Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XVIII Number 8, August 2010


Thursday, August 26, 7:30 PM. Monthly 
Meeting. Caltech Y is located off 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 Sudan, the 'War on Terror', death 
penalty and more. 

Tuesday, September 14, 7:30 PM. Letter 
writing meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner 
of Hill and California in Pasadena. This 
informal gathering is a great way for 
newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty!  

Sunday, September 19, 6:30 PM.  Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion group. 
This month we read "Don't Sleep, There Are 
Snakes:  Life and Language in the Amazonian 
Jungle" by Daniel Everett.


 Hi everyone

Well, we're back from our car trip to Oregon. Had 
fun in Ashland seeing 3 plays in 2 days, then on 
to Corvallis to visit with Rob's family.  It was 100 
degrees in the Willamette Valley!  On the way 
back, we stopped at Crater Lake where we got 
caught in a thunder and hailstorm!  (We hid out in 
an empty men's room at the visitor center until 
the hail had passed!!).  On the way home we 
drove down 395 through the beautiful and rugged 
Eastern Sierra to Yosemite, then home. Pics to 
follow on facebook as soon as I get it together.  
It's back to work on Monday for both of us!!  
Many regrets I missed the August book group 
discussion of "The Girl Who Played with Fire".  It 
just happened to coincide with our trip.  

Some Group 22 members have been active in the 
local DP Abolition movement.  See Stevi's DP 
update for details.  

Con carino,

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers Meeting: 
Sunday, September 19, 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard In Pasadena

Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes
By Daniel L.Everett


DANIEL L. EVERETT, a former evangelical 
Christian missionary to the Pirahas in the 
Brazilian Amazon for more than 20 years, is Chair 
of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and 
Professor of Linguistics and Anthropology at 
Illinois State University.


A riveting account of the astonishing experiences 
and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett 
while he lived with the Piraha, a small tribe of 
Amazonian Indians in central Brazil. 
Everett, then a Christian missionary, arrived 
among the Piraha in 1977 - with his wife and 
three young children - intending to convert them. 
What he found was a language that defies all 
existing linguistic theories and reflects a way of 
life that evades contemporary understanding: The 
Piraha have no counting system and no fixed 
terms for color. They have no concept of war or of 
personal property. They live entirely in the 
present. Everett became obsessed with their 
language and its cultural and linguistic 
implications, and with the remarkable 
contentment with which they live - so much so 
that he eventually lost his faith in the God he'd 
hoped to introduce to them. 
Over three decades, Everett spent a total of seven 
years among the Piraha, and his account of this 
lasting sojourn is an engrossing exploration of 
language that questions modern linguistic theory. 
It is also an anthropological investigation, an 
adventure story, and a riveting memoir of a life 
profoundly affected by exposure to a different 
culture. Written with extraordinary acuity, 
sensitivity, and openness, it is fascinating from 
first to last, rich with unparalleled insight into the 
nature of language, thought, and life itself.


The American Bar Association honored Gao 
Zhisheng with the 2010 International Human 
Rights Lawyer Award at its annual conference in 
San Francisco on August 6. Gao's 17-year-old 
daughter, Geng Ge (also known as Grace Geng), 
accepted the award for her father. Geng and her 
mother and brother have been living in the U.S. 
since they fled China over a year ago. Gao himself 
has been missing since April 2010 when he was 
allegedly abducted by Chinese security forces.

According to an article in the Epoch Times, Geng 
stated that she is extremely proud of her father 
and that he would be very happy if he knew that 
she was accepting this award for him. She misses 
him and admires him very much. She said that 
she would like to say to everyone, "If you are 
doing the right thing, keep doing it. Don't give 

Group 22 adopted the case of human rights 
lawyer Gao Zhisheng (pronounced Gow Jir-
sheng) in March of this year. Amnesty 
International suggests that we write on a regular 
basis to the Director of the Beijing Municipal 
Justice Bureau. Here is a sample letter that you 
can use as a guide.

