Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXV Number 10, October 2017

  NOTE: No Monthly Meeting Oct. 26.
  Thursday, November 9, 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, November 14, 7:30-9:00 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, November 19, 6:30 PM.  Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
Group. This month we read "Spain in our 
hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War" 
by Adam Hochschild.

Hola a todos!

A few things I wanted to mention:  we meet in a 
different room for the November 19 book 
discussion group.  Vroman's is doing something 
in the space upstairs where we usually meet 
(probably something to do with setting up the 
Christmas merchandise displays or maybe 
they're having a book signing!), so we are 
meeting in the Atrium. I know we met in the 
Atrium once before, but I can't remember where 
it is!  Anyway, Stevi will get the key from the 
information desk downstairs and open up the 
room.  Those of us who usually arrive a little 
late (referring to Rob and myself) can get 
directions from the info desk.

I'm looking forward to reading the November 
book selection, as we subscribe to the New 
Yorker magazine and I have read several articles 
by Hochschild.  

Group 22 members Wen and Stevi tabled at the 
Caltech Y Community Service and Advocacy 
Fair on Oct. 18. See pic in this newsletter.

Ideas for our next food outing?  Moroccan food 
was suggested at the October book discussion -- 
what do you all think?

Con Carino, 

Next Rights Readers Meeting

Sunday, November 19 
6:30 PM

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E Colorado Blvd.

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the 
Spanish Civil War

by Adam Hochschild

'Spain in Our Hearts' tells the American story 
of the Spanish civil war
By Bob Drogin, contact reporter
March 25, 2016, Los Angeles Times

The Spanish civil war, which ran from 1936 to 
1939, is most notable to historians for how it 
foreshadowed the horrors of World War II.
Yet few distant conflicts are so burned into our 
culture and consciousness.

Ernest Hemingway, who covered the war, made 
it the setting of "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "the 
best goddamn book" he ever wrote. George 
Orwell, who fought in it, called his popular 
memoir "Homage to Catalonia." Pablo Picasso's 
"Guernica," perhaps his most famous painting, 
captures the agony of that city being bombed to 
rubble. Robert Capa's "The Falling Soldier" is 
iconic combat photography. Visitors to the front 
included singer Paul Robeson, poet Langston 
Hughes and film star Errol Flynn.

Less well known are the 2,800 American men 
and women who defied U.S. policy and risked 
their lives to defend Spain's democratically 
elected government. Avowedly leftist, these 
Republican fighters received antiquated 
weapons and other supplies from Soviet dictator 
Joseph Stalin.

Outnumbered and outgunned, they were 
defeated by Nationalist insurgents led by right 
wing Gen. Francisco Franco. He was reinforced 
by modern tanks, fighter planes and troops from 
Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, who used Spain 
to test weapons and tactics that soon would 
devastate Europe.

Battling isolationists at home, President Franklin 
D. Roosevelt carefully kept America neutral. But 
his refusal to allow arms sales to the embattled 
Republicans helped seal their fate.

Teruel, the coldest battle of the war.
(Tamiment Library, New York University)

The tragic story of the Americans in the doomed 
Lincoln Brigade -- who bore some of the 
toughest fighting and heaviest casualties of any 
unit --  comes vividly to life in Adam 
Hochschild's compelling "Spain in Our Hearts," 
a long-overdue book that explores this long-
overlooked conflict.

Hochschild cautions he hasn't written a history 
of the war or even of the Lincoln Brigade. He 
instead focuses on a handful of Americans to tell 
the larger story of why Spain loomed so large at 
the time.

Mining letters, unpublished memoirs and other 
archives, Hochschild recounts how Americans 
like Bob and Marion Merriman, graduate 
students from Berkeley, were drawn to what 
they considered a utopian society and what they 
rightly saw as the opening round in a global 
battle against fascism.

Tall and taciturn, Merriman was a rare 
volunteer with military training and he rose to 
help lead the Lincolns, as they were known, in 
combat. Hemingway supposedly used him as a 
model for Robert Jordan, the American hero in 
his novel.

Merriman disappeared in April 1938 during a 
chaotic Republican retreat. Reports suggest he 
was captured and executed by Nationalists. He 
was one of about 800 Americans who died in 

Like most of them, the Merrimans were 
communists, an ideology that lured many 
Americans in the turmoil of the Depression. If 
their politics have failed the test of time, 
the actions of the Lincolns - and an estimated 
35,000 other foreign fighters - have endured. 
They went to war against Hitler while Europe's 
leaders sought to appease him.

