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October 22, 2016 by Pat LaMarche, originally published here

maryannvecchionewWhen she thinks about the time she spent in the parking lot, Mary Ann Vecchio’s thoughts shift back and forth between watching Allison Krause last attempts to speak and the massive hole torn through the back of Jeff Miller’s head. “I was shocked by all the blood. There was just so much blood,” Vecchio explained in the car on her way to Washington D.C. Wednesday, to voice her qualified support of a Kent State National Monument. Vecchio continued, “It was a sit down. The soldiers were lined up and yeah, they had tear gas, but we never expected that they’d shoot at us. Then they started coming at us with the guns with bayonets, in full riot gear, wearing gas masks. And I was scared to death.” After 46 years, Mary Ann still cries when she details the events of May 4, 1970, the fateful day that the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed protestors at Kent State University.

There were lots of kids at Kent that day. Four killed. Nine wounded. And hundreds more hit the ground when the bullets started flying, but only one was immortalized in a Pulitzer prize winning photograph that graced front pages from Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer to Newsweek magazine. John Filo, a photojournalism major in the crowd that day, opened his shutter and captured the horror and anguish of everyone on that campus. Vecchio’s picture remains one of the most impactful photos of the 20th century.

Consequently, modern memory would remake Mary Ann Vecchio as the face of the Kent State Massacre.

Sadly, at the time, Vecchio and the fallen protesters became the poster children for the Nixon Administration’s assault on the character of student protestors across the nation. Nixon himself called the students, “bums.” Back in her home state of Florida, the governor, Claude Kirk, called Vecchio a communist. Vecchio, not a Kent student, was a teen who had run away from home to protest the war in Vietnam. Kirk used her non-student status to character assassinate Vecchio. He said that she had been planted at the University by the communists and that she was responsible for the deaths of the students there. The press hounded her. The FBI hunted her. Local police profiled her. And she has yet to forgive herself for the pain she caused her parents.

By 1990, even though popular sentiment had begun turning in favor of the student protesters, Vecchio had slipped into hiding. She’d stopped granting interviews except to ask reporters and their news agencies to leave her alone. She’d explain that Kent State had ruined her life. She didn’t trust the media – several of whom had turned her over to the FBI after she’d agreed to meet with them in the early 70’s. She was so heavily targeted that she couldn’t speak out against the injustice she’d witnessed. Vecchio wanted nothing to do with the fame and shame her time at Kent State brought her.

Until this week.

Mary Ann Vecchio ventured out to address the National Park System Advisory Board about the possible designation of the Kent State Shootings Site as a National Monument.

The campus at Kent State is owned by the state of Ohio. The parking lot where Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer were killed is effectively public property. Creating a National Monument on the site should be pretty straightforward. Laura L. Davis, Professor Emeritus of English – herself, a student protester that day – and Mark F. Seeman, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology authored the application. In their submission they credit current faculty with assisting them in their collection of data for the application. They don’t however cite victims like Mary Ann Vecchio as contributors to the request, because Vecchio and others were omitted from the process.

Vecchio explained her feelings to the board, “Like so many of us present at the Kent State shootings, I have carried profound life-long consequences for my presence at the massacre site… Kent State University does not own the narrative of what took place on May 4, 1970. It belongs to each of us there that day, those injured whose lives were forever altered, and above all to the families of those killed.”

Fortunately, the National Park System Advisory Board rectified the applicants’ blunder. The board agreed unanimously that the Kent State site fit the criteria of historical significance but after lengthy discussion they also agreed that many appropriate accounts were missing from the story. The board charged Davis and Seeman with amending their applications to include the appropriate historiography associated with Kent State. The board reminded the applicants that this controversial event demanded the inclusion of different perspectives and – more importantly – that those perspectives be respected.

There were reasons the protestors were killed at Kent State and all the evidence and every principle – especially the memories of the victims – must be included when available. The greatest gift any historian can receive is an eye witnesses to an event as well as the consequences that shaped the policies that followed.

The board concluded, due to the complexity of the controversy over the excessive force used on protesting American citizens, the nomination is incomplete without the involvement of people like Mary Ann Vecchio. For the first time in Vecchio’s life, she feels like she was heard by agents of the government: a government that – until now – had only failed her.

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AllisonKentStateBigOn the 46th anniversary of the Kent State massacre, attorney Michael Kuzma will bring a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department, demanding records related to the FBI’s role in escalating situations on the campus.

In the years since the killings on the Ohio campus on May 4, 1970, survivors, witnesses and victims’ families have sought to establish the FBI’s involvement.

Kuzma wants that the Justice Department produce all responsive records related to Terrence Norman, reported at the time of the massacre to be a young FBI informant.

Norman is believed by families and observers to have fired the first shots from a revolver and, in the chaos that immediately followed, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire at unarmed Kent State student protesters, resulting in the deaths of Allison Beth Krause, Jeffrey Glenn Miller, Sandra Lee Scheuer and William Knox Schroeder and injuries to nine others.

