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PAT LaMARCHE, May 6, 2013

kentstatefour

Editors Note: On October 10, 2013, the US Delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Committee requested a postponement due to the partial US Government shutdown. The US postponement request was for the United States 4th Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights Committee Secretariat agreed to the request, setting a new date for the US 4th Periodic Review in March 2014, with the exact dates to be determined. News response to the US postponement ~ http://bit.ly/H4M6qD

Gwen Ifell and Oliver Stone were at Kent State this weekend to commemorate the May 4, 1970 shootings at the university that claimed four lives and wounded nine people. The celebrities will share their thoughts on what happened 43 years ago as the university dedicates its new May 4 visitor center. Among the visitors who dropped by to hear them speak and scrutinize the new center was Laurel Krause, sister of Allison Krause, the 19-year-old freshman honor student, who was killed that day by members of the Ohio National Guard. The soldiers shot her where she stood — 343 feet from away from them on the campus lawn.

What was the climate like the day Allison and the others were shot?

Well, aside from the fact that it was the first beautiful day after weeks of rain, the political climate was anything but clearing. Just four days earlier President Richard Nixon announced the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. He struggled to justify his decision to further escalate the conflict in south east Asia even as he worked to conceal the fact that he had authorized the illegal bombing of Cambodia for more than a year.

Domestically the clouds were gathering as well. Two years and one month earlier, Martin Luther King, Jr., had been assassinated after turning his attention on the evils he perceived were associated with the Vietnam War. His voice had added to the growing number of young voices speaking out across the nation calling for an end to the war and an elimination of military conscription, better known as the draft

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had compiled surveillance tapes and documents on everyone from the Kennedy family to MLK, Jr. and while his top secret files were destroyed upon his death, there is no reason to believe he did not run a series of intelligence programs based at monitoring and curtailing the efforts of young people on campuses all across the nation who he felt “seek to destroy our society.”

For these and other reasons, Laurel Krause and her organization, The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT), filed a petition on February 9, 2013, with the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), asking them to review their claim that Vietnam War protesters were intentionally targeted by Hoover’s FBI and the Department of Defense. On April 5, the UNHRC agreed to hear the case. http://bit.ly/12r6F68

Laurel and the other members of the KSTT have a lot to say on what they believe has been a 43 year coverup and spin job. From the time headlines broke that called the shooting victims “bums” and portrayed them as an unwashed violent rabble of questionable morality, until this year when the UN became the first governing body willing to dig a little deeper into the official story, Laurel has keenly remembered the details of the day her sister died.

Time will tell what will come of Laurel’s struggle to get justice for her sister and the other victims. And justice for Laurel means that the government will one day acknowledge the truth. Until that day comes and on this anniversary of Allison’s death, it’s illuminating to know exactly how the day unfolded for the rest of the Krause family.

At 12:24 p.m. 28 Ohio National Guard soldiers — after hearing what they later called sniper fire — opened fire on unarmed protesters at Kent State University. Most of the protesters were more than the length of a football field from the soldiers. The soldiers had live rounds in their guns and must have been cautioned that they may need to shoot to kill the college kids.

At about 3:00 p.m. 15-year-old Laurel Krause got off the school bus and started walking to her home. A neighbor ran up to Laurel and told her that the radio had announced that Allison had been hurt in a shooting at Kent State.

Laurel called her mom and dad who were at work.

Laurel’s mom came home and called the Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna, Ohio, and was told over the phone that “she was DOA.” Doris Krause collapsed on the floor.

Laurel’s dad, Arthur Krause, worked as a middle manager for Westinghouse and his co-worker brought him home. Arthur had received a call from his brother saying that the local radio station had announced that Allison was dead. When he arrived home, Doris confirmed it, and the family friend drove them from their home in Pittsburgh, Penn., to the hospital in Ohio.

Laurel recounts that no one from the university or the U.S. government was there to assist them. When the door swung open to the room where Allison lay dead, Laurel could see her sister’s body. When her parents went into the room to identify Allison, Laurel waited in the hall where two armed men wearing no uniforms were standing. One of the men muttered behind her, “They should have shot more.”

