Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXVII Number 5, May 2019

  Thursday, May 23, 7:30-9:00 PM. Monthly 
Meeting. We meet at the Caltech Y, Tyson 
House, 505 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena.  Our 
guest speaker is Tim Nistler from Friends In 
Deed. He wears a few hats including Program 
Director, coordinator of The Food Pantry, and 
Director of Social Media. He'll talk about food, 
hunger, dignity, and human rights. Friends In 
Deed is an interfaith organization that 
provides supportive services to meet basic 
human needs, so our homeless and at-risk 
neighbors can rebuild their lives.
  Tuesday, June 11, 7:30-9:00 PM. Letter 
Writing meeting at the Caltech Athenaeum, 
corner of Hill and California in Pasadena. (In 
summer we meet outdoors at the "Rath al 
Fresco" on the lawn next to the building.) This 
informal gathering is a great way for 
newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty. 
  Sunday, June 16, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion Group. For 
June we read a novel, "The Heart of War: 
Misadventures in the Pentagon", by Kathleen 
J. McInnis. 


Hello all,

Crazy weather we've been having! Sunny days 
and then colder rainy ones.

I've been taking advantage of the nice days to 
smell the flowers (the jasmine bushes and 
jacaranda trees are in bloom now-my favs) and 
get some exercise outdoors.

14 more days of the school year left but who's 
counting - lol. It is very busy as schools try to get 
stuff done they've put off all year...

Benedictine monk Dennis Gibbs, who spoke to 
us last year about the episcopal diocese of LA's 
ministry to the incarcerated, has written a book 
called "Oblivion" about his personal struggle 
with addiction and its consequences. There was 
a book signing at the monastery in San Gabriel a 
few weeks ago. Rob and I weren't able to attend 
but hopefully some of you were. I do intend to 
read the book, which is available on Amazon.

Great turnout at letter writing last week. Come 
for the camaraderie, beer and popcorn and do 
good while having fun!

Speaking of doing good, don't forget to bring 
unused travel sized toiletries to the monthly 
meeting this week for the clients of Friends in 
Need. We're having a speaker from this 
program tell us about what they do to help 
people in Pasadena who are down on their luck.

Con carino,

Next Rights Readers Meeting
Sunday, June 16, 
6:30 PM

Vroman's Bookstore (upstairs)
695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

The Heart of War:
Misadventures in the Pentagon
Kathleen J. McInnis

Featured in The NY Times magazine!
Featured in "Best of 2018" by Foreign Policy magazine!

The Devil Wears Prada meets Catch-22; a novel 
about a young woman's journey into the heart of 
Washington's war machine.

Dr. Heather Reilly has been an anti-war activist 
since her brother died fighting the Taliban. But 
her crushing student loans drive her to take a 
job working on a peace plan for Afghanistan, in 
the last place on Earth she ever thought she'd be 
employed: the Pentagon. On her first day, 
however, her position is eliminated and she's 
shuffled to a war-fighting office focused on 
combating Russian aggression. Unfortunately, 
she knows little about Russia and has deep 
moral reservations about war. Making matters 
worse, she's also working for Ariane Fletcher-a 
woman so terrifying, she eats generals for 
breakfast. As Heather learns to navigate the 
Pentagon's insane bureaucracy and petty power 
struggles, she finds that her successes come at 
the expense of her personal life... and that small 
mistakes can have major consequences in the 
Department of Defense.

From Washington D.C.'s corridors of power to 
the dusty streets of Kabul, Kathleen McInnis 
spins a smart, hilarious, and heartwarming tale 
that shines a light on the often frustrating but 
sometimes rewarding experience of a career in 
the Pentagon.  Packed with insider knowledge 
about one of the least-known-yet most-
powerful-organizations in U.S. national 
security, McInnis' debut novel establishes her as 
a major new literary voice with a point of view 
we've never seen before.

Kathleen J. McInnis is a national security policy 
analyst who has worked in the Pentagon, the UK 
Parliament, and in think tanks on both sides of the 

As an International Security Analyst for the 
Congressional Research Service and a Senior Non-
Resident Fellow for the Atlantic Council of the 
United States, she currently analyzes international 
security and defense issues for the United States 
Congress. Prior to that, she was a research consultant 
at Chatham House in London, working on NATO 
and transatlantic security matters.