“The time to tear down the veil of secrecy surrounding the involvement of the FBI and Terrence Norman in the assassinations of four Kent State University students is now,” Kuzma said in a news release.

Attorney Daire Brian Irwin, who is handling Kuzma’s complaint filing, said, “Through this lawsuit we hope to learn if the Kent State killings are another example of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program, specifically their ‘New Left’ project targeting student dissent, run amok.”

COINTELPRO was a secret FBI program designed to monitor and neutralize non-violent protest groups and political dissidents deemed by the agency to be a danger to national security.

The FBI has refused to release Norman’s dossier on privacy grounds.

The government will have 30 business days to answer the complaint.

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On May 4, 2016 at the 46th commemoration of the Kent State Massacre, Jennifer Schwartz stood for her cousin Allison Krause and offered this speech:

AllisonFlowersAreBetterMemeAnother May 4th parent has died since last we gathered to commemorate this event. Another mother has left us before the truth is clear and justice is served. My aunt, Doris Krause, Allison’s mother, passed away peacefully under hospice care and in the arms of her sole surviving daughter Laurie on January 17th, just a few months ago. As she crossed over, she left behind decades of profound grief and struggle. Perhaps it is our world she now grieves. A world she taught her children to believe was just, civil, compassionate, and fair.

As I was growing up in Cleveland, my father, Doris’ nephew, used to council me, when I felt wronged by a friend or noted an injustice in the world, he used to say to me “Life isn’t fair.” And he knew. We all sat by feeling helpless as the Krause’s endured a very public grief, and extensive legal battles. Instead of receiving any formal acknowledgement of one of the gravest of misdeeds a government can inflict upon its citizens, they were subject to factually unfounded and prejudicial accusations thrust upon their daughter. In her eulogy for Aunt Doris, my cousin Laurie noted, “my mother lost a child. And that is perhaps the greatest burden of all. When we add to this how unnecessary Allison’s death was, the betrayal of it being carried out by a government meant to protect us, and the crushing pressure of the denial of accountability for now decades, I am truly astounded by the grace and fortitude with which Doris faced this legacy.”

Please join me in a moment of silence for Doris Levine Krause. May her memory be a blessing to us, may her struggle be released, may her quest for truth be carried forth.

I never met my cousin Allison. I was a little nine month old learning to walk and run when she was stopped in her tracks by an M1 bullet right over there in the parking lot. So I have always been looking for the truth myself, searching for accounts that would provide clarity and do Allison and May 4th justice. It concerns me that this history be told and recorded accurately. Among the articles I have found was a 1971 piece, published in the National Review, by William F. Buckley.

Mr. Buckley noted that they found pebbles in her pocket. They called it evidence of her aggression, evidence of her crime. They called it evidence she wielded “missiles” of rock she had concealed in her pocket. Deadly? Really? That’s a sham. The classic, tawdry response: to blame the victim. What really had them shaking in their boots was not some rocks in the pocket of a college freshman with flowers in her hair, but that she wielded words of truth. She confronted their ethics, their judgement, and refused to accept President Nixon’s escalation of the war in Southeast Asia. She was one of many hundreds of thousands across the nation who took to the streets that weekend in May to protest. I could not be more proud of her. My cousin, Allison Krause, was a 19 year old honor’s student. Bright, compassionate, hard-working. She was killed that day as she raised her voice in opposition to a government that had gone morally astray. “They always point out that my daughter had gravel in her pockets,” said my aunt Doris, “that this was the rationale for killing her… why” she asked, “didn’t they throw gravel at her?”

For 46 years we’ve been parted from my cousin Allison. A lifetime! My lifetime. For 46 years we’ve sought answers. For 46 years the government’s been adept at denying culpability, avoiding responsibility and suppressing truth. For 46 years we’ve been lied to and brushed aside. We now know there was an order to shoot; we’ve heard it. Don’t tell us you were afraid for your lives with your loaded M1 rifles and your helmets and your high ground advantage. Don’t tell us you felt endangered when Governor Rhodes himself, your commander in chief, came to town to cheer you on and gave you carte blanche to “eradicate the problem.” For 46 years we’ve called for truth. My uncle Arthur led the legal battle for 10 years following May 4th. While we agreed to a settlement, we were not satisfied that truth was honored nor that justice was done. In a 1981 interview with J. Gregory Payne, my infuriated Uncle Arthur declared “We don’t want the damn money… we want the truth! We want the facts about how the four died. We aren’t afraid of the truth. We aren’t the ones who have been saying “no comment” for the past 10 years.” He went on: “I think we are all responsible for the killings at Kent. You can’t get away from the hatred being spread by national leaders during that time. That political period was one which bred hate and with Nixon and Rhodes fanning the fires you can expect killings as a result.” With all the hate speech going on these days by political leaders, I shudder to think what’s ahead, and like my cousin, I will not allow the hate to go unchallenged.

