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Archive for the ‘Vietnam War’ Category

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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Early December 2018 by Gerald V. Casale, Devo co-founder, songwriter, director

Full text of the Noisey publication: ‘We Are Drowning in a Devolved World: An Open Letter from Devo’

In 2018, fifteen years after becoming eligible, Devo were nominated for the Rock’Roll Hall of Fame. I was immediately struck by the timing of our sudden recognition. For me, Devo has been a long journey littered with broken dreams but the nomination compelled me to put things in perspective. I know that many are called but few are chosen.

Forty-eight years ago on May 4, 1970, as a member of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) I was front and center being fired on by my fellow Americans at Kent State University as we protested President Nixon’s expansion of the cancerously unpopular Vietnam War into Cambodia without an act of Congress. I was lucky and dodged the bullet, both literally and figuratively, but four students were killed and nine more were seriously wounded by the armed, mostly teen-aged, National Guard troops. Two of the four students killed, Alison Krause and Jeffery Miller, were close acquaintances of mine. Less then a year earlier as an Admissions / Curriculum counselor to incoming students, I had admitted them to the Honors College program

May 4th changed my life and I truly believe Devo would not exist without that horror. It made me realize that all the Quasar color TVs and Swanson TV dinners and Corvettes and Sofa Beds in the world didn’t mean we were actually making progress…the future not only could be as barbaric as the past, it would most likely be. The dystopian novels “1984”, “Animal Farm” and “Brave New World” suddenly seemed not so much cautionary tales about the encroaching fusion of technological advances with the centralized, authoritarian power of the state, but actually more like subversive road maps to condition the intelligentsia for what was to come.

Working with my Kent State poet friend, Bob Lewis, a philosophy emerged fueled by the revelations that linear progress in a consumer society was a lie. Things were not getting better. There were no flying cars and domed cities as promised in Popular Science, rather there was a dumbing down of the population engineered by right-wing politicians, Televangelists, and Madison Avenue. I called what we saw “De-evolution” based upon the tendency toward entropy across all human endeavors. Borrowing the tactics of the Mad Men era of our childhood, we shortened the name of the idea to the marketing friendly, “Devo”. We were not left-wing politicos. We were more informed by Jungian principles of duality in human nature and realized human flaws spread out across the political spectrum. Hence: “We’re All Devo,” an idea from which we did not exempt ourselves.

We witnessed an America where the capacity for critical thought and reasoning were eroding fast; people mindlessly repeated slogans from political propaganda and ad campaigns – “America Love it or leave it”, “Don’t Ask Why, Drink Bud Dry,” “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby,” even risk-free feel-good slogans like “Give Peace a Chance.” There was an emerging Corporate Feudal State. You were either inside the draw bridge at night or outside with the gnashing of teeth. More and more it seemed like the only real threat to consumer society was meaning, turning sloganeering on it’s head for sarcastic or subversive means, making people notice that they were being moved and manipulated by marketing, not by well-meaning friends disguised as mom-and-pop. If the message wasn’t sex, drugs and rock n roll, there could be hell to pay. Rebellion appeared hopelessly obsolete. Creative subversion seemed the only viable course of action. We of course mixed our outrage with equal parts satire and dark humor. What else could a poor boy do?

Prior to the resignation of the nefarious Richard M Nixon I partnered with a new collaborator, Mark Mothersbaugh, and with his musical prowess we found the sonic alchemy for the Devo aesthetic. We formed a band of brothers around the philosophy of Devolution, never dreaming that two decades into the 21st century, everything we had theorized had not only been proved, but became worse than we had imagined.

In the late 1960’s early 1970’s, with an informed, educated electorate there were fervent, sustained and greatly publicized protests against the suppression of information and the crushing blows to liberty by the illegitimate authority of the state. That’s why more than one thousand of us were on the Commons that day at Kent State in 1970. We were outraged by Nixon’s threat to the separation of powers under the US constitution. There were facts. The illegal actions we were responding to, our legal protests, and the bullets fired against us were facts. There was meaning in those facts. Acknowledging those facts, and reacting against them, was a part of the process that kept Democracy alive.

