Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News Volume XXII Number 4, April 2014 UPCOMING EVENTS Thursday, April 24, 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. Sunday, April 27, 6:30 PM. Book Discussion Group. For April we read "On Saudi Arabia" by Karen Elliott House. Tuesday, May 13, 7:30 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, May 18, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion group. This month we read "A Tale for the Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki. COORDINATOR'S CORNER Hi All It is with sadness that we note my co- coordinator of Group 22, Lucas Kamp, passed away last month. Words cannot express how much he meant to our group and will be missed. Please see members' tributes to Lucas in this newsletter. On a lighter note, some of our members went to hear Ruth Ozeki give a talk at the Pacific Asia Museum a few months ago on the book we are reading for May. Based on that talk, I was inspired to check out 2 of her other novels from the library and read them! (which I enjoyed) Con Carino, Kathy RIGHTS READERS Human Rights Book Discussion Group Keep up with Rights Readers at http://rightsreaders.blogspot.com Next Rights Readers meetings: Sunday, April 27, 6:30 PM Sunday, May 13, 6:30 PM Vroman's Bookstore 695 E. Colorado, Pasadena BOOK REVIEW Lost and Found 'A Tale for the Time Being', by Ruth Ozeki By LESLEY DOWNER Published: May 10, 2013 The New York Times Nao, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, is in a cafe in Tokyo, writing in her diary. She is, she declares, a "time being," with all the ambiguity that phrase implies. Many months later, after Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, a Japanese-American novelist named Ruth, living on an island off the coast of British Columbia, finds a barnacle-encrusted freezer bag washed up on the beach. It contains, it appears, a copy of Proust's "In Search of Lost Time" and a broken watch, along with some letters. But Proust's book is no more than a cover. Inside is Nao's diary, written in purple ink. Whenever the word "time" comes up - "wasting time," "about time," "in time" - the reader must stop and think about the many angles of approach to that subject in Ruth Ozeki's delightful yet sometimes harrowing new novel, "A Tale for the Time Being." Ozeki's quirky and passionate first novel, "My Year of Meats," introduced a Japanese-American television producer to a Japanese housewife; her second, "All Over Creation," was set in rural Idaho. Now she sets out again to link two people on opposite sides of the Pacific. Nao has spent most of her life in Sunnyvale, Calif., where her father was a Silicon Valley highflier. When the dot-com bubble burst, he lost his job and his money, forcing his family to return to Tokyo and a cramped two-room apartment at the wrong end of town, a situation that, as Nao puts it in her irreverent style, "totally sucked." An unhappy schoolgirl who questions everything, Nao writes down whatever enters her head, making her diary read like an extended series of e-mails. When her great-grandmother and a fellow nun come on a visit from their Zen temple, she records her response: "Yo, Dad! There's two bald midgets in pajamas here to see you." In her new Japanese school, Nao is an outsider, violently bullied by her classmates until she's covered in cuts and bruises. Her father's wounds are more deeply hidden: he lies to the family, saying he's found a new job, then sits in a park all day. Finally, he jumps in front of a train, but even his suicide attempt is unsuccessful. Nao also wants to die, but first she intends to write the biography of the Buddhist great-grandmother, who claims to be 104 years old. Yet there's another reason to relish her visit to the old woman's temple near Sendai, on the coast north of Tokyo: learning a way to overcome obstacles and enemies by developing "supapawa" (superpowers) through Zen meditation. Nao's future reader, Ruth, has left Manhattan to live with her husband on the aptly named Desolation Sound in a community of refugees from the modern world. There she reads the diary slowly, at the same speed she imagines Nao wrote it, and gradually the teenager's world impinges more and more on Ruth's. The watch turns out to be not broken but merely in need of winding, and when Ruth translates the characters engraved on the back - "sky" and "soldier" - it's clear that it must have belonged to a kamikaze pilot. At the mountain temple, Nao meets the ghost of that pilot, her great- uncle, and is given letters he sent from a training camp to her great-grandmother. "My being is attuned only to one thing," he informed his mother, "the relentless rhythm of time, marching toward my death." Many of the elements of Nao's story - schoolgirl bullying, unemployed suicidal "salarymen," kamikaze pilots - are among a Western reader's most familiar images of Japan, but in Nao's telling, refracted through Ruth's musings, they become fresh and immediate, occasionally searingly painful. Ozeki takes on big themes in "A Tale for the Time Being" - not just the death of individuals but also the death of the planet. In doing so, she ranges widely, drawing in everything from quantum mechanics and the theory of infinite possibilities in an infinite number of universes to the teachings of the 13th-century Zen master Dogen Zenji. There's even a crow with possibly magical powers. All are drawn into the stories of two "time beings," Ruth and Nao, whose own fates are inextricably bound. Lesley Downer is a British journalist who writes about Asia. Her latest book is a novel, "Across a Bridge of Dreams." Author Biography RUTH OZEKI is a novelist, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest, whose award-winning novels have been described as "witty, intelligent and passionate" by the Independent, and as