Allison Beth Krause was the cherished first of two daughters born of Arthur and Doris Krause of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She smiles at me whenever I see her, there in a handful of black and white photos. The impish seven year old girl sits there in a white dress and patent leather shoes next to her little sister Laurie, in the front row of a family portrait taken at my aunt and uncle’s 1958 wedding. I long to reach into the photographs and take her hands and play with her, hug her, know her.

Back in those days in the early sixties, the Krause’s used to go on Sunday drives out in the country around Cleveland, often ending up at Kent, dining at the Robin Hood and enjoying the pastoral campus. Remarkably, at a very early age, Allison made her decision to attend college at Kent State University. She loved it here; she felt at home. She felt safe.

In a eulogy for my cousin, Richard Jaworski, one of her high school teachers at John F. Kennedy High School in Wheaton, Maryland, described her like this:

Constantly she was surrounded by boys and girls who came not only to tell her their problems, but to laugh with her and bask in her quick wit and charm. Allison possessed a rare trait. She could move among many groups of students and always exhibit tolerance for the views of each group in which she participated. When baited by adults, some young people responded with anger and bitterness, if not violence. Allison expressed a passive, stoic quality, as if recognizing the injustice of name-calling, as if realizing the illness of the person filled with hate.”

As she found her political voice in high school, Allison joined other students who were opposed to the war in Vietnam, especially as friends got drafted. As a teenager, Allison participated in anti-war demonstrations. She knew that as an American she had a right to freedom of speech and a right to engage in peaceful assembly.

She entered Kent State University in the fall of 1969 where she quickly made friends, earned high marks in her studies, and met the love of her life, Barry Levine, another young student from New York who shared her values. Together they assembled with others on Friday May 1st on the commons to raise their voices against Nixon’s decision to escalate the war and send more troops into Cambodia. She spent that first weekend of May with friends, doing schoolwork, enjoying the first breath of spring and becoming increasingly concerned about the military presence on campus, now occupied by the National Guard.

On that beautiful, warm spring weekend Allison spent time outside, socializing with friends and talking with some guardsmen among the blooming lilacs. I have heard different accounts of this story, some say Allison placed a flower in the barrel of Guardsman Meyers’ rifle, others say the flower was already there. What is certain, is that guardsman’s smiling face is absolutely beaming in the photographs that have preserved that moment in time, with Allison, the flower, his rifle, and the irony and release of tension they all felt in that moment, as human beings who were on opposite sides of a conflict. And when Allison witnessed that guardsman’s superior come along and reprimand him there for having a silly flower in his gun barrel, Allison responded,

“WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH PEACE? FLOWERS ARE BETTER THAN BULLETS!”

The next day Allison and Barry joined the increasingly tense voices on the commons as the students squared off with the heavily armed National Guard. In Payne’s May Day: Kent State, I found Barry’s accounting of these final moments of Allison’s life, which provides such insight into her character:

As we stood on the hill watching and waiting for the soldiers to make their move, Allison ripped in half the moistened cloth she had brought for protection against tear gas. Another dispersal order was given, yet no advance was made, so Allison felt safe in running a few yards to give a friend part of her already compromised cloth. She tore hers again and gave him half. It was a small gesture, but one that so clearly demonstrated her consideration and willingness to share. Tear gas was already being fired as she scrambled back to where I was waiting. We stood for a few seconds, watching the soldiers move out behind a screen of gas, before deciding to retreat with a crowd of students. As we began to retreat over the hill, I could see Allison almost beginning to cry. A few steps further she turned to me with tears rolling down her cheeks and asked, ‘Why are they doing this to us? Why don’t they let us be?’ A peaceful assembly was being violently disrupted, breeding anger in most of those being dispersed. However Allison did not feel anger, but rather disappointment and sorrow. Disappointment because the students were not given a chance to gather peacefully, and sorrow because of the violence she felt would ensue. Unfortunately these passive emotions were soon transformed into aggression, for as we retreated, a gas canister landed at our feet, exploding in our faces. It was at this point that Allison’s sorrow changed to anger and her strained tolerance turned to resistance. After a few seconds of recovery, Allison turned in her tracks and froze. She stood in the path of the pursuing troops screaming at the top of her lungs. Having been pushed too far, she now lashed back and I was forced to pull her along, fearing that the distance between us and the oncoming troops was becoming critical. Twice, before we reached the crest of the hill, she turned to speak her mind to these men. Each time I had to pull her onward. Upon reaching the top of the hill, she again turned, and with tears streaming down her cheeks, she screamed and yelled and stomped her feet as if all her yelling might stop these men. The hand drawn to her face holds a wet rag used to protect herself from the gas, and the other holds mine, with which I pulled her over the hill and into the parking lot, a safe distance from the troops. For several minutes we stood in the parking lot watching these men threaten us with their rifles. In response, we cursed them and threw rocks. When they left we followed, all the time screaming and yelling, and then they turned.”

