Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XII Number 8, August 2004


Thursday, August 26, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting Caltech Y Lounge has moved.
New Location! Just around the corner from our old meeting place, we move to
San Pasqual between Hill and Holliston, south side. You will see two curving
walls forming a gate to a path, with the sign "Caltech Auxiliary and
Business Services, 1-62" on one of them; our building is just behind that
sign. Help us plan future actions on the Patriot Act, Campaign Against
Discrimination, death penalty, environmental justice and more.

Tuesday, September 14, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the Athenaeum.
Corner of California & Hill. Please note that in the summer, the basement
area where we usually meet is closed.  Look for us on the lawn or check with
the receptionist. This informal gathering is a great for newcomers to get
acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, September 19, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion
Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.  This month
we discuss Tracy Kidder's profile of health and human rights activist Paul
Farmer. (More info below.)


Hi everyone,

Summer is almost over and I am making the most out of my last few days of
freedom! Robert and I took a car trip to N. California and Oregon for a week
to see the sights and his relatives in Oregon. Highlights were seeing elk in
Redwood Nat'l Park, Oregon Sand Dunes and Lava Beds Natıl Monument (in North
Eastern California). I hope that you also have had a relaxing summer.

Congratulations to Lucas Kamp, Phil Lefcourt and the rest of the Coalition
for Civil Liberties for getting the Pasadena City Council (finally!) to pass
a resolution opposing the USA Patriot Act on July 19, 2004. The vote was 6-2
in favor of the resolution. (Unfortunately, my councilperson, who shall
remain nameless, voted against it!). Several group 22 members attended the
meeting 7-19-04. Now Pasadena joins 4 states, and 335 other US cities in
opposition to the USAPA.

On July 22, 2004, the US Congress passed a resolution urging the US and the
international community to take all steps necessary to end the humanitarian
crisis in Darfur,Sudan, including calling it 'genocide'. For more info, see
the AI USA website  .  I sent a
letter to the LA Times about 3 weeks ago re the situation, but it didn't get
published. There is an action you can take on the AI website's opening page.

An AI delegate, Jumana Musa, will attend the first preliminary hearing
scheduled for August 23, 2004 for 4 Guantanamo detainees who will be tried
under a US military commission.  Please see the 'War on Terror' action in
this issue.

Please take note that our monthly meetings have moved to a new location just
down the street from the old one (see Upcoming Events for details!

Take care,



Another young woman, Alma Brisa Molina Baca, age 34, has been abducted,
sexually assaulted and murdered in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican border town
across from El Paso, Texas. Her body was found July 27, 2004. There is a
history of inadequate investigation into the murders by Mexican authorities
and over the past 10 years, over 300 women have been killed in Juarez and
the state of Chihuahua. Relatives of the murdered women and human rights
organizations, have sought to highlight the failure to bring those
responsible to justice, and the negligence of the state authorities. They
have been harassed and threatened because of their activism.

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:

--expressing concern at the abduction and murder of Alma Brisa Molina Baca
in Ciudad Juarez and calling for a prompt, impartial and effective
investigation into her killing that will identify those responsible and
bring them to justice;

--urging authorities to ensure that the family of the victims are able to
assist the official investigation;

--urging the state and federal authorities to take effective action to
ensure that all the cases of women missing or murdered in the state of
Chihuahua are effectively investigated;

--calling on the state and federal authorities to take effective action to
ensure that women can live free from violence in the state of Chihuahua.


Governor of the State of Chihuahua:

Lic. Patricio Martinez
Gobernador del Estato de Chihuahua
Aldama 901, Colonia Centro, Chihuahua, Mexico
Attorney General of the State of Chihuahua:
Lic. Jesus Antonio Pinon Jimenez
Procurador General de Justicia del Estado de Chihuahua
Calle Vicente Guerreo 616, Col. Centro,
Chihuahua, Mexico


Ambassador Carlos Alberto De Icaza Gonzalez
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20006


Ngawang Gyaltsen, Tibetan Monk

Group 22 is now working on the case of Tibetan monk Ngawang Gyaltsen, held
in the infamous Drapchi Prison since he was arrested in 1989 along with the
other monks in the "Group of Ten", who published a Tibetan translation of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and leaflets relating to Tibet

The Chinese authorities cited Ngawang Gyaltsen and four others of the Group
of Ten  as "main culprits" and sentenced them to unusually long terms of 17
to 19 years. One of these five died in prison in 1996.

Another one of the five, Ngawang Woeser (sometimes spelled Oeser), was just
reported in July to have been released from Drapchi after serving 15 years
of his 17-year sentence. (Full story at ). He is said to be in very
poor health as a result of torture and ill-treatment during his long

We don't have any information about the physical condition of Ngawang
Gyaltsen, but he was probably subjected to the same conditions as  Ngawang
Woeser. Working on his case together with the AI group in Santa Cruz, let's
make a special effort for his early release.