"There seemed a moral clarity about the crisis in 
Spain," Hochschild writes. "Rapidly advancing 
fascism cried out for defiance; if not here, 

 (The last surviving Lincoln, Delmer Berg, died 
last month in Columbia, Calif., age 100. He 
remained an "unreconstructed Communist" all 
his life, according to his obituary.)
Many Lincolns shared idealism verging on 
naivete. Once they had hiked across the snowy 
Pyrenees from France, they often marched to 
war without uniforms, maps or modern 

Lois Orr, who went to Republican-held 
Barcelona from Kentucky with her husband, 
Charles, in 1936, exulted in a letter home that 
she was "living the revolution" in a workers' 
paradise where "anything was possible, a new 
heaven and a new earth were being formed."

Yet she didn't speak Spanish, barely 
acknowledged the privations around her, and 
was given a luxurious apartment, confiscated 
from the German consul, that most Spaniards 
could never hope to attain.

The Americans came from nearly every state 
and all walks of life: professors and union 
organizers, coal miners and a former governor 
of Ohio. About 90 were African American. 
About a third came from New York. Close to 
half were Jewish.

For us it wasn't Franco," wrote one veteran. "It 
was always Hitler."

What to make of the era's Republicans? They 
opened all the prisons in the areas they 
controlled, releasing violent criminals as well as 
political prisoners.

Hochschild, thankfully, recounts a leader who 
died in the battle for Madrid after "murmuring 
the anarchist lament, 'Too many committees!'"

Some Americans had their passports seized 
when they got home or were targeted in the 
anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s despite 
fighting honorably in World War II. Some 
played key roles in the civil rights and anti-war 
movements of the 1960s.

The heartbreak is what lingers longest in "Spain 
in Our Hearts."

The title comes from Albert Camus. Men 
learned in Spain, the French novelist wrote 
sadly, that "one can be right and yet be beaten, 
that force can vanquish spirit, and that there are 
times when courage is not rewarded."

Hochschild was born in New York City. As a 
college student, he spent a summer working on 
an anti-government newspaper in South Africa 
and subsequently worked briefly as a civil rights 
worker in Mississippi in 1964. Both were 
politically pivotal experiences about which he 
would later write in his book Finding the 
Trapdoor. He later was part of the movement 
against the Vietnam War, and, after several 
years as a daily newspaper reporter, worked as 
a writer and editor for the leftwing Ramparts 
magazine. In the mid-1970s, he was one of the 
co-founders of Mother Jones.

Hochschild's first book was a memoir, Half the 
Way Home: a Memoir of Father and Son (1986), 
in which he described the difficult relationship 
he had with his father. His later books include 
The Mirror at Midnight: a South African Journey 
(1990; new edition, 2007), The Unquiet Ghost: 
Russians Remember Stalin (1994; new edition, 
2003), Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, 
Travels (1997), which collects his personal essays 
and reportage, and King Leopold's Ghost: A 
Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial 
Africa (1998; new edition, 2006), a history of the 
conquest and colonization of the Congo by 
Belgium's King LŽopold II. His Bury the Chains: 
Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an 
Empire's Slaves, published in 2005, is about the 
antislavery movement in the British Empire.

Hochschild has also written for The New 
Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The New York 
Review of Books, The New York Times 
Magazine, and The Nation. He was also a 
commentator on National Public Radio's All 
Things Considered. Hochschild's books have 
been translated into twelve languages.

A frequent lecturer at Harvard's annual Nieman 
Narrative Journalism Conference and similar 
venues, Hochschild lives in San Francisco and 
teaches writing at the Graduate School of 
Journalism at the University of California, 
Berkeley. He is married to sociologist Arlie 
Russell Hochschild. 