possessing "shrewd and playful humor, luscious sexiness and kinetic pizzazz" by the Chicago Tribune. The daughter of a Japanese mother and a Caucasian-American father, she was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. She attended Smith College and graduated with degrees in English Literature and Asian Studies. She received a Japanese Ministry of Education Fellowship to pursue graduate work in classical Japanese literature at Nara Women's University. During her years in Japan, she worked in Kyoto's entertainment or "water" district as a bar hostess, studied Noh drama and mask carving, founded a language school, and taught on the faculty of Kyoto Sangyo University. In 2006, Ozeki received an honorary doctorate from Smith College. She has been a contributor to the New York Times op-ed page, and her essays and short fiction have appeared in a in a number of anthologies. She frequently speaks at colleges and universities. Ozeki serves on the Creative Advisory Council of Hedgebrook, a women's writing retreat center on Whidbey Island, Washington, and on the Advisory Editorial Board of The Asian American Literary Review. Starting in 2015, she will be the Elizabeth Drew Professor of Creative Writing at Smith College. A longtime meditator, Ozeki was ordained as a Soto Zen priest in 2010 by her friend and teacher, Zoketsu Norman Fischer, with whom she continues to study. She is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation, and is the editor of the Everyday Zen website. She is married to the German- Canadian environmental artist Oliver Kellhammer. A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, she divides her time between Cortes Island, British Columbia, and New York City. PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE Gao Zhisheng by Joyce Wolf At the Group 22 April letter-writing meeting, we signed a 50th birthday card for Gao Zhisheng and mailed it to him in Shaya Prison in remote northwestern China. Last week we received an announcement of an action that other Amnesty groups are taking to acknowledge Gao Zhisheng. This action does not close until April 30, so there's still time for us to participate. AI groups in Seattle and Brazil have posted their actions. Dear all, This is just a reminder that it's Gao Zhisheng's 50th birthday on 20 April, and we have developed an action to coincide with this date. See the update below for details. Gao Zhisheng will turn 50 years old on 20 April. But he will be spending his birthday behind bars. Read below for details of a birthday action. What we would like you to do: Ask activists to take a photo of themselves wishing Gao Zhisheng a happy birthday. We encourage them to be as creative as possible! Bake a cake for Gao, design a birthday card for him, or hold a birthday party in his honour. Or simply hold a birthday message him, such as: "Happy Birthday, Gao Zhisheng. We haven't forgotten you," or ??????????????????? Photos can be emailed to email@example.com (in the body of the email, not as an attachment) and then they will automatically appear here. In addition to sharing the photos with his family, we hope to be able to show them to Gao Zhisheng after his release. We will also post some of the photos on Chinese-language social media platforms, in order to highlight the action and increase the online dialogue about his case. When: Photos can be sent anytime from now until 30 April. Any questions? If you are able to take part in the action, or have any questions, please contact Patrick in the China team (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Claire in the Individuals team (email@example.com). Let's take some photos for this action at our April 24 meeting! For thos of you who have not yet seen it, the DVD of the Gao Zhisheng documentary Transcending Fear will also be available to borrow at our meeting. SECURITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS by Robert Adams Recommendations for International Human Rights Law and US Surveillance Practices April 14, 2014 Amnesty International USA and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) thank the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) for the opportunity to submit this statement for the record regarding the application of international human rights law to US surveillance practices. In this submission, we briefly set out reasons the PCLOB should assess US surveillance practices in an international human rights law framework; summarize key characteristics of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act; describe international human rights law on the right to privacy; identify human rights concerns with the collection, storage and use of communications under Section 702; and explain that US human rights obligations are legally binding and applicable to US surveillance practices. We conclude by urging the PCLOB to recommend the repeal of Section 702 as well as other measures to substantially reform US surveillance practices. Recommendations The ACLU and Amnesty International USA urge the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to recommend the repeal of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. As the ACLU explained in its March 19, 2014 submission to PCLOB, Section 702 is unconstitutional. Moreover, as Amnesty International USA and the ACLU have explained in this submission, Section 702 permits arbitrary and unlawful interferences with the right to privacy in violation of international human rights law. In sum, Section 702 violates international obligations to protect privacy guaranteed by Article 17 of the ICCPR for the following reasons: * Public Transparency: Section 702 fails to establish clear and precise limitations on the scope of surveillance authority granted; to the contrary, it provides broad and effectively unfettered discretion to US authorities