Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘National Guardsmen’ Category

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.

Read Full Post »

May 9, 2012 ~ The killing of four students on the campus of Kent State, Ohio, on May 4, 1970, during a demonstration against Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia received new attention on April 23, 2012. The Obama administration’s Justice Department decided not to re-open the case in spite of evidence that the guardsmen had been ordered to shoot. This reminded the public that the question of who ordered the shooting has never been resolved.

The first of an occasional series on the place that has become TUC Radio’s new home: Mendocino County, Northern California, to honor extraordinary people and events in this remote region.

Here is the connection between a small local newspaper in Anderson Valley http://www.theava.com, a rural radio station, KZYX http://www.kzyx.org, a woman, Laurel Krause living on the Pacific ocean near a former logging mill town http://www.truthtribunal.org and a veteran radio programmer, Jeff Blankfort http://radio4all.net with events that shook the world in 1970.

Also referenced in this re-broadcast is Michael Moore, film maker Emily Kunstler and Congressman Dennis Kucinich. All together a piece of living history assembled in the mountains of Northern California. Recorded May 9, 2012.

Listen at Radio4All The Murders at Kent State

Listen at TUC Radio TUC Radio

29 second Preview

Produced by Maria Gilardin

Read Full Post »

2012 NATO Summit May 20-21 Chicago

5/18/12, live blogging thru conclusion

PEACE MARCHES have arrived at the NATO SUMMIT 2012 this weekend in Chicago, starting May 19th thru May 21st.

BEST STREAMIN’ comes from Timcast, also sharing stories of last night’s raid http://bit.ly/JuxniV

On May 19 saw #NoNATO protest on Chicago IndyMedia livestream ~ http://bit.ly/JrmaoX

So many police everywhere you turn in Chicago near the #NatoProtest in America this weekend & evident in every livecast. The menacing, huge police presence with paddy wagons, helicopters serve to harass, suppress & limit the rights of every American present. Emanuel’s militia response is also tremendously expensive & the funds must come from somewhere. Most importantly, the numbers show Americans want drastic cuts in the Dept of Defense budget now, an end to military action against civilians domestically & out of Afghanistan now. http://bit.ly/JeYmPy

One: We are the PEOPLE!
Two: We are UNITED!
Three: The OCCUPATION IS NOT LEAVING!

How the U.S. government is orchestrating this military response to American protest:

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel invited NATO to Chicago & says “it will be historic” http://bit.ly/JlzJr0 insisting the NATO Summit will not cost taxpayers a dime http://cbsloc.al/M14wGq “that’s why we raised private money and I secured federal money – so that’s number one,” Emanuel said. “And yes, I do feel like we’re going to be able to meet our budget.”

As NATO Meets in Chicago, Bill Ayers & Bernardine Dohrn Condemn “Militarized Arm of the 1%” http://bit.ly/L4Sae6

Kent State, 40 years on: the shredding of constitutional liberty still goes on. To this day, military repression permeates the US. But as history has shown, resistance will always follow http://bit.ly/IDRoUr

WITH extensive downtown Chicago road-closures & re-routing for Chicago citizens http://yhoo.it/KIyGPO

AND the Chicago Cops have beefed up with >$1 million in riot gear & war-grade weapons http://bit.ly/KR6TJq

AND the Secret Service calls on Baltimore security firm for NATO Summit fencing, aggressive crowd-control equipment http://bit.ly/JWPW2g

AND the Illinois National Guard escorting NATO dignitaries http://trib.in/HSDW10

PLUS National Guard Troops Coming to Chicago for NATO Summit http://cbsloc.al/JyjC6i

THEN the Chicago Police Raided Activist Dwellings & Arrested #NoNato Activists Days Before the Protest http://bit.ly/KRL9AT

Last year’s #OccupyChicago arrests: Rahm Emanuel’s ‘dry run’ for NATO? http://bit.ly/JXyDPU

With grave concerns for 2012 NATO Summit protesters, we DEMAND: No More Kent States! http://bit.ly/Jh1Q7T

Make Love, Not War by John Lennon, have a LISTEN: http://bit.ly/zAWxkW

Read Full Post »

May 6, 2011

Dear Mr. President & General Holder,

My sister Allison Krause was killed at Kent State on May 4, 1970. I co-founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal with Emily Kunstler and we opened our doors for the first of three tribunals last year right around this time.

