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This week at a glance.

August 3

•No Chinese wanted in U.S.
•Air traffic controllers strike
•Motherpeace in action

August 4
•2nd Tonkin Gulf attack?
•Three civil rights workers
•Ribbons for peace

August 5

•Limits on nuclear weapons testing
•Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
•PATCO strikers fired

August 6
•First A bomb dropped
•Japan mourns Hiroshima
•Nuclear testing opposed
•Law to enforce
right to vote
•Minuteman III Plowshares

August 7
•Ralph Bunche: peace & justice as life's work
•Tonkin resolution passed
•Plowshares strikes again
August 8
•President resigns
•Project Elf trespass

August 9
•WW II Austrian CO
•2nd (and last?) atomic bomb
•Freedom to travel in S. Africa
•Nuclear arms plant blockaded

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August 3, 1882
Congress passed the first U.S. law to restrict immigration of a particular ethnic group into the United States, the Chinese Exclusion Act. It stopped all further Chinese immigration for ten years, and denied citizenship to those already in the country, most of whom had been recruited by American railroad and mining companies. The law remained in effect until 1943.
Chinese rail workers
Very cool site from the National Archives and Records Administration:
See and learn about100 Milestone Documents, including the Chinese Exclusion Act
See and learn about 100 Milestone Documents, including the Chinese Exclusion Act

August 3, 1981

Nearly 13,000 of the nation’s 17,500 air traffic controllers, members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), went on strike.

After six months of negotiations with PATCO President Robert Poli, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had offered less than 10% of what the union had sought. Due to the stressful nature of their jobs, managing the nation’s ever-increasing volume of airport landings and take-offs without up-to-date equipment, they had asked for a shorter workweek, an increase in pay and retirement after 20 years. 95% of PATCO members rejected the FAA’s final offer.
The union had endorsed Ronald Reagan for president in 1980 (one of very few to do so), but President Reagan said they were violating U.S. law banning strikes by federal workers, and would all be terminated unless they returned to work within 48 hours.
continued (info, photos, links). . .

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August 3, 1986

Laurie McBride and seven other Motherpeace members of the Nanoose Conversion Campaign were arrested for picnicking on Winchelsea Island, east of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. They, along with dozens of volunteer witnesses and supporters who had set off by boat from the town of Nanoose Bay, were protesting the ten-year extension of free use by the U.S. of the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental Test Range (CFMETR). It is a joint Canadian-American facility for torpedos, other maritime warfare and detection equipment; the island held the command and control center. The Campaign advocated conversion of the area back to peaceful purposes.

Laurie McBride’s story

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August 4, 1964

The Pentagon reported a second attack on U.S. Navy ships in Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin [see August 2, 1964]. But there was no such activity reported at the time by the task force commander in the Gulf, Captain John J. Herrick.
One of the Navy pilots flying overhead that night was squadron commander James Stockdale, who was later captured and held as a POW by the North Vietnamese for more than seven years, and became Ross Perot's vice-presidential candidate in 1992:
" I had the best seat in the house to watch that event and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets — there were no PT boats there . . . There was nothing there but black water and American firepower."
Nearly three decades later during the Gulf War, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Sydney Schanberg warned journalists not to forget
"our unquestioning chorus of agreeability when Lyndon Johnson bamboozled us with his fabrication of the Gulf of Tonkin incident."


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August 4, 1964

FBI agents discovered the bodies of three missing civil rights workers buried deep in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. James Chaney was a local African-American man who had joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner had traveled from New York to heavily segregated Mississippi that year to help register voters with the support of CORE.

Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman

At the time, fewer than 10% of eligible black Mississippians were registered to vote.
The three young men and many others were part of Freedom Summer, a massive voter registration and education project organized by the Council of Federated organizations (COFO), an umbrella group of major civil rights organizations.

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continued (info, photos, links). . .

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August 4, 1985

Peace Ribbons made by thousands of women were wrapped around the U.S. Pentagon, the White House and the Capitol. Twenty thousand people participated, and the 27,000 panels making up the ribbon stretched for 15 miles.

