Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pilgrimage for Peace and Justice and other April events

Creek Week 2015 ( http://keepdurhambeautiful.org/our-events/durham-creek-week-events/ ) just ended in Durham, but it is never too late to connect with your local waterway, such as by contacting a local adopt a waterway group or by exploring yourself. 

Farmworker Awareness Week is March 24-31, and events are posted at:  http://www.saf-unite.org/content/celebrate-national-farmworker-awareness-week-march-24-31-2015

The annual Pilgrimage for Peace & Justice starts tomorrow through April 3rd, organized by Witness for Peace Southeast and co-sponsors (schedule posted at http://www.wfpse.org/annual-pilgrimage/ ).  

April 2nd there will be a rally against the influence of corporate money in politics at the Durham post office (323 East Chapel Hill Street), 12-2pm.  I heard about this in a letter to the editor in the March 24th edition of the Herald-Sun.  Apparently the idea is that the executive branch can require corporations that do business with the Federal government to disclose political contributions.    

April 15th workers are rising for a living wage, and the North Carolina event is a rally at Shaw University Quad (188 East South Street, Raleigh) at 5pm.  The overall website is http://april15.org/ and the NC Facebook event is at:  https://www.facebook.com/events/791815507567945/  To register for a free bus from UNC, see http://goo.gl/forms/bAPsyVu3y5   

Some other events, from an activist calendar out of Chapel Hill:

"Internationalizing Gaza:  Politics of International Law and  Struggle for Justice:  Noura Erakat, JD, LLM, Assistant Professor at George Mason University, where she teaches legal studies, international studies, and human rights/social justice issues.  She is co-editor of an online journal that features content on the Middle East.  7 PM, Thu, Apr 9, UNC's Hyde Hall [4th building in row opposite PO on Franklin St]. UNC Students for Justice in Palestine and UNC Chapter of National Lawyers Guild.

Water in the Desert: The Gaza Water Crisis:  Ralph and Emily McCoy, recent visitors to Gaza, discuss what local faith communities can do to help children in Gaza have safe drinking water. Conditions prior to the Gazan assault in July 2014, when 92% of water coming from wells in Gaza was unfit for human consumption, have only worsened. 6 - 7 PM, Wed, Apr 15, Binkley Baptist Church Lounge, 1712 Willow Dr (by 15-501 and Univ. Mall), Chapel Hill. Contact: rmccoy at nc dot rr dot com or 919-489-0483.

Celebration of Nicaraguan Children: Hear about 2015 Friends of Cultural Immersion Ecotour to San Ramón. Learn about work of Sister Communities of San Ramón toward sustainability for impoverished local people in a beautiful mountainous region in central Nicaragua, southeast of Matagalpa. Wine and cheese fund raiser: $20 adults, $10 students.  4-6 PM, Sun, Apr, 19, Eno River UU Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Rd, Durham. Info: 919-489-1656."

Since we are now on Daylight Savings Time, the weekly vigil for peace and justice on Fridays at the corner of Franklin Street and Elliot in Chapel Hill is now from 5-6pm.  

Another week to appreciate an aspect of the natural world is the annual National Moth Week (http://nationalmothweek.org/), coming up July 18-26, though spring is a good time to find interesting moths around here.  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Some upcoming events, 2/21-4/4

Malcolm X remembrance


February 21 | 2-4:30pm | Hayti Heritage Center
Malcolm X: Black Liberation, Black and Muslim Lives Matter
In Remembrance of the 50th Anniversary of his Assassination

This February - Black Liberation Month - marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X - El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.
We invite the Durham community to participate in a public forum and dialogue about brother Malcolm - the movement that he came to inspire and represent, his thoughts, political practice, and militancy. Most importantly, we will discuss how Pan-Africanism, internationalism, Black self-defense, and other concepts Malcolm X raised can apply to today’s movement against state violence and for Black Liberation.Program includes:

