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Archive for the ‘Student Protesters’ Category

May 2, 2017 by Laurel Krause

As protest season opens across America, citizen concern for the safety and protection of protesters comes to the fore. Like so many Americans raised in the Sixties, I experience a post-traumatic stress trigger every time a protester faces off with the brute force of law enforcement, bringing back all the memories of the violence against protesters we witnessed during the Vietnam war and Civil Rights movement.

Today whether it’s Water Protectors at Standing Rock, Climate Change Marchers, Black Lives Matters advocates, activists protesting the president’s unconstitutional executive orders, even mass protesters at January’s Women’s March and April’s March for Science, all risk arrest, being made into targets for simply exercising First Amendment rights.

I remember when the US government killed six student protesters at Kent State and Jackson State in May of 1970. The precedent to kill, and get away with it, was established early on in the life of our country however this was the first time it was televised for the world to experience first hand. It hasn’t helped that the US government continues to refuse to accept accountability, admitting no wrongdoing in its targeted assassinations of Americans, including young people who have actively disagreed with American leadership.

In April 2017 Pepsi launched a controversial and pricey protest commercial starring Kendall Jenner. The extended two and one half minute short was immediately scrapped after a very strong negative response from the viewing public. The ‘kinder, gentler’ soft soap version of this battle between protesters and law enforcement in America failed to resonate. No one bought it. Protesters will never save the day by opening a can of soda pop. The commercial irresponsibly and dangerously projects an image of safety while ignoring the actual danger of deadly force from police. This type of advertising is not new. Watch the Pepsi 2017 commercial http://bit.ly/2oJlBOT and watch the Coke commercial from 1971 http://bit.ly/2pjQEEh.

Who made the decision at Pepsi to invest in this fable of a gentle and safe world for protesters? Is this some kind of set up? Will those who are unaware of the blood spilled by protesters and the actual risk of conflict — sometimes deadly — between the police and our black and brown brothers and sisters, be tricked by this ‘kinder, gentler protest world’ imagineered by corporatocracy?

The Pepsi protest commercial is an insult to legions of American protesters who have shed rivers of blood, and still face violent, brute force from authorities. Bernice A. King, the daughter of assassinated Reverend Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. summed it up well in her April 6th tweet, “If only Daddy would have known about the power of Pepsi”.

The truth is that protesting in America has always been extremely dangerous, and as my sister Allison Krause learned on May 4, 1970 in an anti-war rally at Kent State University, it can get you killed by government forces.

Forty-seven years ago Allison was gunned down by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State because she was protesting. The Pepsi commercial is an insult to Allison’s memory. It mocks her bravery and masks the personal risks she took to create a better world for all of us. No quantity of Pepsi could have saved Allison from the brute force of unrestrained government power and a national guard that willingly acted as government henchmen. A Pepsi, in fact, did not stop the bullet that took her life that day.

The Kent State Truth Tribunal seeks accountability and the acknowledgement of startling evidence revealed in 2010 – an exposed command to fire – that emerged, sharing a whole new view of what went down May 4, 1970 at the Kent State massacre, a view so starkly in contrast to the previous official version that it provoked – finally – an admission by the US government that my sister was “killed, murdered’’ by the US government.

For those seven years since we founded the Truth Tribunal, I have spread the word of wrongful protest harassment and killing, and have sought answers about command responsibility, taking the human rights issues of Kent State all the way to the United Nations. http://bbc.in/1qwOdqe.

The 2010 Kent State evidence exists in the form an audio recording of the actual command to fire, digitally isolated and verified by forensic audio expert Stuart Allen. http://bit.ly/aM7Ocm. Have a listen to Stuart Allen analyzing the Kent State tape and hear the command to fire: http://bit.ly/R4Ktio

I learned at the Truth Tribunal how the targeted assassinations at Kent State and Jackson State forever changed the landscape of protest in the United States. One of the top comments I’ve heard is from Maureen Bean Ui Lassig shared, “A horrific day none of us could ever forget. The unimaginable happened. Our children, the kids that would help to shape our future, were shot dead by our own government. RIP Allison.” Most share that they could never view the American government in the same way again.

Back then we watched the military and cops dressed in armor, bearing heavy weaponry created for war, trample the flowers, lives and dreams of those who stood for peace; it reminds me of Allison and her epitaph, “Flowers are better than bullets”.

We must be able to protest in America and express our dissent without fear of death, excessive force or wrongful arrest. The illegal and immoral exercise of power by government forces, corporations and covert groups organized to harm protesters, thwart protests, turn protests into violent, military events (by their very presence), must cease. Intimidating, deterring, and killing protesters violates basic human rights law and the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights. It is also a clear sign of a totalitarian government or dictatorship.

With all this on my mind, I attended an April 2017 Town Hall organized by my Congressman Jared Huffman. During the local event, I asked Representative Huffman to help protect protesters by developing legislation for their protection. I voiced my concern for the lives of Water Protectors at Standing Rock, bolstered by applause from my community. I asked Rep. Huffman to help us counteract the legislation, and law enforcement strategies, seeking to limit our rights to protest. We are beginning our efforts to establish the Allison Krause Bill for the Protection of Protest and Protesters in America.

Who knows what may go wrong this season of protest 2017, especially when we consider the plethora of state legislation intended to limit, hurt and criminalize protest. Even the right to protest on the sidewalk in front of White House is being tried in the courts now at the request of President Trump. http://reut.rs/2pmt6yM

I don’t want to see another protester killed for protesting. It is an American first amendment right to protest that guarantees the right to assemble and take action to disagree and dissent – that is the right to protest! Currently protesters face excessive force, including deadly force, as well as wrongful arrest.

Please join me in demanding your Congressional representatives to support the Allison Krause Bill for the Protection of Protest and Protesters in America, legislation intended to protect the right of Americans to protest without getting killed.

