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JOHN MANGELS, The Plain Dealer, December 19, 2010

In the four decades since Ohio National Guardsmen fired on students and antiwar demonstrators at Kent State University, Terry Norman has remained a central but shadowy figure in the tragedy.

The 21-year-old law enforcement major and self-described “gung-ho” informant was the only civilian known to be carrying a gun — illegally, though with the tacit consent of campus police — when the volatile protest unfolded on May 4, 1970. Witnesses saw him with his pistol out around the time the Guardsmen fired.

Though Norman denied shooting his weapon, and was never charged in connection with the four dead and nine wounded at Kent State, many people suspected he somehow triggered the soldiers’ deadly 13-second volley.

In October, a Plain Dealer-commissioned exam of a long-forgotten audiotape from the protest focused new attention on Norman. Enhancement of the recording revealed a violent altercation and four gunshots, 70 seconds before the Guard’s fusillade. Forensic audio expert Stuart Allen said the shots are from a .38-caliber pistol, like the one police confiscated from Norman minutes after the Guard shootings.

The newspaper’s subsequent review of hundreds of documents from the various investigations of Norman, including his own statements, and interviews with key figures, uncovered more surprising information:

• The Kent State police department’s and FBI’s initial assessment of Norman was badly flawed, with failures to test his pistol and clothing for evidence of firing, to interview witnesses who claimed Norman may have shot his gun and to pursue the question of whether it was reloaded before police verified its condition.

• The Kent State police detective who took possession of Norman’s pistol, and whose investigation ruled out its having been fired, was directing Norman’s work as an informant and later helped him get a job as a police officer.

• Norman’s various statements about why he drew his pistol are inconsistent on some important details and are contradicted by other eyewitnesses. Also, Norman would barely have had time for what he claims to have done during that crucial period.

• Kent State officers knew Norman regularly carried guns, including on campus, even though the department’s chief and another local law enforcement official had doubts about Norman’s maturity and self-control.

• The FBI initially denied any connection with Norman, although the bureau had paid him for undercover work a month before the Kent State shootings. His relationship with the FBI may have begun even earlier than Norman has acknowledged, and he may later have had ties to the CIA.

• After the May 4 tragedy, Norman transformed from informant to cop to criminal.

Antiwar protest builds on Kent State campus

The tolling of Kent State’s Victory Bell, signaling the start of the antiwar protest, drew Norman to the commons just before noon on Monday, May 4, 1970

A camera hung from his neck. He wore thick-soled “trooper boots,” a gas mask he’d bought at a police supply store and a nickel-plated .38 in a holster hidden under his sport jacket.

He said he carried the snub-nosed, five-shot Smith & Wesson for protection. Norman was well known to campus activists, whose meetings he had begun trying to infiltrate in 1968, soon after he arrived as a student.

Norman’s conservative, law-and-order outlook clashed with the militantly anti-war, anti-authoritarian politics of groups like the Students for a Democratic Society. He showed up at their gatherings, trolling for information and snapping pictures until he was tossed out. He said he hoped the photos he regularly provided to the Kent State police department would help send activists to jail.

Throughout the weekend, Norman photographed the increasingly raucous protests at the request of campus police Detective Tom Kelley, his regular contact.

He carried his pistol Sunday night, while photographing demonstrators, and again Monday when he headed for class, with plans to take pictures at the noon anti-war rally. Norman said Kelley and FBI Agent Bill Chapin of the bureau’s Akron office asked him to attend, and either Kelley or Chapin had given him film.

As the Guardsmen moved out, with orders to sweep protesters off the commons and over Blanket Hill, Norman stuck close.

When the soldiers topped the hill and reached a football practice field on the other side, the protesters’ rock-throwing intensified. Norman moved inside a protective semi-circle of Guardsmen, waiting with them as officers discussed what to do.

