The Dissenter

File: A redacted email. (Flickr / opensource.com)
26 Aug 2015

Ruling Makes It Harder For U.S. To Charge High FOIA Fees To Media, Nonprofits

The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision which could make a huge difference for alternative media and nonprofit organizations seeking to have fees waived when making Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. More and more agencies—at all levels of government—charge high fees for public documents.

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File: The lethal injection room at San Quentin prison, photographed on August 3, 2010. (Wikimedia Commons / California Department of Corrections)
26 Aug 2015

State Appeals After Federal Judge Halts Mississippi Executions

The state government of Mississippi appealed a federal judge’s temporary restraining order against the use of two execution drugs, which effectively brought executions to a halt. Even if the state’s appeal fails, the death penalty in Mississippi would remain entirely intact.

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File: At a Guantanamo protest, a sign on the back of a prisoner jumpsuit reads "CLEARED FOR RELEASE." (Flickr / Debra Sweet)
25 Aug 2015

Obama Administration Would Rather Subject Gravely Ill Guantanamo Prisoner to More Torture Than Release Him

President Barack Obama’s administration would rather subject a gravely ill Guantanamo Bay prisoner to continuous abusive force-feedings, which amount to torture, than support his release from the military prison because he is sick.

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Immigrant rights activists gather at the Federal Building in lower Manhattan on Saturday April 5, 2014 to protest the 2 millionth deportation of an undocumented immigrant by the Obama administration. (Michael Fleshman / Flickr)
24 Aug 2015

Judge Rejects Obama Administration’s ‘Fear-Mongering,’ Orders Release of Immigrants

A federal judge rejected “fear-mongering” over “illegal immigration” by President Barack Obama’s administration and ordered the government to implement changes to ensure detained mothers and children are released within the next two months.

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Prison Protest

File: A stylized image of Bradley Ballard against the backdrop of a prison yard. (Prison Protest / Brian Sonenstein)
21 Aug 2015

New York City Distancing Itself From Corizon Health Services

New York City left private jail medical contractor Corizon Health Services to defend itself against a federal lawsuit brought by the mother of a deceased inmate named Bradley Ballard. Ballard’s death was one of the motivating cases behind the wave of reforms currently aimed at the city’s jail system.

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File: Close-up of a hand hovering above a smartphone in a dark room. (Flickr / Japanexperterna.se)
20 Aug 2015

High-Tech Youth Surveillance, Rikers Island And The Pitfalls Of Jail ‘Reform’

New York City will begin a surveillance pilot program aimed at keeping juvenile defendants accused of committing certain felonies off of Rikers Island. As The New York Times reported on August 14, eligible youth between the ages of sixteen and eighteen will be outfitted with lightweight bracelets tethered electronically to smartphones that are to be carried with them at all times and cannot be turned off.

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File: A prisoner transport van, photographed on August 2, 2011. (Flickr / C Holmes)
19 Aug 2015

Did Advanced Correctional Healthcare Staff Falsify Records After Inmate Death?

In a federal lawsuit filed in April, the relative of a deceased inmate blames his wrongful death on a private inmate healthcare company and a for-profit inmate transportation company. The lawsuit accuses Advanced Correctional Healthcare and Prisoner Transport Services of neglecting and even mocking the serious medical needs of William Weintraub, PhD, as he died a slow and painful death from a perforated ulcer, shackled in the back of a crowded van.

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A detailed aerial view of Rikers Island. (Wikimedia Commons / United States Geological Survey)
18 Aug 2015

Rikers Island Visitor Beaten By Guards For Being Gay

A lawsuit filed in federal court last week alleges guards on Rikers Island brutally beat a man visiting his longtime partner at the Eric M. Taylor Center because he is gay. Thomas Hamm argues he was “denied access to public accommodations and services on the basis of his actual and/or perceived sexual orientation, suffered serious physical injuries, and was deprived of his liberty.”

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The Bullpen

File: A collection of packaged seafood, including prawn, shrimp and shellfish, in a grocery store. (Flickr / Adam Kahtava)
20 Aug 2015

Lawsuit Filed After Walmart & Costco Sold Slave Labor Seafood

On August 19, Monica Sud, a woman from California, filed a class action lawsuit against Costco Wholesale Corporation claiming that the retailer knowingly sold prawns produced by slave labor and never disclosed these practices to customers like herself who bought the products without knowing they were produced by illegal labor.

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File: The famous slanted roof of Citigroup Center in New York City. Citigroup has paid out billions in recent fraud cases. (Flickr / Chris Swann)
19 Aug 2015

Citigroup To Pay $180 Million For Latest Fraud

On August 17, Citigroup agreed to pay $180 million to settle charges from the SEC that two of the megabank’s hedge funds defrauded investors. According to the SEC, Citigroup’s hedge funds “made false and misleading representations to investors” about how risky investing in the funds were.

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File: At an Occupy Wall Street march on March 15, 2012, a banner reads "Foreclose On Banks Not People." (Flickr / Michael Fleshman)
18 Aug 2015

Report: Cost Of Financial Crisis Reached $20 Trillion

Last month, the nonpartisan financial reform organization Better Markets put out a report claiming that the total cost for the 2008 financial crisis and resulting recession reached$20 trillion. The number comes from an estimate of how much of a toll the crash put on the gross domestic product with high unemployment/underemployment and the hollowing out of the middle class through foreclosures, deferred education, and bankruptcies.

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File: A dome or "halo" style surveillance camera, photographed on February 19, 2006. (Flickr / Obeck)
17 Aug 2015

Workers To Face Biosurveillance From Employers

The modern work environment was already becoming more than a bit Orwellian, with employees being electronically spied on by their bosses to ensure productivity, but now the corporate push for total information awareness of workers is hitting new levels of creepiness. According to a report in Bloomberg, companies are now using biosurveillance technologies to monitor workers.

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