Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIX Number 2, February 2011


Thursday, February 24, 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 March 8, 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, March 20, 6:30 PM.  Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion group. This 
month we read "Stones into Schools" by Greg 


 Hi everyone

Lucas Kamp and I attended the get-together of all 
the AI groups in LA County, called OCLA or 
"Organizing City Los Angeles" on January 29. We 
saw some old members and met new ones from 
college groups and YPAI (Young Professionals 
Amnesty International), a new group that has 
formed.  It was fun and Kala, our organizer for 
the Western region, kept everybody going the 
whole day!  Read Lucas' report in this newsletter.  
There will be another meeting Saturday May 14.

Joyce Wolf, case manager for our Chinese POC, 
Gao Zhisheng, has put a page for him on our 
group's website where you can take action.  See 
her column in this newsletter for information on 
how to access this!

This month for our book group we're reading Greg 
Mortenson's "Stones into Schools"- the continuing 
story of his quest to build schools for poor 
children, especially girls, in remote regions of 
Pakistan and Afghanistan.  I'm proud to say that 
Greg is an RN as well as a famous humanitarian 
who has won many awards for his work building 
schools and a mountain climber.  I have included 
an article on Greg from one of the "freebie" 
nursing magazines I receive.  I have explained the 
medical terms in parentheses.

Con carino,

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting: 
Sunday, March 20, 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard
 In Pasadena

About the Author

Greg Mortenson is the co-founder of nonprofit 
Central Asia Institute , founder of 
Pennies For Peace, co-
author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Three 
Cups of Tea, and author 
of bestseller Stones into Schools

In 2009, Mortenson received Pakistan's highest 
civil award, Sitara-e-Pakistan ("Star of 
Pakistan") for his dedicated and humanitarian 
effort to promote education and literacy in rural 
areas for fifteen years.

Several bi-partisan U.S. Congressional 
representatives nominated Mortenson for the 
Nobel Peace Prize this year. The award recipient 
is chosen by a secret process and announced in 

Mortenson was born in Minnesota in 1957. He 
grew up on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, 
Tanzania (1958 to 1973). His father Dempsey, 
co-founded Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center 
(KCMC) a teaching hospital, 
and his mother, Jerene, founded the International 
School Moshi

He served in the U.S. Army in Germany (1977-
1979), where he received the Army 
Commendation Medal, and graduated from the 
University of South Dakota in 1983.

In July 1992, Mortenson's sister, Christa, died 
from a massive seizure after a lifelong struggle 
with epilepsy on the eve of a trip to visit 
Dysersville, Iowa, where the baseball movie, 
'Field of Dreams', was filmed in a cornfield.
To honor his sister's memory, in 1993, Mortenson 
climbed Pakistan's K2, the world's second highest 
mountain in the Karakoram Range.
While recovering from the climb in a village called 
Korphe, Mortenson met a group of children sitting 
in the dirt writing with sticks in the sand, and 
made a promise to help them build a school.

From that rash promise, grew a remarkable 
humanitarian campaign, in which Mortenson has 
dedicated his life to promote education, 
especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan 
and Afghanistan.

As of 2011, Mortenson has established or 
significantly supports 171 schools in rural and 
often volatile regions of Pakistan and 
Afghanistan, which provide education to over 
68,000 children, including 54,000 girls, where few 
education opportunities existed before.

His work has not been without difficulty. In 1996, 
he survived an eight day armed kidnapping by 
the Taliban in Pakistan' Northwest Frontier 
Province tribal areas, escaped a 2003 firefight 
with feuding Afghan warlords by hiding for eight 
hours under putrid animal hides in a truck going 
to a leather-tanning factory. He has overcome 
fatwehs from enraged Islamic mullahs, endured 
CIA investigations, and also received threats from 
fellow Americans after 9/11, for helping Muslim 
children with education.

Mortenson is a living hero to rural communities of 
Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he has gained 
the trust of Islamic leaders, military commanders, 
government officials and tribal chiefs from his 
tireless effort to champion education, especially 
for girls.

He is one of few foreigners who has worked 
extensively for sixteen years (over 72 months in 
the field) in rural villages where few foreigners go.
TV newscaster, Tom Brokaw, calls Mortenson, 
"one ordinary person, with the right combination 
of character and determination, who is really 
changing the world".

Congresswoman Mary Bono (Rep - Cali.) says, 
"I've learned more from Greg Mortenson about the 
causes of terrorism than I did during all our 
briefings on Capitol Hill. He is a true hero, whose 
courage, and compassion exemplify the true 
ideals of the American spirit."