On May 1-4, 2010 we recorded, preserved and honored the stories of original participants and witnesses of the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970. It was a blessing that my mother Doris Krause, 85, was able to be present for the beginning of the Kent State healing.

As I returned to my home in California, I received word from Mom that the Kent State Tape had been examined for the very first time and a story was breaking in the Plain Dealer tomorrow, article here http://bit.ly/aM7Ocm That she had given a quote applauding the news of this long-denied order to shoot. That it had been analyzed and verified by Mr. Stuart Allen, a top forensic scientist (also Stuyvestant colleague of General Holder).

In October 2010 at the Kent State Truth Tribunal, we invited Mr. Allen to participate as a meaningfully-involved participant, to examine the Kent State Tape before our cameras. At KSTT-NYC, I received word that there was more than the command on the Kent State Tape. That Mr. Allen, in preparing for his KSTT testimonial, discovered a violent altercation recorded just 70 seconds before the national guard command to fire and ensuing barrage, 67 shots for 13 seconds. Read http://bit.ly/als1xB

As we opened our doors in NYC for our KSTT on October 9-10, 2010, and as a result of Mr. Allen’s shocking new evidence, Representative Dennis Kucinich, chair of the Domestic Policy subcommittee responded by immediately opening an investigation into the Kent State shootings. http://bit.ly/cO69Yx

Then the other shoe dropped. The Democrats lost the election and Rep Kucinich lost his seat as chair in the Domestic Policy subcommittee. http://bit.ly/hmM2SH

Looking back on my Kent State path, I was 15 years old when Allison was murdered. For nine years after, my family life and world were also blown apart forever, especially as my folks pursued justice for Allison in the courts. Mr. President, no one from the government ever came to help us, except for Senator Ted Kennedy, and now recently with Rep Dennis Kucinich.

Recollecting those horrible years, I remember my Dad entering the Kent State Tape into evidence in his lawsuits. Lots of folks called Dad Krazy Krause, he would not let this go. 40 years later, it was heartening to realize Dad knew that the tape held the key to the truth at Kent State. It has taken us over 40 years to be able to decipher and once in for all, hear the recorded sounds via Mr. Stuart Allen’s expertise and kgb audio software.

Mr. Allen verified the long-denied ‘order to fire’ at the unarmed students, and surprisingly discovered new evidence in the violent altercation between Mr. Terry Norman and students. Mr. Allen heard Mr. Norman’s later surrendered pistol shoot off four pistol rounds, creating the sniper fire claimed by the national guard. Mr. Norman was a consensual informant for the F.B.I. and working that day. More on Mr. Norman http://bit.ly/gSN9pP and http://bit.ly/994afB

Mr. Norman is one of many present that day, cogs in the wheel delivering four homicides on May 4, 1970 and crossing the line at Kent State, yet Mr. Norman’s actions directly connect the FBI with the command to fire. Mr. Norman’s actions prove the intent to create, as in instigate sniper fire 70 seconds before the guard shot. Now we understand the odd ‘Alright’ in the ‘command to fire’ order.

It is for this reason that I formally request you Mr. President examine the new evidence in this cold case homicide of Kent State. Furthermore I ask you to create an impartial and unaffiliated team to investigate the F.B.I. This is the same instruction I gave Congressman Kucinich.

From Wikipedia: Impartiality is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.

Mr. President and General Holder, please examine the new evidence in the Kent State Tape.

Sincerely,

Laurel Krause

P.S.   Recent writing on learning the truth at Kent State in 2010, also published at the request of Rep Dennis Kucinich in the 2010 Congressional Record: Truth Emerging in the Kent State Cold Case Homicides http://bit.ly/fgI0h2

*******

Laurel Krause’s 6/9/2011 video on the new Kent State evidence and our call for a Kent State Inquiry in 2011:

Arthur Krause’s response to the slaughter of Allison Krause, his daughter, May, 1970:

She resented being called a bum because she disagreed with someone else’s opinion. She felt that our crossing into Cambodia was wrong. Is this dissent a crime? Is this a reason for killing her? Have we come to such a state in this country that a young girl has to be shot because disagrees with the actions of her government?

In today’s snail mail letter, I also enclosed my father’s words & image:

Yesterday on the Internet I discovered Arthur Krause’s words from 1979 and wish to share them with you. Here’s a picture of united Kent State, May 4th folks at a press conference, taken at the end of their nine year search for justice through the judicial system.