By Robert Adams

UN: Amnesty Urges International Action on 
Armed Drones
AIUSA press release issued October 20, 2017
On October 20 Amnesty International will 
launch a new briefing at the UN General 
Assembly, setting out measures to bring the use 
and transfer of armed drones in line with 
international human rights and humanitarian 
The briefing, Key principles on the use and transfer 
of armed drones, has been developed in response 
to the rapid proliferation of armed drones, and 
their use in extrajudicial executions and other 
unlawful killings around the world.
"The past few years have seen an alarming 
growth in the use of armed drones by states 
including the USA and the UK, yet the 
circumstances in which they are deployed 
remain shrouded in secrecy," said Rasha Abdul 
Rahim, Arms Control Campaigner at Amnesty 
"What we do know is that their use has created 
a situation in which the whole world can be 
treated as a battlefield, and virtually anyone can 
count as collateral damage. Armed drones have 
been used to carry out unlawful killings with 
minimal oversight and accountability, and with 
devastating consequences for civilians in 
countries like Yemen and Afghanistan.
"We are calling on all states to bring their use of 
armed drones in line with international human 
rights and humanitarian law - unlawful use 
must not become the norm."
The principles outlined in Amnesty 
International's briefing provide a basis on which 
UN member states can develop binding policies 
that will ensure accountability, protect the right 
to life and prevent future violations and abuses.
Amnesty International is calling on all UN 
member states to:
„        Ensure that their use of armed drones 
complies with international law, including 
international human rights law
„        Publicly disclose the legal and policy 
standards and criteria they apply to the use of 
armed drones
„        Ensure effective investigations into all 
cases where there are reasonable grounds to 
believe that drone strikes have resulted in 
unlawful killings and/or any civilian casualties
„        Establish rigorous controls on transfers of 
armed drones, and on assistance to operations of 
other states using armed drones
„        Enable meaningful oversight and 
The launch of the briefing will take place at a 
side event of the UN General Assembly First 
Committee, hosted by PAX and the UN Institute 
for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) on Friday, 
October 20.
It will take place between 1:15 - 2:30 in 
Conference Room 7 at the United Nations in 
New York.

By Stevi Carroll

UN and the Death Penalty

September 29, 2017, the United Nations Human 
Rights Council voted on a resolution, "The 
Question of the Death Penalty."  Within the text, 
it says, "Taking note of the reports of the 
Secretary General on the question of the death 
penalty, in the latest of which the Secretary 
General examined the disproportionate impact 
of the use of the death penalty on poor or 
economically vulnerable individuals, foreign 
nationals, individuals exercising the rights to 
freedom of religion or belief and freedom of 
expression, and the discriminatory use of the 
death penalty against persons belonging to 
racial and ethnic minorities, its discriminatory 
use based on gender or sexual orientation, and 
its use against individuals with mental or 
intellectual disabilities,". (for the entire text, go 

Thirteen countries voted against the resolution. 
Those countries included Botswana, Burundi, 
Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq, 
Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab 
Emirates, and the United States. Ty Cobb, 
director of the Human Rights Campaign Global 
said he believes the Trump administration 
showed a "blatant disregard for human rights and 
LGBTQ lives around the world" because for the 
first time 'sexual orientation' was in the 
resolution's language. 

In response to criticism, a US State Department 
spokesperson, Heather Nauert, said that the US's 
position on the resolution was misleading 
because the US "unequivocally condemns" the 
use of the death penalty for homosexuality, 
adultery, and religious offenses. However, the 
US's problem with the resolution was that it was 
seen as calling for the abolition of the death 
penalty altogether. Ms Nauert said, "We had 
hoped for a balanced and inclusive resolution 
that would better reflect the positions of states 
that continue to apply the death penalty lawfully, 
as the United States does." The UN resolution 
calls upon all states who continue to use the 
death penalty to consider abolishing it; it does 
not say they must. The US has always voted 
against or abstained from voting on resolutions 
regarding the death penalty.

In the US, 31 states continue to use (or have at 
their disposal) the death penalty (including 
California). In the world, the US is in the top 10 
countries to employ executions. 

 "Did our family want justice or did we want 

Cynthia Statemen's father was murdered by a 
19-year-old man. As her family grappled with 
how they felt about the upcoming trial of this 
young man named David, they struggled with 
this question: "Did our family want justice or 
did we want revenge?"

Ms Statemen and her family decided to meet 
David and the District Attorney. Instead of 
asking for the death penalty, the family and DA 
agreed to an in-prison education program that 
included training for a trade and reading books 
to broader his knowledge about the world and 
people. David also was allowed to come to the 
father's funeral where he asked to speak. He 
said, "A good man is dead because of what I 
did. I'm sorry." He gestured to the family 
members and said, "They spared my life. I 
didn't deserve that. I'm going to be in prison for 
a very long time, but I'm not being sent there to 
die. What I want to ask all of you here is: Is there 
any way you can forgive me?" This was at a 
church service that ended with the entire 
congregation laying their hands of forgiveness 
on David while singing "Amazing Grace."