These are the memories Laurel Krause has carried 43 years. These are the memories that motivate her to make regular calls to the Department of Justice and ask when her sister’s murder will be investigated and solved. And every time Laurel calls, she is referred to the civil rights department. Laurel says, “She was nothing more than garbage to them. They don’t want to investigate her murder. The DOJ has no department for the killing of students by the government.”

The day after his daughter’s death, Arthur filed a lawsuit he refused to drop regardless of how much money he was offered. Arthur died never receiving the justice he was after. Laurel has continued his fight. She says the battle can get unpleasant but that won’t stop her. She’s not surprised that she hasn’t gotten answers, and she’s not daunted by the obstacles in her way. Laurel says, “Any time the FBI kills a member of your family, they are gonna to be up your ass for the rest of your life.”

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MendoCoastCurrent, May 4, 2011

Jennifer Schwartz on her cousin Allison Krause at the 41st commemoration of the Kent State Shootings, May 4, 1970

My name is Jennifer Schwartz and I am Allison Krause’s cousin and also among the first generation of our family who never met Allison.

What can I tell you about my beloved cousin? I was less than a year old when she was shot dead on May 4, 1970. Had she not been killed, I would most certainly have known her.

I have spent my life trying to right this wrong in my own way, trying to get closer to her, to know her, endeavoring to honor her and make Allison proud. So I thank you for inviting me here today to tell you some of what I have learned about Allison from books and published articles, from her friends, from our family and from my efforts at the Kent State Truth Tribunal.

Allison Beth Krause was the cherished first of two daughters born to Arthur and Doris Krause, living in Cleveland Heights. Although roughly 10 years older than Allison, my father Marvin Schwartz remembers many summers playing with the Krause girls. My Dad talks about Allison as a sweet, fun, clever, pretty and vivacious girl. Many of Allison’s friends in Cleveland still remember her from those days back in grade school.

In the early sixties, Allison’s family went for Sunday drives out to the country 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.

Her father’s job at Westinghouse moved the family to Pittsburgh in the mid-sixties and then on to Wheaton, Maryland where Allison attended John F Kennedy high school. Many of Allison’s classmates were children of government employees, and with them Allison developed an active awareness of global issues and a well-formed understanding of American history, politics and civil rights.

As she found her political voice in high school, Allison joined the young people of those times who were against the ever-expanding war in Vietnam, and the draft lottery. She lent her voice to the calls for peace at demonstrations in Washington DC.

Allison’s father Arthur was a veteran of WW11. Back in the late sixties he was pro-Vietnam, like many of his generation. Allison’s sister, Laurel remembers many heated dinner-table arguments where she and her big sister objected to the war and nuclear weapons. It was a scene like so many other dining room debates back then.  From those debates, Allison knew: As an American she had a right to freedom of speech and a right to engage in peaceful assembly, all guaranteed by the first amendment.

Yet Allison was more than anti-war protester and advocate of civil rights. She was an active, caring person and was considering a career in a helping profession such as art therapy. My aunt Doris Krause recounts this story of Allison’s volunteer work at a hospital for the mentally disabled.  “She would go there at night and play basketball with them… and her biggest day that she had was when she came home and told us that one of the men had talked to her, and he hadn’t talked to anybody in a long period of years.  And she was so gratified by that.  So she had potential.  She was a smart girl and was just cut down.”

In the fall of 1969, Allison started college as a freshman here at Kent State. Her family had recently moved back to Pittsburgh, so Allison was still close to home. Allison lived in Metcalf Hall, and later Engleman, did well academically as an honors student, made friends quickly, and met another student, the love of her life, Barry Levine. Barry describes Allison as “a sweet, intelligent, loving, warm, intelligent, compassionate, creative, funny, intelligent girl.  As bright as they come.”

That fall, Allison traveled to Washington DC, like hundreds of thousands of other young people, taking part in a huge anti-war demonstration and peace rally.

