Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XII Number 11, November-December 2004


Thursday, December 2, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting Caltech Y 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-- our building is just beyond. Help us plan
future actions on Tibet, the Patriot Act, Campaign Against Discrimination,
death penalty, environmental justice and more.

Tuesday, December 14, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the Athenaeum.
Corner of California & Hill. This informal gathering is a great for
newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, December 19, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion
Group. Special Location! 187 S. Catalina Ave. No. 2, Pasadena. Contact Lucas
at 626-795-1785 / for more info.
In December we discuss Nobel winner Naguib Mahfouz's novella The Day the
Leader was Killed. (More info below.)

Tuesday, January 11, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the Athenaeum.
Corner of California & Hill. This informal gathering is a great for
newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, January 16, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion
Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.  In January
we discuss Russell Martin's Picasso's War, and exploration of Guernica (More
info below.)


Hi all,

I'm writing this on Thanksgiving Day while waiting to drive to my dinner
destination!  We have a lot to be thankful for in this country, even though
many were disappointed on Nov 3rd.  Hopefully we can all work together to
preserve the freedoms we cherish here and abroad.

Several AI group 22 members and friends participated in the Doo-Dah Parade
in Pasadena this past Sunday, Nov 21.  Our Colombian friend, Hector
Aristizibal, threw together a skit at the last minute.  The crowd loved the
dancing letters trying to free the prisoners-all to the beat of drummers!
Thanks to Veronica Raymond for the great props, the walking/dancing letters,
the giant pencil, the mailbox on wheels and thanks to Donna Seron for the
great poster with the map of the world and human rights on it. Cheri Dellelo
did wonderful postcards with the AI logo advertising Group 22 meetings/info
to hand out to the crowd. Thanks to Lucas Kamp, our co-coordinator, for
coordinating everything with Veronica.  Afterwards, we feasted at Zankou
chicken and made kazoos out of straws, much to the amusement of the other

Group 22 has unique handcrafted holiday cards for sale.  The cards are red
or green and can be used for the winter holiday season but are also suitable
for other occasions.  Please come to one of our meetings if you'd like to
buy some cards. Only $6 for a pack of five.  Help keep our group going!
Dec 10 is Human Rights Day and Amnesty has its annual Global Write-a-thon.
Group 22 will participate through our regular letter writing meeting on Dec
14 (see upcoming events for more info).  Local groups 467 and 96 (West LA
and Santa Monica) are holding a Cafe Letter Writing Marathon Saturday Dec 11
from noon to 6 PM at Downbeat Cafe, 1202 N. Alvarado St. in LA.  For info,
contact Kimberly Yang at 310-709-2379 or
 .  Info re other writeathons in the LA
area can be found on

Happy Holidays to all.


Urgent Action to Prevent War Crimes

Recent reports from Falluja raise serious concerns that grave violations of
the laws of war protecting both civilians and combatants who are no longer
taking part in hostilities (hors de combat) are taking place. According to
the US television network NBC, US Marines left five wounded Iraqi men in a
mosque after a battle. The next day, last Saturday, another group of Marines
entered the mosque, and an NBC reporter saw one Marine shoot in the head,
one of the wounded Iraqi men who was lying on the ground, with no visible
weapons near him. The fate of the four other Iraqis is unclear.

US authorities have stated that that they have removed form the battlefield
one soldier and that they will conduct an investigation into this incident.
However, urgent measures must also be taken to prevent any violations.
Unequivocal orders for the proper treatment of unarmed and wounded
insurgents must be issued or reinforced to all US and Iraqi military and
civilian personnel. US and Iraqi forces should be clear that under
international law they have an obligation to protect and provide necessary
medical attention to wounded insurgents who are no longer posing a threat,
as well as to civilians.

The deliberate shooting of unarmed and wounded fighters who pose no
immediate threat is a war crime under international law and there is
therefore an obligation on the US authorities to investigate all such
reports and to hold perpetrators of such crimes accountable before the law.
Such investigations should be open and transparent and the findings should
be made public. Any potential witnesses should be protected.
Amnesty International had already called on US authorities to investigate an
earlier incident, reported on the UK's Channel Four News, in which a US
soldier appeared to have fired one shot in the direction of a wounded
insurgent who was off screen. The soldier then walked away and said "he's

Amnesty International is also calling on the US and Iraqi forces to ensure
that all those wounded in fighting in Falluja, both civilians and fighters,
receive prompt and effective medical treatment. In addition, urgent measures
must be taken to address the drastic humanitarian situation in the city.
There is currently no water, electricity or organised evacuation of the
wounded, who have no access to proper healthcare. The Iraqi Red Crescent
Society have been able to reach the hsopital on the outskirts of the city,
but are still not allowed to deliver humanitarian relief or assistance to
those in need inside the city. Most of the civilians in the city are
reportedly trapped in their homes or hiding places. There are is no
information of civilian casualties or injuries.

