Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News Volume XXIV Number 6, June 2016 UPCOMING EVENTS Thursday, June 23, 8:00 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, July 12, 7:30 PM. Letter writing meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner of Hill and California in Pasadena. In the summer we meet outdoors at the "Rath al Fresco," on the lawn behind the building. This informal gathering is a great way for newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty. Sunday, July 17, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion group. This month we read "Thieves of State" by Sarah Chayes. COORDINATOR'S CORNER Hi everyone Hot enough for you?! I had postponed putting away my warmer clothes because of the "May Gray" and "June Gloom", but finally got down to business today! The senseless tragedy in Orlando shocked many this week. AI supports LGBT rights and has campaigns to end discrimination. Read the press release here: PRESS RELEASE June 12, 2016 Attack in Orlando Shows Utter Contempt for Human Life "Last night's shooting in Orlando demonstrated utter contempt for human life, and our thoughts are with the victims of these attacks and the city of Orlando. But thoughts must be backed up with actions to protect people from such violence," said Jamira Burley, senior campaigner for Amnesty International USA. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the U.S. government is obligated to protect people from gun violence. "While much is still unknown about this horrific crime, a full investigation must be guided by facts, rather than speculation or bigotry of any kind. The U.S. government must uphold its obligations under international law and address gun violence as the human rights crisis that it is. It is critical to reform the current patchwork of federal, state and local laws to ensure everyone's safety and security. No one's life should be threatened just by walking down the street, going to school or dancing at a nightclub." Every day (or every hour, it seems!) I'm copied on an email from one of our members, Mr. Vince DeStefano, who is a traveling salesman, about which urgent action he's sent off from the current destination he's in! Let's pack the next letter writing and challenge Vince to see who can write more letters! Con Carino, Kathy Next Rights Readers meeting: Sunday, July 17 6:30 PM Vroman's Bookstore (upstairs) 695 E. Colorado Blvd Pasadena Thieves of State by Sarah Chayes AUTHOR BIO Sarah Chayes is a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program and the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment. Formerly special adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, she is an expert in kleptocracy and anticorruption, South Asia policy and civil-military relations. A former reporter, she covered the fall of the Taliban for National Public Radio, then left journalism to remain in Kandahar in order to contribute to the reconstruction of the country, living there almost continuously since December 2001. After running a nongovernmental organization founded by President Karzai's brother Qayum, Chayes launched a manufacturing cooperative, Arghand. that produces skin-care products for export from licit local agriculture. The goals were to help revive the region's historic role in exporting fruit and its derivatives, promote sustainable development, and expand alternatives to the opium economy. Deeply embedded in the life of the city and fluent in the Pashtu language, Chayes gained a unique perspective on the unfolding war. In 2009, she was tapped to serve as special adviser to Generals David McKiernan and Stanley McChrystal, commanders of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). She contributed her unique understanding of the Afghan south to the decisionmaking process, built ISAF's anticorruption policy, and assisted the U.S. embassy in developing an integrated approach to Afghan kleptocracy. In 2010, Chayes became special adviser to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, contributing to strategic policy on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Arab Spring. Chayes is author of The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban (Penguin Press HC, 2006). Her most recent book, Thieves of State (WW Norton and Company) is now available. She is a contributing writer for the Los Angeles Times opinion section, and her articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Foreign Policy and the Atlantic, among other publications. BOOK REVIEWS "The target of her zeal is government corruption around the world - an old challenge but one she recasts in urgent and novel terms." - Carlos Lozada, Washington Post "Chayes develops a muscular new vocabulary for talking about the problem of corruption." - Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker "Entirely unique... cogent and fascinating." - Joel Whitney, San Francisco Chronicle "For anyone confused by how the world ended up in such a state, I would strongly recommend Sarah Chayes's book." --Oliver Bullough, The Telegraph "An important book... about how government corruption helped turn Afghans away from us and from the pro-U.S. Afghan regime" Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times "This is an important book that should be required reading for officials in foreign service, and for those working in commerce or the military. The story will interest the nonspecialist reader too " -By Giles Foden, New York Times BOSTON GLOBE How bribes create terrorists By Kevin Hartnett February 3, 2015 What stokes terrorism? There are lots of explanations, many of which focus on macro forces, like the politics of fundamentalist Islam and the uneven distribution of rewards in market economy. This past Friday at the Boston