Arthur Krause is the tall man in the back, smoking a cigarette & my mom Doris Krause sits in front of him. My father shared, “The thing that I hope people remember … is that it could happen to their child. I was like everyone else and then it happened to us.”

Arthur and Doris Krause carry on their lives ten years after the incident, but the pain and the lessons of the last ten years are evident. “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 to result.”

Krause, the parent who initially began the quest for justice in the Kent State case continued, “I knew what was going to happen; that justice would not be served, but I wanted to make sure that there was pressure applied. In the beginning the other families were not as believing that nothing would be done; I think they thought I was some sort of radical. But I can tell you that if you don’t stand up for your rights they will be taken away from you just like they were from Allison and the others.”

Arthur and Doris Krause have mixed feelings about the 1979 settlement. “We don’t want the damn money ~ we want the truth. If we had wanted the money I would have accepted the one and a half million dollar bribe I was offered to drop the civil suit, offered to me in the presence of Peter Davies in 1971.

We want the facts out 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 ten years.”

Arthur and Doris Krause hope the movie would generate more of the same hate mail they have received for the past ten years. “They always point out that my daughter had gravel in her pockets . . . that this was the rationale for killing her . . . why didn’t they throw gravel at her?”

“The political climate is very similar to that in 1970,” Krause added, “Kent State, 1970 means we no longer have our daughter, but it also means something to all Americans. Our court battles establish without a doubt one thing. There is no constitution. There is no Bill of Rights.” ~ Arthur S. Krause

Read Full Post »

MendoCoastCurrent, May 4, 2011

On May 4, 1970 Fours Students Died and Nine Were Wounded at Kent State.

Please Watch & Learn ~

Read Full Post »

MendoCoastCurrent, April 23, 2011

Recollections on what would have been my sister Allison Krause’s 60th birthday. Instead at 19, Allison was murdered by the United States government at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 as she protested the Vietnam war & the military occupation of her campus.

Allison had just graduated from JFK High in Maryland the summer of 1969. It was Woodstock Summer http://youtu.be/Vv98-4eOJbU where everywhere in the US, especially in DC, was exploding with political discontent, an escalating war in Vietnam & the feminist movement was finding its voice.

Hope for peace was abound, as well as concern for taking care of mother earth. Probably the innocence of youth yet so many young people were coming together in wishing to create a better world. Allison Krause, my sister, was actively taking part.

Allison’s decision to go to college at Kent State University in the coming Fall was made quite young. Allison & I were born in Cleveland & raised in our early years in Cleveland Heights. As a family on Sundays, we often took drives out in the country.

As far back as I can remember Allison knew she was going to go Kent State University when she went to college. Eating at the Robin Hood restaurant, remembering this warm family memory with Allison loving the pretty campus of Kent State, especially in the spring with the lilacs.

So when Allison made her decision to go to college, Kent State University in Ohio was her only choice & application.

That Summer of ’69 our folks were gone many weekends ~ traveling, finding & buying our new home in Pittsburgh for a move by Fall as my father was transferred to Westinghouse Electric HQ.

It was bittersweet for Allison as she was leaving a closely-knit circle of friends & her Maryland home, yet that Summer I remember weekend parties at our house. In 1969 Allison was 18, I was 14 & I smile ~ the ‘times they were a’changin’ & we were a’groovin’.

Unhappily, our parents forbade Allison from going to Woodstock. I still feel sad about that, thought she would have enjoyed being with her people, that beautiful, pinnacle of a moment in time. For Allison: Jimi Hendrix ~ Angel http://bit.ly/t6on7h

The Fall of 1969, Allison went to college & studied as a freshman at Kent State University. The Krause family had moved to Pittsburgh, PA & I was in junior high back in the ‘burg. This was our second time in Pittsburgh for my dad’s job at Westinghouse.

Remembrance of the Fall into Winter of 1969 is mostly a blur. Can recall that Allison had met the love of her life quickly into being at college, that she had a large circle of friends, was thriving & learning. Allison traveled to Washington DC for a huge anti-war protest that Fall ~ http://youtu.be/AoeWqtjCJ_I She was also making plans to transfer to another college.