Presently the fabric that holds a society together has shredded in the wind. Everyone has their own facts, their own private Idaho stored in their expensive cellular phones. The ear buds are in, the feedback loops are locked and the Frappuccino’s are flowing freely. Social media provides the highway straight back to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The restless natives react to digital shadows on the wall, reduced to fear, hate and superstition. There are climate change deniers and there are even more who think that the climate is being maliciously manipulated by corporate conglomerates owned by the Central Bank to achieve global control of resources and wealth. If only that James Bond-style fantasy were true, I would be much more excited about the future which I fear is more of a slow-death conspiracy of dunces like Mike Judge’s movie, “Idiocracy”, the movie Devo should have made.

We are drowning in a devolved, WWF smackdown-style world with warring, huckster TV pundits from “The Left” and “The Right” distracting the clueless TV viewership while our vile, venal Mobster in Chief (who makes Idiocracy’s Macho Camacho look fit for office) and his corrupt minions rob the nation’s coffers in a shamelessly cruel, Grab ‘Em By The Pussy, Kleptocracy. They reflect the prevailing mentality of the electorate. Its as if Christopher Nolan wrote the script for America where Trump is the Joker handing out Cabinet positions to The Suicide Squad: Hey, Betsy “you hate public education? How’d you like to run the Department of Education? Scott, you don’t give a shit about poisoning the environment for your kids and grandkids, right? Here’s your new office, Pal. Don’t forget that soundproof phone booth!” ETC. ETC.

The rise of authoritarian leadership around the globe fed by ill-informed populism is well documented at this point. And with it we see the ugly specter of increased racism and anti-Semitism. It’s open season on those who gladly vote against their own self-interests. The exponential increase in suffering for more and more of the population is heartbreaking to see. Especially because the victims take it bending over with no lube! “Freedom of Choice is what you got. Freedom from Choice is what you want. O, yeah, those Devo clowns said that in 1980.” In the 1957 film, “A Face in the Crowd”, Lonesome Rhodes is destroyed when his live TV microphone is left on while he insults the intelligence of his viewers as the show credits role. Not so today. The crowd laughs and cheers him on! “We don’t want the apples. The apples are bad for us!” a la “Animal Farm”.

So, let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late. Perhaps the reason Devo was even nominated after 15 years of eligibility is because western society seems locked in a death wish. Devo doesn’t skew so outside the box anymore. Maybe people are a bit nostalgic for our DIY originality and substance. We were the canaries in the coalmine warning our fans and foes of things to come in the guise of the Court Jester, examples of conformity in extremis in order to warn against conformity. We were certainly not the one-hit wonders like the dismissive rock press likes to say we were. We have always been the Rodney Dangerfields of Rock N Roll. We were polarizing because we did not “play ball” with the sex, drugs, rock n roll messaging dictum.

But today Devo are merely the house band on the Titanic. With three generations of fans, ten studio albums, five live albums, scores of singles, scores of music videos (a format which we pioneered) and eight world tours committed to history since our debut record, “Are We Not Men? We Are Devo” released in 1978 we stood the test of time. 2020 will be the 40th anniversary of our “Freedom of Choice” record. Don’t be surprised to see us on tour in our iconic, red “Energy Domes” that year as we careen toward the latest Presidential election/selection. Speaking truth to power is a never-ending battle. In the best-case scenario we avoid sinking into the abyss and, as a society, scratch ourselves back to square one.

Is there any question that De-evolution is real?

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Kent State University, May 4, 2017 by Pat LaMarche

Good Afternoon. I’d like to thank May 4th Task Force for having me here with you today.

It is my great and solemn honor to speak to you today.

I was an unusually politically aware nine-year-old kid, trying to make sense of a country spinning out of control, when the federalized troops of the Ohio National Guard opened fire here, at Kent State.

