Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Apology’

A 2016 Memorial Day read by Tim Martin, Eureka Times Standard

Vietnamese women and children crouch taking cover from Viet Cong fire at Bao Trai near Saigon 1/1/66 > AP Photo/Horst Faas

There will never be a day when the Vietnam War is not on my mind. It was one of the worst mistakes America has ever made. Vietnam was fought for big money interests and promoted under the guise of nationalism. The war should have taught us a humbling lesson, but we let it slip away. Peace has become the enemy of corporate-run America. Our nation is accustomed to viewing life through the crosshairs of a rifle scope. We are a society in search of constant battle.

Over the past 50 years Americans have been spoon-fed whatever revisionist propaganda about Vietnam our leaders want us to hear. Their lies have kept us from understanding the truth: the war in Southeast Asia was immoral and unjust, a brutality akin to slavery and the genocide of the American Indian. Vietnam produced a realization in me that, much like the British redcoats who once tried to destroy our freedom, I had fought on the wrong side.

I am a veteran who would like to apologize to the people of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for my part in the war. I joined the U.S. Navy in 1966 to battle a nation that had been in a prolonged struggle to free itself from foreign domination. The Vietnamese defeated the Japanese occupation during the Second World War. In 1945 they declared themselves independent from France. They wanted only what America’s Founding Fathers wanted: liberty and independence.

In 1965 the U.S. sent an army to Vietnam to battle a new revolutionary nationalist movement called the National Liberation Front (the Viet Cong). Our soldiers were told that all struggles for national liberation were USSR- or China-led “Communist conspiracies.” That was a lie. The Vietnam War was a pointless exercise in destruction. Americans were ordered to burn Vietnamese villages, destroy large areas of the countryside, and kill as many enemy fighters as possible. Our military dropped napalm and cluster bombs and sprayed people with herbicides. The results were death and injury, lifelong illness and genetic mutation.

The suffering did not end with the liberation of Saigon in 1975.

Author Edward Tick, known for his groundbreaking work with Vietnam veterans, wrote a book called “Fallen Leaves, Broken Lives.” He collected statistics by searching history books, newspapers, and archives, and interviewing survivors and scholars throughout the United States and Southeast Asia. Here is what he discovered:

During the course of the war 2.5 million Vietnamese were killed, 4 million were wounded and 250,000 went missing in action. There have been 67,000 people maimed and 50,000 post-war deaths because of unexploded bombs and mines in Vietnam. Post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide numbers are unknown, but there are an estimated 3 million disabled street people in Vietnam.

The environmental damage was enormous, ranging from devastated forests to gasoline-poisoned rice fields. The U.S. bombing in Vietnam (approximately 8 billion pounds worth) was four times more than during World War II. Over 5,778 Vietnamese villages, 15,100 bridges, 2,923 high schools and universities, 1,500 maternity hospitals and 484 churches were destroyed or damaged. Agent Orange-related deformities still occur at the rate of 35,000 a year. (11.7 million gallons of the deadly chemical were sprayed over the countryside.)

I wish the Vietnam War could have ended with some form of introspection and reconciliation on our part, but America’s leaders were (and still are) out to lunch. We have become an enormous military camp intent on creating new enemies and wreaking havoc around the world. The U.S. has reached the point where warfare no longer requires victory. Our failures are self-inflicted. The military industrial complex is a parasite on this country, and our politicians treat young soldiers like expendable assets.

There is some good news: Americans are growing immune to our government’s attempts to propagandize faux patriotism into a good and necessary thing. We are learning that war is rarely about a “moral higher ground.” U.S. citizens are finally beginning to understand that our addiction to battle is a symptom of the sickness that pervades us.

Time does not heal all wounds, but owning the truth is a small step forward.

As a nation we are seriously flawed. Our military is deep in the blood of millions of innocents. My participation in the Vietnam War was a terrible mistake. I hope the people of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia will forgive me. As for the untruthful leaders of this country, no apology will be forthcoming. Their eyes are already locked on the next atrocity ahead.

Read Full Post »

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

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

AllisonImproved

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

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

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

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

I. Reporting Organization

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

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

II. Issue Summary

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

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

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

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

III. U.S. Government Report and Prior Recommendations

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

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

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

IV. Other UN and Regional Bodies Recommendations

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

V. Recommended Questions

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

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

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

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

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

VI. Suggested Recommendations

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

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

Read the full document ~ 130209_ICCPRKentStateFinalA

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

Read Full Post »

KEVIN FAGAN, San Francisco Chronicle, July 31, 2010

It happened a long time ago in a state on the other side of the country, but the day Ohio National Guardsmen killed four students at Kent State University during an anti-war protest is still a fresh hurt for Laurel Krause.

Her sister, 19-year-old freshman Allison Krause, was one of those killed in what became a tragic touchstone for protests against the Vietnam War. Now, 40 years after the May 4, 1970, shootings that also left nine wounded, Krause has launched a personal project to collect a video history of the event.

The 55-year-old Mendocino County woman will be coming to San Francisco on Aug. 7 and 8 to set up a camera and record the testimonials of anyone who was at the shootings or was directly affected by them. Witnesses, people who were wounded, relatives of victims, teachers, administrators, National Guardsmen – they’re all welcome, she said.

The event will be webcast live from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day on MichaelMoore.com.

‘Truth Tribunal’

Krause, an environment blogger, is calling her project “The Kent State Truth Tribunal.” Her first collection of oral histories – about 70 in all – was recorded in early May at Kent State, when the university was commemorating the 40th anniversary of the killings. After San Francisco she intends to record more recollections in New York City on October 9 and 10.

Co-directing the project with Krause is filmmaker Emily Kunstler, daughter of the late civil rights lawyer William Kunstler.

“Based on what we’ve been told over the years, we think the second-largest group of participants and witnesses to the shootings is in California, and we expect people to come from this state, Washington, Oregon and anywhere else nearby,” Krause said. “We are hoping to get all sides of the story. We want the whole truth to come out about these shootings.”

Public apology

In 1990, then-Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste apologized publicly for the shootings, but nobody was ever officially held accountable for the killings. Varying accounts have been offered over the years of whether the National Guardsmen were ordered to open fire on the anti-war protesters or did so spontaneously.

Krause is convinced the shooting was deliberate. She wants an apology from the federal government, because the U.S. invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War was what precipitated the protests that led to the shootings.

“Even 40 years later, it’s still a horrible thing for me and my family,” Krause said. “Allison was my only sibling. She wanted to be an art therapist. And I can never, ever see her again.”

Krause intends to give her collection to a library at New York University.

Earlier this year, the shooting site at Kent State was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and the university started a walking tour of it. The school’s library already has more than two floors worth of archives, including 100 oral histories, devoted to the shootings – but its archivists pick no sides in the historical debate, said Cara Gilgenbach, head of special collections and archives.

“There are many varying narratives of what occurred,” she said.

Find out more

To find out more about the tribunal event in San Francisco, and to register to give a testimonial, go to truthtribunal.org.

Read Full Post »