Several times, Norman hurled stones back at demonstrators. He caught the attention of Guard Capt. John Martin, who wondered, “My gosh, where did that idiot come from and what’s he doing there?”
Finally, a commander ordered the Guardsmen to double-time back up Blanket Hill. Norman said he’d been preoccupied photographing some rock-throwers and missed the soldiers’ departure. He slipped into the crowd, hoping to blend in with several news photographers.

Terry Norman’s statements to police vary

What Norman did next remains in dispute.

Norman said that as the retreating Guardsmen neared the crest of Blanket Hill, he saw them halt, crouch and level their rifles. Like several other witnesses, Norman reported hearing a sharp sound, either a firecracker or perhaps a small-caliber gunshot, followed almost instantly by a torrent of Guard bullets.

He said he dropped to the ground and heard a round go over his head. That would place him on a slope south of Taylor Hall, near the Guard’s line of fire.

After the volley, Norman either “stayed put for a couple of minutes,” started for the campus police station, or headed up the hill toward the shooting site to take more photos, depending on which of his various statements to Kent State police, the FBI, the State Highway Patrol and lawyers one follows.

Norman said he then knelt to check on a “hippie-style person” whom he saw fall or whom he found lying on the ground. In some accounts, the downed man was bleeding from the face; in others, he was overcome by tear gas and his nose was running.

Norman said he moved to leave after determining the man was OK, but he was attacked. In one statement, he was chased and tackled by a group of demonstrators angered by his picture-taking. In others, his initial assailant was a man who grabbed for his camera and gas mask while someone else clinched him from behind.

Norman said he was pulled to the ground and “completely surrounded” by protesters chanting “Kill the pig!” and “Stick the pig!” In a couple of his statements, he claimed to have been hit by rocks and pummeled by fists.

He pulled his pistol (either from his holster or his pocket, depending on the statement) and told his attackers to back off or they were “going to get it.” He struck an assailant with his gun in some accounts but didn’t mention that in others. Then he said he ran down Blanket Hill and across the commons to seek shelter with the Guard, which had set up a secure area.

There, chased by two campus officials who yelled that Norman had a gun and may have shot someone, he surrendered his pistol to a Kent State police officer. A TV cameraman filmed the turnover. “The guy tried to kill me!” Norman says, agitated and panting. “The guy starts beating me up, man, tries to drag my camera away, hit me in the face!”

At no time, Norman maintained in all his statements, did he fire his gun. The attack and his defense, he said, happened after the Guard gunfire, meaning his actions could not have provoked the soldiers to shoot.

Audiotape raises questions about Terry Norman’s role

The altercation and four .38 pistol shots that analyst Stuart Allen uncovered in October 2010 on the audiotape raise questions about Norman’s story that he didn’t fire and that the Guard’s fusillade preceded his assault.

Seventy seconds before the soldiers shoot, the recording captures shouts of “Kill him!” followed by sounds of scuffling and four distinct discharges. An earlier analysis of the tape also revealed an order for the Guard to prepare to fire. It is not clear how or if the altercation, pistol shots and firing order are related.

But as early as the afternoon of May 4, 1970, there were claims that Norman’s gun had been fired four times. There also were available witnesses whose stories contradicted some details — or raised questions about the timing — of Norman’s assault. However, police and government records indicate that investigators did not quickly, rigorously pursue those leads.

When Norman surrendered his pistol, he handed it to Kent State patrolman Harold Rice, who in turn gave it to Detective Kelley. TV newsmen Fred DeBrine and Joe Butano of Cleveland station WKYC and Guard Sgts. Mike Delaney and Richard Day observed the exchange.

The four said they saw a Kent State officer — DeBrine and Butano identified him as Kelley, Norman’s handler as an informant — crack open Norman’s pistol, look inside and exclaim, “My God, it’s been fired four times!” The TV crew and the two Guardsmen also said they heard Norman state that he may have shot someone.