– Video and audio of Malcolm X
– An introduction to his life and politics
– Talk by community members who worked with him
Reflections by Muslim leaders on his internationalism and the growing tide of Islamophobia
– Reflections on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Black Power, and what impact and relevance “By Any Means Necessary” has today
– Open mic and discussionLight refreshments provided.
Please call 919-413-1276 for more information. [or see https://www.facebook.com/events/840308166027186/ ]

From a local activist calendar:

Israeli Military Detention: No Way to Treat a Child: Workshop presented by Coalition for Peace with Justice and American Friends Service Committee and local co-sponsors. Each year, on average, 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted in Israeli military courts in the West Bank, documented by UNICEF and Defense for Children International. Join discussion with suggestions for actions to redress the situation. 9 AM-12:30 PM, Sat, Feb 21, Durham Friends Meeting, 404 Alexander Ave, Durham. $25; $15 for students and seniors. RSVP cpwjregister at gmail or 919-914-9881.

Will the Environment Survive a Renewed Middle East Peace Process? Alon Tal, leading Israeli environmental activist with Israel Union for Environmental Defense and Green Zionist Alliance, reviews environmental cooperation in the region and considers current peace process and how it might be leveraged to ensure an ecological dividend for that area.12 Noon, Sun, Feb 22, UNC's Gardner Hall Room 105, between Davis Library and Memorial Hall. Cosponsors: NC Hillel, Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations. agauss at nchillel dot org.

Israeli Apartheid Week 2015 at UNC: Events hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Mon, Feb 23 - Thu, Feb 26.Teach-in: Israeli Apartheid 101 with panel, 6 PM, Feb 23, Bingham Hall 301, near Wilson Library; Short Films with Nick Denes, co-director of London Palestine Film Festival, 6 PM, Feb 25, Bingham Hall; Palestine Cultural Night, 8 PM, Feb 26, Campus YMCA Anne Queen Lounge, next to Memorial Hall, Cameron Ave. Info: www.facebook.com/UNCSJP?v=wall.

Politics Aside: Promoting Human Rights and Accountability in Israel/Palestine: Speaker Jessica Montell, who served as Executive Director of B'Tselem, Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, is now a visiting research fellow at Hebrew University Faculty of Law. 5:30 - 7 PM, Tue, Feb 24, Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy Rhodes Conference Room, corner of Science Dr and Towerview Rd and Science Dr, Durham. Sponsored by Duke Center for Jewish Studies, Duke Forum for Scholars and Publics, Duke Human Rights Center at Franklin Humanities Institute, UNC Students for Justice in Palestine.
Protest Government Whitewashing of Senate Torture Report: Join NC Stop Torture Now for vigil10 AM, Wed, Feb 25, Federal Building, Person St at New Bern Ave, Raleigh, or outside Senator Burr’s office building, 2000 West 1st St, Winston-Salem [there is also supposed to be an event in Fayetteville, but I don't have details]. If you cannot vigil, then call, email, or tweet President Obama[202-456-1111,www.whitehouse.gov/contact/, or @BarackObama] to order federal agencies to study the full report they have and take action. For more details: www.ncstoptorturenow.org/

Law in the Age of "Forever War": 21st Annual Center on Law, Ethics, and National Security Conference. Topics covered include: targeting, surveillance, home-grown terrorism, intelligence gathering in the digital age, law of armed conflict issues, and ensuring human rights and civil liberties. 8 AM Fri, Feb 27 to 5 PM Sat, Feb 28, Duke Law School, Science Dr, Durham. Register: http://web.law.duke.edu/lens/index
Putting a Face on Poverty in North Carolina: Speaker Gene Nichol, Director of UNC's Law School Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, addresses what others know of the low ranking NC has from studies at the Center and sources such as The KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual publication of Annie E. Casey Foundation, that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. 11 AM, Fri, Feb 27, Celebration Assembly of God Church, 114 Weaver Dairy Rd, Chapel Hill. Sponsored by Shared Learning Association of Chapel Hill. http://sharedlearningchapelhill.com/.


Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine: Documentary by award-winning producer Connie Fields about a black gospel group from the US visiting the West Bank. Al Helm illustrates the transformative power of art and how it can move us toward understanding. 7:30 PM, Fri, Mar 13, Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist sanctuary, 106 Purefoy Rd, corner of Mason Farm Rd. Sponsored by Peace and Justice Committee of Church and Balance and Accuracy in Journalism (BAJ). More information: www.clarityfilms.org/mlk/.

Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective Workdays: Sunday, 1 PM, 621 Hillsborough Rd, Carrboro, email prisonbooks at gmail or details; Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night (supplies provided.), 7 PM, 3rd Wednesdays, Internationalist Books & Community Center, 101 Lloyd St, Carrboro. Info: www.internationalistbooks.org/2011/12/15/an-appeal-from-the-prison-books-collective/http://prisonbooks.info/.

Ongoing vigils for justice and peace: Raleigh: Stop the Arms Race and Build a Culture of Peace Vigil, 1st Wednesday of every month, Noon to 1 PM, Century Post Office on Fayetteville St (919-782-0667); Raleigh: End the death penalty (PFADP, AI-USA, NC-ACLU), 5 - 6 PM, Mondays, Central Prison, corner of Hunt Dr and Western Blvd (919-779-1912); Chapel Hill:4:30 - 5:30 PM EST [5-6 PM EDT], Fridays, corner of Elliott Rd and East Franklin St(919-942-2535).”


Shutdown AIPAC (Washington, DC February 28-March 3):


Join CODEPINK, Humanity for Palestine, US Campaign to End The Israeli Occupation, Students for Justice in Palestine East, If Americans Knew, Friends of Sabeel North America, Jews for a Just Peace for Palestinians, Boycott from Within, Answer Coalition, United States Palestinian Community Network, and Just Foreign Policy to #ShutDownAIPAC.
AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and affiliated organizations have long been bending politicians’ ears and filling their pockets, supporting the brutal occupation of Palestine and trying to push the US into war with Iran. Racism is the force that both helped to create and now helps to sustain and justify the brutal occupation of Palestine and the accompanying police state. Now is the time to connect the dots and challenge state-sponsored violence and racist police at home and abroad. Whether your motto is #FreePalestine or #BlackLivesMatter, we must unify our movements to call for an end to global militarism and the plague of racism. February 28th - March 3rd, when war criminal Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will be in DC to address AIPAC and a joint session of Congress, join activists from around the country to #ShutDownAIPAC!”

“Saturday, February 28, 2015
1:00PM Know Your Rights/Civil Disobedience Training at the CODEPINK house (1241 Evarts Street NE, Washington D.C)

7:00 - 10:00PM - #OneStruggle at Trinity Lutheran Church
Join Human Rights lawyer Noura Erakat, Dream Defenders Ahmed Abuznaid, Tef Poe and Tara Thompson from Ferguson, Missouri, Founder of Indigenous Resistance, native American activist Andrew Curley, and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organizer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaZ5uTbmkBI

Sunday, March 1, 2015
12:00 - 3:00PM #ShutDownAIPAC! Rally at the Washington Convention Center
Converge with activists from around the country on the Washington Convention Center with mock settlements, a checkpoint, a creative action with 100 Netanyahu Masks and bloody hands, and speakers including Steven Salaita, Ronnie Barkan and Ariel Gold.

7:00 – 10:00PM the Courage to Speak Out (Busboys and Poets on 5th and K)
Join Miko Peled and Philip Giraldi to discuss AIPAC’s political power and how best to counter it.

Monday, March 2, 2015
(Time TBA) Press Conference
6:00 PM – 9:00PM Protest at the Washington Convention Center
Join activists to protest Israel’s crimes and call out visiting Prime Minister Netanyahu for his government’s policies of occupation, apartheid, and warmongering!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
(Time TBA [at U Capitol]) Protest Netanyahu’s Speech at the joint session of Congress with ANSWER Coalition!!”


