Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXIV Number 11, November-December 2016

  Saturday, December 10, 11:00 - 4:00, WRITE 
FOR RIGHTS. Human Rights Day letter writing 
marathon at Dog Haus Biergarten, 93 E. Green 
St., Pasadena. Drop by to write a few letters 
and enjoy the food.
  Sunday, December 18, 4:00 PM. Holiday 
Potluck & Rights Readers Human Rights Book 
Discussion Group. This month we read "Angel 
Island" by Erika Lee and Judy Yung.   
NOTE: This month our book group meeting is 
combined with a holiday potluck and will be 
held at a private home. For information, email or phone 818-249-4056.

Hi everyone

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and 
didn't eat too much (LOL!).

Please note our December book is available from 
Vroman's only if you do a pre-paid special order 
and there is no book group discount.  The 
Huntington Library has copies in their 
bookstore (you can go into the store without 
paying the entry fee to the gardens) and also 
local libraries should have some copies. 
[Pasadena Library and LA County Library each have 
one copy available. I ordered a used copy from 
Amazon. E-books are also an option. -Joyce]

 Con Carino, Kathy

Next Rights Readers Meeting
Sunday, Dec. 18,  
4 PM,  
Holiday Potluck
at private home

Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to 

by Erika Lee  
and Judy Yung

Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America 
by Erika Lee and Judy Yung
Synopses & Reviews
Publisher Comments
From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island 
immigration station in San Francisco served as 
the processing and detention center for over 
one million people from around the world. The 
majority of newcomers came from China and 
Japan, but there were also immigrants from 
India, the Philippines, Korea, Russia, Mexico, 
and over seventy other countries. The full 
history of these immigrants and their 
experiences on Angel Island is told for the first 
time in this landmark book, published to 
commemorate the immigration station's 100th 

Based on extensive new research and oral 
histories, Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to 
America examines the great diversity of 
immigration through Angel Island: Chinese 
"paper sons," Japanese picture brides, Korean 
refugee students, South Asian political 
activists, Russian and Jewish refugees, 
Mexican families, Filipino workers, and many 
others. Together, their stories offer a more 
complete and complicated history of 
immigration to America than we have ever 

Like its counterpart on Ellis Island, the 
immigration station on Angel Island was one 
of the country's main ports of entry for 
immigrants in the early twentieth century. But 
while Ellis Island was mainly a processing 
center for European immigrants, Angel Island 
was designed to detain and exclude 
immigrants from Asia. The immigrant 
experience on Angel Island - more than any 
other site - reveals how U.S. immigration 
policies and their hierarchical treatment of 
immigrants according to race, ethnicity, class, 
nationality, and gender played out in daily 
practices and decisions at the nation's borders 
with real consequences on immigrant lives and 
on the country itself. 
Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America is 
officially sponsored by the Angel Island 
Immigration Station.

"Erika Lee and Judy Yung have written the 
definitive book on Angel Island. The book is 
meticulously researched and covers not just 
the Chinese experience but the experiences of 
all the people who passed through the 
immigration station. Lee and Yung have used 
the personal stories of immigrants to make 
time and place come alive, reminding us that 
history is something that happens to real 
people and their families." Lisa See, author of On 
Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey 
of a Chinese-American Family 

"With this comprehensive history, Angel 
Island may now stand alongside Ellis Island as 
the other iconic gateway to America. Lee and 
Yung give a thorough and humane look at the 
immigrants from surprisingly diverse origins 
who encountered an America both welcoming 
and unwelcoming on the Pacific coast." Mae M. 
Ngai, author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens 
and the Making of Modern America 

"In this meticulously researched and richly 
detailed book, Lee and Yung have unlocked 
Angel Island's deepest secrets and the link 
between U.S. immigration policy and 
restrictive codas of race, gender, class. Their 
spell-binding narrative lets us journey with 
Anglos and Latinos as well as Asians and 
myriad others as they attempt to pass through 
the eye of the Immigration Station needle - 
with often vastly different results. Deeply 
relevant to present-day immigration debates, 
this book is people's history at its best." Helen 
Zia, author of Asian American Dreams: The 
Emergence of an American People