In the early Winter, Allison moved from a quad to a single dorm room closer in to the center of campus. She was into her art studies, her relationships & adopted a kitten, naming it Yossarian after the Catch-22 character, more here ~ http://bit.ly/fTEN36

Spring 1970 was also the first Earth Day. On April 22, 1970, my first Earth Day activities included going to an Earth Day event in Pittsburgh at Flagstaff Hill. More on Earth Day ~ http://bit.ly/gvbApV

Allison went to an even better venue for her Earth Day celebration in that it included Buckminster Fuller visiting the Kent State University campus in an expo, erecting his own geodesic dome on the commons. On Buckminster Fuller ~ http://bit.ly/fZRvIB

And Springtime meant birthday time ~ April 23, 1970 was Allison’s 19th birthday so I went to visit my big sis away at college, my first weekend adventure on my own, meaning without the folks in charge. Taking the train from Pittsburgh to Kent in just under three hours, Allison met me at the train tracks.

What a treasure that we were able to hang together on our own as sisters. We went to see the new movie ‘Woodstock’ together that weekend as my sister showed me her college world & introduced me to her friends.

My folks picked me up to go home that Sunday. Looking back now, realizing for the first time how blessed our family was to visit together that weekend.

Less than ten days later, on May 4, 1970 Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandy Scheurer & William Schroeder were killed by U.S. military gunfire. As Allison died, she was protesting the Vietnam war & the military occupation of her college campus by the U.S. government.

Sharing Allison as her family knew her, video by Walter T. Wynn, ‘Dear Allison’

Another video also by Walter T. Wynn in memory of Allison Krause who said, “What’s the matter with PEACE? Flowers are Better than Bullets” the day before her death by gunfire ~ http://bit.ly/fdGT6Z

Read Full Post »

JOHN MANGELS, The Plain Dealer, December 19, 2010

In the four decades since Ohio National Guardsmen fired on students and antiwar demonstrators at Kent State University, Terry Norman has remained a central but shadowy figure in the tragedy.

The 21-year-old law enforcement major and self-described “gung-ho” informant was the only civilian known to be carrying a gun — illegally, though with the tacit consent of campus police — when the volatile protest unfolded on May 4, 1970. Witnesses saw him with his pistol out around the time the Guardsmen fired.

Though Norman denied shooting his weapon, and was never charged in connection with the four dead and nine wounded at Kent State, many people suspected he somehow triggered the soldiers’ deadly 13-second volley.

In October, a Plain Dealer-commissioned exam of a long-forgotten audiotape from the protest focused new attention on Norman. Enhancement of the recording revealed a violent altercation and four gunshots, 70 seconds before the Guard’s fusillade. Forensic audio expert Stuart Allen said the shots are from a .38-caliber pistol, like the one police confiscated from Norman minutes after the Guard shootings.

The newspaper’s subsequent review of hundreds of documents from the various investigations of Norman, including his own statements, and interviews with key figures, uncovered more surprising information:

• The Kent State police department’s and FBI’s initial assessment of Norman was badly flawed, with failures to test his pistol and clothing for evidence of firing, to interview witnesses who claimed Norman may have shot his gun and to pursue the question of whether it was reloaded before police verified its condition.

• The Kent State police detective who took possession of Norman’s pistol, and whose investigation ruled out its having been fired, was directing Norman’s work as an informant and later helped him get a job as a police officer.

• Norman’s various statements about why he drew his pistol are inconsistent on some important details and are contradicted by other eyewitnesses. Also, Norman would barely have had time for what he claims to have done during that crucial period.

• Kent State officers knew Norman regularly carried guns, including on campus, even though the department’s chief and another local law enforcement official had doubts about Norman’s maturity and self-control.

• The FBI initially denied any connection with Norman, although the bureau had paid him for undercover work a month before the Kent State shootings. His relationship with the FBI may have begun even earlier than Norman has acknowledged, and he may later have had ties to the CIA.

• After the May 4 tragedy, Norman transformed from informant to cop to criminal.

Antiwar protest builds on Kent State campus

The tolling of Kent State’s Victory Bell, signaling the start of the antiwar protest, drew Norman to the commons just before noon on Monday, May 4, 1970

A camera hung from his neck. He wore thick-soled “trooper boots,” a gas mask he’d bought at a police supply store and a nickel-plated .38 in a holster hidden under his sport jacket.

