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Why Our Fears of a ‘Lone-Wolf’ Terror Attack Are Over-Hyped and Dangerous

The cure to this trumped up danger will be far worse than the disease. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com here. The shadow of a new threat seems to be darkening the national security landscape: the lone-wolf terrorist. “The lone wolf is the new nightmare,” wrote Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer recently, and the conservative pundit wasn’t alone in thinking so. “I really see [lone wolves] as being a bigger threat than al-Qaeda, or the Islamic State, or the al-Qaeda franchises,” Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical analysis at the global intelligence and advisory firm Stratfor, toldVICE News. Similarly, in the aftermath of the… Read More

Revealed: Gov’t Surveillance Is Much More Developed Than You Thought

New documents show government tracked drivers with license plate readers on mass scale. Federal agencies tried to use vehicle license-plate readers to track the travel patterns of Americans on a much wider scale than previously thought, with new documents showing the technology was proposed for use to monitor public meetings. The American Civil Liberties Union released more documents this week revealing for the first time the potential scale of a massive database containing the data of millions of drivers, logged from automatic license plate readers around the US. As President Obama’s nominee for attorney general prepared for a second day of confirmation hearings in Washington, senior lawmakers also called on the… Read More

2013: Life in Prison for Stealing Candy? Thousands of Prisoners Sentenced to Die Behind Bars for Nonviolent Crimes

The number of prisoners serving life for nonviolent crimes is truly staggering. This past August, the Lafayette-based IND Monthly published a story about a 54-year-old man named Bill Winters, incarcerated at a medium-security prison in Epps, Louisiana. Winters, who is black, was arrested in June 2009, after he drunkenly entered an unlocked oncologist’s office on a Sunday morning, setting off a security alarm. When police arrived, he had rummaged through a desk drawer, and was in possession of a box of Gobstoppers candy. Winters was convicted of simple burglary a week before Thanksgiving, and given a seven-year prison sentence—hardly a slap on the wrist. But a few days later, the prosecutor in his case, Assistant… Read More