See, when I was growing up, my dad had strict rules about television watching. On school nights the only tv we could watch, was the news. Hind sight being what it is, I probably should have been allowed to watch I Dream of Jeannie or The Munsters and thereby skipped the nightly diet of poverty, race riots and war.

I look back and remember sitting in front of a black and white tv, at truths too upsetting for living color. As the decades have gone by, the contrast has been turned up on the black and white reality that poured out at me each night. I look back now at moments that get more vivid as details emerge. As a journalist, I’m grateful that these stories continue to evolve.

Because of my parents’ news rules, I grew up watching the Vietnam War unfold. I grew up watching civil rights showdowns. I grew up knowing that all too often brute force was the solution to – well – to everything.

One of those school nights when I sat down to watch tv was May 4th 1970. I remember being horrified, confused, disbelieving. I remember being frightened. I better remember my mom, once again hunched over at our kitchen table, grieving – as she had when Martin Luther King Jr. and then Bobby Kennedy were shot.

There was no shortage of black and white tragedy shaping my world. The citizenry used brute force on each other. My government used brute force in foreign countries. Police forces and sheriff’s departments used billy clubs, fire hoses and dogs on protesters. And then, at Kent State, the federal government used brute force on privileged white college kids.

Kent State shocked violence weary white America like nothing before had.

Everyone paying attention to the news in 1970 knew two things. Before Kent State, you had to fit into a couple of categories in order to get killed. You had to be famous. You had to have put yourself out there. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., John and Bobby Kennedy, Malcolm X.

Or you had to be some nosey do-gooder looking for trouble in the deep south, like, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

But, if by some chance you were some innocent by stander, well then you had to be black.

Kent State changed all that. Kent State threatened privileged Americans. White draft deferred college kids could be killed just walking to class.

But there was another frightening distinction at Kent State.

Before Kent State, trigger happy police departments killed protestors – as was the case when the South Carolina highway patrol perpetrated the Orangeburg massacre. But at Kent State, in full violation of the United States Constitution, the U.S. military opened fire on the American people. Tanks rolled into town. Check points were set up. And U.S. Army forces terrorized the populace.

Yesterday, on our way into Kent, we detoured and stopped at the Robinson Memorial hospital now University Hospital. That’s where Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer along with other victims went after being shot. That’s where their parents went to identify their children’s bodies. I’ll be writing a piece for my page at the Huffington Post later this week, and you’ll be able to see the short video we made in the hallway where 15-year-old Laurel Krause stood waiting for her parents to identify her dead sister.

As we left, I thanked the woman volunteering at the front desk. Ruby’s her name and she’s 73. I asked her if she remembered the Kent State shootings. She did. Her oldest child went to a local grade school, until the national guard took it over as a military occupation outpost. She had twin two year olds. Late in the day on May 4th she realized she had no milk in the house. She got in her car and headed for the market only to be stopped at a military checkpoint. She told me that the guardsman trained his rifle at her and demanded to know where she was going. She had the kids in the car. She pointed to them and said, “I’m going to get my babies some milk.”

May 4, 1970 was a bad day. That’s how Ruby remembers it. That’s how we all should remember it.

I’d like to take a moment and congratulate Kent State University on their long – now completed march – toward their National Landmark designation. Last October, I had the distinct honor of escorting Mary Vecchio to the public hearing hosted by the National Park Landmark Commission. The photograph of Mary – a teenage runaway – her arms outstretched, kneeling over Jeffrey Miller’s body became the image of Kent State for a long time.

It was an image the school desperately wanted to shake.

Many of you know that. If you attended yesterday’s panel discussion about the National Landmark designation, you know that the university wanted to forget the shootings ever happened. By 1977 enrollment was down, and the school – perhaps rightfully – thought that people didn’t want to send their kids to a place where kids got killed.

Kent wanted a new image. What better way to say, Kent State focuses on a healthy living student body, then with a new gym?