Maggie Wade, who traveled to Washington, DC from Indiana with her daughter,
sitting at the Pentagon with her embroidery panel of the Ribbon Project.
Photo © Ellen Shub

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August 5, 1963

The U.S., U.S.S.R. and U.K. signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty in Moscow, banning nuclear testing in the atmosphere, in space or underwater. Underground testing, however, was not prohibited. It has since been signed by more than 100 countries.
Text of the treaty, background and signatories

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August 5, 1964

President Lyndon Johnson asked Congress ”for a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia.” The president had already used the alleged incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin [see August 4, 1964 above] to mount major air strikes on the North Vietnamese navy. The resulting Congressional Resolution authorizing military force in Vietnam was the legal basis for the war there that lasted until 1975.
Only two members of the senate voted against the resolution: Ernest Greuning of Alaska and Wayne Morse of Oregon.

"No matter how deeply buried it is, the truth will always come to surface."

August 5, 1981

President Ronald Reagan, having ordered striking air traffic controllers back to work within 48 hours, fired 11,359 (more than 70%) who ignored the order, and permanently banned them from federal service (a ban later lifted by President Bill Clinton). The controllers, seeking a shorter workweek among other things, were concerned the long hours they were required to work performing their high-stress jobs were a danger to both their health and the public safety.

Lessons from When Reagan Crushed PATCO Union


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August 6th, 1945 - 8:15 AM

Anniversary of Hiroshima

The United States dropped the first atomic bomb
used in warfare on Hiroshima, Japan.

Hiroshima ruins

An estimated 140,000 died from the immediate effects of this bomb and tens of thousands more died in subsequent years from burns and other injuries, and radiation-related illnesses. President Harry Truman ordered the use of the weapon in hopes of avoiding an invasion of Japan to end the war, and the presumed casualties likely to be suffered by invading American troops.

The weapon, “Little Boy,” was delivered by a B-29 Superfortress nicknamed the Enola Gay, based on the island of Tinian, and piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets.
Voices of the Hibakusha, those injured in the bombings


<Hiroshima survivor



Found watch stopped at the time of explosion>

Documents related to the decision to drop the atomic bomb

On August 6, 1995 up to 50,000 people attended a memorial service commemorating Hiroshima Peace Day on the 50th anniversary of the first atomic bombing.

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August 6, 1957

Eleven activists from the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA) were arrested attempting to enter the atomic testing grounds at Camp Mercury, Nevada, the first of what eventually became many thousands of arrests at the Nevada test site.

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August 6, 1998

Nearly 50,000 people attended a memorial service commemorating Hiroshima Peace Day on the 50th anniversary of the first atomic bombing which killed nearly 200,000 Japanese with a single weapon.

The headlines when it happened

August 6, 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed by President Johnson, making illegal century-old practices aimed at preventing African Americans from exercising their constitutional right to vote.

It created federal oversight of election laws in six Southern states (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia) and in many counties of North Carolina where black voter turnout was very low. Black voter registration rates were as low as 7% in Mississippi prior to passage of the law; today voter registration rates are comparable for both blacks and whites in these states.

The laws has been re-authorized by Congress four times.
Registration rates then and now:


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August 6, 1998

Calling themselves the Minuteman III Plowshares, two peace activists, Daniel Sicken [pronounced seekin], 56, of Brattleboro, Vermont and Sachio Ko-Yin, 25, of Ridgewood, N.J entered silo N7 in Weld County [near Greeley] in Colorado operated by Warren AFB, Cheyenne, Wyoming. With hammers and their own blood, they symbolically disarmed structures on the launching pad of a Minuteman III nuclear missile silo.

Sachio Ko-Yin and Daniel Sicken

Read about the Minuteman III Plowshares action

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August 7, 1904

Ralph Bunche, born this day in Detroit, spent a remarkable life in vigorous service to academia, his community, the nation and the world.

