Ferguson protests in Seattle on 12/6/14. (Scottlum / Flickr)
01 Sep 2015

776 People Killed By Police So Far in 2015, 161 Of Them Unarmed

So far in 2015, U.S. police killed 776 people, 161 of whom were completely unarmed at the time of their death. The data was compiled by The Guardian for a project called “The Counted,” a continuously updated, interactive database of police killings in the United States.

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People from from around the world participate in a rally against private prisons held at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida. (Flickr / UMWomen)
01 Sep 2015

Corrections Corporation of America Acquires Re-Entry Facilities As Private Prison Industry Pursues New Business

On Monday, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) announced it acquired four residential re-entry facilities from another private contractor for $13.5 million. According to a company press release, the re-entry facilities each have about 600 beds and were leased by Community Education Centers, Inc. (CEC) to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the Philadelphia Prison System.

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The Bullpen

File: An ink stamp in the shape of a Facebook "LIKE" icon is used on a folded sheet of white paper. (Flickr / Denis Dervisevic)
03 Sep 2015

Your Facebook Friends Could Cost You A Loan

Welcome to the age of the social media credit check. On July 22nd, Facebook filed a new patent for a product the company could sell to creditors to analyze someone’s creditworthiness based on their social network.

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The exterior of AIG headquarters in New York City. (Wikimedia Commons / AIG Corporate)
02 Sep 2015

Treasury Department Claims Paulson Never Officially Discussed AIG Bailout

In August, the US Treasury Department responded to a 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records of former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s communications during the 2008 bailout of American International Group (AIG) by claiming that the agency could not find any records. Here’s how you can help us respond.

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1 Wall Street, the Bank of New York Buidling By Jim in Times Square (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
01 Sep 2015

BNY Mellon Bank Settles Corruption Charges Over Hiring Foreign Officials’ Relatives

On August 18, the SEC announced that the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BNY Mellon) agreed to pay $14.8 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), when the bank gave out highly sought-after student internships to the relatives of foreign government officials in

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Activists carry signs demanding fair wages and "jobs with justice" outside a Chicago-area Walmart at a Black Friday protest on November 28, 2014. Although the protests successfully put pressure on the company, gains by Walmart workers were short-lived as the corporation increased wages but cut worker hours. (Flickr / UFCW International Union)
31 Aug 2015

Walmart Increased Wages Only To Later Cut Hours

Late last year, in response to a series of strikes by workers and protests by activists, Walmart agreed to raise wages so that many of the company’s workers received at least a meager $9 an hour in 2015. Unfortunately, Walmart’s entire business model is based on severely exploiting workers in the US, so the order has now come down from Walmart executives to cut workers’ hours to lower company costs.

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