Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XX Number 8, August 2012


Thursday, August 23, 7:30 PM. Monthly 
Meeting. We meet at the Caltech Y, Tyson 
House, 505 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena. (This is 
just south of the corner with San Pasqual. 
Signs will be posted.) We will be planning our 
activities for the coming months. Please join 
us! Refreshments provided.

Tuesday, September 11, 7:30 PM.  Letter 
writing meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner 
of Hill and California in Pasadena. During the 
summer we meet outdoors at the Athenaeum's 
"Rath al Fresco," on the lawn behind the main 
building. This informal gathering is a great way 
for newcomers to get acquainted with 

Sunday, September 16, 6:30 PM.  Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
group. This month we discuss "The Devil and 
Mr. Casement" by Jordan Goodman.


Kathy had some problems with her computer 
and couldn't do her usual column this month. 
Here's a report on Sunday's Prop 34 house 
party. Many thanks to Stevi, Laura, and Paula 
for organizing this very successful event!

SAFE CA - Prop 34 House Party
by Stevi Carroll
Twenty-six of us gathered at Laura and Ted's 
house for friends, food, facts, and fundraising.  
In addition to Group 22's members, we had 
friends who swim together, drink coffee 
together, rouse rabble together, and celebrate 
life together.  The Proposition 34 pitch was easy 
to deliver to this crowd, and it opened the door 
to a spirited discussion.  So much knowledge 
gathered in the room.

By the end of the afternoon, we'd raised over 
$450.00 and may have a few more bucks coming 
in for the campaign.  Many people took 
donation envelopes to share with friends or 
colleagues.  I know one woman who sent me her 
regrets about not being able to attend and asked 
me to give her a donation envelope when I see 
her midweek.  Her comment to me: This is such 
an important issue!

We had the opportunity to bring people 
together, to raise money for the SAFE CA 
campaign, and to celebrate Kai's upcoming 
birthday.  Community nurtures compassion.  

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, Sept. 16,  6:30 pm 
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado, Pasadena

The Devil and Mr. Casement
By Jordan Goodman

We were introduced to Roger Casement in King 
Leopold's Ghost, our very first Rights Readers 
book selection some 12 years ago. This book 
picks up his story a bit later as he investigates 
rubber plantations in South America. And as 
Martha says, if you show up for the discussion 
having read the just-released novel The Dream 
of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa, also about 
Roger Casement, you won't be turned away!

The New York Times
February 14, 2010
Empire of Savagery in the Amazon

One Man's Battle for Human Rights in South 
America's Heart of Darkness
By Jordan Goodman

The 19th-century doctrine of progress held 
slavery and capitalism to be incompatible. 
Coercion, liberals believed, violated the ideals of 
natural rights and free labor. Wage work, 
Marxists thought, was more profitable than 
forced work, and that alone would doom 
slavery. Then in 1904, nearly four decades after 
Appomattox, Roger Casement, an Irish-born 
career diplomat in the British Foreign Office, 
wrote his Congo report, revealing that King 
Leopold of Belgium had enriched himself by 
presiding over a rubber trade founded on pure 
cruelty. "What has civilization itself been to 
them?" Casement asked of Leopold's Congolese 
victims, 10 million of whom, by some estimates, 
had perished in but two decades. He himself 
had the answer: "A thing of horror."

"The Devil and Mr. Casement," by Jordan 
Goodman, the author of several works of 
history, reconstructs the Casement investigation 
in the Putumayo region of the Amazon rain 
forest that followed the Congo report. There, the 
Peruvian Julio Cesar Arana ruled over a rubber 
empire of 10,000 square miles, and from 1910 to 
1913, Casement exhausted himself trying to 
force the British government to take action 
against Arana and his London-incorporated 
Peruvian Amazon Company. He twice traveled 
to the Amazon, collecting evi_dence of 
whipping, torture, mass rape, mutilation, 
executions and the hunting of the region's 
Indians, whose population Casement calculated 
had fallen to 8,000 in 1911 from 50,000 in 1906.

