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Archive for the ‘Laurel Krause’ Category

May 17, 2016 A college essay written by Kimberly March

DSC00159When I first chose to write this paper on Laurel Krause, I was expecting it to be just like any other short research paper on a human being. Read up on their accomplishments, read some interviews, look up different articles, et cetera, et cetera. Little did I know that I would have the wonderful opportunity to sit down and have a phone conversation with Laurel herself. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon on May 1st when I decided to make the call – I had been mulling over the decision as to when to call since hearing back from Laurel. I was extremely nervous to call and make a fool of myself.

Laurel Krause is the younger sister of Allison Krause, one of the young college students killed in the 1970 shooting at Kent State University. The massacre, performed by National Guardsmen, occurred at an anti-war protest held on campus soon after President Nixon announced the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. It is still, to this day, unconfirmed who gave the orders for the Guardsmen to shoot at the unarmed students, or if there was an order at all. No charges were brought upon anybody, nobody took responsibility, and nobody ever apologized for the tragedy. Arthur Krause, Laurel and Allison’s father, continued fighting for more information for the rest of his life, filing lawsuit after lawsuits all the way to the Supreme Court. The immeasurable trauma thrust upon the Krause family and the friends and family of all involved in the shooting was never resolved or given any type of closure.

However, I do not want to spend this entire paper focusing on the horrific things that happened because of the Kent State shootings. I want to focus on Laurel Krause, a peace-seeker/creator, activist, and friend. My first impression of Laurel was how humble she is – she was shocked that I chose her to write my paper about. I had no idea what to expect, and I could not have been more relieved to find that I was talking to a real person on the other end of the phone. One thing that she said to me during our two-hour conversation that eased my nerves was, “My name Laurel and I’m not a ma’am. I’m an anarchist trained by Howard Zinn and sister of Allison, but I am very much a, y’know, a human being and I’m right at the same place-level that you’re at. And I absolutely want to be that way.”

Laurel and I talked about a slew of different topics. The main topics I want to focus on are the overall idea of creating our own peace and the Allison Center for Peace, located on the Mendocino Coast in California. We talked about the government and how they have formed our society into a society that has lost hope. “Our world is a traumatized world…How is it serving them that we don’t heal this wound?” There have been so many government-led tragedies – the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State are only two. Laurel says, “I think the strongest card we’ve got is to actually live happily in peace. And let’s just get on with it.” The government will not give us the power to be able to foresee ourselves living happily. They will not allow us to heal the wounds of trauma that they have inflicted, because as soon as they do, they have lost some of the control they worked so hard to build. We then began talking about the Allison Center for Peace. This will be a peace destination – the Mendocino Coast location hopefully being one of the many across the nation in the future. A “peace capital”, of sorts, where the business of peace is examined and safe renewable resources and low radiation organic farming are present. Laurel graciously invited me to come out and visit the Center someday if I have the means, and I certainly intend on taking her up on that.

Laurel, along with the help of her co-founder Emily Aigner Kunstler and the rest of the dedicated team, started up the Kent State Truth Tribunal in 2010. “The Krause family founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal in order to reveal the truth and establish a clear and correct historical record from the collective voices of Kent State (TruthTribunal.org). The Tribunal is comprised of almost one hundred interviews with family, friends, survivors, and witnesses of the Kent State shootings, which will all be archived and available to be streamed on the Truth Tribunal website. Laurel told me that she has come to terms with the fact that she will not see justice for Allison in her lifetime – “I’m not a fool.” However, because she has documented everything, it will all be available for them when it is deemed relevant again.

There were indeed some deep conversation topics, but there were a lot of laughs and coinciding opinions and feelings of peace and happiness. Laurel and I had a great time speaking of the Goddess emerging and peace being possible if we find our own peace. We spoke of buffoons in politics and Howard Zinn coming through her in our conversation with positivity and light. I look forward to my next correspondence or phone conversation with Laurel, for I feel I have gained a wonderful new friend. It was refreshing to have a long-winded conversation with somebody as an equal on a level playing field. Although my instincts and respectful reflex will urge me to call Laurel ma’am the next time we speak, I will definitely make sure that I do not.