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April 9, 2017

Last week I received a package from the daughter of a woman who helped my sister Allison Krause as she was dying in the Kent State University parking lot. The package contained a greeting card, an image of Dr. Marion Stroud (Allison’s helper), a Letter to the Editor at the Akron Beacon Journal that she wrote shortly after May 4, 1970 and a handkerchief with Allison’s blood … a relic from that day.

Here is the Letter to the Editor written and sent by Dr. Marion Stroud –

To The Editor:

I was with two of the students who were shot and killed by National Guardsmen at Kent Monday and for their sake I want to tell it like it was.

The Guardsmen had marched up the hill after leaving the football practice field. Kids were following them up, some shouting and probably some throwing small stones — there were no “baseball size” rocks available. Without warning the Guards stopped at the top of the hill and fired a long volley of rifle shots into the crowd below.

Many of the kids dropped to the ground and others ran behind the building. There was discussion as to whether the shots were blanks but in seconds we knew they were not. There were kids gathering around the wounded.

THE BOY who died first was shot in the back of the neck. He lay in a vast puddle of his young blood. His friends tried to stop the flow, but he had no pulse nor breath and we all realized he was dead.

There was a cry from a group trying to help a big, beautiful young girl who was lying in the parking lot, shot in the armpit. We tried to put enough scarves and handkerchiefs into the hole to stop the bleeding. She was breathing a little but as we waited for the ambulance I saw her lips go white and her eyes glaze over, and I realized she wouldn’t make it, either.

Five or six victims were picked up on stretchers and those of us who had been fired on stood in small groups trying to figure out why the soldiers had turned and fired without warning. Most of us in that area had been walking away when the shooting started.

THOSE WHO died weren’t wild, SDS bearded hippies. They were kids like my sons and daughters. They came to the Commons for a peace rally. They wanted to know how to get the word to our government that the Vietnam war is immoral and its extension into Cambodia intolerable.

After the shooting one young man said, “You think this bloody mess is awful, just imagine what the kids have to do every day in Vietnam — kill, kill, kill. Plenty of blood in the streets there.”

Listen to them. You know in your hearts, they’re right.

I’m no kid. I’m over 40 and the mother of seven children.

MARION STROUD, Graduate Student, Kent State University

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On October 19, 2016 before the US Dept of the Interior and the National Park Service, the Kent State Massacre nomination for National Historic Landmark status was heard. Please read Mary Ann Vecchio’s comment before the nomination advisory board in Washington, D.C. offered on October 19, 2016:

©1970 John Filo. All Rights reserved.

©1970 John Filo. All Rights reserved.

My name is Mary Ann Vecchio. I am the 14-year-old in the iconic, Pulitzer-prize-winning photo taken at Kent State. I am pictured kneeling above the body of 20-year old Jeff Miller as he lay dying. I am here because I am deeply concerned about this application to designate Kent State as a National Historic Landmark. I am also a member of the National Parks Service, an institution that I love from the core of my being.

Like so many of us present at the Kent State shootings, I have carried profound life-long consequences for my presence at the massacre site. My exclusion from this process is an indication of how poorly it has been executed.

Kent State University does not own the narrative of what took place on May 4, 1970. It belongs to each of us there that day, those injured, whose lives were forever altered, and above all to the families of those killed. That fateful day harmed all of us and this exclusionary process which seeks to rewrite the truth is newly re-victimizing.

I have had a chance to review the 144-page landmark nomination report and have come before you to say that the facts included in the report are inaccurate and incomplete. A credible account of the Kent State shootings is not being presented to the Department of Interior in this landmark nomination.

Kent State University has only allowed one side of the truth to be told over these last 46 years, yet it has not been challenged for this revisionism. At what point can the victims and witnesses present at Kent State be heard and stop being subjected to these untruths and distortions? The government injured us once and we are before a government commission again. We cannot bring back those lost at Kent State so all we have at this point is the truth.

There are many elements and recent developments completely censored from the nomination report, I will list just a few that have meaning for me:

New forensic evidence emerged in 2010 which established a command to fire, debunking the idea that the national guard acted spontaneously. This evidence, produced by forensic scientist Stuart Allen, was not even mentioned in the landmark report. Stuart Allen’s analysis points to government complicity at Kent State – a central feature of the accountability the victims have been seeking for decades.

On a more symbolic note but one dear to me, Neil Young’s anthem to the Kent State massacre, the popular song Ohio, is also not mentioned in the KSU nomination report.

Finally, the photo which exposed me to public scrutiny for decades is not explored in this report. I am happy to honor those harmed at Kent State with the circulation of that iconic photograph, an indication of how well-known and well-documented the massacre has been, but it grieves me deeply to know that the vast exposure of this historic event can result in a report so weighted with untruths. I deserve the truth, those killed at Kent State deserve the truth, and the American people as a whole certainly do too.

I have other objections to the content of the landmark application which I am happy to share if my further participation is invited by the Landmark Commission.

I am asking the National Parks Service to please pause, and listen to all concerned about this project, certainly not just Kent State University’s purported experts.

 



From Pat LaMarche in the Huffington Post on the Kent State massacre landmark nomination hearing, October 19, 2016 http://huff.to/2dwIqmU

The Kent State University landmark nomination report on the Kent State massacre that occurred May 4, 1970 http://bit.ly/2cIV1lO

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May 4, 2014 by Julie Segraves, Examiner.com

Forty-four years ago today, on the college campus of Kent State in Ohio, four students were killed with rifle fire from the Ohio National Guard while protesting America’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. Ten days after Kent State, two students, James Earl Green and Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, were killed on the campus of Jackson State University by the Mississippi State Police, also for protesting the Vietnam War.

