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Adam Dick

Exposing the Prison Profiteers

As would be expected in the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world, the US prison-industrial complex is large and powerful. Yet, the companies that gain from the explosion in jail and prison populations over the last few decades largely remain hidden in the shadows. This week, the American Civil Liberties Union, along with The Nation and Beyond Bars, began rolling out a series of short videos titled Prison Profiteers that promises to expose the workings of the prison-industrial complex.

The first video in the series—the only video released so far—addresses phone system monopolies that charge inmates' families and friends exorbitant rates to communicate with their incarcerated loved ones. It is heartbreaking to watch nine year old Kenny Davis explain in the video that the high cost of a phone call prevents him from talking even once a week with his father, who it would take a four hour drive to visit in person.

Watch the video here.
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Is TSA Frisking and Scanning Coming to the Local Mall?

Will American families soon spend Saturday mornings waiting in line for US Transportation Security Administration friskings and scannings outside the local shopping center? We can hope not. But, Miranda Green reports in the Daily Beast that the US Department of Homeland Security is "urging shopping malls in the United States to increase security in the aftermath of the carnage wrought by al Qaeda’s Somalia affiliate over the weekend in Nairobi."
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Brazil President Dilma Rousseff Condemns US Mass Spying before UN General Assembly

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff started the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly with fireworks Tuesday, using her first speaking position among national government leaders to condemn US government spying on the people of her nation and of many other nations. Rousseff explained in the English written version of her speech:
We face, Mr. President, a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.

We expressed to the Government of the United States our disapproval, and demanded explanations, apologies and guarantees that such procedures will never be repeated.

Friendly governments and societies that seek to consolidate a truly strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable.
Read the full speech here:
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US Customs and Border Protection Rolls Out Unconstitutional Searches Far from Borders

US Customs and Border Protection appears to be engaged in the dragnet detaining of general aviation pilots and searching of private airplanes around the country. Expect this program to quickly expand if immigration legislation that increases border-industrial complex funding and manpower becomes law.

As exposed this week in the Toledo Blade, at least 42 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association have informed the association that CBP has searched their private airplanes without reasonable suspicion the airplanes were involved in any criminal activity, much less the probable cause and warrant required by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. CBP's new activities also seem to be unrelated to the agency's customs and border protection responsibilities given that AOPA notes many of the planes searched never flew near a US border.
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NH City Council Approves Acquiring Tank Despite Public Opposition

The Concord, New Hampshire city council voted tonight to acquire a Lenco BearCat G3 tank. The acquisition passed by a vote of 11 to 4 despite  hundreds of people coming to the city council meeting last month in opposition. Public pressure had also caused the Concord police chief to back off his ludicrous claim that he needed the tank to fend off a terrorism threat posed by the Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire.
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RPI Board Members Speak Out Against US Attack on Syria

RPI Advisory Board Members Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich are speaking out in opposition to a US military attack on Syria.

US Rep. Duncan, in a television interview in his home state of Tennessee, engages the issue with clear, straightforward comments as he often engages legislation on the House of Representatives floor. Among other comments in the short interview, Duncan notes that "We don't need to be getting involved in a civil war in Syria. We don't have a vital national interest over there," and "We seemingly are almost in a state of permanent war, and I don't believe that our people want us to be in a state of permanent war, and I don't believe we can afford it."
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NYPD Muslim Surveillance and Mosque Infiltration Exposed

On the heels of a court deciding the New York City police department's stop-and-frisk program violates constitutional search and seizure limitations, the Associated Press reports the NYPD has for years engaged in the infiltration of mosques and and the large-scale, dragnet surveillance of Muslims. It appears this Muslim surveillance program, like the stop-and-frisk program, does not require a credible determination of probable cause that the people targeted are engaged in unlawful activities. The AP story begins with the following revelation of the scope of the surveillance program:
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For the Back to School List—Military Recruiter Opt Out Form

While shopping for pens, notebooks, or a backpack, don't forget to consider adding one more item to your back to school list—a military recruiter opt out form. All government school systems and most private schools that receive education funding from the United Stated government are required to provide to military recruiters high school students' names, addresses, and telephone numbers, plus any additional information about the students provided to colleges or prospective employers. The only way to prevent the sharing of this information is for a student or parent to opt out of the disclosure.
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