I close this piece with an uplifting point. “Change must come from the young people.” If young people in my generation do not speak up against the man and demand a better, more peaceful tomorrow, we will not get it. On the flip side, that means that as young people in this country and world, we have the power to make a difference. We have the power to mold our future. The government is not going to simply give us the peace and happiness that we want – so let’s create it. Let’s heal the trauma that has been inflicted on us and move on together. We have the means and we have each other. It is time that we take what is rightfully ours. It is time for peace.

References

“Laurel Krause.” Telephone interview. 1 May 2016.

“About Section.” Kent State Truth Tribunal. Web. 3 May 2016.

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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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January 25, 2016 from the Mendocino coast

Doris L. Krause, mother of Allison Krause killed in the Kent State massacre of May 4, 1970, peacefully crossed over on January 17, 2016 in the loving arms of her family

Eulogy for Doris L. Krause from her daughter, Laurel Krause

optionfour (1)Last week while I was walking along the California coast near my home, I was called to my mother Doris Krause’s bedside by hospice caregivers informing me that her time was near. Mom had stayed in Pittsburgh, our family home, perhaps for the same reason I went very far away. We shared a tragedy in our family that broke our hearts and wounded our spirits but ultimately deepened the love between us in ways we might not have otherwise known. We have carried this wound for so many years but I arrived back home in Pittsburgh to experience a profound healing with Mom. I am moved to share our experience as we lay her body to rest.

It is well known among you all that our family has been troubled by my sister’s Allison’s killing by the US military as she protested the Vietnam War on her campus, Kent State University. What you may not know is the ensuing US government pressure and harassment of our family that affected every aspect of our life since May 4, 1970. The pain of losing my beautiful sister was unspeakable to me. I carry her loss with me to this day, as I do her immense, magnanimous spirit. But 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.

When my father Arthur passed away in 1988, my mother was left to maintain our now small family on her own, along with me, to honor Allison’s legacy.

We have walked a difficult path together but this week, all our troubles fell away. My mother and I loved each other without limit, and got beyond our lifelong hurt in losing Allison in such a painful, public way. All that mattered in our time together this past week was the love we shared, the joyful memories of growing up together, the laughter and the eternal bond we carry with us.

Mom and I found a way to let our mutual pain go. We expressed our deep gratitude to each other for sharing so much love, and most importantly, we found peace.

Mom shared with me that she was afraid to go to the other side but I was blessed to be able to walk her over and let her know about the welcome banquet being prepared in her name. That our beloved dog LB was ready to greet her and that my father Arthur and sister Allison had been waiting too long for her arrival.

At 90 Mom has been severely health challenged these last few years. As we walked together, I saw her leave her troubles and suffering behind. She went home to my father now gone 28 years. She has been able to embrace her daughter Allison, now gone almost 46 years and I watched and encouraged her. My sister had stood for peace and had died in its service. We have since been honoring her memory with our own commitment to peace. And as my mother left this world at my side, I saw for the first time … my mother at peace. And I know that she is now free.

Voiced at the graveside service of Doris L. Krause by Laurel Krause on January 19, 2016

Artwork by Roger Ballas

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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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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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Have a LISTEN to Kent State Truth …

Occupy Radio: Laurel Krause, and the Kent State Truth Tribunal.

April 11, 2015, originally published in NationofChange

Forty-five years ago, four students were murdered at Kent State while protesting the Vietnam War. This week on Occupy Radio, we interview Laurel Krause, sister of Allison Krause, about the ramifications of the massacre on today’s protests. Lesley Haddock also joins us to report on the Albany Bulb and how gentrification in the Bay Area is leading to human rights abuses.AllisonOccupyHaveWe
Kent State Truth Tribunal:  http://truthtribunal.org/

MendoCoastCurent: On Truth at Kent State & Safe Renewable Energy: https://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/