Here's more on Greg Mortenson, from a 
nursing perspective:

By Janet Boivin, RN
Monday November 23, 2009

Greg Mortenson, registered nurse and author of 
the best selling book "Three Cups of Tea," says 
that after building schools for girls in Pakistan 
and Afghanistan for 16 years, he is now focusing 
on the training of health workers as well. 
"It [healthcare] kept tugging at my heart," 
Mortenson said in an interview with Nursing 
Spectrum/NurseWeek magazines after addressing 
nurses at Sigma Theta Tau's 40th Biennial 
Convention in Indiana on Nov. 2. "One out of 
three children are dying" from lack of adequate 
health care. 
Sigma Theta Tau awarded Mortenson with its 
Archon Award for demonstrating exceptional 
leadership in promoting health and welfare 
throughout the world. Mortenson was also 
nominated for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, 
which President Obama was recently awarded. 
Mortenson began building schools after his sister 
Christa died from epilepsy in 1992 and he 
attempted to climb K2 in Pakistan, one of the 
world's most treacherous mountains, in her 
memory. Mortenson's attempt was unsuccessful. 
He became lost while descending the mountain 
and stumbled into the remote village of Korphe 
where he was cared for and befriended by 
villagers. When he left Korphe, he promised he 
would return to build a school. He did return to 
Korphe, built a school, and from there went on 
to construct dozens of other schools in first 
Pakistan and then Afghanistan. 
Mortenson, who also cofounded the Central 
Asia Institute to carry out his work, said when 
he first started his humanitarian efforts in 
Pakistan he considered building clinics instead 
of schools. But he said he wanted to build 
something that would directly empower the local 
Pakistanis, projects more easily done with 
schools than clinics.  
Mortenson recently started a maternal health 
training program teaching local women about the 
basics of good maternal-child health care. 
Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal and 
infant mortality rates in the world.  
"Many women die but not from difficult 
problems," he said. Often mothers die from 
common complications of pregnancy such as 
cephalo-pelvic disproportion (when a baby's 
head or body is too large to fit through the 
mother's pelvis. Editor's note MKH), placenta 
previa (when the placenta is attached to the 
uterine wall close to or covering the cervix. It
is a leading cause of antepartum hemorrhage. 
Editor's note MKH), abruptio placentae (when 
the placenta has separated from the uterine 
lining in late pregnancy. Editor's note MKH), 
because there are no obstetricians to perform 
cesarean sections. 
One maternal health worker, Aziza, who works 
in the Charpusan Valley in Pakistan on the 
border of Afghanistan, was able to eliminate 
maternal mortality after she was educated, 
Mortenson said. 
The remote region of central Asia has a high 
infant mortality rate from outbreaks of diseases 
such as diptheria, and from malnutrition. Babies 
in that part of Central Asia begin life 
nutritionally disadvantaged because women 
believe that colostrum (Colostrum comes out 
before the mother's milk from the breasts and 
contains antibodies to protect the newborn 
against disease, as well as being lower in fat 
and higher in protein than ordinary milk. 
Editor's note MKH) is poison and do not let 
their infants nurse for the first three days after 
birth, Mortenson said.  
Some women in Afghanistan and Pakistan are 
also malnourished because their husbands do 
not give them enough protein to eat and save the 
meat, poultry, and eggs for themselves. 
Mortenson did a study of women in Korphe and 
found the average hemoglobin level was 8 or 
9 (Editor's note:  normal hemoglobin levels for 
adult women are from 12-16 mg/dl.  Blood 
transfusions are usually given when the 
hemoglobin is below 10 mg/dl, depending on the 
physician - MKH). The women have so little 
body fat they stop menstruating and are 
infertile, he said. 
When one villager complained to Mortenson that 
his wife was infertile, Mortenson told him he 
needed to fatten her up by giving her some meat 
and eggs. The man was a father the next time 
Mortenson saw him. The villager, he said. 
thanked God for his wife's improved fertility. 
In his book "Three Cups of Tea," Mortenson 
mentions he is a nurse but it is not a central 
theme in his narrative. But nursing, he said, "has 
had a profound impact on my journey."  
Mortenson was a medic in the Army, an orderly, 
and then an ED nurse, often working to earn 
money to support his early humanitarian efforts 
in Pakistan. Nursing taught him to listen to 
people and to ask questions, he said. 
In Pakistan and then Afghanistan Mortenson, 
asked people: "I want to help you. What do you 
want?" They answered, 'We want our babies to 
stop dying and we want our children to go to 
Working the night shift gave Mortenson the 
stamina he needed to go without sleep. 
Consumed by the important work he is doing, 
Mortenson usually sleeps only four or five hours 
a day. He lives in Montana with his wife Tara 
Bishop, a clinical psychologist, and two young 
children but spends several months of the year 
in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 
Although Mortenson is beginning healthcare 
training programs, his school building efforts are 
not diminishing. "Education for girls has to be 
our top priority," he said. "Unless they are 
empowered, nothing will change in the world." 
Mortenson said he also plans to send health 
workers to his schools to teach the teachers how 
to do rudimentary health screenings for children. 
The education of girls in developing countries, 
such as Bangladesh, has proven to lower 
maternal and infant mortality, reduce 
population growth, and improve the basic 
quality of health, Mortenson said. 
Mortenson's book and his philosophy of 
listening to, respecting, and empowering 
indigenous populations, is also influencing 
military and political thinking regarding the U.S. 
role in Afghanistan. "Three Cups of Tea" is 
mandatory reading at the Pentagon and for 
commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq, 
Mortenson said. Army generals have also visited 
his schools. 
Mortenson said that while Taliban militants are 
blowing up hundreds of girls schools in Pakistan 
and Afghanistan, his schools have never been 
destroyed because they are run by the local 
villagers and not by governments or outside 
nongovernmental organizations. 
Mortenson has gone into five new areas in 
Afghanistan to build schools, including the home 
of one the Taliban's top leader, Mullah 
Muhammed Omar.  
To learn more about Mortenson and his work in 
Afghanistan and Pakistan go to his Web site: 
Janet Boivin, RN is a senior staff writer for Nursing 
Spectrum and NurseWeek magazines.