But instead of dulling the memory of Kent State, the effort to build a gym invigorated it. Survivors returned to campus. Aggrieved parents returned to the scene where their precious children died. And while strong arm tactics such as tear gas were used again on the students, deadly force was not.

Nixon was gone. J Edgar Hoover was gone. Months earlier Jimmy Carter had pardoned the young men who protested the war by fleeing the country and the draft. The country wanted to heal.

This is the 40th anniversary of that gym protest and as such the discussion this year has taken a slight turn from the killing and injuring of 13 students to the wanton disregard for history and the conscious desire to obliterate if not blur the scene of the crime.

When I brought Mary Vecchio to those hearings it was because she too felt that the story wasn’t complete. Mary’s story, Ruby’s story, that are all a part of the Kent State story. Nixon’s scorched earth policy of killing students, terrifying young moms on an errand to get milk, illegally bombing foreign nations gave way to trees planted on a hillside, a new gymnasium, ugly attacks Allison Krause’s reputation, imprisoning Mary Vecchio in reform school.

This past October, the historians at the National Park Service public forum, agreed with Mary Vecchio. They discussed at great length and with great respect the value of eyewitness accounts. They urged Kent State to include as many of them as possible.

Sometimes human nature gets the better of us. We shy away from people who make a fuss. Who show their anger. Consequently, some historians and institutions want sanitized history. Just the bare bones that can be independently confirmed, not all that fleshy humanity that gives an historic event it’s depth, it’s color, it’s warmth. Historians can shy away from eyewitness accounts because humans sometimes have funny ways of remembering things. Memories are colored by emotions, past experiences, subsequent tragic consequences.

The landmark commission reminded Kent State that they can have both. They can have the historic skeleton of verifiable facts and they can have the raw emotion that rips through the heart of a murder victims’ father. With so many living eye witnesses, Kent State can compile a vibrant historiography to accompany their memorials in the parking lot.

What Mary remembered so vividly, the shattered glass from car windows, Allison Krause’s foaming last attempts to speak, Jeffrey Millers blood running like a stream away from his body, they are vivid and they are real and they are every bit as sacred to the story of Kent State as the pagoda where the soldiers turned and fired.

You want to know the history of human rights in the United States? Then you need to know about the FBI manhunt for Mary Vecchio. You need to know that the governor of Florida blamed her for the deaths of her friends. You need to know everything you can possibly know about everyone shot at that day and the community in which they lived. And when their stories are included, then Kent State, your historic landmark will have preserved history and not just in black and white, but in real living color.

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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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October 10, 2016 by Tim Martin, originally published here http://bit.ly/2d3Bbmn

Women and children crouch in a muddy canal as they take cover from intense Viet Cong fire at Bao Trai, about 20 miles west of Saigon, Jan. 1, 1966. Paratroopers, background, of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade escorted the South Vietnamese civilians through a series of firefights during the U.S. assault on a Viet Cong stronghold. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

1966 Vietnam (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

When I was young and as malleable as liquid mercury, I was taught that “the only good commie is a dead commie.” I was told that America was a righteous nation and that “God was on our side.” I grew up on a steady diet of cold-war dogma. By the time I entered high school, the government had sharpened its anti-communist rhetoric to a point where it could have been used to cut drywall. At age 17 I joined the U.S. Navy in order to fight the “creeping red menace” in a far-away place called Vietnam.

The Vietnam War came to be known as my generation’s signature catastrophe.

Many American veterans are still fighting the war in their heads. They have yet to deal with the body counts, the burned villages, the napalmed children, and the carpet-bombed countryside they left behind. I am one of them. I recently returned to Vietnam to exorcise some of my own demons. I went there afraid of what I might find and came home with a deeper understanding of the people I once considered “the enemy.”

Vietnam is not the image of a war-torn country. We didn’t “bomb them back into the Stone Age” as General Curtis LeMay once suggested. It is prospering farming communities and bustling cities and free-flowing commerce. The Vietnamese are an extraordinary people. Their simple kindness humbles me. They hold no resentment toward America. They have forgiven us for the destruction and the ghastly aftermath of Agent Orange. They’ve shrugged it off as an inevitable consequence of war.