Goodman's book adds to Casement's reputation 
as a pioneer of the human rights movement's 
tactics, including the on-the-spot investigation, 
the gathering of victims' testimony and the 
leveraging of public outrage to spur reform. 
Casement was one of the first to use the phrase 
"crime against humanity," and he judged Arana 
to be guilty of "not merely slavery but 
extermination" - what later would be called 

But Casement's moral trajectory ran opposite to 
that of many modern human rights activists. 
France's current foreign minister, Bernard 
Kouchner, for example, dropped his youthful 
support for national liberation movements to 
embrace what some have criticized as 
"humanitarian imperialism." Casement tried at 
first to use the services of a foreign office to ease 
suffering. Yet he veered off what he called the 
"high road to being a regular Imperialist jingo." 
His time in Congo and the Amazon deepened 
his sense of anti_colonial solidarity. "I was 
looking at this tragedy," he said of Congolese 
slavery, "with the eyes of another race" - the 
Irish - "a people once hunted themselves." 
Knighted in 1911 for his humanitarian work, he 
was hanged by the British five years later for 
conspiring with the Germans on behalf of Irish 

Casement's execution is not the climax of 
Goodman's story, because this book doesn't 
have a climax. It tapers off without resolution. 
The British directors of Arana's company are 
interrogated by members of Parliament. Reports 
are issued, sermons are preached, politicians are 
outraged. Arana appears before Parliament's 
committee on the Putumayo, after which he 
boards a steamer back to Peru untouched. The 
reader is left to ponder the fate of his indigenous 

This is an apt ending to a fine and meticulous 
book, for a kind of slavery still remains in force 
in the Amazon. Thousands of workers, for 
instance, trapped in conditions nearly as dismal 
as those documented a century ago in the 
Putumayo, make the charcoal used to forge pig 
iron, which is then purchased by international 
corporations to produce the steel used in 
everyday products, including popular makes of 

Arana ultimately lost his company and died 
broke. Yet the devil continues to get the better of 
Mr. Casement.

Greg Grandin is the author, most recently, of 
"Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's 
Forgotten Jungle City."
Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

by Stevi Carroll

June 7th we got a message on our Amnesty 
Facebook page from Adriana Pinedo, Alcohol 
Policy Coordinator for Day One in Pasadena.  
She asked us to have a table at Day One's annual 
Youth Summit on August 13 at All Saints 
Episcopal Church.  A chance for some outreach 
to kids!  Great.

Day One is a nonprofit organization that works 
with young people to provide public health 
education.  Sifting through DO information, I 
figured out the organization works to give kids 
interests other than hanging on the corner and 
getting into trouble. A quick look at the calendar 
of events for August shows a variety of activities 
for them. 

After snagging a table in the shade of the 
building, I chatted with Lesford Duncan from 
Californians Against Slavery, Proposition 35 on 
this November's ballot, while we waited for the 
lunch break and the participants.

Lunch time arrived and so did the kids and 
some adults.  While one woman said she got 
Urgent Actions she responded to, most people I 
talked to, teen or adult, didn't know about 
Amnesty International.  One young girl listened 
intently as I explained the various areas AI is 
involved in, and when I got to the death penalty, 
she became puzzled.  "Why," she asked, "do we 
kill people?"  After we talked for a while, she 
asked me if I thought the death penalty would 
be a good topic for her school's debate club.  
We'd already talked about Prop 34 with its 45% 
in favor and 45% opposed, so she could see that, 
yes, the death penalty would be a good topic.  
Thanks to Kalaya'an Mendoza, our Western 
Regional Field Organizer, I had a DVD that 
explains how to start a youth group which she 
took.  Christy Zamani, the executive director of 
Day One, also asked about starting a teen group, 
so the DVD came to the rescue again.  Perhaps 
we will have a Pasadena teen AI group.

By the end of the lunch hour, I passed out a 
number of copies of Passport For Human Rights: 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all of the 
DVDs to start a youth group, lots of stickers, 
most of our newsletters, and some flyers.  As 
one woman said, "I didn't even know you were 
out there."  We are and now they know.