to conduct surveillance; * Proportionality and Necessity: Section 702 permits the collection and storage of personal data, including of "about-the-target" communications. This involves the copying and scanning of virtually any message entering or leaving the US, without any consideration of the danger to national security posed by the intended target. * Independent oversight and redress: The FISC reviews only general procedures, not specific targeting decisions, making its review wholly inadequate under the ICCPR. * Non-discrimination: Section 702 denies any protection whatsoever to non-US persons outside the US, apparently based solely on the flawed premise that the US government does not owe any privacy protections to non- US persons-a premise that the President has recently rejected. At the very least, Section 702 should be amended to prohibit surveillance without individualized suspicion and prior review by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal. Section 702 should also provide strict limitations on the scope and duration of surveillance, and use, retention and dissemination of personal communications. The definition of "foreign intelligence information" should be amended and strictly limited to, for example, information pertaining to espionage or national security. The ACLU and Amnesty International USA also recommend that the Executive Branch disclose the legal authority and scope of all signals intelligence practices of non-US persons outside of US territory. All signals intelligence collection-regardless of nationality or the location of individuals-should be authorized in a publicly accessible law setting out the potential scope and duration of surveillance, rather than by secret executive orders or other non-accessible rules. At the very least, the President should direct the disclosure of a meaningful unclassified description of the targeting procedures used in collecting memoranda and FISC opinions interpreting Section 702, with only those redactions necessary to protect legitimately secret information. The ACLU and Amnesty International USA urge that all branches of the US government recognize and adhere to US human rights obligations with regard to surveillance operations that impact people across the world. Any surveillance measure must comport with international law, and human rights protections should not be denied solely on the basis of nationality. Section 702 fails to provide any protection to non-US persons outside US territory and US law should be changed to reflect, at minimum, the necessary protections required by international law. Notwithstanding the US official position on extraterritorial application of international human rights law generally and obligations to respect privacy specifically, the Executive Branch should, as a matter of policy, commit to meeting human rights standards protecting the rights to privacy and freedom of expression and opinion as it conducts surveillance inside and outside of US territory. Background, per the Electronic Frontier Foundation (eff.org): "FISA was passed in 1978 after the Church Committee, a special investigative committee, uncovered illegal and unconstitutional spying by the NSA and CIA. FISA created a secret court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) to oversee the targeted spying on specific and identified agents of foreign powers. After 9/11, President Bush bypassed the FISA Court and began illegally mass spying on domestic communications. Journalists and whistleblowers exposed the illegal surveillance a few years later, but Congress failed to stop the spying. Instead, it passed the 2008 FISA Amendments Act (FISA AA) to justify more spying. In particular, Section 702 is used to justify mass collection of emails and phone calls." MEMORIES OF LUCAS By Laura Brown and others Kalaya'an, Lucas and Kathy. November 2010 I don't think I'll be able to go to an Amnesty letter writing without thinking of Lucas. He was so dependable on those occasions on the lawn of the Athenaeum or in the Rathskeller, toting his bag filled with paper, envelopes, postage and of course, Urgent Actions. And he liked to greet members with a cold pitcher of beer or a menu, making sure orders were placed and delivered. During the writing, he would share his fascination with place names and political happenings in all corners of the world. When Group 22 was chosen for Local Group of the Year, I believe it was due in large part to Lucas' careful oversight and outreach for AI in Pasadena. He kept up the email list and sent out monthly reminders for each of our three regular events: letter writing, general meeting, and book group. He also promoted and attended regional and national AI conferences, and joined forces with like-minded organizations, such as anti- death penalty groups. He reached out to students in many ways, such as hosting a table at Cal Tech or speaking to young people at Flintridge Prep. Often, Cal Tech students have showed up for letter writing and they were always greeted warmly and welcomed by Lucas. Though described by his family as one who disliked crowds, Lucas participated in Doo Dah parades and other demonstrations, setting aside his preferences for the greater good of being a community activist. His apartment on Catalina wasn't large, but it fit an impressive array of books, board games, and also people when he made it available for film screenings or to use as an alternate site for the book group. If one thing came across loud and clear at his April 5 memorial service, it was his generosity. He shared his time and possessions with family, friends, the cause for human rights, and specifically with Group 22. We'll miss you, Lucas, but we'll remember your dedication to our group and try to carry on the good work that you accomplished in Pasadena. --Laura Brown From Kalaya'an Mendoza, AIUSA Field Organizer: "Lucas Kamp will always be remembered as a human rights champion. I was lucky enough to know Lucas through his leadership with Amnesty International. He was a thought partner, an ever ready activist and a quiet leader who helped others reach their potential. It breaks my heart to think that another beautiful human being left this world behind but I know that Lucas left it better than when he came into it. He has always been a positive and kind force for human rights in Southern California. In his honor and legacy I would like to continue his work by bringing more people into the human rights movement. Lucas, you will never be forgotten." From Joyce, Member of Group 22: "Ave atque vale. Hail and farewell, dear Lucas. 