This month let's write to China's Ambassador to the U.S. You can copy the
letter below or use it as a guide.

Ambassador Jiechi Yang
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington DC 20008

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you about a prisoner in Tibet Autonomous Region Prison No.
1. The prisoner's name is NGAWANG GYALTSEN. He was sentenced in 1989 to a
term of 17 years because of his activity in publishing material such as a
Tibetan translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I believe that NGAWANG GYALTSEN has been imprisoned solely for the
nonviolent expression of his beliefs. I respectfully urge that his case be
reviewed and that his present status be reported to international

I welcome the recent release of Ngawang Woeser, who was arrested and
sentenced along with Ngawang Gyaltsen. However, I am sorry to hear that
Ngawang Woeser is said to be in very poor health as a result of
ill-treatment during his imprisonment; I hope that Ngawang Gyaltsen has not
been subjected to similar abuse and I urge that he receive any necessary
medical care.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I hope to hear soon
of Ngawang Gyaltsen's release.


(Your name and address)



Ngawang Gyaltsen                  6
Summer Postcard Action           40
Total                            46
Want to add your letters to the total? Get in touch with 

Guantanamo Prisoner Hearings

Feroz Ali Abbasi (m), UK national, aged 23
Moazzam Begg (m), UK/Pakistan national, aged 35
David Hicks (m), Australian national, aged 28
Salim Ahmed Hamdan (m), Yemen national, aged 34
Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul (m), Yemen national
Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi (m), Sudan national

In the face of international opposition, the US administration is continuing
to prepare to conduct trials by military commissions. In the week of 23
August, preliminary hearings are due to be held in the cases of four men in
custody in the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They have been charged
under the Military Order on the Detention, Treatment and Trial of Certain
Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism signed by President Bush in
November 2001. Those held under the Order can be tried by military
commission, whose verdicts cannot be appealed in any court.

The four men who have been charged are Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul,
Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi, David Hicks, and Salim Ahmed Hamdan. Their
charges include conspiracy to commit "terrorism". The preliminary hearings
for the four defendants will take place in a specially built courtroom in
Guantanamo, before the presiding officer only. It is expected that the
presiding officer - retired military judge, Colonel Peter E. Brownback -
will hear pre-trial motions, may set trial dates, and will be questioned by
defence and prosecution lawyers on his fitness to serve on the military
commissions. An Amnesty International delegate will observe these
preliminary hearings.

The death penalty will not be sought against these four defendants. A death
penalty trial must be held before seven commission members, and these men
will be tried in front of a panel of five military officers, including the
presiding officer. Life imprisonment will be the maximum punishment
available. Sentencing is at the discretion of the commission members. There
are no detailed guidelines.

Amnesty International is concerned that any guilty pleas or detainee
testimony before the commissions could be the result of the coercive nature
of the conditions in which the detainees have long been held without any
legal process. The four men, as well as Feroz Abbasi and Moazzam Begg who
have been made eligible for trial by military commission, but who have not
yet been charged, have been held for months in isolation in Camp Echo, the
part of the Guantanamo facility where pre-commission detainees are held.
Their conditions of detention have raised serious concern about their
well-being and their susceptibility to making coerced statements. Salim
Ahmed Hamdan, for example, is reported to have said that he has considered
making a false confession in order to improve his situation.

The military commissions will be able to admit coerced evidence.  The
procedures for the commissions provide that evidence "shall" be admitted if
the presiding officer or a majority of the commission members consider that
it "would have probative value to a reasonable person". In other words, if a
statement made under torture or coerced by the conditions of detention at
Guantanamo or elsewhere is considered to have some significant evidential
value, it "shall" be admitted. In similar vein, a memorandum from the US
Justice Department to the Department of Defense, dated 26 February 2002,
advised that "incriminating statements may be admitted in proceedings before
military commissions even if the interrogating officers do not abide by the
requirements of Miranda [the US Supreme Court decision controlling the
rights of criminal suspects and conduct of interrogators]".

It is now known that the administration has approved interrogation
techniques that have gone beyond normal US army doctrine. The purpose of the
techniques has been to extract information. Methods approved in December
2002 by Secretary Rumsfeld for use at Guantanamo, for example, included
stress positions, sensory deprivation, hooding, stripping, the use of dogs
to inspire fear, and isolation.

On 7 July 2004, the Pentagon announced that another nine foreign detainees
had been determined by President Bush to fall under the provisions of his
Military Order. These detainees have not been identified. It is not known if
they are held in Guantanamo Bay. They have not yet been charged.

