Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXVI Number 9, September 2018

  Thursday, September 27, 7:30-9:00 PM. 
Monthly Meeting. We meet at the Caltech Y, 
Tyson House, 505 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena. 
This is our first meeting after summer break. 
We'll be discussing possibilities for future 
meetings. Please come with your suggestions.
  Tuesday, October 9, 7:30-9:00 PM. Letter 
writing meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner 
of Hill and California in Pasadena. This month 
we still meet outdoors at the "Rath al Fresco," 
on the lawn next to the building. 
  Sunday, October 21, 6:30 PM. Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
Group. This month we read "The Plot Against 
America" by Philip Roth. 

Hello everyone,
Now it is officially fall but still hot...looking 
forward to cooler days, snuggling up with one 
of the cats and a good book!
Speaking of which, I have been reading "The 
Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" by 
Lawrence Wright. Rob and I have been 
watching the miniseries of the same name on 
Hulu. Highly recommend both - shocking to see 
how many opportunities there were to stop Bin 
Laden that were never taken.

Group 22 hosted the movie Letter from 
Masanjia at the Playhouse Theater in Pasadena 
last weekend. Stevi and Wen were there to 
represent Group 22 and solicited signatures on a 
petition for our former POC, Gao Zhisheng. We 
heard the film was excellent, but didn't have a 
chance to see it due to work and other 
commitments. (My sister and I are still working 
on my dad's estate. The house has sold and is in 
escrow. Should be over in a few weeks.)

Handmaid's tale happening in Texas? Go to, PBS Newshour for September 21, and 
watch or read the segment titled "How the next 
Supreme Court justice could affect your access 
to birth control" about cuts and changes to the 
Title X family planning programs for low 
income women. Shocking in this day and age 
that some people are opposed to contraception 
and want to impose their views on everyone 
Con carino,

Next Rights Readers Meeting

Sunday, October 21
6:30 PM

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd 

The Plot Against America
by Philip Roth


A politically charged alternate history in which 
Aryan supremacist hero Charles Lindbergh 
unseats FDR in 1940-with catastrophic 
consequences for America's Jews.

Roth's latest (and one of his most audacious) is 
narrated by a fictional character named Philip 
Roth, who describes the impact of Lindbergh's 
presidency (linked ominously to "Lindy's" 
cordial relationship with fellow statesman Adolf 
Hitler) on Newark insurance salesman Herman 
Roth, his stoical wife Bess, and their sons Philip 
and Sanford ("Sandy"). Novelist Roth skillfully 
constructs a thickly detailed panorama of urban 
Jewish life, featuring such vividly developed 
characters as Philip's truculent cousin Alvin 
(wounded in a "Jewish" European war, and 
permanently damaged), his suggestible 
maternal aunt Evelyn (who adores Lindbergh), 
and Evelyn's influential fiancˇ, silver-tongued 
conservative apologist Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf. 
The latter two pay dearly for their naively 
placed allegiances. But so do the passionately 
skeptical Roths: first, when Sandy's summer on 
a Kentucky farm imbues him with "American" 
(in fact anti-Semitic) values; and later, following 
the 1942 Homestead Act, purportedly conceived 
to relocate eastern seaboard Jews throughout 
Middle America, actually an ominous harbinger 
of how Lindbergh plans to solve "the Jewish 
problem." The tight focus on the Roths itself 
shifts when Lindbergh-hating columnist Walter 
Winchell announces his presidential candidacy, 
violence escalates alarmingly, martial law is 
imposed, war with Canada (whence many 
Jewish families flee) is anticipated, and a 
savagely ironic turn of events returns FDR to the 
national spotlight-but doesn't assuage Herman 
Roth's all-too-justifiable fears. The story gathers 
breakneck velocity and intensity, ending 
perhaps too abruptly (and, perhaps, pointing the 
way to a sequel). But hilarious and terrifying by 
turns, it's a sumptuous interweaving of 
narrative, characterization, speculation, and 
argument that joins The Ghost Writer (1979) and 
Operation Shylock (1993) at the summit of Roth's 

An almost unbelievably rich book, and another 
likely major prizewinner.