From the Alliance for Global Justice (www.afgj.org):

National Call for Local Actions on Anniversary of Hugo Chavez's Death

March 5 is the second anniversary of the passing of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, who transformed Venezuela through his courageous struggle to help Venezuelans become protagonists of their destiny.

Before Chávez, Venezuela's natural resources enriched foreign oil companies and elites, both in Venezuela and abroad. Today the country's wealth has been harnessed for true development -- hundreds of thousands of homes and schools have been built, and healthcare has become free and accessible throughout the country. The goal of the Bolivarian revolutionary process is socialism, where every human being can enjoy guaranteed rights of healthcare, education, housing, jobs, equality, culture, social peace, and international solidarity.

The US government is working to destabilize Venezuela’s democratically elected government, using US tax-payer dollars to finance anti-government organizations in Venezuela, encouraging coup attempts and even terrorist attacks on their population. Now, the US is applying sanctions against Venezuela to punish the government and people for defending their sovereignty. It is up to us, the people of the United States, to demand that the US government stop the attacks and destabilization of Venezuela, respect international law and Venezuela's right to self-determination.

This is a dangerous time for Venezuela. The US has spent millions of dollars to destabilize Venezuela and regain control of their oil reserves, which are the largest on the planet. The Obama administration has increased these aggressive policies since the death of President Chávez and the 2013 election of President Maduro.

After losing legislative elections in late 2013, the opposition began violent street protests a year ago which resulted in over 40 deaths, the majority of which were security forces and Maduro supporters. The street protests failed, but the Obama administration and the Venezuelan opposition have continued their efforts to destabilize the country with the goal of removing Maduro from power.

The achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution in the areas of participatory democracy, economic equality, social justice, education, and healthcare are all gains we could benefit from in the United States. It is our political responsibility to oppose US government plans to destroy Venezuela’s democracy.”

These events are listed at www.answercoalition.org :

Boston, Mass.
March 5th, 2015
Encuentro5 at 9A Hamilton Place, Boston, MA 02108-4701
6:30 p.m.
Remembrance of Hugo Chavez facilitated by General Consul Noel Martinez, Vanesa Matamoros and Jorge Marin

San Francisco, Calif.
March 5
24th and Mission St.
5:00 p.m.
Rally in Solidarity with Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution

Los Angeles, Calif.
March 6
Immanuel Presbyterian Church (3300 Wilshire Boulevard)
6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Forum in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution

New York City, N.Y.
March 5
5th Avenue between 33rd and 34th Street
4:00 p.m.
March: "Human Rights Watch, Weapon of the U.S. State Department"


Anti-war march in DC

As part of the Spring Rising (www.springrising.org) anti-war intervention, ANSWER is organizing a demonstration Saturday, March 21st, beginning with a rally at Lafayette Park across from the White House at 12, followed by a march to the US Capitol at 1pm.


Durham Seed Libraries


Vegetable and flower seeds will be available for free at libraries in Durham again this year, starting April 4th. If you want to help the staff get things ready, there will be a work session February 25th 6-8pm at the Main Library, but people need to arrive before the Library closes for the day at 6. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Capitalism is the issue, not religion

I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha, killed February 10th in a Chapel Hill neighborhood located in Durham County.

Initially there were suggestions that this crime was motivated by atheist intolerance of Islam, though there is also evidence that the accused shooter was not especially anti-Islam. Whatever the facts turn out to be in this case, I find what could be called atheist fundamentalists misguided and extreme. Some atheists seem to think the main problem in the world is religion, as if it is religion that causes violence and ignorance, rather than capitalist unequal development and oppression by the US and other imperialists and their local proxies. In many cases, if people were more religious about following the pro-social aspects of their religion, the world would probably be better off. Activists with a religious ideology, such as Catholic Workers and Quakers, are some of the most dedicated anti-imperialists and social justice advocates in North Carolina, more so than much of the secular Left, even the Marxist Left. They are more active than I am, though some of what they do is paid non-profit work. Resisting imperialist capitalism is more important than fighting religion in the US, though it may be a more important issue in countries where religion dominates society, and it is foolish to unnecessarily alienate religious people by arguing over theology.    

