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Posts Tagged ‘J. Edgar Hoover’

RhodesTen days after Governor James A. Rhodes assumed office on January 14, 1963, a Cincinnati FBI agent wrote Director J. Edgar Hoover a memo stating: “At this moment he [Rhodes] is busier than a one-armed paper hanger . . . . Consequently, I do not plan to establish contact with him for a few months. We will have no problem with him whatsoever. He is completely controlled by an SAC [Special Agent in Charge] contact, and we have full assurances that anything we need will be made available promptly. Our experience proves this assertion.”

Why would the FBI assert that the newly-inaugurated governor of Ohio is “completely controlled”? Media sources like Life magazine noted the governor’s alleged ties to organized crime and the Mafia in specific. Gov. Rhodes’ FBI file, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, suggests that it may be because of the FBI’s extensive knowledge of Rhodes’ involvement in the numbers rackets in the late 1930’s that the Bureau could count on his cooperation.

FBI declassified material suggests that the Bureau’s extensive influence over Governor Rhodes, perhaps due to their knowledge of his ties to the numbers rackets, may have played a role in the Governor’s hard line law and order tactics that led to the deaths of four students at Kent State in 1970.

A November 19, 1963 FBI memo, again from a Cincinnati agent to Director Hoover, outlines specific allegations from a Bureau’s confidential informant about Rhodes’ involvement in the numbers racket between 1936-38. The informant, a bagman for local organized crime, gave detailed information about pick ups at a cigar store located between Buttles and Goodale Avenues reportedly owned by Rhodes’ sister. Rhodes purportedly was running the gambling operation. Years ago, a Dispatch reporter told the Free Press that the governor had run a gambling operation in the Short North, called Jimmy’s Place.

As Rhodes assumed public office, first as a Columbus School Board member, and later as the Mayor of the city, he began to make overtures to Director Hoover. In a February 1949 letter, Mayor Rhodes invited Hoover to sit on the advisory board of the All-American Newspaper Boys Sports Scholarships organization. Hoover declined. Rhodes thanked him and then invited him to address a banquet for the National Newspaper Boys Association in August of 1949. Hoover again declined.

Two years later, Rhodes was again attempting to contact Hoover. On July 27, 1951, Rhodes called the FBI director’s office and at first refused to speak to Hoover’s assistant L.B. Nichols. When told that the director was in “travel status,” Rhodes explained the important nature of his call. He wanted “to invite the director to attend a celebrity golf tournament, . . . since its benefits were to go to youth organizations and he knew of the director’s interest in youth work.” Nichols declined on behalf of Hoove.

Finally, Rhodes persistence paid off. Rhodes and his wife were given a special tour of the FBI building in Washington D.C. on January 19, 1953. “During the tour Mr. Rhodes stated he wanted to say with all possible sincerity that during all these years he has had continued and absolute faith in one government agency – the FBI,” reads the 1963 memo.

The “completely controlled” memo showed great sympathy to Rhodes’ youthful gambling enterprise: “It is understandable that Rhodes has previously said that it was necessary during the Depression to do many things to keep body and soul together and to provide food for existence.” Although the FBI fails to point out that Rhodes came from an affluent family who paid his way at Ohio State University during the Depression.

The memo goes on to describe Rhodes in the following manner: “He is a friend of law enforcement and believes in honest, hard-hitting law enforcement. He respects and admires FBI.”

Moreover, the agency recommended taking “no further action” against Governor Rhodes and his alleged ties to the gambling racket since, “persons very close to him, such as SAC contact Robert H. Wolfe, Publisher, the Columbus Dispatch, speak very highly of Rhodes and his personal attributes. Wolfe knows Rhodes well and was an active financier of the campaign of Rhodes . . . .”

The SAC of the Cincinnati office took special interest in Rhodes’ first election as governor. Incumbent Governor Michael V. Disalle had hired a former FBI agent to investigate and dig up dirt on Rhodes: “We have arranged with friendly newspaper contacts to endeavor to avoid any headline or other prominent mention of the former FBI status of [deleted].”