From 1910 to 1940, over half a million people 
sailed through the Golden Gate, hoping to start 
a new life in America. But they did not all 
disembark in San Francisco; instead, most were 
ferried across the bay to the Angel Island 
Immigration Station. For many, this was the 
real gateway to the United States. For others, it 
was a prison and their final destination, before 
being sent home.
In this landmark book, historians Erika Lee 
and Judy Yung (both descendants of 
immigrants detained on the island) provide the 
first comprehensive history of the Angel Island 
Immigration Station. Drawing on extensive 
new research, including immigration records, 
oral histories, and inscriptions on the barrack 
walls, the authors produce a sweeping yet 
intensely personal history of Chinese "paper 
sons," Japanese picture brides, Korean 
students, South Asian political activists, 
Russian and Jewish refugees, Mexican families, 
Filipino repatriates, and many others from 
around the world. Their experiences on Angel 
Island reveal how America's discriminatory 
immigration policies changed the lives of 
immigrants and transformed the nation. 
A place of heartrending history and 
breathtaking beauty, the Angel Island 
Immigration Station is a National Historic 
Landmark, and like Ellis Island, it is 
recognized as one of the most important sites 
where America's immigration history was 
made. This fascinating history is ultimately 
about America itself and its complicated 
relationship to immigration, a story that 
continues today. 
Angel Island is the official publication 
commemorating the immigration station's 
100th anniversary. 

About the Authors
Erika Lee is Professor of History and Asian 
American Studies at the University of 
Minnesota. She is the author of At America's 
Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion 
Era, 1882-1943.

Judy Yung is Professor Emerita of American 
Studies at the University of California, Santa 
Cruz. Her books include Island: Poetry and 
History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island 
and Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese 
Women in San Francisco.

Security with Human Rights
By Robert Adams

US must come clean about civilian deaths 
caused by coalition air strikes in Syria
Amnesty International press release
October 25, 2016

U.S.-led coalition forces carrying out air strikes 
in Syria must conduct thorough investigations 
into reports of civilian casualties from its 
operations and disclose their findings, said 
Amnesty International. Eleven coalition attacks 
examined by the organization appear to have 
killed some 300 civilians during two years of 
strikes targeting the armed group calling itself 
Islamic State (IS).

So far the U.S. authorities have provided no 
response to a memorandum Amnesty 
International sent to the Department of Defense 
on September 28 to raise questions about the 
conduct of coalition forces in Syria. The 
memorandum compiles and analyzes 
information from various sources, including 
eyewitnesses to attacks, which suggests that U.S. 
Central Command (CENTCOM), which directs 
coalition forces in Syria, may have failed to take 
necessary precautions to spare civilians and 
carried out unlawful attacks that have killed and 
injured civilians.

 "Once again, the US military is claiming near 
precision in its strikes, while refusing to 
acknowledge credible evidence that dozens of 
civilian have been killed," said Naureen Shah, 
director of Amnesty International USA's 
Security with Human Rights program. "This is 
totally contrary to the president's stated 
commitments to transparency and 
accountability on this issue. The Defense 
Department must acknowledge and investigate 
these civilian deaths immediately."

 "We fear the U.S.-led coalition is significantly 
underestimating the harm caused to civilians in 
its operations in Syria," said Lynn Maalouf 
Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty 
International's Beirut regional office.
"Analysis of available evidence suggests that in 
each of these cases, Coalition forces failed to 
take adequate precautions to minimize harm to 
civilians and damage to civilian objects. Some of 
these attacks may constitute disproportionate or 
otherwise indiscriminate attacks.

 "It's high time the U.S. authorities came clean 
about the full extent of the civilian damage 
caused by coalition attacks in Syria. 
Independent and impartial investigations must 
be carried out into any potential violations of 
international humanitarian law and the findings 
should be made public."

