Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXII Number 6, June 2014

  Thursday, June 26, 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 summer. Please join us! 
Refreshments provided.
  Tuesday, July 8, 7:30 PM. Letter writing 
meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner of Hill 
and California in Pasadena. In the summer we 
meet outdoors at the "Rath al Fresco," on the 
lawn behind the building. This informal 
gathering is a great way for newcomers to get 
acquainted with Amnesty
  Sunday, July 20, 6:30 PM.  Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion group. This 
month we read "How to get Filthy Rich in 
Rising Asia" by Mohsin Hamid.

Hi All

What's been happening with Group 22 lately?
Some members we haven't seen in awhile have 
come back, which is great.

Rob and I, Joyce and Veronica attended the 25th 
(I can't believe it's been that long) anniversary 
dinner of Tiananmen Square at Almansor Court 
in Alhambra in late May.  The indefatigable Ann 
Lau was there, of course, as well as many other 
activists, both Asian and non. 

Wishing all a restful and relaxing summer.  I am 
working 3 weeks to pay to attend the National 
School Nurse conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Con Carino,

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

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


          Book Review

Yes Man

Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in 
Rising Asia

Published: March 29, 2013 

 "How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia" begins 
under a bed. With you - yes, you - under a 
bed. Once you quit cowering, you'll be the hero 
of this novel written in the second person, 
although there's nothing remotely heroic about 
you at the moment; you're so sick you can 
scarcely speak. The only remedy at hand is a 
large white radish, which your mother cooks up 
in a foul brew. 

Courage. You'll live and what's more, you're 
only seven steps from getting Filthy Rich, 
according to the narrator. (You're also nine steps 
from ruin, but we'll address that in a minute.) 
The marriage of these two curiously compatible 
genres - self-help and the old-fashioned 
bildungsroman - is just one of the pleasures of 
Mohsin Hamid's shrewd and slippery new 
novel, a rags-to-riches story that works on a 
head-splitting number of levels. It's a love story 
and a study of seismic social change. It parodies 
a get-rich-quick book and gestures to a new 
direction for the novel, all in prose so pure and 
purposeful it passes straight into the 
bloodstream. It intoxicates. 

But back to the radish. It saves you - or was it 
perhaps something more numinous? Luck has 
already begun clearing your path. "There are 
forks in the road to wealth that have nothing to 
do with choice or desire or effort, forks that have 
to do with chance, and in your case, the order of 
your birth is one of these," the narrator 
congratulates you. You're a third-born son. 
Third born means you're spared from going to 
work immediately (like your elder brother) or 
being married off (like your sister, who at 
puberty is "marked for entry"). Third born 
means you're not "a tiny skeleton in a small 
grave at the base of a tree," like your youngest 
sibling. Third born means you stay in school. 

Even your illness is a blessing; it persuades your 
father to move the family to the city - Step 1 in 
getting Filthy Rich - and it's the point where 
the story of the individual debouches into the 
narrative of the nation. "You embody one of the 
great changes of your time," Hamid writes. 
"Where once your clan was innumerable, not 
infinite but of a large number not readily 
known, now there are five of you. Five. The 
fingers on one hand, the toes on one foot, a 
minuscule aggregation when compared with 
shoals of fish or flocks of birds or indeed tribes 
of humans. In the history of the evolution of the 
family, you and the millions of other migrants 
like you represent an ongoing proliferation of 
the nuclear. It is an explosive transformation." 

You ascend smoothly, going from DVD rental 
delivery boy to young entrepreneur with a 
bottled water business that thrives "to the sound 
of the city's great whooshing thirst," goaded on 
by the narrator's edicts ("Learn From a Master," 
"Don't Fall in Love"), which grow steadily more 
sinister ("Be Prepared to Use Violence"). You 
marry but remain besotted with a girl from the 
neighborhood identified as "the pretty girl," 
now working as a model and making her own 
hazardous climb. 

Like his compatriot, the Pakistani novelist 
Mohammed Hanif, author of "Our Lady of Alice 
Bhatti," Hamid creates characters who enact the 
life of the nation. But where Hanif (a former 
fighter pilot) favors broad burlesques - a 
literature of parody and attack - Hamid (a 
former brand consultant) is politic and deeply 
ironic. He grew up in Pakistan and America, 
with stints in Milan and Manila (where our 
families were friends). He's alert to the dread 
and distrust with which America and the 
Muslim world regard each other. He's never 
merely telling a story, he's pitting his story 
against prevailing narratives about Pakistan, the 
roots of radicalization, the unevenness of 
economic growth. Hence his penchant for 
directly addressing the reader - all three of his 
novels make extravagant use of the second 