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Upcoming activist events

A partial list of some upcoming social justice and conservation events in the Triangle:

Our Future Flies on the Wings of Pollinators 

There will be a presentation about steps we can take to help pollinator insects, which are vital for many of our crops and the natural world, tomorrow, Sunday, February 1st, 3-4pm at Durham's South Regional Library.  It's free, but an RSVP is requested online at http://durhamcountylibrary.org/location/south/ (see the upcoming events listing, and click this event) or call 919 560 7410.   

Events relating to Palestinian rights:

From a local activist calendar: 

"Palestinians in Gaza and from Syria - Shattered Families in the Middle East: Bill Corcoran, President and CEO of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), will illustrate its humanitarian efforts and provide insights regarding future of instability in that region.  ANERA is an American NGO dedicated to improving lives of Palestinian communities through health care, education, and economic development.  7 PM, Mon, Feb 2, NCSU’s Withers Hall Auditorium 232A, 101 Lampe Dr, off Hillsborough St,  Raleigh.  Sponsored by NCSU International Studies Club and Coalition for Peace with Justice. 6 -7:30 PM, Tue, Feb 3, UNC's FedEx Global Education Center Room 1005, corner of McCauley and Pittsboro Sts, Chapel Hill. Sponsored by Carolina Center for Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, Center for Global Initiatives, Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense, Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center, Curriculum in Global Studies, and Coalition for Peace with Justice." 

"The Stones Cry OutDocumentary film of Palestinian Christians, part of ongoing series of films on social justice issues called "The Conscientious Projector." Info:www.thestonescryout.com. Public invited.  7 PM, Tue, Feb 3, Episcopal Church of the Advocate, 8410 Merin Rd, off Homestead Rd from MLK Blvd, Chapel Hill."

"Silencing Dissent: Academic Freedom and Censorship:  Discharged Palestinian-American professor Steven Salaita speaks, 7:30 PM, Wed, Feb 4, Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy Room 04, corner of Science Dr and Towerview Rd (parking at Bryan Center deck), Durham. Organized by Duke Students for Justice in Palestine and cosponsored by African and African American Studies, Duke Islamic Studies Center, Romance Studies, and Center for Global Studies and the Humanities."

"Uncivil Rites: Academic Freedom and Silencing of Speech:  Discharged Palestinian-American professor Steven Salaita speaks, 7:30 PM, Thu, Feb 5, UNC's Hyde Hall, (third building in line directly opposite PO on  E Franklin St; parking in town deck on Rosemary St). Organized by Students for Justice in Palestine-UNC and UNC Concerned Faculty for Palestine and cosponsored by Carolina Seminar on Rethinking Palestine/Israel, Institute for Arts and Humanities, Sept of Romance Studies, Dept of Anthropology Sept of Asian Studies, South Asia Faculty Working Goup, Center for Global Initiatives, Carolina Asia Center, Sept of Sociology, Social and Economic Justice Minor."

ACLU events:

"Privacy Under Attack: How the Government is Watching You": ACLU of NC's Invitation to learn about surveillance technology being used across NC and to urge lawmakers to protect our privacy. We must act now in order to preserve our constitutional right to privacy in the 21st century. 9 - 10 AM, (breakfast served at 8 AM), Thu, Feb 5, Legislative Auditorium, 3rd floor NC Legislative Building, 16 W Jones St, Raleigh. RSVP: mmeno@acluofnc.org or 919-834-3466." 

And Then There Was One: How targeted regulations cripple and close clinics: Speaker Sarah Preston, Policy Director, American Civil Liberties Union of NC.  Find out how regulations are used to harass patients and staff inside clinics and learn how we can fight back against those who seek to close clinics.  7 PM, Thu, Feb 5, Chapel Hill Friends Meeting House, 531 Raleigh Rd.  RSVP: 321-663-8598. Sponsored by NOW chapters in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh." 