None of the four dead or nine wounded were armed that day with anything truly threatening but their voices that challenged the state’s right to kill. State-sponsored violence against peaceful but vocal citizens was permissible in 1970. This precedent paved the way for continued ongoing police aggression across the country that is with us to this day.

While we commemorate this sad anniversary, let us understand that in the days that followed the Kent State killings, precious lives were lost at Jackson State as well. Yet Jackson State has not remained in the national memory in the same way that Kent State has. As Samaria Rice joins us here today, a courageous and outspoken mother standing up to the police who took the life of her son Tamir, we are reminded that while our Kent State students were murdered for their political beliefs, to this day American citizens continue to be targeted simply on the basis of their race. It was a feature of the killing at Jackson State that tragically and egregiously continues to this day. I would like to take this occasion to remember Jackson State, as well as to honor the life of young Tamir Rice. My cousin Allison would want us to do this.

My name is Jennifer Schwartz. I find pebbles in my pocket every time I visit Allison’s grave, carrying rocks with me to lay upon her headstone as a symbol of my remembering.

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Originally published in The Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio: Sat, October 9, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Kristine Gill kgill@vindy.com

Kent, Ohio

KentStateTapeLaurel Krause might learn more today about the May 4, 1970, Kent State University shootings that killed her sister Allison Krause and three other students — including Sandra Scheuer of Boardman.

A newly enhanced recording made 40 years ago features a call to fire and the sounds of a skirmish — and previously unheard gunfire from a .38-caliber pistol 70 seconds before the National Guard shot into the crowd of students. Filmmaker Michael Moore and the Kent State Truth Tribunal are in New York City today to webcast the testimony of dozens of witnesses and play the cleaned-up audio. The event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday will be shown at http://www.michaelmoore.com. “This is compelling new evidence,” Krause said of the recording.

The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer asked Stuart Allen, president of the Legal Services Group in Plainfield, N.J., and Tom Owen, president of Owl Investigations in Colonia, N.J., to evaluate the recordings in May.

Allen said he spent more than 50 hours using high-tech software to enhance the smallest of sounds on a copy of a recording made by a student that day.

Allen said he was originally charged with finding evidence of rumored sniper fire before the shootings. He found none, but instead found the clear order to fire — and something else.

“I heard this event going on which caught my attention, and dealing with criminal matters, I’ve heard gunshots, bodies dropping — you don’t want to know what we’ve heard,” Allen said. “I flagged a spot on the tape.”

That spot has the sound of what Allen confirmed to be pistol fire and frantic witnesses.

“I had heard what appeared to be a chase. Someone called out, ‘He’s running! Get him!’ Then you hear the crowd swell up; then you hear the crowd come down. There are little conversations going on, then you’ll hear, ‘It looks like they got someone,’ from student observers.

“More crowd swelling, expletives, ‘Kill ’em, kill em, kill em,’ then the first gunshot — then ‘Whack ’em, hit the [expletive]. Three more gunshots, then it goes silent.”

The tussle and pistol shots, if authenticated, match some key details of a confrontation several witnesses reported seeing or hearing involving a pistol-waving Kent State student named Terry Norman, The Plain Dealer story said. Norman was photographing protesters that day for the FBI and carried a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Model 36 five-shot revolver in a holster under his coat for protection. Though he denied discharging his pistol, he previously has been accused of triggering the Guard shootings by firing to warn away angry demonstrators, which the soldiers mistook for sniper fire.

Seventy seconds later, Allen said you hear the call to fire, which lasted 13 seconds, killing four students and injuring nine.

The meaning of the skirmish before the guard firing is still under investigation, but some student witnesses have said they saw a man waving a pistol before the shootings that day. Some speculate it was his gunfire that prompted the guard to open fire on students, fearing guardsmen had been shot at by a sniper.

“In every legal proceeding … every testimony included the line that there was not an order to shoot,” Krause said. “So this compelling new evidence is extremely intriguing and important to truth about Kent State.”

Krause, born in Cleveland and now of California, is co-founder of the Truth Tribunal, a group that has recorded the testimonials of more than 100 witnesses to the shootings. She hopes the group can preserve the memory of her sister Allison and the three other students. Krause doesn’t claim to be an expert on how the new evidence will be used, but hopes for some sort of response or apology from the government. “I’m not a lawyer and I’m not a politician, but I am Allison Krause’s sister, and it seems pretty clear to me that there’s some lying going on,” she said. “The ultimate goal for us is to have the government admit this was a significant event in our history handled in the worst way possible.”

Links to video testimonies can be found at http://www.truthtribunal.org.