'I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.' -- J.R.R. Tolkien" From Kai, Member of Group 22: "Lucas Kamp March 15, 1946 to March 30, 2014. Much respect to my brilliant friend Lucas. He was an amazing scientist and loved fighting and working for peace and justice. I will be thinking of him and singing songs and reflecting on his wonderful spirit. To the light he goes." MEMORIES OF LUCAS will be continued in next month's newsletter, including more selections from the tributes posted in Facebook. Look for an article from Larry Romans, best friend and former Group 22 coordinator who introduced Lucas to Amnesty back in 1998. Group 22 has received many messages from members of other Amnesty groups acknowledging his dedication to human rights and his work for AIUSA for over a decade. We also need to thank friends and colleagues of Lucas for donations made to Group 22 in his honor. DEATH PENALTY NEWS By Stevi Carroll Jerry Hartfield When Jerry Hartfield was sentenced to death in 1977, a swift execution of that sentence would have kept him from having his sentence overturned in 1980. A woman with reservations about serving on a jury that could lead to a man's execution was unconstitutionally barred from that jury; however, a retrial did not follow. Mr. Hartfield's conviction was formally vacated in 1983, and Governor Mark White moved to have Mr. Hartfield's sentence commuted. This sounds like a story with a happy swift ending peeking right over the horizon, but alas, no. Somehow the lines of communication did not buzz with this information, and the Board of Pardons and Parole, as well as the governor's office, did not know about these events. So why didn't Mr. Hartfield bring attention to it? First, after his conviction, he had no lawyer. Second, he is a man with an IQ of 51. He had no one to advocate for him until other inmates came to his aid in 2006. Seven years later the Texas Court of Appeals acknowledged he had been wrongly imprisoned and that his right to a speedy trial violated. He should have a new trial, yes? Well, the murder weapon has been lost so the case hinges on a coerced confession. A person with an IQ between 60 and 70 has the scholastic equivalent to the third grade and remember Mr. Hartfield's IQ is 51, so what might his emotional and mental state have been when the authorities extracted that confession? And no re-trial was forthcoming. According to Andrew Cohen in his article "Texas has been holding this man hostage for 12,600 days", no cross-check existed for this situation and in some twisted logic, officials for the State believe Mr. Hartfield deliberately kept himself imprisoned so that one day he could use the lack of a speedy trial in court. Additionally, while Judge Craig Estlinbaum has acknowledged the court system in Texas had been negligent in its handling of this case, he also said, "there is no evidence that Hartfield has suffered any anxiety relating to his pretrial detention," a detention since 1977. At this writing, Mr. Hartfield is still in prison. Imagine if he had had a speedy execution. 90 Million Strong The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has put together the personal stories of people who oppose the death penalty. These stories are as brief as "It's wrong" to as long as many paragraphs. Some contain religious reasons, including one with this line from the Lord's Prayer, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" that allowed a woman to see her imprisoned father- in-law not simply as a convict on death row, but as a human being who committed a horrible crime and is nonetheless someone to love. These stories can be found at http://ncadp.tumblr.com/. If you are so moved, you can add your thoughts at this site. Take Action: Frank Walls AI online Frank Walls, a 46-year-old man who has been on death row in Florida for 25 years, is seeking commutation of his death sentence. If clemency is rejected, the governor will sign an execution warrant. He is a remorseful prisoner with brain disorders that have left him functioning at the level of a 12-year-old. http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/ad vocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=6oJCLQPAJiJUG&b =6645049&aid=520453 Stay of execution March 26 Charles Crawford Mississippi 27 Charles Warner Oklahoma (until 4/29 to allow time to find a supply of lethal injection drugs) 27 Michelle Byrom Mississippi April 16 Stephen Edmiston Pennsylvania 22 Nickolus Johnson Tennessee Executions March 26 Jeffrey Ferguson Missouri lethal injection** 27 Anthony Doyle Texas lethal injection** April 3 Tommy Sells Texas lethal injection** 9 Ramiro Hernandez* Texas lethal injection** 16 Jose Villegas Texas lethal injection** *foreign national **1-drug - pentobarbital GROUP 22 MONTHLY LETTER COUNT UAs 30 POC 11 Total 41 To add your letters to the total contact firstname.lastname@example.org Amnesty International Group 22 The Caltech Y Mail Code C1-128 Pasadena, CA 91125 www.its.caltech.edu/~aigp22/ http://rightsreaders.blogspot.com 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.