The Truth About Kent State: http://bit.ly/1PiDBGI

“Blood On My Hands” Kent State Civil Trials: http://bit.ly/1DAYpB4

Decades Later, No Justice for Kent State Killings: http://bit.ly/1g5VgSb

Berkeley City Council Acts Against Homeless: http://bit.ly/1K5fdWj

Student demonstrators delay Regents meeting: “Put People Over Profit”: http://bit.ly/1IIcl0G

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January 11, 2015 from the Mendocino coast

A birthday blog for my father Arthur S. Krause on his 90th in this vintage review of I.F. Stone’s 1971 book, The Killings at Kent State, How Murder Went Unpunished

Our Allison was one of ‘Four Dead in Ohio’ … shot to death by US military personnel as she protested the Vietnam War on her Kent State University campus at noon.

Read the true story of Kent State, Jackson State and as you consider these facts, please realize that American leadership’s standard judicial remedy for the murder of civilians is to offer and institute the American grand jury system. Whether in 2015 or in 1970, official US grand juries continue to fail to enable truth, redress, accountability or justice for Americans, especially when American civilians are killed by US law enforcement.

A Harvard Crimson Book Review: I. F. Stone’s Exposing Kent State by Garrett Epps, February 16, 1971, full article

arthur.krause.ksu.1975-1-1THE “forces of order” disposed of six students last May-four whites at Kent State and two blacks at Jackson State. Immediately after the shots were fired, in each case, the killers and the officials who dispatched them began covering up the crime and preparing to use the legal system to discredit and punish “ringleaders.”

At Jackson, the local police, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and the authorities proceeded with coldblooded efficiency born of long practice, using well-established administrative practices to cover up the wanton murder of blacks. As soon as the troopers had stopped firing, the Scranton Commission reported, they calmly picked up and hid the shell casings lying on the ground. They then agreed on a story and stuck to it in their testimony before the Hinds County Grand Jury and their replies to FBI investigators. All of those interviewed denied shooting-a story so ridiculous that even the local grand jury, which found the murders justified, called their declarations “absolutely false.”

After further questioning, the Highway Patrol produced a few shells which it had forcehandedly saved-all were from city police guns. When confronted with this evidence, three Jackson policemen admitted that they had fired. However, neither the local nor the federal grand juries felt compelled to consider charges under the perjury or “false declaration” laws, Instead, they turned the shell casings over to the FBI. Before recessing, however, the county grand jury indicted a young black named Ernest Kyles for arson and inciting to riot.

The cover-up mechanism here was strong; it was roughly the same as that used by the authorities in Orangeburg, S.C., in 1968, after troopers there shot and killed three black students and wounded twenty-seven. Although nineteen policemen were indicted for the shootings, they were later acquitted, returned to duty, and promoted.

It seems unlikely that the Jackson State cover-up will be broken and the guilty punished-especially since the Nixon administration has given unmistakable notice that it is not very interested in pushing investigations into murders of blacks by whites upon whom it is depending for reelection (FBI agents interviewing the police in Mississippi did not bother to keep written records of the interviews-a standard practice intended to make preparing a case easier for local prosecutors).

Initially, the killings at Kent State and the after-math follow the same pattern: disorder breaks out, deadly force is called in to quell it, people are shot at random, evidence is suppressed, and a kangaroo tribunal returns indictments against the victims while clearing the killers. This is what happened during the summer and early fall at Kent: a grand jury cleared the Guardsmen, while indicting 25 students on charges of riot, arson, and unlawful assembly. The report-including a passage which stated that the responsibility for the shootings lay with the students, faculty, and Administration of the University-was published. It seemed likely that the students would be tried and sentenced and the matter forgotten.

BUT the analogy has broken down; for the victims at Kent were not blacks (whose murders are accepted as a matter of course by most of the white middle class), but-as the media never tired of repeating-the children of middle America, kids like the kids next door.

Liberal response was impressive-Ramsey Clark and Mark Lane, among others, came to Ohio to defend those indicted. The pressure has paid off in some partial victories for the Kent 25: two weeks ago, a Federal district judge invalidated the Ohio grand jury report and ordered all available copies burned because it might prejudice jurors if the case came to trial. Ohio State Attorney General William J. Brown is appealing the case and opposing a move to quash the indictments which followed the decision, but it now seems possible that most of the Kent 25 will get off.