ABOUT PHILIP ROTH (1933 - 2018)
 In the 1990s Philip Roth won America's four 
major literary awards in succession: the National 
Book Critics Circle Award for Patrimony (1991), 
the PEN/Faulkner Award for Operation Shylock 
(1993), the National Book Award for Sabbath's 
Theater (1995), and the Pulitzer Prize in fiction 
for American Pastoral (1997). He won the 
Ambassador Book Award of the English-
Speaking Union for I Married a Communist 
(1998); in the same year he received the National 
Medal of Arts at the White House. Previously he 
won the National Book Critics Circle Award for 
The Counterlife (1986) and the National Book 
Award for his first book, Goodbye, Columbus 
(1959). In 2000 he published The Human Stain, 
concluding a trilogy that depicts the ideological 
ethos of postwar America. For The Human Stain 
Roth received his second PEN/Faulkner Award 
as well as Britain's W. H. Smith Award for the 
Best Book of the Year. In 2001 he received the 
highest award of the American Academy of Arts 
and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, given 
every six years "for the entire work of the 
recipient." In 2005 The Plot Against America 
received the Society of American Historians 
Award for "the outstanding historical novel on 
an American theme for 2003--2004." In 2007 Roth 
received the PEN/Faulkner Award for 

By Stevi Carroll

The film Letter from Masanjia 
premiered Friday, September 14, 2018, in 
Pasadena and New York. Under the guidance of 
Wen Chen, Group 22 co-sponsored the Pasadena 
opening. A sell-out crowd enjoyed the evening's 
screening that was followed by a Q & A with 
director Leon Lee.

Stevi, Leon Lee, Wen.

Letter from Masanjia is a moving documentary 
that brings the viewer into the reality of Chinese 
prison labor camps where inmates are forced to 
make products for export. 

From the Epoch Times: 
For human-rights watchers, Masanjia Labour Camp 
is the bleakest symbol of China's totalitarian regime. 
In the country's vast network of labour camps, it was 
always the most feared.

This story began in 2011 when Julie Keith, a mother 
of two living in Oregon, opened a package of 
Halloween decorations purchased at a local K-Mart. 
Inside the package she found a handwritten note in 
Chinese and broken English which read, in part, "If 
you occasionally buy this product, please kindly 
resend this letter to the World Human Right 
Organization. Thousands people here ... will thank 
and remember you forever."

The note outlined the gruelling working conditions 
in the Masanjia Labour Camp and referenced the 
torture and abuse experienced by detainees.

The writer was Sun Yi, a Falun Gong prisoner of 
conscience detained in Masanjia who often hid letters 
in the Halloween decorations he was forced to 
produce and package.

(To read the entire article, go to

Sun Yi shows us what courage, humility, and 
honor look like. Sun Yi and Julie Keith meet in 
Jakarta where Sun Yi escaped to for asylum. One 
of the Halloween decorations Sun Yi made was 
styrofoam headstones. As Sun Yi and Julie Keith 
talked, he asked such a simple yet powerful 
question: What does RIP mean? 

So often when I see all of the things that are 
made in other countries, China included, I 
wonder what the people who make them think 
about the items and whether or not they have 
any idea what they could possibly be used for 
and why people might want them. Sun Yi's 
question shined light on my thoughts.

As the movie ends, Sun Yi leaves us with his 
thought about life. I paraphrase here, he said - 
Good will triumph over evil.

To see the trailer for Letter from Masanjia, go to

Wen brought a petition for Gas Zhisheng, our 
group's former prisoner of conscience, who is 
once again disappeared. Many people stopped 
by our table to sign. Many thanks to Wen for 
organizing our involvement with this important 
premiere. I know she, Veronica, and I were 
deeply affected by this documentary.