Amnesty International has reviewed publicly 
available information from local human rights 
organizations and monitoring groups as well as 
media reports, and where feasible it has 
interviewed eyewitnesses, carried out analysis 
of satellite imagery, photographs and video 
evidence, to piece together as much detail as 
possible about the circumstances of 11 U.S.-led 
coalition attacks in which evidence suggests as 
many as 300 civilians were killed. To date 
CENTCOM has only acknowledged one single 
such death in these attacks.

Research and documentation by leading human 
rights and monitoring organizations including 
the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Airwars, 
the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and 
the Violations Documentation Center indicates 
that the total number of civilians killed by 
Coalition forces in Syria since operations began 
could be as high as 600 or more than 1,000.

Civilian casualties
Among the most recent incidents highlighted in 
the memorandum are three U.S.-led coalition 
attacks in June and July 2016 on the Manbij area 
of Aleppo governorate, in northern Syria. 
Together the three attacks are suspected to have 
killed more than 100 civilians in the villages of 
al-Tukhar, al-Hadhadh and al-Ghandoura.
The attack on al-Tukhar on July 19 is believed to 
have caused the greatest loss of civilian life of 
any single U.S.-led coalition attack. At least 73 
civilians were killed, including 27 children, and 
some 30 were injured.

CENTCOM is investigating the attack. In its 
memorandum to the U.S. authorities, Amnesty 
International asked serious questions about who 
the intended targets were and the measures 
taken to verify intelligence or check whether 
civilians were present in the vicinity.

Air strikes just over a week later on July 28 
killed at least 28 civilians, including seven 
children, in al-Ghandoura village 25km north 
west of Manbij. The strikes hit a public market 
which appears in a video clip that Amnesty 
International was able to geo-locate in al 
Ghandoura's main street. The video clip and 
other photographs show the bodies of many of 
the children killed. 

A U.S.-led coalition attack which struck two 
houses where civilians were sheltering in the 
village of Ayn al-Khan, near al-Hawl in al-
Hasakah governorate in northern Syria in the 
early hours of December 7, 2015, killed 40 
civilians, including 19 children, and injured at 
least 30 others according to local human rights 
organizations. One media report suggests an 
unknown number of IS fighters were also killed 
in the attack.

Amnesty International was able to speak to one 
survivor from the attack who described how he 
was awoken by a huge explosion and ran out to 
dig through the rubble for survivors.
"The house shook and began to crumble. The 
windows shattered...I ran outside and saw my 
neighbor's house completely destroyed. I could 
hear people calling out from beneath the 
rubble," he said.

As he helped to dig out survivors a helicopter 
gunship launched a second attack.
"At this point I had a two-month-old baby boy 
in my arms whom I had rescued. The hit caused 
me to fall and drop him... I fell into the hole 
made by the air strike. That was what saved 
me... My mother, aunt, wife and children - a 
daughter who was four years old and a son who 
was two and a half were all killed. The woman 
and her son who I'd rescued were killed. 
Everyone but me was killed," he said.
He also said that a commander from the 
Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) forces 
who villagers spoke to after the attack told them 
the YPG had warned coalition forces of civilians 
in the area.

The attack is believed to have been targeting a 
group of IS fighters who had moved into a 
house on the edge of the village five days earlier 
and were later joined by more fighters.
Despite evidence indicating multiple civilian 
casualties were caused, CENTCOM has not 
acknowledged responsibility, although it admits 
it carried out air strikes in the vicinity at around 
the same time. It is unclear whether the 
investigation promptly set up by CENTCOM 
has reached any findings.
[For the rest of the article, please visit:
deaths-caused-by-coalition-air-strikes-in-syria ]

By Stevi Carroll

Yes on 62!

Sadly, Yes on 62 did not pass, and even more 
sadly, Proposition 66 did. 

Thank you so much for everyone who helped 
get information to our fellow Californians and 
who donated money to the Yes on 62 campaign.