Four years after the tragic event in Ohio, eight of the Guardsmen were indicted by a grand jury for willfully violating the rights of the dead and wounded students, but the charges were dismissed because the judge said the government failed to prove its case. In 1979, each family received $15,000 and a Statement of Regret from the United States government for what happened that day, but no one was held accountable for the deaths of four students on their college campus and no apology was ever offered.

Though the United States government held hearings on the matter and determined that the Guardsmen opened fire after being spooked by what they believed was sniper fire, a copy of a tape recorded at the scene and digitized several years ago revealed that the Guard was ordered to shoot. The FBI destroyed the original recording and the Justice Department refused to reopen the case upon being informed of the new evidence.

To date, no one has been held responsible for the killing of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Knox Schroeder, but this year that may change.

The family of Allison Krause and Emily Kunstler, daughter of William Kunstler who defended the Chicago Seven, established the Kent State Truth Tribunal in 2010 in light of the new evidence in the form of the digitized audio tape.

On March 14, 2014, Krause’s sister Laurel, appeared before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in its 4th Periodic Review in Geneva, Switzerland. The United States was represented by Roy L. Austin, Jr, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights.

Krause requested an “independent, impartial investigation into the May 4 Kent State massacre (Article 2 (Right to remedy); Article 6 (Right to life); Article 19 (Right to freedom of expression); Article 21 (Right to peaceful assembly)).”

The Tribunal’s submission in 2013, that led to their invitation to the 4th Periodic Review, made clear that it believes that “Failure to ensure justice and accountability for the Kent State massacre has set a precedent that the U.S. can continue to harass, abuse, and even kill protestors.”

It cites as justification for this statement that “suppression of peaceful assembly continues today. Since the Occupy movement began in 2011, protestors have been labeled as domestic terrorists by the F.B.I. and have been arrested in massive numbers for peaceful protests and assemblies.”

In an email, Krause related that at the UNHRC hearing, Roy L. Austin, Jr, referred to the deaths of the students as “murder.” Krause says she will be following up with Austin and copying the UN on all correspondence.

She is also planning to request a UN special rapporteur in extrajudicial killings.

The United States government is required, in the next year, to answer to the charges made by the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Perhaps by the next anniversary of this sorry date in American history, the families will have received justice.

For the four Kent State students, however, they found the cost of freedom, and the price was their lives.

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4BumsKilled

Editors Note: On October 10, 2013, the US Delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Committee requested a postponement due to the US Government shutdown. The US postponement request set the new date for the US 4th Periodic Review on March 13/14, 2014. News response to the US postponement ~ http://bit.ly/H4M6qD

On April 3, 2013 Kent State Truth Tribunal’s submission to the United Nations was posted online at the UN Human Rights Committee website, including questions related to the the United States’ refusal to open a credible, independent investigation of the Kent State new evidence.  KSTT U.N. Submisstion

UNITED NATIONS NEWS: The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, Human Rights Committee released their ‘List of Issues’ to be asked of the United States regarding American Leadership’s human rights record. On March 13 and 14, 2014, the United States will participate in its 4th Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Committee.

The Human Rights Committee ‘List of Issues’ does include broad language inquiring about measures taken by American leadership to address police brutality and excessive use of force, which could serve as impetus for discussion about Kent State later this year, hopefully examining the critical ‘Right to Life’ issue for American protesters remains unexplored.

FIRST CONSULT was held 5/30/13. READ the Kent State Truth Tribunal statement to the United States related to the United Nations, Human Rights Committee culminating in Geneva, March 2014. http://bit.ly/15HhJxO

READ our Kent State Submission for the U.N., Human Rights Committee.

Uncensoring the ‘unhistory’ of the Kent State massacre while also aiming toward justice & healing, a chapter in Censored 2013 from Project Censored http://bit.ly/RQNUWC

More on the 2/9/13 Kent State Truth Tribunal Submission to the United Nation: A Plea for Justice at Kent State. http://bit.ly/WQpjUP

PROGRESS from October 2013:  READ the Kent State Truth Tribunal ‘shadow report’ to the UN, Human Rights Committee  KSTTShadowReportFINAL

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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

On February 9, 2013, the Kent State Truth Tribunal and Allison’s family submitted a list of issues to be considered by the United Nations, including Kent State questions to be asked at the United States’ Report on their Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights before the 107th Session of the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, March 11-28, 2013.

AllisonImproved

READ the Kent State Truth Tribunal submission to the UN, HRC full document 130209_ICCPRKentStateFinalA

Kent State Truth Tribunal submission the United Nations, Human Rights Committee

Seeking an independent, impartial investigation into the May 4th Kent State Massacre (Article 2 (Right to remedy); Article 6 (Right to life); Article 19 (Right to fre

edom of expression); Article 21 (Right to peaceful assembly))

I. Reporting Organization

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

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

II. Issue Summary

On May 4, l970 members of the Ohio National Guard fired between 61 and 67 shots into a crowd of unarmed anti-war protestors at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, killing four and wounding nine students. For over 40 years, the government has claimed that the Guardsmen did not fire on command, and instead shot in self-defense after hearing sniper fire in the crowd.

In 2010, new forensic evidence emerged debunking this theory. The evidence consisted of a tape recorded by a Kent State student during the shooting. Though the original tape, known as the Kent State Strubbe tape, was destroyed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) in 1979, a bonafide copy of the tape was located in 2007 and was analyzed in 2010 by an internationally accredited forensic expert. The analysis, derived using state-of-the-art technology that was not available in prior investigations of the shooting, demonstrates that there was a ‘command to fire’ at the protestors. Moreover, the enhanced tape identified four pistol shots fired 70 seconds before the command as coming from an F.B.I. informant’s pistol to create the ‘sound of sniper fire.’ Although the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) received this new evidence, the Department declined to re-open its investigation of the Kent State shooting.