The family found the answer to their question: 
"Did our family want justice or did we want 

This, I believe, is a question I, and perhaps all of 
us, wrestle with. 

Pope Francis recently wrote a letter to the 
President of the International Commission 
Against the Death Penalty. In that letter, he 
stated that he believes that the death penalty 
"does not render justice to the victims, but rather 
fosters vengeance." 

Today when you read about the recent 
executions, pay attention to how many years 
have passed since these men were sentenced to 
death. Think about who you were that many 
years ago and if you are the same person now 
that you were then. I know that part of the reason 
the recent California initiative passed to lessen 
the time from trial to execution to five years is so 
that these vast amounts of time will not pass 
before the State can kill people. Then please look 
at the people who were recently exonerated and 
how many years passed.

Do we want justice or do we want revenge? And 
if we want justice, what would true justice look 

Recent Exonerations

Lamar Johnson
State: MD Date of Exoneration: 9/19/2017
In 2005, Lamar Johnson was sentenced to life in 
prison for murder in Baltimore, Maryland. He 
was exonerated in 2017 after witnesses 
identified the real gunman.

John Horton
State: IL Date of Exoneration: 10/4/2017
In 1995, John Horton was sentenced to life in 
prison without parole for a murder and robbery 
in Rockford, Illinois that took place when he was 
17. He was exonerated in 2017 based on 
evidence that his cousin committed the crime, 
and because the prosecution concealed evidence 
that discredited one of its witnesses.

Lamonte McIntyre 
State: KS Date of Exoneration: 10/13/2017
In 1994, Lamonte McIntyre was sentenced to life 
in prison for a double murder in Kansas City, 
Kansas that occurred when he was 17. He was 
exonerated in 2017 after several witnesses 
identified the real killer, and new evidence 
showed that the prosecution had concealed 
statements from witnesses that he was not the 

Stays of Executions

26	Keith Tharpe			GA
	(Stay granted by the U.S. Supreme Court 
on September 26, 2017 "pending the disposition 
of [Tharpe's] petition for a writ of certiorari" 
seeking review of a decision by the 11th Circuit 
denying him an appeal of his habeas corpus 
claim that his death sentence was 
unconstitutionally tainted by the participation of 
a racially biased juror.)

5	Jeffrey Borden			AL
18	Melvin Bonnell		OH
	(Rescheduled for April 11, 2018)
18	William Montgomery		OH
	(Rescheduled for January 3, 2018)
18	Raymond Tibbetts		OH
	(Rescheduled for February 13, 2018)
19	Torrey McNabb		AL
26	Clifton Lee Young		TX


5	Cary Michael Lambrix	FL
	Lethal injection 3-drug (etomidate)
	33 years from sentencing to execution

12	Robert Pruett			TX
	Lethal injection 1-drug (Pentobarbital)
	15 years from sentencing to execution

19	Torrey McNabb		AL
	Lethal injection1-drug (Pentobarbital)
	19 years from sentencing to execution

Group 22 Participates in  
Caltech Fair


Thanks to Wen Chen and Stevi Carroll for 
tabling at the Caltech Y Community Service and 
Advocacy Fair on October 18. They obtained 17 
new signups for the Group 22 mailing list, plus 
15 signatures on the Narges Mohammadi 
petition and 12 on the Gao Zhisheng petition. 
Stevi said they had a great time. 

A special welcome to those who signed up at the 
Fair and are receiving this newsletter for the first 
time! Thank you for your interest in human 
rights, and we would be very happy to see you 
at one of our Group 22 events.

Former Prisoner of Conscience
Gao Zhisheng Detained Again!
By Joyce Wolf

Amnesty published an Urgent Action for Gao 
Zhisheng, an activist and respected human 
rights lawyer. His family reported him missing 
on August 13, and he is now said to be in police 
custody in Beijing.

Gao Zhisheng was Group 22's adopted Prisoner 
of Conscience from 2010 to 2015. During this 
time he was subject to forced disappearance and 
repeated torture, and he served three years in 
prison. We are very distressed to learn that he 
has been detained again and that the authorities 
refuse to disclose his exact location and 

You can find the Urgent Action for Gao 
Zhisheng (UA 212.17) at

UA for Gao Zhisheng        14
Other UAs                  29
Total                      43

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.