"I'm a political animal," Hamid told the Book 
Review in an interview last year. "How the pack 
hunts, shares its food, tends its wounded - 
these things matter to me." There's no better 
description of what he strives to capture in this 
book. Where Virginia Woolf attends to the inner 
lives of her most peripheral characters, Hamid 
gives every extra a history of violence and a 
lurid financial back story; he revels in the dream 
deferred, the loan denied, the fingers lost to 
creditors. A technician helping perfect the water 
purification technology is conjured in a few 
swift strokes: "He is a bicycle mechanic by 
background, untrained in the nuances of 
business, which is why he works for you, and 
also because, as the father of a trio of little girls 
and the youngest son of a freelance bricklayer 
who died of exposure sleeping rough at too 
advanced an age, he values a steady income." 
By supplanting the traditional role of choice in 
the novel with chance, by defining characters by 
their modes of survival rather than their 
personalities, he puts powerlessness at the 
center of his story. And by turning from his cast 
of terrestrial drones to the aerial drones silently 
monitoring their progress, he signals to 
powerlessness on a global scale. 

Cleverly, Hamid sets "How to Get Filthy Rich in 
Rising Asia" in an unnamed country, stripping 
away almost every signifier save a few that 
suggest we are in Pakistan. No mangoes, no 
mullahs, no preconceived notions. 
Defamiliarizing Pakistan also obviates another 
criticism. "Although globalization is universally 
acknowledged as one of the most pressing 
issues of our time, it has usually proved a poor 
subject for fiction," the writer Siddhartha Deb 
observes. Too many books exhibit "an endless 
fascination for pop-culture trivia, 
poststructuralist meta-theories and self-
referential irony." With only a few props - an 
assault rifle, a packet of milk, a white radish - 
and only the slightest tinge of tear gas in the air, 
the novel feels mythic, eternal rather than 
frenetic. And the bare stage is the best showcase 
for the narrator's one-man show. 

Hamid, like Kazuo Ishiguro, specializes in 
voices in transition, split at the root, straining for 
cultivation and tripping over clumsy 
constructions. This narrator speaks to us in two 
tongues, in self-help's slick banalities and the 
bewilderment of the striver. He's magnificently 
fraudulent and full of uses; he swoops in to do 
exposition, pans away to turn prophetic or play 
sociologist ("You witness a passage of time that 
outstrips its chronological equivalent. Just as 
when headed into the mountains a quick shift in 
altitude can vault one from subtropical jungle to 
semi-arctic tundra, so too can a few hours on a 
bus from rural remoteness to urban centrality 
appear to span millennia"). He can be chilling 
and chummy, and very hard to shake. Some of 
the book's more serious sections, on mortality, 
say, are imbued with a vestigial phoniness, and 
a self-referential ode to storytelling has the soul-
lessness of a TED talk. It's a shame; Hamid is a 
stronger, stranger writer than that. 

Witness the final reversal. The book ends with 
you, the hero, in your eighth decade, a Gatsby 
we never knew: an old man in a hotel room, 
trying to remember to take your medicines 
regularly. And as it turns out, there is still 
something left to learn, something more vital 
than how to get Filthy Rich. You teach us how to 
lose. How to relinquish health and hope; how to 
surrender assets to thieving relatives and one's 
children to America. "Slough off your wealth, 
like an animal molting in the autumn," Hamid 
writes. Look up the pretty girls of your youth. 
Find someone to play cards with. "Have an exit 
Parul Sehgal is an editor at the Book Review.
A version of this review appears in print on March 
31, 2013, on page BR9 of the Sunday Book Review 
with the headline: Yes Man.
(The New York Times)

Author Biography 
Mohsin Hamid is the author of the novels Moth 
Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to 
Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia; and the 
forthcoming essay collection Discontent and Its 
Civilizations. His award-winning fiction has been 
featured on bestseller lists, adapted for the 
cinema, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 
and translated into over 30 languages. His 
essays and short stories have appeared in the 
New York Times, the Guardian, the New 
Yorker, Granta, and many other publications. 
Born in 1971 in Lahore, he has spent about half 
his life there and much of the rest in London, 
New York, and California.

Gao Zhisheng
by Joyce Wolf

We're counting down the days until the 
scheduled August release of imprisoned human 
rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. According to a 
June 20 article from Radio Free Asia, Gao is 
supposed to be freed from remote Shaya Prison 
in northwestern China on August 7.

 "Jailed human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, one 
of China's highest-profile dissidents, is 
scheduled to complete his three-year prison 
term at a remote jail in China's northwestern 
region of Xinjiang in early August, amid 
concerns by some activists that the authorities 
will keep him under extrajudicial detention even 
after that. The family of Gao, who has defended 
clients in politically sensitive cases and spoken 
out on behalf of members of the banned Falun 
Gong spiritual movement, have been told that 
his term in Shaya Prison would end on Aug. 7."

