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FBI: Spying on Occupy was within rules -(09-17) 17:20 PDT OAKLAND -- The FBI says its newly disclosed surveillance of the Occupy movement in Northern California stayed within federal rules ...

The American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained FBI surveillance documents on the movement in a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, wants to know why the agency is withholding nearly two-thirds of the records it says it has, and why it is citing national security as one reason for the nondisclosure.

"Why does a political protest amount to a national security threat?" ACLU attorney Linda Lye asked Monday.  ...

In addition to asking the agency for surveillance documents on local Occupy activities, the ACLU requested training material and justifications for any federal investigation of the protest movement around the nation.

--Bob Egelko, sfgate.com  (Chronicle)

Welcome to the Overnight News Digest


     (graphic by palantir)

The OND is published each night around midnight, Eastern Time.

The originator of OND was Magnifico.

Regular editors are jlms qkw, Bentliberal, wader, Oke, rfall, JML9999, and chief cat herder NeonVincent; with guest stints from maggiejean and annetteboardman. .



Drive to end death penalty cites errors: Death penalty ban seeks to answer doubts - It's the nightmare of capital punishment, for supporters and opponents alike - an innocent person condemned to death and executed.

As Californians prepare to vote in November on Proposition 34, which would reduce all death sentences to life in prison without parole, both sides on the issue agree that the state has never executed a prisoner who was later proved to be innocent.

Still, doubts persist about the guilt of an inmate who was put to death in 1998. And five men sentenced to death under current California law were later cleared of the murder charges that put them on Death Row.

Those five cases illustrate "how easily someone who did not commit the murder could have been executed," said John Cotsirilos, lawyer for Lee Farmer, who was freed in 1999 after 17 years in prison.

Farmer was convicted of murdering a Riverside teenager during a 1982 burglary, based largely on a description by the dying victim. His death sentence was overturned in 1989 when the state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the prosecutor had wrongly told jurors they could disregard their feelings about whether he should live or die, because the voters had approved the death penalty.
Acquitted at retrial

Resentenced to life without parole by another jury, he won a new trial in 1997 based on newly disclosed evidence that an accomplice had admitted killing the teenager in a separate burglary. Farmer was acquitted of the killing at his retrial.

Farmer's case is far from unique

--Bob Egelko, sfgate




Robbing Native Cradles - “In the 1880s, under a U.S. government policy of forced assimilation, [Lakota] children as young as 5 years old were removed from their homes, shipped to boarding schools, and instructed in the ways of white culture,” reads a passage on lakotalaw.org, the website for the Lakota Child Rescue Project (LCRP).

A modern-day Robin Hood for many Lakota people—the indigenous people of the Great Plains—the organization is currently compiling a federal civil rights lawsuit in favor of the Great Sioux Nation.

Daniel Sheehan, president of the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit Romero Institute (RI) and general counsel for the LCRP, has been hard at work combating the placement of thousands of Lakota children into foster homes in South Dakota, which he says has been a continuous issue for the past 150 years. A June Good Times article, titled “A Conversation with Daniel Sheehan,” discussed Sheehan’s reputation for fighting injustices and working with landmark court cases. The article also touched on a course he taught at UC Santa Cruz last spring titled “The Trajectory of Justice: Eight Cases that Changed America,” which detailed his work on the Iran-Contra Affair and many other cases.

--Lauren Schiff, Good Times



Video shows Libyans helping rescue U.S. ambassador after attack - (Reuters) - An amateur video appears to show Libyans trying to rescue U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens from a room filled with smoke at the U.S. mission where he was found unconscious after last week's attack by a mob protesting against a film that denigrates the Prophet Mohammad.

The video, which appeared on the internet and a copy of which was obtained by Reuters in Benghazi, confirms reports that suggested the U.S. envoy died of asphyxiation after the building caught fire.

The footage also sheds new light on the circumstances of the ambassador's death, apparently showing for the first time that some of the people who forced their way into the U.S. compound later tried to rescue Stevens after they found him lying alone, with no security detail, in one of the rooms in the building.