A letter from Mike Farrell

Dear Friends,

I just want to say thank you, but I can't resist 
saying a bit more. Thank you doesn't seem to 
me to be enough to fully acknowledge what you 
have done. Your support for our effort to put an 
end to state killing means more to me personally 
than I can easily put into words, but let me try.
Though we failed to convince a majority of the 
voters to understand it, Proposition 62 was more 
than an effort to end the use of the death penalty 
in California. In my view, transferring the 
condemned men and women on our nation's 
largest death row to a sentence of life in prison 
would have done more than get our state out of 
the killing business. It would have lifted our 
spirits in a way some might have had difficulty 
comprehending, and it would have created an 
irresistible momentum that brought an end to 
the death penalty in the United States... and 
from there, ultimately, the world.

So you see, your support meant more than 
changing an antiquated law that legalizes a 
primitive practice; it spoke to your recognition 
of the fact that we are failing ourselves and our 
children when we pretend to be a civilized 
people while continuing to countenance 

Those are strong words, I know, but in my view 
they are not only proper but important.
As our nation was formed, one of its Founding 
Fathers, Dr. Benjamin Rush, strongly opposed 
the inclusion of the death penalty in our 
criminal laws. Dr. Rush, who founded the 
Pennsylvania Prison Society, said the death 
penalty had a brutalizing effect on the people 
who use it. One doesn't have to look deeply into 
the way our society has evolved to see very 
significant evidence that he was right.

There is nothing civilized about taking a 
helpless, shackled human being from the cage 
where he's been held for years, extinguishing 
him, and calling it justice. The price paid by 
those tasked with carrying out this deadly 
process radiates outward, brutalizing the system 
built to perform it and the society that tolerates 
it. The message it sends is quite clear: some 
human beings are meaningless, valueless, 

I believe we can do better. I believe we can be 
better than that. It's my belief that those who 
proclaimed a nation founded on each 
individual's "unalienable right to life" had a 
vision of a nation we have yet to realize, and I 
believe it is one to which we should still aspire. 
It is a nation based on the recognition of an 
innate human value and dignity, the knowledge 
that we are all, in fact, responsible to one 
another. It is a society that honors its duty to 
help and heal, if possible, the broken, the 
damaged, the mentally ill and all those once 
labeled 'the least among us.'

From where I stand that nation is not only 
attainable, it's here, unacknowledged yet readily 
available. And for me, the struggle to achieve it 
is well worth the effort. So my undying thanks 
go to you for your willingness to have lent a 
hand to this effort, one more step along the way.

Mike Farrell

Recent Exonerations
Mark Maxson - State: IL - Date of Exoneration: 
In 1994, Mark Maxson was convicted of the rape 
and murder of a 6-year-old boy in Chicago and 
sentenced to life in prison. He was exonerated in 
2016 when  DNA on the victim's clothing was 
linked to a convicted murderer who confessed 
to the crimes.

Norman McIntosh - State: IL - Date of 
Exoneration: 10/4/2016
In 2002, Norman McIntosh was sentenced to 45 
years in prison for shooting two men, one 
fatally, in Chicago. He was exonerated in 2016 
after all three eyewitnesses recanted their 
identifications and the real killer was identified.

Anthony DiPippo - State: NY - Date of 
Exoneration: 10/11/2016
Anthony DiPippo was convicted twice--in 1997 
and 2012--of the rape and murder of a 12-year-
old girl in Putnam County, New York and 
sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He was 
acquitted at a third trial after a witness testified 
a different man had admitted committing the 

Kevin Siehl - State: PA - Date of Exoneration: 
In 1992, Kevin Siehl was convicted of murdering 
his wife in Cambria County, Pennsylvania and 
sentenced to life in prison without parole. He 
was exonerated in 2016 by new evidence 
discrediting the prosecution's blood and 
fingerprint evidence, some of which had been 
concealed by the prosecution.

Bernard Mims - State: IL - Date of Exoneration: 
In 2006, Bernard Mims was sentenced to 95 
years in prison for  a murder and two counts of 
attempted murder in Chicago in 2000. He was 
exonerated in 2016 by evidence that he was 
home, injured, at the time of the crime and that 
other men committed the murder.