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________________________________________________________________________

 

         United States’ Compliance with the

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Kent State Truth Tribunal

Response to Follow-Up Report

4th Periodic Report of the United States

from the

110th Session of the Human Rights Committee, Geneva

March 2014

________________________________________________________________________

Read this report at the UN webpage http://bit.ly/1cxCnbY

1 May 2015

I.    Investigate & Examine the Kent State Audio Evidence

Seeking a credible, independent and impartial investigation into the Kent State audio recorded on May 4, 1970 during the Kent State Massacre (Article 2 (Right to remedy); Article 6 (Right to life); Article 19 (Right to freedom of expression); Article 21 (Right to peaceful assembly))

II.   Reporting Organization

The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) was founded in 2010 upon the emergence of new forensic evidence regarding the May 4, 1970 Kent State Massacre. KSTT is an NGO focused on revealing truth and bringing justice to Kent State Massacre victims and survivors.

Less than a day before her unlawful killing at Kent State University, Allison Krause said, “What’s the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets”. On May 4, 1970 Allison Krause was shot dead by U.S. military personnel as she peacefully protested the American Vietnam War and stood for PEACE.

Representing Allison Beth Krause, 19-year-old Kent State University student protestor slain on May 4, 1970: Doris L. Krause, mother & Laurel Krause, sister.

III.  Related Concluding Recommendation of the Committee & the US Delegation’s Response:

At the US 4th Periodic Review on March 13, 2014, two UN Human Rights Committee members addressed the submitted issues of the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Messrs. Walter Kaelin and Yuval Shany flagged the United States regarding the killing at Kent State in several expressed reasons including lack of accountability, concerns related to command responsibility, the use of excessive and deadly force by the military and law enforcement, and US investigatory practices when credible, forensic evidence emerges 40 years later.

The next day the US delegation offered:

We were asked about Kent State: In 1970 four students were killed, were murdered. Nine were wounded. In 1974 the US Department of Justice prosecuted eight of the officers involved in that. The Judge threw out that prosecution. There is nothing we can do now. Between double jeopardy and the statute of limitations, there is nothing we can do. We are aware that there are some who say there’s new evidence. We have looked at that new evidence and that new evidence does not make an unprosecutable case prosecutable.”

Even though the United States claimed Kent State was “murder and killing”, their recent April 1, 2015 response does not include any action taken with regard to the Kent State “unlawful killings”, as outlined in the March 2014 UNHRC concluding recommendations:

The party should ensure that all cases of unlawful killing, torture or other ill-treatment, unlawful detention or enforced disappearance are effectively, independently and impartially investigated, that perpetrators, including, in particular, persons in positions of command, are prosecuted and sanctioned, and that victims are provided with effective remedies. The responsibility of those who provided legal pretexts for manifestly illegal behaviour should also be established.”

The Kent State Truth Tribunal United Nations Reports:

February 2013 Kent State Truth Tribunal UN Submission ~ http://bit.ly/1f2X25i

October 2013 KSTT Shadow Report ~ http://bit.ly/1kBSjfa

February 2014 KSTT Final Update ~ http://bit.ly/1ezn0cG

March 2014 KSTT Addresses the UN Human Rights Committee ~ http://bit.ly/1dgliTW

After the US 4th Periodic Human Rights Review at the United Nations, this tshirt design was created by artist Josh Starcher for the Kent State Truth Tribunal:

KSTT_Reunion13

RECOMMENDATION: The United States must examine forensic evidence of expert Stuart Allen’s digital analysis of the Kent State tape and acknowledge his findings.

IV.  US Unlawful Killings Require Acknowledgement, Credible Investigation & Accountability

When the United States Delegation said, “In 1970, four students were killed, was murdered”, the long held US position that the killings at Kent State were simply a ‘civil rights’ matter was extinguished forever.

Now that the deaths at Kent State have been acknowledged by the State as murder, US authorities are required to treat the Kent State recording as evidence from a cold case homicide, and the tape must be credibly, impartially and independently investigated as noted in the United Nations Human Rights Council from the 26th session on the “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, social and cultural rights’ mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions:

the obligation of all States to conduct exhaustive and impartial investigations into all suspected cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to identify and to bring to justice those responsible, while ensuring the right of every person to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law, to grant adequate compensation within a reasonable time to the victims or their families and to adopt all necessary measures, including legal and judicial measures, in order to bring an end to impunity and to prevent the recurrence of such executions, as stated in the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.”

The requirement for effective investigation includes acknowledgement of new evidence in accordance with international norms such as the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigations of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, U.N. Doc. E/ST/CSDHA/.12(1991). http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/executioninvestigation-91.html#11

V.   The Current Instituted History of the Kent State Massacre Confuses, Censors and Obfuscates the May 4, 1970 Unlawful Killings

Instead of examining the Kent State tape that emerged in 2010, the US Justice Department has refuted the provenance of the tape, ignored the new evidence, confused what was discovered, discredited the forensic expert and censored the 2010 forensic findings in the Kent State tape. This behavior echoes the tremendous effort on the part of the US government, Kent State University and US Justice Department to hamper and derail efforts for restorative justice to be achieved and Kent State truth to be known by the public since May 4, 1970.