...

Minutes later he was pulled out of the room through a window, and then placed on the courtyard's stone tile floor. A young man is seen putting his hand on his neck to check if he was breathing.

A protester wearing a white T-shirt who had carried Stevens out of the room was hugged by a fellow protestor in a traditional expression of gratitude.

Seconds after the protesters found Stevens was alive, a young man in the background can be heard shouting: "Take him to my car, bring him to my car."

A doctor on duty in the emergency room at the Benghazi Medical Centre that night has said local civilians brought in the ambassador at around 1 a.m. While the doctor performed CPR for 45 minutes, Stevens died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation. His body was later returned to U.S. custody.

Fahd Al-Bakoush, a young activist who took the video, said he saw the ambassador "moving his lips and his eyes moving and his body darkened by smoke."

--By Suleiman Al-Khalidi, BENGHAZI, Libya, Reuters

Also: AP Photo of the Videographer and his video.




Libya sacks Benghazi security chiefs after U.S. attacks - (Reuters) - Libya has sacked its security chiefs for Benghazi after a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city last week, Interior Minister Fawzi Abdel A'al told Reuters.

--Ali Shuaib and Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Reuters



Romney Talks Bluntly of Those Dependent on Government - Mitt Romney described almost half of Americans as “dependent upon government” during a private reception with donors this year and said those voters were likely to support President Obama because they believe they are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

The blunt political and cultural assessment by the Republican presidential candidate offers a rare glimpse into Mr. Romney’s personal views as the campaign enters its final 50 days. Liberals quickly condemned the remarks as insensitive, and Mr. Obama’s campaign accused him of having “disdainfully written off half the nation.”

The recordings surfaced even as Mr. Romney sought to retool his campaign message amid internal campaign sniping and calls from Republicans outside the campaign for him to be more specific about how his policies will fix the nation’s economy.

--MICHAEL D. SHEAR, The Caucus (ny times blog)




U.S. Warns Judge’s Ruling Impedes Its Detention Powers

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration warned Monday that a judge’s ruling last week blocking a statute authorizing the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects has jeopardized its ability to continue detaining certain prisoners captured during the war in Afghanistan.

In an emergency appeal of the ruling, the government asserted that United States District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest went beyond enjoining the statute — enacted last year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act — and potentially curtailed detention powers it has been exercising for years under its interpretation of the authorization to use military force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

...

 The lawsuit that led to the ruling by Judge Forrest, whom President Obama appointed to the Southern District of New York last fall, was brought by several journalists and activists, including Chris Hedges, a former reporter for The New York Times who interacts with terrorist groups as part of his reporting work, and several prominent supporters of WikiLeaks.

They say the statute’s existence harms their First Amendment rights by creating a basis to fear that they might be detained under it. The Justice Department contends that they lack standing because they would not be detained under the statute for their activities – although earlier in the case, it initially refused to make such assurances.

The legal dispute in New York has opened a new chapter in years of wrangling by executive branch attorneys and judges in the District of Columbia circuit over the outer bounds of the government’s authority to hold people, indefinitely and without trial, as wartime prisoners.

-- CHARLIE SAVAGE, nytimes



Russell E. Train, Conservationist Who Helped Create the E.P.A., Dies at 92 - Russell E. Train, a renowned conservationist who played a central role in the creation of groundbreaking laws and effective enforcement in response to rising concerns about environmental protection in America, died on Monday at his farm in Bozman, Md. He was 92.

 His death was announced by Carter Roberts, the president of the World Wildlife Fund, which Mr. Train helped transform into a global force for conservation.

From 1969 to 1977, as Richard M. Nixon’s first chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and then as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under Gerald R. Ford, Mr. Train was among a select group of senior administration officials and Congressional leaders who shaped the world’s first comprehensive program for scrubbing the skies and waters of pollution, ensuring the survival of ecologically significant plants and animals, and safeguarding citizens from exposure to toxic chemicals.