In her last days, Allison reveled in the first Earth Day Celebration held on April 22, 1970. Buckminster Fuller erected a geodesic dome right here on the commons, just a few steps from Allison’s dorm. The following day, April 23rd, was Allison’s 19th birthday. Her family came in from Pittsburgh to celebrate, never imagining this would be the last time they would see her alive.

Allison assembled with others on Friday May 1st as she vehemently disagreed with the U.S. government’s decision to escalate the war and send more troops into Cambodia.  She spent the first weekend of May with friends, doing schoolwork, enjoying the first breath of Spring, but at night, running from the military and helicopters on campus, now occupied by the National Guard, the Highway Patrol, and campus and town police.

On Sunday afternoon May 3rd, Allison spent time outside, socializing with friends and started 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 one Guardsman’s gun, others say the flower was already there. What is certain, is that those moments have been preserved in several photographs. That guardsman’s smiling face is absolutely beaming in the pictures, there 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 attended the peace rally at the Victory Bell at noon with her boyfriend Barry. She was unarmed. She was vocal. I do not believe that Allison thought her life might be in danger on her own college campus. Not in America. Surely there weren’t real bullets in those guns… But there were bullets and there was intention to kill protesting students.

My cousin Allison Krause was shot dead in the Prentice parking lot, roughly a football field away from the shooting guardsmen. A steel jacketed, armor piercing bullet fragmented on impact in her left chest, according to the autopsy. She died on the way to the hospital, in Barry’s arms.

Who was my cousin? I wish I could tell you, but as mentioned, I never met her. And still, I stand here to say we will never forget her!

We honor her memory by emulating her actions. Personally, in my professional life as an art therapist, in my volunteer work as a community organizer, as a mother of a little girl named Allison, as a peacemaker, as an earth-conscious consumer, as a citizen and active participant in government… in all of these actions every day of my life, I honor Allison, and all those murdered at Kent State on May 4th.

This time last year, I memorialized the 40th Anniversary in the way I think Allison would have appreciated. With Laurel Krause, Emily Kunstler and the Kent State Truth Tribunal crew, we recorded and preserved the personal narratives of original participants and witnesses of the Kent State Shootings. The emotional healing that we witnessed during our four days together was immense. I encourage you to take a look at our project online at http://www.TruthTribunal.org.

In closing, I must tell you briefly about one powerful piece of  healing that is not viewable in the Kent State Truth Tribunal video archives. On the second day as I was greeting and checking in KSTT participants, a man, whom I later recognized from the photos to be THAT guardsman, the one with the flower in his rifle, came through the tribunal doors to share his truth & find his own healing. He did not want to film his story with us. And yet, he was there. Though he didn’t identify himself by name, he bravely told me that he had been among the guardsmen that weekend in 1970. I remember looking into his eyes as he spoke his truth to me for several long minutes. He simply came, as so many others did last year, to unburden himself, to try to heal his own wounds from Kent State and to connect with the spirit of truth.

Since last May, at KSTT NYC, I greeted and checked in the forensic scientist Stuart Allen, who is Keynote here today. Before our cameras, he examined the Kent State tape.  He verified an order to shoot and exposed suspicious additional gunshots. Listening to that recording, cleaned up by Mr. Allen’s state-of-the-art technology was gut wrenching.

The Krause family asks the federal government to open up an investigation into this new evidence, the Kent State tape. Because we understand, there can never be true healing without truth and justice.  We further encourage our government to issue a formal acknowledgment of the wrongs of Kent State on May 4, 1970… 41 years later, it’s time!

Finally, what I know in my soul is this… that none of the accounts that I have presented to you today can truly do Allison justice without justice being done. Allison believed in a just world.  She put her life on the line for it. Let us never give up in our pursuit of justice and healing at Kent State.