Kathleen also served in the Office of the Secretary of 
Defense (Policy), working NATO-Afghanistan 
matters and stability operations capability 
development. During her time there, she helped 
formulate and support US policy for two NATO 
summits, eight NATO Defense Ministerial meetings, 
and four Regional Command- South Ministerial 
meetings. Prior to joining Stability Operations, Ms. 
McInnis spent several years at the Center for 
Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), analyzing 
US nuclear weapons strategy, strategic capabilities, 
NATO, European security, and transatlantic 

Before joining CSIS, she was a researcher in the 
United Kingdom House of Commons, working on 
NATO, the European Union, and US-UK political-
military relations. She has contributed to outlets 
including The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington 
Times, The Washington Quarterly, Buzzfeed, Defense 
One, Foreign Policy, War on the Rocks, and Defense 
News. She has appeared on CNN, Sky News, BBC, 
CNBC, Al Jazeera English, and Voice of America to 
comment on international affairs. Some of the places 
she has traveled for her work include the Republic of 
Djibouti, the Norwegian Arctic, China, Tokyo, Saudi 
Arabia, Lithuania, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Australia.

Kathleen received her PhD in War Studies at King's 
College in London; her MSc in International 
Relations at the London School of Economics; and 
her Bachelor of Arts at Towson University in 
Maryland. Born in Annapolis, Maryland, Kathleen is 
a self-professed "base brat" who grew up on US 
bases overseas. She lived in D.C., Baltimore, London, 
and Yorkshire before returning to Annapolis, where 
she currently lives.

By Stevi Carroll

We Have Manners And

Recently when I was visiting the South Rim of 
the Grand Canyon, I had a lesson in manners. 
Something I enjoy while I'm visiting our 
National Parks is seeing and listening to all of 
the visitors from other countries who also enjoy 
visiting our Parks. I listen to their conversations 
to figure out what their languages are. I ask if 
they'd like me to take photos of them posing 
with the beautiful vistas. I make eye contact and 
small talk with them, as Timothy Snyder 
suggests we do in his book On Tyranny: Twenty 
Lessons From The Twentieth Century. We discuss 
the majesty of the lovely scenery.

When my friend and I stopped on the path 
along the rim, we noticed a White fellow alone 
taking photos of the canyon. My friend asked if 
he'd like a photo of himself. He said yes and 
then began to chat with us. After a couple of 
sentences, he asked, "Have you noticed how 
rude the foreigners are?" I replied, "Nope, I sure 
haven't." He then went on to say he was from 
the South where people have manners and open 
doors for each other. I will admit I have some 
biases about our Southern states, their politics, 
and yes, their habits, attitudes, and manners. If 
he could have seen my thought bubble, he 
would have seen, 'Before or after you lynch 
them?' I asked where he was from, and he 
answered Alabama.

Two things have recently happened in Alabama. 
Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the 
criminalization for essentially all abortions, 
including those for women and girls who have 
experienced rape or acts of incest and become 
pregnant. Governor Ivey tweeted, "Today, I 
signed into law the Alabama Human Life 
Protection Act. To the bill's many supporters, 
this legislation stands as a powerful testament to 
Alabamians' deeply held belief that every life is 
precious & that every life is a sacred gift from 

This brings us to the second thing that has 
recently happened in Alabama. On May 16th, 
the state of Alabama executed Michael Brandon 
Samra. Mr. Samra was 19 when he took part in 
the murder of four people. His co-defendant, 
Mark Duke, was 16 and angry at his father 
because his father would not let him use his 
pick-up truck. Mr. Duke murdered his father, 
his father's girlfriend, and one of her daughters. 
Mr. Samra murdered the girlfriend's other 
daughter. Originally, Mr. Duke was also 
sentenced to die, but when the Supreme Court 
barred the death penalty for people under 18 at 
the time of their crimes, he was sentenced to life 
without parole.

So the law is the law and it was carried out. 
However, a few things about Mr. Samra might 
have been considered before he was executed. 
He had no significant criminal history prior to 
this crime. From an early age, he showed signs 
of significant cognitive impairments. He was 
developmentally slow and had tremors in his 
hands. Mental experts prior to the trial found 
that he had a low IQ and had recommended 
neurological testing after they found evidence of 
brain dysfunction. Mr. Samra's court appointed 
lawyer's compensation for out-of-court work 
was capped at $1,000.00; therefore, no 
neurological testing was performed and his 
lawyer did not consult with an expert on 
intellectual disability. Instead the jury was 
repeatedly told by his trial counsel that Mr. 
Samra was a follower of Satan and that the 
crime was related to his involvement with a 
Satan-worshipping gang. Even the prosecutor 
realized these allegations were baseless and 
prejudicial and should not be allowed.  After the 
jury returned a guilty verdict, the penalty phrase 
began within half an hour and on the same day 
the death sentence was recommended. 

Now let's return to our friend at the Grand 
Canyon and Governor Ivey. Alabamians are so 
polite they hold doors open for people, and they 
have a "deeply held belief that every life is 
precious and that every life is a sacred gift from 
God." Well, unless that life is a mentally 
impaired young man whose final words were "I 
would like to thank Jesus for everything he's 
done for me. I want to thank Jesus for shedding 
his bloods for my sins. Thank you for your 
grace, Jesus. Amen."