Kent State student Tom Masterson has acknowledged being Norman’s assailant. He said the confrontation happened after the Guard stopped shooting, which jibes with part of Norman’s story, but insisted he was the only one involved. “There was definitely no group of students that attacked him,” Masterson, a retired San Francisco firefighter, said in a recent interview. “There wasn’t time.”

Another Kent State student, Frank Mark Malick, saw a photographer matching Norman’s description waving his pistol as the Guard fired and aiming in the same direction as the soldiers, although Malick said he couldn’t tell if the photographer was shooting.

The FBI looked little into Norman’s involvement until 1973, three years after the incident, when the Justice Department reopened the investigation. Even then the bureau acted reluctantly, at the insistence of Justice Department lawyers.

There is no evidence in the various investigative agencies’ files that anyone attempted to probe the inconsistencies in Norman’s various statements or between his versions and other witnesses’ accounts. According to Norman, Kent State police allowed him to type his own statement.

The FBI interviewed him twice, on May 4 and May 15, 1970, but in no greater depth than other witnesses. The bureau relied on the Kent State police department’s determination that Norman’s gun had not been fired.

The audiotape of the Guard shootings and their aftermath, along with TV footage shot by the WKYC crew of Norman surrendering his pistol, provides an improbably tight time frame within which Norman’s assault and his run for safety would have to fit for his story to be true.

In less than 1 minute and 49 seconds, Norman would have had to check on the injured student, be attacked, draw his gun, free himself from his assailants, then cross more than a quarter-mile of steep terrain to reach the Guard’s rope line.

Norman testified before a federal grand jury in December 1973 as part of the revived investigation. His testimony remains sealed, as is typical. But whatever was said, and whatever additional facts were uncovered, the grand jury did not indict him.

Federal investigators “never left a stone unturned” about Norman, former Assistant Attorney General Stanley Pottinger, who directed the inquiry, insisted in a recent interview.

Although neither Pottinger nor his second-in-command on the Kent State probe, former federal Prosecutor Robert Murphy, recalls details of what Norman said, they both were satisfied his actions on May 4 played no role in the Guard’s shootings. “As far as we were concerned at the time, it was a non-issue in the overall events of what happened that day,” Murphy said recently.

Terry Norman’s gun changes hands

Terry Norman’s .38-caliber pistol represented the best chance for investigators to determine if he fired shots on May 4, but there were abnormalities in its handling from the moment it was confiscated.

A Kent State University police officer takes a pistol from Terry Norman on May 4, 1970. Norman had been taking photos of protesters at an anti-war rally and said he carried the gun for protection.

Norman gave his weapon to Harold Rice, a Kent State patrolman he knew well enough to call “Hal.”

In his report of the incident, Rice wrote that he popped open the cylinder to confirm the gun was still fully loaded and sniffed the barrel to rule out that it had been fired, before handing the weapon to Detective Kelley. The TV footage shows none of this; in fact, the plastic face shield on Rice’s riot helmet precludes bringing a gun close to his nose.

Kelley, who directed Norman’s informant work for the department, carried Norman’s pistol back to the police station. Kelley, in his official statement and later interviews, was adamant that he’d never said Norman’s gun had been fired four times and that examination showed it was fully loaded. Other officers whom Kelley directed to sight- and smell-check the weapon backed him up.

In Norman’s sworn deposition from 1975, he said he had loaded his gun before May 4 with three hollow-point bullets, one armor-piercing round and one tracer round. When Kent State police turned Norman’s pistol over to the FBI on May 5, the bureau noted that it contained four hollow-point bullets and one armor-piercing round. The investigative record does not indicate that anyone noted or probed the discrepancy.

No one tested Norman’s hands or clothing for gunpowder traces, and there is no record that campus police questioned him about whether he had reloaded or searched him for extra bullets or expended shells.

The FBI later noted the Kent State police department’s failure to preserve a chain of custody of Norman’s gun, reporting that it had passed through four officers’ hands, and that at least one of them couldn’t recall when he’d had the pistol.