Back in 1979, after nine years of civil litigation, where Kent State plaintiffs sued for wrongful death (the only legal option in the American judicial system), an out-of-court civil settlement was reached, including $15,000 paid by the State for the death of Allison Krause and a statement of regret signed by the Kent State shooters.

Rediscovered on September 2014, was the Kent State Civil Settlement Statement of 1979, authored and signed by the plaintiffs, which shared the sentiments of all harmed in the May 4th Kent State Massacre. The Settlement Statement includes hard-fought-for recommendations to the US government that were patently ignored, never implemented and could have protected the lives of countless Americans.

Following the emergence of the new Kent State evidence, in 2012 Kent State University constructed a $1.1 million visitor center near the killing site. The visitor center exhibits are not factually accurate and whitewash US government complicity; the new Kent State tape evidence is buried, and when mentioned, criticized.

In 2011, forensic expert Stuart Allen was interviewed by CNN on his findings in the Kent State tape and until recently the interview was available to be viewed at CNN.com. This year Stuart Allen’s CNN Kent State interview was removed from the CNN website; watch the CNN scrubbed Stuart Allen interview on youtube.

Will we ever learn the truth of what happened at Kent State?

To date there have been no credible investigations into what occurred at Kent State. This is a terrible precedent. Americans still do not have access to true knowledge through credible investigation of what occurs when US law enforcement and the military kill civilians. The same, flawed US grand jury system only exonerates and protects the police and those in authority. There is no facility for redress in America. Instead victims and surviving families are encouraged to “move on” yet many survivors suffer from harassment by the FBI for many years to come.

RECOMMENDATION: In the coming days, the Kent State Truth Tribunal will be making application to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Execution, Mr. Christof Heyns. Mr. Heyns was recommended by Ms. Maria Clara Martin, Chief Americas Sections at the UN in March 2014.

VI.  Truth Tribunals: A New Standard for Citizen-Organized Accountability in America

When the courts fail to bring justice to the injured and when governments prefer to neglect their role in such tragedies, families sometimes turn to alternative means of gathering the truth. After years of exhausting efforts to find out what happened on the day of Allison’s death, and failure to receive any meaningful recognition for the injury suffered by our family, we established the Kent State Truth Tribunal on the 40th anniversary of the killings. We felt the imperative to do this for our family and to come together with others to create an accurate historical account of what occurred at Kent State, also honoring and preserving the first person narratives of original witnesses and participants.

When young Michael Brown was shot to death by US law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014, Allison’s family watched the efforts of the United States to investigation Michael Brown’s unlawful killing, especially noting the parallels between Michael’s killing and Allison’s.

First a State grand jury was instituted and at the conclusion, those in authority failed to bring criminal charges for killing and exonerated US law enforcement. We recognized the similarities in the government’s handling of the killings at Kent State. The results were almost identical with the State grand jury not capable of indicting the police officer that shot Michael dead. Those in authority in Ferguson and at the US Justice Department viewed the killing of Michael Brown through a ‘civil rights’ lens, outrageously ignoring the much more critical crime involved in Michael’s killing by US law enforcement.

Ever since August 2014, deaths of people of color, particularly young people, at the hands of US law enforcement, have been dealt with as civil rights issues, neglecting to hold anyone accountable for the State killing civilians. In America there is no recourse, nor any other judicial avenue, no possibility for redress for acts of State-sponsored murder.

It has become clear that accountability is impossible in the current American judicial system. Because of the flawed system and since the witnesses and participants of civilian death by US law enforcement at Ferguson (Cleveland, Baltimore and more) will not have their truth recorded, known or honored, we wish to offer the use of the Truth Tribunal methodology to enable a citizen-organized campaign for accountability in these situations.

RECOMMENDATION: The Kent State Truth Tribunal seeks direction and support from the United Nations in offering the facility of citizen-organized Truth Tribunals to those harmed by State-sponsored, unlawful killings in America. Our goal is for the KSTT and the United Nations to work together to bring restorative justice and accountability to the United States. How may we get started?

VII.  The Allison Center for Peace

Later in 2015 we will be inaugurating the Allison Center for Peace, a peace destination in America, creating an environment for the discussion and development of peaceful solutions, and focused on fostering peace in America.

As we form our center for peace in America, we invite the United Nations to become involved as a founding partner.

RECOMMENDATION: The Kent State Truth Tribunal wishes to explore an on-going relationship with the United Nations in the development of the Allison Center for Peace on the Mendocino coast of Northern California.

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First published May 12, 2015 by Pat LaMarche in her column at the Huffington Post

DominoTheoryIt’s graduation season and nearly two million undergrads will receive their diplomas this year. While campuses all across the nation groom themselves for commencement, one university reels from the weight of another commemoration.