Following Rhodes’ 1962 election, the FBI described the governor-elect in the following terms: “Rhodes is a Bureau friend of long standing. Our first contact of record was in November, 1943.” The memo goes on to record that, “On June 18, 1945, the SAC of Cincinnati transmitted a news clipping from the ‘Columbus Dispatch’ of 6-7-45 indicating that Mayor Rhodes urged the establishment of a Bureau field office at Columbus.” Rhodes is portrayed as very “active and very friendly toward the Bureau.” Later FBI files would not include these early contacts between the FBI and Rhodes.

The Bureau does detail one obvious connection between Rhodes and organized crime in Columbus: “One informant stated that the gambling element in Columbus has made a great effort to influence Mayor Rhodes to permit open gambling in the city but without success. In 1949, however, it was noted that the informants alleged that Rhodes did not interfere with the ‘numbers racket’ as apparently he was still interested in the colored vote.”

In July of 1963, a memo from the Cincinnati office on the subject of “Communist Speakers on College Campuses” noted that “Governor James A. Rhodes has signed into law legislation authorizing the trustees of any state-operated college or university to bar from using campus facility any person that they wish to bar.”

The SAC in charge of the Cincinnati Bureau wrote Hoover on October 9, 1967 to relay a conversation he had with Rhodes three days earlier regarding the civil unrest and riots that had rocked the nation during the summer of 1967. “During the conference, we discussed matters of mutual interest, particularly civil disorders and the high crime rate. The Governor told me that he would extend his full facilities, and he is all for stopping racial discord the moment it starts. He revealed that his plan is to immediately deploy troops and/the state patrol as soon as trouble arises,” the memo states.

The Cincinnati SAC concludes, “Our relationship with the Governor is of the highest order and he assured me that we can expect full cooperation from the State of Ohio on any matter of mutual concern.”

By the mid-1960s, the CIA and the FBI were working together through the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on radical groups and harass peace organizations. The FBI’s operation was known as COINTELPRO. The CIA’s was Operation CHAOS.

In 1967, declassified government documents reveal that CIA Director Richard Helms, Hoover and President Lyndon Johnson believed that the domestic protest movements against the Vietnam War were being orchestrated by the Communist governments in Moscow, Peking, Havana and Hanoi.

Governor Rhodes used former SAC Ed Mason as an intermediary in an attempt to meet with Hoover on March 25, 1968. The FBI memo on the matter reads, “He formerly served as mayor of Columbus, Ohio and is a good friend of [deleted] of the ‘Columbus Dispatch.’”

The FBI memo said, “SAC, Cincinnati advises that Rhodes has been extremely cooperative.” Surprisingly, “there’s no indication that Governor Rhodes has ever met Mr. Hoover and he has not received an autographed photograph.”

Less than year before the tragic shootings at Kent State, the SAC of the Cincinnati Bureau sent Hoover a memo detailing Rhodes’ attitude towards civil unrest: “He personally feels that the Director is the outstanding American and that he is the only person who has consistently opposed those persons who would subvert our government. He feels that the Director’s stated position of dealing firmly with these groups is the only sensible method.”

“He [Rhodes] commented on the riots and unrest which have occurred repeatedly and said that some of this might well have been avoided if the Director’s warnings and advice had been followed. In Ohio, he has not hesitated to use the National Guard to deal with these situations and has instructed the Guard to act quickly and firmly. He feels that this is the only way to maintain law and order, and that the maintenance of law and order is the only way our government can survive,” the memo records.

On May 4, 1970, Sandra Scheuer, Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause and William Schroeder were shot dead by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State. Numerous investigative accounts have alleged that the FBI was involved in the burning of the campus ROTC building, which led to the deaths of the students.