He said he carried the snub-nosed, five-shot Smith & Wesson for protection. Norman was well known to campus activists, whose meetings he had begun trying to infiltrate in 1968, soon after he arrived as a student.

Norman’s conservative, law-and-order outlook clashed with the militantly anti-war, anti-authoritarian politics of groups like the Students for a Democratic Society. He showed up at their gatherings, trolling for information and snapping pictures until he was tossed out. He said he hoped the photos he regularly provided to the Kent State police department would help send activists to jail.

Throughout the weekend, Norman photographed the increasingly raucous protests at the request of campus police Detective Tom Kelley, his regular contact.

He carried his pistol Sunday night, while photographing demonstrators, and again Monday when he headed for class, with plans to take pictures at the noon anti-war rally. Norman said Kelley and FBI Agent Bill Chapin of the bureau’s Akron office asked him to attend, and either Kelley or Chapin had given him film.

As the Guardsmen moved out, with orders to sweep protesters off the commons and over Blanket Hill, Norman stuck close.

When the soldiers topped the hill and reached a football practice field on the other side, the protesters’ rock-throwing intensified. Norman moved inside a protective semi-circle of Guardsmen, waiting with them as officers discussed what to do.

Several times, Norman hurled stones back at demonstrators. He caught the attention of Guard Capt. John Martin, who wondered, “My gosh, where did that idiot come from and what’s he doing there?”
Finally, a commander ordered the Guardsmen to double-time back up Blanket Hill. Norman said he’d been preoccupied photographing some rock-throwers and missed the soldiers’ departure. He slipped into the crowd, hoping to blend in with several news photographers.

Terry Norman’s statements to police vary

What Norman did next remains in dispute.

Norman said that as the retreating Guardsmen neared the crest of Blanket Hill, he saw them halt, crouch and level their rifles. Like several other witnesses, Norman reported hearing a sharp sound, either a firecracker or perhaps a small-caliber gunshot, followed almost instantly by a torrent of Guard bullets.

He said he dropped to the ground and heard a round go over his head. That would place him on a slope south of Taylor Hall, near the Guard’s line of fire.

After the volley, Norman either “stayed put for a couple of minutes,” started for the campus police station, or headed up the hill toward the shooting site to take more photos, depending on which of his various statements to Kent State police, the FBI, the State Highway Patrol and lawyers one follows.

Norman said he then knelt to check on a “hippie-style person” whom he saw fall or whom he found lying on the ground. In some accounts, the downed man was bleeding from the face; in others, he was overcome by tear gas and his nose was running.

Norman said he moved to leave after determining the man was OK, but he was attacked. In one statement, he was chased and tackled by a group of demonstrators angered by his picture-taking. In others, his initial assailant was a man who grabbed for his camera and gas mask while someone else clinched him from behind.

Norman said he was pulled to the ground and “completely surrounded” by protesters chanting “Kill the pig!” and “Stick the pig!” In a couple of his statements, he claimed to have been hit by rocks and pummeled by fists.

He pulled his pistol (either from his holster or his pocket, depending on the statement) and told his attackers to back off or they were “going to get it.” He struck an assailant with his gun in some accounts but didn’t mention that in others. Then he said he ran down Blanket Hill and across the commons to seek shelter with the Guard, which had set up a secure area.

There, chased by two campus officials who yelled that Norman had a gun and may have shot someone, he surrendered his pistol to a Kent State police officer. A TV cameraman filmed the turnover. “The guy tried to kill me!” Norman says, agitated and panting. “The guy starts beating me up, man, tries to drag my camera away, hit me in the face!”

At no time, Norman maintained in all his statements, did he fire his gun. The attack and his defense, he said, happened after the Guard gunfire, meaning his actions could not have provoked the soldiers to shoot.

Audiotape raises questions about Terry Norman’s role

The altercation and four .38 pistol shots that analyst Stuart Allen uncovered in October 2010 on the audiotape raise questions about Norman’s story that he didn’t fire and that the Guard’s fusillade preceded his assault.

Seventy seconds before the soldiers shoot, the recording captures shouts of “Kill him!” followed by sounds of scuffling and four distinct discharges. An earlier analysis of the tape also revealed an order for the Guard to prepare to fire. It is not clear how or if the altercation, pistol shots and firing order are related.