Amnesty International has called for the Military Order to be rescinded ever
since it was signed, on the grounds that it is fundamentally flawed and
because trials under its provisions will violate international fair trial
standards. The military commissions will entirely lack independence from the
executive, will place severe restrictions on the defence, and provide no
right of appeal to any court. The fact that only foreign nationals are
eligible for such trials violates the prohibition on the discriminatory
application of fair trial rights. The USA should abandon these trials and
only countenance proceedings that fully meet international standards.

If possible, please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in your
own words:

--expressing regret at the continuing preparations for trials by military
commission, trials which will not comply with international standards, not
least because the commissions lack independence from the executive, are
discriminatory, and deny the right of appeal to an independent and impartial
court established by law;

--expressing concern at the coercive nature of Camp Echo conditions,
widespread allegations of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of
detainees in US custody in the "war on terror", and that coerced testimony
or pleas may be admitted in trials before military commissions;

--urging that the military commission trials be cancelled, that the Military
Order of 13 November 2001 be revoked, and that the Guantanamo detainees be
charged with recognizably criminal offences, brought to trial, without
recourse to the death penalty, in proceedings which fully meet international
standards for fair trial, including the right to appeal to a court of law,
or else released.


President George Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington DC 20301

Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington DC 20520

Renew 1994 Assault Weapons Ban

Controlling the dangerous spread of deadly small arms and light weapons is a
central goal of the Control Arms Campaign, launched by Amnesty
International, Oxfam and the International Action Network on Small Arms in
October 2003. These widespread weapons take more than a half a million lives
each year. For that reason, the campaign seeks negotiation and ratification
of an International Arms Trade Treaty that would ban weapons sales to
governments that violate international humanitarian and human rights law.

But it is not only the international arms trade that kills innocent people,
and AI is not just concerned about the international sale of arms used to
violate human rights. Under international human rights law, governments have
a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent acts of violence and unlawful
killings of their citizens, including those committed by private persons.
This responsibility is enshrined in international law, which lays out a
range of 'due diligence' responsibilities to protect human rights. When a
state fails to exercise due diligence and small arms are used by private
persons to abuse the rights of others, the issue of gun regulation becomes a
human rights concern. The Control Arms Campaign calls on all governments to
enact careful regulation of domestic, or local, firearms sales in order to
ensure to the greatest extent possible that people in their country are not
harmed by gun violence.

According to the Geneva-based think tank Small Arms Survey, the domestic
firearms trade in the United States dwarfs that of all other countries.
Private citizens in the US possess one third of all firearms in the world,
and gun sales laws in the US are much more lax than in any industrialized
country. Unfortunately, this largely open market services not only hunters
and sportsmen, but also murderers, batterers, gang members, rapists, and
even international terrorists.

A key piece of federal gun control legislation, the Assault Weapons Ban of
1994, will expire on September 13, 2004 unless Congress takes urgent action
to renew it. President Bush has said that he will sign the bill into law if
Congress passes it.

This law prohibits the manufacture and distribution of 19 specific models of
military-style assault weapons, and weapons with certain combinations of
features designed for military use. An assault weapon can spray dozens of
bullets across a wide area in a short time. Most assault weapons are
semi-automatic versions of fully-automatic machine guns designed
specifically for the military. Assault weapons can be handguns (like the Uzi
or TEC-9) or long guns (like the AK-47 rifle or the Street Sweeper shotgun).
According to a Congressionally-mandated study conducted by the US Department
of Justice, the ban has made semiautomatic assault weapons less accessible
to criminals. 

According to the Brady Campaign, US crime gun traces performed by the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) showed that prior to the
Assault Weapons Ban, between 1986 and 1992, assault weapons were used in
1,578 murders, 940 assaults, 224 robberies, and more than 4,500 narcotics
crimes. Before the federal ban, there were numerous newspaper accounts
publicizing some of the worst mass murders ever committed in the United
States, all committed using assault weapons. Such reports included:

--The McDonald's shooting - On July 18, 1984, James Huberty killed twenty
one people and wounded nineteen others in a San Ysidro, California,
McDonald's using an Uzi assault pistol and a shotgun.

--The Stockton schoolyard massacre - On January 17, 1989, Patrick Purdy
killed five small children and wounded twenty nine others and a teacher at
the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, using a
semiautomatic AK-47 assault rifle imported from China. That weapon had been
purchased from a gun dealer in Oregon and was equipped with a 75-round
"drum" magazine. Purdy shot 106 rounds in less than two minutes.

--The Louisville, Kentucky, workplace massacre - On September 14, 1989,
Joseph Wesbecker killed seven people and wounded thirteen others at his
former place of work in Louisville, Kentucky, before taking his own life.
Mr. Wesbecker was armed with an AK-47 rifle, two MAC-11 assault pistols, and
a duffle-bag full of ammunition.