Mr. Train was widely considered the father of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the cornerstone of all modern federal environmental legislation. Its signature provision was the look-before-you-leap requirement for federal agencies to prepare environmental impact statements before proceeding with any major project.

Mr. Train developed the idea of establishing the Council on Environmental Quality, a policy office within the White House. He also helped persuade the Nixon administration to create the Environmental Protection Agency, empowered to execute and regulate the nation’s new program of safeguarding natural resources and protecting public health.

-- KEITH SCHNEIDER, nytimes




Widow Takes On Congressman Who Ousted Her Husband

Shelley Adler is challenging Representative Jon Runyan, who rode a wave of Tea Party support to unseat her husband in a big upset in 2010

Shelley Adler was still mourning her husband’s death when the thought hit her: Why not run for his old Congressional seat? But when she approached her husband’s longtime political adviser and close friend, he gently discouraged her.

...

 Ms. Adler, a Democrat and a former PTA president in Cherry Hill, N.J., would not be dissuaded. She jumped in and is now locked into one of the more intriguing House races in the country.

The man Ms. Adler is challenging, Representative Jon Runyan, is not just any Republican opponent. In 2010, Mr. Runyan, a former star lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles, rode a wave of Tea Party support to unseat Ms. Adler’s husband, John H. Adler, in a big upset.

Mr. Adler, a well-liked figure on Capitol Hill, had been planning to fight to regain his old seat when he died unexpectedly, in April 2011, at age 51, after undergoing emergency heart surgery. Now Ms. Adler is determined to carry on his plans, despite the odds.

-- RAYMOND HERNANDEZ, nytimes



Peregrine CEO pleads guilty to fraud; to stay in jail - Reuters) - Peregrine Financial Group's former Chief Executive Russell Wasendorf Sr. pleaded guilty on Monday to embezzling more than $100 million from customers of his futures brokerage, lying to regulators to cover his tracks, and mail fraud.

Previously expected to be set free from jail pending his sentencing, Wasendorf was told he will remain behind bars while a judge determines whether he is a flight risk.

Wasendorf, 64, agreed earlier this month to plead guilty after confessing in July to stealing from his customers for nearly 20 years.

--Tom Polansek and Ryan Schlader, Reuters



Newsweek’s ‘Muslim Rage’ Cover Mocked Online

Seizing on Newsweek’s invitation to discuss its provocative cover story under the Twitter hashtag #MuslimRage, thousands of Muslim users of the social network mocked the premise by listing a few of the real and imagined irritants that make them mad

    Want to discuss our latest cover? Let’s hear it with the hashtag: #MuslimRage.

    — Newsweek (@Newsweek) 17 Sep 12

    Lost your kid Jihad at the airport. Can’t yell for him. #MuslimRage

    — Leila ليلى (@LSal92) 17 Sep 12

Jokes about the hijab, or Muslim headscarf, formed a genre of their own.

    I’m having such a good hair day. No one even knows. #MuslimRage

    — Hend (@LibyaLiberty) 17 Sep 12

   ...

    Wearing Hijab made by CHRISTIAN Dior. #MuslimRage

    — Sami Tabib (@Uaepodiatry) 17 Sep 12

Others expressed more earnest frustrations.

    Hearing Americans state publicly that they’re afraid that @BarackObama is an Arab. #MuslimRage

    — Russ Green (@russ_jokes) 17 Sep 12

    When people fear Shariah taking over the US constitution & same people have never read the US constitution #ConstitutionDay225 #MuslimRage

    — Zahir R (@theZroc) 17 Sep 12

...

The British-Egyptian journalist and blogger Sarah Carr wondered what other hashtags Newsweek might have considered.

    Suspect that #psychoturbanedfourwivedbarbarianmohamedians was 2nd on Newsweek’s list as a potential hashtag after #muslimrage

    — المشير أبو كار (@Sarahcarr) 17 Sep 12

--DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, The Lede (nytimes)

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