WU Yuhua Juzhang
Beijingshi Sifaju
12 Xinjiekouwaidajie
Beijingshi 100088

Dear Director,

I am deeply concerned about Gao Zhisheng, 
a Beijing-based human rights lawyer 
who was detained in Shaanxi Province on 
February 4, 2009. His current whereabouts has 
been unknown since April 20, 2010.

A highly respected lawyer, Gao Zhisheng has 
represented a number of human rights defenders, 
including members of the spiritual group Falun 
Gong. The American Bar Association recently 
honored him with their 2010 International Human 
Rights Lawyer Award. 

Although Gao was named one of the top 10 
lawyers in 2001 by China's Justice Department, in 
2005 the government revoked his license and sent 
him to jail for three years, during which time he 
reportedly was tortured. I respectfully urge that 
the authorities open a full and impartial 
investigation into allegations that Gao Zhisheng 
suffered ill-treatment in detention, including 
beatings and inadequate access to medical 
treatment, and bring those responsible to justice. 

Thank you for your attention to this important 

[your name and address]


	July finished up and August slipped in to 
a cool beginning. Members of our group, Candy, 
Larry and Stevi, were able to support the Los 
Angeles County Coalition for Death Penalty 
Alternatives in August.  August 3, the LA County 
Coalition for DP Alternatives was on the agenda 
for the meeting of the Pasadena Human Relations 
Commission. James Clark from the ACLU made a 
presentation during which he asked the Human 
Relations Commission to pass the LACCDPA 
resolution calling on the DA to stop seeking death 
sentences. James had members of the religious 
community, a member of the Pasadena ACLU, 
and two members of Amnesty: a woman who 
may become the sunny SoCal coordinator for the 
death penalty and Stevi.  The Commission 
members who commented on the death penalty 
and the resolution expressed support.  They told 
us they will discuss the resolution with all the 
members of the Commission and support the 
Coalition when it appears before the Pasadena 
City Council.

	The LACCDPA changed its monthly 
meetings from Wednesday evening to Sunday 
afternoon at 3, so Candy, Larry and Stevi 
attended the August 8th meeting.  James led a 
fast-paced and informative meeting.  In addition 
to telling the group about the Human Rights 
Commission meeting, James talked about a tabling 
event that needs volunteers, World Day 
10/10/10 event that needs a location, the 
campaign around the Attorney General's election 
and Stephen Cooley that needs letters to the 
editor.  Pasadena Star-News: )

San Gabriel Valley Pride celebration is September 
12, 2010, in Memorial Park in Pasadena.  
LACCDPA needs volunteers to be at an 
information table. To volunteer, contact James 
Clark at

	Information from James Clark for writing 
letters to the various editors:

We need to get our message into LA-area 
newspapers NOW! We are concerned there will 
be more election related, pro-death penalty 
rhetoric in the next two weeks and we need to act 
now to deflect the negative tone. Please send 
letters to the editor this week!  Below are some 
tips, talking points, and contact info for LA 
Remember, the letters to the editor page is the 
most widely read page in the paper - it really 
does make a difference when we get letters 
published and we need a lot of letters to be sent 
for one or two to get published.
Please look for an article that you can use as a 
hook - possibly an article about the budget crisis, 
the impact of budget cuts, or a high profile trial. 
Here are some suggested messages:
1)      Due to the budget crisis, LA was 
forced to cut overtime for homicide 
investigators, putting many homicide 
investigations on hold.  In 2009, LA 
County spent at least $14.3 million on 
13 death penalty prosecutions.  For the 
same amount of money, the county 
could have paid for 185 homicide 
2)      From 1998 to 2008, 54% of murders in 
LA County remained unsolved due to 
lack of funds for DNA testing and 
homicide investigations.
3)      From San Joaquin to San Diego, 
prosecutors across California are 
choosing life without parole instead of 
the death penalty because the death 
penalty is three times more expensive 
and leaves victims' families in limbo for 
You can send a letter to any paper where you see 
a story you can use as a launching pad for your 
letter. Here are the instructions for sending letters 
to the three largest papers in Southern California.