Richard Rosario -  State: NY - Date of 
Exoneration: 11/10/2016
In 1998, Richard Rosario was sentenced to 25 
years to life for murder in Bronx, New York. He 
was exonerated in 2016 after multiple alibi 
witnesses established that he was in Florida at 
the time of the crime.

Stay of execution
3	Tommy Arthur	AL

16	Steven Frederick Spears	GA  
Lethal injection	1-drug (Pentobarbital)

Prisoner of Conscience
Narges Mohammadi
By Joyce Wolf

In late September Narges Mohammadi's 16-year 
prison sentence was upheld by an Iranian 
appeals court. Narges reacted with an open 
letter from Evin Prison. She wrote in a letter 
published on the reformist Kaleme website on 
October 7, 2016:
"I will not waver under tyrannical punishments 
that will limit my freedom to the four walls of 
the prison cell. I will endure this incarceration, 
but I will never accept it as lawful, human or 
moral, and I will always speak out against this 

Amnesty International supported a global 
campaign launched by members of the Iranian 
human rights community on Oct. 20. On that 
date, 15 members of the Iranian parliament 
called on the Judiciary to reverse Narges 
Mohammadi's prison sentence. According to, that was the 
first time since the Iranian revolution in 1979 
that lawmakers publicly defended a person 
convicted of anti-state activities.
Amnesty members and activist groups were 
encouraged to support the campaign by taking 
pictures of themselves either in groups or 
individually with #FreeNarges written on the 
palm of one hand and then to post the picture 
on their social media accounts, in particular on 
the designated Tweetstorm day Nov. 11. 

Alexi and Azam participate in #FreeNarges.

In late October we heard that Group 48 in 
Portland, Oregon, just took on the Narges 
Mohammadi case.  And on Nov. 17, we got the 
news that AIUSA Group 151 in Boston will also 
be taking on the Narges Mohammadi case 
dossier! Alexi is looking forward to working 
with these groups and adding them to the 
network of groups in Europe that she has been 
collaborating with. 

I'll close this column with quotes from a letter 
that Narges wrote to the Judiciary on Oct. 25:

"I will abide by the law and endure prison. I 
have no intention to resist or escape. But be 
assured that I am one of thousands of noble 
Iranians representing the proud and selfless 
struggle of a nation for freedom and justice," she 

"I am a human being. I am a free Iranian citizen. 
I will not allow an assault on my human dignity, 
and I will not stay silent until I have my rights 
and justice is served,"she added.

By Joyce Wolf

Western Regional Conference

Group 22 was well represented at the AIUSA 
Western Regional Conference, held Oct. 29-30 at 
the DoubleTree Hotel near LAX.  Stevi, Kathy, 
Robert, Trevor, Jamil, Alexi, and I attended. 
Vinnie, our champion Pasadena letter writer, 
also attended. 

Alexi created a beautiful Action Alley exhibit 
about our adopted prisoner of conscience in 
Iran, Narges Mohammadi. The display 
highlighted our group's collaborations with 
Amnesty groups around the world.

One of the major conference themes was refugee 
rights. I was particularly impressed with the 
workshop presented by AIUSA staffer Denise 
Bell. Much of her presentation is available at 
Here you can download a toolkit and other 
useful resources for Amnesty's "I Welcome" 

There were two notable speakers at the 
conference from Pasadena: Jasmine Richards 
Abdullah of Black Lives Matter, and James Clark 
of AIUSA Death Penalty Campaign.
Caltech Community Service & Advocacy Fair

Thanks and congratulations to Wen and Stevi 
for staffing a Group 22 table at the Caltech 
Community Service and Advocacy Fair on 
Friday, Nov. 4. They obtained 20 signatures on a 
petition for imprisoned Falun Gong practitioner 
Chen Huixia. They also collected 20 signed 
postcards for Narges Mohammadi. 

A warm welcome to those who joined our 
Group 22 mailing list at the Caltech Fair and are 
receiving their first newsletter!

Urgent Actions                        18
POC (postcards at Regional)           35
POC (postcards at Caltech)            20
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.