Last week at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, hundreds of visitors flocked to a solitary parking lot to pay their respect. Respect has been in short supply for the victims and families of the Kent State massacre.

On May 4, 1970 the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed student protesters. 13 students were shot, four of whom died. The university has blocked off the spaces in the lot where the innocents fell – but has left the rest of the parking lot open to vehicles. You can’t park on the exact space where Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, and William Schroeder were killed, but you can park right next to them. And there aren’t any barriers where the nine wounded students – Alan Canfora, John Cleary, Thomas Grace, Dean Kahler, Joseph Lewis, Donald MacKenzie, James Russell, Robert Stamps, and Douglas Wrentmore – where shot and bled.

The university decision to use as many available parking spaces as possible epitomizes how undervalued the lives of these victims were and still are. To be fair, you can still watch movies at the Aurora, Colorado Movieplex where 12 people were killed and 70 more were wounded. However, there’s a glaring difference between Kent State and the Aurora shootings: in Aurora, the authorities held the shooter responsible. James Holmes has been charged with 165 counts – including murder and attempted murder – and NBC news carries video of the trial.

There’s been no criminal trial for the shooters at Kent State. That’s because state and federal governments are immune from prosecution.

Without transparency, without assignation of guilt, two inevitable consequences occur: survivors assume guilt that isn’t theirs and offenders are free to repeat their crimes.

Visitors to the 45th anniversary of the Kent State shooting vocalized a great deal of internalized and misplaced guilt. Just prior to the 2015 memorial candlelight ceremony, Dean Kahler, who’s spent the last 45 years in a wheel chair, remarked, “It’s not about me, it’s about the four who died.”

Scott Duncanson, a protestor who escaped May 4, 1970 unharmed, still grieves the opportunities lost to his classmates, “We got to have children.”

The Kent State demonstrations followed President Richard Nixon’s acknowledgement that he – absent Congressional approval – was bombing Cambodia. The big picture is sketchy but the survivors share details that they remember vividly. There was a fire at the ROTC building. The city was locked down with tanks and vehicles mounted with machine guns. During protests the night before the massacre, guardsmen bayoneted students. And after nightfall, helicopters hovered over the campus with searchlights dropping tear gas. By the time the students were shot and killed at Kent State, Kent, Ohio was a city occupied by a heavily armed military force.

President Nixon promised America that without swift action to insure democracy, one government after another would fall victim to ruthless leadership. He used this “logic” to justify aggression across the Asian continent from Korea to Cambodia. The term he and his predecessor Dwight Eisenhower used for this successive collapse of republicanism was “The Domino Theory.”

Kent State has proven Nixon’s philosophy, but not in the way he intended.

Kent State is one incident in a long line of militaristic attacks on the civilian population. As far back as George Washington’s suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion, the military and other police forces have been used as armed aggressors against the citizenry. When the Chicago Police attacked the protesters at Haymarket prompting a false trial and the execution of innocent men, it prepared the way for the Kent State shootings and the trial of the Kent 25. And the subsequent Justice Department refusal to examine what happened in that small Ohio town in 1970 has toppled the dominos leading to Freddie Gray’s severed spine in Baltimore.

It’s never too late to examine the reality of circumstances, motivations, and outcomes in history. Although, when decades pass and eyewitnesses die, it gets harder to illuminate the darker corners of the past. Last week, the Kent State campus filled with survivors seeking closure and comfort from visiting their past. The best way to prevent police brutality and government-sponsored violence is to expose it. In the case of the Kent State Massacres, there’s still time.

Joe Lewis, the only Kent State survivor who was shot twice, summed up his desire for justice because he believes that survival comes with responsibility, “That ‘s part of the reason I come back here every year is to speak up for them. [Krause, Miller, Scheuer, and Schroeder] Because they would have spoken up for me had the shoe been on the other foot.”

Laurel Krause, Allison Krause’s younger sister and co-founder of the Kent State Truth Tribunal, seeks to open the closed book on Kent State and detail what really happened in 1970. Krause wants to know why the soldiers shot her sister, the other Kent State victims, and the lesser-known students killed and wounded later at Jackson state. In her remarks addressing the crowd assembled at Kent State May 4th Krause cautioned, “Even today, 45 years later, a culture of impunity persists. We read the news and see law enforcement killing young African Americans across the country. Those of us who witnessed Kent State have to ask whether things might have been different if this era of brutal suppression of political protest had resulted in accountability.”

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A speech by Laurel Krause from the 45th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre on May 4, 2015

image (c) Bob Kahl 5/4/2015

Thank you for attending the 45th commemoration of the Kent State Massacre and honoring, remembering this important day.

My sister Allison Beth Krause was one of four Kent State students killed by the Ohio National Guard in a campus parking lot here at Kent State University 45 years ago. As many of you know, this terrible day was memorialized in the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song ‘Four Dead in O-hi-o’ – one of the many reminders of how far and wide this tragic story has resonated in the United States. I am very proud to say that Allison was peacefully protesting the Vietnam war on that day and for this she was killed by the US government national guard. Allison took a stand against American war – and she died for the cause of peace. I am so honored to remember my big sister for this.

