Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News Volume XXIV Number 11, November-December 2016 UPCOMING EVENTS NO MONTHLY MEETING FOR DECEMBER DUE TO HOLIDAYS. Saturday, December 10, 11:00 - 4:00, WRITE FOR RIGHTS. Human Rights Day letter writing marathon at Dog Haus Biergarten, 93 E. Green St., Pasadena. Drop by to write a few letters and enjoy the food. Sunday, December 18, 4:00 PM. Holiday Potluck & Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion Group. This month we read "Angel Island" by Erika Lee and Judy Yung. NOTE: This month our book group meeting is combined with a holiday potluck and will be held at a private home. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 818-249-4056. COORDINATOR'S CORNER Hi everyone Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and didn't eat too much (LOL!). Please note our December book is available from Vroman's only if you do a pre-paid special order and there is no book group discount. The Huntington Library has copies in their bookstore (you can go into the store without paying the entry fee to the gardens) and also local libraries should have some copies. [Pasadena Library and LA County Library each have one copy available. I ordered a used copy from Amazon. E-books are also an option. -Joyce] Con Carino, Kathy Next Rights Readers Meeting Sunday, Dec. 18, 4 PM, Holiday Potluck at private home Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America by Erika Lee and Judy Yung Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America by Erika Lee and Judy Yung Synopses & Reviews Publisher Comments From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island immigration station in San Francisco served as the processing and detention center for over one million people from around the world. The majority of newcomers came from China and Japan, but there were also immigrants from India, the Philippines, Korea, Russia, Mexico, and over seventy other countries. The full history of these immigrants and their experiences on Angel Island is told for the first time in this landmark book, published to commemorate the immigration station's 100th anniversary. Based on extensive new research and oral histories, Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America examines the great diversity of immigration through Angel Island: Chinese "paper sons," Japanese picture brides, Korean refugee students, South Asian political activists, Russian and Jewish refugees, Mexican families, Filipino workers, and many others. Together, their stories offer a more complete and complicated history of immigration to America than we have ever known. Like its counterpart on Ellis Island, the immigration station on Angel Island was one of the country's main ports of entry for immigrants in the early twentieth century. But while Ellis Island was mainly a processing center for European immigrants, Angel Island was designed to detain and exclude immigrants from Asia. The immigrant experience on Angel Island - more than any other site - reveals how U.S. immigration policies and their hierarchical treatment of immigrants according to race, ethnicity, class, nationality, and gender played out in daily practices and decisions at the nation's borders with real consequences on immigrant lives and on the country itself. Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America is officially sponsored by the Angel Island Immigration Station. Review "Erika Lee and Judy Yung have written the definitive book on Angel Island. The book is meticulously researched and covers not just the Chinese experience but the experiences of all the people who passed through the immigration station. Lee and Yung have used the personal stories of immigrants to make time and place come alive, reminding us that history is something that happens to real people and their families." Lisa See, author of On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of a Chinese-American Family Review "With this comprehensive history, Angel Island may now stand alongside Ellis Island as the other iconic gateway to America. Lee and Yung give a thorough and humane look at the immigrants from surprisingly diverse origins who encountered an America both welcoming and unwelcoming on the Pacific coast." Mae M. Ngai, author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America Review "In this meticulously researched and richly detailed book, Lee and Yung have unlocked Angel Island's deepest secrets and the link between U.S. immigration policy and restrictive codas of race, gender, class. Their spell-binding narrative lets us journey with Anglos and Latinos as well as Asians and myriad others as they attempt to pass through the eye of the Immigration Station needle - with often vastly different results. Deeply relevant to present-day immigration debates, this book is people's history at its best." Helen Zia, author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People Synopsis From 1910 to 1940, over half a million people sailed through the Golden Gate, hoping to start a new life in America. But they did not all disembark in San Francisco; instead, most were ferried across the bay to the Angel Island Immigration Station. For many, this was the real gateway to the United States. For others, it was a prison and their final destination, before being sent home. In this landmark book, historians Erika Lee and Judy Yung (both descendants of immigrants detained on the island) provide the first comprehensive history of the Angel Island Immigration Station. Drawing on extensive new research, including immigration records, oral histories, and inscriptions on the barrack walls, the authors produce a sweeping yet intensely personal