Gao Zhisheng has been permitted only two 
visits from family members while detained in 
Shaya Prison. There has been no contact at all 
since the second visit in January 2013, and the 
family has no information about his state of 
health. The RFA article includes a quote from 
his brother, Gao Zhiyi:  "No one knows the real 
situation ... we have had no news at all."

RFA reports that Beijing activist Hu Jia is not 
very optimistic: " 'Gao Zhisheng will be stripped 
of his political rights for at least one year even if 
he is released, so he may be held under 
surveillance or have limited freedom,' Hu said. 
'He may be sent back to his hometown in 
northern Shaanxi province, or he may be sent 
back to Beijing via Urumqi; any of these things 
could happen.' "

In Group 22's May newsletter we quoted from 
the review issued by Amnesty International's 
China Team: "It is unclear what will happen to 
Gao Zhisheng after his release, and it is 
therefore vital that there is sustained pressure 
on the Chinese authorities in the lead-up to this 
date." We're trying to do our bit. We mailed a 
petition to President Xi Jinping with 47 
signatures, most collected at the Tiananmen 
commemorative lunch, thanks to Tracy Gore. 
Copies of the petition are also being mailed to 
Premier Le Kequiang, Minister of State Security 
Gen Huichang, Minister of Public Security Guo 
Shengkun, and Ambassador Cui Tienkai in 
Washington DC.

Please join Group 22 in the sustained effort on 
behalf of Gao Zhisheng. Go to the Group 22 
page for Gao Zhisheng, choose one or more of 
the suggested officials to write to, and follow the 
/GaoZhisheng.html, or just type 'amnesty 
caltech gao' into your browser's search box.  

Thank you!


by Robert Adams

"Iraq's Crisis: 3 Quick Points for U.S. 
By Sunjeev Bery 
June 19, 2014 

As the latest crisis in Iraq unfolds, here are three 
basic points for U.S. policymakers to keep in 

1.	  The protection of civilians must be a top 
priority in Mosul and in every Iraqi 
community facing armed conflict.
2.	  The Iraqi central government has an 
abysmal human rights record that has left 
communities scarred. Government human 
rights violations have widely been seen as 
a significant factor in widespread popular 
3.	  The U.S. government must push the Iraqi 
central government to make significant 
human rights reforms in order to address 
long-term public discontent and 

Protection of civilians must be a top priority in 
Mosul and in every Iraqi community facing 
armed conflict.

500,000 civilians are reported to have fled Mosul 
following its takeover by one or more armed 
groups that include those belonging to the 
Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). This 
follows the reported displacement of close to 
half a million Iraqis in Fallujah since January, 
following ISIS' expulsion of Iraqi security forces 

ISIS armed groups, Iraqi security forces, and 
other potential armed groups must avoid 
repeating the violence against civilians that took 
place in Fallujah. Iraqi government forces have 
used indiscriminate shelling in Fallujah in the 
past six months, including on hospitals and in 
residential areas. There have been over 5,000 
civilian deaths.

The Iraqi central government has an abysmal 
human rights record that has left communities 
scarred. Government human rights violations 
have widely been seen as a significant factor in 
widespread popular discontent.

Thousands of detainees languish in prison 
without charge. Many of those who are brought 
to trial are sentenced to long prison terms or to 
death after unfair proceedings. In many cases, 
convictions are based on "confessions" extracted 
under torture.

Iraq remains one of the world's most prolific 
executioners with at least 169 executed in 2013. 
As with prison terms, death sentences can also 
follow "confessions" extracted under torture. In 
many cases, such "confessions" are televised 

Torture and other ill-treatment inside prisons 
and detention centers is rife and routinely goes 

To ensure stability in Iraq, the U.S. 
government must address popular discontent 
by pushing the Iraqi central government to 
make significant human rights reforms.

Iraq's long-term human rights crisis can no 
longer be viewed by the U.S. and other external 
governments as "Iraq's problem" or an internal 
matter. To ensure security and safety in Iraq, 
widespread popular discontent must be 
addressed by pushing the Iraqi central 
government to end its terrible human rights 

By Stevi Carroll

Back In The Saddle Again

After 48 days, the death chambers of Georgia, 
Missouri, and Florida resumed their state-
sanctioned murders.  The attention Clayton 
Lockett's execution received allowed governors, 
members of boards of appeal, judges, 
prosecution attorneys, elected and appointed 
officials -both secular and religious, and all 
Americans the opportunity to evaluate why we 
either want or do not want the State, in our 
name, intentionally to take another human 
being's life.  With the execution of Marcus 
Wellons, in Georgia, on June 17 and the 
executions of John Winfield, in Missouri, and 
John Henry, in Florida the following day, we 
Americans endorsed execution as a legal form of 
punishment.  Just as thoughtful people believed 
the guillotine was more humane than beheading 
with a sword or axe, hanging, turning on the 
wheel, or burning at the stake, we in the USA 
primarily support lethal injection over 
electrocution, the gas chamber, hanging, and 
firing squad - all available among our states that 
murder for the State.