The victims of the Kent State massacre and their families have been unable to obtain access to meaningful redress. In 1974, federal charges against eight members of the Ohio National Guard of willfully violating the rights of the dead and wounded students were dismissed because, according to the judge, the government had failed to prove its case. In 1979 a civil rights settlement was reached with the issuance of a signed Statement of Regret and $15,000 for Allison B. Krause, one of the victims of the Kent State shooting. However, the settlement did not include an apology. Moreover, the federal charges and settlement were centered on civil rights and constitutional violations – there has yet to be a criminal indictment for murder. Additionally, as investigations of the shooting have thus far only been conducted by government entities, there has yet to be a credible, impartial, and independent investigation of the Kent State shooting. Moreover, the U.S. military has failed to address the use of live ammunition on college campuses and whether appropriate force was used on protestors at Kent State.

Failure to ensure justice and accountability for the Kent State massacre has set a precedent that the U.S. can continue to harass, abuse, and even kill protestors. Just ten days after the Kent State massacre, two student protesters were murdered by state police as they protested the Vietnam War on the Jackson State University campus. American authorities have stated ‘snipers’ prompted the firing of military weapons at student protesters, just as at Kent State University. Unfortunately suppression of peaceful assembly continues today. Since the ‘Occupy’ movement began in 2011, protestors have been labeled as ‘domestic terrorists’ by the F.B.I. and have been arrested in massive numbers for peaceful protests and assemblies. Until the U.S. conducts a credible, impartial and investigation into the Kent State shooting, and provides redress for victims and their families, protestors in the U.S. will continue to be at risk of being deprived of their fundamental rights without accountability.

III. U.S. Government Report and Prior Recommendations

Although the U.S. has not addressed the Kent State shooting in its periodic reports to the Human Rights Committee, it has professed support for the right to remedy, compensation for victims of crimes, and the obligation to conduct independent, credible, and thorough investigations into violations of rights, especially the right to life.

In 2010 and after two failed investigations, the United Kingdom finally organized a legitimate, impartial investigation into Bloody Sunday, a 1972 massacre that was strikingly similar to the May 4 Kent State shooting. The Bloody Sunday investigation overturned all prior examinations and admitted to wrongdoing by the State. At the time, the U.S. welcomed the publication of the resulting Bloody Sunday Inquiry report and expressed hope that “the completion of the independent inquiry’s work and publication of its report will contribute to Northern Ireland’s ongoing transformation from a turbulent past to a peaceful future.”

On the international stage the U.S. has called upon nations to uphold the rule of law and respect the right to peaceful assembly. This was particularly evident during the ‘Arab Spring,’ as the Obama Administration called for accountability when government officials suppressed speech and killed and injured protestors. What the Administration has preached abroad, however, is not always practiced at home.

IV. Other UN and Regional Bodies Recommendations

In November 2012, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) released a report conveying concern about the use of excessive force and undue restrictions on peaceful assembly in 11 countries, including the U.S. The report mentioned specific abuses with regards to Occupy Wall Street and recommended U.S. authorities ensure the right to free assembly, take efforts to limit the use of force by law enforcement officials, and ensure that allegations of police misconduct are promptly and thoroughly investigated. In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December 2011, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and U.N. Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association called on U.S. officials to “explain the behavior of police departments that violently disbanded some Occupy protests last fall” and reminded the U.S. government of its obligations under international law to “take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of all peaceful protesters be respected.”

V. Recommended Questions

1. Given the new forensic evidence emerging in 2010 related to the murders at Kent State, for what reasons has U.S. Department of Justice chosen to refuse to conduct a new, independent, impartial inquiry into the killings?

2. What lessons have American leadership learned from the May 4th Kent State Massacre? Under what circumstances will deadly, lethal force and war-grade weapons be used against peaceful American protesters, including on university and college campuses?

3. What steps will the U.S. government take to ensure that protestors are allowed to protest and assemble freely, without fear of intimidation, arrest, physical injury or – more seriously – murder?

4. Will the United States conduct an impartial, independent examination of the Kent State massacre?

5. What steps will the U.S. government take to ensure that the F.B.I. does not violate the fundamental rights of protestors, including the right to life?

VI. Suggested Recommendations

1. Conduct a full, independent and credible investigation into the May 4th shooting and killing of 13 American protesters at Kent State University. Such an investigation must consider the new evidence and ensure that victims and their families have the right to be heard and given an opportunity to present evidence and testimony.

2. The U.S. government must ensure that all incidents involving the killing, injuring or unlawful use of lethal force against protesters are promptly and impartially investigated, the perpetrators held accountable, and the victims and their families are provided with adequate information on the investigation and full redress. This should include a criminal investigation and prosecution of perpetrators in addition to other legal remedies for violations of civil and constitutional rights.

Read the full document ~ 130209_ICCPRKentStateFinalA

Kent State Makes It to the U.N., Human Rights Committee http://bit.ly/10xZebQ

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This article is from the forthcoming book Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution and intends to expose the lies of American leadership in order to uncensor the “unhistory” of the Kent State massacre, while also aiming toward justice and healing, as censoring the past impacts American Occupy protesters today.

by Laurel Krause with Mickey Huff

Shooting guardsmen at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, photograph taken by John A. Darnell Jr.

When Ohio National Guardsmen fired sixty-seven gun shots in thirteen seconds at Kent State University (KSU) on May 4, 1970, they murdered four unarmed, protesting college students and wounded nine others. For forty-two years, the United States government has held the position that Kent State was a tragic and unfortunate incident occurring at a noontime antiwar rally on an American college campus. In 2010, compelling forensic evidence emerged showing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) were the lead agencies in managing Kent State government operations, including the cover-up. At Kent State, lawful protest was pushed into the realm of massacre as the US federal government, the state of Ohio, and the Ohio National Guard (ONG) executed their plans to silence antiwar protest in America.

The new evidence threatens much more than the accuracy of accounts of the Kent State massacre in history books. As a result of this successful, ongoing Kent State government cover-up, American protesters today are at much greater risk than they realize, with no real guarantees or protections offered by the US First Amendment rights to protest and assemble. This chapter intends to expose the lies of the state in order to uncensor the “unhistory” of the Kent State massacre, while also aiming toward justice and healing, as censoring the past impacts our perspectives in the present.

The killing of protesters at Kent State changed the minds of many Americans about the role of the US in the Vietnam War. Following this massacre, there was an unparalleled national response: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed across America in a student strike of more than four million. Young people across the nation had strong suspicions the Kent State massacre was planned to subvert any further protests arising from the announcement that the already controversial war in Vietnam had expanded into Cambodia.

Yet instead of attempting to learn the truth at Kent State, the US government took complete control of the narrative in the press and ensuing lawsuits. Over the next ten years, authorities claimed there had not been a command-to-fire at Kent State, that the ONG had been under attack, and that their gunfire had been prompted by the “sound of sniper fire.” Instead of investigating Kent State, the American leadership obstructed justice, obscured accountability, tampered with evidence, and buried the truth. The result of these efforts has been a very complicated government cover-up that has remained intact for more than forty years.1

The hidden truth finally began to emerge at the fortieth anniversary of the Kent State massacre in May 2010, through the investigative journalism of John Mangels, science writer at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, whose findings supported the long-held suspicion that the four dead in Ohio were intentionally murdered at Kent State University by the US government.

Mangels commissioned forensic evidence expert Stuart Allen to professionally analyze a tape recording made from a Kent State student’s dormitory window ledge on May 4, 1970, forever capturing the crowd and battle sounds from before, during, and after the fusillade.2 For the first time since that fateful day, journalists and concerned Americans were finally able to hear the devastating soundtrack of the US government murdering Kent State students as they protested against the Vietnam War.

The cassette tape—provided to Mangels by the Yale University Library, Kent State Collection, and housed all these years in a box of evidence admitted into lawsuits led by attorney Joseph Kelner in his representation of the Kent State victims—was called the “Strubbe tape” after Terry Strubbe, the student who made the recording by placing a microphone attached to a personal recorder on his dormitory 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 and found a CD copy of the tape recording from the day of the shootings. Paying ten dollars for a duplicate, Canfora then 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.

But it is really the two pieces of groundbreaking evidence Allen uncovered that illuminate and provide a completely new perspective into the Kent State massacre.

First, Allen heard and verified the Kent State command-to-fire spoken at noon on May 4, 1970. The command-to-fire has been a point of contention, with authorities stating under oath and to media for forty years that “no order to fire was given at Kent State,” that “the Guard felt under attack from the students,” and that “the Guard reacted to sniper fire.”3 Yet Allen’s verified forensic evidence of the Kent State command-to-fire directly conflicts with guardsmen testimony that they acted in self-defense.

The government claim—that guardsmen were under attack at the time of the ONG barrage of bullets—has long been suspect, as there is nothing in photographic or video records to support the “under attack” excuse. Rather, from more than a football field away, the Kent State student protesters swore, raised their middle fingers, and threw pebbles and stones and empty tear gas canisters, mostly as a response to their campus being turned into a battlefield with over 2,000 troops and military equipment strewn across the Kent State University campus.

Then at 12:24 p.m., the ONG fired armor-piercing bullets at scattering students in a parking lot—again, from more than a football field away. Responding with armor-piercing bullets, as Kent State students held a peaceful rally and protested unarmed on their campus, was the US government’s choice of action.

The identification of the “commander” responsible for the Kent State command-to-fire on unarmed students has not yet been ascertained. This key question will be answered when American leadership decides to share the truth of what happened, especially as the Kent State battle was under US government direction. Until then, the voice ordering the command-to-fire in the Kent State Strubbe tape will remain unknown.

The other major piece of Kent State evidence identified in Allen’s analysis was the “sound of sniper fire” recorded on the tape. These sounds point to Terry Norman, FBI informant and provocateur, who was believed to have fired his low-caliber pistol four times, just seventy seconds before the command-to-fire.

Mangelswrote in the Plain Dealer, “Norman was photographing protestors that day for the FBI and carried a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Model . . . 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.”4

Video footage and still photography have recorded the minutes following the “sound of sniper fire,” showing Terry Norman sprinting across the Kent State commons, meeting up with Kent Police and the ONG. In this visual evidence, Norman immediately yet casually hands off his pistol to authorities and the recipients of the pistol show no surprise as Norman hands them his gun.5

The “sound of sniper fire” is a key element of the Kent State cover-up and is also referred to by authorities in the Nation editorial, “Kent State: The Politics of Manslaughter,” from May 18, 1970:

The murders occurred on May 4. Two days earlier, [Ohio National Guard Adjutant General] Del Corso had issued a statement that sniper fire would be met by gunfire from his men. After the massacre, Del Corso and his subordinates declared that sniper fire had triggered the fusillade.6

Yet the Kent State “sound of sniper fire” remains key, according to White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, who noted President Richard Nixon’s reaction to Kent State in the Oval Office on May 4, 1970:

Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman told him [of the killings] late in the afternoon. But at two o’clock Haldeman jotted on his ever-present legal pad “keep P. filled in on Kent State.” In his daily journal Haldeman expanded on the President’s reaction: “He very disturbed. Afraid his decision set it off . . . then kept after me all day for more facts. Hoping rioters had provoked the shootings—but no real evidence that they did.” Even after he had left for the day, Nixon called Haldeman back and among others issued one ringing command: “need to get out story of sniper.”7

In a May 5, 1970, article in the New York Times, President Nixon commented on violence at Kent State:

This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy. It is my hope that this tragic and unfortunate incident will strengthen the determination of all the nation’s campuses, administrators, faculty and students alike to stand firmly for the right which exists in this country of peaceful dissent and just as strong against the resort to violence as a means of such expression.8

President Nixon’s comment regarding dissent turning to violence obfuscated and laid full blame on student protesters for creating violence at Kent State. Yet at the rally occurring on May 4th, student protester violence amounted to swearing, throwing small rocks, and volleying back tear gas canisters, while the gun-toting soldiers of the ONG declared the peace rally illegal, brutally herded the students over large distances on campus, filled the air with tear gas, and even threw rocks at students. Twenty minutes into the protest demonstration, a troop of National Guard marched up a hill away from the students, turned to face the students in unison, and fired.

The violence at Kent State came from the National Guardsmen, not protesting students. On May 4, 1970, the US government delivered its deadly message to Kent State students and the world: if you protest in America against the wars of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense, the US government will stop at nothing to silence you.

Participating American militia colluded at Kent State to organize and fight this battle against American student protesters, most of them too young to vote but old enough to fight in the Vietnam War.9 And from new evidence exposed forty years after the massacre, numerous elements point directly to the FBI and COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) as lead agencies managing the government operation of the Kent State massacre, including the cover-up, but also with a firm hand in some of the lead-up.

Prior to the announcement of the Cambodian incursion, the ONG arrived in the Kent area acting in a federalized role as the Cleveland-Akron labor wildcat strikes were winding down. The ONG continued in the federalized role at Kent State, ostensibly to protect the campus and as a reaction to the burning of a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) building. Ohio Governor James “Jim” Rhodes claimed the burning of the ROTC building on the Kent State University campus was his reason for “calling in the guard,” yet in this picture of the burning building, the ONG are clearly standing before the flames as the building burns.10

From eyewitness accounts, the burning of the ROTC building at Kent State was completed by undercover law enforcement determined to make sure it could become the symbol needed to support the Kent State war on student protest.11

According to Dr. Elaine Wellin, an eyewitness to the many events at Kent State leading up to and including May 4th, there were uniformed and plain-clothes officers potentially involved in managing the burning of the ROTC building. Wellin was in close proximity to the building just prior to the burning and saw a person with a walkie-talkie about three feet from her telling someone on the other end of the communication that they should not send down the fire truck as the ROTC building was not on fire yet.12

A memo to COINTELPRO director William C. Sullivan ordered a full investigation into the “fire bombing of the ROTC building.” But only days after the Kent State massacre, every weapon that was fired was destroyed, and all other weapons used at Kent State were gathered by top ONG officers, placed with other weapons and shipped to Europe for use by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), so no weapons used at Kent could be traced.

From these pieces of evidence, it becomes clearer that the US government coordinated this battle against student protest on the Kent State campus. Using the playbook from the Huston Plan, which refers to protesting students as the “New Left,” the US government employed provocateurs, staged incidents, and enlisted political leaders to attack and lay full blame on the students. On May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, the US government fully negated every student response as they criminalized the First Amendment rights to protest and assemble.13

The cover-up adds tremendous complexity to an already complicated event, making it nearly impossible to fairly try the Kent State massacre in the American justice system. This imposed “establishment” view that Kent State was about “civil rights”—and not about murder or attempted murder—led to a legal settlement on the basis of civil rights lost, with the US government consistently refusing to address the death of four students and the wounding of nine.14

Even more disheartening, efforts to maintain the US government cover-up at Kent State recently went into overdrive in April 2012, when President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) formally announced a refusal to open a new probe into the wrongs of Kent State, continuing the tired 1970 tactic of referring to Kent State as a civil rights matter.15

The April 2012 DOJ letters of response also included a full admission that, in 1979, after reaching the Kent State civil rights settlement, the FBI Cleveland office destroyed what they considered a key piece of evidence: the original tape recording made by Terry Strubbe on his dormitory window ledge. In a case involving homicides, the FBI’s illegal destruction of evidence exposes their belief to be “above the law,” ignoring the obvious fact that four students were killed on May 4, 1970. As the statute of limitations never lapses for murder, the FBI’s actions went against every law of evidence. The laws clearly state that evidence may not be destroyed in homicides, even when the murders are perpetrated by the US government.

The destruction of the original Strubbe tape also shows the FBI’s intention to obstruct justice: the 2012 DOJ letters on Kent State claim that, because the original Strubbe tape was intentionally destroyed, the copy examined by Allen cannot be compared to the original or authenticated. However the original Strubbe tape, destroyed by the DOJ, was never admitted into evidence.

From these pieces of evidence, it becomes clearer that the US government coordinated this battle against student protest on the Kent State campus. Using the playbook from the Huston Plan, which refers to protesting students as the “New Left,” the US government employed provocateurs, staged incidents, and enlisted political leaders to attack and lay full blame on the students. On May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, the US government fully negated every student response as they criminalized the First Amendment rights to protest and assemble.13

The cover-up adds tremendous complexity to an already complicated event, making it nearly impossible to fairly try the Kent State massacre in the American justice system. This imposed “establishment” view that Kent State was about “civil rights”—and not about murder or attempted murder—led to a legal settlement on the basis of civil rights lost, with the US government consistently refusing to address the death of four students and the wounding of nine.14

Even more disheartening, efforts to maintain the US government cover-up at Kent State recently went into overdrive in April 2012, when President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) formally announced a refusal to open a new probe into the wrongs of Kent State, continuing the tired 1970 tactic of referring to Kent State as a civil rights matter.15

The April 2012 DOJ letters of response also included a full admission that, in 1979, after reaching the Kent State civil rights settlement, the FBI Cleveland office destroyed what they considered a key piece of evidence: the original tape recording made by Terry Strubbe on his dormitory window ledge. In a case involving homicides, the FBI’s illegal destruction of evidence exposes their belief to be “above the law,” ignoring the obvious fact that four students were killed on May 4, 1970. As the statute of limitations never lapses for murder, the FBI’s actions went against every law of evidence. The laws clearly state that evidence may not be destroyed in homicides, even when the murders are perpetrated by the US government.

The destruction of the original Strubbe tape also shows the FBI’s intention to obstruct justice: the 2012 DOJ letters on Kent State claim that, because the original Strubbe tape was intentionally destroyed, the copy examined by Allen cannot be compared to the original or authenticated. However the original Strubbe tape, destroyed by the DOJ, was never admitted into evidence.

No More Kent States! 23

In 2010, the United Kingdom acknowledged the wrongs of Bloody Sunday, also setting an example for the US government to learn the important lessons of protest and the First Amendment. In January 1972, during “Bloody Sunday,” British paratroopers shot and killed fourteen protesters; most of the demonstrators were shot in the back as they ran to save themselves.24

Thirty-eight years after the Bloody Sunday protest, British Prime Minister David Cameron apologized before Parliament, formally acknowledging the wrongful murder of protesters and apologized for the government.25 The healing in Britain has begun. Considering the striking similarity in events where protesters were murdered by the state, let’s examine the wrongs of Kent State, begin to heal this core American wound, and make a very important, humane course correction for America. When will it become legal to protest in America?

President Obama, the Department of Justice, and the US government as a whole must take a fresh look at Stuart Allen’s findings in the Kent State Strubbe tape. The new Kent State evidence is compelling, clearly showing how US covert intelligence took the lead in creating this massacre and in putting together the ensuing cover-up.

As the United States has refused to examine the new evidence or consider the plight of American protest in 2012, the Kent State Truth Tribunal formally requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague consider justice at Kent State.26

Who benefited the most from the murder of student protesters at Kent State? Who was really behind the Kent State massacre? There is really only one US agency that clearly benefited from killing student antiwar protesters at Kent State: the Department of Defense.

Since 1970 through 2012, the military-industrial-cyber complex strongly associated with the Department of Defense and covert US government agencies have actively promoted never-ending wars with enormous unaccounted-for budgets as they increase restrictions on American protest. These aims of the Pentagon are evidenced today in the USA PATRIOT Act, the further civil rights–limiting National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and new war technologies like CIA drones.

Probing the dark and buried questions of the Kent State massacre is only a beginning step to shine much-needed light on the United States military and to illuminate how the Pentagon has subverted American trust and safety, as it endeavors to quell domestic protest against war at any cost since at least 1970.

********

Laurel Krause is a writer and truth seeker dedicated to raising awareness about ocean protection, safe renewable energy, and truth at Kent State. She publishes a blog on these topics at Mendo Coast Current. She is the cofounder and director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Before spearheading efforts for justice for her sister Allison Krause, who was killed at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, Laurel worked at technology start-ups in Silicon Valley.

Mickey Huff is the director of Project Censored and professor of social science and history at Diablo Valley College.  He did his graduate work in history on historical interpretations of the Kent State shootings and has been actively researching the topic more since his testimony to the Kent State Truth Tribunal in New York City in 2010.

This article is from the forthcoming Seven Stories Press book Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution and intends to expose the lies of American leadership in order to uncensor the “unhistory” of the Kent State massacre, while also aiming toward justice and healing, as censoring the past impacts #Occupy protesters today.

Notes

[1.] For more background on Kent State and the many conflicting interpretations, see Scott L. Bills, Kent State/May 4: Echoes Through a Decade (Kent OH: Kent State University Press, 1982). Of particular interest for background on this chapter, see Peter Davies, “The Burning Question: A Government Cover-up?,” in Kent State/May 4, 150–60. For a full account of Davies’s work, see The Truth About Kent State: A Challenge to the American Conscience (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973). For a listing of other works see Selected Bibliography on the Events of May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, http://dept.kent.edu/30yearmay4/source/bib.htm.

[2.] John Mangels, “New Analysis of 40-Year-Old Recording of Kent State Shootings Reveals that Ohio Guard was Given an Order to Prepare to Fire,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), May 9, 2010, updated April 23, 2012, http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/05/new_analysis_of_40-year-old_re.html; Interview with Stuart Allen analyzing new evidence who said of the efforts, “It’s about setting history right.” See the footage “Kent State Shootings Case Remains Closed,” CNN, added April 29, 2012, http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2012/04/29/justice-department-will-not-reopen-kent-state-shootings-case.cnn.

[3.] Submitted for the Congressional Record by Representative Dennis Kucinich, “Truth Emerging in Kent State Cold Case Homicide,” by Laurel Krause, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r111%3AE14DE0-0019%3A. For a brief introduction on the history and emerging historiography of the Kent State shootings, see Mickey S. Huff, “Healing Old Wounds: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Conflicts Over Historical Interpretations of the Kent State Shootings, 1977–1990,” master’s thesis, Youngstown State University, December 1999, http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi?acc_num=ysu999620326.

For the official government report, see The Report of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest (Washington: US Government Printing Office, 1970), also known as the Scranton Commission. It should be noted that the Scranton Commission stated in their conclusion between pages 287 and 290 that the shootings were “unnecessary, unwarranted and inexcusable” but criminal wrongdoing was never established through the courts and no one was ever held accountable for the shootings. Also, it should be noted, that the interpretation that the guard was ordered to fire conflicts with Davies’s interpretation, in note 1 here, that even though he believes there was a series of cover-ups by the government, he has not attributed malice. For more on the Kent State cover-ups early on, see I. F. Stone, “Fabricated Evidence in the Kent State Killings,” New York Review of Books, December 3, 1970, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1970/dec/03/fabricated-evidence-in-the-kent-state-killings.

[4.] Mangels, “Kent State Tape Indicates Altercation and Pistol Fire Preceded National Guard Shootings (audio),” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), October 8, 2010, http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2010/10/analysis_of_kent_state_audio_t.html.

[5.] Kent State Shooting 1970 [BX4510], Google Video, at 8:20 min., http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3727445416544720642.

[6.] Editorial, “Kent State: The Politics of Manslaughter,” Nation, April 30, 2009 [May 18, 1970], http://www.thenation.com/article/kent-state-politics-manslaughter.

[7.] Charles A. Thomas, Kenfour: Notes On An Investigation (e-book), http://speccoll.library.kent.edu/4may70/kenfour3.

[8.] John Kifner, “4 Kent State Students Killed by Troops,” New York Times, May 4, 1970, http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0504.html#article.

[9.] Voting age was twenty-one at this time, until the passage of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1971, which lowered the voting age to eighteen, partially in response to Vietnam War protests as youth under twenty-one could be drafted without the right to vote.

[10.] It should also be noted, that Rhodes was running for election the Tuesday following the Kent shootings on a law and order ticket.

[11.] “My Personal Testimony ROTC Burning May 2 1970 Kent State,” YouTube, April 28, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ppBkB4caY0&feature=youtu.be; Freedom of Information Act, FBI, Kent State Shooting, File Number 98-46479, part 7 of 8 (1970), http://vault.fbi.gov/kent-state-shooting/kent-state-shooting-part-07-of-08/view.

[12.] The Project Censored Show on The Morning Mix, “May 4th and the Kent State Shootings in the 42nd Year,” Pacifica Radio, KPFA, 94.1FM, May 4, 2012 live at 8:00 a.m., archived online at http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/80293 and http://dl.dropbox.com/u/42635027/20120504-Fri0800.mp3. For Wellin on ROTC, see recording at 28:45.

Show description: The May 4th Kent State Shootings 42 Years Later: Justice Still Not Served with Congressman Dennis Kucinich commenting on the DOJ’s recent refusal to reopen the case despite new evidence of a Kent State command-to-fire and the ‘sound of sniper fire’ leading to the National Guard firing live ammunition at unarmed college students May 4, 1970; Dr. Elaine Wellin, Kent State eyewitness shares seeing undercover agents at the ROTC fire in the days before, provocateurs in staging the rallies at Kent, and at Kent State on May 4th; we’ll hear from investigator and forensic evidence expert Stuart Allen regarding his audio analysis of the Kent State Strubbe tape from May 4th revealing the command-to-fire and the ‘sound of sniper fire’ seventy seconds before; and we hear from Kent State Truth Tribunal director Laurel Krause, the sister of slain student Allison, about her efforts for justice at Kent State and recent letter to President Obama..

Also see Peter Davies’ testimony about agents provocateurs and the ROTC fire cited in note 1, “The Burning Question: A Government Cover-up?,” in Kent State/May 4, 150–60.

[13.] The Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), “Volume 2: Huston Plan,” http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_vol2.htm.

[14.] Associated Press, “Kent State Settlement: Was Apology Included?,” Eugene Register-Guard, January 5, 1979, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19790105&id=xvJVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BuIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3696,963632.

[15.] Mangels, “Justice Department Won’t Reopen Probe of 1970 Kent State Shootings,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), April 24, 2012, http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2012/04/justice_department_wont_re-ope.html; and kainah, “Obama Justice Dept.: No Justice for Kent State,” Daily Kos, May 2, 2012, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/02/1086726/-Justice-Dept-No-Justice-for-Kent-State.

[16.] Mangels, “New Analysis.”

[17.] Letters between the Department of Justice and Representative Dennis Kucinich, archived at the Congressman’s website, April 20 and April 24 of 2012, http://kucinich.house.gov/uploadedfiles/kent_state_response_from_doj.pdf and http://kucinich.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=292306.

[18.] Mangels, “Kent State Shootings: Does Former Informant Hold the Key to the May 4 Mystery?,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), December 19, 2010, http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2010/12/kent_state_shootings_does_form.html.

[19.] Freedom of Information Act, FBI.

[20.] The Project Censored Show on The Morning Mix, “May 4th and the Kent State Shootings in the 42nd Year.”

[21.] Steven Rosenfeld, “Will a Militarized Police Force Facing Occupy Wall Street Lead to Another Kent State?,” AlterNet, May 3, 2012, http://www.alternet.org/rights/155270/will_a_militarized_police_force_facing_occupy_wall_street_lead_to_another_kent_state_massacre.

[22.] Ibid.

[23.] Laurel Krause, “No More Kent States,” Mendo Coast Current, April 21, 2012, https://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/13-day-for-kent-state-peace.

[24.] Laurel Krause, “Unjustified, Indefensible, Wrong,” Mendo Coast Current, September 13, 2010, https://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/unjustified-indefensible-wrong.

[25.] Associated Press, “Bloody Sunday Report Blames British Soldiers Fully,” USA Today, June 15, 2010, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-06-15-Bloody-Sunday-Ireland_N.htm; and Cameron’s direct quote from Henry McDonald, Owen Bowcott, and Hélène Mulholland, “Bloody Sunday Report: David Cameron Apologises for ‘Unjustifiable’ Shootings,” Guardian, June 15, 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jun/15/bloody-sunday-report-saville-inquiry.

[26.] Laurel Krause, “To the Hague: Justice for the May 4th Kent State Massacre?,” Mendo Coast Current, May 7, 2012, https://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/may-4th-kent-state-massacre-a-call-for-truth-justice; for more on the Kent State Truth Tribunal, see http://www.TruthTribunal.org.

 

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