The SAC in Cincinnati paid a “courtesy call” on Governor Rhodes 18 days after the shootings. Governor Rhodes informed the FBI agent that he intended to keep the Ohio State University campus open, despite what some historians regard as one of the largest student riots in U.S. history. “. . . He [Rhodes] intends to mobilize sufficient members of the Ohio National Guard (ONG) to accomplish this, ‘even if he has to put a guard in every classroom,’” the memo reads.

The Governor blamed the unrest on outside agitators and “commented that of the upwards of 100 persons arrested on May 21 and May 22, 1970, only a few were OSU students. . .” the memo notes. The FBI memo cites that of the 78 arrests, 35 were OSU students and two OSU employees, even though the majority of the arrests were made off-campus.

“. . . the Governor also referred to the current investigation at Kent State University (KSU) and commented that he felt this would present an excellent opportunity for the Department of Justice, through some detailed statement to the news media after the investigation is completed, to get to the public the true story of campus agitation and to identify the organizers of the violence. The Governor appeared somewhat concerned at the possibility that members of the Ohio National Guard might finally end up being charged with an offense in connection to the shooting of the students at Kent,” the memo stated, “He commented at one point that if the ONG members were indicted in regards to this matter that he felt a million dollars should be spent to defend them, if necessary.”

The memo also records for history that, “The Governor commented several times on the close relationship he has enjoyed with the Bureau locally and as a whole.”

Critics have long charged that the FBI deliberately covered up information about those responsible for ordering the Kent State shootings. A tape was recently released revealing what appears to be an order to shoot at Kent State. FBI declassified docouments strongly suggest that the FBI’s extensive influence over Governor Rhodes, perhaps due to their knowledge of his ties to organized crime and the numbers rackets, may have played a key role in the Governor’s violent and repressive tactics that led to death of four students at Kent State in 1970.

— Bob Fitrakis is the Editor & Publisher of http://freepress.org, http://bit.ly/1nednvg. Revised May 3, 2007. Originally posted on April 21, 2003.

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LAUREL KRAUSE, April 25, 2011

HERE WALKS my dad, Arthur Krause with Reverend John Adams and other protesters on his last trip back to Kent State. His daughter and my sister, Allison Krause, was slain at Kent State University in the student protest against the Vietnam war on May 4, 1970, a day that forever changed our family and civil rights in America … a day that changed America.

Approaching the anniversary of Allison’s killing, the energy from that time calls out with new evidence and the truth. Current events and the emergence of new evidence in the Kent State Strubbe tape http://bit.ly/1gcCCWo, demanding we as a democratic, just nation must re-examine what went down in the sixties, ending at Kent State on May 4, 1970 … when the state slaughtered protesters, a crime against man.

A remarkable cosmic signpost arrived on March 11, 2011 when a 7.1 earthquake struck Japan, creating a tsunami that came to our shores with the emerging Fukushima nuclear disaster. Very early that morning I awakened to a reverse-911 telephone call recommending those near water and inlets on the coast move to higher ground for safety from the approaching tsunami due at 7:23am, my account here http://bit.ly/gOovLw Article on the north coast tsunami and damage to the harbor in our community ~ http://bit.ly/gWy090

As I waited at higher ground from 7:00 am on into the afternoon, I realized how this world event had transformed humanity … the way we live together globally. Hours after that massive shake, we were shown on every level that what happens there, happens here as we are all connected on this third planet from the sun.

Most importantly, the nuclear event at Fukushima shows us the deeply polluting, over-reach of corporations, echoing George Orwell’s 1984 and Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. Fiction from the 60’s now becomes commonplace reality in 2011.

General Electric, the developer of the nuclear technology used at Fukushima also conceived the overall design, organized the construction and manufacture of Fukushima’s parts. GE literally put together the concept behind and the ‘gears’ of the Fukushima nuclear reactor.