history of Chinese "paper sons," Japanese picture brides, Korean students, South Asian political activists, Russian and Jewish refugees, Mexican families, Filipino repatriates, and many others from around the world. Their experiences on Angel Island reveal how America's discriminatory immigration policies changed the lives of immigrants and transformed the nation. A place of heartrending history and breathtaking beauty, the Angel Island Immigration Station is a National Historic Landmark, and like Ellis Island, it is recognized as one of the most important sites where America's immigration history was made. This fascinating history is ultimately about America itself and its complicated relationship to immigration, a story that continues today. Angel Island is the official publication commemorating the immigration station's 100th anniversary. About the Authors Erika Lee is Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943. Judy Yung is Professor Emerita of American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her books include Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island and Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco. Security with Human Rights By Robert Adams US must come clean about civilian deaths caused by coalition air strikes in Syria Amnesty International press release October 25, 2016 U.S.-led coalition forces carrying out air strikes in Syria must conduct thorough investigations into reports of civilian casualties from its operations and disclose their findings, said Amnesty International. Eleven coalition attacks examined by the organization appear to have killed some 300 civilians during two years of strikes targeting the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS). So far the U.S. authorities have provided no response to a memorandum Amnesty International sent to the Department of Defense on September 28 to raise questions about the conduct of coalition forces in Syria. The memorandum compiles and analyzes information from various sources, including eyewitnesses to attacks, which suggests that U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which directs coalition forces in Syria, may have failed to take necessary precautions to spare civilians and carried out unlawful attacks that have killed and injured civilians. "Once again, the US military is claiming near precision in its strikes, while refusing to acknowledge credible evidence that dozens of civilian have been killed," said Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA's Security with Human Rights program. "This is totally contrary to the president's stated commitments to transparency and accountability on this issue. The Defense Department must acknowledge and investigate these civilian deaths immediately." "We fear the U.S.-led coalition is significantly underestimating the harm caused to civilians in its operations in Syria," said Lynn Maalouf Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International's Beirut regional office. "Analysis of available evidence suggests that in each of these cases, Coalition forces failed to take adequate precautions to minimize harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects. Some of these attacks may constitute disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate attacks. "It's high time the U.S. authorities came clean about the full extent of the civilian damage caused by coalition attacks in Syria. Independent and impartial investigations must be carried out into any potential violations of international humanitarian law and the findings should be made public." Amnesty International has reviewed publicly available information from local human rights organizations and monitoring groups as well as media reports, and where feasible it has interviewed eyewitnesses, carried out analysis of satellite imagery, photographs and video evidence, to piece together as much detail as possible about the circumstances of 11 U.S.-led coalition attacks in which evidence suggests as many as 300 civilians were killed. To date CENTCOM has only acknowledged one single such death in these attacks. Research and documentation by leading human rights and monitoring organizations including the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Airwars, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Violations Documentation Center indicates that the total number of civilians killed by Coalition forces in Syria since operations began could be as high as 600 or more than 1,000. Civilian casualties Among the most recent incidents highlighted in the memorandum are three U.S.-led coalition attacks in June and July 2016 on the Manbij area of Aleppo governorate, in northern Syria. Together the three attacks are suspected to have killed more than 100 civilians in the villages of al-Tukhar, al-Hadhadh and al-Ghandoura. The attack on al-Tukhar on July 19 is believed to have caused the greatest loss of civilian life of any single U.S.-led coalition attack. At least 73 civilians were killed, including 27 children, and some 30 were injured. CENTCOM is investigating the attack. In its memorandum to the U.S. authorities, Amnesty International asked serious questions about who the intended targets were and the measures taken to verify intelligence or check whether civilians were present in the vicinity. Air strikes just over a week later on July 28 killed at least 28 civilians, including seven children, in al-Ghandoura village 25km north west of Manbij. The strikes hit a public market which appears in a video clip that Amnesty International was able to geo-locate in al Ghandoura's main street. The video clip and other photographs show the bodies of many of the children killed. A U.S.