That casual police attitude extended to Norman’s overall gun-handling. Norman said campus police “unofficially” knew he often brought weapons to school — one had bartered with him on the premises for a rifle or shotgun — even though Police Chief Donald Schwatzmiller considered Norman “gun-happy and very immature” and wanted to bar him from campus. Northampton Police Chief Larry Cochran, who knew Norman from his part-time security job at the Blossom Music Center, had similar concerns.

An FBI check in 1973 determined that Norman lacked the proper paperwork to legally carry a concealed weapon during the May 4 rally. A former Portage County prosecutor told the bureau that Norman could have been charged, but the case would have been difficult to win.

Terry Norman’s FBI connection

Whether due to miscommunication, embarrassment or an attempted coverup, the FBI initially denied any involvement with Norman as an informant.

“Mr. Norman was not working for the FBI on May 4, 1970, nor has he ever been in any way connected with this Bureau,” director J. Edgar Hoover declared to Ohio Congressman John Ashbrook in an August 1970 letter.

Three years later, Hoover’s successor, Clarence Kelley, was forced to correct the record. The director acknowledged that the FBI had paid Norman $125 for expenses incurred when, at the bureau’s encouragement, Norman infiltrated a meeting of Nazi and white power sympathizers in Virginia a month before the Kent State shootings.

Norman insisted his FBI work lasted only about a month, including the Virginia mission and his photographing of campus dissidents.

But a Kent State classmate, Janet Sima, said recently that she accompanied Norman on a day trip to Washington, D.C., in December 1968 so he could attend a meeting he told her involved the FBI. “I felt like he couldn’t talk about it,” said Sima, who didn’t press Norman for details about the 90-minute appointment.

Tom Kelley, the Kent State detective who oversaw Norman’s campus informant work, told lawyers in 1975 that he suspected Norman had worked much more regularly for the FBI than the bureau had publicly acknowledged.

Terry Norman: From D.C. cop to former convict

Disillusioned with campus unrest and uncomfortable with his notoriety, Norman quit Kent State in August 1970 to become a Washington, D.C., policeman. His references included Detective Kelley and Akron policeman Bruce Vanhorn, with whom he had traded for the .38 pistol.

Alan Whitney, a labor leader who helped unionize the D.C. police force in 1972, said recently that Norman was one of about a dozen officers he worked closely with on the two-month campaign. Whitney said another officer told him that Norman sometimes boasted of playing a consequential role in the Kent State tragedy, including firing a gun. When Whitney asked Norman directly, Norman said he couldn’t talk about it.

Norman’s second wife, Sherry Millen, said she had no idea he had been on campus on May 4. Millen, who met Norman in the early 1980s when he was still a cop, said he was estranged from his family.

He told Millen that he’d helped get his first wife, Amy, a job with the CIA and that he had done occasional work for the spy agency. Norman liked shooting guns and talked about wanting to move to Costa Rica, become a mercenary and hunt down drug lords, Millen said.

After Millen and Norman divorced in the early 1990s, he ran into major legal trouble. In 1994, federal prosecutors accused Norman of leading a four-year scheme to bilk nearly $700,000 from the electronics company he worked for as a telecommunications manager.

At first with a partner, and later on his own, the ex-policeman set up shell companies and authorized payments for phony work. He used the money to buy a plane, a 41-foot boat, a recreational vehicle and a 20-acre homestead in Texas and to pad his and his new wife’s mutual funds.

By the time federal agents came after Norman and his third wife in the spring of 1994, Norman had already learned of the investigation. The couple had packed their RV with computers, passports, $10,400, and their four dogs and three cats. With Norman’s weapons and undercover training, the government considered him a serious flight risk.

Norman pleaded guilty to charges relating to conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering. He served three years in prison. Reporters occasionally have tried to contact him, as the anniversaries of the May 4 tragedy come and go. He never has broken his silence. He and his wife live in a secluded area of North Carolina, on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest.