Athenaeum, Sarah Chayes offered a surprisingly different explanation: Terrorism, she argued, is an outgrowth of the daily humiliations that arise in corrupt countries. The New Yorker Corruption and Revolt Does tolerating graft undermine national security? BY PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE JANUARY 19, 2015 ISSUE "Chayes develops a muscular new vocabulary for talking about the problem of corruption. Good governance is often construed as an essentially humanitarian preoccupation, a civil-society concern that is forever trumped by more pressing strategic obligations. But Chayes became convinced that in Afghanistan kleptocratic rule was actually "manufacturing Taliban," providing fodder for the expanding insurgency. In unstable and potentially explosive places..., she argues, the dilemma of corruption is not, as it might appear, one in which American values and interests are in tension. Even a hard-nosed realist should regard corruption as a dire concern, she maintains, because it is not merely a matter of the rule of law and democratic principles - it is a "matter of national security." This is the real intellectual innovation of Chayes's book: she takes what has always been the losing position in policy debates and imbues it with a new rhetorical power." Read More... http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/19/corruption-revolt How corruption abroad threatens U.S. national security LOS ANGELES TIMES Doyle Mcmanus November 29, 2014 "Chayes, whose writing frequently appears on these pages, has written a new book, "Thieves of State," that makes a persuasive case that corruption harms U.S. national security interests in at least two ways: It makes it easier for insurgent movements to win support among aggrieved citizens. And it makes U.S.-friendly governments incapable of defending themselves against insurgents, criminal cartels and even foreign invaders." Read More... http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mcmanus-column-corruption-20141130-column.html SECURITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS By Robert Adams CIA Torture Just Got One Step Closer to Facing Accountability By Elizabeth Beavers April 28, 2016 "You rarely win, but sometimes you do." I keep a poster up in my office with this quote from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. To me, it perfectly summarizes Amnesty International's work of pushing back against the human rights abuses carried out in the name of national security. That's because we're fighting against fear and hate, which are powerful, intimidating adversaries. But recent victories have reminded me that there's something stronger than fear and hate, and that our fight is worthwhile. We may feel sometimes as if human rights rarely win - but this time, they did. And they won big. In an unprecedented victory for torture accountability, the U.S. Justice Department decided not to block a private lawsuit from going forward, and to actually allow survivors and victims of CIA torture to have their day in court. This was a shocking development - typically, the U.S. government invokes "state secrets" and blocks these types of lawsuits from ever really going anywhere. For years, Amnesty International has urged the U.S. government not to use "state secrets" to block torture accountability. Amnesty International members across the U.S. re-iterated that call for accountability this past December. After gathering by webinar to learn about this case, then taking action by flooding the Justice Department with phone calls, emails, and petition signatures, activists urged the Department of Justice not to use "state secrets" yet again in this case to block accountability for torture. It was a natural continuation of work they'd long been doing, because one of the names in this lawsuit was very familiar to Amnesty International activists: Gul Rahman. Gul Rahman is one of the victims of CIA torture represented in this case. You can read more about his tragic story here, including how he froze to death in CIA custody. Moved by his story to take action, thousands of Amnesty members have sought accountability from the U.S. government for Gul Rahman's torture. Just a few days ago, activists got what they asked for. In a shocking development, the Justice Department decided not to invoke state secrets and not to block the lawsuit from going forward. These survivors and victims of CIA torture will get a day in court. To be sure, there is still a long road to travel as they seek accountability, but for now, they're still being allowed to push forward. It's a milestone few thought we would reach. Amnesty International activists helped this happen. Every phone call, every email, every petition, and every social media post contributed to a wave of activism that refuses to let anyone get away with torture, and refuses to let the world forget about Gul Rahman. Today, accountability for the American Torture Story is just a little closer within reach. Onward. PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE Narges Mohammadi by Joyce Wolf (for Alexi Daher) Alexi reported the results of the recent Twitter action for Narges. Alexi wrote on June 2: "According to @hashtracking Hashtag Explorer #FreeNarges generated 1,175,082 impressions with 767 tweets in the last day. Thank you for supporting June 1st Tweetstorm!!" Amnesty's current action for Narges is at http://www.amnestyusa.org/get- involved/take-action-now/iran-release-narges- mohammadi-ua-10515 DEATH PENALTY NEWS By Stevi Carroll Justice That Works According to an LA Times article June 17, the initiative to abolish the death penalty will be on the November ballot. Executions would be replaced with life without possibility of parole and required work with wages paid to the