Gao Zhisheng
by Joyce Wolf

On July 23-24, the U.S. Department of State 
hosted its Annual Human Rights Dialogue with 
the Chinese Government. Assistant Secretary 
Michael Posner gave a press briefing in which he 
mentioned Group 22's adopted prisoner of 
conscience Gao Zhisheng. (Mr. Gao is a human 
rights lawyer who was detained in 2009 and 
endured brutal torture during his forced 
disappearance. He is now serving a 3-year 
sentence in Shaya Prison in remote western 

"The overall human rights situation in China 
continues to deteriorate. Over the last two days, 
we've focused on a number of cases where 
lawyers, bloggers, NGO activists, journalists, 
religious leaders, and others are asserting 
universal rights and calling for peaceful reform 
in China. A number of these individuals have 
been arrested and detained as part of a larger 
pattern of arrest and extralegal detention of 
those who challenge official actions and policies 
in China. Among the cases we raised were 
lawyers like Gao Zhisheng and Ni Yulan, who 
have been imprisoned because of their legal 
advocacy on behalf of clients who espouse 
controversial positions and who are critical of 
official actions. We urge the Chinese 
Government to release such lawyers as well as 
imprisoned democracy activists like Liu Xiaobo, 
Chen Wei and Chen Xi, who have actively 
pursued political openness and the promotion 
of fundamental freedoms for Chinese citizens."

You can read Michael Posner's entire briefing 
and watch the video at

For this month's action, I suggest we send a note to 
Mr. Posner, thanking him for his efforts on behalf of 
Gao Zhisheng and encouraging him to continue 
working for human rights activists in China. Here is 
his address:

Michael H. Posner
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, 
Human Rights, and Labor
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

By Stevi Carroll

  Justin Wolfe

Daniel Patrole was murdered.  Owen Barber 
admitted to killing Mr. Patrole.  Another guy, 
Justin Wolfe, was sentenced to death because 
Mr. Patrole, on the advice of his defense 
attorney and the prosecutors and to avoid the 
death penalty, fingered Mr. Wolfe for hiring Mr. 
Barber to commit the murder.  Mr. Wolfe 
maintained his innocence; however, his lawyer, 
John H. Partridge, had never tried a capital 
murder trial and admitted he made many 

Finally, the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals 
agreed with a lower court ruling that the 
charges against Mr. Wolfe should not stand.  For 
at least two weeks, Mr. Wolfe remains on death 
row while the officials for the Commonwealth 
decide whether or not "to request a new 
hearing, seek an appeal to the US Supreme 
Court, prepare for a new trial or drop the case."  

Students from the University of Virginia Law 
and the Innocence Project worked on Mr. 
Wolfe's case.  The death row exonerations of 140 
since 1973 may have increased one more.

To read this story, go to Fourth Circuit Critical of 
Prosecutors in Wolfe Case

  Texas Joins the One-Drug Procedure

With the execution of Yokamon Hearn, Texas 
has joined the states that now use only one drug, 
pentobarbital, to execute the condemned.   
Lundbeck, the company that makes 
pentobarbital, has banned export of the drug to 
the US and says it does not want it used for 
executions.  States have a surplus of it, and now 
that the drugs for the three-drug cocktail are 
unavailable, the states are moving to the one-
drug procedure.

Yokamon Hearn's execution also drew attention 
because of his 'mental functions'.  Mr. Hearn's 
mother drank heavily while pregnant with him, 
and he had a long history of parental neglect 
and abuse and was "a defendant mentally 
scared and unfit for execution." The United 
Nations special rapporteur wrote to state 
authorities saying, "[T]here is evidence to suggest 
that he ... suffers from psychosocial disabilities."   

Despite this and other pleas to spare Mr. 
Hearn's life, Texas executed him.

  Mentally Disabled Death Row Inmates

June 20, 2002, in the case Atkins v. Virginia, the 
US Supreme Court ruled that mentally disabled 
people cannot be executed.  Writing the Opinion 
of the Court, Justice John Paul ends with 
"Construing and applying the Eighth 
Amendment in the light of our 'evolving 
standards of decency,'we therefore conclude 
that such punishment is excessive and that the 
Constitution 'places a substantive restriction on 
the State's power to take the life' of a mentally 
retarded offender."  This statement seems fairly 
straight forward, but alas, not so.  While the 
Court used a definition of mental retardation 
from the standards set by psychological practice, 
it delegated to the states the particulars of 
enforcing the Court's mandate.