Ralph Bunche

Head of the Howard University Political Science Department for over twenty years, he was one of the first African Americans to hold a key position at the U.S. State Department. He went on to the United Nations and served as its mediator on Palestine. He was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the 1948 armistice agreements between Israel and the Arab states. He worked with Martin Luther King in the civil rights struggles of the ‘50s and ’60s.

Succinct biography of Ralph Bunche:

Peace quote

"Peace is no mere matter of men fighting or not fighting. Peace, to have meaning for many who have known only suffering in both peace and war, must be translated into bread or rice, shelter, health, and education, as well as freedom and human dignity
- a steadily better life"

Ralph Bunche

August 7, 1964

After a reported U.S. confrontation with North Vietnamese forces that, it was later discovered, never occurred, the U.S. Congress nearly unanimously passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

The resolution gave President Lyndon Johnson broad powers in dealing with North Vietnam, including sending U.S. troops.
News coverage relied almost entirely on official U.S. government sources so Americans assumed the North had in fact launched an unprovoked attack. Two courageous senators, Wayne Morse (D-Oregon) and Ernest Gruening (D-Alaska), provided the only "no" votes.

continued (info, photos, links). . .

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August 7, 1995

Four experienced Plowshares activists, Michele Naar-Obed, Erin Sieber and Rick Sieber, hammered and poured their blood on the U.S.S. Greenville, a fast-attack submarine in production at the Newport News, Virginia, shipyard.


August 8, 1974

President Richard M. Nixon resigned from office, the first U.S. president ever to do so. The House Judiciary Committee had, with bipartisan support (the Democrats and one-third of the Republican members), voted for three articles of impeachment: obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress.

A week later, one of the White House tapes was finally made public, showing the President’s direct involvement in the Watergate scandal cover-up:" the FBI and say that we wish, for the country, don't go any further into this case, period..." - Nixon to Chief of Staff Haldeman, June 23, 1972 (six days after the Watergate break-in)

He officially left office August 9, and was fully pardoned one month later by his successor, President Gerald Ford. Asked years later about some of his administration’s questionable activities, Nixon said, "Well, when the president does that, it isn't illegal."

The headlines in Washington that day   

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August 8, 1999

A 53-mile peace walk commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended near Clam Lake, Wisconsin, at the site of the U.S. Navy’s Project Elf (extremely low frequency) submarine communications transmitter. Twelve of the demonstrators were arrested for trespassing, adding to the nearly 500 previously arrested for sit-ins, Citizen Inspections, blockades and disarmament actions at the transmitter site in Ashland County.

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August 9, 1943

Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian conscientious objector who reported for induction but refused to serve in the army of the Third Reich, was publicly beheaded in Berlin. An American, Gordon Zahn, wrote about Jägerstätter while researching the subject of German Roman Catholics' response to Hitler.
Zahn’s book, In Solitary Witness, influenced Daniel Ellsberg's decision to stand against the Vietnam War by bringing the previously secret Pentagon Papers to public attention.

Against the Stream by Erna Putz, the story of the courage of Franz Jägerstätter

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August 9, 1945

The second atomic bomb, “Fatman,” was dropped on the arms-manufacturing and key port city of Nagasaki. The plan to drop a second bomb was to test a different design rather than one of military necessity. The Hiroshima weapon was a gun type, the Nagasaki weapon an implosion type, and the War Department wanted to know which was the more effective design.Responsibility for the timing of the second bombing had been delegated by President Harry Truman before the Hiroshima attack to Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, the commander of the 509th Composite Group on Tinian, one of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific.

continued (info, photos, links). . .

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August 9, 1956

20,000 women demonstrated against the pass laws in Pretoria, South Africa. Pass laws required that Africans carry identity documents with them at all times. These books had to contain stamps providing official proof the person in question had permission to be in a particular town at a given time. Initially, only men were forced to carry these books, but soon the law also compelled women to carry the documents.

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August 9, 1987

Hundreds were arrested in an all-day blockade of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in Golden, Colorado. Protests at Rocky Flats had been going on for some years.

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