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Plain Dealer Editorial, Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 13, 2010

New forensic evidence from the infamous May 4, 1970, campus shootings at Kent State University could change history if what sounds like precipitating gunshots and a possible order to “prepare” to fire can be confirmed.

The findings were reported by Plain Dealer science writer John Mangels, based on a high-tech analysis earlier this year of a copy of the original 30-minute reel-to-reel tape of the confrontation. The analysis was commissioned by The Plain Dealer.

The results bear on the question of what made 28 Ohio National Guardsmen resort to lethal force and fire a total of 67 shots on the crowd of students and protesters, killing four people and wounding nine.

Two respected forensic audio scientists in New Jersey carried out the analysis for The Plain Dealer, using declassified Cold War spy technology and other sophisticated means to isolate voice commands and sounds on the tape. The methodology wasn’t possible in 1970. On the other hand, the experts were dealing with a cassette copy, not the original.

That’s why a planned congressional inquiry by the U.S. House Domestic Policy subcommittee should not be derailed — especially not by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, of Urbana, Ohio, who could become subcommittee chairman next year.

The current Democratic chairman, Cleveland Rep. Dennis Kucinich, is trying to fast-track his inquiry before he loses his leadership position at year’s end. A spokesperson for Jordan said the congressman had made no decision yet about whether the subcommittee would pursue an investigation into the new KSU forensic evidence, should he take the helm.

Jordan, or whichever Republican becomes the committee chairman, should delve into this stubborn mystery. The new discoveries about what might be on the tape have spawned hundreds of questions, but they’ll lead nowhere unless someone looks for more of the answers.

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JOHN MANGELS, Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 4, 2010

A congressional probe into new revelations about the Kent State University shootings will be hampered — or may be curtailed — by voters’ decision Tuesday to hand Republicans control of the House of Representatives.

Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich had launched an inquiry in October into the May 4, 1970, killing and wounding of 13 students and Vietnam War protesters by Ohio National Guardsmen. The notorious incident hardened sentiment against the war, while also raising national alarm about campus unrest.

Kucinich, who chairs a House subcommittee with oversight of the FBI and the Justice Department, began the inquest after The Plain Dealer published articles containing new details gleaned from a long-forgotten audiotape of the shootings.

Though he won re-election Tuesday, Kucinich will lose his subcommittee chairmanship and its investigative power when Republicans gain control of the House in January. His office was scrambling Wednesday to adjust the inquiry’s timetable to the suddenly looming deadline.

Kucinich and the subcommittee’s staff “are working to see if it is possible to hold a hearing before the end of this year,” spokesman Nathan White said via e-mail. The congressman “has personally talked to several witnesses” who have agreed to testify, White said, though he declined to identify them. Kucinich “believes that holding this hearing swiftly is important to ensure that the information is entered into the public record before any more time passes.”

A forensic audio expert who examined the 40-year-old recording earlier this year at The Plain Dealer’s request, using modern sound-filtering and analyzing software, reported hearing an altercation and four pistol shots roughly 70 seconds before the Guardsmen opened fire, and later, a male voice commanding the Guard to prepare to shoot.

Previous investigations had determined that the Guardsmen wheeled and fired spontaneously, even though they were not at imminent risk. Some Guardsmen claimed to have heard an order to fire. Others reported reacting to pistol shots, possibly from a sniper, though much more immediately than the 70 seconds that pass between the apparent pistol shots on the tape and the Guardsmen’s volley.

No officer ever admitted issuing a firing command, and none of the criminal, civil or independent reviews identified anyone other than Guardsmen as having fired their weapons.

It is difficult to determine how, if at all, the apparent altercation and pistol shots and the subsequent firing command captured on the tape are related. The violent confrontation between members of the protest crowd and someone – with shouts of “Kill him!” and “Hit the [expletive]!” – are followed by what forensic audio expert Stuart Allen believes are four shots from a .38-caliber revolver.