I.F. Stone has written a book, The Killings at Kent State which illuminates some of the pressures which caused the shootings and the cover-up which followed. Moreover, he has published some official documents which reveal how the cover-up was effected-including an FBI report prepared in June which says “we have some reason to believe that the claim by National Guardsmen that their lives were endangered was fabricated subsequent to the event.” The book is partly a collection of pieces about the shootings which Stone wrote late last year for the New York Review of Books, with a special report by the Akron Beacon-Journal, a summary of the FBI report-never published before-and the text of the original grand jury report appended.

He also deals with Jackson State, but there he found less information to go on. The Justice Department and the media have taken less of an interest in Jackson: what happened there was established procedure. As Attorney General John Mitchell said last month: “The case is closed. The judicial process has taken its course.”

Stone has been around for a long time, and he can see through official lies and half-truths better than any other American journalist. He also has a large capacity for liberal outrage, and he finds plenty to anger him in the Kent situation. It is apparent that, from the decision to call in the National Guard until the publication of the Grand Jury report, the students at Kent State were victims of a cynical political system that counted their deaths merely as embarrassments or opportunities to entrench itself further in power.

Ohio Governor James Rhodes took over the handling of the Kent situation personally on Sunday, the day before the murders. The night before, students had burned the ROTC building on campus, slashing hoses when firemen came to put out the fire. Rhodes went to great lengths to demonstrate that he was hopping mad. He told a press conference that he had ordered the Guard to break up all assemblies on the campus, regardless of whether or not they were violent.

Pounding his fist on the table, he intoned, “We’re going to employ every force of law that we have under our authority. . . . We are going to employ every weapon possible. . . . You cannot continue to set fires to buildings that are worth five to ten million dollars [the ROTC building was valued at about $50,000] . . . . These people just move from one campus to another and terrorize a community. They’re worse than the brown shirts and the Communist element and also the night riders in the vigilantes [sic]. They’re the worst type of people that we harbor in America. . . . There is no sanctuary for these people to burn down buildings. It’s over with in Ohio.”

Some of Rhode’s deep moral outrage may be explained by the fact that he was running for the Republican Senatorial nomination in a primary two days away. Anti-student measures were good politics and Rhodes seized the chance to show what a tough guy he could be by turning the Guard loose on the Kent students with orders to let them have it.

THE GUARD he was using to prove his point was a weapon with a hair-trigger. The Ohio National Guard is the barony of Gen. Sylvester T. Del Corso, a former Army Colonel with the habit of keeping his office clock four hours fast. Del Corso appeared on televised hearings of the Scranton Commission last summer, sporting a complacent smile and carrying a large rock and a length of steel pipe which he claimed students had thrown at his men. Corso had achieved fame in Ohio before Kent by denouncing Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes as a tool of black revolutionaries and Communists, and by blaming permissiveness and a Communist conspiracy for ghetto riots. His Guard was one of the few in the nation which routinely carried live ammunition, and it had standing orders to shoot back at snipers.

Before being ordered to Kent on May 2, the Guard units involved had spent four days on active duty fighting a wildcat strike. When the order came, one-third of the force was assembled and given a one-hour review lesson in riot control. Then the whole detachment piled into trucks and headed for the campus.

Rhodes and Del Corso had both made it clear that the Guard should not feel inhibited about their methods in breaking up student demonstrations. Students-all students-were the enemy. The Guard had no clear function on campus. It was there to punish the campus for being unruly, for being antiwar, for being young. It was there to garner a few points for an ambitious politician.