"There are acute humanitiarian needs within Falluja. Measures should be
taken urgently to allow the Iraqi Red Crescent Society and other
humanitarian organizations into the city."

Insurgents are also reported to have violated rules of international
humanitarian law: "Commanders and fighters of armed groups in Falluja also
have an obligation to respect fundamental rules of international law. Acts
such as booby trapping dead bodies are also war crimes," Amnesty
International said.

Please write:
- expressing concern that war crimes may have been committed in Falluja;

- stating that US and Iraqi forces have an obligation to protect and provide
necessary medical attention to wounded insurgents who are no longer posing a
threat, as well as to civilians;

- urging that humanitarian organizations, including the Iraqi Red Crescent
Society, be given access to the city to provide humanitarian help to the
civilian population-

Address for appeals:
The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld
 Secretary of Defense
 Office of the Secretary
 The Pentagon
 Washington, DC 20301, USA

Pending Executions in Iraq

Ten people have reportedly been sentenced to death by Iraqi courts and are
thought to be at imminent risk of execution.

The names of the 10 individuals and the charges against them are not known,
but they are said to have been sentenced in connection with "criminal
activities". The death sentences were upheld by an appeal court, and are
reportedly with Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar and Prime Minister Dr. Iyad
'Allawi for ratification.

The reintroduction of the death penalty on 8 August was said by the
country's authorities to be a response to a deteriorating security
situation. The state of emergency declared within Iraq on 7 November was
described in a similar manner, raising fears that the 10 individuals are at
imminent risk of execution.

Amnesty International strongly believes that, as with the reintroduction of
the death penalty, the resumption of executions will do nothing to restore
security for the people of Iraq. The death penalty, a cruel and inhuman
punishment, has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than any
other method. 

The former Iraqi government frequently resorted to the use of the death
penalty. Following the invasion of Iraq by a US-led coalition in March 2003,
the death penalty was suspended by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)
in June 2003. On 28 June 2004 power was transferred to an Iraqi interim
government led by Prime Minister Iyad ^╠Allawi, a former exile.

On 8 August, the interim government reinstated the death penalty for certain
crimes such as murder, drug trafficking and kidnapping. Although the
authorities justified the reimposition of the death penalty as a measure to
deal with the deteriorating security situation, there are indications that
this was done reluctantly and that some Iraqi officials opposed its use. For
example the Human Rights Minister, Bakhtiar Amin, who is on the record of
opposing the death penalty, is said to have declared, "this is the most
difficult day of my life".

On 7 November a 60-day state of emergency was declared throughout Iraq
except in the Kurdish controlled areas of northern Iraq. This came as a
consequence of a serious security situation that has seen widespread bomb
and suicide attacks killing scores of members of security forces and

Amnesty International deplores the re-imposition of the death penalty in
Iraq, and has repeatedly raised its concerns with Iraqi authorities,
including in submissions to the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights and Minister
of Justice. 

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
-  expressing concern that 10 people are reported to have been sentenced to
death in Iraq, and urging that their sentences be commuted;
-  requesting that the full names of the 10 people and the charges against
them are made public;
-  acknowledging the seriousness of the security situation, but pointing out
that the death penalty has never proved to be an effective deterrent to
combat crime, and calling for the death penalty to be abolished in law and

Please send appeals via the Iraqi embassy, asking them to forward your
appeals to: 
-  Ghazi al-Yawar, President of the Republic of Iraq
-  Dr. Iyad 'Allawi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq
-  Bakhtiar Amin, Human Rights Minister

Embassy of Iraq 
1801 P St. NW 
Washington DC 20036

Anniversary of Bhopal Disaster

The anniversary of the Bhopal chemical disaster is fast approaching and we
need your help!

December 3, 2004 marks 20 years since a catastrophic gas leak from a
pesticide plant in Bhopal, India exposed half a million people to toxic
chemicals, killing more than 7,000 people within days, and a further 15,000
in the following years. Around 100,000 people continue to suffer from
chronic and debilitating illnesses for which treatment is largely
ineffective. The disaster shocked the world and raised fundamental questions
about corporate and government responsibility for industrial accidents that
devastate human life and local environments. Yet 20 years on, the survivors
still await just compensation, adequate medical assistance and treatment,
and comprehensive economic and social rehabilitation. The plant site has
still not been cleaned up so toxic waste continues to pollute the
environment and contaminate water that surrounding communities rely on. And,
astonishingly, no one has been held to account for the leak and its
appalling consequences.