After The Plain Dealer reported the latest findings, some speculated that the altercation involved Terry Norman, a Kent State law enforcement student who was carrying a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol during the May 4 protest rally and was taking photos of demonstrators for the university police department and the FBI.

Norman claimed he was assaulted by crowd members angered by his picture-taking and told investigators he drew his gun to warn them away. But he denied firing, and insisted that the dust-up happened after the Guard gunfire, not before.

Several witnesses said they heard a Kent State policeman who inspected Norman’s pistol exclaim that it had been fired four times. The officer later denied making the remark. An FBI lab test determined the gun had been fired since its last cleaning, but could not pinpoint when.

In 1973, then-U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh pressed the Justice Department to look into Norman’s activities, saying he may have been the catalyst for the Guard’s shootings. A federal grand jury questioned Norman in December 1973, but he was not charged.

“As far as we were concerned at the time, [Norman] was a non-issue in the overall events of what happened that day,” Robert Murphy, the Justice Department lawyer who led the grand jury probe, said in a telephone interview Monday.

The grand jury indicted eight low-ranking Guardsmen on civil rights violations for the shootings. A federal judge later dismissed the charges (pdf). Norman joined the Washington, D.C., police department several months after the Kent State incident. His precise whereabouts today are not known.

Kucinich has asked the FBI to produce records that might show whether Norman was working as a confidential informant or some other capacity, and whether the bureau helped him get the D.C. police job. He has said the subcommittee will attempt to locate and interview Norman, and that he may be called to testify.

In addition to the House inquiry, the Justice Department’s civil rights division is weighing whether to re-open an investigation of the Kent State affair based on the potential new audio evidence. No decision has been reached, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Cleveland attorney Terry Gilbert and Alan Canfora, who was wounded by the Guard’s gunfire, recently met with Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez and U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach to discuss the possibility of a renewed federal review.

Since the statute of limitations for civil rights violations has long since expired, Gilbert said some of the discussion involved the basis for a federal case, assuming there’s evidence to warrant moving forward. “We told Mr. Perez that we’re not looking to put people in jail,” Gilbert said. “We’re looking for some answers and acknowledgment that this evidence is compelling. We’re researching whether, within the Justice Department, there’s some kind of fact-finding process that’s designed to further justice, but not prosecute.”

Gilbert said the department’s inspector general, for example, might be able to provide an impartial, independent review of the FBI’s role at Kent State.

The political changeover and its potential effect on Kucinich’s investigation of Kent State is a setback, Gilbert acknowledged, but he remains optimistic.

“We’re in a worse position now in getting politicians to look at this case than we were yesterday, but we’re not giving up,” he said. “As long as people are around who remember that day, there are going to be some serious efforts to try to get to the truth.”

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MendoCoastCurrent, October 5, 2010

Since the beginning of 2010, the Kent State Truth Tribunal has been focused on collecting and understanding the truth about the circumstances that surrounded the killing of four students and the wounding of nine others at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, 1970. As new evidence emerges that supports the belief that the Ohio National Guard was following orders to shoot when they fired into a crowd of peacefully assembled students, we are reminded that this tragic chapter in American history has left an indelible mark on the civic freedoms that define this country.

One of the students shot was my sister Allison Krause and at the moment she died, Allison was protesting the invasion of Cambodia and the escalation of the Vietnam war at a noon peace rally on her college campus. Some of those shot were fellow protestors while others were students simply walking to class.

Like many college students at that time, the protesters at Kent State were fighting the draft and opposed the war in Vietnam. At this peace rally on May 4th at Kent State, they were also protesting the Ohio National Guard’s occupation of their campus that had begun days earlier.  When the shots were fired, the U.S. government robbed the Kent State students of their right to exercise the First Amendment. It also sent a chilling message to young people across the country: If you protest against the government, you could be killed in the process.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was profoundly devalued by this criminal act. This amendment prohibits our government from “interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a government redress of grievance.”