There are no throwaway people in Vietnam, no unemployed or homeless. The Vietnamese are gracious, sincere, and hard-working. Everyone has a job and a purpose. Education is highly valued and age is highly revered. Insulting an elder or an ancestor is considered a serious offense. Vietnamese people are polite and dignified. There are no loudmouths, no pushy types and (oddly enough) no road rage, despite the nation’s estimated 39 million motorbikes.

Vietnam is a place of traditions. Meals are typically shared. A bride at her wedding changes dresses seven times. Funerals are held in the street and the deceased are entombed on property belonging to their families. The beauty of the country pulls at your emotions. There are Buddhist temples high on mountaintops, water buffalo grazing alongside the Mekong River, and rice fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. Vietnam is an endless ballet of traffic in Ho Chi Minh City. It is a monsoon rain in Danang, a Dragon Boat on the Perfume River, and the laughter of children in Hanoi that brings warmth to the heart of a lonely traveler.

There is an infinitesimal police presence in Vietnam. No armored vehicles roam the streets. No military solders or government officials study your every move. The Vietnamese government trusts its citizens, and its tourists. Relations between the U.S. and Vietnam normalized in 1995. Diplomatic ties are strong. The first KFC opened in 1997. Starbucks made an appearance in 2013, and McDonald’s opened one year later.

Vietnam is a purging of the soul for the returning veteran. It is also an aching heart. A large number of Vietnamese people have lost friends and relatives to war. Others have lost entire families. They are the maimed, the orphaned and the widowed — a nation building lives out of fragments of the past. Meanwhile, our government struggles to obliterate any important lessons we might have learned from Vietnam as it maintains a nationalistic echo chamber that will give them a freer hand in conducting future interventions around the world.

It shames me that my country has become the biggest warmongering nation on the planet. This has got to change.

America put the Vietnamese people through an unspeakable hell. Despite this, they are gracious and sincere, and happy we are now friends. I would like to blame the Vietnam War solely on our leaders, but the shameful truth is that we were all responsible. We can no longer absolve ourselves by claiming that we were lied to, because the lies continue. The notion that we are pushing democracy with our present murderous wars is preposterous — we are pushing Empire.

I am sorry for the atrocities the Vietnamese people had to live through, every stray bullet and every misplaced explosive that was written off as collateral damage. Vietnam was never a threat to our country. They only wanted independence. America tried to bomb a nation back into the Stone Age. Instead, we should have been bombing them with love.

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August 18, 2016 by Howard Lisnoff

Published first at Counter Punch http://bit.ly/2bfU5Er

KissingerNixonForeignAffairsIf you happened to be an anti-war protester during the Vietnam War, then the following interchange between the late President Richard  Nixon and his national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, is telling:

[T]he President told Kissinger:

At Kent State there were 4 or 5 killed today. But that place has been bad for quite some time—it has been rather violent.” Kissinger suggested that the Nixon administration would be blamed for the killings and he noted that thirty-three university presidents were appealing to the President to leave Vietnam.

The President asked about the student strike, observing: “If it’s peaceful it doesn’t bother me.” Still, Nixon worried if the students were “out of classes they’ll be able to raise hell.” Kissinger thought they would hold teach-ins and possibly march on Washington. Nixon hoped “we can get some people of our own to speak out.”

Kissinger stated that “The university presidents are a disgrace,” to which Nixon replied: “They still get an inordinate amount of publicity, like the students. We have to stand hard as a rock. Everybody’s been through this—de Gaulle, Marcos…If countries begin to be run by children, God help us.” Kissinger suggested that “of course, student disorders hurt us politically.”

The President responded: “They don’t if it doesn’t appear we caused them.”

(Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 363, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File) (“May 4, 1970: Nixon & Kissinger’s Kent State phone call,” The Daily Kos, May 4, 2011).