Yet following this tsunami in Japan and the nuclear alert created at Fukushima, GE’s first step was to protect their corporate interests and distance the General Electric, GE brands, claiming TEPCO’s majority ownership. Corporate-owned media machines backed them by never referring to General Electric as a player in this nuclear horror, following the same playbook as the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the BP brand from last year.

GE continues to disassociate itself from Fukushima and in these actions, GE takes no responsibility for the nuclear plant they designed and built years ago, pointing the finger instead at their customer and partner TEPCO, another corporation.

We also see how the Corporatists eat their own, shown last week with BP bringing lawsuits against Transocean and the blow-out protector manufacturer. Each of these players, along with BP, are clearly responsible for the world’s worst oil disaster and how it continues to evolve ~ polluting, degrading and jeopardizing the eco-health of a large portion of planet Earth.

When will these offending corporations take responsibility and engage in the required significant remedial clean-up (as in making whole again) as well as thorough research or analysis of the eco-damaging event? When will we demand accountability and hold their feet to fire? To date that is nothing beyond a handful of lawsuits, pay-outs, fines and, yes, bonuses and awards in 2010 to Transocean for safety, of all things.

Lest we not forget newly-awarded energy contracts just signed by the US government and BP. Or the two TEPCO-directed nuclear plants to be built in Texas with $4B of tax payer-derived funds. All’s going great in eco-disasterville for Corporatists in America.

Back to Fukushima, the US nuclear energy lobby and US reactor manufacturers (top players, GE & Westinghouse-now Hitachi) without pause, continue skipping down the same development path, lacking proven safety procedures and offering not one innovative effort to safely begin bioremediating the nuclear disaster as it unfolds in Japan.

Just days after Fukushima began it’s radiation spew and without missing a beat, President Obama announced US commitment to continue to fund and develop new nuclear reactors as a key energy technology for our country. As their response to Fukushima, China, Germany and many other countries have placed moratoriums on new development in nuclear energy with Germany going a step further to begin de-commissioning every nuclear reactor there.

At my local supermarket a colleague whispered that the GE engineers, the guys that originally conceived of these water boiling nuclear reactors for GE, left the corporation quickly thereafter, quitting to become anti-nuke advocates. They realized the power unleashed in the technology they created, along with humanity’s inability to control or harness nuclear fission in a disaster scenario … like a tsunami.

Going back more than 40 years ago and related to nuclear energy, I remember heated arguments around the Krause family dining room table circa 1967-69. Allison, my sister, was 16-18 and I was 12-14. Dad was pro-Vietnam war, voted for President Johnson and worked in management at Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Because of this Dad was de facto pro-nukes. Allison was against the Vietnam war her friends were being drafted into and against the dangers of nuclear weapons as well as nuclear reactor manufacturers. I stood with Allison, Mom with Dad, as the nightly battles ensued.

Before Allison and I were born, Dad came home from WWII and he married my mom Doris. They moved to Chicago where he studied at Illinois Institute of Technology. His first job was at Westinghouse and it became his lifelong employer, common back then.

His employment at Westinghouse Electric Corporation was a big part of our family life. My folks first settled in Cleveland, Ohio. Then in 1963 we moved to Westinghouse headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA. From there we moved to Wheaton, Maryland with dinner arguments as Allison found her voice, progressing through high school.

Going back to 1967, the emerging counter-culture energies of the sixties were in high gear ~ like we have never really seen since. As a pre-teen, I looked up to my older sister by four years and we stood together as a united front against our parents, reflecting the generation gap back then.

TV news blasted widespread unrest, chronicling national protests as we watched bloody Vietnam warfare footage with body-bags of returning killed American soldiers. Many of the dead draft-age men had never voted for or against the war as the voting age was 21, changing to 18 in 1971.

Back then our folks, especially Dad was a lifelong democrat, supporting President Johnson’s Vietnam war. Allison locked horns with Dad about the war and how he made his living, his jobs at Westinghouse involved streamlining systems, progressing to creating the computerized shipping & tracking systems for shipping Westinghouse nuclear reactor parts worldwide.