Vigils:

"Ongoing vigils for justice and peace: Raleigh: Stop the Arms Race and Build a Culture of Peace Vigil, 1st Wednesday of every month, Noon to 1 PM, Century Post Office on Fayetteville St; Raleigh: End the death penalty (PFADP, AI-USA, NC-ACLU), 5 - 6 PM, Mondays, Central Prison, corner of Hunt Dr and Western Blvd; Chapel Hill: 4:30 - 5:30 PM EST [5-6 PM EDT], Fridays, corner of Elliott Rd and East Franklin St."   

Labor events: 

There will be rallies around the country April 15th demanding that the minimum wage be raised to $15/hour.  February 3rd at 12pm the NC AFL-CIO is hosting a planning meeting in Raleigh, with lunch provided, but participants need to RSVP.   

In the campaign to get better working conditions for tobacco farmworkers (along the lines of the successful Mt Olive Pickle campaign), there will be a rally Saturday, February 7, from 10 to 10:45am at the Kangaroo station at 106 East 54, near the intersection of 54 and Fayetteville Road and Southpoint Mall.  

Upcoming demonstrations:

The annual HKonJ (Historic 1000's on Jones Street) People's Assembly and Moral March on Raleigh will be Saturday, February 14th.  There will be carpools and buses, but I only have information for Chapel Hill/Carrboro (contact naacp5689 at gmail ).

The Spring Rising anti-war intervention in Washington, DC will have events March 18-21 (www.springrising.org).  

Durham Creek Week:

The annual Durham Creek Week is shaping up to be bigger than ever, March 21-28 at locations throughout Durham (see http://keepdurhambeautiful.org/our-events/durham-creek-week-events/ ).  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

UNC Student Action with Workers meeting Tuesday

It's good to see that UNC's Student Action with Workers is still going strong (it started in 2003).  The first meeting of the spring semester/new member meeting is next Tuesday, January 27th, at 5pm in Murphy 112 (near Davis Library).  

Website:  uncsaw.wordpress.com
Twitter:  @uncsaw
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/pages/Student-Action-with-Workers/179876058757165

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tsutomu Shirosaki, Japanese anti-imperialist, released by US for deportation

Until I came across articles posted online by the Denver Anarchist Black Cross, I wasn't aware that the USA held anyone accused of involvement with the now defunct Japanese Red Army. Tsutomu Shirosaki was imprisoned at a low security Federal prison in Yazoo City, Mississippi until January 16th, and is now being held by immigration authorities for deportation to Japan. I wish him well and hope he doesn't disappear into the Japanese prison system. Terrorism has a romantic aspect, but it is usually futile, as opposed to mass political movements, violent or not. It is impressive that Japanese people went so far for Palestinian national liberation, but ultimately the JRA and related groups don't seem to have accomplished much beyond getting their members imprisoned or killed.

Shirosaki was born December 5, 1947 in Toyama, Japan. He studied engineering in college and became a student activist. At some point he turned to violent actions, robbing banks for political funding. In 1971 he was arrested for trying to rob a Bank of Yokohama office in Tokyo and was given a 10 year prison sentence.

Several years later, on September 28, 1977, five Japanese Red Army members hijacked Japan Airlines Flight 472 from Paris to Tokyo shortly after a stop in Mumbai, India, to force the Japanese government to give them $6 million dollars and release 9 prisoners, including Shirosaki. Six of the prisoners were released to the hijackers in Dhaka, Bangladesh October 2nd and they took the airliner ultimately to Algeria. The hijackers and ex-prisoners managed to reach Lebanon. Japan demanded that the prisoners turning themselves in, but they refused, so they became fugitives sought by Interpol. All or most of the ex-prisoners were at a loss, only knowing Japanese and not having travelled abroad before. The JRA helped Shirosaki settle in Lebanon, but he denied and still denies being a member of the JRA. He did work with a Palestinian guerrilla group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ( http://pflp.ps/english/ ), enabling him stay in Lebanon without a passport.