Nixon’s observation that Kent State “has been bad for quite some time—it has been rather violent,” is a complete revisionist version of the anti-war movement at Kent State. The “worst” that can be said about the events leading up to the massacre of students at Kent State is that some students threw rocks at the armed occupying force of the National Guard, most rocks falling harmlessly to the ground. Few massacres of unarmed civilians are justified because a few people threw rocks at an armed occupying force.

It’s not such a surprise to those who know the history of the period, or the obvious terror of Kent State and Jackson State, but what demands scrutiny is the fact that the architect and the advisor of many wars and covert operations is now being flaunted as a trusted and respected statesman by Hillary Clinton, who will most likely be the next president of the United States. Bernie Sanders knew enough to stay away from Kissinger like poison and he said as much during the presidential primary season. Senator Sanders:

I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country,” Sanders said at Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate, referring to Clinton citing the former secretary of state’s praise for her work in that same position.

“I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger,” he added, (“Bernie Sanders Ties Clinton To Henry Kissinger: ‘Not My Kind of Guy,’” TPM Livewire, February 11, 2016).

Kissinger comes across in the Nixon interchange like a true Machiavellian. Neither Nixon nor Kissinger gave a damn about the kids who had just been killed. Here students have been killed in cold blood and these two extraordinarily powerful men are discussing how best to handle the situation as it were some minor irritant or issue that needed to be managed into historical oblivion. It is cynicism of the democratic process at its lowest common denominator. And it’s not so much that Kissinger was out of step with the haters around him during that historical era, it’s just that he was in such an important position in government and he had the ear of the president while student unrest in the face of the Vietnam War and the U.S. incursion into Cambodia were causing the explosion of student protest across the nation. And the vast and overwhelming majority of that protest movement was peaceful no matter what the historical revisionists would like that revised history to read.

Nixon called student protesters “bums.” The governor of Ohio, James Rhodes, called them “brown shirts.” The governor of California, Ronald Reagan, called for a “bloodbath” of students who protested the war. The director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, said “the students invited (the shootings) and got what they deserved.” With hate speech like this, it is not difficult to draw a straight line between the protest of wars and the massacre of protesters.

Hillary Clinton pays homage to Kissinger, one of the architects of Nixon’s “secret” plan for peace that killed millions of people in Southeast Asia and thousands of Americans. She values Kissinger for his “belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order,” (“Does Hillary Clinton see that invoking Henry Kissinger harms her campaign?” The Guardian, February 13, 2016). Is Hillary Clinton delusional in her homage of Kissinger? That homage is both nauseating and a perversion of the history of the Vietnam era.

And this from the New York Times:

Mrs. Clinton’s dogged pursuit of Republican votes has especially rankled progressives, and highlights the divisions within the Democratic Party, even as they see a victory more likely. They have grumbled at her eager promotion of endorsements from veterans of the George W. Bush and Reagan administrations, including that of John D. Negroponte, a top diplomat and intelligence official under Mr. Bush. They worry aloud that Henry Kissinger, of whom Mrs. Clinton has often spoken fondly, could be next (“Hillary Clinton’s Edge in a Donald Trump-Centric Race Has Liberals Wary,” August 14, 2016).

The presidential race is not a choice between an evil and a lesser evil. It is more fully understood as a race between two proponents of the status quo, which means business as usual in the conduct of unending wars, of which Kissinger was an active proponent. His philosophy of Machiavellian Realpolitik can be seen in conflicts in Chile, East Timor, and Bangladesh during his tenure as national security advisor and secretary of state.

Who knows where Hillary Clinton’s propensity to rely on the use of force will lead the government? More war in Syria? Renewed U.S. war in Libya? Continued war in Afghanistan? Expanded war in Iraq? The possibilities are limitless and could even involve provocative action with Russia. Much profit and “glory” are to be made from war and the preparations for war, as was anticipated in the warning of Dwight Eisenhower about the immense power and danger of the military-industrial complex.

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