In 2008, two death row inmates filed a case that 
said the three-drug protocol was inhumane; the 
drugs may not work the way the executioners 
believe they will and condemned inmates may 
unduly suffer before they die.  The two death 
row inmates suggested the one-drug protocol as 
an alternative. But then I guess the inmates 
wanted as little trauma as possible on the way 
out. I am aware this desire on the part of the 
condemned inmates creates a problem for some 
people.  I understand. My compassion angel - 
and I do not believe in real creatures called 
angels - must work overtime when I consider 
the crimes of which the condemned have been 
found guilty. For many of us, this taxes our 
ability to consider compassion.  This case went 
to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority 
opinion.  He argued, "that the standard for 
deciding whether a method violated the 
constitution was if it posed a 'substantial risk of 
serious harm'."  He also said the one-drug 
protocol had its own problems since, at that time 
in 2008, it had never been used.

Justice John Paul Stevens agreed with the 
decision regarding the type of drugs used for 
executions, but posited this idea: "The time for a 
dispassionate, impartial comparison of the 
enormous costs that death penalty litigation 
imposes on society with the benefits that it 
produces has surely arrived." He also said that if 
the question of the death penalty came before 
the Supremes, he would vote to abolish it.

In the wake of Clayton Lockett's execution in 
April of this year, I would like to ask Chief 
Justice Roberts if what Mr. Lockett experienced 
showed the signs of being a "substantial risk of 
serious harm".  We can recall Mr. Lockett's 
executioners couldn't find a vein to insert the 
needle for the IV drip.  Since doctors are not 
supposed to take part in executions according to 
the Hippocratic oath, less-trained people do. 
While the last couple of phlebotomists have 
drawn my blood well from my prominent veins, 
I've experienced a phlebotomist who searched 
in vain for a vein while I became nauseous as I 
sat on the paper-lined exam table. Third time 
was the charm.

Preliminary findings from an autopsy 
conducted by Dr. Joseph Cohen, a medical 
examiner employed by Mr. Lockett's lawyers, 
indicated that Mr. Lockett did have veins that 
should have worked perfectly for an IV.  
Whoever attempted to insert the needle 
punctured his vein.  Because veins other than 
his femoral vein were available, they should 
have been used.  Dr. Cohen said a vein did not 
blow, and he was not dehydrated.  Puncture 
wounds surrounded by hemorrhages showed 
inept attempts to insert a needle.  Additionally, 
Mr. Lockett was tasered by corrections officials 
during the process of moving him from his cell 
to the death chamber.

September 15, 2009, Romell Broom was strapped 
to the gurney in the death chamber of the 
Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in 
Lucasville, OH.  For two and a half hours, 
technicians searched for a vein into which they 
could insert the IV drip needle.  After an hour a 
doctor with no prior experience in executions 
was brought in to no avail as Mr. Broom had 18 
needle thrusts into his arms.  Mr. Broom's 
lawyers succeeded in blocking his execution 
with these questions: "If someone survives an 
execution attempt, can a state legally try it 
again? Or does the process itself constitute such 
torture that it qualifies as unconstitutional cruel 
and unusual punishment?"

Neither Oklahoma nor Ohio appear to be 
efficient in dispatching the death penalty.  Not 
only is the death penalty expensive but could 
also constitute a 'substantial risk of serious 

How To Stop A Heart by Mary DeMocker

Mary DeMocker's brother is on Arizona's death 
row. Her article, "How to Stop a Heart," is her 
personal revelations about our capital 
punishment environment and its impact on her 
 "How to Stop a Heart" can be found at

The 2% Death Penalty

Death Penalty Focus recently released a report, 
How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death 
Cases at Enormous Costs to All. Because of the 
limited number of states and the limited number 
of counties in those states that use the death 
penalty, the death penalty has become more or 
less irrelevant even as our shared tax cash 
continues to be used for death penalty 
prosecution by this 2%. A brief video and the 
entire report are available at  


17	Marcus Wellons	Georgia
	1-drug (pentobarbital)

18	John Winfield		Missouri
	1-drug (pentobarbital) 

18	John Henry		Florida
	3-drug w/midazolam hydrochloride

UAs                        13
POC                         4
Total                      17                                                                                                                                             
To add your letters to the total contact

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

Amnesty International's mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the 
rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the 
context of its work to promote all human rights.