The Guardsmen shot, killing four and wounding [nine]. No one can make any sense out of the shooting; there was no sniping; the Guardsmen were neither in danger nor even surrounded; the number of rocks thrown was not large; and there was even plenty of tear gas-both FBI reports and the report by the Beacon-Journal make these facts clear. The only gun seized on campus that day belonged to a student taking pictures for the campus police. [Allegedly from Terry Norman, KSU student and FBI Informant/Provocateur]

The Guardsmen were acting on an ideology enunciated by Nixon, Agnew, and Del Corso. The students were the enemy, the American Viet Cong, guilty of the crime of being in the way. The Guardsmen had been given a focus for their anger, given live ammunition, and told to take care of the situation. No one can contend that they shot cold-bloodedly, taking out their anger like the hardhats. Undoubtedly they fired in blind, tired, nervous panic. But the shells had been loaded and the powder primed very carefully in Washington and Columbus.

Rhodes lost the primary the next day and went into seclusion, refusing to speak to reporters for three weeks. But the cover-up was under way before that. According to the FBI report, the Guardsmen got together and agreed to say that they had been in danger and had fired to keep from being overrun by students who wanted to grab their guns and bayonet them. The Beacon-Journal report explodes this flimsy story by quoting a Guardsman as saying, “The guys have been saying that we got to get together and stick to the same story, that it was our lives or them, a matter of survival. I told them I would tell the truth and I wouldn’t get in trouble that way.”

THE FBI reports also destroy the story, reporting that only one Guardsman was seriously injured in the action before the firing, and that “the Guardsmen clearly did not believe that they were being fired upon.” Photographs do not show Guardsmen crouching or seeking cover from rocks. And, the report says, “We have some reason to believe that the claim by Guardsmen that their lives were endangered by the students was fabricated after the fact.”

The Ohio Grand Jury that met to consider the shootings, however, was not programmed to accept these possibilities. It had one purpose: to exonerate the Guard. To have done otherwise, as Stone points out, would have been to condemn Rhodes. The political underlings accepted as a matter of course the Governor’s complicity in the killings and moved to prevent it from being known. Thus, the chief prosecutor read the FBI report but did not submit it to the Grand Jury. He also neglected to call a number of Guardsmen named in the FBI report who gave testimony contrary to the pre-planned conclusion that the Guard had been in danger. Another prosecutor later told the newspapers that the National Guard “should have shot all the troublemakers.”

The grand jury gave the expected whitewash, and the published report expanded considerably on its original mandate. It first dealt with the question of the Guardsmen (simultaneously deciding that a number of students should be charged with riot). The Guardsmen, it said, had “fired in the sincere and honest belief and under the circumstances which would have logically caused them to believe that they would have suffered serious bodily injury had they not done so,” and were “not, therefore, subject to criminal prosecution.”

The report then fixed responsibility for the four deaths on the university administration, which was “permissive”: even though SDS had been banned from the campus for more than a year, the Grand Jury made much of the fact that any other organization could be accredited to use University facilities without prior political screenings. The Administration had even, it charged, allowed a rock concert by “a rock music group known as the ‘Jefferson Airplane'” at which slide projectors had shown shots of the Guardsmen firing at the students.

THE SOLUTION the report proposed was designed to prevent any more Kent States: “Expel the troublemakers without fear or favor.”

The repressive mechanisms swung into action: the 25 were indicted, and tough new laws and rules were inaugurated to make pacification of students easier. One bill, the Ohio Campus Disorders Act, requires that an outside referee be appointed by the Regents of every State University with the advice of the local Bar Association. This referee would hear disciplinary cases of students arrested for-not convicted of-any felony or misdemeanor. He has the unrestricted right to expel or suspend students brought before him.

The Bar Association in Kent nominated Seabury Brown-the prosecutor who had said that “the National Guard should have shot all the troublemakers.”

This nomination was vetoed by the Regents; and it seems possible that the Kent 25 may not be jailed for the crime of having served as moving targets. But the machinery is being honed. Next time it will work better; and soon, it may be as ruthless and efficient everywhere as it is in Mississippi.

It would be satisfying to imagine that this book-thorough and remarkably well-documented, considering the haste with which it was assembled-could cause a public outcry; but it is impossible. Stone told a reporter last week that he did not expect much reaction to the book. “The war has made moral imbeciles of us all,” he said. Truly, six years of escalating war at home and in Vietnam have revealed clearly that our democratic institutions are a sick joke, and the realization has numbed us. We may be beaten to the ground before feeling returns.

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