debts owed to crime victims. The 743 California inmates on death row would benefit from its passage. We need to remember there also may be a pro- death penalty measure on the ballot. An understanding of which initiative is which will created informed voters. We can become familiar with the abolition initiation and help spread information about Justice That Works. To contribute to Justice That Works, go to https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/jt wq12016#wpcf7-f415-p359-o1 If you are on Facebook, you might consider 'liking' the Justice That Works page at https://www.facebook.com/justicethatworks Consistent Connecticut? In 2012 Connecticut state lawmakers repealed the death penalty, but only for future crimes. The 11 inmates already on death row would stay on death row. That is until May of this year. At that time, the Connecticut Supreme Court upheld its ruling that the state's death penalty repeal was extended to those 11 inmates, thus having their death sentences converted to life without parole. Connecticut is one of 19 states and the District of Columbia without the death penalty. Oklahoma Death Oklahoma may be the OK state, but something is not OK about the way the death penalty has been administered. What would it feel like to be in your boxer shorts waiting to be strapped to a gurney, not to go into surgery, but to your death? Richard Glossip knows first hand. In 1997, Mr. Glossip managed a motel well known to police for drug busts, prostitution, and violence and to its owner for terrific profits. He may have just been doing his job or it may have been his understanding of the profits for the owner that motivated Mr Glossip to be a 'decent motel manager' who received a bonus nearly every month, but it didn't seem as though he had any beef with the owner. Barry Van Treese owned the motel and in January 1997 on a routine visit to the property to inspect it, he was murdered in the guest room he always used for his visits. Justin Sneed admitted to hitting Mr. Van Treese, but with the encouragement of his interrogators, he also admitted Richard Glossip was the mastermind behind the murder. Mr. Sneed used this confession to avoid the death penalty. Mr. Glossip, however, was sentenced to death. Among other aspects of Mr. Glossip's case that point to innocence, lawyers - both court appointed and hired - share some responsibility for the convictions because the quality of their work influenced the outcome of the trial. According to a study by the Judicial Conference of the United States, lawyers used an average of 1,900 hours defending clients in death penalty trials. To put this in perspective, if all the lawyers did was work without time to eat or sleep, they would have time for approximately four and a half trials per year. Indigent defense lawyers, the kind of lawyer Mr. Glossip had in 2004 for a retrial, are assigned between 12 and 15 death penalty cases per year. Attorney Wayne Fournerat, who was paid $2,500.00 by Mr. Glossip's brother's girlfriend, certainly did not invest that many hours building Mr. Glossip's defense in the first trial, not for that kind of money. The US Supreme Court declined to consider the constitutionality of the death penalty. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer appealed to their colleagues to reconsider. In the dissent to the Glossip v. Gross case, Justice Breyer wrote, "Rather than try to patch up the death penalty's legal wounds one at a time, I would ask for full briefing on a more basic question: whether the death penalty violates the Constitution." We know obtaining execution drugs has become near impossible, but Oklahoma's problem is acquiring the wrong kind of drug. After a couple of less than smooth-sailing executions and the discovery of the use of a wrong drug, executions are on hold. Perhaps with this lull in executions in Oklahoma, new lawyers handling Mr. Glossip's case will be able to assemble enough information to convince a judge that Mr. Glossip deserves a new trial. Then perhaps the case of Richard Glossip can be displayed at the The National Registry of Exonerations. To read more about Richard Glossip's case, go to https://upvoted.com/2015/11/11/richard- glossip-awaits-execution-or-life-from-death- row/ Recent Exonerations Joel Alcox State: CA Date of Exoneration: 5/11/2016 In 1987, in Santa Barbara, California, Joel Alcox was convicted of murder based on a false confession and sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. He was exonerated in 2016 after the real killer was identified and Alcox's confession was proven false. Malcolm Bryant State: MD Date of Exoneration: 5/11/2016 In 1999, Malcolm Bryant was convicted of murder in Baltimore, Maryland based on a single eyewitness identification and sentenced to life in prison. He was exonerated by DNA testing in May 2016. Calvin Harris State: NY Date of Exoneration: 5/24/2016 In 2009, Calvin Harris was convicted of murdering his estranged wife in Tioga County, New York and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He was acquitted at a retrial in May 2016 after the woman's death was linked to two other men. Jerome Morgan State: LA Date of Exoneration: 5/28/2016 In 1994, 18-year-old Jerome Morgan was convicted of murder in New Orleans, Louisiana and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was exonerated in 2016 after two witnesses admitted their identifications were false and pressured by police. source: The National Registry of Exonerations http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/ Stays of execution June 2 Charles Flores TX 21 Robert Roberson TX 22 Warren Henness OH Executions HOORAY! None since our last newsletter. GROUP 22 JUNE LETTER COUNT UA for POC 14 Other UAs 27 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.