Three other students and protestors died that day – Sandra Lee Scheuer, William Knox Schroeder and Jeffrey Glenn Miller – and nine were critically injured. The Kent State massacre prompted the largest national campus protest strike in history, involving four million students nationwide. A sense of collective trauma followed as it registered with the Vietnam generation that this could have been any one of them. These were ordinary American students, no different from many of you, who were balancing a deep concern for their country’s role in aggression in Southeast Asia with simpler, teenage worries like dating, getting good grades and what the coolest new clothes looked like. To this day I cannot believe my sister was taken at that moment.

In experiencing Kent State first hand since I was 15, I was shocked when the American leadership blamed my sister and other Kent State students for the violence, the bloodshed and the massacre. We heard them say that the students brought it on themselves and that the guard should have shot more. My family heard the last quip as we identified Allison’s dead body at Robinson Memorial Hospital. Kent State survivors and stakeholders … and just about every young American had to hear this traumatic propaganda in our grief over what our government did to us. It was a two-fold injury that permanently sealed the trauma of this day.

And to this day the families of the victims have not had an independent hearing on the murders that took place on May 4th. We worried that the FBI, local law enforcement and even that Kent State University itself were working with, colluding with each other against the students, and were part of the government force that killed the innocent students and anti-war protestors. It was a real concern for us because the United States government refused to examine government complicity at Kent State.

Our government tried Kent State in civil courts, refusing to characterize and treat Kent State as an event involving the killing of American students and protestors. For Allison’s loss of life, my family received $15,000 and a statement of regret.

Even today, 45 years later, a culture of impunity persists. We read the news and see law enforcement killing young African Americans across the country. Those of us who witnessed Kent State have to ask whether things might have been different if this era of brutal suppression of political protest had resulted in accountability. I see echoes of Kent State when I read that Mike Brown’s family has to file a civil lawsuit because there will be no criminal accountability for his killing. This is the legacy of past impunity and it saddens me greatly to see it continue.

There is an important legal distinction to be made as we pursue accountability for the killings. Because the statute of limitations for civil rights expires quickly, survivors and stakeholders have a time limit in seeking justice when our loved ones are murdered by US law enforcement and the US government. But the statute of limitations NEVER expires for murder.

Once Kent State litigation ended in the civil settlement in 1979, our government destroyed key evidence and promoted only its own view, revising Kent State history ever since. I founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal in 2010 for this reason – telling the truth about what happened at Kent State is at the political heart of this barbaric incident. They took our family members but we will not let them take our truth.

An incredible thing happened at the 40th Kent State anniversary in 2010. The first digital, forensic examination of a tape recorded on a Kent State University dormitory window ledge at the time of the massacre surfaced in an archive at Yale University.

Stuart Allen, an evidence expert with a lifelong forensic career, was commissioned to digitally examine the recording. Allen forensically verified that the audio on the tape revealed a COMMAND TO FIRE. Despite government assertions that the killings were a spontaneous act of self-defense by frightened soldiers, the tape irrefutably established that in fact there was an order to shoot. I wept when I heard the words uttered by the guard commander on tape.

The US government response to Allen’s Kent State forensic analyses was to ignore it. Two years later the Department of Justice officially refused to reopen the investigation and bring new federal charges: “There are insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers to bringing a second federal case in this matter.”

Last year the Kent State Truth Tribunal brought Kent State before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva. There something remarkable happened. The US delegation at their formal treaty hearing and review admitted, “In 1970, four students were killed, were murdered and nine injured.” In a simple phrase – and for the first time in 45 years – our government finally admitted what we all knew to be true – this was government-executed murder.

Our response was also simple. Now that our government has established that Kent State was murder, we demand they treat Kent State as murder and immediately examine the evidence in the forensic digital findings that captured the order to shoot. We know the statute of limitations never expires for murder.

Will the US government do this? Not without pressure from those of us who still care deeply about Kent State and not without help from all of you.

Our work at the United Nations with the Human Rights Committee continues in 2015. Please stand with Allison, the Kent State Truth Tribunal and me in this 45th year. Together let’s demand US government accountability for the unlawful killings at May 4th Kent State. Join us and ‘like’ us on facebook at facebook.com/KentStateTruthTribunal

I’d like to close with a portion from my speech at the United Nations:

The right to assemble and protest is professed as a cherished American value and is a fundamental facet of our democracy. The Kent State precedent has cast a shadow over this democracy for over 40 years. If Kent State remains a glaring example of government impunity, it sends a message that protestors, especially young men and women, can be killed by the state for expressing their political beliefs. My sister died protesting for peace and I would like to honor her memory by ensuring that this never happens to another American protestor again.”

FirstRose

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