The Dissenter

A U.S. Sailor assigned to the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion stands watch over a cell block at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, while detainees look through magazines and books March 30, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Nistas/Released)
18 Aug 2015

Attorneys for Guantanamo ‘Forever Prisoner’ Urge Review Board to Approve Release

Attorneys for Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mohammed Kamin asked the Periodic Review Board during a hearing to approve his release. Kamin is an Afghan who has been detained at the military prison for over eleven years. He is currently not charged with any crime, however, he is one of a number of forever prisoners, who President Barack Obama’s administration has designated for indefinite detention. In April 2008, Kamin was charged with “material support for terrorism.” A convening authority subsequently withdrew the charge against him 2009, and a federal court later ruled “material support” was not a valid offense triable by a military commission.

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Oil tanks on a BNSF train transporting fracked oil from the Bakken Oil field, photographed on February 22, 2014. (Flickr / Roy Luck)
18 Aug 2015

Maryland Judge Rules Public Has Right To Information On Dangerous Oil Trains

A Maryland judge ruled on August 14 that the public has a right to information provided to the state’s Department of Transportation by railroad companies about dangerous trains carrying crude oil. Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill rejected CSX and Norfolk Southern’s arguments that the information needed to be kept secret because it contained “confidential commercial information,” “trade secrets,” or information which could be useful to terrorists.

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Photo licensed under Creative Commons by Ryan J. Reilly
17 Aug 2015

Justice Department: Appeals Court Wrong to Revive Lawsuit Brought by Immigrants Abused After 9/11

The Justice Department has requested a federal appeals court revisit and reverse its decision to revive a lawsuit against former Justice Department officials, who allegedly violated the rights of Arab or Muslim immigrants when they were detained in the immediate months after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

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JB Lenoir, screen shot from album cover for "Alabama Blues"
17 Aug 2015

Protest Song of the Week: ‘Alabama Blues’

J.B. Lenoir’s “Alabama Blues” is a rather well-known blues protest song. It stands out because, by the 1960s, it was increasingly rare for blues musicians to sing about poverty, despair, and social injustice. And, fifty years since the tune was recorded under the supervision of Chicago blues master Willie Dixon, its lyrics still carry a deep resonance.

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Prison Protest

File: A scanning-electron microscope photograph of the HIV virus (in green) budding on a white blood cell. (Wikimedia Commoms / Centers for Disease Control)
11 Aug 2015

Federal Inmate Claims AIDS Treatments Withheld At Public And Private Jails

On Monday, the Tampa Bay Times reported that a 42-year-old federal inmate claims he has been denied treatment for AIDS at two different jails in Florida — one of which has been privatized — for the past several months. Kelby McCrillis said he received treatments for AIDS over the past thirteen years, but has had his medications discontinued since his incarceration at the Citrus County Detention Center and the Pinellas County Jail.

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A graphic of prisoners boarding a prison transfer bus to leave Vermont. Two prisoner deaths in private prisons highlight the risks of the industry. (Grassroots Leadership / Locked Up and Shipped Away)
11 Aug 2015

Inmate Deaths In Private Prisons Raise Familiar Questions About Transfers

For at least the second time this year, an inmate has died at a private prison away from home. The Associated Press reports corrections officials in Hawaii have announced an investigation into the death of 21-year-old Jonathan Namauleg of Maui, who died last week at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. Saguaro is operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

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A standard pin-prick style electronic blood glucose test used by diabetes sufferers, with a hand showing a droplet of blood from the test, photographed on November 15, 2013.   A shadowproof reader recounts his struggle to advocate for prisoners with diabetes in this reader response. (Flickr / Victor)
11 Aug 2015

Battling The Criminal Justice System For Diabetes Healthcare (Reader Response)

Reader Phillip Baker responds to Gaming the System by sharing his experiences as a prisoner healthcare advocate who spent years trying to get adequate healthcare for prisoners with Type 1 diabetes. To his dismay, prison healthcare officials seem to care little for the well-being of their inmates.

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File: A doctor's station in a hospital. Multiple lawsuits accuse an Advanced Correctional Healthcare doctor of negligence toward incarcerated patients. (Morguefile)
10 Aug 2015

Advanced Correctional Healthcare Doctor Faces Multiple Federal Lawsuits

An ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit alleges in less than one month at Indiana’s Dearborn County Detention Center, jail staff neglected the obvious and critical medical needs of a 69-year-old inmate, allowing his conditions to deteriorate so severely he would later spend nearly 200 days recovering in hospitals and nursing homes. Advanced Correctional Healthcare

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The Bullpen

"CF-1 flight test" (US Navy / Andy Wolfe)
10 Aug 2015

F-35: Trillion Dollar War Plane May Still Not Be Ready For Combat

While Congress debates cutting Social Security, the most expensive weapons program in history — with an estimated lifetime cost of $1.5 trillion — is making questionable progress. The US Marine Corps recently announced that, after 14 years of development, the F-35 is ready to be deployed and issued a declaration

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The Robert S. Strauss Building in Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle houses the largest office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Although founded in Dallas, Akin Gump is known for it's intense lobbying power in the nation's capitol. (Wikimedia / AgnosticPreachersKid)
07 Aug 2015

4 Candidates From Both Major Parties Use Same Lobbying Firm For Fundraising

You’d be forgiven for having trouble telling the major presidential candidates apart in the latest presidential horse race, especially given a recent story from The Intercept’s Lee Fang. Fang reports that Bush, Clinton, Kasich and Rubio all make use of Akin Gump, an infamous lobbying firm, for fundraising in the next election.

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File: An antique pair of slave manacles rests atop cobblestones. (Wikimedia Commons / Antoine Taveneaux)
06 Aug 2015

TPP: White House Responds To Malaysia’s Slavery Problem By Lowering Standards

The scramble to secure a controversial trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is leading to some serious ethical conflicts for the Obama Administration. While many initial objections to TPP were due to concerns about a lack of transparency from the White House as to the contents of the agreement and how it was negotiated, a recent decision by the State Department to change a country’s ranking in a human trafficking report has human rights groups crying foul and citing TPP as the real reason for the change.

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A U.S. Army soldier patrols near the village of Tarok Kolache where reconstruction efforts were underway, on Friday, April 1, 2011, in the Arghandab River Valley of Afghanistan. A new report on corruption in U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan shows widespread mismanagement of millions. (Flickr / ISAF Regional Command-South / Ensign Haraz Ghanbari)
05 Aug 2015

Special Investigator’s Report Details US Corruption In Afghanistan

Late last month, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) issued a blistering report detailing millions of dollars of waste, fraud, and abuse in the US and coalition reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. The report, issued to Congress on July 30th, presents the results of a series of investigations conducted by SIGAR that revealed $37.4 million in “questionable costs” in the last quarter of the year — those costs lead to a total of $279.5 million in questionable costs identified by SIGAR to date.

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