Governor John Kasich, Ohio, granted John 
Jeffrey Eley clemency because of his 'low 
intellectual functioning.'  Judge Peter C. 
Economus who sentenced Mr. Eley to death said 
he did so because Mr. Eley's attorneys presented 
little mitigating evidence; however, "If I had 
been presented the additional mitigating 
evidence outlined in the clemency petition at the 
time of the trial, especially evidence of Mr. 
Eley's low intellectual functioning, his 
impoverished childhood, his significant alcohol 
and substance abuse, and his probable brain 
impairment, I would have voted for a sentence 
less than death."  Although an Ohio parole 
board voted 5-3 to uphold Mr. Eley's death 
sentence, Governor Kasich overruled their 
decision.  Attorney Gary Van Brocklin, who 
prosecuted the case and had a change of opinion 
about it, said of the Governor,  "I have to 
commend him for a courageous stand. It's easy 
to run the other way." 

Warren Hill, Georgia, another 'intellectually 
disabled' death row inmate was granted a 
temporary stay of execution 90 minutes before 
his scheduled execution.  His stay of execution 
hinged not on his mental capacity but on the use 
of  a one-drug, pentobarbital, lethal injection 
procedure which Georgia has moved to.  
Because Georgia applies a standard of  "beyond 
a reasonable doubt" in cases of intellectual 
disability, death row inmates have to prove they 
are "mentally retarded" not to be executed.  A 
recent Guardian article, "Warren Hill: 10 reasons 
why Georgia should not execute him," says Mr. 
Hill's IQ tested to be 70, a score only 3% of the 
general population shares; several of the jurors 
now say they would have sentenced him to life 
without parole had it been an option; and the 
family of the murdered man, Joseph Handspike, 
does not want Mr. Hill executed because they 
"feel strongly that persons with any kind of 
significant mental disabilities should not be put 
to death." 

Marvin Wilson had an IQ of 61.  The state of 
Texas executed him.  According to the definition 
of what constitutes a mental handicap for Texas, 
Mr. Wilson did not fit that definition.  Texas 
does not use a clinical or scientific method for 
defining who is or is not mentally handicapped 
enough to be spared execution, but does use the 
"Lennie" test.  Using John Steinbeck's Of Mice 
and Men, the argument is "'Most Texas citizens ... 
might agree that Steinbeck's Lennie should, by 
virtue of his lack of reasoning ability and 
adaptive skills, be exempt'" from execution. By 
implication anyone less impaired than 
Steinbeck's fictional migrant ranch worker 
should have no constitutional protection."  The 
Steinbeck family was outraged by this use of 
John Steinbeck's work and joined the call to stop 
the execution.

On August 10, 2012, at the Alliance for Justice - 
Justice Watch web site, Lee Kovarsky, Mr. 
Wilson's attorney, wrote a guest post titled 
"Swimming upstream: the execution of Marvin 
Wilson" in which he talks about how Texas is 
able to execute a man who according Atkins v. 
Virginia should not have been put to death.  Mr. 
Kovarsky ends his article with "After I told 
Marvin he was going to die, I told him it would 
not be in vain. I told him that he might not have 
changed the minds of 'courts', but that his story 
would eventually change the minds of living, 
breathing people - that his story would help 
highlight a particularly impoverished state of 
discourse about how we punish people like 

In the spirit of that thought, we continue to have 
work to do.

Sentence Commuted to Life Without Parole

26	John Eley		Ohio

Stays of execution

23	Warren Hill		Georgia
24 	Darien Houser 		Pennsylvania
25	John Koehler		Pennsylvania
26	Willie Clayton		Pennsylvania

1	Marcus Druery		Texas
3	Michael Tisius		Missouri
15	Jason Reeves		Louisiana


18	Yokamon Hearn		Texas		
		1-drug lethal injection

7	Marvin Wilson		Texas		
		1-drug lethal injection
8	Daniel Cook		Arizona	
		1-drug lethal injection
14	Michael Hooper		Oklahoma 	
		3-drug lethal injection


UAs   25
POC    9
Total 34
To add your letters to the total contact

Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code C1-128
Pasadena, CA 91125