-led coalition attack which struck two houses where civilians were sheltering in the village of Ayn al-Khan, near al-Hawl in al- Hasakah governorate in northern Syria in the early hours of December 7, 2015, killed 40 civilians, including 19 children, and injured at least 30 others according to local human rights organizations. One media report suggests an unknown number of IS fighters were also killed in the attack. Amnesty International was able to speak to one survivor from the attack who described how he was awoken by a huge explosion and ran out to dig through the rubble for survivors. "The house shook and began to crumble. The windows shattered...I ran outside and saw my neighbor's house completely destroyed. I could hear people calling out from beneath the rubble," he said. As he helped to dig out survivors a helicopter gunship launched a second attack. "At this point I had a two-month-old baby boy in my arms whom I had rescued. The hit caused me to fall and drop him... I fell into the hole made by the air strike. That was what saved me... My mother, aunt, wife and children - a daughter who was four years old and a son who was two and a half were all killed. The woman and her son who I'd rescued were killed. Everyone but me was killed," he said. He also said that a commander from the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) forces who villagers spoke to after the attack told them the YPG had warned coalition forces of civilians in the area. The attack is believed to have been targeting a group of IS fighters who had moved into a house on the edge of the village five days earlier and were later joined by more fighters. Despite evidence indicating multiple civilian casualties were caused, CENTCOM has not acknowledged responsibility, although it admits it carried out air strikes in the vicinity at around the same time. It is unclear whether the investigation promptly set up by CENTCOM has reached any findings. ... [For the rest of the article, please visit: http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press- releases/us-must-come-clean-about-civilian- deaths-caused-by-coalition-air-strikes-in-syria ] DEATH PENALTY NEWS By Stevi Carroll Yes on 62! Sadly, Yes on 62 did not pass, and even more sadly, Proposition 66 did. Thank you so much for everyone who helped get information to our fellow Californians and who donated money to the Yes on 62 campaign. A letter from Mike Farrell Dear Friends, I just want to say thank you, but I can't resist saying a bit more. Thank you doesn't seem to me to be enough to fully acknowledge what you have done. Your support for our effort to put an end to state killing means more to me personally than I can easily put into words, but let me try. Though we failed to convince a majority of the voters to understand it, Proposition 62 was more than an effort to end the use of the death penalty in California. In my view, transferring the condemned men and women on our nation's largest death row to a sentence of life in prison would have done more than get our state out of the killing business. It would have lifted our spirits in a way some might have had difficulty comprehending, and it would have created an irresistible momentum that brought an end to the death penalty in the United States... and from there, ultimately, the world. So you see, your support meant more than changing an antiquated law that legalizes a primitive practice; it spoke to your recognition of the fact that we are failing ourselves and our children when we pretend to be a civilized people while continuing to countenance barbarism. Those are strong words, I know, but in my view they are not only proper but important. As our nation was formed, one of its Founding Fathers, Dr. Benjamin Rush, strongly opposed the inclusion of the death penalty in our criminal laws. Dr. Rush, who founded the Pennsylvania Prison Society, said the death penalty had a brutalizing effect on the people who use it. One doesn't have to look deeply into the way our society has evolved to see very significant evidence that he was right. There is nothing civilized about taking a helpless, shackled human being from the cage where he's been held for years, extinguishing him, and calling it justice. The price paid by those tasked with carrying out this deadly process radiates outward, brutalizing the system built to perform it and the society that tolerates it. The message it sends is quite clear: some human beings are meaningless, valueless, disposable. I believe we can do better. I believe we can be better than that. It's my belief that those who proclaimed a nation founded on each individual's "unalienable right to life" had a vision of a nation we have yet to realize, and I believe it is one to which we should still aspire. It is a nation based on the recognition of an innate human value and dignity, the knowledge that we are all, in fact, responsible to one another. It is a society that honors its duty to help and heal, if possible, the broken, the damaged, the mentally ill and all those once labeled 'the least among us.' From where I stand that nation is not only attainable, it's here, unacknowledged yet readily available. And for me, the struggle to achieve it is well worth the effort. So my undying thanks go to you for your willingness to have lent a hand to this effort, one more step along the way. Sincerely, Mike Farrell Recent Exonerations Mark Maxson - State: IL - Date of Exoneration: 9/27/2016 In 1994, Mark Maxson was convicted of the rape and murder of a 6-year-old boy in Chicago and sentenced to life in prison. He was exonerated in 2016 when DNA on the victim's clothing was linked to a convicted murderer