But as early as the afternoon of May 4, 1970, there were claims that Norman’s gun had been fired four times. There also were available witnesses whose stories contradicted some details — or raised questions about the timing — of Norman’s assault. However, police and government records indicate that investigators did not quickly, rigorously pursue those leads.

When Norman surrendered his pistol, he handed it to Kent State patrolman Harold Rice, who in turn gave it to Detective Kelley. TV newsmen Fred DeBrine and Joe Butano of Cleveland station WKYC and Guard Sgts. Mike Delaney and Richard Day observed the exchange.

The four said they saw a Kent State officer — DeBrine and Butano identified him as Kelley, Norman’s handler as an informant — crack open Norman’s pistol, look inside and exclaim, “My God, it’s been fired four times!” The TV crew and the two Guardsmen also said they heard Norman state that he may have shot someone.

Kent State student Tom Masterson has acknowledged being Norman’s assailant. He said the confrontation happened after the Guard stopped shooting, which jibes with part of Norman’s story, but insisted he was the only one involved. “There was definitely no group of students that attacked him,” Masterson, a retired San Francisco firefighter, said in a recent interview. “There wasn’t time.”

Another Kent State student, Frank Mark Malick, saw a photographer matching Norman’s description waving his pistol as the Guard fired and aiming in the same direction as the soldiers, although Malick said he couldn’t tell if the photographer was shooting.

The FBI looked little into Norman’s involvement until 1973, three years after the incident, when the Justice Department reopened the investigation. Even then the bureau acted reluctantly, at the insistence of Justice Department lawyers.

There is no evidence in the various investigative agencies’ files that anyone attempted to probe the inconsistencies in Norman’s various statements or between his versions and other witnesses’ accounts. According to Norman, Kent State police allowed him to type his own statement.

The FBI interviewed him twice, on May 4 and May 15, 1970, but in no greater depth than other witnesses. The bureau relied on the Kent State police department’s determination that Norman’s gun had not been fired.

The audiotape of the Guard shootings and their aftermath, along with TV footage shot by the WKYC crew of Norman surrendering his pistol, provides an improbably tight time frame within which Norman’s assault and his run for safety would have to fit for his story to be true.

In less than 1 minute and 49 seconds, Norman would have had to check on the injured student, be attacked, draw his gun, free himself from his assailants, then cross more than a quarter-mile of steep terrain to reach the Guard’s rope line.

Norman testified before a federal grand jury in December 1973 as part of the revived investigation. His testimony remains sealed, as is typical. But whatever was said, and whatever additional facts were uncovered, the grand jury did not indict him.

Federal investigators “never left a stone unturned” about Norman, former Assistant Attorney General Stanley Pottinger, who directed the inquiry, insisted in a recent interview.

Although neither Pottinger nor his second-in-command on the Kent State probe, former federal Prosecutor Robert Murphy, recalls details of what Norman said, they both were satisfied his actions on May 4 played no role in the Guard’s shootings. “As far as we were concerned at the time, it was a non-issue in the overall events of what happened that day,” Murphy said recently.

Terry Norman’s gun changes hands

Terry Norman’s .38-caliber pistol represented the best chance for investigators to determine if he fired shots on May 4, but there were abnormalities in its handling from the moment it was confiscated.

A Kent State University police officer takes a pistol from Terry Norman on May 4, 1970. Norman had been taking photos of protesters at an anti-war rally and said he carried the gun for protection.

Norman gave his weapon to Harold Rice, a Kent State patrolman he knew well enough to call “Hal.”

In his report of the incident, Rice wrote that he popped open the cylinder to confirm the gun was still fully loaded and sniffed the barrel to rule out that it had been fired, before handing the weapon to Detective Kelley. The TV footage shows none of this; in fact, the plastic face shield on Rice’s riot helmet precludes bringing a gun close to his nose.

Kelley, who directed Norman’s informant work for the department, carried Norman’s pistol back to the police station. Kelley, in his official statement and later interviews, was adamant that he’d never said Norman’s gun had been fired four times and that examination showed it was fully loaded. Other officers whom Kelley directed to sight- and smell-check the weapon backed him up.

In Norman’s sworn deposition from 1975, he said he had loaded his gun before May 4 with three hollow-point bullets, one armor-piercing round and one tracer round. When Kent State police turned Norman’s pistol over to the FBI on May 5, the bureau noted that it contained four hollow-point bullets and one armor-piercing round. The investigative record does not indicate that anyone noted or probed the discrepancy.