--The CIA headquarters shootings - On January 25, 1993, Pakistani national
Mir Aimal Kasi killed two CIA employees and wounded three others outside the
entrance to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Kasi used a Chinese-made
semiautomatic AK-47 assault rifle equipped with a 30-round magazine
purchased from a Northern Virginia gun store.

--The Branch-Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas - On February 28, 1993, while
attempting to serve federal search and arrest warrants at the
Branch-Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, four ATF special agents were killed
and sixteen others were wounded with an arsenal of assault weapons.
According to a federal affidavit, the cult had accumulated at least the
following assault weapons: 123 AR-15s, 44 AK-47s, two Barrett .50 calibers,
2 Street Sweepers, an unknown number of MAC-10 and MAC-11s, twenty 100-round
drum magazines, and 260 large-capacity banana clips. The weapons were bought
legally from gun dealers and at gun shows.

--The San Francisco Pettit & Martin shootings - On July 1, 1993, Gian Luigi
Ferri killed eight people and wounded six others at the San Francisco law
offices of Pettit & Martin and other offices at 101 California Street. Ferri
used two TEC-DC9 assault pistols with 50-round magazines. These weapons had
been purchased from a pawnshop and a gun show in Nevada.

The information above, summarizing news accounts of highly publicized cases
provides compelling evidence in support of renewing the 1994 Assault Weapons

Amnesty International understands assault weapons to be firearms that
utilize military features useful in combat, but which have no civilian
purpose. Such weapons can be indiscriminate if used in self-defense in a
civilian context, because they are designed to spray indiscriminate fire.
Because of their design, a shooter can maintain control of the weapon even
while firing many rounds in rapid succession. Moreover, the bullets fired
from many types of assault weapons are designed to pass through humans and
will pass through structures, and therefore pose a heightened risk of
hitting innocent bystanders.

Amnesty International endorses efforts to renew and extend the current ban
on the possession, trade, and use of assault weapons by civilians in the
United States. Such a ban should include 'sporterized' or 'post-1994 ban'
versions of assault weapons, and include all assault weapons.

Law enforcement officers are at particular risk from these weapons because
of their high firepower and ability to penetrate body armor. According to
the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, one in five law enforcement officers
killed in the line of duty during 1998-2001 was shot with an assault weapon.
It is therefore not surprising that all major national law enforcement
organizations in the United States have supported the federal assault
weapons ban and worked for its renewal. According to the Brady Center, law
enforcement organizations that support the ban include the Fraternal Order
of Police, the National Sheriffs' Association, the International Association
of Chiefs of Police, the Major City Chiefs Association, and the
International Brotherhood of Police Officers.

Amnesty International does not oppose gun ownership; Amnesty International
does oppose the sale and distribution of weapons that contribute to human
rights violations and abuse. Military-style weapons that are sold and used
in streets and schools contribute to human rights abuses.

Please act immediately to protect human rights by renewing the 1994 Assault
Weapons Ban and keeping these deadly weapons off the streets. Sample Letter:

Representative Adam Schiff
326 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC  20515-0529

Dear Representative Schiff,

As your constituent and a member of Amnesty International, I urge your
immediate and active support for efforts to renew the 1994 Assault Weapons
Ban, which will expire on September 13, 2004 unless Congress takes action.
Amnesty International joins major national law enforcement organization in
the United States in support of banning assault weapons sales as a critical
measure to increase public safety and prevent human rights abuses.
President Bush has said that he will sign an assault ban renewal into law.

Military-style assault weapons are designed to kill or injure as many people
as possible in the shortest amount of time.  Reports indicate that they are
the weapons of choice for violent criminals. Before the federal ban in 1994,
there were numerous newspaper accounts publicizing some of the worst mass
murders ever committed in the United States, all committed using assault
weapons. Such atrocities included a massacre at a McDonald's restaurant that
killed twenty one people and one at an elementary school in Stockton,
California that left five small children dead and twenty nine more wounded.

All governments have a duty to protect against violence and unlawful
killings, including such acts committed by private citizens.  Military-style
assault weapons that are sold and used in streets and schools contribute to
human rights abuses.  Please act immediately to protect human rights in
America by renewing the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and keeping these deadly
weapons off the streets.   Don't let the assault weapons ban expire.




Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vromanıs Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena
Sunday, September 19, 6:30 PM
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure
the World

by Tracy Kidder

At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer. Doctor,
Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist,
the recipient of a MacArthur 'genius' grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer
was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his
life's calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the
lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. This
magnificent book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that
seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created,
as Farmer, brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international
health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the
mountains of Haiti, blasts through convention to get results.

Editor's Last Word:
Read us on line:
Martha Ter Maat, 626-281-4039 /