Los Angeles Times
Submit a letter to the editor. Please fill in your full 
name, mailing address, daytime phone number, 
and e-mail address below. This information is 
seen only by the letters editors and is not used for 
any commercial purpose. Letters that do not 
contain full contact information cannot be 
published, and we generally do not publish more 
than one letter from a single person within any 
90-day period. Letters become the property of 
The Times and may be republished in any format. 
They typically run 150 words or less and may be 
edited. You will be contacted before your letter is 
Submit using online form:
Or email:
Los Angeles Daily News
Letters to the editor: Please limit letters to 125 
words.  Letters must be signed and include a 
daytime phone number and the community or city 
in which you live.
Submit using online form:
Or email:
Orange County Register
Please provide your name and telephone number 
(telephone numbers will not be published). Letters 
of about 200 words will be given preference.

Thanks everyone, with your help I know we can 
increase our visibility and help educate Los 
With Hope,
James Clark  (213) 977-9500 x 258  |
 Are convictions ever wrong?

	Page A-13 of the L A Times on August 5, 
2010, had a small item that caught my eye: DNA 
frees man jailed in murders.  I know the evil side 
of humanity hangs out in the world. I read I listen 
to the news, read articles and even read entire 
books; I belong to Amnesty International.  When I 
read about Jerry Hobbs and his incarceration 
since 2005, I had to wonder just who might be the 
deliverer of evil.  At the time of his hearing, Jerry 
pleaded not guilty.  A guy in prison for other 
crimes in Virginia matched the DNA from the 
murder scene that sent Jerry Hobbs to prison.  
Thankfully Jerry wasn't executed.

New CA lethal injection protocols approved

	The California Office of Administrative 
Law approved new lethal injection protocols.  
According to an article in the L A Times on 
August 7, 2010, "According to a Department of 
Corrections report on the new procedures, the 
revisions to California's lethal injection protocol 
will result in the 'dignified end of life' for 
condemned inmates."  Assemblyman Curt 
Hagman's contribution to the discussion of this 
'progress' was a law he introduced earlier this 
year.  It "could have prevented a legal challenge 
this week to new execution procedures." (LA Times)  

According to The StandDown Texas Project
 of August 6, "Assemblyman Curt Hagman says a 
bill he introduced earlier this year could have 
prevented a legal challenge this week to new 
execution procedures. ... Hagman's legislation 
would have allowed the director of the 
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to 
make all decisions related to the administration 
of the death penalty such as procedures, staffing 
and layout of the execution chamber."  This is the 
thinking that puts people like Jerry Hobbs close to 
death through no action of their own.  Just as 
Babs Bush told us many of the people stranded in 
the sports stadium in New Orleans after Katrina 
had never had it so good, maybe some people 
believe this 'dignified end of life' is a positive 
opportunity for some inmates.  Who can quibble 
over dignified, eh?

July 2010 List of US Executions:
20	Derrick Jackson	Texas Lethal Injection
21	Joseph Burn Mississippi Lethal Injection

August 2010 US Executions:
10	Roderick Davie	Ohio Lethal Injection
13	Michael Jeffery Land Alabama Lethal Injection
17	Peter Cantu Texas Lethal Injection

Stays of execution:
July 22 	Jermont Cox  Pennsylvania.
August 4	 Tamir Hamilton Nevada.
August 17	Jeffrey Matthews Oklahoma
		James VanDivner Pennsylvania

It's just really tragic after all the horrors of the 
last 1,000 years we can't leave behind something 
as primitive as government sponsored execution.
				Russ Feingold

Compassion for now,

UA's 22
Total 22 
To add your letters to the total contact                                                                                                        

Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code 5-62
Pasadena, CA 91125