who confessed to the crimes. Norman McIntosh - State: IL - Date of Exoneration: 10/4/2016 In 2002, Norman McIntosh was sentenced to 45 years in prison for shooting two men, one fatally, in Chicago. He was exonerated in 2016 after all three eyewitnesses recanted their identifications and the real killer was identified. Anthony DiPippo - State: NY - Date of Exoneration: 10/11/2016 Anthony DiPippo was convicted twice--in 1997 and 2012--of the rape and murder of a 12-year- old girl in Putnam County, New York and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He was acquitted at a third trial after a witness testified a different man had admitted committing the crime. Kevin Siehl - State: PA - Date of Exoneration: 10/12/2016 In 1992, Kevin Siehl was convicted of murdering his wife in Cambria County, Pennsylvania and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was exonerated in 2016 by new evidence discrediting the prosecution's blood and fingerprint evidence, some of which had been concealed by the prosecution. Bernard Mims - State: IL - Date of Exoneration: 10/27/2016 In 2006, Bernard Mims was sentenced to 95 years in prison for a murder and two counts of attempted murder in Chicago in 2000. He was exonerated in 2016 by evidence that he was home, injured, at the time of the crime and that other men committed the murder. Richard Rosario - State: NY - Date of Exoneration: 11/10/2016 In 1998, Richard Rosario was sentenced to 25 years to life for murder in Bronx, New York. He was exonerated in 2016 after multiple alibi witnesses established that he was in Florida at the time of the crime. Stay of execution November 3 Tommy Arthur AL Execution November 16 Steven Frederick Spears GA Lethal injection 1-drug (Pentobarbital) Prisoner of Conscience Narges Mohammadi By Joyce Wolf In late September Narges Mohammadi's 16-year prison sentence was upheld by an Iranian appeals court. Narges reacted with an open letter from Evin Prison. She wrote in a letter published on the reformist Kaleme website on October 7, 2016: "I will not waver under tyrannical punishments that will limit my freedom to the four walls of the prison cell. I will endure this incarceration, but I will never accept it as lawful, human or moral, and I will always speak out against this injustice." Amnesty International supported a global campaign launched by members of the Iranian human rights community on Oct. 20. On that date, 15 members of the Iranian parliament called on the Judiciary to reverse Narges Mohammadi's prison sentence. According to https://www.iranhumanrights.org, that was the first time since the Iranian revolution in 1979 that lawmakers publicly defended a person convicted of anti-state activities. Amnesty members and activist groups were encouraged to support the campaign by taking pictures of themselves either in groups or individually with #FreeNarges written on the palm of one hand and then to post the picture on their social media accounts, in particular on the designated Tweetstorm day Nov. 11. Alexi and Azam participate in #FreeNarges. In late October we heard that Group 48 in Portland, Oregon, just took on the Narges Mohammadi case. And on Nov. 17, we got the news that AIUSA Group 151 in Boston will also be taking on the Narges Mohammadi case dossier! Alexi is looking forward to working with these groups and adding them to the network of groups in Europe that she has been collaborating with. I'll close this column with quotes from a letter that Narges wrote to the Judiciary on Oct. 25: "I will abide by the law and endure prison. I have no intention to resist or escape. But be assured that I am one of thousands of noble Iranians representing the proud and selfless struggle of a nation for freedom and justice," she said. "I am a human being. I am a free Iranian citizen. I will not allow an assault on my human dignity, and I will not stay silent until I have my rights and justice is served,"she added. https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2016/11/n arges-mohammadi-judiciary-challenge/ GROUP 22 NEWS By Joyce Wolf Western Regional Conference Group 22 was well represented at the AIUSA Western Regional Conference, held Oct. 29-30 at the DoubleTree Hotel near LAX. Stevi, Kathy, Robert, Trevor, Jamil, Alexi, and I attended. Vinnie, our champion Pasadena letter writer, also attended. Alexi created a beautiful Action Alley exhibit about our adopted prisoner of conscience in Iran, Narges Mohammadi. The display highlighted our group's collaborations with Amnesty groups around the world. One of the major conference themes was refugee rights. I was particularly impressed with the workshop presented by AIUSA staffer Denise Bell. Much of her presentation is available at http://www.amnestyusa.org/refugee. Here you can download a toolkit and other useful resources for Amnesty's "I Welcome" campaign. There were two notable speakers at the conference from Pasadena: Jasmine Richards Abdullah of Black Lives Matter, and James Clark of AIUSA Death Penalty Campaign. Caltech Community Service & Advocacy Fair Thanks and congratulations to Wen and Stevi for staffing a Group 22 table at the Caltech Community Service and Advocacy Fair on Friday, Nov. 4. They obtained 20 signatures on a petition for imprisoned Falun Gong practitioner Chen Huixia. They also collected 20 signed postcards for Narges Mohammadi. A warm welcome to those who joined our Group 22 mailing list at the Caltech Fair and are receiving their first newsletter! GROUP 22 NOVEMBER LETTER COUNT Urgent Actions 18 POC (postcards at Regional) 35 POC (postcards at Caltech) 20 To add your letters to the total contact email@example.com 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.