Until the truth about the Kent State shootings is known and laid bare before the public, the value and meaning of our First Amendment continues to be compromised. The words written and preserved in the Library of Congress have very little to do with citizen’s rights in America today.

Fast-forwarding 40 years to May 4, 2010 and with the help of heartfelt Kent State supporters like Michael Moore, as well as many present at the original peace rally at Kent, the Kent State Truth Tribunal began to record and preserve the truth, broadcasting our findings at MichaelMoore.com. The buried truth about Kent State and the continued cover-up that surrounds the Kent State killings has begun to unfold before us.

We now see how that the calculated acts of President Richard Nixon, Ohio Governor James Rhodes and the Ohio National Guard commanders seamlessly silenced and damaged the psyche of the sixties generation, robbing us of our civil rights. The consequences of their violent actions against students still reverberate today.

I was 15 years old on May 4th 1970. Through the eyes of a teenager I felt the deeper personal angst and pain of losing my only sibling Allison as my family and our home was torn apart. Allison’s death and the harassment that followed will never be forgotten. When I lost Allison I was outraged but realized quickly that there was little that a 15-year-old could do.

My parents, Arthur and Doris Krause, pursued redress through the courts, seeking justice the American way. In each and every litigation the shooting guardsmen, along with their commanding officers, claimed there wasn’t an order to shoot ~ that the guardsmen reacted with their shots because they felt their lives were in danger, despite the fact that many eye-witnessed remembered clearly hearing an order to fire.  By taking this position and stating this under oath, the government forced everyone pursuing truth and justice in the Kent State killings to look for proof that an ‘order to shoot’ existed.

Back to the present, just days after we closed the doors at the Kent State Truth Tribunal at the 40th anniversary of the killings in Kent, Ohio, important news was published by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Read it here: bit.ly/aM7Ocm The Plain Dealer arranged an examination of an audio tape recorded by a Kent State student from his dorm window ledge. Two, expert forensic audio scientists, Stuart Allen and Tom Owen, independently confirmed an order was issued to the Ohio National Guard. Mr. Allen found that the order “Prepare to fire,” can be heard on the audio cassette ‘as clear as a bell’.

As we turn our attention to the approaching Kent State Truth Tribunal in New York City on October 9 and 10 http://TruthTribunal.org/event , Mr. Allen will present this new evidence so that everyone watching at MichaelMoore.com can judge for themselves. We hope you will tune in to witness this important moment that will prove an order was issued, that the guards followed a command and that there was homicidal intent on the part of our government to kill unarmed, protesting students

We have invited the federal government to send an official to audit and witness our interview with Mr. Allen.

Additionally, we will be interviewing participants and witnesses of the Kent State shootings to hear and preserve their truth, as well as some notable guests with meaningful connection to the prelude and aftermath.

Daniel Ellsberg will participate in our first Skype interview at this KSTT in New York City.  You may remember that Mr. Ellsberg precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers.  He will be giving us background into the political context and key elements of the Vietnam war at the time of the killings at Kent State.

Mr. Lawrence Dowler, founder of the Kent State collection in the Yale Library where he was chief archivist (now retired), will share his truth on the collection he personally assembled, a collection revered to be the most extensive and accurate archive of the Kent State shootings.

You are invited to share in this important moment in history by watching our live broadcast at www.MichaelMoore.com on Saturday and Sunday, October 9 and 10, from 10AM to 5PM est.

You hope you’ll join us as we continue to uncover the truth at Kent State.

To learn more about KSTT and support our efforts, visit http://TruthTribunal.org

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LAUREL KRAUSE, MendoCoastCurrent, July 13, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happened should never, ever have happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 22, 2010

Watch this remarkable 1970 Kent State shootings home movie sync’d with a copy of an audio recording enhanced by the Cleveland Plain Dealer in May 2010. The Plain Dealer claims this enhanced version contains the Ohio National Guard’s order to ‘prepare to fire’ at the group of unarmed students. . . do you hear it?

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