A new group, the Anti-Imperialist International Brigade, claimed attacks May 14, 1986 against the American, Canadian, and Japanese embassies in Jakarta, Indonesia, saying the attacks were related to the G7 meeting in Tokyo at the time. Two improvised mortars were fired at the US embassy from a nearby national park, two rockets were fired at the Japanese embassy from a hotel room, and three people were injured when a car exploded in front of the Canadian embassy. Seven weeks later Japan blamed the JRA and said one fingerprint belonging to Shirosaki was found in the hotel room. Shirosaki says he ignored the new charges because he was in Lebanon the whole time and was not a member of either group. He says he wasn't aware fingerprints could be easily faked. May 15, 1990 a sealed US indictment accused him of “assault with intent to murder individuals on embassy grounds, attempted murder of individuals on embassy grounds, willfully and maliciously attempting to harm a US embassy, willfully and maliciously attempting to murder embassy personnel with premeditation and malice, and committing a violent attack against internationally protected US government personnel” (September 23, 1996 US DOJ press release).

In the 90's, the Oslo Accords made it difficult for Shirosaki to stay in Lebanon, so he hid his identity and moved to South Asia. Italy began searching for him in December 1987, over an AIIB attack on the US embassy in Rome, relating to an economic summit in Venice.

The NSA found Shirosaki by tracing a phone call and he was arrested by the Nepalese police in Kathmandu, September 21, 1996 and extradited to the US. There was a 15 day trial during which he did not testify. He was convicted of all charges and sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison. February 11, 2007 he was transferred from a prison in Texas to a Communication Management Unit in Indiana, so people on the outside lost contact with him for about two weeks, and the purpose of a CMU is to isolate prisoners. He says his mail was maliciously tampered with more recently. In Indiana Shirosaki developed severe eye problems. In prison he met other political prisoners, including members of the recently released Cuban 5. January 16th, he was released early for good behavior, and transferred for deportation, probably to an immigration facility in Louisiana. He could challenge the deportation order. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police plan to re-arrest him if he returns and he will be charged with attacking the Japanese embassy in the 1986 Jakarta attack. In April 2001, Fusako Shigenobu, a JRA leader imprisoned in Japan, said the group was disbanded, and the US removed it from a list of active terrorist groups, but the Japanese government thinks it still exists in some form.

Some sources:





A political prisoner support group in Chapel Hill: http://prisonbooks.info/


Who split from whom in the Japanese left: http://broadleft.org/jp.htm

Friday, December 12, 2014

Bill of Rights Day

The Durham City Council will issue its annual Human Rights and Bill of Rights Proclamation at its regular Monday meeting, which happens to fall on Bill of Rights Day (December 15th) this year.  This proclamation was a campaign by the Durham Bill of Rights Defense Committee and other groups several years ago, when the Bill of Rights was being undermined on a national level by Bush-Cheney and immigrant rights were more a major issue in North Carolina.  Obama was supposedly going to bring in hope and change, but the attacks on the Bill of Rights and human rights continue, most recently demonstrated by the CIA torture revelations ( http://www.bordc.org/blog/december-week-action-challenges-cia-and-nsa-crimes ).

Human Rights Day was December 10th and marks the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights in 1948 ( http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/ ).    

This item from an activist calendar lists some other Bill of Rights Day commemorations in the Triangle:

Annual Commemorations on Bill of Rights Day, December 15: Reading of Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Montessori School of Raleigh Students, followed by remarks of Dan Figgins on provisions of UDHR and Bill of Rights, 10 AM, State Capitol Building, 1 E Edenton St, Raleigh. Sponsored by Human Rights Coalition of NC (919-834-4478).  Proclamations from Chair of Orange County Commissioners, Chapel Hill Mayor, and Carrboro Mayor, followed by reading of first 10 Amendments of US Constitution, 12 Noon, Peace and Justice Plaza (corner of East Franklin and Henderson Sts), Chapel Hill. Sponsored by Orange County Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Orange County Peace Coalition (919-942-2535; 919-918-3432).

The Durham City Council will also issue a Safe Drinking Water Act Proclamation Monday.