*****************

Watch Jennifer Schwartz’s 5/4/11 speech at the 41st anniversary of the Kent State Shootings ~

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LAUREL KRAUSE, MendoCoastCurrent, July 13, 2010

My sister Allison Krause was one of four students killed in the 1970 Kent State shootings. You may have heard about that day in American history – May 4, 1970 – when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students protesting the invasion of Cambodia. Some of those killed or injured were just walking to class. After the guardsmen fired their weapons, four students lay dead, and nine others were wounded by gunfire. Forty years have passed and no one has ever been held accountable.

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

The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) teamed up with a remarkable filmmaker named Emily Kunstler, who has dedicated her work to the pursuit of criminal justice in this country. Her father Bill Kunstler was a larger-than-life civil rights attorney who had stood with the Kent State students in the difficult years that followed the shootings. Emily is carrying on his work by harnessing the power of storytelling to establish and memorialize the truth about Kent State.

The KSTT was held on the first four days of May in Kent, Ohio and we recorded and preserved over 70 personal stories of original participants and witnesses. A number of the wounded students shared their truth of what happened that horrific day in American history, along with faculty, student witnesses, Kent townspeople and friends and family of those killed. Some spoke publicly for the first time in four decades. The stories that emerged are powerful narratives about a day that changed America and helped us understand what happened on that historic day. As we filmed the interviews, they were broadcast live on MichaelMoore.com and were viewed throughout the country. This is the first time that a truth-telling initiative in America set out to use new media in this way and it was remarkable to broadcast these accounts live throughout the country.

Little did we know that as we wrapped our project in Kent, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and ace reporter John Mangels would break a key piece of news long sought after by those eager to learn the truth about Kent State. The journalist uncovered evidence of an ‘order to shoot’ given to the National Guardsmen on Blanket Hill that May 4th so long ago.

Over the ten years that the families pursued justice in Ohio state and federal courts, the testimonies from the Ohio National Guard and ranking decision-makers supported the ludicrous claim that no order to fire was given. An order would have implicated higher-ranking officers and would have led to court-martials for those involved. Since an admission of command responsibility for the shootings was not forthcoming, it became our job to prove them wrong. This was almost impossible…until now.

The Plain Dealer investigation produced a copy of an audio tape recorded by a student using a microphone on his dormitory room window ledge. This tape surfaced when Alan Canfora, a student protester wounded at Kent State, and researcher Bob Johnson dug through Yale Library’s collection on 1970 Kent State to find a CD with the tape recording on it from the day of the shootings. Paying $10 to have a duplicate made, Alan listened to it and immediately knew he probably held the only recording that might provide proof of an order to shoot. Three years after the tape was found, the Plain Dealer commendably hired two qualified forensic audio scientists to examine the tape. They verified an order for the guards to ‘prepare to fire’.

Shortly after the tape was publicized a remarkable event unfolded in another part of the world with direct parallels to Kent State. British Prime Minister David Cameron formally apologized before Parliament for the events and killings of Bloody Sunday.

As you may recall this event occurred on January 30, 1972, when British paratroopers opened fire on demonstrators in Northern Ireland and 14 civilians were shot and killed and others wounded. The bloodshed led to a major escalation of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, which have only recently largely subsided. Like Kent State, the military shot and killed its own unarmed citizens.

After 12 years of exhaustive study by an independent judicial commission set up by the British government, the findings spurred this apology from Prime Minister David Cameron. I am moved to think how these words could apply to Kent State in our country:

What happened should never, ever have happened.

The families of those who died should not have had to live with the pain and hurt of that day, and with a lifetime of loss.

Some members of our armed forces acted wrongly, the government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces, and for that, on behalf of the government, indeed, on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry.

While news of the Bloody Sunday apology begins to spread and settle, original participants are beginning to call for even greater steps to condemn the higher-ranking officers that made this deadly decision to shoot and kill.

As I watch from my perch in America, I ponder the complexities of apologies and our need for truth in the Kent State killings of 1970.

From conversations with others who were present at and witnessed the shootings at Kent State, I know that we all wish to have the truth revealed in 2010 and applaud Britain’s important first step to address the harm caused by Bloody Sunday. And I have to ask: what will it take for America to heal the wounds of Kent State?

To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal, please visit our website at http://TruthTribunal.org

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