Mr. Samra's execution was the seventh 
execution in Alabama since Kay Ivey became 

Recent Exonerations

James Frazier
 - State: PA - Date of Exoneration: 4/4/2019
In 2013, James Frazier was sentenced to life in 
prison without parole for a double murder in 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was exonerated 
in 2019 after the lead detective, accused of 
obtaining a false confession from Frazier by 
threatening to sexually assault him, was indicted 
for sexually assaulting informants and suspects 
in other cases.

Randy Liebich
 - State: IL - Date of Exoneration: 4/17/2019
In 2004, Randy Liebich was sentenced to 65 
years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend's 
two-year-old son in Willowbrook, Illinois. He 
was exonerated in 2019 by medical evidence that 
the boy's death was not the result of injuries 
inflicted while in Liebich's care.

James Gibson
 - State: IL - Date of Exoneration: 4/26/2019
In 1991, James Gibson was sentenced to life in 
prison for a double murder in Chicago, Illinois. 
He was exonerated in 2019 based on evidence 
that he falsely confessed after he was kicked, 
beaten and burned by detectives.

Elgerie Cash and Jennifer Weathington
 - State: GA - Date of Exoneration: 5/1/2019
Elgerie Cash and her daughter, Jennifer 
Weathington, both of Dallas, Georgia, were 
convicted in 2013 of murder in the death of 
Weathington's boyfriend, Lennis Jones. Their 
convictions were overturned in 2014 because of 
ineffective assistance of counsel, and they were 
acquitted at a retrial in 2019 based on evidence 
that the victim had shot himself.

Kenneth McPherson and Eric Simmons
  - State: MD - Date of Exoneration: 5/3/2019
In 1995, Kenneth McPherson and Eric Simmons 
were sentenced to life in prison for a murder in 
Baltimore, Maryland. They were exonerated in 
2019 after new witnesses confirmed they were 
not involved, and new evidence showed that the 
prosecution's only witness could not have seen 
the shooting from where she said she was.

Stanley Mozee and Dennis Allen - State: TX
 - Date of Exoneration: 5/10/2019
In 2000, Stanley Mozee and Dennis Allen were 
sentenced to life in prison for murder in Dallas, 
Texas. They were exonerated in 2019, after DNA 
tests failed to link them to the crime, witnesses 
recanted testimony that implicated both men, 
and evidence showed the police and prosecution 
concealed evidence.

Recent Stays of Execution

17	Jeffery A. Wogenstahl		OH	
Stay granted by the Ohio Supreme Court on 
October 24, 2018 pending "exhaustion of all state 
post-conviction proceedings, including any 

2	Dexter Johnson		TX	
Stay granted by the U.S. District Court for the 
Southern District of Texas on April 30, 2019 to 
provide recently appointed habeas corpus 
counsel 90 days to develop a series of claims 
relating to the alleged ineffective representation 
provided by prior counsel. 

29	Timothy Hoffner		OH	
Rescheduled for August 11, 2021 by Gov. John 
Kasich on September 1, 2017.

5	Alva Campbell	OH	
Died on March 3, 2018

Recent Executions

24	John William King		TX
	Lethal Injection 1-drug (Pentobarbital)
	Years From Sentence To Execution - 20

2	Scotty Garnell Morrow	GA
	Lethal Injection 1-drug (Pentobarbital)
	Years From Sentence To Execution - 19

16	Michael Brandon Samra	AL
	Lethal Injection 3-drug (Midazolam) 
	Years From Sentence To Execution - 21

16	Donnie Edward Johnson	TN
	Lethal Injection 3-drug (Midazolam)
	Years From Sentence To Execution - 34

UAs                           24
POC (UA for Gao Zhisheng)     10
POC (Narges Mohammadi)        10
Total                         44

Narges Mohammadi
and Gao Zhisheng
By Joyce Wolf

"On the morning of Tuesday, May 14, Narges 
Mohammadi was transferred to a hospital escorted 
by guards. 'Doctors had recommended last year that 
Narges Mohammadi must undergo a hysterectomy. 
Her family and lawyers had requested a prison 
furlough. She was transferred to a hospital with an 
escort [of guards]', tweeted Taghi Rahmani, exiled 
husband of Narges Mohammadi."

We hope that Narges will be able to stay in the 
hospital long enough to make a good recovery.

Many other Amnesty groups around the world 
are working for Narges. The group in Denmark 
is very active and presented her case at the 
Danish Yearly Amnesty Assembly the last 
weekend of April with 450 participants. 
(photo from Anette Ibsen, Group Furesoe, Denmark)

For Gao Zhisheng, missing since August 2017, 
no news is not good news. This month Group 22 
wrote on the current Amnesty UA for Gao. If 
you have not already done so, please write or 
email on this action.  Don't forget to report your 
actions to the UA network! Visit

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.