No one tested Norman’s hands or clothing for gunpowder traces, and there is no record that campus police questioned him about whether he had reloaded or searched him for extra bullets or expended shells.

The FBI later noted the Kent State police department’s failure to preserve a chain of custody of Norman’s gun, reporting that it had passed through four officers’ hands, and that at least one of them couldn’t recall when he’d had the pistol.

That casual police attitude extended to Norman’s overall gun-handling. Norman said campus police “unofficially” knew he often brought weapons to school — one had bartered with him on the premises for a rifle or shotgun — even though Police Chief Donald Schwatzmiller considered Norman “gun-happy and very immature” and wanted to bar him from campus. Northampton Police Chief Larry Cochran, who knew Norman from his part-time security job at the Blossom Music Center, had similar concerns.

An FBI check in 1973 determined that Norman lacked the proper paperwork to legally carry a concealed weapon during the May 4 rally. A former Portage County prosecutor told the bureau that Norman could have been charged, but the case would have been difficult to win.

Terry Norman’s FBI connection

Whether due to miscommunication, embarrassment or an attempted coverup, the FBI initially denied any involvement with Norman as an informant.

“Mr. Norman was not working for the FBI on May 4, 1970, nor has he ever been in any way connected with this Bureau,” director J. Edgar Hoover declared to Ohio Congressman John Ashbrook in an August 1970 letter.

Three years later, Hoover’s successor, Clarence Kelley, was forced to correct the record. The director acknowledged that the FBI had paid Norman $125 for expenses incurred when, at the bureau’s encouragement, Norman infiltrated a meeting of Nazi and white power sympathizers in Virginia a month before the Kent State shootings.

Norman insisted his FBI work lasted only about a month, including the Virginia mission and his photographing of campus dissidents.

But a Kent State classmate, Janet Sima, said recently that she accompanied Norman on a day trip to Washington, D.C., in December 1968 so he could attend a meeting he told her involved the FBI. “I felt like he couldn’t talk about it,” said Sima, who didn’t press Norman for details about the 90-minute appointment.

Tom Kelley, the Kent State detective who oversaw Norman’s campus informant work, told lawyers in 1975 that he suspected Norman had worked much more regularly for the FBI than the bureau had publicly acknowledged.

Terry Norman: From D.C. cop to former convict

Disillusioned with campus unrest and uncomfortable with his notoriety, Norman quit Kent State in August 1970 to become a Washington, D.C., policeman. His references included Detective Kelley and Akron policeman Bruce Vanhorn, with whom he had traded for the .38 pistol.

Alan Whitney, a labor leader who helped unionize the D.C. police force in 1972, said recently that Norman was one of about a dozen officers he worked closely with on the two-month campaign. Whitney said another officer told him that Norman sometimes boasted of playing a consequential role in the Kent State tragedy, including firing a gun. When Whitney asked Norman directly, Norman said he couldn’t talk about it.

Norman’s second wife, Sherry Millen, said she had no idea he had been on campus on May 4. Millen, who met Norman in the early 1980s when he was still a cop, said he was estranged from his family.

He told Millen that he’d helped get his first wife, Amy, a job with the CIA and that he had done occasional work for the spy agency. Norman liked shooting guns and talked about wanting to move to Costa Rica, become a mercenary and hunt down drug lords, Millen said.

After Millen and Norman divorced in the early 1990s, he ran into major legal trouble. In 1994, federal prosecutors accused Norman of leading a four-year scheme to bilk nearly $700,000 from the electronics company he worked for as a telecommunications manager.

At first with a partner, and later on his own, the ex-policeman set up shell companies and authorized payments for phony work. He used the money to buy a plane, a 41-foot boat, a recreational vehicle and a 20-acre homestead in Texas and to pad his and his new wife’s mutual funds.

By the time federal agents came after Norman and his third wife in the spring of 1994, Norman had already learned of the investigation. The couple had packed their RV with computers, passports, $10,400, and their four dogs and three cats. With Norman’s weapons and undercover training, the government considered him a serious flight risk.

Norman pleaded guilty to charges relating to conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering. He served three years in prison. Reporters occasionally have tried to contact him, as the anniversaries of the May 4 tragedy come and go. He never has broken his silence. He and his wife live in a secluded area of North Carolina, on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »