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Archive for the ‘Truth’ Category

by Laurel Krause, June 22, 2019

Last month on May 22, 2019 we witnessed a significant ‘turning of the tide’ for Kent State truth in the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre.

This year, just a few days after a peaceful, healing 49th anniversary of Kent State on May 8, 2019, I awakened to a riveting facebook message from colleague Mike Alewitz, an eyewitness of the massacre at Kent State saying, “Unbelievable. The f*cking CIA is organizing the 50th.”

Searching on facebook I discovered a leak that retired 25-year CIA operative Stephanie D. Smith, now a professor at Kent State University, had been quietly announced as KSU President Beverly Warren’s choice for Chair of the 50th commemoration coming up on May 4, 2020 and managing the $2million budget for the Kent State 50th.

Since none of us had ever heard of Ms. Smith, I searched for and found Smith’s Kent State University backgrounder with a CIA photo headshot http://bit.ly/2VmCPFR, describing her decades of PR experience in re-messaging torture at Abu Ghraib among other scandals. From what we’ve been able to piece together, Smith has worked at high levels with CIA leads and the State Dept. to assist the current director of the CIA, Gina Haspel and ex-Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, exiting the Agency around 2008. Smith completed her undergraduate work at Kent State University in 1979. Unfortunately Smith never attended or expressed any interest in the Kent State massacre commemorations when she was a student from 1975-79.

Even though leadership at Kent State University savored their choice for the 50th chair, CIA Smith’s appointment was more of a stunning slap in the face to every protester who stood for peace and against the Vietnam War. Alewitz said, “This appointment is a travesty and an insult to all those that seek peace and social justice.” http://bit.ly/2JyADEA It is widely known the CIA was the most rogue and vicious contributor to Vietnam war crimes, now wholly focused on re-writing their crimes, re-messaged their war, before, during and after, a key aim of the CIA in covering their tracks.

Digging into press accounts we found Smith had a checkered background involving sexual escapades with her CIA boss http://bit.ly/2E80orb during her “happy” 30-year marriage http://bit.ly/2YpN7ll to another CIA operative http://bit.ly/2JyADEA, and then later turning to Mormonism http://bit.ly/2QbZM8C.

Back to our story and little victory, while Alewitz actively protested Smith’s appointment, his facebook posts were picked up by Russell Mokhiber and reported at Common Dreams. READ: http://bit.ly/2HfOb4y

As uproar over Smith’s appointment made it to national news, Kent State University’s response was tone deaf … a response we have witnessed from the University since the 1970 massacre. At a Kent State insider’s page on facebook, the ‘Kent May 4 Movement Community Forum,’ we read complaints there wasn’t any ‘Organized Opposition’ to Ms. Smith’s appointment and it got us thinking.

Many folks were very upset by Smith’s appointment yet there was no way for us to respond. Kent State University was going to do whatever it wished whether we liked it or not … yet that wasn’t going to work for us any longer.

On May 14, just shy of one week after the leaked announcement to put the CIA in charge of the 50th, in protest we launched our Email Blast. The idea was to create an ‘organized opposition’ to Smith’s announcement by sending protest emails to KSU President Beverly Warren.

On facebook I asked folks against Smith’s appointment to send me their email address. In return I emailed them easy to follow instructions that encouraged quick turnaround by sending KSU President Warren a protest email.

Within hours of launching our campaign, we heard from inside sources that Warren’s email box was exploding from our Email Blast and that leadership at KSU was “annoyed.” We sent instructions to ~300 recipients against the appointment and most of them made their voices heard.

Kent State stood up for Smith by offering, “She’s such a nice person and her students love her. Have you met her?” and “How can you be against her when you don’t know her?” They didn’t understand that our concerns were not personal and we were not wishing to engage in ad hominem character assassinations.

Eight days after launching our Email Blast, on May 22, 2019 Stephanie D. Smith stepped down from chair. READ Mohkiber’s follow-up Common Dreams article http://bit.ly/2VWfWsZ. Kent State refuses to share how many emails President Warren received.

***

A month later, even though Smith has stepped down, she’s still there. Smith is rewriting the legacy of my sister Allison Krause, along with Dr. Mindy Farmer http://bit.ly/2VADpj5 who worked for five years at the Nixon library before her recruitment to run the May 4 Visitor Center at Kent State. READ about Farmer’s tribute to Allison http://bit.ly/2zKXPYW.

Perusing the roster of people at Kent State managing the 50th, we have uncovered that Eric Mansfield http://bit.ly/2Vx22gN was a 20-year careerist in the Ohio National Guard, before becoming Executive Director of Media at Kent State University. Mansfield will lead all Kent State 50th PR and announcements.

In 2019 representatives of those responsible for manufacturing the Kent State massacre are now running the 50th: the CIA, President Nixon and the Ohio National Guard.

Even though Smith no longer chairs the 50th, Smith is still there with Farmer and Mansfield, making sure the story of the Kent State massacre is exactly as the US government and Kent State University wish … and they’re blocking organizations like ours, the Kent State Truth Tribunal from any meaningful participation in the Kent State 50th commemoration.

Where are the representatives of those who stood for Peace at Kent State? Will the peaceful protesters who were present on May 4, 1970 have a voice at the Kent State 50th? With Kent State University in charge, peace will NEVER be part of the remembrance of the Kent State massacre.

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— A quote from Stephanie D. Smith, career officer of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), named by KSU President Beverly Warren to chair the Kent Massacre 50th anniversary Commemoration Advisory Committee for May 4, 2020

By Mike Alewitz, May 21, 2019

Full disclosure:  I was a student antiwar and socialist activist who witnessed the bloodshed of May 4, 1970, when friends and fellow activists were gunned down by Ohio National Guardsmen at Kent State University.  

The appointment of a former CIA kingpin, Stephanie D. Smith, is an affront to the memory of the martyrs of the Kent and Jackson State Massacres and the millions of people that protested the war in Vietnam.

According to a KSU press release, Smith, now an associate professor in Kent’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, “will be a leader in creating, planning and executing all commemoration events, as well as overseeing plans and work with the May 4th Task Force, May 4 families and survivors and Kent State students, staff and faculty.”

Smith has been tasked to “work with the President’s Office and other groups to execute national and global May 4 projects for the commemoration.”

WHO IS CIA OPERATIVE STEPHANIE SMITH?

Stephanie D. Smith was a high-level supervisor of the CIA who retired in 2011, after 25 years of loyal service to the agency.

According to the university, “As a Senior Intelligence Service executive in the CIA, Smith led thousands of employees; designed and managed programs worth several billion dollars; interacted regularly with Congress; and traveled extensively, including throughout two war zones (Afghanistan and Iraq). She was selected as a member of CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service in 2000 and achieved its highest rank.”

Smith served as Executive Director for Administration at the National Security Council under National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

In 2003 she was a part of the leadership team when Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General John Ashcroft planned out and implemented the use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, sexual assault and other methods of torture used extensively against innocent civilians in Iraq and other locations.

After assisting Rice, Smith was suddenly elevated to Director of the CIA Directorate of Support, the largest section of the CIA, under Executive Director Kyle “Dusty” Foggo.

“I was promoted at a speed that astounded even me…in the process, I came to live by a standard, ‘Get there first and clean up your road kill later,’ Smith said. “If you had observed me during a typical work day, you would never have been able to tell I was a Christian woman,” she added.

In 2008, Dusty Foggo was indicted for illegally steering millions of dollars in CIA contracts to a friend. In the course the investigation, it turns out that he had his mistress (alleged to be Smith) hired to a $100,000 a year job, which explains Smith’s sudden good fortune. She avoided prison by turning state’s evidence against Foggo, after he dumped her for another mistress.

Smith seems remarkably lucky at landing plum jobs – including a professorship at Kent, without having the usually required PhD.

After Foggo was cleared out, Smith ended up at the Counterterrorism Communications Center where she reported to Undersecretary Karen Hughes who “was responsible for trying to polish the image of the US overseas in the wake of the Iraq war and the damaging Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.”

And Amy Reynolds, dean of the College of Communication and Information, has the temerity to describe Smith as someone who “cares deeply about what May 4 means to Kent State, to history, to the First Amendment, to activism, to civil discourse, to our students and to the future.”

Smith’s job was cleaning up after the torturers. Out of all the faculty, staff and students that have shown themselves to value human life, this is the person that outgoing President Beverly Warren and incoming President Todd A. Diacon chose to head the commemoration honoring those that fell fighting for peace.

There is nothing accidental about the appointment – it is a message to all that Kent State University is going to spend a year sanitizing the events of May 4, 1970.

WHAT IS THE CIA?

If doing public relations for torturers doesn’t creep you out, it’s worth reviewing what the CIA really does – not the fictional TV version where the good guys capture evil terrorists, but the real story of billions of our tax dollars going to fund death squads, fundamentalist militias and militarist thugs. Stephanie Smith decided to spend her career glorifying them.

In all the world, few organizations are as feared and hated as the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  Its sole purpose is to protect global profits for the US ruling class – it is unmatched as a ruthless, terrorist organization.

The CIA has not only been directly responsible for the torture and death of untold thousands of innocent people, it trains and installs the most sadistic henchmen of the world’s bloodiest dictators.

The CIA’s grisly history includes the overthrow of democratically elected governments in places like Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia and the Congo – and the installation and buttressing of the world’s most brutal torture states.

Today, as US warships steam towards Iran, it useful to consider Operation Ajax. This was a US organized coup that replaced the democratically-elected leader of Iran, Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, because of his plans to nationalize the oil industry. Mossadegh was replaced with the Shah, ushering in decades of mass torture.  Covert operations and inhuman sanctions continue to this day.

The CIA orchestrated direct military assaults in numerous countries, including the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. During the Vietnam War, the CIA initiated Operation Phoenix, a program that targeted thousands of Vietnamese civilians for assassination, rape, kidnapping and torture.

The CIA has targeted numerous popular leaders for extralegal assassination, including Fidel Castro, Rafael Trujillo and Patrice Lumumba.

In Central America, the CIA was involved in cocaine trafficking to benefit the right-wing terrorist Contras in Nicaragua and promoted fascist Death Squads in El Salvador and Honduras.

Congressional hearings in 1976, revealed that the CIA had been bribing journalists and editors for years.

As we can see by the numerous coups being orchestrated right now in Venezuela, the dirty tricks of the CIA have never stopped – they went on under Smith’s tenure and they are going on now.

WHAT HAPPENED AT KENT

On May 4, 1970, forty-nine years ago, at Kent State University, National Guardsmen fired a barrage of 67 bullets – killing four students and wounding nine more.

In some ways, the atmosphere leading up to the bloodshed is similar to today – with an isolated and increasingly unhinged President engaged in undermining the press and lying to the public.

On April 30th of that year, President Richard Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia – a major escalation of the war in Southeast Asia.   His action sparked widespread outrage. At Kent State, a series of protests, rallies and events took place, including the torching of the ROTC building, a dilapidated wooden structure scheduled for demolition, under suspicious circumstances.

Using that event as a pretext, Governor James Rhodes ordered the Ohio National Guard to occupy the campus. Over the next two days, students were chased, bayoneted and clubbed by guardsmen, tear gas inundated the campus and helicopters with searchlights hovered overhead at night.

Nixon branded the student protesters as “bums.” Rhodes called them “worse than the brown shirts…we will use whatever force necessary to drive them out of Kent!” These inflammatory remarks laid the groundwork for repression.

On May 4, we gathered to protest the war and the military occupation of our university. Guardsmen, armed with live ammunition and firing tear-gas canisters, advanced on the peaceful group. We ran away, but the Guard continued the barrage.

Our gathering was dispersed, and the soldiers began to march away. Suddenly, without provocation, a group of Guardsmen spun around and fired their weapons.

We looked about in disbelief – the victims were unarmed and nowhere near the troops. Allison Krause, who had proudly marched in previous demonstrations, was 330 feet away from the nearest Guardsman, when she was fatally gunned down. A friend, Sandy Scheuer, was 390 feet away, walking to class. She was shot through the neck and killed. Another friend, Robbie Stamps, was almost 500 feet away when wounded.

Four young people lay dead: Allison Krause, Bill Schroeder, Sandy Scheuer and Jeffrey Miller. Among the nine wounded, Dean Kahler was paralyzed for life.

The killings at Kent were followed ten days later with a police barrage of bullets into a dormitory at Jackson State in Mississippi. James Earl Green and Phillip Lafayette Gibbs were gunned down and an unknown number of others were wounded. The African-American victims at Jackson did not receive the same attention as Kent.

GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT

To this day, the extent of government involvement in the massacre has never been fully explored. Among the many photos of May 4 are those of a paid FBI informant, Terry Norman, holding a pistol – he is in the crowd. His presence has never been fully explained – the truth of the massacre at Kent remains hidden in the fog of war.

For 49 years the truth has been covered up by the KSU administration, the state and federal governments. This has been a bipartisan effort including both Democratic and Republican politicians at the highest levels of government.

The ROTC building was burned under mysterious circumstances. An armed FBI informant was present. As was later revealed, the FBI was conducting massive and widespread disruption of the anti-war movement through its COINTELPRO program. We know that Lyndon B. Johnson authorized the CIA to undertake its own program of spying on US citizens – Operation Chaos.

The failure to seriously investigate these circumstances constitutes a cover up. We can and should demand an impartial investigation into these events – it’s never too late. We may never know all, but the struggle to find the truth will serve to educate and act as a brake for similar repression.

The warmakers and their academic-administrative toadies fear the truth. They want to continue the coverup of the killings at Kent and Jackson. They want to rewrite the history of US atrocities in Vietnam and around the world – so they may continue to advance their own economic policies of global plunder.

They require the ongoing massacre of the truth.

THE DEBATE AT KENT

Although the press has not yet covered it, there are plenty of people outraged about the appointment of Stephanie Smith. This is not just about the individual – it is about what she represents.

Not only have the events of one day, May 4,  been covered up – the larger history of Kent has been re-written as well. The mass anti-war movement, which mobilized thousands of KSU students, along with millions more across the country, has been largely removed from the commemoration programs, exhibits, books and articles.

The demands of our movement:  Bring the troops home now!  War machine off campus! Free all political prisoners! Money for jobs and education, not war!  These and other slogans that expressed our aspirations have been disappeared.

The history of militant student anti-war protest has been airbrushed away.  The murders have become a “tragic event” devoid of political content. The commemoration is not about honoring the martyrs that fought against imperialist slaughter – instead it is about looking inward, learning to communicate and having prayers to prevent such unfortunate events in the future.

“Don’t Mourn – Organize”has become “Mourn – Don’t Organize.”

The attempts to suppress and coopt history are hardly unexpected. In capitalist America, colleges and universities are tied to the government through webs of personnel, research, funding, etc. The idea that the KSU administration is an agent of change is wishful thinking.

MAY 4 TASK FORCE

For many years, the May 4 Task Force (M4TF), a student group, organized the yearly commemorations – at times waging important struggles to preserve the memory of the massacre, such as opposing the building of a gymnasium over the shooting site. They did much to educate the student body and keep the memory of May 4 alive.

However, M4TF largely excluded representatives from the mass anti-war organizations – the Student Mobilization Committee Against the War (SMC) was the country’s largest antiwar group and constituted the left wing of the movement – demanding immediate and complete withdrawal of all US forces from Southeast Asia.

The Cleveland Area Peace Action Coalition (CAPAC), the National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC), the New Mobilization Coalition (MOBE) were the central organizations that organized the mass demonstrations and reached out to the working class in trade unions, in the oppressed nationalities and into the armed forces.

These coalitions, that organized millions of people into anti-imperialist actions, were marginalized and excluded from May 4 events and history.

Fantasy histories were invented to fit the needs of a corporate education.  One was that Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and a small group of radicals heroically led a rebellion against the war. It’s true that SDS was a group of radical-minded activists with many dedicated individuals. It called the first march on Washington against the war in 1964 – an important action that broke with the generally pacifist anti-war movement by naming a specific imperialist war.

But 1964 was the last time that SDS, as a national organization, supported a unified national demonstration – opting instead for small-group civil disobedience and individual acts of resistance.

Despite its national abstention, at Kent there were many SDSers that, as individuals, played an invaluable role in educating and mobilizing for mass demonstrations like the 1969 Moratoriums that resulted in thousands of KSU students participating in marches and rallies.

But by creating this mythological history, it removes the participation of thousands of Kent students from antiwar actions. It attempts to make us observers, instead of participants.

Before the shootings on May 4, thousands of KSU marched in anti-war and civil liberties demonstrations. They, and millions like them, changed the course of history.

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

The leading figure in the M4TF over the past decades is Alan Canfora, who was shot in the wrist on May 4. He was famously seen waving a black flag at the Guardsmen. Canfora deserves credit for his many years of work on behalf of the M4TF, the families and victims of the shooting.

Canfora is a longtime Democratic Party official in Barberton, Ohio – a Clinton supporter in the center-right of the party. Regarding the development of a left wing in the party, he states his views forthrightly on his Facebook page:

“Putin and his bitches: Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Jill Stein. All hail Putin, mastermind of world politics, now it’s clear he owns Bernie, The Donald and Jill.” 

Through longevity and consistent self-promotion, Canfora established himself as the leading voice of M4TF, along with his sister Roseann “Chic” Canfora, an adjunct professor and colleague of Stephanie Smith in the School of Journalism, as well as a small coterie of liberal supporters of Democratic Party candidates.

More than anything, this grouping is insistent that any questioning about possible covert governmental involvement in the massacre be dismissed as conspiratorialist – because it raises the responsibility of the Democratic Party in the decades-long cover-up.

None of this has ever mattered much until now. I believe they are making a profound mistake by aligning themselves with the CIA and KSU administration.

The M4TF, which previously had a symbiotic relationship with KSU, has now relinquished complete control of the commemoration and handed it over to the administration. For their part, the administration is attempting to co-opt a handful of M4TF activists – rewarding them with invitations to dine with President Beverly Warren and the trustees, attend meetings, be part of a corporate speaker’s bureau and get some public attaboys.

It was after taking control of the commemoration, and with key M4TF leaders on board, Warren promptly named CIA agent Smith to head up the commemoration.

KSU is attempting to promote itself as a leading research institution – the appointment of Smith is a message to corporate, military and government officials that KSU is open for business and will not be bothered by pesky remembrances of the antiwar movement.

STONEWALLING AND EXCUSES

To date, KSU administrators have not responded to demands that Smith be dumped – leaving defense of the CIA to the Democratic Party clique. Despite very fundamental political disagreements, it saddens me to see some of these activists left holding the bag to defend the CIA, no small task. So far, the justifications of those that defend the CIA operative are these:

Justification: You don’t know her, I do, and she is a good person.

Not all CIA officials are right-wing ideologues. The CIA has often adopted a mantle of progressive politics, even expressing a wish to help groups – that is how they infiltrate unions, student groups and other left organizations. For example, this was how liberal feminist icon Gloria Steinem was recruited to spy on radical activists in Europe.

There are CIA snoops that are nice, personable and funny – just as there are generals, arms dealers and warmakers that seem nice, personable and funny. Henry Kissinger was considered a charmer in the 70s – he dated Hollywood starlets.

Justification: You are not from Kent or have not been involved in the May 4 Task Force, so your opinion doesn’t matter.

After the shootings in 1970, you could already see a cottage industry beginning to grow up around the massacre. There was the emergence of Kent “experts,” most of whom had been marginally involved in the antiwar movement, if at all.

Knowledge of the on-the-ground May 4 events is important, but the broader context of the war and the antiwar movement is critical. Pandering to “experts” and baiting movement activists that have moved on with their lives and do not relate directly to the campus is counter-productive.

To their credit, and as recently documented in Tom Grace’s book about the Kent Massacre, many activists of the time became active in the emerging social movements of the 70s until today – working in solidarity with struggles in Central America, in the Iraq anti-war movement, in the feminist movement and a myriad of other social justice issues.

May 4 does not belong to any one group. The children in Cuba that named their school The Martyrs of Kent School are part of our movement.  The people that participated in the Kent Truth Tribunal are part of it. The anti-war activists that sponsor Kent events around the country are part of it.  The millions of people that protested the massacre over all these years are part of it.

The young person that got involved just yesterday is part of it – perhaps most importantly of all. The history of the working class and its allies belongs to the class as a whole.

Justification: We’ve been part of the commemoration activities for a long time so you should trust us.

The history of the labor and other social movements has continually shown us that blind trust has no place in the movement or in the university. People change.  Groups change. Regardless of past accomplishments, you should be judged by what you say and do now.

Justification: I am a victim/survivor/family/witness, so I get to decide, and I like Stephanie Smith.

No, you are due consideration like everyone else.

In my travels as an agitprop muralist, I’ve seen the result of CIA initiated embargoes, sanctions, sabotage, dirty tricks and US military actions in places like Nicaragua, Cuba, Iraq and Palestine.

Hundreds of thousands of children and elderly have died for lack of medications because of economic sanctions. The mothers of Venezuela or Iran or a dozen other countries whose children suffer and die because of the CIA are also victims. The countless torture casualties in places like Nicaragua are victims. Would you tell them how nice the CIA lady is?

The martyrs of the anti-war and anti-racist movements deserve better than the grotesque mockery of a representative of the repressive apparatus officiating at the commemoration.

This will not go away. We would not be silenced in 1970 and we will not be silenced now.

While it is unfortunate that some individuals have decided to align themselves with the KSU administration and the CIA, keep in mind that they are not responsible for the CIA recruitment on campus or the appointment of Smith.

It is outgoing President Beverly Warren, incoming President Todd A. Diacon and the Board of Trustees that are responsible for this travesty and must be held to account.

THE 1970 NATIONAL STUDENT STRIKE

The KSU administration has purportedly earmarked $2m for an extensive, yearlong series of activities about May 4. It is unlikely that the festivities will honor the true legacy of the antiwar movement and how it transformed society.

The shootings at Kent sparked an unprecedented national student strike – hundreds of thousands of students stopped business as usual. At least 400 campuses were struck – many were occupied, and students began to form strike councils to take control of the universities.

Students began meeting, discussing, debating, creating and using their campuses as a base for organizing – reaching deep into the heart of the country with their anti-war message. We provided support to the thousands of active-duty anti-war GIs that became a key factor in ultimately compelling the US to withdraw from Southeast Asia.

On May 7, 1970, at a Washington, D. C. press conference, I gave a statement on behalf of the Kent Student Mobilization Committee (SMC), along with strike leaders from Berkeley, Wayne State, Case Western Reserve and Tufts. We called for it to be introduced and adopted in student strike councils across the nation. It read in part:

We call on the campus communities now in control of campus facilities to maintain that control and to preserve the broadest student-faculty unity in the face of all attempts to divide them.

We call on the campus communities that have not yet taken control of their campus facilities to do so and to join with their sisters and brothers across the country in utilizing the facilities to mobilize non-campus communities against the war.

We call on the united campus communities to reach out into all communities- into the neighborhoods, the labor unions, the Afro-American and other Third World organizations, the churches and synagogues, the women’s groups, the political associations, the military installations – and organize the new, united antiwar movement that will have the power to actually compel an end to the killing abroad as well as at home. 

That proposal for mass actions and occupations stood in stark contrast to calls for individual resistance or toothless electoral activity.  Instead, it advanced a national course of action to fundamentally challenge the power of the warmakers.

We were fighting for the empowerment of students and workers.  That history is unlikely to be included in the 2020 May 4 events.

THE STRUGGLE AHEAD

The decade-long struggle over Vietnam proved that only a massive movement could end the war.  Then, as now, peace did not come from a government that is without compassion or vision – wars and occupations cannot be ended by a timid and impotent legislature that continues to fund the war machine.

Today, the “resistance” of Democratic Party officials is a toothless sound bite. The “progressive” candidates talk peace while voting to fund US military adventures abroad. They cover up their support to the war on workers abroad by giving lip service to some tepid reforms here at home.

Over the next year, there will not only be numerous commemorative events about Kent. Millions of dollars were also allocated to the Pentagon by the Obama White House to commemorate the war in Vietnam. These millions will be utilized to obscure the truth about U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia and repression here at home.

The real history of the genocidal war will be suppressed. There will be little place for truth, or even facts. The unprecedented assault on Julian Assange should remind us how much the warmakers fear the truth.

Fifty years have passed, and the stakes facing working people are greater than at any time in human history. Today, along with rising nationalism and permanent war, we face nothing less than the extinction of our species in a carbon-based nightmare of climate change denial. 

As in 1970, our hope for a more peaceful future lies with our own empowerment. Protests continue against US wars and occupations, environmental destruction, racism and sexism. Millions of immigrants have shed their invisibility in a great new movement for civil and human rights.

Only international solidarity can put an end to the insanity of corporate greed. Only working people can halt the warmakers, by organizing a massive movement to demand an end to the lies and an end to the bloodshed.

The way to honor the martyrs of Kent and Jackson is to end the cover up of the massacres and to continue the struggle for peace and social justice. The true memorial must be in the streets!

END ALL U.S. WARS AND OCCUPATIONS!

HANDS OFF VENEZUELA AND IRAN!

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

MONEY FOR EDUCATION, NOT WAR!

WAR MACHINE OFF CAMPUS!

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Mike Alewitz/ May 21, 2019

Mike Alewitz was the founder and Chairman of the Kent Student Mobilization Committee Against the War in Vietnam (SMC).  He was an eyewitness to the murders and a leader of the national student strike which followed.

Alewitz has remained a lifelong labor and social justice activist.  He is Professor Emeritus of Mural Painting at Central CT State University.

– – – – – – – – –

Appointment of Stephanie Smith: http://bit.ly/2JrmSGU

Biography of Stephanie Smith: http://bit.ly/2VmCPFR

Remembering the Kent State and Jackson State massacres: http://bit.ly/2PAXtMc

CIA Official to Chair Commemoration: http://bit.ly/2HfOb4y

Interview with Stephanie Smith: http://bit.ly/2QbZM8C

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May 4, 2019 by Carlos Jones

“Tell me how on earth could it be justified

for heartless men to have taken those innocent lives

and how many more tears do we have to cry

before our hearts are all wrung dry

leaving only us to ask the question why?

oh why?”  from the song, Truth & Justice (Kent State) by Carlos Jones

Good afternoon everyone,

My name is Carlos Jones. I am a musician. I live in Cleveland, Ohio – Shaker Heights to be exact. I’m here today at the request of the family of Allison Beth Krause, to speak for her as we commemorate the 49th year since that particular tragedy.

At first, when asked to do this, I questioned my qualification to do so, as some might – after all, I did not know her… I was not there. I was 12 years old at the time, doing the things that a 12 year old kid, living a quiet and comfortable life in the suburbs might do. Of course, I had been growing up in a time when the news of many horrors and tragedies brushed up against my budding awareness. I knew that people who tried to do good could be assassinated, taken out: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy’s deaths were all a part of my recent inventory of knowledge.

I knew about the ongoing legacy of slavery and the struggle for equality and civil rights, through which my parents and their ancestors had lived, and that so many were still living. And it was almost as if we were to accept those things as a matter of course. We were taught in school about the glorified wars of our mighty nation, and all of the heroes who helped to bring us to our status as a noble and benevolent overseer of the world. I knew about the war that was going on in Vietnam – well, what I was being told of it anyway.

There were those that were older than me, like Allison, that had questions…

From what I’ve learned of her; Allison Krause was a bright, warm, loving, caring, energetic, intelligent and free-thinking young woman who had the audacity to question the veracity of the things our government claimed to be the reason for sending thousands of our young men and women to a foreign country to never return, or to return broken in pieces, physically and mentally. She was a young woman, full of hope, full of life and promise, who had set out to further her education, to one day become a productive citizen and perhaps contribute to positive and peaceful change in our society – but she had questions…

She knew there was much unrest in the world and all around her…

She knew that there were things wrong with our country that she and her peers felt compelled to speak out against, and she also knew that there were some who took their protest to the extreme and perhaps in the wrong direction, or maybe even had a totally different agenda…

A young woman, who one day might have children of her own, that she would have to teach and guide and somehow shield from the tragic truth, until they grew old enough to discern that not all is what it seems or what you’ve been led to believe…

But that was not to be, we had men in positions of power determined to hold fast to the old way of doing things, and maintain the status quo, and saw those who wanted and demanded change as annoyances and rabble-rousers. We had a president who claimed that he was not a crook, and as it turned out, he was telling us the truth – he was worse. And because of heartless decisions made by men who saw these young people, your sons and daughters, as nothing more than bums, outlaws, and hooligans… well, no need to state the obvious – you know why we’re here.

It was beautiful day in May – unlike this one…

Allison Krause was exercising what she had always been told was her right, to protest what she felt (what she knew) was wrong, even while knowing that there could be consequences for doing such a thing – she could face arrest, retribution, brutality, perhaps even… death? No, they couldn’t possibly go THAT far, could they? She and her fellow students faced off against uniformed men with rifles, choking against clouds of tear gas.

That day – this day, in May, we were awakened to the cold hard fact that you CAN be murdered, in broad daylight, no matter WHO you are, by your own government for being disobedient, for being vocal, for being active, for being a protester. That day, a 12 year old kid felt the chill of that reality, and his childhood fell away as if shedding a skin, and he became aware that there was indeed, something terribly wrong, and there was no going back to any semblance of childlike innocence. I, like so many of you, was changed forever.

Her Father, Arthur, has long since passed, worn down in the remainder of his life by the obstinate and apathetic demeanor of a government with no pity and no remorse. Yet he fought all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to sue the State of Ohio, and had become a staunch advocate for the right to protest.

Her Mother, Doris, more recently passed on, lived out her final years carrying the weight of the heartbreak, sadness and loss, with no apology, no closure, no resolution whatsoever, except for a “statement of regret” and the mere token of a $15,000 legal settlement, which apparently is what a protester’s life is worth – well, according to those with the power to make those kinds of decisions. They were never able to experience any type of healing or relief from the devastation that haunted them for the rest of their lives.

We hear these words thrown about quite often; Truth, Freedom, Liberty, Justice “for ALL” (?) Pretty words, but what do they MEAN???

What is TRUTH? It would seem that we live in a time when truth is whatever the loudest voice says it is (or the ones with the most money). The concept of truth has lost its weight, its value. This is the age of alternative facts. We have to ask ourselves; has it always been this way?

And JUSTICE – now there’s a slippery one… as elusive as trying to grab smoke.

We’re led to believe that it is an absolute thing, but unfortunately we’ve seen and we have learned that it is NOT equal and it is NOT easily attainable.

Someone asked me recently; “why are we here?” And I answered without even really thinking about it; “I think we were put here to plant flowers”…

By that, I mean that it’s up to each person, who is inclined to do so, to try and add more Beauty to a world that is too often marred by ugliness, to shine more Light in times when the darkness threatens to surround and swallow us up, to Love more fearlessly and ferociously in a time when hatred rears its head and wants to divide us, to help each other Heal from our past hurts and hostilities, and try to become our better selves.

That is why I’m here…

I tried to think of what Allison might say if she were here today, had she been spared – I think she most certainly would be here, talking to you, instead of me.

Who am I to speak for her? The question is more; who am I NOT to? She is MY sister, and she is YOUR sister, maybe not by blood but by the common humanity we all share. It could have been anybody that day – your brother, your sister, the woman or man who would become your mother or father. The government-issued bullets that found their deadly mark that day were lethal, uncaring and indiscriminate, and brought only violence, pain and death.

So, I’d have to agree with Allison – FLOWERS ARE BETTER THAN BULLETS!!!

Carlos Jones – May 4th, 2019

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March 8, 2019 by Laurel Krause

On International Women’s Day during Women’s History Month as I write this remembrance for my sister Allison Krause, I hope you’ll support and help us complete our work in the Kent State Truth Tribunal culminating at the 50th anniversary, May 4, 2020. We seek your backing now.

My big sister Allison was a beloved, kind, intelligent and compassionate 19-year-old honors student and protester killed on May 4, 1970 at Kent State University who stood for the cause of peace and against the Vietnam war. Like her friends, Allison questioned authority, was politically active against the war and was upset her generation was being forced to risk their lives on a wrongful war in Southeast Asia. It was President Nixon’s April 30, 1970 speech expanding the Vietnam war into Cambodia, and days later when he called students “bums,” that provoked Allison’s decision to protest on May 4th.

Seeking your tax-deductible DONATION to the Kent State Truth Tribunal through our fiscal sponsor the Institute for Media Analysis.

On May 3, 1970 in a heated exchange with Ohio National Guardsmen Allison said, “Flowers are better than bullets” and it is written on her memorial stone.

Allison’s last stand for peace at Kent State turned into a domestic military battle just after noon on the KSU Commons. As students changed classes, took lunch and protesters rallied against the war on May 4, 1970 at Kent State, the Ohio National Guardsmen opened fired with live ammunition at unarmed student protesters, many more than a football field away from the shooters, killing four and critically wounding nine. Our Allison was one of the “four dead in Ohio,” as Neil Young sang.

If you were young then, you remember where you were, the despair you felt and you probably experienced the malice hurled at so many of us. One of the sticking points for young people back then was voting rights. If you were under 21 years old in May 1970, you weren’t even legally permitted to vote either for or against the war. The killings at Kent State and 11 days later at Jackson State were seminal traumas in the personal lives of a generation and in our collective remembrance of May 1970.

If you weren’t alive back then, you probably haven’t been able to learn the truth at Kent State since the teaching of May 4, 1970 history has been censored from U.S. school curricula and existing teaching materials are still sanitized by those managing an Orwellian view of Kent State.

Since these assassinations were government-led, as they were at both Kent State and Jackson State, we saw how authorities refused accountability, denied truth and instead focused on managing the cover-ups. These killings of young American citizens and protesters, essentially at the hands of their own government, came on the heels of a decade of the tragic murders and cover-ups surrounding John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. All of this was in the context of the struggles for civil rights, and the horrible violence of the Vietnam war, where over 58,000 Americans were killed, and the US was responsible for the deaths of 3 million Vietnamese. That war came home to kill even more innocents at Kent State. The untold history must be acknowledged with the official narratives of May 4 set right. May 4, 1970 was a day that changed America.

Seeking your tax-deductible DONATION to the Kent State Truth Tribunal through our fiscal sponsor the Institute for Media Analysis.

In 2019 the U.S. government continues to censor and harass those who seek truth while crippling proper investigations and denying credible evidence. The Kent State massacre remains at the top of the heap in this regard. When a government refuses truth, it also negates the possibility of collective and personal healing. These 48 years since Allison was killed have taught me “the path to peace is paved in truth.”

In 2010 truth burst forth in the examination of credible audio evidence, uncovering Kent State commands-to-fire isolated in expert forensic examination commissioned by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Stuart Allen examined a tape recorded on a 1970 KSU dormitory window ledge. He digitally examined the audio and heard verified Kent State commands-to-fire that had been denied for 40 years. Further studies allege COINTELPRO involved. Despite this new, earth-shaking evidence, the US Department of Justice and Kent State University reacted by ignoring it. Read Project Censored on Kent State and the forensic audio evidence, written by Mickey Huff and Laurel Krause http://bit.ly/2vherUw.

In May 2010 just as forensic expert Stuart Allen examined the Kent State tape, Emily Aigner Kunstler and I launched the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Emily, daughter of the legendary radical attorney William Kunstler and a social justice documentary filmmaker, organized pop-up recording studios honoring and recording original participants and witnesses of the Kent State massacre. We filmed more than 80 testimonials of ‘those who were there’ at three truth tribunals (Kent, San Francisco, New York), organized in the 40th anniversary year of the Kent State massacre.

Through first-person narratives, or what we call Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) testimonials, Kunstler asked evocative, neutral questions, interviewing university professors, KSU students who survived Ohio National Guard gunfire, Kent townspeople who were in elementary school … now grown adults, wounded KSU students, family members from those who were killed and other voices from all walks of life.

  • Hear the voices of the Kent State massacre in this ‘Best of Flashpoints’ with Dennis J. Bernstein, Emily Aigner Kunstler and Laurel Krause on KPFA recorded August 2010, starts at ~25min. http://bit.ly/LdlALM.
  • Watch a people’s history of Kent State, heard before the Kent State Truth Tribunal and gathered from Facebook. http://bit.ly/PXeRpW

Seeking your tax-deductible DONATION to the Kent State Truth Tribunal through our fiscal sponsor the Institute for Media Analysis.

By the 50th Kent State on May 4, 2020 our aim is to launch an online archive where the Kent State Truth Tribunal archive of testimonials may be viewed individually, yet also integrated into a digital database for inquiry and search. Learning history in a whole new way from those who were there. Students, scholars and those who want to learn truth at Kent State may directly ‘search’ via an intuitive, elegant interface. Utilizing emerging digital search technologies, testimonial videos, transcripts, photographs and all sorts of media become accessible, available for study to all for free on the Internet 24/7.

To accomplish this goal we need your help! We will ready all KSTT content: final each testimonial, output into multiple formats and save/highlight the jewels for use in the creations of social media shorts. We will also process the testimonials through transcription, tagging and formatting for the digital database with a goal is to make the “people’s history” of Kent State available to all.

We’re seeking your DONATIONS to get Kent State Truth Tribunal work done. We’ve raised $6,000 towards our $35,000 goal so we’re looking at $29,000 needed to ready Kent State Truth Tribunal content and further our objectives for truth. Let’s establish and begin building the “people’s history of Kent State.”

As we approach the Kent State 50th anniversary on May 4, 2020 we have questions. Do you think it’s important to include truth in the story of Kent State? Do you want to learn truth from those who were there? Do you want Kent State truth taught to your kids, and to your kids’ kids?  We still want answers.

By contributing, you further truth and act against those who insist the Kent State massacre was merely a forgettable “unfortunate incident.”

Our commitment to Kent State truth is founded on human rights, truth, accountability and for the protection of protesters. In 2014 we took our cause before the United Nations to the US 4th periodic review where we learned that when the Ohio National Guard shot and killed protesters, their acts were an international concern in that a government is not permitted to kill protesters. International law states when protesters are killed by the state, the government must offer redress and amends to survivors.

The US government has failed to properly investigate Kent State and has offered insufficient redress or amends to any of the Kent State survivors despite admitting, “In 1970, four students were killed, were murdered.” In April 2019 the Kent State Truth Tribunal submission to participate in the United Nations 5th periodic review was accepted. We look forward to returning to the United Nations in the coming days.

Will you please join us in our quest for justice, and our demand for Kent State Truth?

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November 9, 2018 from the Allison Center for Peace

On November 9, 2018 Kent State University at the May 4 Visitor Center will unveil a new exhibit for one of the four student protesters against the Vietnam War killed on May 4, 1970. 48 years after the massacre Kent State’s ‘institutional view’ of a key actor from that day will be revealed and installed.

At the May 4 Visitor Center Dr. Mindy Farmer is charged with creating ‘tributes’ for the fallen four at Kent State. Years ago Farmer was hired at the University based on her resume with corresponding background, especially her most recent employment for five years at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

For sharing her view of the story of the Kent State massacre, Farmer’s experience could not be more prejudiced or inappropriate. With Farmer in charge, along with KSU president Beverly Warren offering institutional power and funds, Farmer refused to take into consideration the wishes of surviving families or their views of their loved ones slaughtered at Kent State. Farmer emailed no invitations to the surviving family of the tribute she’s opening today on November 9th.

It was on November 4, 2018 when we were first heard of the November 9th Allison tribute unveiling. An email arrived from a 1970 roommate of Allison’s with the announcement attached. Upon receiving the news, we responded with sadness that Allison’s family had not been invited to her tribute. Allison’s roommate’s offered, “I’m so incredibly sorry to hear this, but somehow not surprised. And I wasn’t invited either. 49 years and still wrong!”

There are covert and menacing activities at work behind these actions of Kent State University and the May 4th Visitor Center. Ever since triggers were pulled at Kent State, the University has refused to involve all who were harmed that day, most notably the surviving families have been silenced.

Kent State University has worried so much more for the damage the KSU brand has suffered by the Kent State massacre, than for offering compassion, sharing an accurate story of what occurred back in 1970, or for setting history right. From an institutional view, Kent State truth to still so radioactive the University is busy intentionally erasing truth, offering instead their same old, confusing, in-credible Kent State cover-up at the May 4 Visitor Center.

Forgotten in all the Kent State exhibits are a few very important points … That the deaths of anti-war protesters in the Kent State and Jackson State massacres helped bring an accelerated end to the Vietnam War, thus also saving lives. Those who died as they protested the Vietnam War were heroes and American patriots, and they’re still not correctly honored for that act.

As Farmer and her colleagues plot to install ONLY their version of the Kent State massacre, censor all other narratives and hide Kent State truth, organizations like ours, the Kent State Truth Tribunal formed in 2010, are blackballed at the May 4 Visitor Center. Truth is essentially in exile at Kent State.

Not invited to participate in creating the Allison tribute, or to the opening of her exhibit, is an intentional act of malice to hurt and stick it to all who honor Allison. Kent State University exclusion has been going on since Allison was killed and it will probably continue long after her family passes away. Institutions like Kent State and the May 4 Visitor Center refuse truth, compassion or humanity in their acts to cover-up Kent State truth for the future. They must not be in charge of how we remember Allison.

So what would Allison want? My sense is she does not want Kent State University and the May 4 Visitor Center authoring her legacy or promoting false views of what she brought our world in her short 19 years. Allison hopes the lessons of her killing will help us heal and come together as peaceful Americans.

On May 4, 1970 Allison stood and died for the cause of peace. She was demonstrating against the Vietnam War and protesting when she faced a military firing squad of Ohio National Guardsmen that shot her dead along with three other students at noontime at Kent State University.

Even though the University invited the military onto the campus on May 4, 1970, 48 years later KSU continues to refuse to acknowledge their culpability or take any responsibility. Impunity has been their protection. Forget about amends being made, reconciliation or healing. Kent State was a military event bringing the Vietnam War home and they won.

Allison hoped the exhibit offered truth from those who knew and loved her. Kent State University and the May 4 Visitor Center have failed miserably in this regard. Farmer has intentionally refused all who loved Allison to share her story or to have a voice, and KSU president Warren stands with Farmer.

When our organization the Kent State Truth Tribunal took Kent State to Geneva, Switzerland before the UN Human Rights Committee in March 2014, I was surprised at how many people outside the United States knew about my sister Allison at Kent State. I realized Allison’s death has not been in vain. Her killing as a student protester against war struck a nerve around the world and has not diminished.

The Allison tribute her family wasn’t invited to illustrates how these institutional views continue to refuse basic TRUTHS of Kent State. In expressing their First Amendment right of protest, four Kent State students were killed by the military. From the United Nations Human Rights Committee I learned that Allison was target assassinated by the government and they killed her during her act of protest.

All who protest in America today are still very much at risk of being shot dead by the government, military and law enforcement because of this Kent State and Jackson State precedent, and the institutional failures to acknowledge these truths and related constitutional wrongs. There has been so little healing.

In the scheme of things this Allison exhibit doesn’t matter much until we remember the quickly approaching 50th Kent State massacre anniversary on May 4, 2020, just 18 months away.

Will it remain true that “History is written by the victors”? At Kent State, we’re hoping for the 50th … not this time.

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September 26, 2017, written by Howard Lisnoff, published first at CounterPunch Magazine http://bit.ly/2xDitdF

Bettman/Getty Images; Stephanie Berger

Burns and Novick want viewers to believe that the Vietnam War was a mistake undertaken by those with noble intentions in the U.S. government. We had good intentions going into Vietnam, but The Vietnam War, which aired on PBS, would like viewers to believe that the grotesque consequences of that war… millions dead and wounded… were never really intended. They were in the vernacular, unintended consequences of men with good intentions.

It’s the same kind of justification and rationalization that then secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, made in The Fog of War and it’s all bullshit plain and simple. These opinion molders want people to believe that we occasionally stumble on the way to the nirvana that is American Exceptionalism and national purity.

But they didn’t stumble and we are most certainly not exceptional. If readers want to gauge how unexceptional our “leaders” are, then look to Trump and Congress and their neoliberal facilitators. The duopoly planned the anti-communist crusade from the beginning of the Cold War until there were so many dead bodies and so much protest that the government had to walk away. It wasn’t a matter of dollars and cents, as some would like readers to believe, as this predatory system leaves lots of spare pocket change to throw away on immoral wars.

Here’s student/civil rights leader Mario Savio, of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, only a few short months before the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that gave Lyndon Johnson carte blanche in waging his genocidal, anti-communist crusade in Southeast Asia.

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop!

Those in power and their talking heads have to sanitize their past wars to make new wars palatable. Mass murder is not the natural or normal state of humankind. George Orwell grasped this concept in 1984 when his character Winston is tortured because of his individualism and humanism, and at the end of the novel he’ll say anything that the government wants him to and that includes rewriting history to agree to whichever foreign enemy the government targets. It’s the same hogwash that the neofascists and neo-Nazis are pumping out from the Trump administration in support of the trillions of dollars being stolen by the military-industrial complex. Trillions of dollars that otherwise could go to unmet human needs.

In relation to how the Vietnam War is portrayed, the left has not been asleep at the wheel. On the fortieth anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, people like the late protester, politician, and writer, Tom Hayden, spearheaded an attempt to correctly document the Vietnam War in the face of the Pentagon’s propaganda.

The group Veterans for Peace has produced the resource Vietnam: Full Disclosure to tell the truth about what the U.S. carnage was all about in Vietnam. Full Disclosure takes its rightful place in a long line of history like that disseminated by Daniel Ellsberg in the The Pentagon Papers.

This from VFP’s Vietnam Full Disclosure:

Despite the counter-cultural veneer, however, and admirable efforts to provide a Vietnamese perspective, Burns and Novick’s film in its first episode provides conventional analysis about the war’s outbreak and can be understood as a sophisticated exercise in empire denial. (“Ken Burns’s Vietnam Documentary Promotes Misleading History,” Veterans For Peace, September 18, 2017).

Full Disclosure continues: “A voice-over by Peter Coyote subsequently claims that the Vietnam War was ‘started in good faith by decent men.’”

Go to the primary and secondary sources about the war: there are enough volumes to fill a medium-size library on the war. View the 1971 Winter Soldier testimonials of Vietnam veterans in Chicago and their testimony before the U.S. Congress. Read Born on The Fourth Of July by Ron Kovic, A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan, A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo, Dispatches by Michael Kerr, Vietnam: A History by Stanley Karnow, and Four Hours in My Lai by Michael Bilton, among the many illuminating volumes of writing about the carefully planned catastrophe that was the Vietnam War.

These books will illuminate how colonialism by France and anti-communism on the part of the U.S. and its allies led to the thwarting of the Geneva Accords that called for free elections in Vietnam. They will tell how the U.S. backed murderous and unpopular regimes that tore Vietnam apart for 30 years until North Vietnam drove the forces of the South to defeat. The U.S. knew that Ho Chi Minh, leader of the North, would have won the election mandated by the Accords.

Read about the atrocities that took place in My Lai and by the rogue Tiger Force and numerous other examples of war crimes in which the military took part. The latter does not mean that a majority of soldiers took part in atrocities, but enough did to make atrocities the hallmark of the Vietnam War. Military training was fine-tuned to cast the Vietnamese people as “gooks” and “Charlie,” thus dehumanizing them and facilitating their slaughter.

Read to learn how untold numbers of veterans were thrown into the apparatus of the Veterans Administration and how the care many of those veterans received was shameful.

Learn about how tens of thousands of men and women sought refuge and sanctuary from the war in places like Canada and Sweden, where thousands remain today. Learn how the American Veterans of Foreign Wars led a campaign in 2004 to deny the people of Canada the right to erect a monument to the heroic acts of war resistance in their country by war resisters.

Dig into the history of the defoliant Agent Orange to learn how both the Vietnamese people and U.S. veterans were made to suffer the dreadful and deadly consequences of its use during the war.

Pay attention to how the Trump administration’s militarists have expanded contemporary warfare (“‘Blank Check to Kill With Impunity’: Trump to Quietly Slap Drone Restrictions,” Common Dreams, September 22, 2017). Then pay close attention when documentary makers try to sell the public a bill of goods and pass off mass atrocities and immorality as simply being careless mistakes that were carried out by well-intentioned leaders. Those “good” intentions took place during the Vietnam War and they’re taking place today. They threaten the life of every living being on Earth.

The antiwar movement has been largely inactive in the first months of the Trump administration despite the fact that this is the most bellicose administration, with the exception of the administration of George W. Bush, since the Vietnam War. Although Senator Bernie Sanders gave a speech that addressed war and the military-industrial complex at Westminster College on September 21, 2017, it wandered into assertions about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, an issue that only serves to further deteriorate relations between Russia and the U.S., and in fact feeds the very military-industrial complex that Sanders criticized in his speech.

The antiwar movement suffered self-inflicted wounds when it caught the faux hope and change rhetoric of the Obama administration and largely left the expansion of drone warfare, including targeting U.S. citizens for death without due process of the law, while expanding war in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Perhaps it was narrow self-interest, ignorance, and the effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks that were at play here, but society-wide malaise may be another factor for this inaction. Perhaps war is so prevalent and unreported that it became an excepted part of life in the U.S. Only a small segment of the population fight U.S. wars and it is almost never the man or woman next door or in a community as it was during the Vietnam War.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Black Panther Party leader Jamil Abdullah Al- Amin (a.k.a. H. Rap Brown) said “violence is as American as cherry pie.” It is also as American as apple pie. Now, we face the prospect of the very real threat of Armageddon because the far right has placed a bellicose moron in the White House.

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

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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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