By Joyce Wolf

I've been reading A China More Just, the book by 
missing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, Group 
22's adopted prisoner of conscience. Somehow he 
managed to survive the extreme poverty, cold, 
and hunger of his early life in an isolated 
mountain village and find the inspiration to 
educate himself in law. At the age of 31 he 
passed his bar exam and embarked on a brilliant 
career defending victims of human rights 

Gao describes the harassment of himself and his 
family by plain-clothes police that began in 
October 2005. On one occasion when Gao turned 
his video camera on the two dozen police 
following him in a neighborhood market, they 
attempted to hide their faces with women's 
shawls, leaving only slits for their eyes to peer 
out. The crowds of about 200 onlookers "were in 
stitches, laughing, whistling, cheering and jeering. 
This was the first time in nearly three months that 
the plainclothes police had brought residents 
something positive - laughter. "

Gao completed his book in early 2006 before his 
ordeals of imprisonment and torture and enforced 
disappearances. He was taken off to detention in 
August 2006, and there was no humor to be 
found in the invasion of privacy that his family 
was forced to endure in the following months. His 
wife, Geng He, describes the events of that time in 
a BBC interview of January 28, 2011. 
pacific-12308620) "Every single move that you 
make will be watched," the police told her on the 
day of Gao's arrest. Three shifts of police literally 
lived in the family's home 24 hours a day, not 
even permitting them to lock their bathroom door. 

Geng He has been living in the U.S. since she and 
the children fled China in 2009. She has been 
doing everything she can to publicize her husband 
Gao's torture and disappearance. Please help by 
expressing your concern to the authorities in 
China. You can find more information about Gao 
Zhisheng and about writing to authorities in 
China, including a sample letter, on Group 22's 
new web page at

By Lucas Kamp

Kathy Hansen-Adams and I went to this meeting, 
which was from 10 am to 3 pm, organized by the 
AI Western Regional Office, with a goal to get all 
the AI groups in the LA area to meet each other.  

There were about 25 people there, with a large 
(about 7) contingent from UCLA and also a 
group from YPAI: Young Professionals for AI -- a 
group of recent college graduates who want to 
continue being active in AI but didn't have any 
Local Group to join, either because there's none 
near them or such groups are all old fogeys 
(something we've seen before:); otherwise the 
usual groups: Burbank, South Bay, Irvine, 
Redondo Beach -- the latter represented by Tony 
Gabriele and Ann Lau, whom we included in our 
group in the "LA Snapshot" section, because there 
were only two of us from Group 22 and each 
group was supposed to describe highlights of 
what we'd done the past year. Kathy and I had 
some problems coming up with major highlights, 
but we ended up by cheating and talking about 
the Doo Dah (even though we didn't do it last 
year) and several China events with Ann Lau. 
There was a lot of interest in the Doo Dah, it 
looks like we will be doing that again this year. 
Doo Dah is 30 April this year, still in East Pas, as 
far as I know. We may not have to be the main 
organizers, Ann Lau is interested in doing 
something on China, which we might join.

Kathy and I also mentioned the book group in our 
"year's highlights" report; we listed 3 books, 
including "Don't Sleep There Are Snakes" and that 
evoked some interest from a few people with 
linguistic inclinations.

The meeting was well structured, with lots of 
sessions where we broke up into smaller groups 
which discussed a topic and then presented our 
results to the whole group. The main theme was 
plans for the coming 6 months, with a detailed 
calendar of events, the first of which is the Death 
Penalty Action Weeks: 21 Feb - 6 Mar. We'll be 
talking more about these things at our upcoming 

There are pictures of this event on Facebook on 
the Amnesty West page.

By Cheri Dellelo

Bill Passed to Remove Planned Parenthood Funding

This week, Indiana Republican Mike Pence 
presented to the House a proposal to ban all 
federal funding for Planned Parenthood (federal 
funding currently represents 1/3 PP's budget) 
and to eliminate a program known as Title X, 
which provides aid for family planning and 
reproductive health. The House voted in favor of 
the bill, so now the amendment will proceed to 
the Senate for a vote.

This move is an attempt to prevent Planned 
Parenthood from spending federal money on 
abortion services. By law, Planned Parenthood 
already cannot allocate any federal funding for 
abortions. However, abortion opponents argue 
that allocating money to Planned Parenthood for 
the provision of other medical services "frees up" 
funds for abortion. What it will really do is 
significantly hamper Planned Parenthood ability 
to provide a wide range of safe, reliable health 
careŅand more than 90 percent is preventive, 
primary care, which helps prevent unintended 
pregnancies through contraception and education, 
reduce the spread of sexually transmitted 
diseases through testing and treatment, and 
screen for cervical and other cancers. 

Here is AI's stance on reproductive rights: 

"Human rights defenders working on sexual and 
reproductive rights issues at the domestic level 
have often faced fierce resistance, not only from 
officialdom, but from powerful political or 
religious institutions, the media or even from other 
sectors of the human rights movement.

"As well as seeking to end police brutality, 
gender-based violence and other abuses, sexual 
and reproductive rights defenders are also 
affirming an emancipatory vision of human rights, 
one which sees bodily and sexual integrity as 
integral to human flourishing, well-being and 
dignity as freedom of conscience or belief. Indeed, 
autonomy in one's intimate, affective and family 
life is itself an issue of conscience.

"Amnesty International supports women in 
claiming their rights."

If you are interested in taking action, you can 
send a letter to your senator through Planned 
Parenthood's website: 

CBS Reporter Raped in Egypt

On February 15, 2011, CBS News released a 
statement revealing that four days earlier, U.S. 
reporter Lara Logan had been beaten and 
sexually assaulted while covering the celebrations 
in Tahrir Square in Egypt following the resignation 
of then President Hosni Mubarak. They indicated 
that she was overwhelmed along with her camera 
crew and security staff: "It was a mob of more 
than 200 people whipped into frenzy. In the crush 
of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She 
was surrounded and suffered a brutal and 
sustained sexual assault and beating before being 
saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 
Egyptian soldiers." Logan returned to her hotel 
after the assault and was flown out of the 
country within hours on a chartered network jet. 
She is now recovering in the U.S. and is not yet 
granting interviews. 

In the aftermath of Logan's attack, some ignorant 
commentators have engaged in the all-too-
common practice of 'blaming the victim,' 
questioning Logan's decision to put herself in 
harm's way and questioning CBS News' decision 
to send 'such an attractive woman' to cover this 
event. Author and journalist Nir Rosen posted 
derogatory comments on Twitter about Logan's 
attack: "Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is 
going to become a martyr and glorified, we should 
at least remember her role as a major war 
monger," he tweeted. He later added: "Look, she 
was probably groped like thousands of other 
women." As a result, he was forced to resign from 
his New York University fellowship at the 
institution's Centre on Law and Security. 

If anything, what this incident has done is shine a 
spotlight on violence against women. In a swath 
of the globe notorious for mistreating women, 
Egypt is particularly infamous. According to a 
survey conducted in 2008 by the Egyptian Center 
for Women's Rights, 83 percent of native 
Egyptian women and 98 percent of women 
visiting from abroad have experienced some form 
of public sexual harassment. More than half the 
Egyptian women reported being molested every 
day. And contrary to popular belief, most of the 
victims were wearing modest Islamic dress. As 
Egypt's citizens begin the process of considering 
its liberation, they will do well to remember there 
is no liberation if it does not include the liberation 
of women.