Allison and most everyone her age back then was pissed off at the US Government. By 1968, Allison was protesting the draft and the war in Vietnam with all her friends … no one wanted to die for the war in Vietnam.  Male friends her age were required to participate in a lottery, being drafted into the war. To escape the draft, many peaceful folks enrolled in college or dodged the draft by going to Canada as it became impossible to get Conscientious Objectors status. If you drew a bad lottery number based on birthdate, you were forced to make some very serious decisions.

As the Vietnam war progressed and President Nixon was elected in ’68, Nixon grandstanded on his secret plan to end the war as he covertly full-throttled secret bombings in Laos and Cambodia that started early in his first term in 1969.

Stoking the embers of the Indochine wars and the war at home, President Nixon and his co-hort were working with the Huston Plan http://bit.ly/gIYTD1 taking aim at America’s younger generation like a enemy camp. At the end of the 60s, it had become open season on American youth against the war … a tsunami of persecution, including deadly harassment from the Nixon administration, the Dept. of Justice, the FBI, cointelpro … doing it the J. Edgar Hoover way with help from the Dept. of Defense. Check out this photo album on the folks behind the Kent State Massacre. http://on.fb.me/hFGAgK

Back to the Krauses, as mentioned there was a riff about how Dad made his living. Dad was a well-respected and forward-thinking manager at Westinghouse Electric. He loved his job and enjoyed fixing systems so our family was transferred to plants that needed his help. As a young kid I remember Dad’s work colleagues greatly respecting his contributions. Years later Dad would receive the coveted Westinghouse ‘Order of Merit’ for his superior and lifelong contributions.

In our home back then, my sister and I did not share that pride for our father’s work. We also knew that by-products from nuclear reactors contributed to the manufacture of nuclear weapons, something else we were wishing to eradicate. We felt the conflict around Dad’s activities and the income he provided at the expense of our safety on Earth and our environment. We knew it back then and brought it to his attention.

That wound between Dad and Allison never healed. Allison continued to protest against the war and for honoring our environment.

In a ruinous, forever-changing chapter for our family, Allison Krause became one of four students slaughtered by the US government on May 4, 1970 as she protested the Vietnam War, the draft and the military occupation of her campus, Kent State University. Allison stood for peace, saying on May 3rd, “What’s the matter with PEACE? Flowers are better than bullets.”

The day after Allison’s death, in our backyard Dad made his plea before television cameras and in TV sets across America. In Dad’s passionate and emotional speech, he demanded that Allison’s “death not be in vain’ as he recanted about Allison:

She resented being called a bum because she disagreed with someone else’s opinion. She felt that our crossing into Cambodia was wrong. Is this dissent a crime? Is this a reason for killing her? Have we come to such a state in this country that a young girl has to be shot because disagrees with the actions of her government?

As Dad learned his eldest child was murdered by the US government as she protested the Vietnam war, something he didn’t agree with, he fought back for Allison’s stolen life and civil rights ~ for the lives and rights of Jeffrey Miller, Sandy Scheurer and William Schroeder on May 4, 1970.

Within the year President Nixon’s men strongly encouraged my folks to stop demanding investigations, drop every legal inquiry, offering Arthur Krause bribes for millions of dollars and my father turned them all down. Just the same, our family was put under surveillance by the FBI for years, continuing to this day.

The Kent State law suits were heard in court houses all the way to the US Supreme Court and back over the next nine years. In 1979, Dad’s efforts settled at $15,000 with a plaintiff’s civil settlement statement and the ‘statement of regret’ was personally signed by each of the guardsmen that shot at Allison, along with their commanders ~ something Dad insisted on.

Dad fought for Allison’s right to protest and her murder at the hands of the United States government until the end of his days. Arthur Krause knew that the murders at Kent State 1970 were personal for us, yet important for all.

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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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