[Note from Joyce: I also found the film deeply 
moving when I saw it the following week. The 
petition for Gao Zhisheng received over 60 
signatures. At next month's letter writing, we 
will have an action for imprisoned human rights 
lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who appeared in the 

By Stevi Carroll

The Penalty - a documentary film

In mid September, the documentary film The 
Penalty premiered in California.  The film shows 
three people's experience with the death 
penalty. It covers the state's need to find the 
drugs to use for the lethal injection protocol as 
an attorney works to prevent a 'botched' 
execution. A man who spent 15 years on death 
row for a crime he did not commit tries to put 
his life back together after his release. The family 
of a murder victim is divided as the state works 
to enforce the death penalty sentence.

The film's co-director, Will Francome, said, 
"With this film we wanted to examine capital 
punishment through the stories of some 
extraordinary people who have to deal with the 
death penalty in their daily lives. By taking 
viewers on this journey with them, we hope 
they will come away with a new understanding 
of just how much the death penalty brutalizes 
all of us, whether consciously or not."

About the film, Mike Farrell, president of Death 
Penalty Focus, said, "So much has been written 
about the death penalty that it becomes easy for 
people who have already made up their minds 
about it to tune out the usual arguments. But 
with The Penalty, you're seeing and hearing from 
real people who have been victimized by this 
barbaric system, and the evidence of the toll it 
has taken on them can't be denied."

The Penalty allows the viewer to be with three 
extraordinary people as they embark on 
journeys of recovery, discovery and rebellion 
and find themselves center stage in the biggest 
capital punishment crisis in modern memory.

To see the trailer, go to

Aaron Salter - State: MI
Date of Exoneration: 8/15/2018
In 2004, Aaron Salter was sentenced to life in 
prison without parole for a shooting that killed 
one man and wounded two others in Detroit, 
Michigan. He was exonerated in 2018 by 
evidence pointing to another man as the 

Stays of Execution
12	Ruben Gutierrez	TX
	Stay granted by the U.S. District Court 
for the Southern District of Texas on August 22, 
2018 to provide newly appointed counsel time 
to investigate the case and "to preserve 
Gutierrez's right to meaningful and effective 
legal representation." The U.S. Court of Appeals 
for the Fifth Circuit upheld the stay on 
September 10.

13	Shawn Grate		OH
	Legally premature death 
warrant. Execution of the death warrant stayed 
by operation of law (Ohio Rev. Code sec. 
2953.09) when Grate filed a notice of appeal on 
July 19 to permit him to pursue direct appeal 
remedies that are available to all Ohio capital 
defendants as of right.

10	James O.Neal		OH
	Rescheduled for February 21, 2021 by 
Gov. John Kasich on September 1, 2017

17	Raymond Tibbetts	OH
	Death sentence commuted by Gov. John 
Kasich to life without possibility of parole on 
July 20, 2018.

None since last month

Narges Mohammadi
By Joyce Wolf

Group 22's adopted prisoner of conscience in 
Iran, human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, 
has been repeatedly hospitalized, most recently 
in August for gall bladder surgery. Prison 
authorities have refused to grant her medical 
furlough. Now her mother is requesting 
permission for Narges to visit her seriously ill 
85-year-old father.

From Center for Human Rights in Iran:

SEPTEMBER 12, 2018
The mother of imprisoned human rights activist 
Narges Mohammadi has urged Tehran 
Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi to allow 
the ailing political prisoner to go on furlough 
(temporary leave) so she can visit her ailing 
father and receive medical treatment. 

"Why aren't you agreeing to her furlough?" 
Ozra Bazargan wrote in her letter to 
Dowlatabadi. "How far will you go in treating 
my daughter unjustly?"
"If you insist on denying furlough to my 
daughter, at least let your agents bring her to see 
her worried, sick, old father for just an hour," 
she added.

You can find updates and actions for Narges on 
Twitter by searching #FreeNarges.

UAs                          21
POC                           1
Total                        22

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.