Starting in December and continuing throughout the year, Amnesty will be
calling on Dow Chemical/Union Carbide Corporation and the Indian government
to take responsibility for the devastating consequences of this disaster.
Visit on November 29 to take immediate
action ONLINE and to download the official Bhopal report, where you can find
details on letters you can write to the Indian government.  A few good
places to start for more information:

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

Greenpeace International

Students for Bhopal

AIUSA on Gonzales Nomination

While Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) takes no position on the appointment
of individual nominees, the organization believes that during the
nominations process for the office of Attorney General, the opinions
produced by Mr. Alberto Gonzales during his tenure as White House Counsel
and the resulting policy decisions deserve close and careful scrutiny.
In particular, AIUSA urges that the confirmation process include a detailed
examination of the nominee's views on human rights and humanitarian law,
with particular reference to the Administration's misguided approach to
these in the course of its declared "war on terror." It is important that
any future Attorney General uphold US and international law and seek to
ratify, implement, and abide by international treaties.

As part of the confirmation process, Amnesty International calls for the
full disclosure of any unpublished measures, directives or memoranda
authored by Mr. Gonzales or his staff that discuss the legality of
"disappearances," torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or
extrajudicial executions. The organization would also welcome an absolute
and unequivocal statement by Mr. Gonzales, that in accordance with US and
international law, he opposes torture and ill-treatment under any
circumstances, including war and any other public emergency.

Additionally, Mr. Gonzales should publicly support the establishment of an
independent commission of inquiry, wholly separate from the Department of
Justice, which would investigate all aspects of the United States' detention
and interrogation policies and practices. Such a commission should consist
of credible independent experts, have international expert input, and have
subpoena powers and access to all levels of government, all agencies, and
all documents whether classified or unclassified.

"The confirmation process is an opportunity to examine US policy and
practice that helped lead to the scandal of Abu Ghraib, seek testimony on
unanswered questions regarding the development of those policies from a key
participant, and seek assurances that the future Attorney General will
vigorously enforce the universal prohibition on the use of torture," said
Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.
"Without such questions being asked of the nominee, the US risks
perpetuating a disregard for its international legal obligations that at a
minimum sowed confusion among interrogators and at worst gave the green
light to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Since
9/11, the Administration has proclaimed its opposition to torture in public,
while in private discussing how the President can order torture and how
government agents can escape criminal liability for torture. That must now
come to an end."

Press for Arms Embargo

Here╣s a letter to send re the Darfur crisis in Sudan:

The Honorable Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am writing to request that you press the United Nations Security Council
to amend Resolution 1556 to include the Government of Sudan in the Arms

On several occasions the government of Sudan has made promises to disarm the
Arab militia formally known as the Janjawid and, to date, they have failed
to deliver on these promises. Instead, they reportedly are supporting the
Arab militia in an attempt to quell opposition from the Sudan Liberation
Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) who are
fighting for their civil rights. As a result, tens of thousands of people
have died and hundreds of thousands of people continue to be affected.
Innocent lives are lost everyday and people continue to suffer from
malnutrition, disease and sexual violence. Despite this somber condition in
the state of affairs in Sudan, the government has refused to acknowledge any
allegations that imply it supports the Janjawid.

Mr. Secretary, between the years of 1998 and 2002, various countries
including Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, Austria, Cyprus, the UK,
Ecuador, and Switzerland were reported to have exported close to USD $14.5
million worth of small arms and light weapons to Sudan. Given this dire
situation, I urge you to call on the Security Council to include the
Sudanese government in the arms embargo; stop the flow of arms into Sudan;
support and facilitate the increase of protection forces in Darfur to help
shield civilians; and establish a system of accountability to ensure that
the government of Sudan takes responsibility for its actions. I appeal for
you to act and help bring an end to this conflict.

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS


Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Special December Location!
187 S. Catalina Ave. No. 2, Pasadena
Contact Lucas at 626-795-1785 / for more info
Sunday, December 19, 6:30 PM

The Day the Leader was Killed
by Naguib Mahfouz

The time is 1981, Anwar al-Sadat is president, and Egypt is lurching into
the modern world. Set against this backdrop, The Day the Leader Was Killed
relates the tale of a middle-class Cairene family. Rich with irony and
infused with political undertones, the story is narrated alternately by the
pious and mischievous family patriarch Muhtashimi Zayed, his hapless
grandson Elwan, and Elwan's headstrong and beautiful fiancee Randa.  The
novel reaches its climax with the assassination of Sadat on October 6, 1981,
an event around which the fictional plot is skillfully woven.

Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena
Sunday, January 16, 6:30 PM

Picasso's War:  
The Destruction of Guernica and the Masterpiece that Changed the World
by Russell Martin

In Picasso's War, Russell Martin weaves politics, history, art, and science
into a stirring narrative of the monumental canvas that was to become the
most important artwork of the 20th century. Pablo Picasso, enraged by
Hitler's bombing of Guernica in Northern Spain on April 26, 1937, responded
to the devastation in his homeland by beginning work on Guernica. In
Picasso's War, Martin follows Guernica, the renowned masterwork, across
decades and continents, crafting an engrossing story of a its impassioned
creation and the struggle to find hope in the face of unspeakable acts of


Urgent Actions                                               19
Want to add your letters to the total? Get in touch with

Sample Letter for Prisoner of Conscience

Lieutenant General Soe Win
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Theinbyu Road
Botataung Township

Dear Prime Minister:

I am concerned about the fate of Thet Win Aung, a student and human rights
activist, currently serving a 59-year prison sentence on politically
motivated charges. He was arrested in October 1998 for participating in
peaceful demonstrations protesting the poor quality of education and the
deplorable human rights situation in Myanmar. Amnesty International reports
that he was tortured during interrogation by military authorities following
his arrest and was held for six months in solitary confinement in Insein

As a member state of the United Nations, Myanmar is expected to uphold the
tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Yet government
officials have persistently punished the people of Myanmar for peacefully
exercising rights guaranteed by the UDHR. Freedom of expression and freedom
of association are severely restricted, and it has become impossible for
non-violent political opponents of the government to act without risk of
arrest and imprisonment.

Thet Win Aung reportedly suffers from malaria, which he apparently
contracted in Khanti Prison. He was transferred to Mandalay Prison on
February or March 2004, and soon thereafter was admitted to Mandalay
Hospital. He reportedly was also suffering from depression at the time.

Amnesty International considers Thet Win Aung to be a prisoner of
conscience, detained solely for exercising his fundamental right to freedom
of expression. Due to Thet Win Aung's delicate medical condition, it would
be a significant act of humanitarianism to release him from custody. I urge
you to grant his immediate release.


copy to:

Ambassador U Linn Myaing
 Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
 2300 S Street N.W.
 Washington, D.C. 20008

Sample Letter for Indigenous Leader
Regional Governor, IX Region
 Intendencia Region Araucania
 Sr. Ricardo Patricio Celis Araya
 Bulnes 590 piso 2

Dear Sir:

It is disturbing to learn that Juana Calfunao Paillalef and her family
continue to suffer death threats following an apparent arson attack that
destroyed their home and killed a family member.

Juana Calfunao Paillalef is a lonko (community leader) of the Juan Paillalef
indigenous community in the municipality of Cunco. In the early hours of 26
June 2004, a fire burned her house to the ground. The charred body of her
uncle, Basilio Conoenao, was found afterward at the house. For days before
the fire, unfamiliar cars had been seen near the house at night, and Basilio
Conoenao and his nephew had received threats from landowners calling on the
family to abandon their property. Local landowners have long disputed the
demarcation and fencing of the community's property.

On 26 September 2004, an official from the National Commission for
Indigenous Development (Corporacion Nacional de Desarrollo Indigena)
reportedly threatened Juana Calfunao Paillalef and her 17-year-old daughter,
Carolina, saying, "Do you want me to burn you alive?" ("quieres que te queme
viva ahora") and "I'm going to get my gun to kill you" ("voy a buscar el
arma para matarlos"). Later that day, several shots were fired at the
makeshift dwelling where she and her family have been living since the
alleged arson attack.

I urge you to ensure that a prompt, impartial and conclusive investigation
is conducted into the attacks and intimidation suffered by the family of
Juana Calfunao Paillalef. I ask you to make public the findings of the
investigation into the alleged arson attack on their home and the death of
Basilio Conoenao and to ensure that those responsible are brought to
justice. Finally, I urge you to take immediate measures to provide Juana
Calfunao Paillalef and her family with adequate protection from future
threats or attacks.


copy to:

Ambassador Andres Bianchi
Embassy of the Republic of Chile
1732 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

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