An Interview with Madeleine Albright

In the following short video, former U.S. Secretary 
of State Madeleine Albright talks bluntly about 
politics and diplomacy, making the case that 
women's issues deserve a place at the center of 
foreign policy. Far from being a "soft" issue, she 
says, women's issues are often the very hardest 
ones, dealing directly with life and death. In the 
interview, she talks about her role in getting rape 
officially declared a weapon of war.

By Stevi Carroll

Death Penalty Action Weeks

Well, first of all, February 21 to March 6, 2011, is 
Amnesty's Death Penalty Action Weeks.  
Currently, we have not decided what we will do 
to bring attention to this issue.  I do have four 
petitions that I will bring both to our book group 
on Sunday, February 20 and to our monthly 
meeting on Thursday, February 24.  I found the 
cases of Scott Panetti, Texas, and Romell Broom, 
Ohio, particularly riveting.  Go to
weeks/ to see more 
information online.

California's new Death Chamber

Here in California, Judge Jeremy Fogel of the 
Federal District Court in northern California 
toured the new $900,000.00 death chamber at 
San Quentin on February 8, 2011.  He has not 
made his decision whether California will 
commence executions.  Julie Smalls from KPCC 
accompanied Judge Fogel.  To hear her report, go 

Los Angeles County Coalition for Death 
Penalty Alternatives

The Los Angeles County Coalition for Death 
Penalty Alternatives, of which Group 22 is a 
member, is hosting a free activist training at 
Claremont McKenna College on Saturday, 
February 26, 2011, from 10 AM to 3 PM.  For 
more information, see the flyer at

The Coalition has also divided into working 
groups.  The lobbying group had its first 
conference call February 16.  The lobbying 
approach is to meet with county supervisors and 
city council members to discuss, among other 
items, how our money can be used better than on 
the death penalty.  On March 3 at 10 AM, a 
group of us is meeting with Pasadena city 
councilmember Chris Holden.  I'll have more 
information on the location as the date nears. Join 
us if you can.

The LA Times recently had an editorial discussing 
the shortage of one of the execution drugs.  The 
editorial begins, "In response to violations of 
international human rights norms, Western 
governments are slapping sanctions on a rogue 
regime by halting exports of a deadly substance. 
That's nothing new; what is new is that the rogue 
nation is the United States."  It goes on to talk 
about the use of the drugs and the imperfection of 
the death penalty as a solution to crime.

The editorial ends with a challenge: "Add to this 
the expense of the never-ending appeals process 
and the serious questions about execution 
methodology raised by the sodium thiopental 
fracas, and we have to ask: Is the visceral 
satisfaction Americans derive from killing 
convicted killers really worth its cost?"  Just a 
little something to think about.

The Case of Linda Carty

A couple of weeks ago, I was at All Saints Church 
for an unrelated talk and I saw Gloria Goodwin-
Killian, a former death-row inmate and now anti-
death-penalty activist.  She alerted me to the case 
of Linda Carty, an inmate on Texas's death row.  
After checking a Texas execution schedule, I saw 
that Ms Carty's execution is not imminent.  The 
case is really interesting in that Ms Carty is a 
British citizen and may be innocent.  Check out 
the story at 
Death Row Briton Linda Carty talks about her 
controversial conviction and how she is paying 
for someone else's crime
By David Rose

Jordan Brown, 13, on Trial for Murder in Adult 

The state of Pennsylvania wants to try an 13-
year-old boy, Jordan Brown, as an adult for the 
murder of his father's fiancee and her eight-month 
fetus.  Jordan was nine when he committed this 
crime.  If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to 
life without possibility of parole.  The Amnesty 
article about this case says, "The USA and 
Somalia are the only countries in the world that 
have not ratified the UN Convention on the 
Rights of the Child, which prohibits life 
imprisonment without the possibility of release 
for crimes committed before the age of 18."  To 
read more on this case, go to

Online action:
Stop resumption of executions in Trinidad and 

Stays of Execution
9	Roy Blankenship		Georgia
15	Edward Harbison		Tennessee

25	Emmanuel Hammond			
	Georgia	Lethal Injection
9	Martin Link				
		Missouri	Lethal Injection
15	Michael Hall				
		Texas		Lethal Injection
17	Frank Spisak				
		Ohio		Lethal Injection


DP              3
UA's           23
Wen's friends   6
POC             1
Total          33
To add your letters to the total contact                                                                                                      

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